I have learned that the number of facets the job of podcasting has, is far more than I had thought. Take for instance the recent crowdfunding effort that completed last week. To keep this effort moving forward, I spent four-to-five hours on social media everyday. I would jump between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, PLUS sending out additional emails to my personal contacts. To be absolutely honest, the campaign results were no where near the goal I had set; barely fourteen percent of the goal was attained. However, I am sincerely grateful to those who did help and extend my heartfelt appreciation to them. Moreover, I will use those funds towards the goals I had set forth in the campaign mission statement, which will allow me to improve my abilities as a podcaster and my service to my listeners.
I would also like to tell you that my dear friend and business partner, Tom Mitten has launched his own podcast, "Fire-Rescue-EMS-Today." Tom's podcast is usually published once a month and it can also be found on iTunes, Good Play and Spotify.
One of those goals was to develop a line of promotional items linked to "5-Alarm Task Force," like t-shirts, hats, hoodies, etc. We are already busy on designing the first t-shirts and when they become available, you will be able to see and order them very easily. So, keep checking here on our website or check your copy of our newsletter for details.
I am writing this entry less than forty-eight hours after a tragic fire in Chicago that took the lives of eight people, six of whom were children and injured one of our Chicago comrades with non-life threatening injuries. Early reports indicate that there were no smoke detectors in this home!
While those of us connected with the fire service realize that yes, even in this day and time, there are still homes in this country without smoke detectors, it is extremely difficult to comprehend the "why" of this problem. In most communities, fire departments are able to provide the latest, 10-year smoke detectors at no charge and, will install them for free, if asked! Thousands of smoke detectors find their way into homes this way every month and the firefighters and officials are only too happy to provide this service! Why? Because it is possible that a smoke detector may help to avoid this type of tragedy.
We are over a month away from October, which is traditionally labeled, "Fire Prevention Month." What's important for all of us to realize is that we cannot and should not "box up" our fire prevention efforts into the month of October and tie it with a pretty bow. It is imperative that we see fire prevention as our primary task, 24/7/365!
While it is true that the number of fires is down, the fires that we do face are fiercer than they have ever been before. Where we used to have 7-10 minutes before a fire truly flamed up to the point where firefighters were needed, today, that time is down to 3-4 minutes! That means that residents barely have time to get out if an active fire is there only warning!
More importantly, smoke detectors are just one tool that we must always stress and have available for our citizens. Proper and ongoing education is the best tool we have. We must continue to teach E.D.I.T.H.'s lessons and drills, "Close the Door," is another, as well as a clear evacuation plan that every member of the family knows and the family should practice once every quarter.
We must do whatever we can to assist our citizens to avoid being "tested," before they have a chance to "learn the lesson." Sure, both budgets and scheduling is tight, but is that the excuse we provide to someone who just lost loved ones in a fire? We must face the reality that fire prevention education is second only to firefighting itself. When we do, we will start to break the hold that the lack of knowledge has on those we tragically lose.
It's hard to believe that in just a couple of weeks, I will begin the third season of "5-Alarm Task Force: News & Issues for Today's First Responders." When I started the podcast back in 2016, though I had a good deal of experience in radio, audio and visual, I barely knew what a "podcast" was. It all came about after some friendly (at least I think it was friendly) cajoling my several "friends" I had met via Twitter. About 99% of us current or former firefighters and initially, we did what any small group of firefighters do, we talked about our biggest "jobs," rescues, officers who don't understand us, chiefs who don't care, etc.
However, it didn't take long, once we got to know each other, that we all shared serious concerns about the job we love to do. Basically, we morphed from big-mouth braggarts to concerned firefighters. At this stage, we began discussing important issues, such as tactics, leadership, the incoming generation, cancer in the fire service and so much more.
It was important to me to stress to my colleagues that I was not quite a seasoned as they were; I had only put in eight years as a volunteer firefighter/EMT before a serious knee injury forced me off the line. However, my vocation had me working as both an educational director or executive director of non-profit organizations, which meant that 99% of the people I dealt with were members of the organization who were volunteering their time to serve as leaders in one capacity or another. Thus, a great deal of what I had learned regarding leadership training came from that environment. That turned out to be part of the platform that started my social media "buddies" to begin educating me about podcasts.
Thanks to their efforts and a lot of my own research as to what made a "good" podcast, as well as my research into the technical side (what I refer to as the "fun stuff") I decided to give it a go. And to start, I pushed back against those who had been the most vociferous of voices and told them that they would have to be my first guests. They agreed. Those first two included my now good friend, Capt. Joe DeVito of the Ft. Myers Beach Fire Protection District and a good friend of his, Grant Schwalbe. (Who I will finally get to meet in October at the 2018 Great Florida Fire School!)
I only had the most basic of equipment, so much so that I had to use an open mic to pick up the audio from my cellphone's speaker as I interviewed those two guests. And of course, my dog barked, the cat meowed and the delivery guy showed up, ringing the door bell several times. Nevertheless, I did some more research and finally created the best set-up I could. And that was over 60 episodes ago.
On August 14th, I will conduct my first interview for the third season of "5-Alarm Task Force," and they continue from there throughout the Fall. Similar to an article I wrote about leadership that was published on FIREHOUSE.com, those first episodes were the seeds that I planted to create this podcast. Over the subsequent two years, I have done my best to nurture and help my podcast grow into one that any member of the fire service would not only be interested in listening to, but who would also walk away with some level of new knowledge.
If you would like to help me nurture and "grow" the mission of "5-Alarm Task Force." please visit igg.me/at/5-AlarmTFPodcast Thank you!
Steve Greene is the president of 5-Alarm Task Force Corp., a 501 (c) (3), non-profit company and the Creator/Host of the "5-Alarm Task Force" podcast.