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There have been many arguments over the years, about what makes a fire department successful.  I can remember mornings at the card table, having conversations about owning the best fire apparatus, having successful fundraisers, issuing the best turnout gear, and owning a beautiful fire station, and at one point I believed that.  Though many people in today’s world feel flashy and expensive tools/equipment matter, it’s reality that those things are in my mind…the conclusion to success.

Chief Tony Kelleher presents a class titled “Combat Ready” and provides this quote…“Are you that firefighter that you want showing up for your family”?  This quote got me thinking one day about the importance of working/training together.  As a fire service leader, we must also ask ourselves…“Are we giving our all – out effort to our team members”?  Believe it or not, we can’t be combat ready without team members!

We are bounced back and forth each and every day with new techniques, scientific data and research, incident command tactics, and training scenarios.  But…what good is all of that, if we don’t have a team of members to pass it on too?  Where do we go from having nice fire apparatus to extinguishing the fire at the corner of the block, without a team?

The greatest asset to any fire and emergency services organization should without a doubt be the membership or team. 


  1. Respond on the best fire apparatus without a team!

  2. Coordinate fire attack and ventilation without a team!

  3. Be “Combat Ready” without a team!

  4. Pass on information without a team!

  5. Have success without a team!


  1. Listen to your team and engage discussions with them about what is happening around them, and where they would like to go.

  2. Put your members/staff first.  Without them, you are absolutely nothing.  Your passion and success will be a reflection of their attitudes and performance.

  3. Engage your members and allow them to be part of the “success”, assisting you in getting to the final page in your draft.

As you prepare others for their success, you must instill the importance of the team.  When you have built the “performing” team, the flashy tools/equipment will fall into place. 

The most important message I have for you is this…”after success has been built, don’t allow it to be destroyed”!

~Jeremy Rebok~

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