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John Lightly's Blog (30)

Communication Thoughts for Officers

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…


Added by John Lightly on December 6, 2018 at 7:26pm — No Comments

Creating Instructors

“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…


Added by John Lightly on November 8, 2018 at 7:45pm — No Comments

Lessons from Civilian Fatalities

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…


Added by John Lightly on October 15, 2018 at 4:48pm — No Comments

Two Steps Forward

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…


Added by John Lightly on September 30, 2018 at 8:06pm — No Comments

Communication on the Court

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…


Added by John Lightly on September 27, 2018 at 9:53am — No Comments

Fantasy Football for Firefighters

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…


Added by John Lightly on September 6, 2018 at 7:09pm — No Comments

Back to School for Fire instructors

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…


Added by John Lightly on August 20, 2018 at 3:56pm — No Comments

An opportunity for change

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…


Added by John Lightly on August 10, 2018 at 7:14pm — No Comments

Rethinking the Basics

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…


Added by John Lightly on August 6, 2018 at 8:03am — No Comments

Achieving goals through push ups

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…


Added by John Lightly on July 30, 2018 at 9:04pm — No Comments

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