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After being a member of this "Community" for a number of months and adding a good number of friends (49 !!!.... I didn't know I was so well liked !?!?), I am surprised by the popular response to the profile question: Areas of Expertise.

Some members will respond with such creative answers such as: "Under Construction", "Underway", "Still learning" or "I am no expert" ! Still other members will just leave it blank.

I believe some of these members are selling themselves short, as a matter of fact.....I know they are.

Now, I don't want anyone to think I am so naive that I don't know this is due to the extreme level of modesty that runs rampant through our profession, "I'm no hero ma'am......just doin' my job. Here's your babies, I found them under the bed, above the fire room just before the floor caved in."

Should we even call it a "profession" for fear of being called a "pro"?

I don't think so.....

I'm sure there is a slight fear of retribution which has been programmed into our psyche since rookie school, knowing full well that just when we think we are beginning to get a grasp on this job and what is expected of us, someone comes along with a question we just can't answer on the spot. "You're no EXPERT!!"

I'm not, in any way, advocating tooting ones own horn. However, I don't think anyone should have a bio on their page that is longer than a baby's arm, provide training on every topic under the sun and still maintain they are "no expert on any subject". Not being an expert, yet providing training is somewhat counterintuitive.


1. expert skill or knowledge; expertness; know-how: business expertise.

Thesaurus entry,

Ability: Natural or acquired facility in a specific activity.

In the completion of your day to day duties, do you inform the citizens that you are "no expert" at extinguishing fires, pre-hospital emergency care, detecting carbon monoxide, delivering fire prevention messages, etc......?

Do you tell the rookie that you are no expert at washing dishes or vehicles, moping floors and breaking windows?


Because these people will, sooner or later, look to you for your "EXPERTISE"!!

Many of the people that are members on this site are experts, that's why we're here; to share expert knowledge and expert skills. I can tell you that if I have a question about my profession, I'll most likely consult the experts here.

So if you are still uncomfortable claiming expertise, therefore ability, in your chosen profession....... find something else to claim. Become an expert at eating or wearing tight old shirts.

I, for one, am an expert at socializing with other Firefighters (my wife has pointed this out on numerous occasions) and I'm pretty good with a television remote control. (for the humor challenged, I was joking.)

I am proud of the abilities and skills that I have acquired over the years, and I am confident in yours.

Don't sell yourself short

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Comment by Bruce Clark on February 3, 2009 at 11:25am
Good stuff Ron...
Comment by Art Bloomer on November 9, 2008 at 6:58pm
Rons right on....and i do agree the word expert scares a lot of us away from using it. The better choice is areas of expertise. Or what do you know a lot about, and it would benefit the whole firefighting world if you would be willing to share that knowledge with all that will listen. I'll be out there in Indy this year listening....seems I'm not teaching this year. But I listen every year...and learn every year...from everybody. Ron...see you when your kilt is on.
Comment by Eric Hankins on October 4, 2008 at 4:40pm
Great Post Ron,

I too think more people should be proud of what they have accomplished in their career.

The modesty is a big hurdle. A lot of people don't like to be put on the spot for fear of offending someone or being called out. The simple fact of the matter is if you are doing something or teaching something SPEAK UP. Just because the way you do it in Gary ID, or Yuba City CA, isn't the same as FDNY or LAFD doesn't mean it is wrong. Everyone has to do with what they have. There are plenty of departments out there like yours or mine and someone may learn something from us that could possibly save a brothers life someday.....

Great topic G. Proud to be one of your 49 friends.

And PS your wife is right, your are great at socializing!!!

Comment by Wayne Benner Jr on October 2, 2008 at 8:21pm
Im all in favor in giving anyone assitance in any knowledge that I know of. However to my self an expert would give (me) the sence of being complete. I dont think I will ever know every thing their is to know about any such subject. I too am proud of the things Ive execelled in and not ashamed to let people know my thoughts on things. Some of my close friends (COPS Teachers) get tired of hearing about firefighting as for me its the best job on this earth, and I let them know it. But as for being an expert, I fall short because maybe that wont let me become complacent in my job as I see others do.

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