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.
When Your Station Assignment Leaves You Out in the Cold with Linda Willing
No matter how large—or small—your fire department may be, it has one house that’s just not as busy as the others. Sometimes, that house is really slow. And it may feel like you’re missing all the action if you’re assigned to it.
If you’re new to the fire service career, you may wonder if you’ll ever go on a structure fire run. If you’re an officer, you might worry that your career is stalled.
But there are some things to consider before you decide that it’s hopeless. My guest today says being assigned to that station can be like “being sent to Siberia.”
Linda Willing has been on Code 3 before. She’s a retired career fire officer. She owns RealWorld Training and Consulting, which works with emergency service agencies. She is also an adjunct instructor and curriculum advisor for the National Fire Academy, and has written a book, titled On the Line: Women Firefighters Tell Their Stories.
To Be a Black Woman in Today's Fire Service with Jennifer Osborne
On this show, we’re going to explore some of the unique experiences of a firefighter who is in the minority on two fronts: She’s a woman and she’s Black.
Jennifer Osborne is a 16-year veteran of the Clark County, Nevada, Fire Department. They cover an area in and around Las Vegas. She first became a paramedic in Colorado in 1999 before heading to the fire academy.
So she’s been around long enough to have gained some perspective on what it’s like to be in a very small minority…in fact, she was just the third black female firefighter in her current department when she finished the academy.
Jennifer has enjoyed her career—she’s an engineer now—but, as you might expect, there have been a few struggles along the way.
You're a New Company Officer - Now What? with Jacob Johnson
If you’re about to promote to company officer, this show is for you.
Most firefighters want to move up and take charge of the crew. It’s natural to assume you could do it better, right? And there’s the pay bump.
But once you pass the test and are selected, you may find it’s a whole different ballgame than you thought. Especially these days, there isn’t a whole lot of fireground commanding involved in being a company officer.
It’s a good dose of administrative work punctuated by training evolutions and then…then…you need to be ready for the structure fire when it happens.
My guest today is here to discuss what he’s learned about what it is to be a company officer. Jacob Johnson is a returning guest to Code 3. He’s an assistant chief for the city of Pearland, Texas Fire Department. He over has two decades in the fire service.
Addressing the "Ridiculous Gap" of Fire vs. EMS with Wes Ward
I started out today’s interview intending to talk about the conflict between fire officers and lower-ranked—but certified--paramedics.
It wasn’t long before I got caught up in a discussion about the “state of the Union” of Fire vs. EMS. It’s a hot button issue, for sure.
My guest on this edition of Code 3, Wes Ward, says there’s a “ridiculous gap” between the two, one that’s totally unnecessary. And if you don’t know him, Wes has been a battalion chief serving as the director of EMS for Center Point Fire District in Alabama. Before that, he was a fire captain at Birmingham Fire and Rescue.
So, yes, he’s been on both sides of the divide, and he believes there shouldn’t even be a divide between Fire and EMS.
Five Floors Up with Brian McDonald
Usually, I talk with a member of the fire service on this show, but today’s a bit different.
Brian McDonald is an author, but not a firefighter. He’s written several books about New York City, and his latest is about the FDNY.
Five Floors Up focuses on two firefighting families, and one man specifically. William Feehan worked his way from probie to Fire Commissioner. He lost his life on September 11, 2001, along with 342 other members of the FDNY who were at the World Trade Center scene.
As Brian tells his story, he delves into the history of the department, giving us an honest appraisal of its darker days and politics. Still, it’s an inspiring story of two families, covering four generations of everyday heroes.
Brian is a native New Yorker, born in the Bronx, He has written other non-fiction books about the city, with titles like My Father’s Gun and Last Call at Elaine’s.
The Care and Feeding of the News Media with Robert Leonard
What do you think of your city’s news media? Maybe you think of reporters and photographers as an annoyance. Perhaps you view them as a necessary evil.
Or—and this is the best, I think—do you look at them as professionals just doing their jobs, reporting the news?
I’ve been a journalist for 30-plus years, and I can tell you that, while reporters sometimes make mistakes, very few are out to “get” you, as a firefighter. They’re also generally not out to make your department look bad.
So, the question is, how do you get the news media to help you? It’s not hard. Just give them what they want—a good story—and they’ll be happy. Don’t act like there’s something to hide, especially when there isn’t anything to hide!
My guest today will explain how to do that better. Robert Leonard has over 30 years of service as a firefighter, officer and EMT. Rob’s been FDNY’s Deputy Director of Public Information and Deputy Press Secretary for Uniformed and Emergency Services to the Mayor of the City of New York.
He is an Assistant Chief of the Syosset Fire Department on Long Island and a Second Deputy Chief Instructor at the Nassau County Fire Service Academy.
He is also a senior executive at a national public relations firm, leading the public safety and local government practice, and a member of the Public Relations committee for the Firefighters Association of the State of New York.
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!