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Chris Langlois's Blog (17)

Fire Service Leadership: Redefining the “Culture of Safety”

        “An organization’s culture is made up of its folklore, its rituals, its group norms, and its meeting protocols. All of these cultural ingredients influence the organization’s adaptability. The culture of an organization is not usually written down or formally documented, but it still powerfully determines what is considered acceptable and unacceptable behavior” (Heifetz, Grashow, & Linsky, 2009). With fire service culture, you have two choices; you…

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Added by Chris Langlois on September 22, 2019 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Fire Officer Development: Emergency Response, Management and Leadership

Anyone who has seen the HBO Mini-Series “Band of Brothers” knows who Major Richard Winters is. The leader of Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment states in his book, “Beyond Band of Brothers” that, “Having selected the right men for the job, I then delegated the authority to my subordinates and allowed them to use their initiative to execute the mission. There is no need to tell someone how to do his job if you have properly trained your…

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Added by Chris Langlois on June 8, 2019 at 4:30pm — 1 Comment

Moving From a Policy-Based to a Values-Driven Fire Department

     One of the key components of any crew, team or organization is having a group of people who believe in the same thing. An organization that knows what it truly believes in, and brings together people who believe what the organization believes, can be extremely effective in accomplishing the mission of the organization. Shared identified core values, such as courage, duty, honor, or integrity, give the organization and everyone who is a part of it a benchmark…

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Added by Chris Langlois on July 13, 2017 at 12:47pm — No Comments

Dr. King and the Power of a Vision

     Today, January 16, 2017, is the day set aside to remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the powerful change that he helped bring about in this country. We often think of leaders as those in a position of authority, or holding a title or rank and possessing official power to enact their wishes or create change by issuing orders or writing policy. Dr. King had none of this. He had no official authority or power. Leadership has nothing to do with title, position…

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Added by Chris Langlois on January 16, 2017 at 10:30am — No Comments

Maintaining a Mission-First Fire Service Culture

     Every department, group, organization, team, etc was initially created to achieve a mission. The founding members of the organization clearly understood what that mission was, and focused their efforts on achieving it. Over time though, the organization can lose focus on that mission.

     What is your fire department’s mission? Why does it exist? What is its purpose? What is it’s WHY? Yes, I know that there are many…

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Added by Chris Langlois on November 21, 2016 at 12:30pm — No Comments

TRUST Makes Leadership Possible, Pt. 2

       Previously in TRUST Makes Leadership Possible, Part 1 we briefly discussed the concept of leaders trusting their people (trust down the chain of command). But there is another side to the two-way street that is trust, and it is just as important if not more so.…

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Added by Chris Langlois on November 30, 2015 at 8:38am — No Comments

TRUST Makes Leadership Possible, Pt. 1

During an interview, Gen. Colin Powell was asked what the one thing that makes leadership possible is. Without hesitation, and displaying absolute conviction he replied, “Trust”.

Do you feel that you can trust all of the people in your…

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Added by Chris Langlois on November 28, 2015 at 9:30am — No Comments

Trust: It’s Not Just About WHAT We Do, But WHY We Do It!

     Have you ever been questioned by an elected official, fire board member, or the general public about what you do and how you do it? Does this sound familiar in any way…”Why do you need four firefighters on every fire truck?...Where does all that money in your budget go? Why do you need this expensive equipment, apparatus, facility, station, etc? Or, how about this one, “I called 911 for an ambulance and a fire truck with a bunch of firefighters showed up…

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Added by Chris Langlois on October 1, 2015 at 1:01pm — No Comments

Pt. 2: The Art of War for Fire Service Leadership & Combat

           Written 2,500 years ago by Sun Tzu, a general and strategist in ancient China (770-476 BCE), The Art of War consists of organizational and strategic planning to help an army achieve victory in battle. It continues to be relevant and is used in modern military study and increasingly being applied to business and leadership…

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Added by Chris Langlois on August 12, 2015 at 3:31pm — No Comments

Art of War for Fire Service Leadership & Combat: Pt. 1

     Written 2,500 years ago by Sun Tzu, a general and strategist in ancient China (770-476 BCE), The Art of War consists of organizational and strategic planning to help an army achieve victory in battle. It continues to be relevant  and is used in modern military study and increasingly being applied to business and leadership…

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Added by Chris Langlois on June 18, 2015 at 9:30pm — No Comments

1 ¾” vs 2 ½”: We Don’t Get To Decide

     From just reading the title, I know what you’re thinking, “Why don’t I get to decide which line I pull at a fire, that’s crazy talk!” Let me clarify that, we don’t get to decide which line size is appropriate to pull at a fire, the fire dictates that, not us.

     Over almost the last three decades in the fire service I have heard many of the same comments about using a 2…

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Added by Chris Langlois on March 30, 2015 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

Is WHAT You’re Doing Becoming More Important Than WHY You Do It?

     I have to admit that this comes as a result of not a small amount of built up frustration over many years. I’m sure many, if not all of us have sat around the fire station table and asked, or tried to answer, the question “Why does this (insert activity) even matter?”. I continue to ask myself if we have forgotten WHY we do what we do, and as a result if what we are busy doing everyday has become more important than why we set out to do it…

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Added by Chris Langlois on March 13, 2015 at 2:00pm — No Comments

The Engine Company and the Power of One, Pt.2

                In part 1, I discussed the ability of a single four person engine company to aggressively attack an external apartment building fire, by deploying a deck gun blitz attack on the outside seat of the fire that was extending up the exterior of the building and threatening, or already in the attic space, while at the same time, getting a 2 ½ inch line up to the top floor and flowing water into the attic. Part 1 can be found here:…

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Added by Chris Langlois on January 2, 2015 at 9:43am — 2 Comments

The Engine Company and the Power of One, Pt. 1

          In any department, volunteer or career, large fires in large buildings eventually bring lots of resources. However, in every one of those fires a single crew, usually an engine company arrived first. Often times the ability of this first arriving crew to make an attack with forward progress on the fire is downplayed, because it is alone against a much larger enemy. What can it realistically do?…

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Added by Chris Langlois on November 19, 2014 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

Never Out of the Fight: Hiring for Values

   The biggest investment any fire department makes isn’t stations, apparatus or equipment, its people. When we spec out a new apparatus, we don’t just buy an engine because it has hose, a pump and a tank of water. We spend months, even a year or more, making sure it’s going to be just the right fit for our department. Compare that to how most departments hire or recruit…

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Added by Chris Langlois on October 31, 2014 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Situational Awareness for the Leader

By Chris Langlois

How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg? Four, calling the tail a leg does not make it a leg”.- Abraham Lincoln.

            On the fireground, we are always gathering information. We need to know what is going on…

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Added by Chris Langlois on October 11, 2014 at 2:54pm — No Comments

Rescue: Remove the Victim or Remove the Fire?

            It’s an age old question that is still debated by firefighters to this day, and often quite vigorously. When responding to an occupied residential structure fire, do you immediately go for the rescue to remove the victims or do you attack the fire? Many firefighters would say that you should do both at the same time, and if you have the available resources showing up quick enough to do so, that is probably the most correct answer. However, many times our reality is that we are…

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Added by Chris Langlois on September 18, 2014 at 1:30pm — 2 Comments

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