MENTORS AND MORONS: Those Who Taught Me to Lead – #002

old ladder fire truck

Don’t Call Him Willie In the first post (#001 – I’ll Just Call You Taco) describing my fire service initiation, I introduced the man who started it all – Chief Willard Harold Mayo. Some of us called him Willie – but not to his face.  And, don’t think for a minute you don’t have a […]

MENTORS AND MORONS: Those Who Taught Me to Lead – #001

postcard that says Greetings from Orlando

I’ll Just Call You Taco  This is the story of a young kid from Orlando.  Early 1970’s just as The Mouse discovered thousands of acres of dead citrus groves devastated by back-to-back freezes.  A few creative land deals with the County leaders and ‘voila’ we have a new industry – welcoming tourists while ruining a […]

Are You Commanding by the Seat of Your Pants?

fire truck door with words Incident Command Chief

Recently, I read an article detailing the origin of the saying, “flying by the seat of your pants.”  During WWII, pilots didn’t have all the gauges and data inputs to assist in determining if one was moving up, down, to the left and so forth.  Instead, the inputs that their bodies felt helped them.  For example, […]


cubes that spell out mental health first aid

Assaulted by back-to-back-to-back calls, first responders are paying a huge price while serving.  The cost will linger for years – much like our national debt that continues to rise as families, businesses and entire communities struggle to survive.  As a former firefighter/paramedic I know the price we all pay for the constant onslaught while serving […]

“In The Summertime When The Weather Is High”: Responder Rehab

overheated fire fighter

By F. R. Montes de Oca, EFO Fire Chief (ret) Some of you may recognize the title as the opening lyrics to a popular 1980s song by Mungo Jerry. Life was simpler back then. You responded to the fire. Put wet stuff on the red stuff. Chief declared the fire out. Everyone grabbed a drink […]

Fire and EMS Response to Civil Unrest: The Times They are A-Changing

protesters facing line of police

Many of you in the business of protecting communities and those of us who are now interested observers (retired, consultants, trainers and the like) are wondering where the chaos of the last few weeks will stop. I’m not speaking of the COVID-19 Pandemic, rather the upheaval of citizens across the Nation. Anyone’s guess is equally […]


As a former firefighter I know how we oftentimes have so many things going on in our lives (that training class you want to attend) or life in general that we forget to perform maintenance on our most important organ – our minds.  Some would argue that our cardiovascular system is more important, and as […]

Introducing Responder 1, a Resource For First Responders

Hello and welcome!  Responder 1 is a new venture, continuing the efforts made by PyroTrainers over the past few years.  As we all continue to work through the avalanche of informational briefings, newscasts and memos from private and public sources we must all endeavor to stay attuned to ALL the dangers that we must confront.  […]