The podcast for and about firefighters, "Code 3" covers topics of interest to those in the fire service, in about 20 minutes, through interviews with those who know it best. From Chiefs to Probies, Engineers to Firefighters, and Paramedics to EMTs, award-winning journalist Scott Orr talks with them all.
A Career as a Sister in a Brotherhood with Cindie Schooner-Ball
A while back, firefighter Cindie Schooner-Ball started a blog where she wrote about her time as a “Sister in a Brotherhood.”
She had plenty of material to work with–for 28 years, Cindie was a career firefighter in Broward County, Florida, Fire-Rescue, promoting to Captain before retiring.
I spoke with her for a Code 3 episode in 2018. Since that time, she realized she had enough stories to fill a book, so she wrote one. It's a great trip through her years of working in–and excelling in–what was still really considered a man’s job.
She faced challenges and problems but overcame them all, and she talks about her time in the fire service in this show.
How to Prepare Officer Candidates (and Their Departments) with Paul Watlington
There’s a lot of advice floating around that explains what a firefighter needs to do to get promoted to an officer position.
And there’s quite a bit about leadership and what to do once you ARE promoted.
On this edition of the show, we’re going to look at a couple of different sides of the promotion equation: How to prepare yourself for a promotion…and what impact on the department promotions may have.
Both are important, and both are often overlooked.
My guest to discuss these topics is Paul Watlington. He’s the battalion chief of training for the Burlington, North Carolina Fire Department. Paul is also a member of the Yanceyville Volunteer Fire Department. He is a 22-year veteran of the fire service and has many certifications from the National Fire Academy and the North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Preparing Women for the Fire Academy
Depending on who you ask, women make up roughly four to five percent of US career firefighters. That’s why it’s still a news story when a woman is promoted to a leadership position in a major fire department.
How you see this situation likely depends on your age and your gender. Older male firefighters may recall a time when women were unwelcome in firehouses. They may claim quotas allowed women who weren’t qualified to work alongside men to get hired. Younger male firefighters may wonder what the big deal is…because they’ve worked with women and haven’t seen a difference in getting the job done.
But still, women don’t necessarily think of firefighting as a job for them…which is why so many departments have started recruiting women specifically. On this show, we’ll visit the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Women’s Fire Prep Academy. It’s a five-week program that shows women what they can expect if they enter the actual fire academy.
California firefighter plans aid mission to Ukraine | Guest: Eric Hille
A firefighter in San Diego County, California, has started Operation Joint Guardian, an effort to help the people of Ukraine.
Eric Hille, a veteran of the US Army, planned to just send USAR equipment over there. Many civilian structures are being heavily damaged by Russian rocket attacks and local USAR resources are unable to keep up.
Then, when he found out that aid workers on the ground wouldn’t know what to do with the supplies, he decided to take some volunteers to Ukraine and pitch in.
They’re raising the funds needed right now.
Eric Hille is an Engineer with the San Miguel, California, Fire Department. He also runs the “US/Mexico Firefighters United” nonprofit aid organization.
Is This What You Signed Up For? with Bob Horton
If you’ve ever walked into a firehouse and heard someone say, “This isn’t what I signed up for,” or if you’ve thought it yourself, let me relate a quick story.
About five, six years ago, I was visiting station 71 in Prescott, Arizona. The engine was dispatched to a lift assist.
Now, you may think you know what that is, but this call was not that. Engine 71 arrived to find a woman who needed help getting up into the cab of a U-Haul truck so she could move to a new home.
I asked a firefighter why they were answering calls like that, and he said, “Scott, if we don’t go, who will?”
That’s become the definition of an “all-hazards” fire-rescue department these days, it seems. If the cops “serve and protect,” Fire’s motto might be something like, “Need help? We’ll be there.”
But if you joined the fire department thinking you were going to fight fires, you may think you’re wasting your time with medical runs to frequent fliers or lift-assists.
My guest today says firefighters need to understand that these calls are part of the job, too. They’re not throwaways. Bob Horton is the fire chief for Fire District 3 in Jackson County, Oregon. He’s on the Board of Directors for the Western Fire Chiefs Association and the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association. He serves on the IAFC’s Communications Committee and he also hosts the podcast “Assuming Command.”
Want to hear more from Chief Horton? Become a $10-a-month Patron of Code 3 and get access to our library of Bull Session content! http://www.code3podcast.com/support (Just click here.)
Mayday and the Aftermath with Steve Conn
The evening of March 21, 2003 was normal for the crew of Colerain, Ohio Township’s Engine 26.
The guys were cleaning up after dinner. Then the dispatcher interrupted them with a call to a structure fire.
When they arrived on scene, the crew found a single-family residence with flames showing. Police said there might be someone trapped inside.
Lt. Steve Conn and a rookie partner made entry and began to search. Minutes later, Steve found himself in a world of trouble.
What happened next taught him a lot about dealing with mayday situations and their aftermath.
Steve Conn is a battalion chief and a public information officer for the Colerain Township, Ohio, Department of Fire and EMS where he has served for over 30 years. He is also a registered nurse with 30 years of experience in interventional cardiology.
Excellent Resource for a Civilian Supporter
During the Woolsey Fire, I was floored to learn that California firefighters were not outfitted with hydration packs. I participated in a fundraiser for CalFire and LAFD Foundation to secure them, but I hate to be one who provided in an emergency. Better then than not at all, but I set out to educate myself and maintain my education to support a community that has supported me for as far back as memory serves (Los Angeles West Bureau, Battalion 9 - Engines 23 and 69, especially!) It was then that I found this wonderful podcast.
The host culls through all the information to synthesize details, speaks articulately and not too technically (which would serve to marginalize the general public), allows interviewees to speak, asks pointed questions that show he - gasp - listens! I could go on and on. Bottom line: I have learned more from this podcast than any other.
Thank you and please keep the wonderful content coming!
Very helpful and informative
As a rookie volunteer firefighter that has been wanting to broaden my knowledge of the fire service I’ve been in search of various resources to help aide me. While there are many great firefighting podcasts out there this has been the most pertinent and informative I’ve found. Great work and thank you.
Short and informative
Love these short, very goal oriented podcasts. It’s a breath of fresh air. Some podcasts you have to listen to 50 mins of nonsense to get the ten minutes of good out of it! Great job, new subscriber here!