Timothy Klett will be presenting "The Engine Company Officer" at Firehouse Expo in July. Firehouse asked his program and his time in the fire service.
What will attendees to your program walk away with?
Hopefully attendees will come away from this program with a much better understanding of the responsibilities placed on the shoulders of the first to arrive engine officer. I show students how a good company officer starts in the firehouse based on the way they train, the way they carry themselves and most of all how they treat the job and its firefighters. I also hope to give firefighters who attend a better handle on what engine officers base some key fireground decisions on and why they make the tough decisions. Finally, I hope that it will inspire young firefighters to study to be promoted and eventually become a company level officer.
What is the story behind your class?
I first began teaching engine company operations while I was a co-lead instructor with Buffalo, N.Y., Fire Commissioner Mike Lombardo. When I was promoted I realized that there was a true lack of good engine officer training out there and, being a new officer myself, I was eager to become a good one. By taking all the available classes I could and a little trial and error, I began to fine tune my decision making. It was at that point a couple of well known people in the fire service suggested I give an engine officer class of my own.
Tell us about your time in the fire service.
I began my career in Newington, Conn. as a fire cadet in 1979 and I was sworn in as a full-fledged firefighter in 1980. I stayed in Newington until I was hired full-time with The City of New Britian, Conn. in 1987. I worked there until my appointment to the FDNY in the fall of 1990. I was assigned to Engine 47 and worked there for two years until my transfer to Engine 69 in Harlem. I was then promoted to Lieutenant in 2002 and I have been in Engine 88 since then.
What has been the highlight of your career?
The fire service is such a great community with so many achievements that occur each day it is truly hard to pick just one and say that it's the highlight of my career. Whether it was the rescue of a young girl in Newington, becoming a paid firefighter, or my appointment to the FDNY and my eventual promotion, they all can be considered highlights. And with the fire service being the way it is, who knows what tomorrow could bring.
What’s one piece of advice that you can give to Firehouse Expo attendees to make it a great experience?
Be open minded about all the training offered at the Firehouse Expo. Try to take at least one little piece of information away from every class you attend. Training is an ever-evolving part of the fire service and we can never know too much and complacency is never an excuse for failure. In the words of a past FDNY chief, "Let no man's ghost say that his training let him down."
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: FirehouseExpo.com.