Loyalty: The Cornerstone Of An Effective Fire Department

In recent months, we have been accused of being just a bit too "touchy-feely" in our approach to delivering the gospel of organizational effectiveness. There are those who have said, "You give too much of yourself to your subordinates." To those of you...


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A great way to display loyalty is to share in the hardships of your people. On a cold night, don't leave the fire early and turn command over to a subordinate. There's a time and place to delegate, and cold, dark nights are not the time to begin. And if cuts are to be made in the annual budget, be sure that everyone shares. Don't cut the training budget for your troops and then head off to the annual fire chief's conference, golf clubs in hand.

What we are really saying here is that you must treat your troops as you, yourself, would like to be treated. Now isn't that a simple premise for building loyalty in your people? But it really is just that simple.

No matter how complex and technically oriented the world becomes, one constant remains: people will use whatever technology is required to get a job done. And people who feel appreciated will give a much better account of themselves when the chips are down. You will have a fire department where loyalty and hard work are the norm a fire department in which people do a dirty and dangerous job with smiles on their faces.

Some people who have been loyal and supportive of our labors are no longer with us. We thank them by passing along what they taught to a new generation. Please consider doing this as you move through life in your department.


Harry R. Carter, Ph.D., a Firehouse® contributing editor, is an acting deputy chief of the Newark, NJ, Fire Department and commander of the Training Division. He also is a past chief of the Adelphia, NJ, Fire Company.