So You Are In Charge - Part 6: Work Side By Side With Your Company

To be an effective company officer you must not ask you company to do something that either you won't do or that you believe is beneath you.

One night we were the first due truck company to an occupied residental fire and upon arrival I placed the truck in front of the residence and went through a second floor window via the aerial ladder. After the fire I felt pretty good about the operations only to receive the butt chewing of my life because I did not pull past the residence and have the ability, if needed, to operate on two sides of the structure. So just after I swept up my butt from the street, he came back and said "thanks for your hard work and I appreciate it". Please keep in mind my officer was covered in soot and debris from working inside the residence. I learned two things from him that night; always position my truck to operate on as many sides as possible and he appreciated my work. I forgot about the butt chewing until writing this article; however, I did not forget what he taught me. As a company officer let your company know you care about them and that you appreciate their work. Then reinforce it by working side by side your company.

Working side by side with your company is one of the reasons you should have wanted to get promoted. At some point in your career you felt that with your experience and leadership ability you were ready to take charge of your own company and make a difference. Well now is your time, you must take the lead and lead the next generation of firefighters safely into and out of scenes. You must take the time to teach your company how to work not only safely but intelligently. Instill in your company they must learn something new every tour. Try new things that others nationally are trying or look for local solutions to your problems, just trying something. Encourage your company members to become leaders of the future and help prepare them for it.

I hoped you found something of use throughout the "So You Are In Charge" series. I could only wish I have all the answers but I do not. As a company officer I have made many of the mistakes that I've asked you not to make. Some of the stuff I've written about is like describing the color blue to a blind person, you don't know exactly how to describe it, but you know it when you see it. Regardless of if you say you can or you say you can't, you're right! So say you can and do it.

Good luck and stay safe!