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Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) International is considered by many in the Fire Service as “the Greatest Show on Earth.” This is a place where Chiefs, Leaders, Aspiring Leaders, Firefighters and all walks of life in Emergency Services come to learn, network and more importantly get their batteries recharged.

Batteries Recharged? This got me thinking…

As I walked through the show room and the halls and took in every second of everything I could that was offered during this amazingly organized Fire Service Training Syndicate I couldn’t help but notice that the most common fraise I heard was “got my batteries recharged” or “here to get my batteries recharged.”

Such a simple description of such a large scaled event, but with that simple saying comes an even larger meaning. FDIC is a place that keeps us updated, keeps us focused, refreshes our knowledge and teaches us something new. It gives us the opportunity to develop and with that development comes readiness to be better prepared to deliver the skills that we are expected to offer to the public.

Through this career (as in life) our skills are perishable, sadly the same can be said for our motivation and passion for this service; like a portable radio that’s been left on too long our batteries start to drain.

Think of our life’s batteries as our desire to serve, our passion to lead and our motivation to be a part a something great. As time goes on and we get involved with tasks that drain those batteries. We mentally & physically engage ourselves into service to others and leave no time to think to charge our internal batteries. We sacrifice sleep, health and most important we sacrifice valuable time with our families all while draining our batteries.

Firefighting is a profession where there are many psychological taxes that play out.

  1. We deal with traumatic events throughout our entire career, we have to learn to compartmentalize the things we are susceptible to in order to press on.
  2. We deal with internal work issues, whether it’s a bad boss, a bully, or the feeling of not being good enough which makes you feel not part of the team.
  3. Our family life becomes estranged, we treat our spouses as strangers and we miss time with our kids.

Those “taxes” are what really drains our batteries. It’s the exhausting days at work where you have to deal with someone who might not appreciate your worth, or the tragic call that you had to try to find the humor in so you cannot get depressed over it and it’s the argument that you have with your spouse that you don’t spend enough time with the family. Those are the things that truly drain your batteries.

In a job that can be argued is the greatest job in the world we sure are running on low batteries throughout the majority of our time serving this profession.

Hearing that saying got me thinking, I felt “were my batteries recharged?” More importantly “could I help others recharge their batteries?” FDIC showed me the meaning of the importance behind recharging your batteries, we go too long dealing with those taxes I talked about that we don’t hear our low battery chirp going off. FDIC gives us the opportunity to rethink why we do what we do, allows us to look back and see what has gone on the past year so we can improve on things. Improving on things like the way we lead, what we’re going to do about becoming a leader and how we can spend better time with the one’s we love.

With courses offered from every different background like leadership development, fitness, PTSD, Marriage Issues, Hazmat, Responding to scenes of Violence or my bias favorite Networking (wink,wink). FDIC sets the stage for personal growth and professional development, it also serves as the charging port for our internal batteries.

In this profession we need to recharge our batteries, in a job that can burn us out both in our heads and on our bodies we need to take a breather and recharge. I’ve been doing this for almost 17 years, I had my first opportunity to attend FDIC this past April, I was also very fortunate enough to present on a panel that has some of the greatest in our business teaching at. This was a wakeup call for me on so many levels, both personally and professionally. I left having a better understanding of what “recharge my batteries” really meant.

My challenge to you is to accept that we don’t run on lithium and we can get burned out and our skills and passion can and will perish. I challenge you to take the time to look back, seek development both professionally & personally. I challenge you to then mentor others on the lessons learned through that development so that they can become aware of the importance of recharging their batteries. Finally I challenge you to thank your family for supporting you through this amazing yet taxing journey.

Go get recharged!

In all that you do, God bless, take care & stay safe!

Dave McGlynn

Passion in Leading, LLC

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