YouTube channels that will make you a smarter firefighter
These fire service-focused channels will increase your KSAs and even offer some entertainment value
Didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night? No fear, you can learn anything on YouTube.
This platform has evolved into the ultimate collection resource for, well, everything, and firefighting is no exception. Type whatever your heart desires into the search bar and bingo, you have several video options to view.
But what are the best YouTube channels to which all firefighters should subscribe? I’ll do my best to answer that question by offering several different YouTube channels that deliver a variety of content options, whether training and tactics or leadership or news. Of course, these channels are tops in my humble opinions. Share your suggestions in comments below and we’ll consider adding yours to the list.
I hope these recommendations provide you some excellent information and maybe even entertain you as well.
Want to nerd out on all things fire science? Then UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute is the channel for you. This one provides so much technical information, mainly the latest on fire safety research. The channel is dived into subtopics that includes research project highlights and tactical considerations. The tactical considerations are supported by the research projects and are great for fire service officers to review. The “Close Before You Doze” PSA campaign has its own video section – invaluable public education tools for your community engagement initiatives.
At only 800 subscribers, this is an up-and-coming channel interview-style series. Dubbed as a live firefighter podcast, this channel provides subscribers with a weekly show called the “Weekly Scrap.” The Firehouse Vigilance team has interviewed some well-known firefighters who are routinely found instructing at big name conferences across the county. Most recently, Jim McCormack from FDTN was on the channel. Other past guests include Mark VonAppen (Fully Involved), Trey Niles (Nashville, Tennessee), Steve Robertson (Columbus, Ohio), Aaron Fields (Seattle) and Todd Edwards (Atlanta). This series has a lot of audience interaction between the channel’s host and the weekly guest, too.
3. STATter 911
Approaching nearly 30,000 subscribers, the STATter 911 channel focuses on real-life recorded incidents. Operated by fire service veteran reporter Dave Statter, this channel includes everything from bystander cell phone footage to body cameras and recorded news conferences. Most of the channel’s videos are actually audio recordings of various emergency incidents throughout the county – and there’s certainly a lot to learn from listening to dispatch. This is a very good channel if you are looking to learn through others’ experiences.
Another channel that’s over 30,000 subscribers strong, the National Fire Protection Association is no stranger to the YouTube vortex. The NFPA is the leading global advocate in reducing death, injury and property loss from fire, and its channel spotlights some of their many initiatives. The “Learn Something New” section lets viewers peruse through different fire, electrical, and life safety hazards, including Christmas tree fires. The NFPA is an advocate for positive fire service change, and this channel showcases its commitment.
5. NFPA Kids
Kids love YouTube, and the smart folks over at the NFPA seem to know this, as they have dedicated a separate channel to fire safety education for kids. This is a great way to strategically share information that kids will enjoy. If you are a community risk reduction officer for your organization or someone who educates children or visits schools, note this channel as a resource to help boost your message to children of all ages. Yes, Sparky is still the main dog on NFPA Kids, in case you were wondering.
You can’t think about the American fire service and not reference the New York City Fire Department. This agency has been both fire service innovators and steadfast tradionalists through much of its history. Its channel contains video shorts that focus on delivering public service announcements and information to the viewers. The FDNY does a really nice job highlighting the organization, not only on YouTube but on other social media platforms as well. This channel gets my vote for best fire department YouTube channel, with the Seattle Fire Department and Los Angeles County Fire Department channels as honorable mentions.
Speaking of the FDNY, a few retired firefighters from this agency started the Gettin’ Salty Experience channel a few years ago. This is another interview-style/live podcast delivery. The hosts recruit firefighters from all over the country to speak about their fire service experience. I’d say this channel definitely shifts more into the entertainment realm than the educational side. With its often edgy and blunt conversations with the guests, this channel will leave you fascinated with their fire service stories. You’re guaranteed to experience multiple emotions while watching these men and women share stores about their careers.
8. Seattle Fire Department
The Seattle Fire Department has a solid YouTube channel. Their content is diverse, from delivering well thought PSAs to highlighting important department events and even interviewing firefighters within their organization on various topics. The Seattle Fire Training Division has their own channel, which offers well produced instructional videos in a wide array of firefighting tasks. These are great refence videos for firefighters to learn and review tactics like horizontal ventilation, fire attack or targeted search.
9. Los Angeles County Fire Department
LACoFD is another organization that put together a really good YouTube channel. The department offers a plethora of information for the viewer. Everything from department history, fitness tips, wildland/urban interface, to CPR and AED instruction is available at the click of a mouse. LACoFD has several members from their organization who have assisted in UL’s Fire Safety Research Institute tactical considerations. These impressive videos are also available on the department page.
Don’t forget to share your suggestions in comments below, and we’ll consider adding yours to the list.