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Posted: Dec 17, 2015

Remember The Basics To Be The Best Instructor

As instructors we have an incredible responsibility to our students, our industry and ourselves.  When preparing to deliver a program or course there are a few things that we must always do to ensure we are successful and provide a positive impact.  

  • Dress for success.
  • Always arrive early and stay late.
  • Always come prepared.
  • Be present.
  • Ask questions during your presentation and allow time for questions to be asked. 
  • Always say "thank you" at the conclusion of your presentation.

Dress for success. Nothing says professional like a suit and tie.  You only have one chance at a first impression and unfortunately this is typically done before you are even introduced.  Your appearance projects the perception you have about yourself, your material, as well as your feelings about the audience.  Sometimes a suit and tie is not appropriate, an example is in house training or training at the academy.  If you are wearing your uniform make sure it is pressed, your shoes are shined and you are well groomed.  Your appearance gives you confidence that translates into confidence in your delivery that further translates into a successful delivery. You cannot overdress for success...
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Posted: Dec 2, 2015

Captain Rob McLaughlin Scholarship Packet

The program was established in 2007 with the intent to provide an opportunity to selected fire fighter applicants who otherwise would not be afforded this level of education. This program is intended to model the commitment and dedication demonstrated by Captain Rob McLaughlin

The scholarship will cover all tuition fees and may cover costs of textbooks, lab fees, testing fees and/or administrative fees.  Scholarship does not cover travel.
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Posted: Nov 30, 2015

Real Help for Training Officers - Sample Schedules, WAC Requirements, Curriculum and Tools

As a volunteer training officer, I was often frustrated by the amount of time necessary to research training requirements, develop classroom materials, design evolutions and generally prep for classes that I DON’T HAVE.   It’s not that I didn’t want to put the effort into it, it’s that it is definitely a full time position and I only had a couple of hours a week to throw at it.  On top of that, add the Health and Safety Officer duties, and overwhelmed was an understatement.  

I knew if I was feeling this, every volunteer training officer in the State was feeling it to.  And though Training Officers meetings and organizations are a great resource, it takes time to attend them also.  I knew weekly I was re-inventing the wheel and wanted to find a way to leverage the resources and experience of my fellow training officers....
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Posted: May 28, 2015

Leadership or Commandership

What image in your mind do you have of a leader? It was very clear what leadership looked like when George Washington was leading troops across the Delaware River. He was standing upright leaning into progress with eyes on the objective, one knee up braced for action, but with a sense of calmness. An early image of fire service leadership looks very much the same; recall Currier and Ives prints. All of them have scenes of action, a bent knee, and eyes on the objective, leaning into the task. In every multi company scene there is, a commander, bugle in hand, majestically pointing the way. These images indicate what fire service is very good at, coordination, where others see chaos. That coordination is that what is critical to our safety, the safety of the citizens we serve, and the quick solutions to progressing problems.

Today the image portrayed of fire service leadership is often from television; a chief officer with a white helmet, grey hair, and deep creases of character in his face, with a presence of calm competence. He is usually behind the main characters not part of the action but playing a role we all know the importance of.


We all have personnel examples of what leadership should be or could be. Often it is an example of a person we experienced early in our lives who we respect for one reason or another, through their actions or ability to communicate a clear plan and expectation...
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Posted: Mar 26, 2015

Take It Home and Train Others

On February 25th, 2015 the Training, Safety and Officer’s section wrapped up another successful annual conference held in Yakima, WA.  The event was a great success solely because of the hard work put in by the Board members and their spouses from around the state who volunteered their time to make it happen.  And another round of ‘Thank You’ is necessary for all the staff at the Washington Fire Chief’s office.  There were 5 full days of classes covering topics of leadership, instructions, driver safety, Train-the-Trainers and more!  It was great to see so many departments represented and the networking that took place is always an added benefit. 

Chief Rick Lasky (Ret.) was our keynote speaker and did a fantastic job.  If you have ever heard Chief Lasky speak or if you have read his book Pride and Ownership then you can imagine the lasting impression he left with all of us.  In his general session presentation he delivered a powerful historical overview of the fire service and touched on why we as a fire service have come to do things the way we do.  From code enforcement changes to safety practices developed Chief Lasky relayed real life examples, which have killed civilians and firefighters, and the resulting changes that emerged following these tragic events.  As the class was entitled, it truly was something that They Should Be Teaching This on the First Day of the Academy...

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