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Jarrod Sergi's Blog (41)

The Two Sides of Conflict

I think it is probably safe to say that no one reading this likes conflict. For the most part it is in our nature to avoid confrontation if we can. However, as a company officer you don’t get the luxury of avoidance. You must deal with issues as they arise or small problems will lead to big problems. There are many ways to deal with conflict in your firehouse, but I quickly want to discuss the two key elements that are a part of every conversation, every counseling, every… Continue

Added by Jarrod Sergi on February 5, 2018 at 5:44am — No Comments

Are you a Driver or an Operator?

Many of you may have heard the saying that there are drivers and there are operators. A senior captain once said to me that we didn’t have very many operators left and we needed to get back on track. A good operator is critical and we all need to ensure that’s what we are putting on our rigs. So, let’s take a look at a few differences. For this entry, I will focus on the Engine Operator.


What is a driver?

Being a driver…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on November 9, 2017 at 1:00pm — No Comments

The Customer Is Not Always Right

Firefighters deal with the public day in and day out. In fact, I would argue that we are one of the best customer service agencies out there. We deliver quality care and will respond to a variety of problems, fix them, and then move on leaving satisfied customers in our wake. The Fire Service prides itself on putting the public first, as we should. The Fire Service aims to treat every in the public with respect and dignity. But what happens when a member of the…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on August 10, 2017 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Keep Your Eyes on the Line

I wanted to take a few minutes of your time to talk about the obligation of the company officer. Today I wanted to reinforce the importance of keeping your eyes on the line. The line in our fire service is often times used in reference to the street, the station, the everyday operations that we are involved in. You may have heard phrases such as: I can’t wait to get back on the line. Meaning, I can’t wait to get back to my station and go to work.


Many company officers have…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on June 26, 2017 at 6:46pm — No Comments

Creating a Culture of Minimalists

          I have always been interested in hearing what departments require for their firefighters to sit through a promotional process. I have heard everything from just zero certifications to more than five. Now Let me be clear before I move on, I by no means believe that a certificate or a series of classes alone automatically qualifies you for a step up the ladder. I do believe that it can…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on April 22, 2017 at 10:00am — 1 Comment

Do You Play Favorites?

For as long as I can remember I have heard people say, as a person in a leadership position you are not supposed to play favorites. That by doing this it causes distrust and damages your credibility. Not only that, it is an unfair way to lead. I will agree to an extent. I think there is a fine line we have to walk when it comes to playing favorites with the firefighters in our stations.


So, do I play favorites? I sure do! My favorites are the ones that…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on January 7, 2017 at 7:20pm — 1 Comment

The Company Officers Role in Community Risk Reduction

As a Company Officer you set the tone for so many things in your firehouse. You contribute to the cultural norms, attitudes, and other acceptable practices. As someone once told me, if it’s not important to you, it won’t be important to them. So where do we, where do you, fall in the responsibility of community risk reduction? I recently took a class at the National Fire Academy and I have to admit, I was a little skeptical about going up there for it. I was worried it was going to be a…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on November 3, 2016 at 4:00pm — No Comments

You Can't Save Them All

           Today I was having some conversation with a good friend of mine and a fellow company officer. We were exchanging ideas and issues about dealing with people and how to motivate ones that don’t seem to have any motivation. We discussed different techniques, approaches and even the behavior we have to demonstrate as officers to have a positive impact on the individuals that just lack motivation. We further discussed how to make hardheaded individuals see…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on September 16, 2016 at 5:00pm — No Comments

Dear Supervisor, I'm Confused.

Dear Supervisors,

I have started to grow increasingly confused and frustrated. This frustration ripples throughout our fire service. It is something I hear from firefighters who work in all parts of the country. It seems lately that…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on May 6, 2016 at 5:00pm — No Comments

The Domino Effect of Your Leadership

I wanted to take a few short minutes out of your day and talk about the domino effect and the power it can have in our organizations. I, like you, tend to want to see instant results from the work I put in. I want my organization to be great and work hard every day to make it so. Most times I don’t get the instant results I am looking for. These results take time. Weeks, months, or even years until we see our hard work come to fruition.…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on April 16, 2016 at 4:30pm — No Comments

What's in It for Me?

Over the last few months I have heard some conversations about seeking out additional training/certifications or additional responsibilities in the department. I have heard these conversations lead into statements such as “what’s the department going to give me in return for obtaining these things.” I have heard the “what’s in it for me” statement also thrown around a few times. There are a number of things out there that could potentially infect our fire service in a negative way. To me,…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on April 5, 2016 at 8:57pm — No Comments

You Have All the Power You Need

In a recent conversation I was going back and forth with a few fellow company officers about the normal stuff. You know, how we can single handedly solve all the issues that exist if they would just let us be king for a day. Probably all the same ideas that orbit all of our galley tables. One of them said something to the group that really stood out to me. The comment was made that their organization would be so much better if the…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on February 29, 2016 at 12:00pm — 1 Comment

No More "I's" in the Galley

The tables in your station galleys are probably the focal point of the firehouse; hopefully it’s not the bunkroom. Mentoring, complaining, problem solving, and training all occur here over that world class firehouse coffee. We have heard conversation after conversation take place here, but the next time you are engaged in one of those conversations, listen closely. Ask yourself how many I’s are in that galley.

If you want to see where a crew, station, or individuals stand when…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on December 22, 2015 at 9:30am — No Comments

Forbidden Fruit...Roof Work

Why is it when we attend seminars and many other places where we get training, we sometimes see scare tactics using roof ventilation as the example, talking about how it is too dangerous? Is it any less dangerous than dragging a hoseline into a burning building full of ignitable, lethal gases? I would say no, they are equally dangerous. In fact research and facts support that far more firefighters are injured and killed performing interior operations (search, not flowing water, etc.), than…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on December 9, 2015 at 5:14pm — 1 Comment

It's the Small Things

I was listening to a recording of firefighters explaining how they feel like there is sometime not enough recognition being spread among the ranks. They were explaining how things like a simple hand shake and a job well done can go a long way. I agree with them 100%. This is something we all need to keep in mind. I feel like I don’t thank my guys enough for the work that they do. Award ceremonies and public recognition are all great ways to recognize people. I have noticed during my…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on November 24, 2015 at 3:30pm — No Comments

We are Old School

Not long ago I posted some videos and pictures on social media that included a tour at my old firehouse. They were pictures of fires, the firehouse, and of the guys in front of the truck after a “good job”. Most of the firefighters on the thread had a good amount of time on the job, or had retired. Some comments were mostly in jest, and meant to just mess with us a little. Although some of the comments were essentially…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on September 28, 2015 at 3:20pm — 2 Comments

Control the Building, Control the Fire

It is not uncommon for me to occasionally hear firefighters say “we don’t need to ventilate, its already venting”. In some cases, yes, this remains true. Maybe there is no more property to save and we can get away with saying that. One thing that I hope doesn’t get missed is that we ventilate the buildings to control the way that fire behaves inside that structure. We want to make that fire do what we tell it to do; especially given certain types of building construction. Yes we also…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on September 17, 2015 at 9:37am — No Comments

You Can't Take Enough Grounders

The other day at work, I was standing in the apparatus bay having a conversation with one of my firefighters. He is currently working on his acting officer development book and we were having lots of discussion on a variety of topics. One subject in particular was size-up. We were discussing the importance of practicing size-up when responding to automatic alarms, whether they are residential or commercial. I explained the value of taking every opportunity to size-up buildings when going on…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on September 5, 2015 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Water Supply When "SHIP" Happens

This information may only reach out and touch a few people that visit the Fire Engineering Community. If you are part of an organization that responds to military installations, specifically US Navy waterborne installations, this applies to you. It is equally important to those of us responsible for shipyards where military vessels will enter port. For the most part this will include departments on or near each of our coastlines, to include the gulf coast. I served in…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on August 24, 2015 at 5:08pm — No Comments

Bring Meaning to Core Values

We can trace core values back to several places. We get them from our upbringings with parents or other family members, from our church, and several others. They are the guiding principles on how and why we make decisions in our lives and in our work. The core values we have in our personal life may not always mirror the same ones we have in our organizations. Often times they are still good values and even carried into our personal lives may still have application and meaning.



Added by Jarrod Sergi on July 30, 2015 at 11:37pm — 1 Comment

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