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Jarrod Sergi's Blog (45)

Assume Positive Intent: Helping to Crush the US vs. THEM Mentality

I was having a conversation with a firefighter the other day and he was expressing some frustrations he was having at work. They were easy issues to talk about and work through, but something came up that I have heard before. The Us vs. Them mentality or mindset. Us being the firefighters and officers on the line and Them being the chief officers or executive staff in your departments.

There are many things that can contribute to the Us vs. Them mindset or problem within a…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on April 8, 2021 at 9:30am — No Comments

High Rise Fires: Tips for the First Due Engine


Its visibly clear that high rise fires offer a special set of circumstances and challenges that we will have to overcome and be prepared for. Just look up; elevation alone adds to the complexity. Now pile on building systems, multiple stairwells, complex stretches and floor layouts that will easily drain your resources. All these things are going to have to be controlled throughout the…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on March 8, 2019 at 12:30pm — No Comments

The Golden Rules for a Small Unit Leader

When I was in the military I use to hear two principles reinforced over and over again. I first started hearing these principles after my first promotion. I can remember many chiefs and officers walking up to me and congratulating me. They would offer their congratulations and then they would say two things to me. I will continue to hear these over the next few years that I spent at that command. I heard them again at my next promotion, I heard them…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on January 2, 2019 at 1:22pm — No Comments

Building a Strong Engine Company Culture.

Have you ever heard the following? I have several times:

Any monkey can stretch a hose line. 

It takes no brains to ride an engine. 

Engine work is not rocket science. 


Well from what I occasionally see, I would say that is not…


Added by Jarrod Sergi on August 8, 2018 at 8:30am — 1 Comment

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 6:44am — 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 2:00pm — 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 8:20pm — 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 1:00pm — 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 10:30am — 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 6:14pm — 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 4:30pm — 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 — 1 Comment

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