There are a few common sayings that are heard on a daily basis in fire departments that absolutely get under my skin. Here are just a few to name; “It has been this way for 40+ years, you’ll never change it now” or “XYZ Fire Company does it that way so we will not”, but we are aware that there are plenty more that are used. These statements are the “Cancer Sayings” in the fire service. As volunteer and career guys, we have the best job in the world and if you do not think so become a cop. Our job is constantly changing and if these cancer sayings continue we will never progress forward. When younger firemen hear these cancer sayings throughout the fire house, they will be seeing a fire house that is not proactive. What hope or future does that give the younger guys in moving forward? How do we know that the way XYZ Fire Company does something isn’t an easier, safer, or better way? Why can’t we take what XYZ Fire Company is doing and mold it into something that will work for our firemen or a company as a whole? We have a responsibility to stay as proactive as possible and if that means changing the way we have done things for 40+ years, then so be it. Being proactive in the fire service is not just with training, it also includes truck design, staffing, or even our individual attitudes that we carry in and out of the fire house.
So the next time you hear a cancer saying from a fellow fireman step back and ask yourself theses questions. Is he here for himself or his image? Is that fireman just coming to work to put in his 30 years? Is that fireman just flat out scared to see change or even try change, because it is new and he doesn’t understand the idea? We, as firemen, have to be open to change. These new ideas or ways of doing things are constantly changing. The new ideas are a way to make our departments proactive, better than the rest, and we are able to manipulate the ideas to fit our department’s needs. In conclusion, be the fireman that is willing to accept change for the better for the department, fellow firemen, and the community in which you serve. Help put an end to the cancer sayings that are said in the fire service.