It is the best job in the world! Values Based Training


Pride and Ownership: The Love for the Job

Pride and Ownership holds no punches. Chief Rick Lasky takes a hard look at the fire service and finds it short on the only element that makes it effective: passion. Chief Lasky gives an upfront and honest criticism about the need to reignite the love of the job on every level, from chiefs on down.
Do you have what it takes? Not everyone is cut out for the fire service. It takes only the best to serve the public when people need help most. Pride and Ownership calls for men and women with honor and integrity to measure up to the task.
There’s nothing else in the world like being a firefighter. Every day Chief Lasky remembers why his job is the best in the world and he brings that passion to Pride and Ownership. Chief Lasky revisits the proud history and tradition of the fire service and reflects on the family values and brotherhood that have made firefighting a truly family-oriented vocation.

Program Features

  • Our Mission
  • The Firefighter
  • The Company Officer
  • The Chief
  • Our Two Families
  • Sweating the Small Stuff
  • Changing Shirts-The Promotion
  • What September 11th Did To Us and For Us
  • Ceremonies That Stoke the Flames of Tradition
  • Marketing Your Fire Department
  • Making It All Happen and Taking Care of Number 1
  • Have You Forgotten?
Five Alarm Leadership: Real Leadership with Real People: Building Tomorrow’s Leaders and Successors

This program is designed to look at the leadership traits of the successful and not so successful fire service leader. What works and what doesn’t. What it means to define core values. How to build relationships and confidence in your firefighters. It also looks at what we’re all about, why private corporations are struggling and how to march forward and fight for a better and safer fire service.

Whether you are a firefighter, the newest engine lieutenant or the most senior battalion chief in your department, your leadership skills and abilities are vital to the operations of your department or company. Firehouse conflicts, operational difficulties and the daily routine can be handled professionally or you can fly by the seat of your pants. Join Chief Rick Lasky as he talks about the problems and solutions he has faced in his quarter century with the fire service and how he handled them. No officer is exempt from bumps in the road and the best way to handle trouble is to train!

This IS where the rubber meets the road.


The Company Officer Academy

The program, “The Company Officer Academy” is the result of numerous requests and discussions the chiefs have had with chief and company officers across the nation concerning company officer training and preparedness. Many departments simply promote a new company officer and send them to a new assignment with no formal training. This often results in creating a more stressful and challenging situation for the new officer and the unit.

Chiefs Salka and Lasky have put together a dynamic multi-day program that addresses the many skills and abilities that company officers need to have to be effective in the firehouse and on the fireground. The following list of topics are just a few from this exciting program series:

Designed For

New Company Officers – Current Officers – Future Officers

Topics Include:

  • Leadership and the Leader, Manager, and Supervisor “traits” of the company officer
  • Communications, Motivation, Training, Team Building and Mentoring
  • What it takes to be that great Company Officer
  • The Roll Call: Setting Up and Planning Your Day
  • Your Firefighter’s First Day: The Company Officer’s Role
  • Your Company Officer’s First Day: The Chief’s Role
  • Riding the Front Seat
  • Values – Vision – Mission
  • Performance Evaluations
  • Coaching and Counseling as well as handling Disciplinary Issues
  • Awards and Records of Exceptional Performance
  • Fireground Responsibility: The Company Officer’s role in preventing LODD’s
  • The First-In Officer: Tactics and Strategy considering ALL staffing levels
  • Situational Leadership Workshop

Your Instructors:

Chiefs Lasky and Salka have decades of experience as chiefs and company officers and have handled many of the difficult and challenging situations that you are likely to face sometime in your fire service future. They will explain some of the myths concerning performance evaluations and discipline and how to get a handle on your daily firehouse routine. Join them as they guide you through the challenges you will face tomorrow with concepts and solutions that have served them well. The success of a company officer on the fireground is often determined by their success as a leader in the firehouse. This is where the rubber meets the road!


Chief Officer Field Training Academy

There are many people in various ranks throughout the fire service that have a dramatic impact on the effectiveness and operational success of their department. Departments that utilize the services of a shift commander, battalion chief, district chief or other chief level officer in the field have a unique and distinct advantage over departments that do not. Chief Rick Lasky and Chief John Salka have developed this presentation titled the “Chief Officer Field Training Academy.” With more than 80 years of combined fire service experience in both volunteer and career departments, in every rank from junior company officer to captain, battalion chief, assistant chief and chief of department, these two seasoned chief officers will walk you through the numerous vital skills and abilities that field chief officers need to be successful. This is not an administrative chiefs program, but rather a detailed guide for field chiefs to follow from their first hour in the firehouse to their last assignment of the shift.

If you are a field level chief officer or you are on your way to being there, this program will provide you with a wealth of information from two chief officers who have been there and done that!

Designed For

New, current and aspiring Field Chief Officers

Our History: This Should be Day 1 in the Academy!

Year after year fire departments all across North America see their new firefighters attend and graduate the fire academy.  But after graduation just how many “get it” and how many truly understand why they are here, why WE are here?  The answers are all in our history.  Join Chief Lasky as he revisits where it all started and where “it” is going.  Whether you have 40 days or 40 years in the fire service, if you truly want to see where the fire service is headed, then you have to look back at where at all began.


The Volunteer Firefighter: Defining Commitment

Since the day the father of our fire service, Ben Franklin, started the first volunteer fire company, men and women have stepped up and taken on the responsibility of protecting their communities and the families that live there. In most case receiving no compensation for their time and dedication. The volunteer firefighter defined the word selflessness. But what does it take to make volunteerism work? Especially at a time where many of today’s volunteer firefighters are facing the challenge and in some cases, the crisis, of recruitment and retention of their members. This program looks at the methods for implementing a productive recruitment and retention program along with the steps needed to train and motivate our next generation of volunteer firefighters.

Sweating the Small Stuff: Keeping Your People Safe and Alive

For those in the private sector the practice of “sweating the small stuff” may come as a nuisance and seem unnecessary, but for those of us in the fire service it’s often the “small stuff” that leads to a firefighter’s injury or worse yet death. In this program Chief Lasky will examine the areas our fire service needs to once again place emphasis if firefighter safety is to remain paramount.


Life’s Turns: It’s All About Family

As we travel down our life’s roads, we often face decisions as to which way to turn. Depending on the choice we make and the turn we choose, we either enjoy success or feel the sting of failure. But when our decisions are based on strong family values combined with a “workplace community,” the results prove to be extremely successful. When you look at every success story, examine how it all happened. One thing stands out. One area continuously rises to the top. Family! Families make a community and a community is stronger than any one individual. A community that supports and promotes family values is unbeatable. Does your fire department or do your members believe in this concept? After all, it does serve as the foundation for everything we do in the fire service. For without family values, we’re just a rudderless ship adrift in life’s ocean hoping what happens, happens for the right reasons.

Graduation Day: Now What?

It’s taken you months to get to this day. The day you graduate from the fire academy. You’ve worked so hard and dedicated so much, and your family has stood by your side, through the good days and the tough ones. But now what? Where do you go from here? How do you stay sharp and protect everything that you have gained? How do you get better? How are you going to stay safe? This presentation looks at what it takes to prepare for what’s yet to come; the rest of your entire firefighting career. What works and what doesn’t.

Fireground Scenario Workshop

This program is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for firefighters, company officers, and chiefs to experience a number of different types of structural fires. Examine fires in private dwellings, commercial buildings, apartment houses, and office buildings. Whatever your experience level is, you will certainly see something you have never seen before in this workshop. During the fire scenarios, the tactics, strategies and other factors will be analyzed and discussed. Students will have an opportunity to comment on what is happening in the scenario and how they might handle a similar situation in their own department. This will be an interesting, fast-moving, and entertaining program that you don’t want to miss.


Time to Lead Chief!

Now that you’ve made it there, to the rank of chief officer, what does it take to remain “one of the good ones?” So many company officers have taken that next step, so many assistant and deputy chiefs have gotten to the “big chair” only to find out that it wasn’t what they expected. “That it wasn’t in the brochure.” This presentation takes a serious look at what it takes to be a successful chief officer and how to remain effective and mentally stable.


Firefighter Survival

Firefighter Survival is a program that outlines the important skills that every firefighter needs to develop to survive the hazards on the fireground. Surviving the numerous dangers that firefighters are exposed to at structural fires is no accident. This program will take you through the following important areas:

  • Preparing to survive
  • PPE & SCBA familiarity and use
  • Size-up for survival
  • Risk vs. reward decision making
  • Personal emergency situations
  • Survival training skills
  • Each of the listed skills are vital elements of a firefighters survival ability and should be developed and practices regularly. Remember, you have the greatest impact on your survival!

It’s OK to Train

Time and time again, young aggressive firefighters are stifled from training and at times ridiculed for wanting to train. For wanting to get better at being a firefighter. For having the desire to hone their skills. Why are so many facing this dilemma? This presentation looks at why it’s “Ok to train,” that’s it’s Ok to be safer at what you do, and that you have a right to go home from every shift or every call with all of your pieces and parts still attached and in good working order. There is NO argument for not training. There is one to train. To save lives, including our own!


Never Forgetting, Means Never Forgetting

Do you have the stickers on your helmet? The decals on your fire apparatus? Do you remember the sacrifices that were made on 9/11? Do you remember those made before that day or those that we have seen since it? NEVER FORGETTING, MEANS NEVER FORGETTING! But it also takes believing in something to begin with. It takes believing in something special. Something that no one else on the face of the earth can provide. It also means defending it and never allowing anyone to hurt or deface it. There’s a lot more to Never Forgetting than just those symbols you see on the outside. It also takes some work on the inside as well.

Soaring With Eagles: Bold, Honest and Realistic Leadership

If we have learned one thing from recent events, it’s the fact that integrity is more important than ever. A leader cannot produce or succeed if he or she is without integrity and a strong belief in core values. Your integrity defines your character. Your character is defined as how you are and how you act when no one is watching! Your core values provide the foundation for your vision and your mission. So many of today’s business leaders along with those that will succeed them some day lack foundation. Several will talk about core values, but many have not been shown how to live by those values. In the leadership world, it’s hard to soar to great heights with wings that are weak and tarnished.


Firefighter Safety and Survival

Enhance your survivability in hazardous or life-threatening conditions in burning buildings with this course. Gain the critical skills needed to self-egress in a trouble situation and rescue downed firefighters using the rapid intervention team concept including the roles and responsibilities of the rapid intervention team officer. Because no firefighter should go into a burning building without the skills and knowledge necessary to make sure, as much as humanly possible, that every brother and sister returns safely from the alarm.

This session is broken down into three areas:
  1. How we get into trouble.
  2. How we get out of trouble.
  3. How we stay out of trouble.

Managing the MAYDAY

One of the most difficult incidents to manage is one in which our members become trapped, lost, or injured. This presentation discusses how firefighters get into trouble at incidents and the necessary steps to get personnel back to safety. Accountability systems, incident command strategies, and scene control will be analyzed and discussed. For all fire officers at every level who could be involved in managing a MAYDAY, as well as firefighters who could be confronted with the “unthinkable.”

Truck Company Tactics

Truck company operations at structural fires are essential in the overall fire attack. In order for the engine company to advance on the fire and extinguish it, they must be performed quickly and proficiently. This program addresses the importance of truck company operations at fires and the roles and responsibilities of the truck company officer. Other areas covered are apparatus placement, search and rescue (Residential and Commercial), ventilation, forcible entry, VES (Vent-Enter-Search), and the OVM (Outside Vent Man); along with the various other truck company tasks that are needed for a successful fire attack.

Getting the Rear of the Building: The Outside Vent Position

One of the most critical but often overlooked tasks of the first arriving companies at a structure fire is that of addressing the rear of the building. Whether you handle this with an assigned position such as the OVM (Outside Vent Man) or a firefighter from another crew, getting this done is a must. This program examines the importance of this fireground assignment and the steps needed to accomplish it.


Surviving Life’s Fire: Managing Change

If we have learned one thing from recent events, one’s ability to embrace change is more important than ever. A leader cannot produce or succeed if he or she cannot understand what change really is, how to deal more effectively with change, and how to make change work for you. So many of today’s leaders, along with those that will succeed them some day, lack this ability. Several will talk about change, but many have not been shown how to see change as an opportunity for success. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Amateurs built the Ark – professionals built the Titanic.

Command Operations at Structural Fires

When we look at the successes and failures on the fireground, a proper fire scene size-up and requesting the adequate amount of resources needed, will often lead to those successful fire attacks. However, failure to properly size-up a fire scene, lack of command and control, and a lack of the needed resources, can and will lead to the failures seen on the fire scene from time to time. A good incident commander is the one who can predict his or her next alarm. They know what the smoke is telling them, where the fire is going and what they’ll need resource wise before they run out. Running out of “stuff” at a fire usually results in everyone having a bad day.


Firefighter Safety and Survival – Revisited!

Back by popular demand, this program gets back to the basics of firefighter survival and rescue techniques, techniques that are proven effective and HAVE saved firefighter’s lives!


Featured evolutions reviewed:

  • The John Nance Drill
  • The 2nd Floor Window Rescue
  • The Stairwell Rescue
  • The Denver Rescue
  • Room Orientation
  • The Ladder Bail
  • The Personal Rope Escape
  • The Wall breach

Fire Service Traditions and Ceremonies

The fire service is rich in tradition and our heritage is one marked with pride and admired by many. But for you to truly understand and appreciate it requires you to take a trip. One that takes you back to the beginning. But as you begin your trip back in time looking for and learning about our fire service history, what you start to see is that there have always been a variety of ceremonies and celebrations. The kind of ceremonies that stimulate the pride that brings ownership. This presentation looks at the ceremonies that will help stoke the flames of tradition in your department.

EMS: Average Leaders Put Up with it; Great Leaders have a Passion for it!

The positive traits of a leader are often defined by their values, passion for what they do, and their ability to see things that others don’t. Those that lack an understanding of EMS view it as a burden. Those who get “it” view it as a blessing!


Failing to Read the Fire and Building Properly


Fighting fires in buildings has and always will be a dangerous task for firefighters, and fire departments all across North America train throughout the year so when the tones go off and they face that challenge that they do so as efficiently and safely as possible. Yet, when you look at the firefighter injury and death reports while operating at building fires and the contributing factors, one major factor that seems to be overshadowed was their failure to read the fire and building properly. Not having a real and true understanding of how the fire is going to react to the building and how the building is going to react to the fire can often lead to disastrous results and firefighters are way too precious and special to waste on bad decisions. Join Chief Lasky as he reviews and discusses the steps necessary for a good “read” at your next building fire.

Great Leaders Make Difficult Decisions


Great leaders understand how to balance emotion with reason and make decisions that positively impact themselves, their employees, their customers and stakeholders, and their organizations. When we think of what makes someone a great leader, one characteristic that comes to mind is decisiveness.

Standing behind a decision that everyone agrees with is easy to do. Having the guts to make the difficult one is what separates true leaders from those who are just along for the ride.

It’s Still the Best Job in the World! Leading Through Tough Times


Today more than ever fire service leaders are facing tougher times. Reduction in funding resources, budget cuts, staffing cuts, unfunded mandates, personnel problems, that whole “culture” thing, and a long list of other obstacles and challenges, all of which have a direct impact on service delivery. On the other hand nobody said that being the leader was going to be easy. Join Chief Lasky as he discusses what is actually needed to face these tougher times and how to still enjoy the most incredible profession in the world!

Making a Difference: The Dispatch Center


The newspapers and for that matter pretty much all of the media outlets, have stories almost daily on the heroic acts performed by first responders, and often the title of “hero” is thrown out there and in most cases justifiably so. But often overlooked in their efforts are the people who stand as the very foundation for most of those heroic deeds, those in our 9-1-1 Centers, aka, “The Silent Heroes.” Join Chief Lasky as he celebrates the commitment and selflessness of those who protect so many from behind the console.

One Big Sandbox – And We Don’t Own The Sand!


When it comes to handling a large scale incident or preparing for one for the matter, it is imperative that the responding agencies do so as one team with one concentrated effort and goal. Those agencies all need to play nice in the same sandbox but the fact of the matter is we don’t own the sand, they do. They being the public, Mrs. Smith. We have an obligation to come together to take care of people and their “stuff.” No matter where you come from or who you work for, feuds don’t make it anymore. If recent events haven’t proved that to us then nothing will. When we allow egos and turf wars to interfere with our goal of taking care of them then we truly have failed. Join Chief Lasky as he discusses the steps necessary to bring everyone into the same circle.

The Haz-Mat Team Leader: Who’s Laughing Now?


Years ago, some of those in public safety as well as some in our military, looked upon the training in and response to, Hazardous Materials incidents as a burden, something we shouldn’t be involved in and in some cases as a joke. Those who trained and dedicated themselves to the handling of these incidents were often ridiculed and made fun of. Well times have changed and due to recent events, many now realize just how invaluable those trained in Haz-Mat truly are in the protection of those we serve, not just in North America, but world-wide. So, who’s laughing now?

The Three Degrees of Mayday


This program is a discussion about 3 categories or situations that firefighters can find themselves in that could result in a Mayday operation. Not every Mayday is the same and as a result not every RIT operation will be the same. Rapid Intervention Teams need to prepare for various urgent and dangerous situations of increasing difficulty.

A single firefighter that is lost in a house fire may be handled adequately by a 4-person RIT with little other assistance. A 3-person engine company crew that experiences a loss of water or sudden flashover will require a larger and more robust RIT operation along with additional logistical support. The collapse of a burning building that traps 6 firefighters in a 2-story burning pile of debris will require an even more complex response.

Join Chiefs Lasky and Salka as they discuss this new perspective on Mayday and RIT operations and learn how you can prepare your firefighters to handle ANY mayday situation with confidence.

Trapped! Now What?


You and your partner are crawling down that hallway trying to make that last bedroom when conditions rapidly change. You lose contact with your partner, visibility is zero, you’re now lost and you are running out of air and time. What do you do?

This program takes you right to the fire floor, to where YOU, that firefighter, is trapped and discusses what is needed to escape and save yourself, and more importantly how to prevent finding yourself in this situation in the first place.

You’re the Chief, Now What and How?


Now that you’ve made it there, to the rank of chief officer, what does it take to remain “one of the good ones?” So many company officers have taken that next step, so many deputy and assistant chiefs have gotten to the “big chair” only to find out that it wasn’t what they expected. That nobody said it was going to be like this!

Join chief Lasky as he takes you from preparing for the role, to pinning on those trumpets, to the numerous areas of responsibility that a chief officer has while commanding a structural fire. This presentation takes a serious look at what it takes to be a successful chief officer and how to remain effective and at the top of your game.

What It Takes To Be That Great Volunteer Company Officer

The company officer in a volunteer organization is faced with a unique set of challenges, many that a career officer will never see. The politics, recruitment and retention, elections, a different crew each time they leave the firehouse and many more. This program will describe the needs, methods and leadership traits necessary for success as a company officer in a volunteer fire department.


Firehouse Survival: Us vs. Them!

There is no doubt that the fire service is an incredible profession and it doesn’t matter what your role is in it, whether it be as a volunteer, career or part-time firefighter, incredible is the perfect word for it. So, if it really is the best job in the world, why do we still have some that treat it so poorly, seem to hate doing it and have so much enjoyment out making those who love this job miserable? You know who I’m talking about. Them!

We’ve been teaching firefighter survival for years now. Training in what to do in the event of an emergency involving a firefighter or crew on the fireground. But what are we doing to train our firefighters and officers on how to survive in the firehouse? How to stay positive, how to stay passionate about this great profession? How to deal with them? Join Chief Lasky as he discusses what it takes to deal with them, what he refers to the as the three “P’s” when it comes to surviving in the firehouse.