Completing the Task
Now that we have identified that the views and opinions of our peers can and will affect our safety, how do we deal with it? First, we must look to our leadership to create and maintain a level of safety on our emergencies. If we look to our leadership to set the example, the trickledown effect should reach us all. Leading the way on the fireground and following procedures is the best way to reduce peer pressure. If the chief does it that way, it will make it easier for the rest of the members to do it the same way.
Secondly, education will give us the facts and figures on how many firefighters are injured or killed in certain situations. We should use the reports on accidents that our fellow firefighters have had and honor them by learning from their sacrifice. The “it won’t happen to me” attitude should be a dying breed! It seems like every day we are reminded of just how dangerous our profession is. Lastly, peer pressure should be turned into a positive. One day, you will be the senior member, if not the chief, in your fire department. While leading your firefighters, use peer pressure to make a positive influence on the safety of your members.
There is no doubt that a fire department has a hierarchy of people. From the first-day rookie to the chief, we all strive to provide the best service possible. With this in mind, we all must use our behavior to promote an environment of safety. You will be amazed at how peer pressure can affect you at the fire station. Our job is to use that pressure to promote the safety of everyone. We also have a responsibility as we become the leaders of our departments to use our influence to make sure that we do what it takes to make sure we all go home.
“Is the pressure on” in your department? Isn’t time that we use that pressure to promote safety? I hope after reading this article you take the time to look at how you influence the members around you and make sure that we all go home!
RYAN PENNINGTON, a Firehouse.com Contributing Editor, is a firefighter/paramedic for the Charleston, WV, Fire Department. He is currently assigned to Station 8 and a member of the West Virginia Task Force 1 USAR team. He has over 17 years of combined fire, rescue and EMS experience. Ryan is currently a West Virginia State Instructor 2, Hazmat Technician, and Certified Fire Officer 2. Ryan has been guest on several Firehouse.com podcasts including: Training & Tactics Talk: Searching in the Modern Environment and Engine Company Operations in Today's Buildings. View all of Ryan's articles and podcasts here. You can reach Ryan by e-mail at: Ryan33@suddenlink.net.