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!