Each and every one of us comes from a different background, specializing in a different area of the greatest profession there is. We can sit back and visualize what are strengths and weaknesses are, as well as where we would like to eventually end up in our careers. No matter what part of the country your are from, our firefighters and leaders are subject to some of the greatest information sharing there could possibly be.
We often talk about working towards "mastery" of our skills, leading us to great performance on the fire ground. There is nothing more rewarding than executing your assigned tasks under pressure without hesitation, providing a positive outcome of the incident. Yes, we will encounter those incidents that pose unique challenges of which we have never witnessed before. But, the time you spend working on mastering your craft or specialty, allows you to adapt in a split second, overcoming the obstacles thrown at you without notice.
Investing in this profession is everyone's responsibility, and it goes further than just daily or weekly training sessions. The way I look at it, we have a huge responsibility weighing in on us each and every day. Not only do our co-workers rely on us, but our families, the community, and tourists expect us to perform at any given time of the day no matter what the weather may be.
Just a few weeks ago, my shift attended a day care facility to provide a show and tell for the little kids. I am always amazed at the bright eyes and smiles on theses kids faces when we show up. At this particular event, I parted from the crew and spent some time with a special young man who is suffering from a learning disability. Not only did it make me feel good, but this young man felt like he had just won a million dollars. As I watched him awing over the equipment and PPE, it made me realize how we take things for granted sometimes. It was my investment that made someone's day brighter, and hopefully something that he will never forget.
If we fail to invest in our firefighters, our profession then becomes just a job to some. Instead of sitting around the table complaining about the council members, encourage those around us to go out and better themselves. Invest the time in listening to your folks, finding out what their concerns are, and where they want to be in the future. One of the greatest rewards in our profession is mentoring a young fireman, watching that individual excel in their career and reaching their goals.
Although we have different goals in life, this profession is not about you! Sure, you have every right to go after your dreams and career goals. But the truth is, this profession is built around teamwork and partnerships.
The worst feeling in the world is watching your success being destroyed by those who are in this profession for themselves, failing to work for their organization and it's members. Before you know it, recruitment and retention is at an all time low, trust and respect is gone, and rigs are failing to respond.
Continuous investment is critical for the community and your personnel. If we fail to invest in training, educating, and hearing our team members, you will be subject to failure. Anyone can be a leader, but it takes those in organizational positions to treat those leaders with respect.
Continuous investment is more than just sitting behind a desk!