Jun 20, 2022
Christian Jacobs is a chief fire prevention officer for Grissom Air Force Base. In this interview we talk about community risk reduction, fire service data, and tips for professionals.
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Welcome to episode 55 of fire code tech. On this episode, we're speaking with Christian Jacobs. Christian Jacobs is a authority having jurisdiction for a department of defense air force base. In this episode, we speak about fire prevention, community risk reduction data, and how it plays a role for the fire service and much more.
Christian has a passion for sharing knowledge about fire and life safety and trying to get the community involved. In this episode, he continues that legacy. Do me a big favor and subscribe to the podcast wherever you like to listen to the episodes and give us a follow on social media. Oh, and if you wouldn't mind, give us a five star review on apple podcasts.
Let's get into the show. Well, Christian, welcome to the podcast. Thanks for so much for coming on fire code. well, thank you, GU. Thank you for having me. Thank you for the invite. I really appreciate that. Well, I wanted to get started with telling people a little bit about your background in fire and life safety and how you got started with the field.
Would you mind telling me about that? Not at all. Um, as you pack a lunch, it's gonna be a long story. uh, I started as a volunteer. Uh, I was super interested in it when I was active duty in the army and, uh, my last, uh, base of assignment in Colorado Springs, uh, how to volunteer department right outside the gate.
I, I showed some interest in that and I just couldn. Put it all together at that time, that was in 1993, uh, fast forward about a year. And I got outta the army and, uh, found myself in a position to be able to start doing some of that. And lo and behold, uh, I got addicted and that addiction, uh, grew over the years into, uh, what has become today.
But yes, I started as a volunteer in August of 1994. In a little town of security, Colorado, which is a special fire protection district, right outside of Colorado Springs. Uh, I grew through that department and, uh, moved a couple of times as, as different, uh, opportunities came up. Uh, Uh, eventually finding myself working as a volunteer with, uh, Hanover fire protection district in, uh, 2004.
Uh, in between times I got hired, uh, by the air force in October of 2000, I started out as a dispatcher and, uh, worked my way through the department of defense system. Uh, eventually becoming a, an engineer in 2001 and. Uh, moved around quite a bit. Uh, one of the luxuries of being a military, uh, affiliated person in the Colorado Springs area is there are a lot of military installations right there.
Uh, I, uh, originally was hired at Shrever air force base, which is right outside of Colorado Springs. I went from there to the, uh, PUO chemical Depot outside of PUO Colorado. Uh, for about two and a half years, uh, was very fortunate to be picked up by chief earns. Pearcy at the air force academy. And I worked at the air force academy fire department for about five years.
Uh, went from there and started my prevention career at Langley air force base out in Virginia. Uh, in 2009, uh, I got picked up by chief PJ petty, John, um, Doing, uh, fire prevention and inspection code enforcement, uh, that eventually evolved into, uh, accreditation, uh, with the center of public safety excellence, and, uh, a lot of fire prevention education, a lot of code enforcement, a lot of plans review life safety code.
Um, all of those things came together and, um, Uh, life as, as it were would happen. And so I had a significant life, uh, challenge occur in 2012, uh, separated from my, my then wife and found myself. Uh, wanting to be with my current wife here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and started looking at installations that were in the area and got lucky enough to be transferred to Grum air reserve base, which is where I'm at now, uh, here in Indiana.
And I am the chief of fire prevention. Oh, very nice. Well, it sounds like that you have had a wealth of, uh, knowledge and positions in the fire service industry and have really, um, seen a wide variety of different positions all the way from dispatcher to, uh, chief of fire prevention. So that's pretty interesting to hear about your journey so far has been, uh, diverse.
Um, yeah, so. Uh, you talked a little bit about some of the roles that you held, but I wanted to ask you, you know, to describe, um, your fire prevention role, uh, now a little bit more for the listeners, you know, what does that mean before I started doing the podcast, I didn't have such a good picture of that role and how it, uh, interacted with the engineering and design side of things.
You bet. Um, so as a prevention chief in the air force, uh, the air force has, uh, three. When, when it comes to air force, fire protect. The air force has three main, uh, folk eye within the department. Now it's four originally it was three. Uh, and that those three were, uh, training prevention and operations. Uh, training is just, as you imagine, it's it's training.
Uh, operations is anything to do with. Responses. Uh, so it's all the folks that get on fire trucks and come and get cats out of trees and, and all of those things. And then prevention, uh, for a very long time was called tech services, technical services. And so it was kind of a catchall of all the other things that it took to have a fire department function.
Uh, the air force and the department of defense as a whole is highly. Fire preventive, uh, in that, uh, the true ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure all day. Uh, we focus a lot on prevent. Uh, and so my role in that, uh, I manage the, uh, hot work permit program in some installations, they manage the confined space entry program permit program.
Um, I also handle all of the, uh, scheduling of, uh, plans reviews. Uh, for both new construction and for, uh, existing modifications, building modifications, modifications to occupancies, um, and, and all of those things, uh, collectively fall into my realm. Uh, To finish out the story. That fourth thing that they've added, uh, lately has been health and safety.
Uh, it's been a focus of the air force fire emergency services, as well as, uh, the department of defense fire emergency services for a few years now. And so we're starting to see more health and safety chiefs, uh, here throughout the system. I see. I see. So what is, what is health and safety? How is that different from the traditional role of the fire prevention officer or chief?
So health and safety, uh, manages a lot of our, uh, work comp, uh, challenges, uh, uh, injuries on the job that, that we have inside the department. Uh, they also, uh, depending on the agency and it's totally up to the fire chief, what kind of things that they get assigned with. But a lot of them do, uh, the management of our, uh, annual air pack testing.
A lot of them do, uh, Uh, the management of our annual physical testing that, that we have to do every year. Uh, every year I go through a occupational health physical, uh, Just to, to make sure that I'm still good to go for performing the job. Even in my current role, I still, uh, complete that annual a health physical, uh, the latest thing that they've added to that is PFOS testing, uh, PFOS, PFO testing, uh, for, um, those forever chemicals that are included in, in foam suppression systems, as well as the, the foam that we have on firefighting.
Apparat. Exposure to that, uh, does, does increase your, your PFO S PFOA, uh, blood levels. And, and we test for that now to keep track of it, uh, on the prevention side, um, uh, it's, uh, making sure that my guys are, are taken care of, uh, as far as health and safety goes and, uh, just making sure that they're, uh, still capable, uh, both mentally and physically to.
Still do the job. Gotcha. And you might have mentioned this, but I think we've talked about it in our conversations leading up to the interview, but you also are involved with kind of the, um, Review of preliminary and final acceptance testings and plan review to some extent in your role. Now, did you speak up about that?
I apologize. Yes, sir. Uh, in my role, I do a life safety fire alarm, fire suppression systems, plan reviews. Um, I'm a certified, uh, plan reviewer, uh, That's one of the, one of the things that's required as part of my job is to be a certified plans reviewer. Um, and so I'm looking at, uh, you know, occupation, occupancies, occupancy types, occupancy loads, um, travel distance, number of exits appropriate signage.
Um, All of those things, uh, side by side with, uh, fire alarm, mass notification systems, not only on the design side, but as well as on the, uh, acceptance testing side. And, uh, as well as the suppression system. So we'll go out, uh, on the plans review side we'll review, uh, the specification sheets that are submitted by the contractors and designers, uh, to ensure that it, that the, the equipment they're using is gonna be acceptable.
Most of it, uh, really just needs to be listed, uh, listed for use and. On that side of it, then we'll review the drawings. And then when we finally build the building, we'll go out to the building and walk the building with the plans and make sure that it's the, the plans reflect, uh, the Asbuilt environment and then test all of those things, uh, to, uh, validate that it's been built and performs according to design.
Very nice. Yes, that's, uh, I appreciate that explanation of, you know, your role and kind of how you interact with the design and you know, what kind of scope that you use for. Your review of the documents. Yeah, that was, that was a succinct, uh, description. But you know, you mentioned, well, you were talking a little bit off air about, um, the pandemic and how that, you know, kind of.
Was difficult to organize, you know, a variety of community events and, you know, trying to encourage engagement with the public, with fire and life safety. But yeah, I I'd love to hear and for the listeners to hear about how the pandemic changed, you know, um, your role and, you know, some of your approaches in community involvement and community risk reduction.
Maybe we could get into that a little bit. Uh, you bet. Um, so the pandemic changed everything to put it in a nutshell, the pandemic changed everything. And I know I'm not the only one to say that. Um, and I know I'm not the only one that was impacted by it, but indeed changed everything. Um, At one point we were talking, we were looking at doing, uh, remote inspections, uh, having, uh, facility managers walk through on, uh, the various video casting platforms and transmitting that walkthrough to us.
While we sat in the office and watched the video as part of the inspection practice. So we never got to that point, but I know of places that did, uh, as, as a way of, of keeping folks from spreading that disease from one person to another, uh, the public education piece of it changed drastically. Um, and I know I'm not the only one to say that as well.
Uh, but, uh, it really forced us into. Increasing our social media presence. Uh, I don't have much of a social media presence, uh, as far as, uh, fire prevention and education goes, but I know of other agencies that do, and they really stepped up their social media presence, not only in increasing the amounts of information that they were posting.
But they were also including video tours of their stations, which was something I was considering doing, but just never got there. Uh, it's a lot of, there's a lot of work just like with this podcast. There's a lot of behind the scenes work that has to take place. Uh, I have no doubt that there's probably 10 minutes of work for every minute that you post on the podcast.
Um, and, and that translates to video presentations that you put out on social media and all of those things. One of the things that I'm gonna try again this year to do is to host a, uh, uh, ride along, uh, if you will, on for fire prevention week. And, uh, what we planned on doing is having folks, uh, come out to the station.
We'll give 'em a quick tour and. Put them in one of our crash rescue fire trucks and take them over to our training area and introduce them to our aircraft mockup. And we do live fire burns on that mockup several times a year, and we were gonna have them, uh, operate turt. On one of our aircraft or SUV crash trucks, uh, and put out fire it's one of the safest ways that they could do it.
They get the experience of being able to do that. And then they go back and talk to their friends about how good of a time that they have with it. And it, it just, it's one more avenue outside the box of, of being able to spread that fire prevention message. Yeah, I think that's a great idea. You know, um, it sounds like it would really drive engagement and involvement and, uh, interest in fire and life safety as something that I'm constantly talking about with peers is how do we, you know, I think even the fire service has a bit more visibility, then some areas of fire and life safety, like the engineering and design side of things.
Uh, relatively, um, obscure. So I think that's a great idea. I would've been riveted to be involved with that. I mean, I still would, but definitely as a, um, a kid or somebody who was interested in, uh, the fire service. Um, but that sounds like really interesting and, um, cool event. Yeah, I'm really hopeful that it really takes off this year.
Uh, I haven't been very successful with the last few years because of the pandemic, but, uh, I'm really hopeful that it really, it, it really just grows its own wings this year. Uh, I got the idea from, uh, a live fire demonstration that I used to do when I was at Langley. Uh, at Langley, I had a, a big problem of home kitchen fires.
Uh, uh, had a big problem of it. And so, uh, in, in trying to come up with a different way of approaching that problem, educationally, uh, I created a fire prevention, kitchen demonstration trailer. And in that trailer, I would, I had a stove and I would start a grease fire on that stove and demonstrate, uh, The best ways to put that out and what to do when that occurs.
And then at the culmination of that demonstration, I would demonstrate why you don't put water on a grease fire. And I would dump water on a grease fire and shoot a fireball at the end of the trailer. And it was really neat. It was really neat demonstration, uh, to my knowledge, they still do that demonstration now.
Offline, I can send you a video. I took a video of that that was posted to their social media. That way you can have it. And if you wanna attach it to the podcast, we can do that too. Yeah. Yeah. I think that's a good idea. You know, uh, kitchen fires are one of the most common, it seems to be, uh, really, really frequent way that people get injured or, you know, where fires start even to begin with, even if it's not a grease fire.
So. I think that's a great point and good place to demonstrate where you can have some hazards where you interact with every day. But you know, you were speaking to me about your podcast appearance on the fire dog podcast and how you enjoy the fire dog podcast. And I went and I took a listen to your episode and, and enjoyed it for people who don't know about the fire dog podcast.
It's a, uh, podcast for people in. Aircraft rescue firefighting and, uh, the air force in specific. And so I didn't know, it existed before you reached out Christian, but really appreciate that. I wanted to let, uh, the rest of the listeners know about that podcast. And, uh, but yeah, I wanted to get into, um, you know, some of the topics you talked about, you know, in regards to data and the, you know, manipulating.
Fire service data in order to tell a story and create more effective response. Um, yeah. Love to hear about that. Sure. Um, Back in 2004, uh, I was hired at the air force academy fire department by, uh, chief earns. PCY he's retired now, but I still keep in touch with him on a regular basis. Um, and one of the things that he introduced me to was, uh, the process of accreditation and, uh, having an accredited fire department is a, is a big deal.
Uh, it's very similar to the commission. Uh, approval process for hospital systems. Uh, an accredited fire department is very, uh, it's not different from the ISO ratings that are, uh, given to fire departments, cross country, uh, which your home insurance rate is based upon your ISO rating for the fire department, your area, uh, and accredited a department.
Implies that that department has gone through a process of document review and has had a site team come and visit that department to verify and validate that they're, uh, doing all these things. Um, I believe the current number of performance indicators is on accreditation. Is about 250, uh, I'm a site team, uh, uh, peer assessor.
So I go out and I look at, uh, other fire departments. In fact, I've gotta go out next month and, and, and do one, um, and verify and validate that all of these things are taking place. A major portion of that is, uh, Collection of data on fire department responses. And so those fire department responses are, those are measured and, um, uh, agencies will take that measurement and compare it to themselves on, uh, terms of, of baseline and benchmark performance.
And so what you're looking at for response. Uh, for response times, is, um, are you doing better or worse than, uh, what your established standard is? Uh, for the department of defense, this is a standardized response in that, uh, for most of our responses, we have seven minutes or less to, uh, put a first apparatus on scene.
And within that seven minutes, uh, we get, uh, one whole minute to do call processing. So someone calls nine one, one. And, uh, the, the exchange of information of what kind emergency it is, where the emergency is located. Any other specific information about the E. All of those things are communicated and at 60 seconds or less, uh, from there, the dispatcher, uh, sends us on the emergency and that's, uh, what we call a turnout time.
And so we have 60 seconds to the time at the dispatcher starts speaking over the, uh, radio NPA system to announce the emergency, uh, to the time that we get the apparatus rolling outta the station. Uh, and then from there we get the, the remaining five minutes to arrive on scene. And then we have to do that.
Our benchmark is to do that 90% of the time. So you get that 10% grace of, uh, you know, the truck witness start or the. Uh, that the call process took longer because we were dealing with someone who maybe, uh, English is not their primary language, or we were working with someone who is a child reporting in emergency.
And so that takes more time, uh, to do the call process on that. Um, But all of those things are measured. Uh, all of that data is, uh, accumulated, uh, nationally that is accumulated into the national, uh, fire incident. Reporting system inverse N F I R S hopefully I got that. Right. I was shooting from the hip.
Uh, the inverse system takes all of that data and, and that's publicly accessible. It's managed by FEMA, uh, at the national, uh, incident. I don't even wanna guess on that one. It's managed by FEMA there go. And one of the subsets of FEMA, uh, holds all that data and that's publicly available. You can go into the, the, the national.
FEMA website and drill down to that and, and get information for your area. Uh, you can take that response data. And what I do a as part of, uh, being a, a fire data analyst is to, uh, accumulate that data and, and measure it in, in a multitude of ways. Uh, I look at it in terms of, uh, not what types of responses we're taking, but how often those responses are.
Uh, what types of services are we providing on those responses? When do they occur in terms of not only days of the week, but hours in the day? I, I can tell you from my agency, uh, if you're gonna have a medical emergency on the installation, I can almost guarantee that it's gonna happen Monday through Friday.
Cuz that's when my base population is at its highest. A and so I can almost guarantee, not only is it gonna happen Monday through Friday, but it's gonna happen between the hours of about 9:00 AM and about 3:00 PM, uh, that you're more than likely to have it on a problem on a Friday than on a Tuesday. Uh, and so all of these things come out of that data analysis process.
Huh. Very interesting. And so when you're, when you have this data set, um, I know I heard you talking about using Excel to kind of manipulate and process this data, but how are you, you know, um, manipulating and displaying and analyzing this data. Uh, so I do the, those five measurement or I do five measurements on response times.
Uh, I measure, uh, our call process time, which is that time at the dispatcher takes collect that call information. Uh, I measure our turnout time. I measure our first arriving unit response. Uh, that's an initial, uh, initial unit of assignment measurement. I measure our, uh, balance of assignment, which is the.
All of the forces that we commit to any one particular response. So for example, uh, a, uh, full structure, fire, uh, reported structure fire, we would have that one minute call process that one minute turnout, uh, the first unit on scene would have five minutes of travel. And then the remaining units that we would assign to that, uh, would have an additional five minutes after that point.
To arrive for a total of 12 minutes total. Uh, and we would also put, uh, an appropriate number of apparatus on scene for my agency. That's, uh, two firefighting apparatus, a rescue apparatus, and a command vehicle, uh, for a total of the four and, uh, a total of 13 personnel. And so all of those things are measured and, and.
Compared to each other, compared to previous years, uh, in a historical, uh, vantage point to make sure that we're staying on target for what we wanna see for our benchmarks. Very nice. Very nice. Yeah. That sounds like really good information. And I'm glad that that's being tracked. I wasn't aware of that, but it makes a lot of sense for, um, incident response and how to effectively improve on those kind of measures.
Well, it's, it's huge for, uh, management, because then we can go back at the end of the year and say, okay, well, based upon. Past performance, what can we expect in the coming year? And we can allocate resources appropriately for that. So if we can see in a up trend in, uh, emergency medical services, uh, and emergency medical services provided, then we would know almost intuitively that we would have to increase our budget for medical supplies.
Yeah, that makes sense, man. That's uh, that's very progressive. I wanted to, I know you talked a little bit about your community involvement, but you know, I hear this term thrown around a lot, this community risk reduction, but, um, wanted to pick your brain on what that means to you. And I know that you have a passion for public education and just providing services.
People in order to be more fire safe, but yeah, just wanted to pick your brain a little bit more on community risk reduction. Uh, you bet, um, a again, uh, uh, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. If, if I can prevent, uh, a response than that is so much easier than trying to, uh, mediate that response on the, after the.
Uh, and so, uh, community risk reduction, uh, is, is focused on that, uh, reducing, uh, those comm those risks within your community. As the name says, um, in, in my area, uh, my, one of my more frequent responses to fire alarms. And so I have a. Focus on reducing the numbers of false alarms within my community, within my response area.
Uh, Do that through a bunch of different ways. It goes back to data analysis, uh, and community risk analysis, uh, which is the basis of your community risk reduction program. So you've gotta go out there and you've gotta find those problems. And, and one of the easiest ways to do it is to do it through data analysis.
And so I, I take a hard look at the types of runs and type of responses that we go on. We go on and. Uh, I look specifically, uh, at fire alarms and what caused that fire alarm? What caused a, a, uh, if it was a malfunction or if it was, uh, supervisory or trouble alarms and ways that we can look at reducing the risk involved with responding to those.
I don't think I'm ever gonna be in a position where I'm gonna eliminate all the false alarms. It is just not gonna happen. The. It's just, it's not possible, but I can reduce, uh, the level of risk that we're taking on as an agency for responding to those alarms. For example. Uh, 10 or 15 years ago, it was quite common for the departments that I was on in the past to put a full-fledged structural fire response on a fire alarm.
No confirming nine oh ones, no other indicators that there's an actual fire occurring. Just the fire alarm system saying, well, maybe there's a fire. Maybe there's not. And so we would commit, uh, lots of resources that, um, A classic example of that is, uh, an agency that I was with in the past would put three engine companies, a truck company, a rescue company, and a command vehicle, all on an automatic fire alarm without any confirming 9 1, 1, without anybody saying, Hey, yes, there is no kidding, really a fire going on.
And so that's a lot of resources that are committed to what may or may not be an actual fire and I'm not advocating. Don't do that. You, by all means you have to go and look, but do you really need to commit 20 firefighters, five pieces of apparatus, uh, to that, or on the other side of the coin, could you commit a.
One or two apparatus and do a thorough investigation. And once you arrive there, make a quick assessment of what's going on at that facility. Uh, do a good 360 degree, uh, look at the facility, verifying that there's no smoker fire showing go into an investigative mode. And if you are putting other apparatus on the road, either slow 'em down to reduce your risk or.
Uh, eventually turn them around, send them home, or maybe not even put them on the road at all. Uh, based on, uh, the, the impact of that facility on your community. Um, for example, if it's a, uh, fire alarm at a. Storage warehouse, uh, while it's very important to the facility owner, that, that, yeah, we go and check that out as a community.
Uh, that one facility may not be that important if it's very small, uh, it's a self storage facility or some other occupancy like that, where that facilities impact on the community would be very. Uh, versus, uh, say an Amazon or other big box distributorship, uh, had lots of jobs, lots of people employed at that facility that would have a larger impact.
And, and so community risk reduction. And I know I'm going. Shotgun effect. Uh, but, uh, uh, community risk reduction encompasses that and, and the agency response to that, uh, In today's day, day, and age, we, we measure that on, on what's called a, a tri a Triax axis risk model. It's, uh, three different, a axis. So it's, uh, impact to the agency impact to the community and, uh, probability.
And, and so the probability, yeah, that that's based on historical. Uh, responses got that, uh, impact agency and impact community. You know, how much of my agency's resources am I willing to commit to that response? And, and is it appropriate and you take a hard look at that based on, uh, past performance, uh, based on, uh, the, the type of emergency that, that.
We were called for and an impacted community, uh, a small 1000 foot, uh, 1000 square foot storage facility, uh, is gonna have a smaller impact to my agency or my community than a 10,000 square foot elementary school. Uh, if it's the only elementary school in my community that losing that facility is gonna, that's gonna be a huge impact.
And so the impact community has to be assess. Interesting. Yes. I didn't think about, you know, you frequently see, um, signs online for cities and municipalities about nuisance alarms and fees associated with that. But you know, it really brings to light the nature of. Um, how misattributing these resources can, you know, put the community at risk.
And so I appreciate you talking about that a bit. I've not thought about that aspect of community risk reduction and that facet of how we can be more analytical and discrete about how we allocate these public resources. That's an interesting, um, Point that you've brought up there, Christian? Um, I like that.
Well, one of, one of the things that I'm charged with is, is managing the, the public dollar. And for me to allocate. A great deal of resources is something that may or may not need that many resources allocated to it each and every time, regardless of the type of response that we're going on, it, it just doesn't make any sense to do that.
It makes more sense to allocate an appropriate amount of resources based on historical performance and based on, uh, historical responses to that facility and the impact of that facility on the community, uh, to. Make a wiser investment and then gain a better return on that investment ultimately. Yep. Yep.
That makes sense. That makes sense. Being a steward of the public monies. Um, I can appreciate that. Yep. Even on the. Uh, private side or commercial world. I mean, it's always somebody's dollar and, you know, understanding the, um, balance between fire and life safety and the unavoidable cost implications of, you know, every decision that you make.
So, um, yeah. I think that's pretty neat, but I wanted to ask you about your, um, work as a, uh, teacher in teaching, fire and life safety and your, your classes that you've been involved with. Would you, uh, tell me about some of the courses that you have taught in, you know, the, the course that you're teaching now.
Uh, sure. Uh, I got my start, uh, teaching part-time, uh, just on my off duty days, uh, at my local community college at the time I was stationed in Colorado and I taught for the, uh, Pikes peak community college, which is part of the Colorado community college system. Uh, there, they have a fire science program it's, uh, an associate's degree program.
Um, Geared toward, uh, fire science and fire science management. Uh, I believe they do a fire science technology program now as well. Uh, and as well as emergency management, but, um, at the time that I was teaching for them, uh, I was doing, uh, certification testing. It's how I got started. I started as a person doing certification testing for them, for firefighter one, firefighter two.
Hazmat awareness, hazmat operations, uh, that eventually grew into doing certification testing for driver operator, uh, for doing, uh, instructor one, uh, certifications and, and, and all of those associated certifications with their program. Uh, it was. The, the vision at the time was for us to have a, a program where you could come and, and get your degree.
And that that degree would come hand in hand with, uh, professional certifications recognized in more than just the state of Colorado. Uh, at the time those are IFAC accredited certifications and they were good. And about, uh, 25 or 30 different states. Uh, so even if you moved out of the area, those, those would be, uh, universally accepted.
If a is, is one of the two major, uh, certification oversight bodies, uh, uh, professional qualifications. So what some people call pro board is the other one. Uh, they provide oversight on, uh, educational, um, certification offerings, uh, throughout the country. And so it, it's a big deal for me to, to teach to that standard.
What is now referred to as the Fey standard. And then, uh, don't ask me to tell you what the abbreviation stands for, but, uh, it's a universal Fey is a universal, uh, universally accepted, uh, standard. Uh, that's taught for fire emergency services. Uh, Educational opportunity that I had to teach for Pike's peak, uh, eventually grew into, uh, teaching online.
Uh, the online demand right now for, for college education is huge. Uh, catalyst was the pandemic, uh, taking, uh, traditional brick and mortar, uh, institution and, and transitioning to an online environment was huge. I teach for I today. Still I teach for my local community college here in Indiana. Uh, the Ivy tech community college system.
It's a statewide system across Indiana. I wanna say we have about 15 campuses, um, plus the online environment and I teach building construction for them. Um, And I also teach for, uh, Emry riddle aeronautical university. Uh, their home base is down in Daytona beach, Florida, but they have a huge online presence.
They've had a huge online presence for several years, uh, several different programs. Uh, everybody knows them for their flight program and, and that's a cool program. And now at one point that was, that was a program that I wanted to get into. I have an uncle who is a, a graduate. He got his helicopter pilots license through that, uh, served in the army, um, years ago.
Uh, he's an embryo little grad, uh, my niece, his granddaughter is, uh, attending there right now. And so, uh, uh, I have a lot of family ties to Emory. Uh, the opportunity came for me to teach for them, um, and in an online environment. And so that was perfect, cuz I don't wanna move. Uh, I'm in my retirement home in, in my forever home with my forever wife now.
And so, uh, uh, so I didn't wanna move, so that's a huge thing for me. And so that was a big plus, uh, when they recruited me into their system, uh, they originally brought me in to do, um, Uh, fundamentals of fire protection as part of their safety management program. And so I do, uh, it's a junior, uh, 300 level class, uh, teaching the basics of fire protection.
So why fire does what it does on a chemical level, uh, into, uh, introductory hazmat hazardous materials. Um, Both storage and operations, uh, and, and the, the very, the very basics of fire protection. Uh, and we do a lot of case studies with that. So I talk about station nightclub, fire. I talk about Marco polo, apartment complex fire, uh, and, and the impacts that those fires have had on fire protection code enforcement changes in the code.
Uh, And, and the fire code and, and the built environment that have occurred since those, uh, major disasters. Uh, I also teach for them. Uh, I also teach a, uh, course on fire protection and life safety systems design, uh, which is based on, uh, life safety code from NPA. And so, uh, weekly, we do, uh, different discussion groups and, and those are also case based, uh, on different.
Fire disasters that have occurred. Um, I try real hard to, to give students the field view cuz not everybody teaches that. Uh, a lot of people teach straight by the book straight what the code says and, and without tying that to real life, examples of why, uh, that's very important.
Yeah, I think that that's a huge, um, piece that I always enjoyed about, um, my school in Oklahoma state was not just, Hey, here's the theory of fire protection systems. And then, you know, go have fun in the real world, but no, here's how you physically reset a, um, dry piped valve and, you know, real world application and.
always enjoyed that, um, pairing of the intellectual property with the physical and commercial ramifications of, um, why you're learning this thing and, and how they apply it to the world around you. So I think that's a very critical thing to be aware of. Um, yeah, don't get me wrong. The, the theory's important and you have to have that as a foundation, but the practical application of that theory is it's a huge, huge deal.
Definitely definitely. Well, Christian, I wanted to ask you a couple professional development questions and just get a feed on, you know, your pulse on the industry a bit. But yeah, I wanted to ask, what are you seeing as a trend in the industry and you know, what are you seeing on a macro level from fire and life safety that you're keeping an eye.
Um, uh, professional credentialing, uh, it's one thing to go to college, earn a degree, uh, go to a class, earn a certification. Um, As a whole, as, as a whole person, uh, to be able to demonstrate to another peer that not only have you gained a certain educational level, a certain certification level and in a certain experience and expertise level, but to be able to demonstrate that in a peer environment, Uh, I think is gonna be the next great thing.
Um, one of the things that the center of public safety excellence does is a professional credentialing program. Uh, not much different than a professional engineer credential that you might earn. Uh, we have Provinal credentialing and, and fire and emergency services. Um, As well, uh, they offer several different professional credentials.
Um, I currently hold, uh, one, I'm getting ready to, to pull the trigger on my application for another, um, And those professional credentials are, are directly tied to, uh, positions that people hold within fire emergency services. I'm a prevention chief. Uh, I, I come from a broad spectrum background of EMS and fire prevention.
Um, my current credential is a chief EMS officer and so, uh, chief emergency medical services officer. And so with that credential, I I've proven to, uh, a group of peers that reviewed my application for that, that, that I have not only the educational background that supports that credential, but an expertise in that area, a, uh, level of experience in managing EMS programs and, uh, and, uh, are earned that credential that.
Uh, the one that I'm about to apply for is the chief fire officer credential. Um, it it's, uh, a credential for fire chiefs, deputy fire chiefs up and coming assistant chiefs, upper level management within fire emergency services, uh, to demonstrate that they have, uh, the, again, the, the level of expertise, the, uh, professional experience.
Education, uh, educational appropriate educational level, uh, appropriate certification levels. And so it's, it's, um, a broad spectrum look at, uh, the individual and, uh, it it's, um, not much different than, uh, whole building design guide that we do for buildings. It's a whole person design, if you would, uh, on.
You know, professional development, are you doing all the things that you're doing and, and better than that, are you keeping up with all the things you should be keeping up? Yeah, I think that's a great point. Professional credentialing is a great way to not only, uh, keep your skills and your skillset up to date, but also to signal to the, um, industry and the commercial world that you are, um, proficient and, you know, Should be compensated for these, um, proficiencies and capabilities.
So I think that's a great, um, thing to keep an eye out. And I always recommend for professionals to find out what are the most critical, uh, professional credentials for your industry into seek those. Because they immediately give you a competitive edge over candidates for the exact same position. Um, one for one, if a candidate has a PE or doesn't have a PE it's night and day difference for what a company will, um, be interested in them.
So, uh, that's a great tip Christian. Um, and then, you know, you mentioned a lot of good podcasts out the air and resources that you like to listen to. Uh, what other places do you like to go and learn about fire and life safety? Since it seems like you have a very good beat on that idea? Uh, I really enjoy well.
I really, and first of all, I, I have to say that I, I really enjoy your podcast. It really gives me the engineering side of the. Of the house, uh, is something I've always been interested in, but never quite got out of that science rut. Uh, my, my educational background is all science all the way. I never really got into the engineering side.
I'm I'm a little mathematically challenged at times. So. To, to go in and, and had to stare down the barrel of taking college calculus and physics and, and all of those things was, was a little bit daunting to me when I was going through college. So I, I, I, I took the path on the other side of the road, um, for sciences, um, But I also, I listen to, uh, CR radio, which is, uh, a podcast down by Gary Kumon, uh, through it's, uh, community risk reduction and, and different things that different folks are doing in the interview that he, uh, uh, that he hosts, uh, different things that different folks are doing around the country for reducing community risk around their agencies.
Um, Uh, I also listen the N NFPA journal podcast. Uh, it keeps me abreast of what's going on, uh, on, uh, in the N FPA area. Uh, The, uh, national fire academy has just started, uh, a podcast. I'll listen to that. Uh, Dr. Uh, Lori Moore. Morere who's our, our national fire administrator, uh, does a podcast over there. Um, But, yeah, I'll listen to a wide spectrum of, of things just to, to keep up with, um, the, the latest and greatest things that are going on.
Not only in, in my little fire world, but, uh, uh, other things that have impact on that. Yeah, I think that's, uh, some good recommendations. I appreciate the fire and light safety podcast recommendations that are not, um, so technology focused and more fire service oriented because I, I don't always have that, uh, side of things as well covered.
Um, Well, it's really about getting outta your silo. I mean, it, it's so easy to get into a, a silo within your own career field, or within your own, uh, career choice. Other external those external stakeholders and that those external influences have impact. And so being able to, to keep a, a pulse of that impact and how those things re interrelate with, uh, with what you have going on, uh, those things are important, uh, and keep track of those things.
I think they'll keeping track of those things is, is real important and, and how they impact. Your community and how they impact your service deliverability. Um, and, and ultimately the product that you produce. Um, the product that I produce is paid for by the public. And so I, I feel morally and ethically obligated to P produce and deliver the best product that I can.
And this is how I do that. Well, sounds good. Well, I think that is a good note to end on Christian. I just want to thank you so much for coming on the podcast. Um, we covered some great stuff and I think that there is still plenty of meat on the bone if you ever want to come back. But yes, thank you very much for speaking with me.
You bet. Thank you very much for having me. I, I appreciate the time that you've spent with me here. Thanks for listening. Everybody. Be sure to share the episode with a friend, if you enjoyed it, don't forget that fire protection and life safety is serious business. The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are by no means a professional consultation or a codes code zone standards, interpretation.
Be sure to contact a licensed professional. If you are getting involved with fire protection and or life. Thanks again, and we'll see you next time.