Pushing the Firefighter “Reset” Button
Joseph Kitchen, Bath Twp. Fire Department (Lima, Ohio)
Do you ever get to the point where you just feel exhausted? Your work schedule has been busier than usual; your home life is hectic. Family, friends, kids, school, coaching sports, church activities, volunteer work…it all just adds up and you feel like you are at your breaking point. If so, I believe for many of us, its normal. We live crazy lives, jam packed with more activities than there are hours in the day. We get behind on sleep, we get irritable, and often we start treating people negatively. Many times this bleeds over into our work at the fire department. We find ourselves more argumentative, confrontational, and less cooperative. Some firefighters don’t feel like drilling or training because they are burned out. If this is you, or someone you know; it’s time to hit what I call the “firefighter reset button.”
Here is a list of ten tips and suggestions on how to get back on track and hit reset.
10. Go to FDIC. Get around other firefighters. Talk to instructors. Read the books. Take the classes. Meet the vendors. See the equipment. Evaluate the apparatus. Remember how much you love this career. There is nothing like a week at FDIC to get you back on track. If there is a fire department in heaven, I bet it looks like FDIC!
Make the choice to “hit reset” and get back to loving your job. We are the luckiest people on Earth, doing the best job, in the most honorable profession. If you’ve been dragging yourself out of bed in the morning and have lost your passion; hit the button. Reset your attitude and get back to work doing what you do best!
Joseph Kitchen, OFC, is the Chief of the Bath Twp. Fire Dept. (Lima, Ohio.) He began his career in 1990 and has served as fire chief since 2002. He holds degrees in EMS and fire science, and in 2012 was named “Fire Officer of the Year” by the Ohio Dept. of Public Safety. Follow Chief Kitchen on Twitter @bathtwpchief and visit his department’s website at www.bathtwpfd.com