box alarm training

MSA G1 with iTIC at FDIC 2017

We took a look at the MSA G1 with iTIC (Integrated Thermal Imaging Camera) at the MSA booth during FDIC 2017. Sean Meigs from MSA gave us a quick overview of the features included with the G1 and the iTIC. If you haven't seen this iTIC I highly recommend getting a demo of the unit. I do not feel that this replaces a handheld imager but it is really nice to have integrated into your SCBA. It is very well designed and really does not create any more clutter on the SCBA. I really like the way the unit is powered from one central power source. You do not need to check and change batteries from multiple places. If you want more information about the iTIC or the G1 you can visit their website at

Disaster Management for the Company Officer


Disaster management can be extremely challenging for the company officer. Unfortunately I have seen my share of disasters while deploying on 5 different tornadoes responses. Early on I realized that middle management becomes a very difficult place to work because of the sheer magnitude of many of these disasters. I learned a tip awhile back that really helps with lining out the responsibilities of each crew member so that we fall in line with the National Incident Management System. When you find yourself in a disaster management situation ask yourself these questions.

What's my job?

This is the first question you should ask in order to define your role in the response.

Who do I work for?

It is very important to define who you work for or who you should report to throughout the operation. This will help disseminate information through the proper channels and reduce the duplication of effort.

Who works for me?

Things will move quickly during the initial stages of a disaster operation. Find out who will be working under you to make sure you have the ability to perform personnel accountability reports and can effectively manage those assigned to work with you.

Where do I get my stuff?

Your assignment can vary greatly and each response may require equipment that is not readily available. You need to find out where to retrieve specialized equipment and how to request additional equipment.

How long do I have?

Defining your operational period will help you understand the time incident command staff believe you should be finished with your assignment. You need to report your status through the proper chain of command and if additional time is needed let your supervisor know what is going on.

In the video below I discuss these topics and how to use the above 5 questions to help you get organized during a disaster response.

Bernoulli's Principle Applied to Firefighting | Box Alarm Training


Bernoulli's Principle is not the first thing that comes to our minds when discussing firefighting tactics. However, it directly affects many of our operations. In fire behavior courses we learn about how fire will travel from areas of high pressure to areas of lower pressure. This is the basis of understanding how ventilation and flow paths work. Before we discuss Bernoulli's Principle and how it applies to our tactics let's look at a couple of fireground operations that are affected by Bernoulli's Principle.

Traditional Ventilation

You were probably taught that ventilation was the systematic removal of hot gases, smoke, etc.  This definition led to a general misunderstanding of what ventilation actually does inside of a structure. Discussions in classes often communicated that ventilation cools things down and makes our operations easier. The discussion deserves a little more time in order to clarify. Modern fires are generally limited by ventilation and not fuel. This means that when we ventilate things actually heat up, they do not cool down. However, traditional ventilation still offers many advantages, like controlling the flow path or creating lift from low areas. These are often huge topics presented by firefighters because lifting gases can increase victim survivability.  In general when we ventilate a structure we are creating an area of low pressure for the fire to travel to and exit. When we break a window typically the fire will move toward the window you just broke. However, if the window is broken revealing a higher pressure area outside, such as a wind driven fire, you will be opening a new inlet for air to move into the structure. This can cause the fire to travel to another outlet and in many cases creates a very dangerous environment for crews working inside of the structure.

Positive Pressure Ventilation (PPA)

Positive Pressure Ventilation attempts to create a significantly higher pressure area inside the structure than outside of the structure. This will force fire and gases out of the structure as they seek areas of lower pressure. This can also create problems by forcefully pushing gases and fire into void spaces that are difficult to detect. Many departments all over the United States use positive pressure successfully but these departments also understand some of the concerns with using positive pressure. Once a fire leaves a confined area, such as a bedroom, positive pressure can create a chase for the fire attack team. The fire will rapidly seek low pressure and can outrun an interior fire attack crew very quickly.

Nozzle Operations

When we use our nozzle we are not only flowing water, we are flowing air. This air can create areas of higher pressure just like positive pressure fans and cause fire to travel towards areas of lower pressure. A nozzle can very quickly over pressurize a room causing the exhaust to push back on the fire attack team.

Bernoulli's Principle

Bernoulli's Principle states "an increase in the velocity of a stream of fluid results in a decrease in pressure". Water flowing from a nozzle will create an area of low pressure and draw even more air into the area you are directing the stream. This is significant when fighting fires in under ventilated spaces or flowing water into a structure from the exterior.

In the video below we will discuss Bernoulli's Principle and how it relates to fire attack concepts.

Drones for the Fire Service | Part 2 and 3 | Getting Started


Drones are growing increasingly popular as tools for firefighters and emergency responders. Getting started into drone operations can be very difficult without the guidance of someone who knows the process. This new technology grabs the attention of many of us in the field and we immediately see all the ways we could start using them. However, within a couple hours of shopping for the latest and greatest drone, our dreams are shattered by rules and regulations set forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). I have personally experienced these processes and I believe I can help you move in the right direction. My initial reactions to the FAA rules and regulations were negative. I had a hard time understanding how a kid could receive a drone as a birthday present and fly it that afternoon but we couldn't perform search and rescue operations with the exact same drone. While I still have my opinions about certain operations, I understand why the FAA created these regulations and how important they are in order to integrate drones into the National Airspace System (NAS).

In the two videos below I will cover the two primary routes to take when establishing a fire service drone program. These two routes both allow you to fly for many emergency operations and each has it's own advantages and disadvantages. The first is Part 107 which is the commercial drone operations certificate. This certificate allows you to perform many different operations but requires you to take and pass the Part 107 exam. The second method is to apply for a Public Certificate of Authorization (COA) which will allow your fire department to operate a drone for public operations.

Part 107 Getting Started

Public COA Getting Started

Introduction to Drone Operations


Drone operations have gained a lot of popularity in the last few years for firefighters and emergency responders. They offer tremendous value for search and rescue operations, hazardous materials responses, and even structural firefighting. In this Introduction to Drone Operations we will go over the three primary categories of flying a drone. These categories are provided by the FAA and define the flight you will be conducting. We will also go over the registration process so you can get your drone properly registered.

Categories of Flight

In order to conduct drone operations you need to define your flight operations. The most common categories of flights for drones are listed below:

  • Recreational
  • Commercial
  • Public

In the video below we explain these categories of flight and how they are defined.

Register Your Drone

Any drone that is between .55 pounds and 55 pounds must be registered with the FAA. If you are considering performing commercial operations or public operations you must register the drone as a commercial drone. You cannot commercially or publicly operate a drone with a recreational registration number. I explain more in the video below. You can CLICK HERE to go to the registration site for your drone.

Determining Flow Through Nozzle Reaction


Determining Flow Through Nozzle Reaction

Recently I completed my first year of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy. If you are unfamiliar with the EFO program you must submit an Applied Research Project (ARP) for each year during the process. I wanted my ARP to identify a unique problem that really hasn't been discussed much in order to provide the fire service with some new information regarding the way we train firefighters to operate the nozzle during interior fire attack operations.

During my time as a firefighter and instructor I have noticed very few firefighters actually pay attention to the amount of water they are delivering at the nozzle. They just take it for granted that the water leaving the nozzle is what it is "supposed to be". During early stages of Driver Operator training we learn about friction loss and proper pump discharge pressure in order to achieve the proper nozzle pressure which in turn delivers the target flow we need. However, no one really discusses what happens at the nozzle and whether or not the firefighter can actually feel the difference in flow to know if something isn't operating correctly. We tend to look at nozzle reaction as a theoretical math problem instead of a tool we could use to identify problems that occur on the fire-ground.

The first step involved in this research process was to determine if there actually is a problem. A problem with curriculum, training, or even drills that have left the firefighter unprepared. My first ARP was to identify this problem so that in subsequent ARPs I could address solutions to this problem. However, I have tested some solutions and we are already seeing a trend which I believe can better prepare interior firefighters.

In the first ARP I tested an NFPA 1001-I-II class in their final week of training to see if they were able to identify critical reductions in flow. The results showed that 46% of the students were unable to detect a 25% reduction in flow using nozzle reaction. This test reduced a 125gpm @ 100psi nozzle by 25% simulating a 180 degree kink which could occur on the fire-ground. This 25% reduction drops the flow of the nozzle to around 94gpm which is below the recommended flow rate in NFPA 1710.

I believe my results show that we could do more to train firefighters working on the nozzle to identify potential problems. That being said we performed the same test to a group of students that just finished a week long advanced Engine Company Operations course and we found that 90% of our students detected a 10% reduction in flow. These firefighters received training in several nozzle operation techniques and performed a very high number of repetitions throughout their week of training. The feedback we received from the course was very positive and the firefighters that participated felt like they truly refined their skill sets.

I have provided a short video discussing these results and some recommendations I have for training your firefighters to identify critical reductions in flow. If you would like to read the full ARP you can CLICK HERE to read all of the details.

Updates and Upcoming Videos | Box Alarm Training


This is a quick video providing some updates for upcoming videos and our new webcast introduction. The webcast will invite guest instructors and manufacturers via video chat to answer questions, share new products, and generate discussion. If you  have questions about certain topics please write a comment below and let us know so we can try to answer your questions.

FDIC 2016 - What's Going On?


We are heading to FDIC this year and hope to provide all of you who are unable to attend with a resource. We recently started using Periscope which enables us to stream live broadcasts throughout the event. If you download the app follow us "@FFMattHinkle" and you will be able to watch the live streams. You will also be able to comment or ask questions during a broadcast while the event is live. Once the event ends you can watch the video for up to 24 hours later and then the broadcasts are removed. If you are attending FDIC 2016 we hope to see you there. If you see us walking around the exhibits stop us and say hello. We will have free stickers with us and will give them away until we run out. You can check out our short video below to learn how to follow along on Periscope.

Free Stuff from American Fire Apparel


American Fire Apparel GiveawayIt's time for another give away on our Facebook Page. American Fire Apparel has provided us with a giveaway of any product in stock on their website To enter you have to go to our Facebook Page and like or comment on the American Fire Apparel post. We will select one random winner by the end of the day and you will get to choose your free gear from American Fire Apparel.

Nozzle Air Entrainment - Video Series


Today we have released the beginning of a 7 part video series on Nozzle Air Entrainment. These videos will walk through some of the basic concepts of nozzle air entrainment and how you can deliver some hands-on practical drills demonstrating air entrainment with various nozzle types. We will release all of these videos over the next few weeks so keep an eye out as we move along. You will see below Test 1 and 2 which will begin our video series.


Test 1 is an exterior attack through a window using a fog nozzle. We will begin the attack with a straight stream directed at the ceiling and then move the pattern through 30 degrees and towards full fog. You will see a drastic increase in air entrainment as we change the pattern of the nozzle. This fog nozzle was flowing 125 GPM at 100 psi nozzle pressure.

Test 2

Test 2 is the same test but we are using a 7/8" smoothbore nozzle. You will see a decrease in the air entrainment even with the increase in flow. This 7/8" tip was flowing 160 GPM at 50 psi nozzle pressure.

You will see several more of these tests coming out over the next few weeks. The next tests include interior attacks both ventilated and non ventilated.

If you would like to view all of the videos in the video series you can see them below in our playlist:

Entire Nozzle Air Entrainment Playlist

Iron Fox Axe - Product Review


Check out our latest product review of the Iron Fox Axe. This axe has caught the attention of many especially with it's "battle axe" look. Once you look past the aggressive aesthetics you will find several nice features. If you would like more info about the Iron Fox Axe take a look at their website:

Firefighter Combat Challenge Video


We had a great time filming the Firefighter Combat Challenge Video over the weekend. Thanks to Dr. Paul Davis and Mike Word (The Voice of the Combat Challenge) for arranging a video for us to shoot. My brother Josh Hinkle and I were able to shoot all weekend and we are working on producing a few videos from the event. Here is the first one, The Highlight Reel!

Why are we here?


Pierce TruckAs “one of those firefighter Social Media pages” I feel like I should share with all of you why Box Alarm Training even exists. It is pretty amazing to see the sheer volume of Facebook pages now dedicated to firefighting, training, and overall firemanship. I know things can become very cloudy and hard to sort through with this infinitely larger network of firefighter social media. Let me start by saying I believe the vast majority of the members in this network are doing amazing things. They are creating so many opportunities and opening the line of communication to share ideas, research and tradition. So, why are we here? I know it sounds cliche but I grew up with a desire to become a firefighter. You can ask anyone that knew me when I was a kid, my dream never grew out of me. When I graduated high school I knew I wanted to join a volunteer department and I found an incredible department in Oxford, MS while attending Ole Miss “THE University of Mississippi”. I was a member of the Ole Miss Rebel football team and had some incredible opportunities to meet with amazing athletes and leaders including; Eli Manning, David Cutcliffe, Hugh Freeze, Robert Kayat, Jason Cook, Mike Espy, Michael Oher and many more. I learned a lot of life lessons while at Ole Miss and one simple phrase that Head Coach David Cutcliffe used to say on a daily basis was “leave this place better than you found it”. I continue to believe that our mission in the fire service is to leave this place better than we found it.

Leather Fire HelmetIn 2010 I created a YouTube channel with the idea of shooting some simple training videos to help out some local volunteer departments that needed more training resources and couldn’t afford some $1,000 dvd package… So, I shot a few videos and before I knew it I was receiving messages from all over the world asking for more. It completely blew my mind and to this day I am amazed at the ability for some form of technology to change the way generations learn about firemanship. The absolute number one goal of Box Alarm Training is to provide training resources to all firefighters regardless of their budget, level of experience, or whether they are career or volunteer. After running the YouTube channel for awhile I decided to expand the channel to an actual training company so that we could grow. We have added a new website with more resources, a Facebook Page, and have several guys that have helped contribute on the site. In no way, shape or form do we claim to be the experts in all things fire and rescue. However, I firmly believe we can find the guys that are. I have been working hard at finding some other guys to contribute with more material and I believe I have some really good ones lined up. I thank you for all of the support you have given us. Every time you like, share or comment not only gives us confirmation that we are doing the right things but also allows us to reach more firefighters and that makes a difference. I thank you for the support and feel free to shoot us a message or recommend a new training video. We are always open to new ideas. Let’s leave this place better than we found it.

Nozzle Series - Automatic Nozzles


Automatic NozzleWe are continuing our Nozzle Series with Automatic Nozzles. The Automatic Nozzle was originally designed on a napkin and since then has been widely used throughout the country. The goal of the automatic nozzle is to provide relatively consistent nozzle pressure throughout a wide range of flows. So, you will see automatic nozzles used in many different applications including foam operations and standpipe operations. You need to thoroughly evaluate the use of an automatic nozzle in certain applications prior to using them. While the nozzle can offer several advantages like the ability to provide the pump operator with an in-line pressure regulator it can also conceal hidden flow issues because of the nozzles abilities to maintain good nozzle pressure. Adequate nozzle pressure does not necessarily equate to adequate nozzle flow. When a hose line is kinked or something happens to inhibit the amount of water moving through the line you will see no major indications on the nozzle except for a drop in nozzle reaction. You need to get out and flow these nozzles to feel the difference in adequate flow and poor flow. Check out the video below for an overview of the Automatic Nozzle:

Sutphen at FDIC 2015


Columbus Ohio SutphenYou cannot help but stop when you walk by a nice low hose bed at FDIC 2015. Sutphen has worked with Columbus Ohio and put together a very functional spec for a pumper that is built to work. You will also see a gallery below of several of their other trucks seen at FDIC 2015 including a pair of aerials that have incredibly low hose beds and carry 500 gallons of water. Take a look at the gallery below: [flagallery gid=11]

Nozzle Series - Adjustable Fog Nozzles


Akron Turbojet Nozzle The adjustable fog nozzle is a very popular type of nozzle seen on many apparatus. You will see this type of nozzle used in a wide variety of applications. The adjustable gallonage nozzle offers a lot of versatility because of it's ability to not only change patterns but also to increase and decrease the flow through the nozzle. However, it is very important for firefighters to understand that turning the gallonage adjustment does not necessarily equate to flowing what the actual setting is showing. As you turn the gallonage adjustment on this type of nozzle you are essentially making the orifice larger or smaller and as this adjustment is made the pump operator must compensate on the pump panel to deliver the appropriate nozzle pressure in order to flow the selected gallonage. This nozzle can offer advantages and disadvantages including the flexibility of adjusting the flow but disadvantages like the potential for accidental flow decrease if you bump the gallonage adjustment in the dark or smoke. Take a look at the video below covering Adjustable Gallonage Fog Nozzles:

Nozzle Series - Fixed Flow Fog Nozzles


Fixed Flow Fog Nozzle Fixed flow fog nozzles are a very popular type of nozzle seen all over the country. The nozzle offers several advantages including an adjustable pattern and simplicity of pump operations. You can find fixed flow fog nozzles in several different configurations. You will commonly see this type of nozzle offered in there different pressures; 100 psi, 75 psi and 50 psi. You will also see this type of nozzle offered in a breakaway version which is fairly popular for high-rise and hose packs. You will see many break away versions of this nozzle with a smoothbore integrated into the breakaway. Take a look at the video below for an overview of the Fixed Flow Fog Nozzle:




The Cross and the Maltese


The Fireman's BibleIn this age of separation of church and state, church and school, and separation of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus from pretty much anything these days; I began thinking of the two crosses in my life. The first and most important Cross, where all of our salvation started, and the Maltese cross which has been a part of my life for the last 25 years. I, like most of society, chose not to mix these two crosses early in my career but as of late I've realized the mission field that was available to me. Being able to go on a mission trip is an amazing opportunity for any Christian that has the chance, but there are so many people we can witness to on a daily basis. Starting with our brothers in our station house, our department as a whole, and lastly the citizens that we serve. I am a staunch believer that our lives are our biggest witness tool by far. People remember what they see more than what they read or hear. If you're a firefighter & profess to be a Christian, people will be watching and that's a great thing providing we handle ourselves properly & professionally. So many times we as Christians (especially myself at times) try and thump people with our Bibles or quote scriptures in a chastising manner that really turns people away from the very thing we're trying to draw them to, which is Jesus. As a Christian, the way we live our life can speak volumes to our brother firefighters.  Something as simple as blessing our food if we are in the public eye will go a long way with the citizens in our communities. Here are just a few scriptures to reference:

Mark 16:15 - He said to them, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

 Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

2 Timothy 4:5 - But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

In all there are so many things that we can do to reach people for the Lord & these are just a few things that I've been thinking on lately. I hope this will be something you guys can talk about at the station. Be safe, may God bless you

Ferrara at FDIC 2015


We saw a lot of good trucks and specs at FDIC 2015. Ferrara has been churning out some very good looking trucks lately and we have a photo album below for you to check them out. The FDNY 150th Anniversary truck was definitely a crowd pleaser. You can see a video of the FDNY 150 Truck below. [flagallery gid=10]

Nozzle Series - Smoothbores


The Smoothbore Nozzle

Smoothbore NozzleWe are continuing our video series on nozzles with the Smoothbore. This nozzle remains a powerhouse in the American Fire Service. With the increase in heat release rates due to changes in products and materials our ability to throw serious water on the fire is of the utmost importance. The smoothbore nozzle offers several advantages for firefighters. Some of strongest advantages come with the simplistic design of the nozzle. The smoothbore has the ability to perform under extreme conditions with good flow at a low nozzle reaction. The nozzle is very difficult to clog with debris and if a hose line becomes kinked it will maintain fairly good flow compared to a high pressure fog nozzle (100 psi). Even though the fog/combination nozzle has the ability to absorb more heat energy at the same flow, the smoothbore has the ability to penetrate without steaming off when attacking the fire. Once the stream enters the room on fire we can bounce the stream off of walls and ceilings to break up the stream and increase its heat absorption capabilities. The video below will provide you with an overview of the smoothbore nozzle and will cover a few topics in detail.