Fire Service Lite

The other night I was out having a leisurely supper another ridiculous training idea occurred to me.

I had gone to a small family restaurant and although I rarely drink an awful lot I had just ordered a light beer for supper.

I am very serious about trying to get back into some human shape and I am trying to be conscious of calorie intake.

At some point during the meal I realized that I had just ordered a beverage, that is about 87% water in the first place and I asked them to make it “lite”. What the hell was I thinking!

I then sort of chuckled to my self and wondered about society in general, the quality of our new recruits and officers, the current school of fire chiefs that are surfacing and said …gee, what ingredients are we leaving out of these folks that are making them the “lite version”.

Society “Lite”

Oh, this was an easy one, we have left out most of the common courtesy, politeness, pride and integrity. But hey you still get your money’s worth because we have added so many more artificial ingredients such as phony, condescending, materialistic, impatient, and oh yes you have seen it is always served “cold”. We have an awful lot of cold.

Recruit and firefighter “lite”

Ah yes one of my favorite brews. The “what can this job do for me and how many sick days and benefits can I get” variety. The kind that has the contract in their back pocket for easy and quick reference so there is no waiting. What did we take out in this flavor, we took the service out of the word fire service. We removed any reference to duty, commitment and pride and tradition and honor. Hey but it is really full bodied and seems complete though because we took all the ingredients we removed and replaced them with a much more robust “ME” that takes the place of everything we removed. (Hey fires are down anyway, lets just send the lite guys to the small jobs on nice days with no wind and rain, when they are not out on a swap or personal to, That should work OK)

Officer ‘Lite”

We will give you the fastest, most inexpensive officer we can. We rush them through production by minimizing the number of years they have to do their job, we give them cookie cutter study materials and traditional testing instead of letting them brew and age into an assessment center process. We have removed the experience, caring compassionate mentoring attitude of those older more traditional types, and we have become task and objective oriented instead of taking care of those silly people that work for us that are really nothing but additives! These officers are also extremely cold when served up to us.

Chief “Lite”

This one could go on for hours, but I can’t quite get my finger on what is missing with these new breed of chiefs that I am seeing. I can tell some of what is missing and different but not all of it. I believe the taste I have indicates we have removed most of their memory, lots of their intestinal fortitude, their desire to continue to educate themselves and not rest on their laurels, and the vision and passion they once had when they used to say things like “When I get to be chief I will……..”. The new taste leaves some of those that contact them bitter and with a strong after taste. A lot of the new taste is caused by some of the attitudes and additives that have replaced the items removed…..There is way too much ego, pompous attitude, self righteousness, and way too little humility and compassion and human skills. I think maybe they advertise too much and way too flashy.

This is my view on whether or not less is better or not. Sometimes it is helpful to be less. Less ego, less pompous, less ME, less attitude, and add a little more of caring and helping and others, and continuing to learn, exploring, and study.

Something is brewing in the fire service today, help make sure it is a good product!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013