When I entered the fire service as a young man at the age of 15, I had no idea what the profession stood for...nor did I know where I would ever end up. As times have progressed, I have found myself needing to change with the times in order to adapt for the needs of training, education, and being a coach/mentor. We look at ourselves as professionals, and speak about being part of the best profession there is...which it most certainly is!
In 1995, being part of the fire service meant the world to me...but now more than ever, it means my life. After spending so many years growing into a fire service leader and Chief Fire Officer, the need to flourish our next generation in the right manner is the forefront of my daily work.
It is safe to say that training is CRITICAL for each and every firefighter and fire officer that walks on the face of this earth, but more importantly, LEADERSHIP is a vital part to our firefighters and future leaders success. Our firefighters success is relied heavily on our leadership in regards to how much support we give to our firefighters. Our responsibility is to help our team reach for their goals and dreams by allowing them to "obtain" their focused classes and education through never ending support.
Today, every leader is facing tough decisions for their departments that affect the future response capabilities, funding levels, staffing levels, and working relationships. Our decisions today will have a long lasting affect on our future leaders growing up today. You must be a strong individual to lead today, owning up to the standards and code of ethics that us fire service professionals and leaders are desired to follow.
So, what is right? No matter what position or title you hold, supporting failure is not an option on any level. The pivotal moments in your organization come to fruition when ideas/policies are agreed upon by collective agreements from the team. I find it more rewarding when there is buy-in from the membership and team, bacuse the performance of the team excels each and every time a hurdle presents itself, whether it's operational or administrative.
I have witnessed those who feel they are entitled to a position due to the amount of time they have spent in a department, but have done nothing to assist in the progress of building the team or our future firefighters/officers.
Undisputable hard work and dedication day in and day out is what sets you apart from the rest. Your existence in this profession is to be the best you can be and your adaptability to handle any situation that is thrown at you in a moments notice. Talk is cheap, but actions speak volumes of why you should be in the position you are in.
Take advantage of the strenghts within your department, and make your department better than it was yseterday, establishing a new set of standards for tomorrows leaders. Imagie being that culture creator who set the wheels in motion for the next century, making the young leaders better than you were. Pretty exciting if you ask me.
It's up to you to get it right!