Category Archives: Uncategorized

Random Thoughts on Minimum Standards

This is a term that gets tossed around the fire service often. It was a term that I used to hate when I was the Coordinator of Firefighter Certification. You know, now that I think of it, I am not real fond of it now either!

The firefighter that passes firefighter I/II certification with a 70% actually got 30%  wrong! But still he or she is certified to meeting the minimum required standards.

I understand why we have minimums and i get it, but please never let the minimum be your goal.

When training new members, get them passed where they need to go and let them know that the minimum is the floor, but we should be aiming for the ceiling.

Would you go to, or would you take your family to a doctor who graduated with the minimum credentials? Would you get on a plane with a pilot or co-pilot that just made the minimum?

Lead your people to the top. They can and will get lost on their way but that is our job, to guide them. Don;t get frustrated when they struggle, refocus and redouble your efforts to get them where they need to be.

As senior members, officers and instructors let us always coach our members to a higher level. In fact coach them to the highest level they can achieve……and while you are at it and caring for others……push and test yourself once in a while too!

Tactical Fire Problem – Multi-Story with Fire Escapes

This week The Tactical Fire problem is a multi-story older building with fire escapes.

1.) What is your initial report?

2.) How would you deploy your manpower of 2 engines and 1 ladder initially?

3.) Does your department have training and or SOPs for operating on fire escapes?

4.) Name 2 methods for extending hose lines on the exterior over fire escapes.

5.) What does the age of this building indicate about fire spread potential?

 

Your Opinion

Hey, you know what they say about opinions…..they are like…….and everybody has one.

Opinions are the best. The first amendment says that in America we all get to have freedom of speech. There are some limitations about that but they are small.

The thought for today is, I know that you have the right to your opinion, but what is the weight of your opinion?

An opinion about the job is aways relevant, except on the fireground. The fireground and to many degrees the fire department organization itself is not Burger King….You don’t get to have it your way!

If your are truly an expert in your field then you have a right to expert opinion. The question here becomes who proclaimed you an expert? The court and judicial system/ An academic university? Does the fact that you have a PHD or a Masters degree give you expert status? Does the fact that you have written a book given you expert status? All of these have been considered in the past and I guess the listener has the right to determine your expert status.

If you have a ton of education but absolutely no practical experience does that your opinion mean more than someone with a limited education with multiple years of experience? I guess that your opinion is sort of like beauty, it is really in the eye of the beholder.

My advice, guidance and purpose for this week is this:

when you render opinion, know what the weight and limitations might be on that opinion. You have the right to express it, but others have no obligation to accept it.

I know this all too well by delivering an international podcast every wekk, and that is that I express my opinion every week on the podcast.

Sometimes, (and I am grateful) that many agree, but I cannot allow myself to get angry when someone disagrees. You see that is their right as well. Because  I profess it, does not make it true.

My hope this week is this: If you have something to say, say it. Remember however that everyone else’s right might be to disagree.

Don’t be disappointed, don’t be angry, just realize that everyone has an opinion.

How we react to disagreement really speaks volumes about our character.

Think about it.

 

 

 

Boundaries

This week I am writing about boundaries. There are many boundaries we encounter everyday on the job and in life.

Boundaries are  interesting things. We can explore them, expand them, build them and sometimes stretch them for good or bad.

My point is to try to get you to think critically about boundaries. How can you expand your professional FD boundaries. You can push yourself, you can train, you can take classes you can do everything you can to challenge these boundaries. You see in many ways boundaries are considered limits.They can be legal, perceived, or physical.

Overcoming any personal shortcoming can be considered overcoming a boundary.

One of the things I want to talk about is what do you set for boundaries? Will you stoop to personal negative attacks with those who have differing opinions from yours? Will you make fun and demean others? You see every day, everyone can see your boundaries, that maybe you cannot.

The way you treat others, the friends you hang out with, the mannerisms you display, all display your boundaries to others.

This week, make sure you understand the boundaries of your organization, the boundaries of law, the limitations of your training and experience, but most of all take a look in the mirror during some quiet time. See if you can see the boundaries that others see in you.

Lost And Found At Your FD

Lost and found. Two different things at two ends of the spectrum. Today I want to think about these terms in a way they affect you and your department.

By definition if you have lost something, you have given something away. If you have found something you have gained something. In most cases we are talking about objects, but in my discussion we are talking about less tangible things.

What gets lost in your organization? Sometimes departments lose focus. Sometimes members lose their own focus and no longer care about their job. Sometimes members do not train often enough and they lose perishable skills. Sometimes frustrations rise in the kitchen, or in officer meetings and people lose their temper or lose their patience. You get the point.

What can be found in your organization? Well nothing will be found if nobody looks! Nothing can be found if nobody is self aware enough to know that they themselves may have lost something.

I have been in organizations where caring could be found everywhere you looked. New information was always found and it was readily available and shared often. Great public service and professionalism could always be found. Friendship and camaraderie should also be easily found in your organizations. You see the things that can be found should not even need a “Lost and Found” sign over them.

Each and every day that you walk into your firehouse or firehall many things are lost and many things can be found.

I guess it really matters what you are looking for.