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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Varying degrees of the fire service exist, many are unheard and rarely seen. One faction proactive, one facet is reactive, another neither, yet all having one goal. Boots on the ground that follow a framework prepared by pencils to paper. A network that may never interact and at times may acquiesce, still have one goal. We can trace our beginnings, but our end is uncertain and we are bound only by the limits we set for ourselves. Our one goal is met through multiple means, but must remain our one goal.

All boots are on the ground working towards ONE GOAL.

A view of the finish line can be a great feeling. Diligent work on a project, excitement as the end is near. We may fall into the trap of Summit Fever. The symptoms vary, blindness to your surroundings, rushing, disregarding plans and procedures. The imminent goal accomplishment can cause disregard to certain conditions and other important factors. Cruise control may kick in, we drift into auto pilot.

Keep the blinders off to remedy summit fever.

This is the time to push, maintain your focus and drive, allow your senses to heighten. Keep the blinders off to remedy “Summit Fever.”

"An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching." - Gandhi

More often than not this blog serves as my own journal, my release and my reminder. Always on the quest for motivation, I seek aegis from sources outside the fire service and within. The quote above is from Gandhi. This man was disobedient and sought civil rights for people around the world. This struck a chord with me. “Have I become too much of a preacher instead of a practitioner?” My vocation is a hands on one, yet so much is put in behind the podium.

Guard against Integrity Sabotage.

Do we practice what we preach? Even if we render an ounce of practice, we can guard againt Integrity Sabotage. What do we look like when others eyes are not fixed on us? Does our preaching match our practice or do we subvert to appease our peers? Conformity to ideals can contaminate our own principles when done so for the sake of appealing to others. The days of our youth can be revisited, simply longing to be one of the in-crowd. Practicing what you preach shows the hunger then preaching may drives others lust, so you STAY HUNGRY.

In our line of work, you will gain more followers by an ounce of practice than you will tons of preaching.

*Stay Hungry – coined by good friend and brother Mark Vonappen

"We are defined by actions not seen by others."


“We are defined by the actions rarely seen by others. The hours of mistakes drive the hours of seeking perfection, knowing perfection will never come. We are defined by who we are when no one is watching. Our struggle is personal, it is a lifelong quest. We admit our weaknesses, we toil over the solutions. When our task is done, others will define us. Do not make another man a liar when he defines you as a fighter.” Make your craft your passion, do it for yourself as you are doing it for others. Spending time simply trying to be seen will cause you to fail when you are called upon.

What if when we arrived to an emergency we only brought one tool? One rig brings hose, another the water, one more brings hand tools. This certainly would not be the most efficient way of operating. We prepare our trucks with various types of tools and equipment to take on many challenges. Sure, we still have our specialty apparatus to serve in uniqueways, but they still have various tools and equipment. Our people are the same way. Each of us bring individual perspectives to our trade. They way we think, move, act and feel. To some degree we want continuity in the way we operate. We should all have the same basic training and attitudes, we should however take on a special skill or knowledge area so we can add that knowledge to the operation just as certain tools do.

“Jack of all trades, master of none.”

As we take on more types of services we provide, we can lose essential knowledge. Some may be better than others at being diverse, for the most part this way of operating can hinder us. At this point we should discuss all the services we provide, but you already know how many roles we play these days. As the average front-line responder how many “hats” do you already wear? How many more may be expected from you? What can you do to keep a balance, where do you draw the line?

"Be the type of Firefighter YOU want to be."

To that question I have no answer, although I can offer some simple advice, “Be the type of Firefighter YOU want to be.” You get out of this profession what you put into it. Put pride and energy into your work, it will come back to you. Be pissed off and mad at the world, that is how you will feel and how others will see you. Only we can manage our attitudes, only we can be who we want to be, and be seen as. What level of service do you want to provide to those you provide it to? What are their expectations and what are you doing to meet those. Hundreds of certificates in a book are nothing if you cannot provide basic services to those you took an oath to care for.

Who are you? What type of Firefighter do you want to be? Ask yourself these questions and ask them often, then set yourself on the path to be who you want to be.

The fire service is full of actions, traditions, ceremonies, and other types “ways we’ve always done it.” Behind every “what” we do there must be a “why.” We must adapt to the current time, standards and the like, always staying vigilant to never allow the fire to “one up us.”

‘The Eagle and the Arrow from Aesop’s Fables – An Eagle was soaring through the air when suddenly it heard the whizz of an Arrow, and felt itself wounded to death. Slowly it fluttered down to the earth, with its life-blood pouring out of it. Looking down upon the Arrow with which it had been pierced, it found that the haft of the Arrow had been feathered with one of its own plumes. “Alas!” it cried, as it died,


Ever must we stand to preserve our mission. To protect life, property and the environment, our processes should be reviewed and fine tuned to the “arrow” we are currently up against. We must take account for who, what and where were are.  Progression must be part of culture. Acclimate  to our changing world both physically and socially. Guard against a serene organization, we can react adequately when faced with change.

When we are soaring high as the eagle and undisturbed, we can lose our steadfast posture. Complacency will easily set in. This is the time when we give our enemy the ammunition to peirce us with the arrow of failure and loss. Train often and on current, relevant topics. Stay in touch with the changing world, ready to adapt. If not we will give our enemy the means for our own destruction.

We train, we learn to stay stronger than our enemy.

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