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What's your legacy?

I am once again saddened by the number of our brothers who are going to work and not making it home. It seems like this year has been particularly bad, especially with the California fires. We are losing America’s firefighters at an alarming rate. Some of our brothers are being killed while they are deployed and defending our freedom, some are fighting the fires on the west coast and some are happening “up the street”.

Have you ever given any thought about what type of legacy you leave behind? Recently, an old friend passed away from my former fire department in NY. After thinking about him and how he was towards others, I started thinking about myself. What kind of fire service life am I leading? Am I doing the best I can, not for myself, but for the guys that I work with?

I know that we, as a fire service, “expect” that 100 of us will die each year. What other vocation has these unacceptable figures. Let’s face it; many times these circumstances are out of our control. As hard as we might try, no matter what we do, this could be the day. We know about the risks associated with our chosen profession, but what are we doing to minimize these risks? Are you taking this job as seriously as you should? What are YOU going to do about it? Are you willing to start today?

We can easily log onto the internet and reach out to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. We have the ability to ask questions and post responses to gain additional knowledge from anyone within our industry. As little as 5 years ago, this was impossible. Find someone who can help you and ask that person a question. Then find another and do the same. Before you know it, you will have connected and learned along the way.

I once overheard a friend say that there was only one “stupid question” you could ever ask and it went something like this…..

“If you ever see me in a bar and you ask if you can buy me a beer, then that my friend, is a stupid question”. (Thanks OG).

There have been some excellent articles written recently on “Mentoring” (Ben Fleagle), and I can’t think of a better time to embrace that. Grab a probie or a young guy and sit him down. Share with him what you have learned. Do it today, it may be your only chance.

When one of our Brothers fall, we all fall. We must continue to learn and convert our passion for fighting fires and enhance our training. We must always strive to overcome any differences that exist and stop settling for the mediocre training. We must commit to bettering ourselves and each other. Fire does not care if your career or volunteer. We are building our own legacy, each and every day.

There are many acronyms in our business. Maybe I could offer another for us to think about. I know that there are more than enough to remember, but what if we stayed true to this one?

Live your life doing the right thing (FOOLS-DTRT)
Energy to train and maintain
Girth, do something about it
Attitude, find a positive one
Care about your brothers, and mean it
You’re the only one who can change you

Brothers, we are in a dangerous job. We need you to be here for the long term. Live your life today with a passion. Do it for your wife, your parents, your kids, your friends, but mainly do it for you.

Train hard.

Train often.

Train like your life depends on it, because it does.

What would your spouse, your neighbors, your coworkers say about you today?
Not at your eulogy, but about you now at this moment.
How do you want to be remembered?

Live your lives in the fire service like you have the opportunity of a lifetime; because you do. I have a friend that is often overheard saying the he is “Livin’ the Dream”. That’s as true as it can be told. We have the chance to be part of the best profession on the planet. Let’s leave it better than we found it!

So, What's your legacy?

Greg Wild
Middle TN F.O.O.L.S Chapter

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I would be humbled if you felt this was worthy to pass on. When I had my wife proof this for me the other day, she "didn't get it". And it got me thinking, when you don't wear the cross, I don't expect you understand! It's not her fault, she just has no idea about what the brotherhood is about, even though she has been around it for about 18 years now.

At my station, I have a "Training $ Other Stuff" corkboard. On the first of every month, I find things to post. Usually only 3 articles. I remove the previous months info. and put them in a binder. That system seems to work well. When the guys read something worthy, they always pass it on.

Thank you for doing the same my friend.
Thanks Brother.

Excellent writing!! This is something every firefighter should read, it is a great reminder of why we are in this honorable profession. One of the first things I always tell new firefighters is This is the Best Job in the World and remember who is in your wallet or under the brim of your helmet. With your permission I would like to share this with both my volunteer and career department.

Be Safe Brother and keep up the Great Work.

Hi Joe,

I would be honored if you feel that this is worthy to share! Isen't that what we are all about? As far as I am concerned, if we are not sharing information about the job, whether it's tactics, mentoring or motivation, then we aren't doing our job.

Thanks for the compliments Joe, call on me for anything else!

Stay Safe Brother,

A "tip of my lid" to you. Let's face it, all the guys aren't ready for females in the fire service. I imagine it's especially difficult for you. Out of 10 firefighters, we only have 2 woman. As an officer, I would encourage you to simply keep doing what you do. Be active in the station, show them that your compatent. That's all you can do. The facts are that being a male does not make you competant automatically. The only differance is that you need to prove it.

Sounds like you have a good husband. Everyone needs a little push now and then. Don't let the negativity of the MUTTS (See for that explanation, get you down. We owe our best to the public, our Brothers (Sisters as well) and oursleves.

You have the opportunity to make an example of yourself. If you keep the faith, remain positive and be that "go to" person, then all, or at least most of the guys can have a paradigm shift of what they thought about woman in the fire service and who they are.

Good work and thanks for stopping by here and taking the time read my post.


You do good work. I always said that and now it shows. Thanks for remind those who are still doing the job that they are responsible for themselves first. It is nice to know some seeds are growing.

Your ex-training officer and Chief
Sorry, I meant to say 150 firefighers,
Great commentary. As I've gotten older, I've thought more about this, especially as I have a son the same age as the 'kids' coming into the fire service now. I also believe each of us leave a legacy no matter how intentional (or unintentional) our actions are. Regardless of how hard some of us try to make a positive, lasting impact, the apathetic, negative actions of others are just as effectual. Some brag on their years of service, experience and qualifications as if everyone should stand in awe, as if it was achieved in a vacuum and only needed to be done once. The truth is that we are who and what we are because someone else shared what they had. Too few firefighters and officers realize they actually de-value their accomplishments, by holding onto them. One final quote, to this end. "There's no limit to what can be accomplished as long as no one worries about who gets the credit!"
Hi Eric,

Thanks for taking the time to add valuable information to this discussion.

I love that you mentioned "sharing". Isen't that what this is all about? If we all walked away from these computers without doing anything different, without thinking about others and without realizing that the fire service is bigger than me, what a shame! It's easy for most firefighters to stay in their little bubble and not think outside their own department. I think that's considered average.

I think people like yourself that take the time to respond and offer opinions based on their experience is the greatest example of sharing. We need to take this message to the troops and spread the word. Even if we only change one at a time, it's worth it!

Stay Safe Brother and thank again!

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