The high school phase of your fire service career is also the time to start the mentoring process. We all would have loved to walked into school and had a high school kid look after us. "Pay it forward" is a saying that comes to mind, it means take what you have learned at pass it along. A wise man says the true measure of a person is what we leave behind. So it's time to take your knowledge and experience and pass it along to the new crop of firefighters. You don't have to be a instructor to accomplish this task. You can make a bigger impression and make a bigger difference on a student in the everyday environment of the fire station and our runs. Early in my personal career I was fortunate enough to have a chief officer select me and watch over my career and to this day I am beyond thankful. Making a difference in a young recruit's career can leave a lasting impression on them and your whole department. When you are selected as a mentor I hope your grades are in order.
Thank you for taking a trip down memory lane as we look at our fire service careers. I hope that this flash back stirred some feelings and memories while focusing squarely on the future. While report cards seem to always haunt us, they are an excellent means of evaluation of our careers. Most of us say that if we could only go back knowing what we know now, we would have done better. The best part of our careers is that we are now adults and we do know how.
So it's time to put your lessons to work. With the new generation of fire and EMS professional's coming into our chosen profession being more educated than ever, a lesson from the senior and the school of hard knocks is immeasurable! Everyone be safe and always keep your backpack ready and grade card at hand!
RYAN PENNINGTON, a Firehouse.com Contributing Editor, is a firefighter/paramedic with the Charleston, WV, Fire Department. He is currently assigned to Station 7 and a member of the West Virginia Task Force 1 USAR team. He has over 15 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 was a guest on the Engine Company Operations in Today's Buildings podcast on Radio@Firehouse. You can reach Ryan by e-mail atRyan33@suddenlink.net.