Firehouse Speaker Profile: John J. Salka, Jr.

John J. Salka Jr. will be presenting two programs at Firehouse Expo this year: "'You Are Not in the Front Seat To Beep the Horn" and “Command Objectives?" Firehouse asked Salka about his program "Command Objectives" program for this Firehouse Expo Speaker Profile.

What will attendees to your program walk away with?
Both of my programs for 2014 focus on officers' duties and responsibilities. The "Command Objectives" program talks about how commanding a fire ground operation can be made more manageable by using a short, easily understood set of goals or objectives. Objectives such as have the units gotten into the building yet, has a search located the fire in the building, has the engine applied water to the fire, are the primary searches completed and has the fire been knocked down. 
The basic goals for the incident commander to concentrate on without being overwhelmed by a large or long list of tactical goals will be my main focus.

What is the story behind your class?
Every year, it seems that the job of the fire chief in command of a structure fire is getting more and more complicated. I wanted to simplify some of the major objectives that need to be reached so a chief at the command post could use some basic goals to measure their progress at the incident.

Tell us about your time in the fire service.
My time in the fire service began in 1976 and has included service with several different departments in several states. My career with the FDNY began in 1979, and I recently retired with over 33 years in the greatest fire department in the world. I am so thankful that I was able to join their ranks and I have worked shoulder to shoulder with some of the finest men in the world and have learned from their experiences and training.

What has been the highlight of your career?
I don't know if I could actually identify a single highlight over the years. Just a few of the greater ones include having my company, Ladder 11 attend my wedding in Manhattan in 1984; being involved in several rescues on the Lower East Side, being assigned to several special operations companies, being promoted after years of study and preparation and retiring in one piece after 33 years.

What’s one piece of advice that you can give to Firehouse Expo attendees to make it a great experience?
Don't miss Firehouse Expo! The great professional development that is available here every year is fantastic for new young firefighters and senior officer as well. If you attend regularly you will go home every year with new information and skills that can be used in your service to your department and your community.

The 31st Firehouse Expo will take place in Baltimore, MD, July 15-19, at the Baltimore Convention Center. This year's conference offers over 90 education sessions, including hands-on training, in-depth workshops and classroom sessions. Find out more about Firehouse Expo, the exhibitors who will be showcasing their products and learn how to register go to: