The Firefighter Toolbox Crew

Michael R. Rehfeld
Founding Contributor
Michael Rehfeld

Michael Rehfeld

Michael’s Mission Statement

It is started that day one decides he/she wants to be a firefighter, however one is not in the Brotherhood until they are fully aware of the firefighter creed. Nothing is more important than taking care of my brother, their family and the institution and tradition of self sacrifice, laying it all on the line, and paying the utmost respect to those that have gone before to forge the BROTHERHOOD! Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. JOHN 15:13.

Michael R. Rehfeld BCoFD Truck 13 (Ret.)


Michael’s Bio

Firefighter Toolbox Contributor (2013-2104)

Michael has over 32 years in the fire service and he is currently retired.  His resume runs deep in both the fire service and the law enforcement field.

In his fire service career, Michael worked for the Baltimore County (Md) Fire Department where he held the position of  Instructor/Fire Apparatus Driver Operator/Hazardous Material Specialist up until 2010 when he retired. As a volunteer he rose to the position of Assistant Chief with the Westminister (Maryland) Volunteer Fire Company.

Michael’s fire service specialities focus in the fields of  RIT and Tactical Ventilation. He always enjoys a good spirited discussion. If you just want to trade a chat or ask any questions about anything you have read about here on FireFighterToolbox, Michael welcomes your descussion. You can comment on the posts or  via [email protected].

Michael  currently reside in Florida with his wife Anne.

Mike & Anne

Michael and his wife Anne

Bryan T Smith
Founding Contributor

Bryan’s Mission Statement

Being a firefighter is a noble calling and in order to uphold our obligation to the people we protect and our fellow firefighters we must embody the time honored traditions and values that the fire service was founded on.


The citizens of our great country have entrusted the selfless and dedicated men and woman of the fire service with their lives and we can’t let them down.

In the course of fulfilling your duty you will have to place yourself in harm’s way for a total stranger. You will have to go were death is lurking fully aware of the consequences. That is why ours is a noble calling and that is what makes you a firefighter.

The fire service needs clear headed dedicated people of strong character. Who are passionate about helping others and willing to pay the price day in and day out to master the art of firefighting.

We must pledge ourselves to understanding the dangers which surround our calling so we can continue to answer the call for help without ignoring our own safety.

If you want to be a firefighter you must dedicate yourself to training and developing your mind and body. This can only be achieved through hard work, persistence and training. Only then can you truly know your job and possess the ability to do your job.

-Bryan T Smith



Bryan’s Bio

Bryan is a 3rd generation firefighter and has been a part of the fire service for 30 years. He began his journey as a volunteer firefighter with the Lutherville volunteer fire department in Baltimore County Maryland. He became a member of the career fire service in 1987 when he was hired by the Baltimore County Fire Department.

He has served as a firefighter, fire apparatus driver operator, Lieutenant, and currently as a Captain at the Eastview station (#15) in the 3rd Battalion. He is a state and nationally certified fire service instructor and has been a part of developing and teaching numerous training programs for the fire service and has taught programs for several fire departments on the east coast.

Bryan is  married to his amazing wife for over 20 years and they have 3 beautiful daughters ages 14, 17 and 19. They reside in the Bel Air community of beautiful Harford County, Maryland.  Bryan is known for loving to work with my hands and enjoys creating and building things.

He is actively involved at his church and enjoys volunteering and helping others.



Rich Gardiner
Founding Contributor

Rich has over 23 years in the fire service and is a career Captain for a Northern Virginia fire department, PIO for both the Harford County (Md.) Volunteer Fire and EMS Association and his home company of the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company (Harford Co, MD) where he is an active member. Rich specializes in Social Media for the fire service and all things PIO. He has been published in Fire House Magazine and writes and blogs for regional news publications.

In addition, he is also a member of the Harford County Department of Emergency Services Hazardous Materials Response Team and also a dispatcher for the Harford County Department of Emergency Services where he has worked full time and now part time for 20 years.


Rich will be sharing on what he believes will direct the future of the fire service, that is social media, digital imagery and media relations.

Rich is passionate about teaching up and coming PIO and fire service media personnel how to build their skills and take their skills to the next level especially now with the impact of social media on the fire service

Rich’s fire career started when he joined the Chestertown VFC (CVFD, Kent Co MD) and his home company; the Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company (BAVFC, Harford Co MD) back in 1990 while he was attending  Washington College in Chestertown, MD.

Those were formidable times for him. He made a great many and valued friendships both on campus and off campus in the fire service, all which helped him get to where his is today.  He attributes so much of his foundational skills about the fire service and life in general, through the good leadership and guidance that he received back then.

College days were the times when you had to grow up fast, no parents to watch over you. Just life to guide you. Rich was the college kid outsider who was accepted into an all new family, a whole new world for that matter, called the fire department. He never forgets how he started in the fire service and has a great level of respect and appreciation for those members of the CVFD who helped.

During his early years in the fire service, Rich took interest in fire service media relations and communications. Precepting and apprenticing as a PIO at the BAVFC, this led him to the position he holds today as the Chief PIO/Spokesperson for the Harford County Vol Fire and EMS Association.


Rich Gardiner and Family - 2011

Rich Gardiner and Family – 2011


Rich lives in Bel Air with his wife Kristen (a former medic herself, which is how they met) and  their three boys: Ryan(3), Colin(11) and Josh(15). Oh, his children said to make sure we mention their dog Daisy and their cat Bella.  :-)

David J Soler
Founder & Publisher

David has over 23 years in the fire service and  is known for training and encouraging up and coming firefighters and officers with his internet radio show and contributions to  He is nationally certified as a Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer II, Rescue Tech, Haz Mat Tech, Fire Apparatus Driver Operator  with experienced in both urban and rural fire services and has served in multiple states and as both career and volunteer.

David has been a life long firefighter. He grew up literally next door(5 feet) to the fire house.  Being a 2nd generation firefighter he was raised at the firehouse cleaning hose & equipment and training. During his fire service career he served as a Lieutenant, Captain, engine driver, straight truck and tiller truck driver, rescue driver, firefighter, rescue technician, and EMT for both  urban and rural departments.  These departments include Ridgefield Park FD (NJ),  City of Troy Fire Dept (NY), Fallston Volunteer Fire Co, (MD), Joppa-Magnolia Vol.Fire Co(MD), and the Baltimore County Fire Dept.(MD)  

David is known for his hard work and leadership.  He was Captain of his high school and college teams and rose to an Eagle Scout. He played basketball through college at New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rensselaer Polytechnic (NY).   In college his teams won the league championship twice and went to the NCAA tournament Sweet 16.  David graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors  of Science in Management & Technology and a minor in Psychology.

David has worked in both corporate America, as an entrepreneur with his own businesses and as a career EMT/Firefighter.

David’s vision is to provide tools, resources, inspiration, encouragement and a community for firefighters and leaders to maximize their God-given potential as firefighters, leaders and world impactors.

In addition to his career and fire duties, David volunteers at his church and competes in triathlons.

David and his wife Kristen reside in Evans,GA with their daughters Madison & Olivia.


David, Kristen and their daughters Madison & Olivia

David, Kristen and their daughters Madison & Olivia


David growing up at the fire house

David growing up at the fire house