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As 2015 approaches I cannot help but think of all the "New Year’s Resolutions" that will soon flood Facebook and will be the topic in the fire stations all over the world, from kicking the smoking habit, to eating healthier foods there are all types of resolutions out there but one I seldom if ever hear but I feel we should is to train more and be a better firefighter.


Think about it like this when you cut back on your internet use or TV use who does this effect? Essentially it affects you directly and maybe those around you. 


But, if you make the commitment to become a better firefighter and spend more time reading books, magazine articles, blogs, watching webcast and using Facebook for more than games and sending game request, who does that affect? 


Besides you, your 2nd family (brother and sister firefighters), and the citizens you protect. 


How great is that?!


So what can we change?


I like to use new years as a mega self-evaluation. WE SHOULD be doing self-assessments at the end of our runs but in reality it normally goes as follows.

"We came, put it out, everyone goes home safe, WIN!!!!" 

But we seldom look at the little things like we struggled to get the hose deployed the way we needed, or we struggled with ladder throws; so next shift/drill night we will cover ladders.


But when you look at a New Year look at your own weaknesses and address what you should be looking to fix. 


For me it’s sort of simple 

  • forcible entry
  • fitness 
  • grammar


It may look like a small list but if you load it up how often are you to stick with it and complete your self-challenges? The issues I listed are my own, in rural areas we do not often have a need to force entry. Often the house is 25% plus involved when we get there. Can I use Irons yes but I also know there are many different ways of getting into a building than with Irons I would like to learn more about them. 


Fitness I would like to build my endurance up, I feel fitness wise my endurance is not what I want it to be. You can be strong as an ox but you only last so long, I would like to last longer on the fire ground.


Grammar well, if you read these you likely see why I would love to improve in my grammar. Now you may say why grammar well simply put so I can write blogs and articles to where you all can understand it better. 


So now the question comes up as "I don’t have much time how can I add more?” Well if you just take 10 minutes to read an article from the trade magazines or if you use Facebook there are hundreds of pages and groups that relate to firefighting, I mean I got Small Town Tactics and Tools and the radio show for Fire Engineering Blog Talk Radio which all there shows you can download on iTunes, Point is it does not take a lot of time out of your day to study your craft. 


So in closing I just want to say this folks as you go and make New Year’s resolutions stop and think about the job. Often times we say being a firefighter is not a job but rather a calling it’s who you are than when you evaluate your life and what you want to change in it at the beginning of the New Year wouldn't make sense to include your performance as a firefighter?


I want you all to be safe, have a happy new year and study up folks never stop learning.

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