This version of Blowin’ Smoke features a friend and fellow brother in the fire service that I have followed online for quite some time. He is the owner of Tactical Advantage Training, and offers the “real world” version in his training programs. He is also always posting product reviews on Youtube, as well as scenarios onto the Facebook page. I had the pleasure to finally meet Lt. Frazier at FDIC last month in Indianapolis in the TECGEN Xtreme booth. The Blowin’ Smoke articles are geared around the individuals featured in them, and gives them a chance to provide some insight on their career/life. If you are interested in being featured or know someone who would, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Isaac Frazier is a Special Operations Lieutenant with St. Johns County Fire Rescue in Northeast Florida and is the owner of Tactical Advantage Training. He is a 2nd generation fireman and found his love for Heavy Rescue operations as a young child, growing up with a father that served as the Lt. and Capt. of Rescue 4 (Wichita). Frazier is assigned to Squad Company 4 (USAR), which responds to all central working fires, specialty incidents, and entrapment vehicle accidents. Squad 4 is first due to the deadliest stretch of roadway in the nation, Interstate 95. This provides frequent opportunities to hone the craft of vehicle extrication. He is the creator of the course Tactical Extrication and travels nationally passing on his passion. Frazier is a Paramedic, Florida Fire Officer, Florida Hazmat/USAR tech, Diver, and Florida State Instructor.
How many years have you served in the fire service, and has/is anyone else in your family on the job?
I am a second-generation fireman serving in the fire service since 03’. My father is still in on the job with around 40 years in and has climbed through the ranks currently working as a Department Chief.
What was your drive to make you want to join the fire service?
I have been around the fire service my entire life. I can still remember the visits to my father’s firehouse as a child. I know how much of an impact those trips had on me and I see that in the children of today. Growing up I always noticed that my father was happy working for the Fire Department. I never heard him complain about going to work or the portrait a negative light on the job. There was a bond between his fellow men that I took note of throughout my life. He never pushed me or told me to become a fireman, because he didn’t have to.
Is there any distinct way that you have tried to make a difference to either the fire service as a whole or the community you serve? I know it sounds cliché but I try to make a difference in any way that I can. The biggest effect that I have is in my teaching endeavors. Teaching extrication is my passion and I embrace the opportunity to travel nationally teaching something that I am very passionate about. Many years of living in local junkyards, attending training, teaching and responding to the all too common extrications have allowed me to put together a program that is based off a great combo of book and reality. In the community I strive to spend that extra 5 minutes showing a small child the truck, or working on a new training program, I push to have an “all in” mentality and I know from experience the effects that a fireman can have on someone’s opinion of the fire department.
Do you currently have any specific personal goals you would like to accomplish during your career, and have you completed any of those already?
If I complete half the goals I have set for myself, I will be lucky. I am at an incredible point in my career and am blessed to be a Special Ops Lt. riding a Heavy Rescue that is staffed with a crew that is not afraid to work. One of my big goals is to spread my passion for extrication, which I am currently doing through a fully booked 2014. Extrication is a subject that is often misunderstood and many times lacks “real world” training through experience.
What is the biggest change that you have witnessed since joining the fire service?
With anything, change is a given. The difficult part is deciding if it is good or bad for our service. One of the best changes I have witnessed is the increase in fire and extrication training. I feel that the increase in quality training has greatly helped our service. However, I see a newer trend that is putting firefighter safety ahead of the patient/citizens. In no way am I saying to disregard safety, but do not make everything so safety based that the fire officer is too afraid to make decisions.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge that the fire service faces today?
I think one of the biggest challenges for many departments will be learning to operate with less. From decreased staffing to a decrease in funding, this will put added stress and difficulty in an already challenging career.
Dark times are overcome by my foundation of faith and a wonderful and supportive family including my parents. My wife has been with me for almost my entire fire service career; it would be hard to push through without her support and that of my two young children.
With so many of our firefighters dying each year in the Line of Duty, what are some of the things you do to help ensure “Everyone Goes Home”?
I do not believe that “Everyone Goes Home” is a new concept. Since the creation of the fire service, I believe that it was always an officer’s goal to get everyone home safely. In my opinion, the best way to support this mentality is through strong officers, great training, making the right decisions, and sound tactics.
If you could provide some of the younger generation of firefighters with a few “words of wisdom,” what would they be?
Work to be the best in everything that you do but do not be afraid to own up to your mistakes. Your work defines you; this includes cleaning the sink all the way up to fire-ground skills. Jump on any training opportunities and never stop learning. God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason. Listen twice as much as you talk.
What is the best firehouse prank that you might have “allegedly” been involved in throughout your career? Many years ago, my old firehouse received a new recruit. We received a call that he would arrive later that evening. Awaiting his arrival, we spent the next hour rearranging the entire bunkroom. We moved all of the beds together and put all of the lockers against the walls. With this arrangement, we made one huge supersized bed. After dinner when the new recruit came upstairs, we told him his bed was in the middle. He proceeded to put his sheets on the bed and crawl into the large bed that would hold six firemen total. After the lights were shutoff one of the firemen moved a “little” close to the recruit and stated that he loved the way his sheets felt while sleeping nude. The whole room erupted in laughter and the only one not laughing was the recruit, as you could imagine.