Today's current Fire Officer's know all too well the hardest part of the job that very few are prepared for is the daily non fire ground decisions.
When you drive down any road in America you will see street signs that can represent the many days of your career as an officer.
Some days you will be running on an 8 lane highway at 80 mph. There will be no rest stops in sight and your fuel gauge will be pushing toward empty. This is when you must be on top of your game and time management skills are a must.
Other days every turn you make you end up in a dead end. When you end up in those dead ends it may be necessary to make a thirteen point turn to get back out onto the main road. Some days it will take you three seconds to hit the dead end and three hours to get turned around. But in both cases you will reach the main road as long as you try. Sometimes it just takes many deep breaths and yes, patience.
Some decisions you must make there will not be a clear answer. You will be forced decide to follow the road that goes with the traffic or you will make a turn down a less traveled road. Remember, change doesn't happen overnight! Sometimes it’s better to follow the traffic and over time make the turn slowly down the dusty less traveled road.
Some days you will be faced with problems where you know whatever decision you make the court of public opinion that is held around the kitchen table is going to convict you. These are the challenging decisions to make. However, the number one rule is you must make decision! Analyze the problem decide on the answer or course of action and move on. Do not make your decision based on the kitchen table court. If you became an Officer to keep and make friends around that table you became an officer for the wrong reasons. As an officer you must make decisions that are not always the popular ones.
The scenarios above offer lessons that you must capture and learn from. As an officer each and every decision you make you must learn from.
As you drive around look at the signs that line the roadways and take mental
notes. The signs around you can help you prepare for those challenging days.
The fire service is the greatest profession known to man. However, everyday will not be great and as an officer everyday will not be easy.
Regardless of what turns your day takes just remember your job is to make sure you and those working "under" you go home to their families regardless what dead ends you hit.
Also know you will have days that look like this.
Sometimes it's just better to stop, take a few seconds to reprogram the GPS to save minutes!
Remember "take seconds to save minutes" and don't be safe "go and make it safe"