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I recently watched a short program about the large, powerful ships that break ice near the poles of Earth for other ships. These machines are enormous and create a phenomenal amounts of power.

Some of the most powerful are powered by nuclear means and can break ice in the oceans and seas as thick as 10 feet. The ships power provides the energy to push and plow through the ice while it's weight and super thick hull do the work and protect the ship from damage.

As the ship moves through the ice, the ice breaks up and creates a path for the ship to move ahead. It truly is an incredible site.

As members of the fire service who lead in some fasion or another, we all deal with 'ice.' Those people don't like that we are into and engaged in our job and profession. Those that would rather be sitting in the recliner all day than practicing skills or drilling. Huge sheets of 'ice' that would rather degrade, make fun of or ridicule someone for making a mistake instead of using it as a learning moment are challenges we face daily.

Yeah, there is a lot of 'ice' out there that we have to navigate through on a daily basis.

We need to be 'ice' breakers, with our power coming from the Brotherhood and those that pass down the pride, honor and traditions that makes us so proud and humbled to serve. That confidence given to us by those that shared their experiences and craft to ensure we were better than when we started.

Our skin must be thick, just like the hull of the ship to endure the continuing formation of ice, no matter how thick. Understanding that ice will continue to be there and perpetually forming and knowing that it will be thick and tough, we can't let it damage our confidence and resolve to be and offer the best of what we have.

Finally, the weight we use to supplement the energy of the power are those that come along. Those that you have encouraged and who have demonstrated the ability to lead and be productive servants of the fire service. Those that we work with, as equals, who we depend on and who 'get it' day in and day out. That is the weight that will displace the ice and hopefully push it as far from the ship as possible.

Don't let the 'ice' get to you. Make sure you have plenty of fuel; stay confident and sure. Make sure you check for cracks and punctures in your hull; get them repaired immediately. Finally, make sure you are passing on information, attitudes, integrity and pride to keep your momentum; be a servant of the fire service and share.

These ships are massive and depend on a crew of effective members to be successful. Make sure that you and your crew are ready and eager to break 'ice.'

Be an Ice Breaker!

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Comment by Ian Schulte on May 13, 2014 at 6:13pm


Excellent thought process with this article, as a young leader I often times have to deal with the cold (pun-intended) reality of the metaphorical ice. Resentment at an earlier promotion, less time on the job, i'm engaged in the organization and am a student of the craft, I see exactly where you're coming from. A lot of men and women who are getting into the leadership perspective of the fire service (especially the 25 and under age bracket) need to develop a thick skin early, and its hard to do so, especially if you always fit in with the rest of the crew, maintaining the drive and dedication to the craft can help eliminate the ice between them and their company members. Keep up the good work, I look forward to more of your blogs!

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