Fire Officers: What Would You Do When No One is Watching?

Firefighters must insist on competent, effective leaders in our fire departments to serve as officers. It isn't enough to just be lucky, these days you have to excel at commanding operations on the fireground.


I had to get back to work, but I wished I could stay by the window for a bit longer. I shook The Chief’s hand, and told him I would call him in a few days. He and his wife watched for a little while, and then quietly drove away. I was standing by our aerial during the remaining evolutions, keeping watch as The Chief would time after time, making sure there were no shortcuts, no doubts, no second-guesses; keeping the standard he set for us. A short time later, one of the students approached me, shook his head, and said one of the most profound statements I have ever heard anyone in the fire service say, yet alone a recruit:

“You know, I watched every one of you instructors stop what you were doing, walk over to that car, and shake that man’s hand. I don’t know who that was, but I know one thing; I want to be him.”

“Yeah…” I added, “so do I.”

Godspeed, Chief. Well done. We are forever grateful to you for showing us the way…

We will take it from here.

Until next time, stay focused and stay safe.

See Mike Live! Lt. Michael Daley will be presenting “Basement Fires” and “Strategies and Tactics for Fires in Attics and Cocklofts” at Firehouse Expo in Baltimore, July 23 - 27.

MICHAEL P. DALEY is a lieutenant and training officer with the Monroe Township, NJ, Fire District No. 3, and is an instructor with the Middlesex County Fire Academy, where he is responsible for rescue training curriculum development. Mike has an extensive background in fire service operations and holds degrees in business management and public safety administration. Mike serves as a rescue officer with the New Jersey Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 and is a managing member for Fire Service Performance Concepts, a consultant group that provides assistance and support to fire departments with their training programs and course development. You can reach Michael by e-mail at:FSEducator@aol.com.