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Seeing is Believing - Command Presence During Training Evolutions

"A point of view can be a dangerous luxury, when substituted for insight and understanding."  Marshall McLuhan

Over the last week (and most of the year), I have witnessed some disrespectful commentary on social media outlets. The relentless attacks on those spreading information has become so toxic to progress that it degrades the profession as a whole. The "brotherhood" is strong and preached, until views are different, then the ideology is abandoned and criticism ensues. 
Now there are many ways to respond to this suppressive style; some will be mad and some will ignore, but as motivated firefighters we must identify the barriers and continue progress. The problem identified through discussion, was why does our profession see black and white vs. color, and in respect to modern fire behavior choose to place absolutes on the idea instead of practical application?

My thought is that all departments are different, and training is the core to solve many issues. Regardless of the tactic being discussed, from roof ops, water supply, and/or interior fire attack the foundation must be strong through basics. In your minds I hope your thinking, " I know this already dude, get to the point." The point is, training is only as good as the understanding it promotes. Firefighters are aggressive, but need the approval of the IC to implement the strategy. If the IC isn't comfortable, the answer is almost always NO! - Side note, if you are member of the department that can not be trusted to complete simple missions like fire reports, fire prevention visits, or EMS runs; Why should the IC place faith in you to perform high risk evolutions. Think about it!

When was the last time you conducted company or in-service training with the Chiefs present. Yeah, I'm sure one may have driven by, said hello, but did the chief run the drill. Probably not, if your chiefs are like mine, their plates are very full and time is minimal. At my career house, we are fortunate to have a chief that completes the training with the crews regularly. By having the chief present, and in command of the drill, the incident commander can witness the strengths and weaknesses of each unit. This leads to constructive feedback and trust, not only because the chief fully believes in his crews; but because the chief has seen the skill and capabilities.
In regards to tactics on the fire ground, seeing is believing. When the chief has witnessed his crews efficiently vent the roof, or make the stretch quickly to initiate an interior attack; the chief will be more comfortable allowing this practice on the fire scene. Ultimately, the chief is responsible, and their decisions must be respected. After the event, ask the chief their thoughts and why they chose a certain tactic over another. You may learn from it. Then again, maybe thru positive conversation, the chief may learn from you or members of your crew.

To close, I always appreciate the push back on information. Keeping instructors and organizations accountable boosts the credibility of the message and will enhance the delivery of current and future programs.Always question the information, but there is a fine line between questioning attitudes and disrespect. Keep learning, and remember information should help YOU make better Decisions, not make the decisions for you.

Live Motivated, Keep Learning, and Stay Vigilant

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