I would rather anticipate a fire 1000 times and not have one, than be surprised once. Because we don't respond to a working fire every time we leave the firehouse some firefighters may begin to expect each incident to be mundane, uneventful, or routine. Allowing this thought process to take hold undermines the safety of every member of the company as well as the public, and may put the outcome of an incident in jeopardy. Remaining focused and vigilant usually isn't the easiest path. However, brother and sister firefighters are counting on our performance and a family at home needs us to return safely.
Firefighters at every stage of their service need to expect that each response will bring a challenge to their skill, knowledge, and dedication. This requires a level of preparation that differs based on the position a member holds within the fire service. For the newer firefighter or probie preparation may consist of reviewing department policy and training materials as well as fire service publications and electronic media. Active participation in company drills and spending time with each piece of equipment on the rig is necessary to become a valued part of the unit. Perhaps one of the most important ways to develop the correct mindset for the job is to seek out a mentor(s) within the firehouse. here is no better way foe a young firefighter to become a successful "old firefighter" than to learn from others who have been successful at become the "go to" people at the incident scene.
The mentality to expect fire remains the same, while the facets of preparation change, and intensify as a firefighter gains responsibility and/or rank in the fire department. As a senior firefighter or company officer preparation and an attitude to expect fire must be self-developed and then nurtured with all the members under the officer's command or mentorship of the senior firefighter. The officer must know polices and procedures thoroughly as well as maintain awareness of emerging trends and innovations in the fire service. With responsibility for the lives of his/her firefighters the company officer doesn't have the luxury of becoming complacent. Along with the firefighters, the officer must maintain a working knowledge of the district to which they are assigned. Pre-planning hazards and knowing where to expect problems with traffic congestion, access points, construction features, occupancy type and other "recon" issues are part of the plan when expecting fire.
We have discussed just a few of the ways in which firefighters and officers can fight complacency and expect fire when responding to each incident. The path to continued engagement in the fire service is a personal one. There are many resources and plenty of others to follow or lead along the way. Some of the most important reasons to expect fire on every response are the firefighters responding with you and the loved ones waiting at home.