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?
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.