The Journey: Learning from History

There is a saying that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it. That was meant to have a negative connotation. But what if we do learn from history does that somehow automatically imply that we will have successful outcomes...

So why is this an article in a series on leadership. We have all heard catchy phrases like "think outside the box," or "don't bury your head in the sand." The fire service works in the sandbox and so do building trades and building owners. If you want to take all the sand and pile it up, understand the consequence. Another catchy phrase "don't build on shifting sand."

The fire service needs to engage the building trades and property owners on their level. There is no acceptable loss of life from fire, civilian of firefighter. If you build a cheap building you will be held accountable. Make them understand that their fancy building is not worth your members lives.

Do we need to educate the public and make them aware of the impact this has on their lives. Insurance money can replace things but sentimental value is not considered. If your home burns it is probably cheaper to cart the whole thing off in a dumpster and rebuild from scratch. To them it is a house to you it is a home your home!

Make them build a building that can be saved, one that is worth saving. What is being saved is your stuff, maybe even your life.

Don't wait for the trend to be discovered. Think outside the box for ways to encourage dialog for the building people. Don't bury your head in the sand and say it wont happen to me.

A leader thinks on his or her feet and uses their head for more than just a rack to put their white hat on!

Comments are always welcomed. You can e-mail them to me at Stay safe.

CHRISTOPHER FLATLEY, a Contributing Editor, is a 20-year veteran of the FDNY and a lieutenant currently assigned to Ladder Company 21 in Manhattan. Chris has twice served as chief of the Blauvelt, NY, Volunteer Fire Company and is currently the assistant chief and training coordinator. He is a nationally certified Fire Instructor 1 and is an instructor at the Rockland County, NY, Fire Training Center and holds a degree in fire protection technology. He is a Master Exercise Practitioner on the Exercise Design Team through the Center for Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness. You can reach Chris by e-mail at: