What Gear Are You In? P R N D L ???

I know, I know when a firefighter says what gear are you in, you are thinking Globe, Morning Pride, Janesville, FireDex or many others. What I am really talking about is what speed are you operating or functioning at?


You are a member of your department that doesn’t move. You just exist. You hang back at trainings, use all of you sick time, and seem to always have trouble crossing the threshold. If you Park in the wrong place you can just be an obstruction! Members that are parked are really difficult to move, and they really don’t help any of us get to where we want to go.


If you are in Reverse you are generally looking in your rearview mirror all the time. You don’t really care where we are going, you only care where we have been, and the good old days, and the way we used to do it. You spend a great deal of your time taking the crew further away from where the organization wants to go while they move forward.


If you are in Neutral you are easily influenced meaning you can go either forward or reverse and you are easily moved with just a little push. This might be a big part of your organization and it is the job of the officer and the rest of the crew, to make sure that you are moved in the right direction. The problem with neutral is that while you are not hurting the mission you are probably not going forward. These folks in neutral also have to be monitored, because after some forward progress, they will easily slip if not properly chocked!


If you are in Drive you are trying to move the organization forward. You are helping others and can probably take passengers (other crew members) along with you for the ride! You are fully engaged and participate in all activities, training, house duties and you are awesome on the fireground as well. This analogy is the only time I am in favor of everyone driving, and I will even accept backseat drivers too!


If you are in Low I am Ok with that also. You might be a senior man that is cautiously moving forward but at a slower pace. You might have travelled this road before and you know it can be uncertain about the terrain. You want to move, but have good traction, good torque, and while a little slower you are almost guaranteed to finish the journey. In addition if you are careening down a hill of uncertainty at a high speed, being in Low can slow you down and make sure you descend slowly and safely. These members can be a tremendous asset to the organization and eventually they will probably pick up the pace and shift gears into Drive.

So as you read this you were probably naming the members and what gear they were in. We all have them.

If you are an officer, figure out your role, are you the navigator? Are you the mechanic? Are you the tour guide? …..Oh, and by the way what gear are you in as the officer?