Chief Halton stated in his FDIC 2019 keynote what many of us have said before- ”Firefighting is the best damn job we’ve ever had.” He is 100% correct. This is the best job there is, and I can think of nothing that I’d rather be doing. Although, being a cowboy on a ranch in Colorado or Wyoming with a view of the Rockies wouldn’t be bad either!
But let’s be honest. Sometimes the best job gets you down because of the toxic environment that you find yourself in. People, politics,…Continue
Added by John Lightly on May 13, 2019 at 7:55am — No Comments
Having been blessed to attend FDIC 2019 last week in Indianapolis, I’d like to humbly offer some takeaways that can be applied to most any situation in life.
1. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone
I think it’s safe to say that humans are creatures of habit. We are generally content to stick with what is familiar to us, especially the more introverted we are. As firefighters, we like being in control of things and have an intense belief that…Continue
Added by John Lightly on April 16, 2019 at 10:50am — No Comments
A mentor is defined as a trusted counselor or guide, someone who may be an influential sponsor or supporter. A coach is one who instructs or trains. These are terms that are used everywhere in our culture of leadership and personal development books, podcasts, and lecture series. A mentor is viewed as that old sage who takes us under their wing to give us little snippets of wisdom and tweetable quotes. The personal coaching industry has a large market share in business circles and seems to…Continue
Added by John Lightly on March 30, 2019 at 8:13pm — No Comments
From the book Building Leaders the West Point Way by General Joseph P. Franklin US Army (retired)
Page 41... “From the last rung of the ladder to the top, everyone has to have faith in their mission.”
But what happens when you don’t have faith in your mission? How do you have faith when you don’t believe in the leader? Check that, not the leader but the person in charge. Big difference there. How do you continue on when the whole organization is on edge,…Continue
Added by John Lightly on March 3, 2019 at 5:58pm — No Comments
For some time now, cancer in the fire service has been a hot topic leading to passionate pleas and spirited debates. It seems there has recently been an even bigger uptick in the “air time” that cancer is getting in articles, on social media, and in presentations across the country. Everywhere you look, it seems that a new study is being conducted, results are out from a study completed, or a new way of doing things is making the rounds.
We all agree that cancer is a major concern for…Continue
Added by John Lightly on February 12, 2019 at 8:30am — No Comments
A major portion of the United States was just hit with a pretty decent snowstorm. My area in NE Ohio was no exception, getting anywhere from 10”-16” of the white stuff. As I left my shift in the darkness and headed home, it was no surprise that the main roads were plowed while the side streets were still untouched. The majority of the business parking lots were unplowed as well, likely due to the fact that many would be closed that day for MLK Jr. observance, and thus, didn’t need to be…Continue
Added by John Lightly on January 22, 2019 at 8:35am — No Comments
My first FireEngineering Training Network blog post was on the pushup challenge I undertook for the year. The guys over at http://firefighterfunctionalfitness.com/ put out the challenge to do 100 pushups, every day, for the entire year. Thinking that this wouldn't be very hard, I took the challenge.
I'm proud to say, that not only did I complete the challenge, but I crushed it! I viewed…Continue
Added by John Lightly on December 31, 2018 at 3:33pm — No Comments
Rank might bring privileges, but it doesn’t necessarily equal leadership. You may have the authority that comes with the badge, however, this does not mean that your subordinates will follow you. The trust and willingness on their part to follow you must be earned. One way to quickly earn trust, and therefore, leadership, is through having good communication skills.
Communication only happens when both parties hear and understand what has been said. Until then, it’s just words being…Continue
Added by John Lightly on December 6, 2018 at 7:26pm — No Comments
“I think I taught you how to be instructors, but I don’t know if I taught you how to pass the state test.” This is what I told my class of fire instructor students at the end of the course today. It’s a shame, really, when you think about it.
For the past number of weeks, I have been pouring my time, mind, and heart into the course, trying to make it informative, relevant, and useful. I have taught them…Continue
Added by John Lightly on November 8, 2018 at 7:45pm — No Comments
Recently, I found myself in the unenviable position of Incident Commander at a house fire that resulted in a civilian fatality. We arrived to find heavy fire from multiple rooms and witnesses telling us that people were inside. An aggressive interior attack and search operations were begun with the 2 first arriving units and supplemented with later arriving companies. One victim was pulled unresponsive from the home and transported by the ambulance provider. The individual later died, the…Continue
Added by John Lightly on October 15, 2018 at 4:48pm — No Comments
Two steps forward and one step back. Ever use that phrase to describe the progress with yourself, your relationships, or your workplace? It is generally used as a negative. You are in essence saying that you are not accomplishing your goals. But is this really the case?
Shouldn’t we really be using this phrase in a positive light? Two steps are greater than one step. Going forward is certainly preferred and going backward is seen as being a failure. However, isn’t the important part…Continue
Added by John Lightly on September 30, 2018 at 8:06pm — No Comments
My life has recently taken on a new role: Junior High volleyball parent. I have two daughters playing this sport for the first time. In fact, 98% of their team is playing for the first time. Which is to say, the team isn’t very good. Success is not being measured in wins but in the improvements of technique and fundamentals.
In addition, I’ve had the opportunity to start “serving my time” as a line judge for some of the games. The chance to be on the court and see the game from a…Continue
Added by John Lightly on September 27, 2018 at 9:53am — No Comments
The Fall season of Fantasy Football is upon us. With the beginning of the National Football League schedule this weekend, hundreds of thousands of fantasy leagues are getting underway. Online accounts are being made, draft parties are being planned, and player stats are being scrutinized.
Full disclosure: I don’t do fantasy football. Not against it, just not my thing. So maybe my perspective is a bit biased, but I don’t think it is. Bear with me for a minute.
Quite frankly, I…Continue
Added by John Lightly on September 6, 2018 at 7:09pm — No Comments
Across the country, school systems are gearing up for another academic year. Teachers are excited about their new classroom design. Students are looking forward to getting back to their friends. Parents are ecstatic to get the kids out of the house again!
This time of year is also when many fire training academies get back underway. It may be a new recruit academy or a local technical center aimed at volunteers. Large urban department training centers with all the trimmings or small…Continue
Added by John Lightly on August 20, 2018 at 3:56pm — No Comments
What word seems to strike fear into the hearts of firefighters everywhere? Change. Career or volunteer, senior man or rookie, the word sends up red flags and defenses whenever it is mentioned. We tend to be skeptical of the person proposing change as maybe something has been tried (and failed miserably) in the past. We see it as an infringement on our operational status quo with which we are quite comfortable. Some departments even view their resistance to change as some kind of badge of…Continue
Added by John Lightly on August 10, 2018 at 7:14pm — No Comments
Back to Basics is a Flawed Concept
Back to basics is one of the most commonly used phrases in our fire service it seems. Every time you listen to a podcast, read an article, or interact on social media someone is using that line in regards to training and subsequently to the fireground. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea of getting back to the basics, but I think it is actually a flawed concept.
Quite simply, everyone's basics are different. East, West, everywhere…Continue
Added by John Lightly on August 6, 2018 at 8:03am — No Comments
I hate pushups.
They are boring with their simple repetitive down and up motion. They are frustrating as your curled toes start to slide on the floor. They bring back bad memories of evil gym teachers past; I can still hear the hollow thud of my classmate Bobby’s face smacking off the gym floor as his arms failed.
They cause pain to shoot up the backs of your arms and your tightened tummy to spasm. They certainly are not flattering what with all the sweaty bums up in the air…Continue
Added by John Lightly on July 30, 2018 at 9:04pm — No Comments