Not All Things Change

I read a lot of books. Some fire service related and others aren’t. I typically prefer historical or biographies of influential characters of our history. I also really enjoy the fire service books that share stories and experiences that are easy to relate to. Relativity is a good thing!

While teaching some of my classes the topic of today’s fire service being so much different than from years ago always comes up. There is no doubt that we are fighting fires in a much different environment than in years past. But, how different is what we are doing on the fireground from the way we did it 20 years ago?

Now I understand that we have to make changes and improvements and I am usually one of the biggest advocates if it is something that makes sense. But, change for the sake change is not good and usually causes more problems than not.

The real reason for this blog post is to encourage all of you to obtain a copy of and read and re-read Tom Brennan’s “Random Thoughts.” I keep this book with me just about all of the time and it is crazy good stuff. I marvel over and over again at the timely material and tactical suggestions that are from 1991! Yes, they are still relevant!

I never knew Mr. Brennan, but his ‘random thoughts’ are timeless. Just the most basic of topics like using a roof ladder is made interesting and is still very applicable today. How to stretch a hose line and how to search. It’s all in there.

I am not one for plugging products or materials, but I feel if ‘we’ in the fire service would follow the advice in this book and learn and share from these nuggets of knowledge, we would all be much better served, and safe.

Take some time to get back to the basics of firefighting and read this book. Just pick a page or two a day, and keep doing that for your career. You and the firefighters that you share with will be much better for it and so will the people you protect.

Thanks for reading and take care,


  • Jeff says:

    Kind of late to say so, but good post Jason. We "fire-type" folks don't seem to read much, and heaven forbid we read outside of our profession and take the time to apply it to firefighting.

  • Ron Ayotte says:

    Brennan, Dunn,Salka and others earned their credibility by paying for it with blood, sweat, tears and experience. I read their works often.

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Jason Hoevelmann

Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal with the Sullivan Fire Protection District, a combination department, and a career firefighter/paramedic with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District in North St. Louis County.

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Bertie Shiver Johnson
Cleveland School Fire of 1923
I have read this story over and over. I do genealogy and think I have some relatives..doing more research. Thanks for putting this out there.
2015-09-29 21:40:23
Jim lang
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
Direct result of lowering the Standards also and giving everyone a chance! The Job is no longer a calling it's just a Job to many these days! No more Pride Tradition Brotherhood etc etc....
2015-09-20 18:21:25
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
Saya setuju dengan pendapat dan pengalaman anda. Pekerjan rutin seorang petugas pemadam kebakaran adalah berlatih dan terus berlatih. Dan apabila di antara teman petugas pemadam kebakaran disini yang mempunyai materi latihan boleh kah saya meminta materi latihan pemadam kebakaran itu ? Salam kenal dari saya Petugas pemadam kebakaran bandara kualanamu international Medan Sumatera Utara Indonesia.
2015-09-20 17:13:40
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
Two years ago I was being trained and tested on required performance. I was able to do all but a duties. I attended every training session, asked questions and researched matters related to fire fighting. I couldn't drag another fire fighter and I had trouble "throwing" a ladder from ground to roof. I was released…
2015-09-20 16:35:03
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
Excellent article, after 30 years on the job I agree. What has always bothered me was why do firefighters too often find themselves in trouble? Why are we on an ice covered roof when we could more easily and safely removed glass from the second story. Why open up a confined space of decades dried…
2015-09-20 14:10:34

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