Introducing Firehouse Best Practices

Welcome everyone to the Firehouse Best Practices blog. First, I want to thank my friends at Firehouse Magazine, and Cygnus, including Jeff, Harvey, Peter, Elizabeth and Steven; you have each been such great friends and supporters over the years.

Firehouse Best Practices will be featured in this blog, as well as in Firehouse Magazine (see July's article here) and at Firehouse Expo in Baltimore this month. In actuality, this is your site, the collective force of the nation’s fire service. Whether you are a member of a small volunteer organization such as the Kimberton Volunteer Fire Department in Chester County, PA; a combination system such as my organization, the Chesterfield, VA, Department of Fire and EMS; or the FDNY, you all share a common bond – the passion with which you serve your community.

It is this passion that myself and the family from Firehouse wish to tap into, as you have each developed “best practices” in a wide array of critical areas and we want to highlight your work to the entire fire service. Each of you has developed unique processes, practices and standard operating procedures that have helped you fill a gap in your services and meet a specific need. Additionally, you have tested these practices, collected data, applied them to your organizational needs and formalized them as standard practices in your department. I want to use this blog to share your collective body of work and help other emergency service organizations that have similar needs.

These practices could touch a wide-array of areas, including firefighter safety, firefighter health and wellness, fireground operations, EMS, training and education, administrative support, fiscal management, recruitment and retention, fire prevention, maintenance and logistics, fire and life-safety public education and customer service initiatives.

Unfortunately, and through the fault of no one, many of these “best practices” are known only by the departments that have put them to work in their organizations. A neighboring department could be struggling over a similar set of circumstances, not knowing the potential solution could be available right next door. Your “best practices” need not be complicated or expensive; just simple, daily practices developed by your emergency service organization that let you operate safely, effectively and efficiently, while using sound fiscal and business processes.

How you applied your “best practices” can be submitted in a wide array of applications, including innovative methods, new techniques, as well as processes and procedures your organization or members have established to provide emergency services or to better assist in managing your organization. Submit your entry by completing the attached application or completing this online survey and providing any supporting documentation as needed. All fields of the application must be completed to be considered and you must be willing to share your information and grant permission for other emergency service organizations to use your “best practice.”

I am asking you to submit your department’s “best practices” and with the assistance of a group of my peers, we will select and showcase a new practice in the magazine and online each month. Additionally, I will use this blog to highlight additional “best practice. This will give you the ability to share your thoughts and ideas on how your “best practice” was integrated into your organization’s daily operations.

Each of you has now been pulled into my fray. Highlighting these “best practices” will truly be a partnership between the author, the collective membership of the fire service, Firehouse Magazine and They say duplication is the greatest form of flattery; I say let the submissions begin. I look forward to reading your submissions and sharing them with your fellow firefighters. I close in thanking Ben May, friend and fellow Firehouse Magazine contributor, and Jeff Barrington; they have been both inspirational and wonderful supporters as this process has come to life.

  • Mark Nugent and Edward “Loy” Senter Jr. will present “Best Practices Forum” at Firehouse Expo 2012, July 17-21 in Baltimore, MD.