Search This Blog

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Last week, comments were posted questioning a training seminar that was conducted by the Hartford Fire Department for some of its members.

I haven't bothered Chief Freeman since he is out on paternity leave after the birth of his second daughter last week. Congratulations to the Freeman's on the arrival of their daughter.

I have spoken to several other people familiar with or who had attended the training. The course was regarding "Situational Awareness Training". From what I understand, the course was taught by a Fire Chief from Minnesota who was in the area to teach a course to the US Navy. The City was able to get a reduced rate on the training since he was already in the State of Connecticut for the Naval course.

Chief Freeman may not have risen up through the ranks of HFD and because of that may not be accepted by everyone at HFD. As someone who has observed HFD from the outside for a while now, I have to say I think the HFD is under the best leadership it has seen in quite a while. We aren't hearing of the discipline problems and chaos we have seen under the previous few Chiefs.

Chief Freeman is functioning under some of the most difficult circumstances seen in years. Between financial constraints and staffing problems, the HFD is still called upon every day to provide Fire Services for the City of Hartford and its residents. For anyone not aware of the situations facing Public Safety in Hartford, both Police and Fire are headed for a definite crisis due to the lack of commitment from City Hall.

The number for both Police and Fire are dropping steadily and they are not being replaced to keep ahead of the attrition. Sources at both HFD and HPD are telling me that those numbers will likely get much worse after July 1st as large numbers of Police Officers and Firefighters retire or leave for other jobs. Much of that attrition is being forced by the uncertainty and insincerity from Mayor Bronin and City Hall..

One high ranking HFD source told me that the training was held to help offset the damage of the upcoming exodus. The person explained that the loss of many high rankling officers is going to require the promotion of many people at HFD to important command positions The source made it clear that many of those people "were not ready for the promotions", but that everything was being done to prepare the future Captains and Deputy Chiefs to be ready.

Even though they may not be "ready", the promotions will be necessary to provide the Command Structure necessary for day to day operations at HFD.

Chief Freeman has had the vision and foresight to prepare for the possible disaster caused by City Hall and take the necessary steps to mitigate the impending disaster. Although some commenter's called the training a "waste of money", it seems to me like it will be money well spent if it keeps our firefighters safe with proper leadership in the field.

For those that claimed they learned nothing from the training, one source who attended the training told me that if anyone attended and learned nothing, "they were either asleep or not paying attention"


Anonymous said...

I was well awake and learned nothing.

Anonymous said...

The hfd is a very young department now and yes we need training for future leadership. But we need training from those that have been in the shit. We are a very aggressive attack department. To have a volunteer chief from Minnesota with a PhD in neuroscience whose biggest call ever was mutual aid to a bridge collapse, what does he honestly know about tactics because he sure didn't talk much at all about tactics and what we go through. He referenced to sign up for his blog and buy his books about ten times. Was he here to teach or sell us more books and blog memberships?

I did hear from many guys who attended the fire ground survival class a month back that cost 40k that that was some of the best training ever, taught by guys who have been in the shit and lost men, friends, and nearly themselves. Trainers were from big cities like Phoenix and New York. That's what we need. And that's what members of the hfd will respect and get something out of.

Anonymous said...

Kevin, I just "SHARTED" my pants laughing so hard! I hear there is a mayoral consultant in the area this week , should we spend $30,000 on this bird too? How about we hire every expert that is in close proximity to Hartford and consult our way to bankruptcy. I BET YOU CANT ANSWER THIS ,,,If this training was so important why not mandate it to ALL personnel??? Do you not know that for decades ,privates are in charge as acting Lieutenants leading co-workers into fires? A great leader would have recognized the danger in this risky behavior and have HFDs training division get certified to train ALL in this most important aspect of firefighting. Oh yea, thanks for the "discount" !!! Kevin, what is your feeling about one person heading two departments? This time off is his but now look ,you have no "leader" in two crucial service departments.


I'll answer your last question first, I strongly disagree with Chief Freeman heading HFD and DPW. It was a very poor move by the Mayor to even make that move. We finally have someone doing a decent job as Chief of the Department and now Broning dilutes that leadership by having him take over another mess at DPW. The main reason for the DPW takeover was because the Bronin's allowed their buddy to stay in place as the Deputy Director of DPW when he clearly couldn't handle the job and they let him collect a salary for almost two years for a job they knew he wasn't capable of doing, instead of finding someone who could do the job and actually take over when needed. It is a huge management failure by Mayor Bronin, as well as his "Team", being caught unprepared to maintain leadership stability when the DPW Director resigned. Do you not understand why the training was important to those it was given? Those who attended are the soon to be leaders of HFD , and many of them are not ready for it. That lack of readiness can very well equate to death in dangerous situations and again, that dangerous situation is being created by the Mayor and his lack of attention to the crisis he has clearly been warned about and has chosen to gamble with Police Officer's and Firefighter's lives for the sake of balancing his budget.

When I say my prayers tonight, I will pray that your prediction of a Mayoral consultant in town this week is actually true. The consultant is only about 18 months late. The Ringling Brothers Circus may have ended, but we have our very own clown show here operating out of 550 Main Street, sadly.As much as I would like to sit back and enjoy the show, we are all going to suffer



And who set up that training? Does Chief Freeman get any credit for that or did it just happen on its own?

Anonymous said...

Kevin,Please FOI final cost to taxpayers. What a joke.There were a number of soon to be retirees in that class and finally I'm gonna go out on a limb and say , whoever set that one day ,career altering training got plenty of credit in the form of something you stuff into an envelope. Please,,$40 bucks a head x 120 ??? Somebody got a free lunch or owesie out of it. Thanks 1:22 pm , please comment more , you've shined a pretty bright light on this nonsense

Anonymous said...

I'm not in this business but finally, someone has commented what I have long thought; which is how can one person take on two very challenging positions? It can't be done. What the hell was Bronin thinking? So I guess the chief make chief pay as well as PW direct pay? Does he work 20 hours a day? If so, he isn't working enough hours.

I strongly suspected madam former PW director was not up to the task. Every time I offered her an idea, ger come back line was, "Oh, I'm already working that idea but thanks." Like hell.

Anonymous said...

Paying out of town "experts" to come in and preach has gone on for years, although some are very good many are as stated above just a pitch to sell books and other money making schemes.
as far as " situational awareness" goes, anybody with a year on the job should have that down as operating in Hartford is one of the most Chaotic events with diverse situations ongoing at all times.
You don't need a guy from some small volly department or even pros from FDNY, you still have senior leadership on the job who have seen as much or more than anyone in the business. Fire is Fire, don't care where, same with car wrecks and EMS. Listen to the senior guys, and open your mouth and ask, take a genuine interest in what we do and spend a little time away from the TV or video games and drop by your company officers room and pick his brain, before he's gone.
That costs the city nothing.

Anonymous said...

10:33 am couldn't state it any better,well done. Hey 10:33 , were you around when the city hired a consultant company to evaluate the fire dept and give suggestions on how to run it better? I think it was called the Buraker report, the city paid tens of thousands for nothing. The funniest part was that 2 proponents for this waste of taxpayer money were ,the mayor ,Mike Peters , was a retired firefighter and one of the council membersJohn Stewart ,was a retired Chief! They needed a paid outsider to inform them about a job they used to do? Maybe they got rewarded with the Oprah approach, YOU GET AN ENVELOPE OF CASH !!!AND YOU GET AN ENVELOPE FULL OF CASH !!'mAND YOU GET AN ENVELOPE FULL OF CASH!!!!

Tic tac toe said...

If you little fire mice cant stand the heat , go to newington. Go to simsbury and play nentendo in the bunk. Im sick of u new guys crying about every little issue. Your lucky to have a job. You all listened to vinni. Now deal with it. This job is really not that bad, but the influx of new lazy guys makes it seem like building a pyramid.
Blame vinni for serving the tasty kool aid to you fire mice. See if vinni is here in sep.
The chickens are comin home to the hens.
If terry was at the helm, things might have been different . Just saying....

Anonymous said...

The HFD is falling apart, Lieut s. have been promoted to Capt, with NO testing, Capt s. have been promoted to Deputy Chief with NO testing, so sad, NO firefighter has to study "or get into the books" for promotions anymore, just wait for the first lawsuit, as to what qualified these members for a promotion ? Esp. Deputy Chief, NO damn line experience what so ever, It's happened in the past and sure will again, just wait. Seems someone doesn't know how to "Test" for the vacant position, oh yeah, in the industrial field, promotions are just given, the old buddy system. No longer is Hartford a Class "A" Department !

Anonymous said...

That last post is scary.

Anonymous said...

I just learned that a Driver at E9 was moved to another shift so another driver who has a terrible service record could have a place to work OT every shift without leaving his firehouse. It so happens the terrible driver has a brother that heads a department on the third floor and is very close to Chief Reggie. My point, the beat goes on, favors and dirty dealing still a part of Reggies administration. Real shame as the guy who was moved has and excellent attendance and service record and the other driver, Reilly, one could say is questionable?
And while were at it how hard is it for Reggie to look good, they keep giving him money, this years budget rumored to be 37.9 million. Anyone can shine when they keep feeding you money. Reggie has gotten the 2 biggest increases in budget in decades in his 2 yr tender. At least Teale, Casares, and even Heurtas kept costs down or at least level and still got the job done. How is it a cash strapped city can justify the increases? Dept. Budget is largely, i think around 90% salary, With an exodus anticipated of the high priced senior help why the large budget increase. In the private industry, a leader reflecting an 8,9 maybe 10% increase in operating costs would be looked at hard for replacement.