Archive For The “Events” Category

Efficient Commercial Roof Operations

Efficient Commercial Roof Operations

wideviewSMFRA majority of the programs I deliver are classes that I have been working with for a few years, however there are times when I am contacted to create a class or address a need. In September I was contacted by a department that had access to a couple acquired structures and they were looking for a training for their truck companies across all three of the shifts. The department had recently completed a multi-day internal truck company operations academy and their skills in traditional truck company disciplines were sound. Knowing I had a solid foundation to work with and a great setting with full access to a big box and strip mall structure I knew we had a unique opportunity at some great training. One of my other instructors and I met at the site with one of the department’s training Captains and we created a hands on training program to focus on efficient commercial roof operations.

IMG_2648One week prior to the training session all companies received a one page training brief to cover some of the key points and provide an outline of what to expect for the session. We also provided the training division with a detailed lesson plan, drill station needs and session timelines.

SMFR Truck EfficencyFor the training, we ran a morning and afternoon session on each shift day, making contact with over 90 members. While the training sessions were just 4 hours, the acquired structures and the solid skill sets of the crews coming in allowed for a great deal of work to be done. From discussing the importance of developing a different approach to commercial roof operations, evaluating apparatus and tool set ups, to on the roof work over a strip mall and a big box structure all companies performed well and maximized the benefit of the time given.

IMG_2632Below are a few more pictures from the class. Hopefully these provide you with some ideas for future trainings at your department and also demonstrate that Fire By Trade can bring quality custom classes to your department beyond “off the shelf” presentations delivered on a regular basis.

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Full Day Ventilation Principles and Practices at SMFRA

Full Day Ventilation Principles and Practices at SMFRA

IMG_6670I was honored to get the call to instruct the first day of ventilation for the South Metro Fire Rescue Authority 2014 – 1 Academy. The group is a combined academy of two agencies and has a mix of both new and lateral hires. I had been looking forward to doing this class from the minute I was contacted because I believe so strongly in providing new firefighters with a solid foundation in ventilation understanding. When I found out the training division had also acquired a vacant structure slated for demolition for our hands on session I knew the quality of the training was going to increase 10 fold.


The day began in the classroom where we reviewed fire behavior, ventilation theory and research, practices and processes. Prior to the class the Academy Instructors had the recruits complete an online UL Fire Research class as pre-course home work. I know of a lot of departments that are missing out on this free resource as an educational tool so it was encouraging to see South Metro Fire Rescue embracing the information and exposing even the newest members of their department to it at the first opportunity. This also helped reduce our time in the classroom and provided us an extra hour for hands on training.

We had a total of 5 hours for hands on work on a vacant single family dwelling. Being the first day of ventilation training for this academy the program was progressive. We began with a group tool talk, “saw appreciation” (holes with hand tools) and saw familiarization. We then split the balance of the day into 3 areas; peaked roof, flat roof and horizontal ventilation to include taking windows and PPV.

IMG_6675The attached video highlights the peaked roof session which was progressive by design as well. We began with chainsaw handling and hand changes while working through a predetermined cut process on a non running saw. This was followed up with a rafter rolling session. Having students get the feel of rolling rafters in multiple cut directions with both hand operating positions helps create good technique and hand sensitivity. We then brought the saw work together for full size cuts.

IMG_6681While saw skills and technique is a huge part of vertical ventilation it isn’t the only part. Sounding firefighter work was given equal attention during both the flat roof and the peaked roof stations. Students were shown the importance of a good roof hook, differences, benefits and disadvantages of various styles. They were also taught the difference between checking decking and true sounding where we read our feet to determine location of structural members.

IMG_6672With the saw and sounding foundations set it is time to bring it together and see the students complete an operation as a team. We were fortunate on this structure that even with all the cutting leading up to this each team was able to get two full size holes. I am a firm believer that we set our “gauges” in training and if we aren’t cutting full size holes because we are worried about saving material or space we will inherently under cut in the real world. Cut big when you can even if it reduces your total reps.

IMG_6671To finish off the peaked roof session we reviewed the Milwaukee Cut method using chainsaws. Although more apt for steeper pitches the benefits of the two roof ladder Milwaukee Cut method are still very applicable in our climate during snow seasons on even the shallower pitches.

IMG_6660Thanks to the South Metro Fire Rescue Authority Training Division   for the invitation and the great support which translated into an excellent training session. I also have to thank the members of Class 2014 – 1 for their hard work and enthusiasm. Hit the upcoming events page to find the next classroom or full day session of Ventilation Principles and Practices.

SMFRA 2014-1 Academy Peaked Roof Vent from Brian Brush on Vimeo.






Kilgore Spring Training

Kilgore Spring Training

Last year following a class atSpring Training 2014 Kilgore-page-0 FDIC Kilgore Fire Department Assistant Chief Mike Simmons approached me about bringing some training to East Texas but at the time he wasn’t too sure on where or how to host a conference. A few months later Chief Simmons got exactly what he was looking for but it may not have come quite how he had wanted it to. This winter the Kilgore Fire Department took over operations and control at the Meadow Brook Golf Course, you can read about it, the reason and process here (fire department to take over golf course) When the Chief called me and explained the situation I recall asking him why would you ever want to take over a golf course as the fire department? His answer was simple and upstanding “It is what we do, we help people and our city needed help” In less than 6 months the fire department had returned the golf course to a positive piece of the city. Business is up for the course, firefighter renovations to the event hosting areas has both increased usage and provided the fire department with a venue to host larger classes and trainings including this first regional conference which I was proud to be a part of.


IMG_6242The most unique part of the fire department involvement at the golf course is the complete overhaul of the onsite restaurant. On March 1st the Kilgore Fire Department opened the Firehouse Bar and Grill at the Golf Course, the link to the article about that is here (Firehouse Bar and Grill opens in Kilgore) At this time both on and off duty firefighters are helping out in the restaurant which has been incredibly successful. The response has helped  them to hire more restaurant specific staff and take the load of of career firefighters. Because the firefighters are on duty they are not allowed to collect tips but the appreciation for their service is not going to waste and all tips collected are put towards charitable funds. I can’t say that this would work in every city, or even any other city but I can say is that the Kilgore Fire Department took some lemons and turned it into lemonade and right now they are arguably the most popular group in the city.

With the acquisition of the golf course, event center, the restaurant and support of his Chief and the City, Chief Simmons had all he needed to host a conference. On March 14th we kicked off the 1st Annual Kilgore Spring Training aimed at bringing training to East Texas career and volunteer departments in a convenient location at a low cost. Over the 3 days I presented 4 classes and 1 hands on training session with the help of Kilgore Firefighters. Each session saw over 40 firefighters and 10 departments were represented in attendance over the course of the weekend. The feedback on the training, venue and the Kilgore Fire Department was very positive and I had a great time. The atmosphere in East Texas was very welcoming and the firefighters were a proud bunch eager to challenge themselves.

If you attended the event Chief Simmons now has all the presentations on file and you can contact him for that material. If you did not attend this year but would like to know about upcoming events in Kilgore or want to contact Chief Mike Simmons about bringing classes to Kilgore you can reach him by email at

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1st Annual Terry Fund Colorado Training Symposium

1st Annual Terry Fund Colorado Training Symposium

Terry Fund CO MarchI have been fortunate to have worked with the Colorado Chapter of the Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund for the last 3 years and their work continues to impress. The fund exists to provide immediate no red tape funding to firefighters and departments in Colorado for emergencies, hardships, training or equipment. In just 3 years the fund has donated over $80,000 to Colorado Firefighters which has been raised through events which span from their annual firefighters ball to 9/11 and St. Patrick’s day fundraisers and frequent trainings through the educational series.

This weekend the fund took the educational series one step further and held the first Colorado Training Symposium and it was outstanding. The focus of the event was on recent UL information and current discussion on the topic of ventilation.

Top level instructors like Van Dorpe, Ceriello, Norwood and Gray provided different views on a similar topic from their varying department size and operation, geographic location and individual experience. Even the hands on forcible entry classes from Irons and Ladders stressed the importance of how solid conventional forcible entry techniques preserve the door and allow for improved vent point control. In total over 250 firefighter representing 46 departments from 4 states attended events this weekend and I believe they all left with not only a better understanding of the new information but with options and tools to take it back to their organizations specific operations and cultures.

I was lucky enough to lead off the conference on Friday with my 4 hour Ventilation Principles ans Practices class which allowed me to spend the rest of the weekend taking in the other great classes and even forcing some doors. Thanks again to all who attended and especially to the Brothers at the Terry Fund who put together a top notch event from classes to camaraderie.

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Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Still spots available for the 1st Annual Terry Farrell Firefighters Fund – Colorado Chapter Training Symposium March 7th 8th and 9th. Come out and learn from, ask questions of, and interact with advisory panel members to the UL studies (Lt Sean Gray, Chief PJ Norwood, Chief Peter Van Dorpe, and Lt. John Ceriello) as well as Lt Brian Brush and Irons and Ladders LLC! to register and for the full conference packet

Terry Fund CO MarchKilgore Fire Department Texas introduces Spring Training 2014 March 14,15,16

Spring Training 2014 will be our first event at the newly renovated Meadowbrook Golf and Event Center featuring the Firehouse Bar and Grill. Make sure you sign up soon we have a limited number of seats available.

Kilgore Spring Training Page 1 Kilgore Spring Training page 2 Kilgore Spring Training page3


Gaining Relative Superiority: The 2½-Inch Handline FDIC 2014 Indianapolis Thursday April 10th 10:30
Brian Brush, West Metro (CO) Fire Rescue

The theory of relative superiority is a foundation of special operations that comes to us from Admiral William McRaven, commander of the United States Special Operations Command. McRaven defines relative superiority as “a condition that exists when a smaller attacking force gains a decisive advantage and control over a larger, defending enemy. Once relative superiority is achieved, the attacking force is no longer at a disadvantage and has the initiative to exploit the enemy’s weakness and secure victory.” American fire service firefighting forces have been reduced, and modern fuel loading and lightweight construction make our enemy (the fire) a growing threat. Although the 2½-inch handline is a larger line, it is still a single line. Through training, education, and proper tool selection, your single-line engine company can effectively deploy and initiate an attack with the bigger weapon, putting you back on top in the fight. ALL LEVELS

July 19th Ventilation Principles and Practices Seminar and HOT – First In Response Essentials Chadwick IL


The ventilation principles and practices class was designed to reestablish a fundamental understanding of why, how and when we perform various ventilation tactics. The class begins with a thorough review of fire behavior. I then introduce the hierarchy of ventilation thought process and finish the course with an operational focus on vertical, horizontal and mechanical ventilation tactics. 

This four hour hands on training will cover peaked and flat roof saw operations, solidify the importance of the sounding firefighter role and allow for time to discuss and practice tactical action plans for performing vertical ventilation specific to your department staffing and equipment.

Register at –

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