What is the purpose of a fire blog? To me it accomplishes several things; including the following: Brain storming, ventilation (not the type accomplished on a fire scene), education, and many more that I am sure I will find out later.
I have been in the fire service for 10 years now. Several years as a volunteer, 7 at a career department, 7 years working on a day crew (for the volunteer department I was at, had to move to a certain county to work at my department and the Chief of the Vol. department wanted to help me out and keep me in the area), and about 4 years teaching the Fire Academy at a local college, in which subsequently I attended the fire academy at. I have achieved an Associates Degree in Fire Technology, and a Bachelors Degree in Public Service Leadership with a Focus in Fire Admin. With all that I also achieved several certifications at a state level and some how by the grace of God I promoted as well.
This in no way is me tooting my own horn, trust me I play bagpipes not a horn. I have surrounded myself and my family into this service. As if the fire service was a giant ocean, I jumped in and pulled my family in with me. To quote a great movie,”Come on in y’all the water is nice”. Since I have written this blog in the first three paragraphs I have used the term/word/name (I’ll ask my wife the English teacher the correct name) “I”…15 times. Wow. When in reality the fire service is about what?....”WE”. A notion that WE as a service and a generation are loosing. We become so concerned about our own accomplishments. Have you ever heard someone talk about a fire scene where a rescue was made? Whether an actual structure fire, or an MVA, or CPR? Do they say something along the lines of, “I crawled in and I knew just where to go, I turned into the bathroom and there the old lady was and I grabbed her and I drug her out and I put her on the stretcher and I started CPR and you know? That was when I made my first save!”
As age increases along the horizontal plane, so does experience. With both of those valuable items in life we become (hopefully) smarter. We start to realize that “I” really don’t know squat!; That I really cant save the world by myself, that We if we work together can actually make an impact. We make a difference, not I alone.
Have you ever worked for an officer that was stuck in “I” mode? Or a, “do as I say, and not as I do”? Of course you have, we all have. What does that do for us? As an officer we look to those individuals for guidance. We watch and we learn. As firefighters that’s how most of us are programmed. Don’t give me written directions, plans, or instructions. We throw that stuff out and try to assemble that cheap piece of furniture that with our luck with last a whopping 10 months. You know what I am talking about, that’s why there’s always left over parts on Christmas day from assembling the 17 toys your in-laws bought your one child! But, these officers must show us the way by leading by example! It is a concept that is in EVERY single Officer Development book, it’s about time we start practicing what we preach!
Hopefully, you surround yourself by good firefighters, good drivers, good officers, and just as good Chiefs. My parents always told me, “You are who you hang around” meaning you have good friends they will influence you do the right things.
That is a life lesson that should be carried from the playground into the best job/career/calling/hobby in the world, Firefighting. If you are a firefighter; find those officers to work for that will make you work and are knowledgeable in an array of fields. An officer that makes you show up to the station and do you job, but not because they are an A-h***, but because they instill pride in you. If, you are an officer it is simple. Do what you know is right, lead by example. Follow the rules and regs, take pride, and instill pride. Push your crew to become better. Enjoy the job, don’t bad mouth the department or other members. Lay down the line and understand that you are not there to make friends, but to lead (You can be friends off duty and your crew will respect you more for it), set standards and hold yourself accountable as you do your crew. I am sure I have left some thing(s) out, but that is because I am still learning.
A chief once told me that “This is the greatest job, and you get what you put into it”. With that notion, why don’t we put more into the job and into its members? Remember this is about the public and how We can serve them.