Ben Peetz

BEN PEETZ, CSP, CFPS, is a Senior Loss Prevention Specialist and fire protection consultant for a commercial property insurance carrier specializing in the forest products and other manufacturing industries. He has worked extensively across the Midwest and southern U.S., as well as areas of the Great Plains and into the Black Hills.

Peetz is a second-generation fire service veteran with the Napoleon (IN) Volunteer Fire Department, where he has served nearly 20 years. Peetz is an Indiana fire instructor II/III, an IFSAC fire instructor II/III, and has taught classes multiple years at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) in Indianapolis, Indiana. He has been a contributing author to Fire Engineering magazine, as well as a number of manufacturing and industrial digests and newsletters. He has earned the designation of Certified Safety Professional from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, and he is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist as recognized by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). He also holds degrees from Purdue University.







Not Just Another Fire was created as an effort to promote interest and provide education in fire prevention and suppression activities that go beyond the scope of the day-to-day or “bread and butter” operations.

Firefighting is in my blood. My small Indiana farming community is served by a volunteer fire department that has been in existence for over 125 years. And this particular farm boy grew up around this department, like so many others have in their own communities. From the days of being a kid tagging along with my dad to fundraisers , to riding along to a run once in awhile, to eventually becoming a state-certified firefighter during my high school years — I’ve always been at the firehouse or doing something fire-related. Eventually, I was fortunate enough to find a career that today allows me to engage my love for firefighting in a fire protection role, while remaining a resident of my small farm community and active with our volunteer department.

So, why the need for Not Just Another Fire? In my “day job” as a loss prevention specialist for a commercial property underwriter, I work extensively with manufacturing and industry to assist them in doing everything possible to prevent fires within their facilities. However, in over 10 years of doing this, I still find that when I start asking questions about what a facility’s management expects when a fire does occur, many have no idea what to expect – both internally and from their public response agencies. They seem to prefer thinking it won’t happen, versus planning for when it does happen. And this is not just limited to certain areas or particular industries. Too often, I find facilities that have never had anyone from the first-due fire department ever set foot on the property, let alone give them any feedback on their emergency response plans, produce a pre-plan of their own, or conduct any sort of training specific to the company’s operations.

Often my discussions with firefighters confirm this. I’ve found that more often than not, whether a fire department has one, a handful, or a hundred manufacturing or industrial facilities within their first-due area, they may not have any idea what goes on within a certain facility. Oh, but “we could find out pretty quickly if we needed to.” Is this really the best way to plan our attack for a situation that will potentially require some sort of special operations or assistance? With all due respect to Roald Dahl, I’m pretty adamant that, as firefighters, we shouldn’t be treating facilities like Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory – where we see things go in, and we see things come out, but we really have no idea what goes on inside. Safety professionals have long recognized that workers are more likely to get injured or killed when performing tasks that are unfamiliar or non-routine. While a firefighter’s daily routine can quickly put him or her in harm’s way, this danger increases exponentially when exposed to a situation that is out-of-the-ordinary. It’s that high-risk/low-frequency event that the great Gordon Graham speaks about so eloquently, which is likely to trip us up at best, and perhaps injure or kill someone at worst.

So, with that in mind, I give you Not Just Another Fire. This site will be devoted to the observation and discussion of those firefighting situations where unique circumstances demand special training or knowledge. Here we will focus on situations around the world where firefighters with both volunteer and career fire departments find themselves in unique response circumstances that are “not just another fire” in terms of the “routine” or day-to-day activities. While I certainly acknowledge and emphasize that every fire situation must be treated individually with professionalism and safety, this resource will focus primarily on fires that are obviously different — different from a dumpster, an automobile, or even that of a fairly straightforward residential fire.

Because many issues presented and discussed will cover all aspects of the fire service, from fire suppression to rescue and medical, members of all emergency services are welcomed. The goal is to provide a place to share news, insight, reflection, and training specifically tailored to those professionals who may have the occasion to provide fire protection and other emergency services in a place that’s a little different from the rest. We are a family in this mission to save life and preserve property while doing it safely, efficiently, and effectively. In that, I invite everyone who visits us to enjoy sharing information and engaging in constructive discussion and commentary on both the serious and the not-so-serious aspects of the fire service, as it particularly pertains to unique or particularly demanding fire situations. We will look for others in the fire and EMS community to lend their insights and expertise, and hopefully build us quite a repository of information and guidance to help new firefighters grow to be old firefighters.

Visitors to and participants of this page are encouraged to share stories, photos, video, and other information (either here and/or on the website) that assists in providing insight, training, and case studies for the purposes of training and critique. And while I hate that I have to say this, no harassment or bashing will be tolerated. We are all professionals. Let’s act that way.

All materials and information shared, uploaded, and posted by visitors to this site will be considered as having been provided with expressed consent and permission to Not Just Another Fire to share and use in training and other activities beyond the scope of this Internet site. Items posted will be credited whenever possible, with the idea that the information is provided for education and critique.

And if you are curious about anything in particular about the site, how to contribute, or how to ask a question without posting it yourself, please contact me. We’ll figure it out – together.

So, here we go… Oompa, Loompa, doom-pa-dee-do!

— bp