For those of you completely new to the topic, podcasts are audio files that are published online or in mobile apps for the purpose of education and entertainment. Most podcasts are set up like a TV or radio show, with different episodes focusing on varied topics featuring special guests. Listeners can subscribe to specific podcasts, download new episodes, and in most cases, listen for free when and where they want.
Today, it’s easier than ever before to find, subscribe, and listen to podcasts on any topic you can think of. You can listen on popular platforms like iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, as well as a variety of other apps. The podcast medium has experienced a huge rise in popularity in the past five to ten years. According to Edison Research, the audience for podcasting grew significantly in the past year. Today, 51% of Americans ages 12+ have listened to a podcast, with 32% having listened in the past month, and 22% in the past week1.
Between firefighting, family, volunteering, working a second job, and continuing their education, many firefighters find it challenging to stay up to date with the latest trends in the fire service. Podcasts are a great way for firefighters to multitask and consume useful content about their trade while on the move, whether at the gym, in the car, or at home.
Because we know firefighters can live busy and hectic lives, we have spent some time sifting through the clutter to find you the 10 most useful and entertaining firefighter-related podcasts. Below you will find our favorite podcasts made by firefighters for firefighters with loads of useful information ranked in no particular order.
1. Lead Yourself (Fit to Fight Fire Podcast)
Fit to Fight Fire presents Lead Yourself, a podcast geared toward the growth of firefighters in the fitness and leadership realms. The hosts discuss a variety of topics and asks the listener: “Would you want you rescuing you?”
According to John Spera and Tom Johnson, they started the “Lead Yourself” podcast in 2017 because “we felt we were consuming a lot of leadership material that focused on leading others, but not much on leading yourself. The personal ownership and accountability that a leader must have to be successful needs to be present in his/her personal life first. Our goal has been to promote an all-encompassing mindset that focuses on purpose while at the same time sticking to our lifestyle priorities of Faith – Family – Fire.”
According to the two, “One of the most unexpected benefits of producing our podcast has been the positive feedback we have received from those inside and outside of the fire service. To hear from firefighters saying that we helped them change the trajectory of their careers or personal lives, or even in extreme cases, to hear from individuals that say our mental health episodes (PTSD, addictions, and/or suicide) saved their lives, has been humbling.”
2. Average Jake Firefighter Podcast
The Average Jake Firefighter Podcast brings you an uncensored view on the fire service through the eyes of a guy who is running the line, making the back steps, and pumping and blowing. This podcast welcomes discussion on all fire service topics with very little moderation. According to the host “I have felt for a long time that while you can respect your department and the fire service, you did not give up your right to opinion and comment by joining the fire service; some however would like to take this away from you.”
Average Jake Firefighter is a podcast for every firefighter, from the probie to the experienced chief officer. This podcast presents training topics for discussion, drills to take to your department, fire service updates, and reviews of everything from fire service literature to fire apparatus and everything in between, all from the eyes of “The Average Jake.”
3. The Volunteer Firefighter Podcast
In this podcast you’ll listen in on a group of rural volunteer firefighters as they discuss how their department works together to innovate, adapt, and overcome the challenges they face both on and off the fire ground.
According to the group, “There seemed to be a lot of content discussing career departments, but we noticed a fairly large gap in information for volunteer departments. Having a little different view and looking at topics from a volunteer perspective is something that sets our podcast apart for the rest.”
They went on to say, “We try to shy away from the dry, standards-based podcasts that we found coming before us. We put our focus on the REAL WORLD solutions we have found, what works for us, and what could potentially work for our listeners.” The podcast is meant to come off in a way that any firefighter, or even non-firefighter, can relate to. It’s tail board talk, just a group of fire fighters discussing whatever comes to mind that day. From calls they have run, to training scenarios they are working on, to fund raising, or anything else that comes up in their lives.
4. Multiple Calls Podcast
Scott Hewlett, a 21-year, second-generation firefighter working for a department in Southern Ontario, Canada, started this podcast because he wanted to provide a conduit for the people within his own department and others to tell their stories. The podcast discusses the how and why of each guest’s journey to the job, what challenges they have faced overall and how they made it through them, the struggles they see for our service, as well as what keeps them inspired and motivated.
According to Scott, “When I first joined, we were a lot smaller and the senior firefighter on the truck with me for my first shift had been on longer than I had been alive. Outside of what he and many others taught me about the job, he recommended that I start a journal of all the calls and happenings around the hall so that one day I’d have the makings of a book. I took his advice and this journal has come to remind me that there are stories to tell and we all carry them – about us as individuals, as crews, as platoons, and as a department. The wisdom and instruction about how to do the job are crucial, but the experiences and stories also help to shape our character and our fire family as a whole. Stories are important. Through storytelling, we find comfort in what connects us and expand our minds through our differences.”
5. Jumpseat Radio Podcast
Jumpseat Radio is a podcast dedicated to the street level firefighter view. The podcast shares views and opinions on various firefighting-related topics, all from the street level perspective. Join host Ryan Pennington as he interviews guests and shares valuable information that you can take back to the firehouse to keep yourself “Jumpseat Ready”.
Ryan started the podcast in 2014 because he could see that most firefighters were switching to mobile audio format. He also believed that hearing the actual voice of the author allows passion on their topic to come through.
Ryan is a Lieutenant/Paramedic for the Charleston Fire Department in Charleston, West Virginia. He is currently assigned to the Training Division and is part of the West Virginia Task Force 1 USAR team. He has over 20 years of combined Fire, Rescue, and EMS experience. Ryan is currently a WV State Instructor 2, Hazmat Technician, and Certified Fire Officer 2. He is very involved in teaching EMS and firefighter safety around the country.
6. IGNITEd Firefighter Podcast
IGNITEd is a brotherhood of firefighters who challenge the status quo through self-improvement and accountability. The IGNITEd Firefighter Podcast is a way to shed light on the issues facing us today as well as provide some strategies to help manage those challenges.
The IGNITEd movement is all about being your best self and taking care of your mind and body. According to the host Ryan Rodriquez, “We become stronger as we build each other, but we must first make sure that we are taking care of ourselves. Otherwise, we can’t take care of those we are sworn to serve.”
7. NFPA Journal Podcast
The mission of the NFPA is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. Their NFPA Journal Podcast features interviews with industry experts on fire, electrical, and life safety information.
According to NFPA Editor Jessie Roman, “NFPA Journal began producing podcasts way back in 2007 as a way of connecting more with our magazine readers and to experiment with different kinds of content. The audio form is a fun way to tell a story and I think in some ways it can be a little more personal than a written magazine feature, because you can hear directly from the experts in their own voices. We’ve tried all sorts of different formats for the show, including casual conversations with subject matter experts, such as chatting with Billy Goldfeder from the Secret List about firefighter safety trends. We’ve also done narrative storytelling podcasts, including one I produced recently about the San Antonio Fire Department’s innovative new training center, and another piece we did a few years back about how fire department leaders in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore have handled civil unrest and rioting in their cities.”
He goes on to state, “When we began, I think few people even knew what a podcast was. But it has grown over time from a few hundred people listening per episode to a subscriber base in the thousands. We come out with a new podcast the second Tuesday of every month. We love hearing from our listeners and receiving suggestions for topics and stories to cover.”
8. Fire Engineering Podcast
Fire Engineering Magazine has been devoted to the training interests of firefighters since 1877. Their podcast includes a lineup of episodes featuring hosts from around the fire service. Listen to this podcast to keep up with the latest news, techniques, products, training, and more to make you safer and more effective on the fireground.
9. Firefighter Training Podcast
The Firefighter Training Podcast, by Peter Lamb, is designed for firefighters who are interested in training, firefighter safety, current events, and advancing their career.
Peter Lamb, a 35-year veteran of the fire service, has led three suburban fire departments and has served in multiple capacities at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy up to and including serving as the director of state training. Chief Lamb has authored articles for periodicals and has lectured nationally on a variety of topics including tactics, incident command, training, and operations. Chief Lamb is also the author of the training blog located at petelamb.com.
10. Code 3 – The Firefighters’ Podcast
Code 3 is a weekly podcast for and about firefighters, hosted by award-winning journalist Scott Orr, who has covered Fire, EMS, and Police-related topics for most of his 30-plus year career. For Code 3, Scott talks with members of the fire service, from chiefs to probies, about new tactics, new equipment and apparatus, and issues that concern firefighters, and interviews fire service leaders on issues that concern firefighters around the nation.