This product review is in no way, shape, or form influenced or swayed towards one side or another. It is strictly my perspective on what I believe in this product.
“When Things Go Bad, Inc. is a firefighter training company that has committed to deliver realistic training since 2005. WTGB teaches throughout the country at conferences and fire departments alike. All instructors share a level of energy that is motivating and contagious to the students. We here at When Things Go Bad are passionate about FIREFIGHTER RESCUE & SURVIVAL. The motivation for these Train-the-Trainer DVDs are to get this paramount information to as many firefighters as possible. Let us not allow our brothers and sisters to perish in vain. We do not rise to the occasion; we sink to the level of our training. Learn practical Firefighter Rescue & Survival tactics from experienced instructors on the When Things Go Bad training DVDs.”
I have known some of the instructors at When Things Go Bad for quite a while now, some of which are on the job in the same county as I am and are fellow F.O.O.L.S. brothers of mine. I’ve known them for a few years, but only recently have they become involved with Paulie Capo and his company. I personally called Paulie to ask for something unrelated to this when he mentioned he was looking for “the right website” to do a product review for his 5-disk DVD set based on Rescue & Survival.
I told myself, “When you have someone like Paulie Capo asks for you to review his product, you had better say yes!”
I opened it up and found the 5 DVDs, which were separated in their own individually photographed DVD sleeves and shrink-wrapped. Each topic/chapter was labeled on the back for ease of searching.
Each chapter skill was created by When Things Go Bad to remember and honor someone that was in a situation of needing its use. Just to name a few, some of the included skills are window lifts & ladder carries, the Denver Drill, high anchor/hauling, flat & peaked roof removals, firefighter stuck in a roof, the Nance Drill, the Naked SCBA Drill, Calling the Mayday, Disentanglement & Low-Pro Maneuvers, Rope & Ladder Bail-outs, What’s In Your Pockets, and Drywall Ladder Climbing.
This DVD set is by far one of the best resources available for training at the firehouse. We have all had our share of “Fire Porn,” but this feels like more than a training video. From senior members to rookies, I have found that every person I had shown this to brought something valuable away from it. When I got time to start the video in my firehouse, it took a few shifts to get through all five disks. Not because of length, but because of the lack of available time we had to sit down and watch them.
On the first shift, we got through the 3 Rescue DVDs. The rookie I had that day told me he was incredibly lucky to have learned some of the techniques in the academy, but he still just took away more than half the material for the first time. He was excited to get out to the engine room to practice putting some of the material to use. He was able to quickly learn, retain, and repeat the hands-on skills he just saw on the DVD set. With excitement, he realized that he could move victims and firefighters quicker and with less effort than ever before in his short career.
The second shift we watched Survival. I had a different firefighter with me who has a couple of years under his belt. I got the initial feeling that he wasn’t too sure if this was his cup of tea. He didn’t give me the vibe like he was going to take anything away from it. After the first chapter, he got into it and started some conversation with me about some of the calls that the skills were created for. I told him about the importance of having an open mind when you train in these type of scenarios. Sometimes we get into the mind frame that we will never have to find our air pack in an IDLH atmosphere, reassemble it, and then don it. I get where he is coming from… We will usually not have to enter a burning structure and locate our air pack. But, we may have to locate a downed firefighter that just had a massive event occur, and they need help troubleshooting their SCBA due to a displaced bottle or a loose connection with an air leak. This is why we train. This is why we do this. Disentanglement props are only as good as we can imagine them to be. Yes, we can cut every wire and not have any entanglement hazards. But this video gives us four different ways to escape from this scenario. Open minds will win versus closed ones. Open minds about training will prevail and make you a better firefighter.
After seeing these two firefighters learn from these videos, I realized that I learned just as much. What I knew already, I was able to reinforce in their minds by setting up the hands-on portion. The items that I learned, I take with me each time we roll out the door to the next emergency.
These five DVDs are an absolute asset to your training cache. It isn’t “just another training tape.” It is formatted and taped in a manner that makes it interesting and professional. When Things Go Bad has hit the nail on the head this time and I know they have much more to share. Their cadre of instructors are making a name for themselves and have taught at events such as Firehouse Expo, FDIC, Fire Rescue East, Wichita H.O.T., Fort Lauderdale Fire Expo, & Orlando Fire Conference.
Interview Questions with Paulie…
What made you start When Things Go Bad?
“I took firefighter survival/rescue classes and got a passion for the level of competence needed in that realm. After a lot of self studying about it, I had a local fire instructor ask me to come up with a presentation”.
It began with a couple guys without any official t-shirts teaching at someone else’s firehouse to starting a company.
“I didn’t intend to start a training company, the training company started itself. I just named it.”
Who are some of your biggest mentors?
Jim Carino 33 year Squad Driver in City of Clearwater
Jim Crawford – Assistant Chief of Operations (Retired) – Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire & Founder of www.rapidintervention.com (no longer in service)
What are some of the classes you provide?
Rescue & Survival classes – two entirely different entities. We have classes for each separately.
Tricks of the Truck – Truck Company Ops Class – Classroom & Hands-On (Forcible Entry, Search & Rescue, Ground Ladders, Vent…along with many, many, many tricks)
Engine Co. classes
Who are some of the most important people to help you get to where you are today?
“I’m a student of the job – learning so many things from so many people.”
my wife, Kristie
my two children
and my late father, Mike, who taught me the business side of life that I had no idea of as a fireman.
What conferences has your company attended? (Just to name a few…
FDIC Class & Hands-On instructor for the last 11 years
Keynote speaker at this year’s Orlando Fire Conference and “Nitty Gritty Engine and Truck Workshop” with Bill Gustin.
Colorado Chief’s Conference
Along with many, many more.
Discount code for anyone that purchases from our link
10% off use code: stationpride
You’ve likely seen the compelling artwork, created by Artist and Firefighter Paramedic (FF/P) Daniel Sundahl, popping up in your Facebook newsfeed, Instagram, and relevant articles over the last year or more. Sundahl’s images convey a strong visual message highlighting the individual conflicts faced by emergency responders as they serve the needs of humanity. When the chaos of a bloody scene has settled or when the fire has been extinguished, responders are often left to wrestle with their own thoughts and feelings in
private moments of deep reflection. Every minute of every day, emergency responders around the world respond to and mitigate emergency situations based in the intense reality of raw mortality.
In his new book, Portraits of an Emergency, FF/P Daniel Sundahl has found an artistic way of depicting these powerful moments of reflection allowing other responders to connect and communicate their mental and emotion challenges, as well as providing outsiders the opportunity to begin to understand the inner struggle of their public servants.
While making your way through the book, you immediately begin to feel the soul of the artist, and if you’re a responder, you suddenly find yourself identifying with the images and their accompanying stories. The artistic renderings of photos taken by Sundahl shine a bright ghostly light onto the moment’s that create Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in emergency responders, putting this important issue on Front Street.
In the last year or two, there has been a meaningful conversation within the fire service regarding suicide and the propensity and effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in first responders. Daniel Sundahl puts himself out on the forefront of creating PTSD awareness industry-wide by capturing his own struggles and confidently breaking macho stereotypes. Portraits of an Emergency is a powerful walk through Sundahl’s own difficult realization of PTSD and his answer for how to face it and heal.
By sharing his artwork with the emergency service community, Sundahl is giving himself an outlet that helps him reconcile his internal conflicts with PTSD while providing thought-provoking images for emergency responders to reflect on their own mental and emotional well-being.
Portraits of an Emergency is a must have for every firehouse dayroom, EMS station break room, 911 dispatch center restroom, or police station ready room. Aside from raising the level of awareness concerning PTSD among first responders, the book provides emergency service leaders, company officers, and chiefs a casual, edgy, ice-breaker to approaching the topic of PTSD with their workforce.
We all know firefighters, and first responders don’t enjoy discussing their possible weaknesses. PTSD can be a scary and uncertain disorder. Firefighters and emergency workers will often hide their symptoms fearing for their career or harbor the idea of becoming an outcast among their peers for being weak or unstable. It’s imperative for first responders to realize that PTSD isn’t about what’s wrong with them, it’s about what happened to them, Sundahl’s images highlight that sentiment exactly. The photo renderings in Portraits of an Emergency helps to start the conversation and allow Chief’s and leaders to provide avenues for assistance. Part of Sundahl’s purpose for this book, which is a first of it’s kind, is to help prevent firefighter and emergency responder suicides. It’s an important issue in our career field and often addressed passively.
As first responders, we often live our lives wondering if we’ve made enough of an impact or if we’ve made a difference. Firefighter Paramedic Daniel Sundahl doesn’t have this problem. By placing his talent and his personal struggles in the forefront of his new book, Sundahl is providing PTSD awareness with the goal of first responder suicide prevention for the benefit of us all. Daniel Sundahl with DanSun Photo Art and his first book Portraits of an Emergency is leaving his mark on the fire and emergency services. Sundahl’s photo art will likely become a powerfully poignant staple of the emergency service industry worldwide.
Order your station a copy of Portraits of an Emergency (Here)
Holy cow, where do I begin???
BlastMask is a product made for firefighters by firefighters right here in the USA. Through the physical demands of their passion of firefighting, the creators were driven to produce a product that would make firefighter-oriented workouts more effective towards functional operational ability.
BlastMask has become a staple piece of equipment in MY training regimen.
I wasn’t fully prepared for how much it added to a workout. The day I found out I was going to get one to review, I went on eBay and bought a used Scott mask and waited.
The device arrived in a small box which included some advertisement material and a pamphlet about the scientific benefits; we’ll get to those later. The Blast Mask is an SCBA regulator-looking piece of plastic with a diaphragm inside that gives the wearer a feeling of being “on air” during the physical demands of a workout. When you first don the mask with the BlastMask attached, you at first question the benefits of it. At rest during normal breathing, it is rather difficult to realize just what potential this thing holds. Then you begin your workout.
My first workout with the BlastMask was paired with a sandbag system. The routine included weighed squats, pushups, burpees, tire flips and sledgehammer work with the tire. Just like when wearing an SCBA, as your heart rate increases, so does your bodies demands for oxygen, causing you almost to draw or suck air from your bottle. With the BlastMask, your mask will suck tight to your face as you work for each deep breath. You fight through it, continue to work, and when you finish your workout, you welcome the “outside air” when you doff the mask/BlastMask.
To say the BlastMask is a work-out accessory is an understatement.
There has been some questioning of firefighters working out in “gear” and whether they provide a functional advantage. While I’m sure most of it is personal preference, I can say that, scientifically, it has been proven. “When the BlastMask is worn in conjunction with an SCBA and bottle, your VO2 max (maximal oxygen consumption) is reduced by 14.9% primarily due to the regulator. Also, the firefighters peak power output and SPO2 (oxyhemoglobin saturation) are decreased by the regulator alone. TRAINING IN A FACE PIECE AND PACK ALONE DOES NOT REDUCE VO2 MAX, PEAK POWER OUTPUT AND SPO2.”
To add a quote directly from the company website, “BlaskMask makes a positive impact on your budget and resources. Fire service fitness initiatives have shown a decrease in lost workdays by 28%. What’s more, every dollar spent on uniformed personnel wellness returns over two dollars in occupational injury and illness costs.”
“BlastMask also saves the manpower and time it takes to refill SCBA bottles, keeping resources ready for real emergencies. Not to mention it decreases wear and tear on expensive SCBA regulators.”
Training with the BlastMask increases the firefighters’ ability to work under the physical stresses of a fire scene by building confidence through functional training and helps prevent firefighter injuries that are due to lack of fitness. It will also help prevent LODDs that result from stress and overexertion.
While conducting drills at the firehouse, a firefighter can train in a clean atmosphere, and still use the muscle memory of being on an SCBA. After the drill, your SCBA is immediately in service, full of air and “combat ready” on the apparatus. I also decided I wanted to my mask to simulate poor visibility. After a little ingenuity and some searching, I found something that would work. I decided what better way to simulate poor visibility, than to tint my lens? I usually use Glad Press’n Seal to give me a light smoke look, but limo tint is proving to be working great.
The BlastMask is most definitely an asset to any physical fitness routine.
Healthy, physically fit, trained firefighters are the most confident, mentally and physically strongest firefighters in the brotherhood, period.
Want one? Check out the contact info below for more information.
While at the Baltimore Firefighter Expo, I met a man named Evers Trice, who owns Trice Enterprises, LLC. His booth contained a few of his self-invented items including the Fire Falcon and the Shlammer. Admittedly, I did not care for the Fire Falcon as it seemed too gimmicky to me. However, the Shlammer interested me and after some conversation, I was given one to try out for a couple months.
The Shlammer is a 6-pound flat headed axe replacement. Some of the features of this tool include a flat “adze” area to pry or chisel, a hammer head, and a hydrant wrench. It also has cut-outs for the forks of the halligan bar which makes a much tighter fit than your standard axe and makes it easier to carry one handed. I know some of you are traditionalists which I completely understand, however, the Shlammer has some really cool features that the flat headed axe just does not. Does your axe need a hydrant wrench? No, probably not, but it also fits gas shut off valves and may help you in a pinch if you don’t carry pliers in your pocket.
During forcible entry drills, the Shlammer was able to be used by itself to force an inward swinging door. I also used it to pry up corners of a car hood and deck lid, which it did fairly well. When married with the ProBar, it fit very tightly without flopping around. With just a light tap on the ground, the two unmarried and were ready for work. Overall, I was impressed with the ingenuity behind the tool and how well it did its job.
The major downside that I saw was the lack of an 8-pound option and the width of the adze area was too thin. This was echoed by all who drilled with it because the skinny adze didn’t allow you to gap the door far enough during FE. I spoke with Mr. Trice with the feedback and he happily informed me that he is beginning to design an 8-pounder with the adze width the same as a standard ProBar.
Like most things in the fire service, this isn’t for everyone. But it makes a great option for officers who are on under-staffed rigs or make it easier to force doors by themselves – which hopefully if you’re on a ladder truck you already know how to do. All-in-all, Mr. Trice has created something useful in the current trend of junk tools.
Check out www.firefalcon.us for more information and to see his other products.
The Iron Fox “Breach” 7.5 lb Flathead Axe is up for review.
The axe arrived 17 November 2014 and immediately went into service. This version has the 28″ brown plastic handle. While it seems a bit short, the axe handle length is genuinely a personal preference I believe. The head of the axe is shaped with a chisel type blade, allowing the blade to “bust” through what you are cutting and has a wedge at the top of the blade resembling a common axe to allow for the creation of a purchase point when chopping. The flat side of the axe is square on the edges with a small dome to the head to allow for a solid striking surface at any angle.
The Iron Fox Axe has been primarily used for forcible entry and also for opening up walls and such to check for fire spread. The Iron Fox Axe is very tough, and has proven to be a perfect add-on to any tool compartment. This model does not have the notch to allow to married with a Halligan but has been used with a Halligan. At the beginning of April i received the notched version of the axe that allows it to marry to a Halligan. the handle on this one is wood and is 36 inches long.
The Iron Fox Axe marries beautifully and with a tight connection, allowing for a secure set of irons. The Iron Fox Axe appears to have a taller sharper lead point to it than the original has. The flat head part of it is the same. Again i wrapped the handle to suit myself for a little extra grip using hockey tape and this time used oxygen tubing under the tape. Our call volume hasn’t allowed recently for either axe to be really tested hard but I’m sure time will allow for a better test. Both axes are tough, balanced beautifully and have been a great addition to our “tool box”. If I had to choose between the 2 styles, which one i would prefer to keep, I personally would probably just buy them both.
4 years later….an update. These tools have been joined in the cabinet with another tool, that’s been reviewed here also and has its own purpose, the Iron Fox axes still continue to prove their worth. The handles are still original and while marred haven’t broken or needed repair. I have updated the handle wraps with Fire Maul Grip Kits and the combination is amazing! The heads have been painted. With some simple care of the heads and handles I don’t see why they shouldn’t last another 4-5 with out drastic repairs! Check them at the website below and buy a hat or a t-shirt while you’re there!
What can I say, Erik Falkenstrom with 911 leather has been an over achiever since I inquired about reviewing a product from 911leather.com. Mr. Falkenstrom says several times that, “this should last a man’s career”, meaning of course the products he offers that do not see firefighting conditions.
The first product sent was a axe belt. Custom made, black leather with white stitching, my last name stamped on the rear and “Station Pride” etched into the axe loop. The leather straight from the box appeared tough, thick but still flexible. The loop for the axe handle is big enough for any axe handle but not so big that it sits “sloppy”. The belt was built with my size in mind but given extra holes to accommodate for gear and years of weight gain or loss. While I’ve only used it a few times (due to call volume) it has held up very well and will continue to do so for years.
The next product I received was a custom made shave/toiletries bag completely made of leather. The handle was a cutout of a fire axe and heavily stitched to the bag. The zipper is strong and stiff but I’m sure will loosen over time after use. The front is adorned with a leather Maltese cross with my name and dept etched into it. The rear has another pocket that I keep my razors in, again strong but somewhat stiff zipper. As said before Erik says, “this should last a career”. The
http://911leather.com offers many products including but not limited to, axe belts, leather suspenders, shave bags and they are all custom to your order.
To contact 911 leather email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
As part of Station Pride’s continuing mission to support Firefighter owned small businesses, I took the opportunity to check out HeroPrep.com. When a company is created and operated solely by firefighters for firefighters it always tends to give me the warm and fuzzies. Without knowing any of them personally I already have an idea of what I’m getting into.
HeroPrep is a firefighter and EMT test preparation website where they guarantee a 100% pass rate on your IFSAC or ProBoard Firefighter 1/2 and/or NREMT test OR your money back! That’s a very bold guarantee for a company to make and I was curious to see how it all worked. HeroPrep.com has designed custom study-question test banks that provide thousands of questions across relevant topics.
One interesting facet of HeroPrep.com is that they also operate a Firefighter and EMT job posting website called Recruit911.com. Not only can you prepare to pass your emergency services exams but you can also FIND A FIRE JOB or EMT JOB, once you pass. Seems like a very convenient arrangement of services.
Upon arriving at the homepage, (www.HeroPrep.com), it appeared very clean, formal and professional. It wasn’t flashy or over the top. The style had a very basic feel about it. You immediately knew you weren’t there to be dazzled and you were definitely there to learn something. The graphics are neat, rustic, and professional.
The website consists of a “How it Works Section”, About, FAQ’s, Support, Job Board, and a section on learning how to become an EMT. All of the navigation tabs provided thorough insight into the process and answered all the questions I had for their service.
In order to utilize the multiple-choice, study-question test banks you must first create an account and purchase the desired service. After creating a log-in and password with a confirmation email you were ready to start. This process was easy and a standard across the internet with regards to purchases.
The Dashboard and Test Banks
Depending on the service you purchased you will be given access to your desired study test bank. For example, if you are taking the Firefighter 1 Test Bank; the bank is divided into function categories such as Fire Service History and Orientation, Fire Behavior, Ropes & Knots, Water Supply, Fire Streams and so on.
If you are taking the NREMT Test Bank the areas are segmented into Airway, Trauma, Medical, Obi & Peds, Cardiology, and a specially designed NREMT Test Simulator that mimics the NREMT exam.
I kept looking for an immediate response to my answered questions and then realized I was literally taking a practice test. All of my correct and incorrect answers were displayed upopn completion of each quiz.
Each functional area of the test appears to be thoroughly covered. After completing each quiz you can see a breakdown of the areas you need to focus on. You will see your grade, an explanation of the answer as well as graphs to show your progress.
Every quiz tracks associated data such as how long it took you to complete, how many attempts to pass each topics and so on. There is valuable, usable data that is displayed to help you hone your studying.
As I made my attempts I did not readily notice any repeating questions.
My Discussion with HeroPrep’s Creator
As with any discussion with an individual who owns a company I don’t like hearing their “pitch” I don’t like listening to what’s so great about their product compared to others. I like to form an unbiased opinion based on my actual experience with the service.
With that said, I had a conversation with the creator of HeroPrep. Currently they provide Firefighter 1, 2 and NREMT test preparation service. In the near future they plan to expand that service into Instructor, the driver operator series, inspector and officer test preparation.
He also explained changes being made with Recruit911.com and a possible package deal. With the purchase of a HeroPrep service you will be given access to Recruit911.
My Honest Thoughts
I’ve invested in several similar services throughout my career.
Taking practice tests or answering practice questions is one of the best ways to prepare for an exam, hands-down. While taking practice tests you become comfortable with physically taking the test while you are learning and studying. Flash cards are great but they don’t give you that test-taking feeling.
The student dashboard was very basic and simple to navigate. There was nothing flashy it was pure Quiz City. The questions in the test bank were nearly identical to questions I’ve experienced in actual tests.
To be entirely truthful…I actually learned a few things I didn’t know, which made me a little excited. I thought I was going to smoke through the quizzes with no issue but I was stumped a few times. Which, by all rights, is exactly what you want to have happen. We learn from our mistakes.
The test banks were exactly what you would expect from a test preparation website. I attempted to access my account from my iPhone as well as my iPad and the website IS mobile-device-enabled which made taking quizzes even easier. I was completing topics while I was out and about in my Ladder Truck.
This is a review the HexArmor Elite EXT Rescue extrication gloves. The gloves arrived on a Monday November 10th, 2014 and immediately went into service. First impression: Glove size is true to fit. I usually wear an XL but requested a large just to be safe so as to make sure they weren’t too big. The large is a little snug on me but they’ll stretch and form with work and sweat. The back of the hand on the glove is well protected with rubber, almost skeleton in appearance, is designed for finger and knuckle protection. The dexterity is great. I was able to retrieve an ink pen from a concrete driveway as well as a quarter. The gloves have red patches, of what can only be identified as cut resistant material. These patches are sewn palm side on the tips of your four fingers and the complete palm including the thumb web. The cuff has an elastic material keeping debris from entering your glove as you work. It goes on a little tight for the ease of rapid donning but after I wear them in a bit it may loosen some. There does appear to be some reflective material added to the outer edge of the rubber knuckle protection and the wrist area. It doesn’t appear to be there for much more than cosmetics.
Use: The HexArmor gloves were used for minor tasks like loading hose and equipment into the trucks for a few shifts before I attended a weekend long extrication class. They were worn during all stabilization and cutting scenarios for 2 days totaling approximately 12 hrs total time.
Conclusion: During the 12 hours of extrication the HexArmor Elite EXT gloves held up great! They still look almost new. The dexterity is amazing, allowing for operations to be handled easily without the bulk of other gloves. The “Hex – Skeleton” rubber along the knuckles and back of the hand is tough and very protective. The red cut resistant material in the palms withstood glass and sharp metal with ease. While my gloves were brand new at the class, a simple glance around at the other firefighters in the same class proved that HexArmor gloves is a go to brand for comfort and durability. There were many other firefighters wearing the same model glove as well as other HexArmor models.
Product description from the company website found here http://www.HexArmor.com SuperFabric® brand material palm provides ISEA Level 5 cut resistance and maintains the highest level of protection available in the industry. Durable TP-X® palm and fingertip reinforcement utilizes the highest-level of abrasion resistance while maintaining an oil-resistant grip. Superior back-of-hand impact protection system utilizes an advanced design to dissipate forceful blows over a large area. Exterior and interior seams implement a double stitched core-spun thread, adding further durability and longevity. Reinforced index finger and thumb saddle extends glove life. SlipFit® and anti-debris cuff assists a quick on and off between tasks. Hi-Vis color scheme increases visual awareness. Machine wash.