Friday, July 1, 2011

“The outcome of the 1% of the time we spend on the fireground is based on the actions, discipline, and leadership we display the other 99% of the time in the soft environment.” - Anthony Avillo

For those of you who do not know, Anthony Avillo, a 25- year veteran, is a deputy chief in North Hudson Regional (N.J.) Fire & Rescue, assigned as 1st Platoon Regional Tour Commander. Chief Avillo has a B.S. in Fire Science from New Jersey City University. He is an instructor at the Bergen County (N.J.) and Monmouth County (N.J.) Fire Academies. Avillo, an FDIC instructor, is a member of the FDIC advisory board and is an editorial advisor to Fire Engineering Magazine. He is the author of Fireground Strategies, 2nd edition (Pennwell 2008) and Fireground Strategies Workbook Volume II (Pennwell, 2009). Anthony is a contributing author of the Fire Engineering Firefighters Handbook (Pennwell 2008) and will be co-author of the Fire Engineering Firefighters Handbook Study Guide (Pennwell 2009).

To make the interview a bit easier to follow I have listed the questions I asked along with a timestamp of when the question was asked incase you wanted to fast forward. Again, of you have any other suggestions for people to interview or questions to ask e-mail them to

1.  For those who do not know who Anthony Avillo is, tell me a little about yourself.  Both inside and outside the fire service. 0:50

2.  Most recently, you contributed to Fire Engineering’s Handbook for Firefighter I & II.  A tremendous book filled with tons of information written by many of the top names in firefighting, that takes a new approach to training the Firefighter.  What was this like and how do you think this approach will change the fire service?  3:35

3.  In your book, Fireground Strategies, you do a tremendous job showing how apply individual tactics to the overall stagey of an incident.  What inspired this book and what changed between the two additions? 7:08

4.  Your a regular contributor to the on-line publication Fire Nuggets with your Bigger Picture segment.  Tell us a little more about this valuable resource and what your contributions have been.  10:04

5.  Here in the Chicagoland area we have hundreds of smaller career departments operating next door to each other, but maintaining an individual status. You have experienced consolidation first hand.  What have been some of the positive and negative aspects of this? 14:12

6.  In your writing and lectures, you have clearly defined what makes and successful company officer and how they directly affect their company.  What are the most important traits for a leader to have? 20:50

7.  Fire volume for many departments is much lower than that of previous years.  Combine this with the fact that those “salty dogs” who thrived in this environment are also leaving their respective departments, whats left is a relatively inexperienced fire service specifically in the officer ranks.  What do you think is the best way for young fire officers to gain the much needed experience in today’s environment? 22:54

8.  You are credited with one of my favorite quotes pertaining to the fire service.  “The outcome of the 1% of the time we spend on the fireground is based on the actions, discipline, and leadership we display the other 99% of the time in the soft environment”.  To me this summaries the importance of using your downtime to learn and study firefighting in depth. What books do you believe every firefighter should add to their library?  Both specific to the fire service and in general. 27:03

9.  Tell us one story that has influenced you and shaped who you are as a firefighter. 32:58