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The Fire Service is similar to the patient waiting room at the local doctor’s office. Both are filled with all kinds of people from different places with assorted backgrounds, personalities, exposures, symptoms, complaints and outlooks. The one common denominator is that each person has come seeking a reason and an explanation for why they are feeling whatever it is that they are feeling and each one is hoping to leave feeling better and to have an understanding why they felt bad to begin with.

The doctor and fire officer are expected to be professional and to evaluate, diagnose, and prescribe and to make a bad day better, over and over, person after person. They are healers. This constant flow of different challenges, or opportunities, can be very rewarding to the healers and I suspect that it is the most basic reason that each one chose their profession to begin with.

Good healers reach conclusions and they are decisive. That’s why they call them good. You can spot the good ones by looking at their waiting list, who wants to see them, who respects them, who trust them and who wishes to be like them and be with them. The good ones observe the people and their situation, they refer to the person’s history and they know their personal and professional norms. These healers may lean to an early diagnosis from these evaluations but they confirm or change their early diagnosis, before prescribing, by listening to the person’s concerns, feelings, wishes, wants and desires.

In the fire service we are grouped for accountability, functionality and efficiency. This doesn’t mean that we have to be groupies. We do not have to accept bad medicine that is wrong and damaging to the fire service. We don’t have to conform to a complacent group or to accept a group dynamic that will surely make us sick. 

All of us are carriers. How we lead, who we choose to follow and what we choose to carry is a career choice that all of us have to make. The decision determines our well being, the well being of our family and the group dynamic that we will be a part of when we are on the job.

I like to say that fire departments are similar to Amtrak, each has many stops. If you are assigned with a so called healer who has no interest in you or your progress and who keeps prescribing snake oil with harmful side effects, you need to find a new stop and a new healer before they either kill you or permanently derail your well being and your career.

Attitudes and Leadership evolve. Doctors and Fire Officers come out of their certification training with only the basic knowledge and skills. The ones who will develop from basic to exceptional are those who remain conscious of trends and generational changes and who have no fear of decision making.  They also find balance and they understand that they are in the people business. The good ones work constantly to develop an effective and professional bed side manner. Between the ears is where this bed side manner originates and it begins with our attitude when our feet hit the floor in the morning.  

Is your firehouse a sick bay or is it a healthy and thriving home away from home that is filled with vitality and a recognized team with a dedicated mission and a positive attitude? Everyone on the outside looking in can spot the difference between the two. Can you? Evaluate, Diagnose, and Prescribe.

Most people don’t complain about feeling too good or spend their day trying to find a way to feel bad.

Your firehouse has an earned reputation, is it infected or infectious?

I may become sick of you but I refuse to be sick because of you.

Don’t you have some idea of what is causing you to feel bad before you see the doctor?

Is your firehouse satisfied with feeling sick or sick of being sick?

First, do no harm.

Heal thy self.

Thanks for reading, caring and sharing.

Have a great day – it’s a GREAT day for it.

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