It's Not Your Father's Fire Service

Here is a short list of those areas where changes have occurred: Everywhere!

This will require you old-timers to do something that I have been trying to do for years now. You must listen. You must evaluate. You must separate the wheat from the chaff with your newer members. Times are different and this mandates that you and I be different. The same holds true for the newer folks. They must listen and evaluate. All sides to the equation need to be heard by the other members of their team. That is, I suggest, the secret to success.

It is not easy. However, if you fail to understand that this is not your father's fire service, you may find that the world has passed you by. You may find that you and your style of leadership (and followership) have gone the way of your local Oldsmobile dealer. By the way, I only owned one Oldsmobile in 45 years of car ownership and driving.

By the way, I will be headed off to Washington, D.C. this week to attend the Fire Caucus Dinner on April 2. Wish me luck. I will let you know what comes from our annual political pilgrimage to Mount Bull by the Potomac.

HARRY R. CARTER, Ph.D., CFO, MIFireE, a Contributing Editor, is a municipal fire protection consultant based in Adelphia, NJ. Dr. Carter retired from the Newark, NJ, Fire Department and is a past chief and active life member of the Adelphia Fire Company. He recently published Leadership: A View from the Trenches and Living My Dream: Dr. Harry Carter's 2006 FIRE Act Road Trip, which was also the subject of a blog To read Harry's complete biography and view his archived articles, click here. You can reach Harry by e-mail at