Instructor Bios

John Tippett

John Tippett, CFO, MIFireE, is deputy chief of operations for the Charleston (SC) Fire Department. He is a 40 year veteran of the fire service. John’s career has included service as a firefighter, company officer, instructor, battalion chief, safety officer, and urban search and rescue task force leader. John holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science and is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Emergency Services Management. He has worked extensively on firefighter safety initiatives including introducing Crew Resource Management to the fire service and the National Fire Fighter Near-Miss Reporting System. John writes and lectures frequently on the topics of firefighter safety, decision making, leadership, risk management and strategy and tactics. He is an at large board member of the IAFC’s Safety, Health and Survival Section, is certified as a health and safety officer through FDSOA, received the ISFSI’s George D. Post Instructor of the Year award in 2006, and is a member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, International Fire Engineers (US Branch), International Society of Fire Service Instructors, Fire Department Safety Officers Association, South Carolina State Association of Fire Chiefs, and the South Carolina Firefighters Association. John is also actively involved in a number of Charleston area public safety committees including harbor fire protection, consolidated dispatch and the Charleston County Fire Chiefs’ Association.

Ray McCormack

Ray McCormack joined the FDNY in 1981 and is a lieutenant with Ladder 28 in Harlem. He is the co-creator of Urban Firefighter Magazine and on the editorial board at Fire Engineering Magazine. He delivered the keynote at the FDIC Fire Department Instructors Conference in 2009 and he is the author of Tactical Safety for Firefighters.

Jim Smith

Jim Smith is a 25 year member of the fire service and presently a firefighter with the FDNY. Prior to his appointment with the FDNY in May of 2001, he served in the Port Chester and New Rochelle Fire Departments, both in the NYC metropolitan area. Jim is also a fire instructor in Westchester county NY.

Eric Hankins

Captain Eric Hankins is a Captain with the Yuba City Fire Department in California. Eric has over 20 years in the fire service; with experience that spans from rural fire operations to municipal fire departments. Captain Hankins has taught at various fire trainings across the country including FDIC in Indianapolis, IN.


Lt. MICHAEL CIAMPO joined the fire service in 1979 as a volunteer and began his professional career in 1985, he is a lieutenant in the Fire Department of New York. Previously, he served with the District of Columbia Fire Department and Wyckoff, NJ VFD. He has a bachelor’s degree in fire science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, NY. He is the lead instructor for the FDIC Truck Essentials H.O.T. program and teaches at numerous seminars around the country.. He wrote the Ladder chapter and co-authored the Ventilation chapter for Fire Engineering’s Handbook for Firefighter I and II (Fire Engineering, 2009) and is featured in “Training Minutes” truck company videos on His video Bread & Butter Portable Ladders DVD is available from Pennwell. His monthly column ON FIRE is on the back page of FIRE ENGINEERING

John “Bart” Simpson

John “Bart” Simpson has over 32 years’ experience in the fire service. He started his fire service career with the Peters Township Fire Department (Pa), where he held the rank of Captain. John then moved to Florida where he has worked for Palm Bay Fire Department, Titusville Fire Department and is currently employed by Osceola County Fire Rescue and is assigned to Tower Ladder 72. He has held the position of Training Officer with all the departments he has worked for. John currently teaches at The Central Florida Fire Institute as well as Gaston College and has taught for Brevard Community College Fire Training Academy. He has also been an Instructor at FDIC, Firehouse Expo, Firehouse World as well as teaching nationally and internationally. John is one founding members of the Fraternal Order of Leatherheads Society (FOOLS International). John has been an instructor with On Scene Training Associates since 1995.

Dave Gallagher

Lt. Dave Gallagher is a retired decorated Lieutenant of the Huber Heights Fire Division. He has over 30 years of line experience in career and volunteer departments. He specializes in Firefighter Survival, RIT and Truck Company Operations training and is a nationally known Hands-On-Training Instructor for FDIC, Firehouse Expo, and Firehouse World in Engine/Truck Company Operations. He has authored several articles and podcasts for national fire service trade magazines and sites. Dave is a member of the New England FOOLs and a charter member of the Miami Valley (Ohio) FOOLS.

Tom Decker

Lt. Tom Decker retired after 28 years with the Cherry Hill (NJ) Fire Department where he served as a Lieutenant on Ladder Company 24. Tom has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Science. Lt. Decker is an instructor with the Camden County Fire Academy and has served as a H.O.T. Instructor with FDIC and FDIC East. Tom is a NJ Level 1 certified fire instructor. He is a founding member of the Jersey Fraternal Order Of Leatherheads Society and currently serves as the Vice President. He is a frequent instructor on Truck Company operations and RIT.

Nate Evans

Firefighter Nate Evans has been a member of the fire service since 1992 when he began his career as a volunteer with Ladder 21 of the Pottsville, PA Fire Department. Nate is an 8 year veteran of the FDNY where he is assigned to 43 Truck in Spanish Harlem. Nate instructs at several local training events and specializes in Truck company operations with OSTA.

Chris Losee

Firefighter Chris Losee began his career in 1997 with the St. Lucie County Fire District. He’s been assigned to station 14 under Special Operations Command for the last 15 years. Chris is a certified state of Florida instructor for the past 13 years. He teaches the minimum standards courses as well as special operations for the State of Florida. He has taught and regional and state training programs throughout the Southeast.

Chris Carson

Atlantic Regional Representative, technical services representative, distribution support manager, and manufacturer’s representative for Task Force Tips, as well as National Foam. His work for TFT deals primarily with the Southeast portion of the region, covering North and South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. His years of experience in the field make him a vital resource as a sales professional and product specialist; particularly in fire stream management, hydraulics and firefighting foam technologies. Chris joined Cottrell Associates, Inc. in 1996 following a four-year tour in United States Marine Corps. Contact Chris at: (919) 552-0205, by cell at (919) 815-0081, Voice/Fax (888) 221-3548 or via email at

Brendan McGurk

Brendan McGurk, Paramedic Field Training Officer, Wake County EMS

Ben Waller

Ben Waller is the Battalion Chief of Training for Hilton Head Island Fire & Rescue. His 38-year career in firefighting, EMS, rescue, and hazmat experience began in Hagerstown, MD in 1975 as a volunteer firefighter and as a student at the University of Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute. His career includes a mix of volunteer and career firefighting and EMS experience in Tennessee and in Greenville County, SC prior to moving to the Low Country in 2003. He has been an Assistant Fire Chief, a county EMS Chief, and has taught Firefighting, Incident Command, and EMS courses at the college level. He is a Fire Officer II, and is a Paramedic, Hazmat Technician, and US&R Rescue Specialist. He is an adjunct instructor with the South Carolina Fire Academy and is a Swiftwater Rescue Instructor. Chief Waller was a Swiftwater Rescue Team member at the 1996 Olympic Games and was the Swiftwater Rescue Team Chief for the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team Trials. Chief Waller completed his Master of Public Administration degree at Clemson University in 2001. He also holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Administration and is a Paramedic/Allied Health Associate’s Degree. Ben is a member of the NFPA 1670 Committee on Technical Search and Rescue and is the Training and Hazmat Committee Chairman for the Beaufort County Fire Chief’s Association. He is the Water Rescue editor for Technical Rescue Magazine, and is a contributing author to Fundamentals of Technical Rescue and the Swiftwater and Flood Rescue Field Operations Guide published by Jones & Bartlett. Chief Waller is the recipient of the Chief’s Achievement Medal, the Higgins and Langley Swiftwater Rescue Award, the Life Saving Medal, and several other rescue awards and commendations.

Mark Schrade

Mark Schrade has been a Fire Chief in three communities since 1999, currently serving as the chief of the St. Andrews Fire Department in Charleston, South Carolina for the past eight years. With over thirty years fire and EMS service experience he has functioned as a paramedic, company level officer and training officer. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Akron and is a graduate of the Ohio Fire Executive program. Nearing the end of his career, he is committed to the development and growth of others. Mark is married to his lovely wife Karen and when not traveling they spend time spoiling two dogs at home.

Anthony Scoggin

Anthony Scoggin works for Lexington County Fire Service as a career Battalion Captain with 13 years of firefighting experience. He oversees the operation of Battalion 4 on C-Shift as part of Lexington County Special Operations Division. In addition, Anthony is a State Certified Fire Instructor for the South Carolina Fire Academy with 8 years of teaching experience. Anthony also works as a Program Assistant with the Office of State Fire Marshal in the Community Risk Reduction Section holding the rank of Captain with 3 years of experience teaching Public Fire Education.

David Greene

Chief Greene has over 23 years of experience in the fire service and is currently the Deputy Chief with Colleton County (SC) Fire-Rescue. He holds a Master of Business Administration Degree from the University of South Carolina, a Bachelor of Science Degree from the College of Charleston, and an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from Pikes Peak Community College. Greene is a PhD candidate in the Fire and Emergency Management Administration program at Oklahoma State University, having only completion of his dissertation remaining to be awarded his degree. Greene serves on the editorial board and is a regular contributor to Carolina Fire-Rescue and EMS Journal. He is a certified Executive Fire Officer through the National Fire Academy, holds the Chief Fire Officer Designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence, holds Member Grade in the Institution of Fire Engineers, is an Advanced Hazardous Materials Life Support provider/instructor through the Arizona Emergency Medicine Research Center of the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and is an adjunct instructor for the South Carolina Fire Academy. He is also a Nationally Registered Paramedic, is certified through Fire Officer IV, a Resident Fire Marshal and a certified Fire and Explosion Investigator through the National Association of Fire Investigators.

Tim Wojcik

Chief Wojcik has over 20 years of experience in the fire service and is currently a Section Chief with the South Carolina Division of Fire and Life Safety. He previously served as a fire officer in the career and volunteer ranks. He holds a Master of Education Degree from the University of Phoenix and two Bachelor of Science Degrees from the College of Charleston. Wojcik is a graduate of the South Carolina Firefighter’s Association Leadership Institute. Wojcik serves on the advisory board for the Emergency Management Degree Program at Columbia College and is the lead instructor for Leadership in Emergency Management Organizations course. He is also a Nationally Registered Paramedic, is certified through Fire Officer III, and is a Certified Fire Inspector.

Brent Turner

Brent Turner- is currently a Battalion Chief with the South Carolina Fire Academy as the Region 5 coordinator and brings to the table 24 years of experience in the fire service. Brent was a volunteer firefighter in Illinois and has 17 years as career firefighter. He has also been a Fire Instructor for 15 years. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science Technology and a Bachelor's Degree in Human Resources-Specializing in Work Force Education.

Gerald Mishoe

Gerald Mishoe- the Executive Director and Team Leader of the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team, a behavioral health counseling program for firefighters, first responders and their families in the Lowcountry region of our State. He also serves as a Regional Coordinator for the South Carolina State Firefighters Association’s Firefighter Assistance and Support Team (F.A.S.T.) that provides behavioral health support for firefighters all over the State of South Carolina. Gerald began his Fire Service career in 1967 as a Volunteer Firefighter in the St. Andrews Fire Department in Charleston and became a paid member right out of high school one year later. He was the Captain/Training Officer at St. Andrews when he was hired as an Assistant Chief in the North Charleston District Fire Department in 1976 at the ripe old age of 26. During his career, Gerald served in a multitude of other positions in the fire department from a volunteer and paid firefighter, and company officer through the chief officer ranks. He also was trained and worked part-time for Charleston County EMS as a Paramedic in support of the District’s First Responder program. He stayed in touch with his love of the Fire Service through his son Grant and many friends throughout the State after completing what has proven to be the first segment of his Fire Service career. In 2007, he re-entered the Fire Service as the Team Leader of the newly created Charleston Firefighter Support Team following the Sofa Super Store fire and will remain in that expanded role as the Lowcountry Firefighter Support Team continues their work. Gerald is married to Marci-Jo and they reside in Summerville. They are blessed to have two daughters, two daughter-in-laws, two sons, a son-in-law, and six grandchildren.

Don Erbin Jr.

Don Erbin Jr.- has been in the fire service since 1990. He is a member of the Kuhl Hose Fire Department in Erie County, Pennsylvania, where he has served as Fire Chief since 2003. He works a paramedic, and works at Emergycare in Erie, PA. He is an instructor of many fire/rescue and EMS courses.

Art Bloomer

Art Bloomer has been in the fire service since 1979. Art currently serves as a Captain with the Town of Kearny Fire Department. Art has taught many years at FDIC as a classroom and H.O.T instructor and has authored articles for Fire Engineering, such as “Search….one size does not fit all”, and “USAR operations in NJ during Hurricane Sandy”. He is an instructor and member of the NJ USAR Task Force 1 and lead instructor, an instructor for Rutgers University in USAR, also teaches with On Scene Training Associates and a founding member of the Ocean County Regional USAR Team. Art has delivered both classroom and Hands On Training to various departments in his home state of New Jersey and throughout the Northeast and Midwest. Art is a past Chief Officer and current member of the Brick Township Fire Department Technical Rescue Team. He is also a member of the New Jersey FOOL’s and also enjoys playing the bagpipes with a Pipe and Drum Corps.

Dr. Lucinda DeMarco

Dr. Lucinda DeMarco-is a pediatrician in Walterboro, South Carolina and is affiliated with Colleton Medical Center. She received her medical degree from Ross University School of Medicine and has been in practice for 29 years. She is one of 3 doctors at Colleton Medical Center who specialize in Pediatrics. Dr. DeMarco is board certified in Pediatrics and is a fellow (FAAP), American Academy of Pediatrics.

Tommy Keefer

Tommy Keefer- began his firefighter career as a junior firefighter. Tommy continued to volunteer and was hired with the Town of Summerville. Tommy obtained his IFSAC Firefighter II, Haz mat Tech, Chlorine response Specialist and EMT B over the next few years. He has worked for HEPACO Environmental clean-up service part time. Tommy left Summerville Fire and Rescue full-time to broaden his knowledge base and increase his ability to help the community. Tommy went to work for Dorchester County EMS where he became certified as an EMT-I and then up the EMT-Paramedic level, and in August Tommy completed his training through the University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics Critical Care Paramedic training Program. Tommy wanted to bring his fire service and EMS backgrounds together. Tommy became employed in August of 2013 with Colleton County Fire-Rescue. Tommy has been involved with training newly graduated paramedic students, assisted with New Hire Orientation and is also a medical FTO for Colleton County.

Jason J Brahm

Bluffton Township Fire District. Certifications:Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certified. Certified Personal Trainer. Conviction Training Facility Intern Program. Area Expertise: Nutritional Coaching, Strength and Conditioning, Program Director for BTFD Recruit School Physical Fitness and Wellness Programs.SC Firefighters Association Health and Saftey Committee Member, SC Fit Team Member. Owner/Founder of 1st Due Fit. Fire Experience: 9 years with Bluffton Township Fire District. Senior Firefighter C assigned to Truck 375/Special Ops.

James K. Crawford

James K. Crawford is the Assistant Fire Chief for Midway Fire Rescue in Pawleys Island, SC. He retired as the Assistant Fire Chief of the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire after 20 years of service. Jim is also the retired Deputy Fire Chief of Operations for the 171st Air Refueling Wing Fire Department, Pennsylvania Air National Guard after 23 years of military service and is a graduate of the Air Force Fire Academy. Jim is also the past Deputy Chief of Training for the Pennsylvania USAR Strike Team where he also served as a Rescue Manager. He is a life member and past Fire Chief of the Ben Avon Volunteer Fire Company, PA. and has over 40 years experience in the career and volunteer fire service. Jim was the ISFSI Fire Instructor of the Year recipient in 2002 for his aggressive national efforts in firefighter rescue training. Chief Crawford has an Associates Degree in Fire Science and lectures nationally on the subject of firefighter rescue operations and holds several national fire service certifications. He is currently a student at Columbia Southern University in the Bachelors degree program. He may be reached at

James Ellis

James Ellis is a Captain with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire assigned to Engine & Truck Company #32 in the Northside section of the city. He is a suppression Instructor for the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy. Jim is also a Rescue Specialist with the PA USAR Strike team 1. He is the Fire Chief of the 171st Air Refueling Wing Fire Department for the Pennsylvania Air National Guard in Pittsburgh. He has over 23 years experience in the fire service and instructs nationally on the subject of firefighter rescue.

Edmund Farley

Edmund Farley is a Captain with the Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire assigned to Engine & Truck Company #4 in the Uptown section of the city. He is a suppression Instructor for the Pennsylvania State Fire Academy. Ed is also a Rescue Squad leader with the PA USAR Strike team 1 and holds several national fire service certifications. He instructs nationally on the subject of firefighter rescue. He has over 21 years experience in the fire service.

Nick Sohyda

Nick Sohyda is a 30 year member of the fire service and Chief of the Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Fire Department, an internationally accredited agency with a Class 1 ISO Rating. Chief Sohyda has been training fire fighters for the past eighteen years, placing major emphasis in the areas of fire fighter safety, survival, and rapid intervention. Serving as an instructor with Rapid Intervention Training Associates since 1997, he has had the opportunity to conduct hands-on training at numerous national events. Chief Sohyda obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Administration from the Empire State College and is a graduate of the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Program and is a credentialed Chief Fire Officer through the Commission on Professional Credentialing.

Brent McClellan

Brent McClellan began his firefighting career in 1992 as a volunteer. In 2003 he accepted a position with Midway Fire Rescue in Pawleys Island, South Carolina and currently holds the rank of Battalion Chief. Brent is also a Paramedic and received an Associate Degree in Emergency Medical Technology.

Peter Copeland

Peter Copeland started his fire service career in 1998. He is a Lieutenant with Midway Fire Rescue in Pawleys Island, SC. starting in September 2000. Pete is a member of the Georgetown County Technical Rescue team, a team leader on the Midway Fire Rescue Wildland Fire Team, a member IAFF Local 3617, and a member of the motorcycle group Axemen MC SC-1.

Carl J. Haddon

Carl J. Haddon started his fire service career in 1983 in Southern California. Since the early 1980s he has also served as a fire/safety director for numerous racing organizations, including Penske Motorsports, NASCAR, USAC and Mickey Thompson Racing. Carl also does consulting work for several fire service equipment manufacturers.For the past 10 years Carl served as Asst. Chief and Fire Commissioner for North Fork F.D. in Idaho. He presently serves as a S.O.C. Rescue Specialist / Trainer for the State of Idaho, and is assigned to the Salmon (River) Task Force. As a level 2 instructor, Carl has taught fire / rescue programs and done emergency planning across the U.S., China, and the South Pacific. He has been an FDIC instructor since 2012, and is a monthly columnist for Fire Apparatus Magazine (To the Rescue & Rurally Speaking), and is a member of the Fire Apparatus & Emergency Equipment Magazine editorial advisory board.

James Payne

James Payne is currently serving as Division Chief of Special Operations and Training for Midway Fire Rescue in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina as well as a current member of South Carolina Task Force 1. He also served for 27 years in the City of Baltimore. He has been an officer for 18 plus years, rising through the ranks to Captain. His focus while serving the citizens of Baltimore City was involved in Special Operations, commanding Baltimore’s only Heavy Rescue. Jim has been a member of various specialized Rescue teams such as the BCFD Dive Rescue Team, The Special Operations Team, and a member of a Type 3 Incident Management Team. Chief Payne has served with the Maryland Search and Rescue Task Force 2 Team as a Hazardous Materials Specialist. Chief Payne currently travels the country training in various disciplines. Jim has also traveled various countries such as France to instruct in Fire Service Operations as well as Dive Rescue Team Operations and to South Korea to assist in various Rescue training procedures. "Jimmy" is a proud member of the Ocean City FOOLS. He is a firm believer in the Fire Service tradition of Officers leading by example and mentoring their crew.