Ben-The brothers that have answered you show lots of wisdom. (I even liked the "walk the plant' remark. Hey, gotta have some fun, right?) Morale is an attitude, a way of life and a culture. Those of us involved in the Everyone Goes Home program struggle every day with LSI#1-Changing the culture if the fire service. It's a culture change for the firehouse but all of the members have to want it too. Are there any others who agree with your current leaders? If so, change is even more difficult. It can be done but it's like eating an elephant, you have to take one bite at a time. Gather your hungry allies and make your changes despite what the current dictatorship may be doing. Don't be insubordinate and don't undermine but if there are safety related issues, demand answers and accountability. You can have high fire department morale despite bad leaders. I like what Brandon said about uniting and approaching department leaders. Sometimes, enough is enough. When you approach however, do it professionally and with finesse. Never let it be said that in fact you attempted a "hostile take over." That won't work in anyone's favor. Above all, you and the other members must remember why you signed up in the first place. Protect your community, keep training and keep your knife and fork. Good Luck.
Leadership is a word FF love to use. They also love to use the "brotherhood" word, we are all brother and we are all opened minded... I'm European, working for more than 10 years on structural firefighting and many talk to me as an expert on this subject. Each time I tried to have a serious talk with US FF about the use os nozzle, after 3 or 4 messages, they just have insult to throw but no explanation...
In you case or rather in the case of the relation ship with the chief, just ask yourself if he is ready to ear you "constructive criticism". Because the main problem is not the way you talk, but the way the one to whom you talk, understand what you're saying.
Maybe you think your criticism are "contructive". But are they really? Are you in a "struggling" system, or are you going to work together?
Maybe juste have a commitee to see the futur: a fire service, like an organisation or a company, must have a futur vision. Time, money, people. What are the objective of you fire service? Responding to a fire? Yes, of course, but do you have a training planing for one year? Maybe your chief don't know really where to go. But do you know where are you going?
Project links people together. Project are motivation.
We can go back to the nozzle. I will just tell you something. And you will try to see how you understand that: "A fog nozzle can extinguish a fire in about 10 times less than a solide bore, with about 20 times less water. And if you want, I can instruct you".
Is it criticism? Is it positive? Is it negative? Not so easy....
Best regards and welcome to the marvellous word of human contact :-)
As the question is as broad as the responses you've recieved thus far. I'll give the broad answer that will still work....
Stress by definition is self-induced; meaning it's our reaction to the stressors around us. We can't force an individual to change. We can make their life miserable, along with everyone around them (ourselves included), but I can assure you it won't help.
Todd, Jason and Kevin are on the money. The Chief can only be as good as his team. If the leader is inept, it will catch up to them without mutiny and regardless of political affiliation. Yours is to take care of business. Do what is right to take care of firefighters and Mrs Smith. Dot the i's and cross the t's, document your recommendations. Neither cover for nor scuttle the officer's actions they will speak for themselves.