Today I had to go in to do my annual physical. You know the one where you get poked, prodded, wired up, and ran ragged on a treadmill. We all suffer through them and after 35 years you think it would be routine. But every year, at least for me, it is more of a challenge. But I am proud to say once again, I managed to remain in the ranks of the healthy and qualified fit for duty cadre. Now before you all applaud (or jeer), what I just went through is or should be, a normal annual event for anyone in this business. Maintaining our health in order to do our job should be expected and routine. As Chief Officers, we hold all of our firefighters and Company Officers to a performance standard so shouldn't we also hold ourselves to that same standard? While going over my results today, my physician said something that took me aback and is what prompted me to write this blog. He said, "Mike, you are one of the few Chiefs I see here every year. You would be surprised how many Chiefs from the different departments we serve that never come in for this." Thinking about it I could see how easy it would be to do that. I get all the results back and it's me reporting to the Fire Chief everyone's results. No one would ever be the wiser if I did. But I would. How could I look another brother or sister in the face knowing I wasn't living up to that same standard? If you are in a position of leadership it doesn't exempt you from a standard. I know, I have heard the arguments and even nodded in agreement when I have heard other Chiefs say things like "I just ride around in the van and take command. I don't fight the fire anymore." Or "I hold down a desk. I am a 9-5 guy. Why should I worry about the standard?" Well for me, its because of the bottom line. We expect everyone else to. Rank is a privilege, not a right. It doesn't make you exempt. Its not a do what I say not what I do position. The crews at my station see my sorry old hind parts in their gym every morning. I always get the usual retort of " Hey Chief, don't pull something! or "We aren't working no code in the weight room boss!", along with many other unprintable choice phrases. But they see me in there. And they know even though I drive a desk, I still try to maintain. And sometimes I show up to PT with them, just to let them know I care. So if you are one of those Chiefs who doesn't think its necessary to meet the standard then maybe its time to go down to the retirement board and turn in those papers. Health is precious and this job can take it away from you very quickly. Even from behind a desk. So get off your duff, hit the gym, and schedule your annual. Do it for you, your family, and the great folks you have such a privilege and honor to command. Let them see you are "Fit" to lead. Stay safe brothers and sisters!