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Weekend Update – 5/12/12

Back to the Updates this week. It has been a busy one…

1.) Lt. Lemon gets “Combat Ready”

I hit the road with ELAFF HQ Training Captain “Stumpy” Doerr on Monday morning for a little learning session. Thanks to the Salisbury (NC) Fire Department and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, Ricky Riley and Nick Martin of Traditions Training, LLC brought the “Combat Ready Firefighting” class to NC for the first time…and it was FREE for ALL North Carolina firefighters. How great is that? The room was full of Brothers and Sisters who made the trip (hours long for some) to gather ideas to take back to their departments. The 8 hour class was excellent and I walked out feeling incredibly motivated. I had the opportunity to meet Jonah Smith of The Hose Jockey, as well as West McBride of, in person for the first time. They are both great guys. Jonah was so popular that Chief Riley even mentioned him mid-lecture, while looking for “the Charlotte guy, that radio geek”. Don’t worry, that’s a self-professed name.

All in all, it was a great class. Very motivational and straight-forward (despite the constant murmur of Charlotte firemen who were all jacked up on Sun Drop and Chick-fil-a sweet tea).

To cap it all off, Salisbury FD ran three reported structure fires through the duration of the class. Only one turned out to be a worker…the one with NOTHING SHOWING. There’s no better way to drive home the need to be “combat ready” and to “expect fire”.

I can’t wait for the premiere of the newest Traditions Training class, “Nick Martin presents: The Art of the Combat Ready 2.5″ leader line”.

2.) Andy Fredericks Training Days

I wasn’t able to make it to AFTD this year, but thankfully the AFTD crew kept a steady stream of real-time quotes from the lectures posted on Facebook and Twitter. Here are some of the best:

“Salka: Wear your radio – don’t carry it. No other better way to wear a radio.”

“Removing gasses and steam with a hose line isn’t ventilation. It’s smoke removal. It comes AFTER the fire is knocked down and out. We shouldn’t be buying nozzles for their ability to perform this task because it’s secondary.”

“Did you know the asphalt machine is 12′ wide? If you see the seam in the road you got 24′ across – How wide is your truck? Jacks in; jacks out. Using the clues in your surroundings to be a great truck operator.”

“You don’t have to take an 8 hour class on reading smoke to know that when you arrive and there is grey smoke at the ceiling and then a few moments later there is dark brown smoke down to the floor you’re in deep doggy do-do!”

“Talking to guys in the crowd from DCFD about number of runs Gustin asks: ‘By the way what is the name of your fire department today? Well that must be GREAT for morale.’ ”

“It’s not just enough to bleed the line; you gotta open that bale all the way and make sure your gun is loaded.”

“Bill Gustin ‘You will never make it in todays fire service my friend, you have too much common sense.’ “

I am definitely planning on trying to make at least one day of AFTD next year. You should, too.

3.) Kentland Expectations

The guys of First Due Questions had the chance to stop in at Kentland 33 this week. They snapped a shot of a board displaying the “Expectations” of Kentland officers and firemen. They are universally applicable:

Kentland 33



That’s all for this week. I’m slowly working out of my existential crisis and getting back into the swing of sarcasm. I may still throw up a personal post or two…bear with me. Thanks for reading.

Pete (Lt. Lemon)

Weekend Update – 4/14/12

Weekend Update time again…here’s what made the ELAFF FB page this week, in the order of posting:

DC Fireman Needs Your Votes

Alex Capece of is a DC Fireman who is in the running to be a sponsored cyclist/brand rep for Foundry Cycles. He needs votes to make it as a finalist. If you feel like supporting a firefighter/athlete, click this link, find the Northeast section, and vote for Alex. You will need to log in using Facebook. Don’t worry, this is just to keep people from voting more than once.

Here’s the link, one more time:

Here’s another link to Alex’s blog:

Here’s a post by Alex about this contest:

Another Danger of Texting While Walking

“We fight what you fear”…sometimes…

Working  the Job posted the following quote from Fireman Ryan Cox:

“We fight what you fear. Until it scares us. Then it becomes a “Close Call.”

This was related to the following video, which made the blog-rounds over the week:

The Fire Critic posted about it HERE, and a decent discussion ensued. The video included the words “Close Call” in the title and the question was, “Is this really a close call?” After hearing responses from many ELAFF followers, the consensus seems to be, no. As a matter of fact, nearly everyone agreed that this is standard truck work. When you cut a hole in the roof, fire comes out…that’s the point of CUTTING THE HOLE. Let the heat OUT.

Ken Scofield (@KenScofield) used the Twitter hashtag #ventedroofsaresupposedtoletheatout. I tried unsuccessfully to make that a “trending” topic. If you’re on Twitter, shoot that one out when you get the chance.

This vent crew earned extra points by venting from the “stick”, therefore avoiding nearly all chance of falling through (as one follower pointed out, there is ALWAYS a chance). The only possibly unsafe action was retracting the aerial while the crew was at the tip. However, the operator may have been communicating with the crew via intercom, so I won’t pick this one apart. I honestly think the “close call” was added by the videographer, who may not have realized what was going on.

The bottom line on this one is: when you vent the roof, fire coming out is a good thing. Don’t be alarmed or surprised, DON’T call for a handline and spray water in on it…consider your objective complete and get off the roof.

(The same goes for when fire is blowing out the window while an interior crew is pushing in on it. This is a GOOD thing, beneficial to the attack crew, DO NOT spray water through the window, no matter how excited you are…you will only make the attack crew’s job MORE DIFFICULT. More on that in an upcoming post…)

 If We Listen to the Stories…

Beneath the Helmet posted a video that you should watch, along with a post that you should read…here’s an excerpt:

“…When you exercise to get and stay fit on- and off-duty…
When you eat, drink, and sleep right…
When you train above and beyond the requirements…
When you make the right decisions on the fireground…
…do it for the brothers that can’t get back on the rig, like the ones we lost in Philadelphia and Tennessee. But do it also for yourself, for your coworkers, for the entire brotherhood, and for the family and friends who want to see you live long and well…”

Read the rest and watch the video here:

“Beaching” the Rescue in DC

The FB page “Beaching the Front Lawn” posted these photos of DC Rescue 3 clearing the road for the companies with a more limited deployment range.

This is My Ladder

Brian Brush discusses balance points, lazy halyards, fly-in ladder placement, and one man throws in a new Fire Service Warrior post.

Great tips and interesting points to consider.

Here’s the link:

Deep Survival

A reflection on survival instincts by The Hose Jockey.

“We may push ourselves that much deeper in the building because we’ve done it before, we may say ohhh we got this, we just had the same fire last week.  Meanwhile the new guy is thinking, WTF, I scared but this guy knows what the hell he is doing.  Then he forms that same bookmark in the same dumb ass spot as the senior man has.  I think you see where I’m going with this.  As a service we have to assert some leadership to realize the way we have always, isn’t always the best.  Maybe our bookmarks are on the wrong page, maybe they are in the last chapter, as we all have seen 100’s of times each year. “

Do you have the right “bookmarks”, and more importantly, what “bookmarks” are you setting for the next generation?

Here’s the link:

I Got Bronchitis…and Auto-tune!

This video popped up over the week:

An Auto-tuned remix popped up last night:

1,500 “likes”

Last night, the ELAFF FB page reached 1,500 “likes”. LET’S GIVE SOME STUFF AWAY!

Oh, right…already did that…

Thanks for liking, reading, and following.

On that note, I noticed that Fire Service Warrior now has less “likes” than ELAFF. The FSW crew is too humble and focused to ever ask for likes. They aren’t concerned with the social media popularity contest. They simply produce high-quality content for the fire service audience.

I know that many of their readers don’t use Facebook, and I’m sure that they receive more hits than ELAFF, but it seems like the universe is off-balance if FSW has less “likes” than ELAFF. My ramblings and re-postings are mediocre at best. The FSW team puts out great content, at a constant pace, on every topic…from keeping the right mindset, to training tips (like the article above), to a daily workout regimen.

Take the time to check out Fire Service Warrior (and “like” them) and read through their posts…you won’t be disappointed.

Here’s the website:

Here’s the FB page:

That’s all for today.

– Lt. Lemon (Pete)

Weekend Update – 4/7/12

It’s time for another Weekend Update(still looking for a better name for these posts)…two weeks in a row, I’m on a roll.

NC Bridge to be Named for Asheville Captain

“A COMMITTEE OF THE NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT of Transportation has voted this morning (Wednesday) to overrule a policy and recommend that a highway bridge be named in honor of Ashville Fire Captain Jeffrey Bowen who died tragically last June while fighting a fire in a mid-rise office building.” – from

The Reality behind the “Reality” Photo

A viral photo began making the rounds of social media this week. Much like the “What Do You Make?” status, it promoted an exaggerated sense of bravado by adding a cliché “Motivational Poster” scheme. Many questioned the photo’s source, and P.J. Norwood posted the truth behind it. Jason Jefferies subsequently wrote about it HERE.

It’s All In the Details

Jonah Smith of The Hose Jockey posted about an on scene video. He avoids the vortex of futile tactical debates and focuses on something we can all agree on. Use your chin strap, SCBA waist belt, and hood properly. They are there for a reason, and those little details could make a huge difference when things go wrong.

“So please my plea to all of you fix these issues if you see them, because the last thing I want to see is someone get hurt because of something they could easily fix on their own.  Control all the things you can all of the time, and have a plan for those things you can’t control.  Be safe out there.”

That’s all that made it on the ELAFF FB page this week, but there are plenty of other great sites to check out. Click the links on the right sidebar and check them out.

Stay safe!

– Lt. Lemon (Pete)

Weekend Update 3/31/12

The weekend update was a posting format I tried when the ELAFF blog started. It was a weekly post recapping the links posted on the ELAFF FB page, along with other content. In order to boost the posting rate on the blog, and to keep the “Leather-freaks” engaged in the discussion, I’ve decided to give a hearty attempt at reviving the Weekend Update.

*If anyone has an idea for a better name for these posts (preferably more fire-related) leave a comment.*

Gore FD is in need of a tanker

Rhett Fleitz posted on about the Gore (VA) VFD, which is in need of a tanker. The tanker they relied on for rural water supply was totaled in a wreck, in which one of their firefighters was tragically killed in the line of duty.

“If your department is selling or willing to donate your tanker truck to the Gore community, please contact Assistant Chief Kevin Yost at Fire Station 14.  The phone number to contact is (540) 858-2811. If you prefer email, contact the editor of at and I will forward the message. “

Urban Firefighter Magazine released Issue 7

Urban Firefighter Magazine released the long-awaited 7th Issue of their online publication. It is filled with great articles, written and presented in a more modern fashion than other trade publications, and it’s only available online (but that means that it’s FREE).

Urban Firefighter on Facebook

Video Demonstrates the Dangers of “Home Response”

This video (from Long Island, NY) surfaced, showing the dangers associated with “home response”. For those unfamiliar with the term, that’s when volunteer/paid-on call/reserve/etc. firefighters respond from home/work to the station before responding apparatus.

French Company Makes Fire Safety “Fashionable”

I stumbled upon a French company that is making fire safety “fashionable”, and perhaps more common. Fire Design sells fire extinguishers in various designer colors and designs. They also sell smoke detectors, kits with detectors AND an extinguisher in a gift box, and belts, bags, and phone cases made from recycled fire hose. The site says they have distributors in NYC and Hollywood, but you will have to email them in French to locate the exact stores. A neat idea to get life-saving products in more homes.

We’re Closer to Giving Away a Phenix Leather Helmet

In December, I announced that ELAFF had started a Bucket Brigade to raise money for the National Firefighters Endowment. Part of leading a Bucket Brigade is the opportunity to receive a Phenix leather helmet upon raising $1000. I didn’t feel right collecting a helmet that the ELAFF leather-freaks “paid for” (plus I own a leather), so I decided to give it away. Every $1 donated is an entry into the drawing. $100 = 100 entries. Here’s a direct link to the donation page. The fund drive recently received a big boost when 4Factor donated $1 from every product they’ve recently sold. They also have each customer’s information to be entered in the drawing for the helmet. Who is 4Factor?


4Factor is an up-start business project involving Captain Chaos (Matt Ritter) and Steven Sweatt of The Daily Hydrant (also an ELAFF local). They started with Lemon Wedge-inspired “Thin Red Line” wedges and are slowly adding new products. They are very customer oriented and dedicated to helping the fire service. They are committed to donating a portion of ALL sales to different fire service charities.

4Factor website

4Factor Facebook

Check them out and tell them that Lt. Lemon sent you!

ELAFF Contest Prizes Arrive

The ELAFF contest prizes have shipped and have started to be delivered. Check out the “Da’ Travels of Da’ Lemon Wedge” photo album on the ELAFF FB page for photos as prizes arrive…two are up, so far.

The Hose Jockey and the Abilene Paradox

The Hose Jockey posted about the Abilene Paradox:

“It is where everyone agrees to do something out of fear of being different even though no one in the group agrees with it.  To put it in firefighter terms, its where you assume everyone wants to do something, but in reality no one wants any part of it, but for whatever reason everyone agrees to do it.”

Great post, check it out.

Close Call Video in Michigan had a  news post on a close call in Dearborn, Michigan. The video below shows as a roof crew operating at a structure fire nearly goes through the roof. Many things to learn from this one. Be sure to watch and discuss this with your crew. Internet critiquing/quarterbacking is what it is, but the folks on your shift are the one’s who you could potentially be with in this situation. Share it with THEM.

ELAFF Facebook Page and Blog Integration

I’ve integrated the blog into the ELAFF Facebook page. You now have the option of reading posts, sharing posts, and subscribing to the blog…ALL on Facebook. Click the link here, or the “Networked Blogs” tab on the ELAFF Facebook page.

…and finally, a Local post

When the Excessive Leather Accessories for Firefighters Facebook Page first started, I used to post regular messages regarding ELAFF Locals (b-days, accomplishments, etc.). However, I stopped this practice when I realized that it could compromise my anonymity. Well, that doesn’t matter anymore…

Today, ELAFF Local Travis Flinchum is getting hitched, big ears and all. Congratulations, Brother! See you this evening…TIME to PARTY!

That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading.

-Lt. Lemon (Pete)

Weekend Update 8/28/11

Hey, Leather-freaks!

Hopefully all of you East Coasters survived the earthquake/hurricane combo. Here is a quick update on what’s new at ELAFF HQ.

-Lt. Lemon posted an article regarding Radio Traffic Redundancy. It is a fun read, and if you haven’t checked it out…a Sunday afternoon would be a great time to do so. In other words, go read it.

-Lt.Lemon ALSO joined the world of Twitter with the official ELAFF Twitter account, @ELAFFHQ. Captain Chaos is also on “the Twitter”; find him as @CaptainChaos001. Follow both accounts for exclusive ELAFF content and discussions. You can now read the five most recent tweets, right here on the blog. Look in the right sidebar, just under the “Links” section.

-The dynamic duo at Daily 911 Deals introduced their first “deal”, and have since announced their second one. So far they have had some great deals. I suggest you check out the site and subscribe. They recently secured some more deals at FRI, and many will be limited in quantity, so you’ll want to know as soon as they go live.

-Twitter led Lt. Lemon to stumble across a great public education venture in the making. The Firefighter Dan Show, or Dan’s Firehouse, is a kid-oriented animated series that will offer educational safety tips in a fun format. They are still seeking funding, so check out their site and give if you can. Donations start at $1.

-Finally, we are in the preliminary stage of designing a line of ELAFF Gear. We want to develop our product line beyond the ever-successful “Lemon Wedge”. We have created a poll on Facebook to find out what gear you’d like to see. There is also a poll below. You can answer either poll, or both if you wish. 

That’s all for today. Lt. Lemon’s working on a series of articles explaining the origins of ELAFF, and his own story of struggles and perseverance. Look for that soon!

Stay safe, and keep spreading the word about ELAFF!

Weekly Re-cap 5/14/11

If you aren’t a fan of ELAFF over on Facebook, here are a few posted items you missed this week:

1. Cee Lo Green sang “Thank You” to firefighters(including his mom)

2. Our new contributor, Captain Chaos, has a Facebook page.

3. Brian Brush gave a moving speech to a group of new fire recruits.

(Hat Tip to the Fire Critic)

4. There was a fantastic post on The Tailboard discussing the need for officers to have knowledge AND experience before being promoted. Click the link to check it out! (I will have a post on this topic up soon.)

5. Finally, the folks making the Burn documentary of Detroit firefighters posted newly captured footage from this past winter.

Myself and Captain Chaos will have some new posts up this week. Until then, spread the word and stay safe! (If you haven’t read our previous posts, you should do that now…thanks!)

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