Firefighters are who they are. It matters not if they are a Patriot or Giants fan, Christian or Atheist, tradesman or computer geek, or preference of a microwave to bring forth the station meal over the convection oven; while sitting around the bean table the most contentious and heated of debates can occur with the foulest of names being exchanged, yet when the bell strikes the blood boils and flows and that transforms them into the warriors they are. It’s the blood that brings forth the best of who they are and binds them together as brothers (our women firefighters included) closer than if they shared the same mother.
The warrior’s blood needs to boil. It needs to flow. It’s their common ground. It’s what they seek. As leaders this needs to be understood, acknowledged and utilized. You’re not a company officer, you are the platoon leader of elite specialized warriors. You are not a fire chief, you are the general of an army, and not an army of war and destruction, but one of peace and order. If ever there were an army of angels waging war on evil your fire department is it, and I would bet the people of your community would agree.
This is a special profession made up of special people. The appearance on the surface is neither what matters nor what makes it tick, it’s what flows beneath. It’s what flows through the veins and from the heart. It’s real. It’s unstoppable. Recognize that and tap into it. Get it flowing. Don’t waste this time in our profession when firefighters are needed the most and not just for the skills that they possess, but the people they are and what they represent. This is the greatest job in the world made up of the best people who ever walked the planet. Never forget that. Just sometimes as leaders you have to bring it forth and get it pumping.
So get up and get it back!
This article is dedicated to the men and woman of the Weathersfield, Ohio, Volunteer Fire Department Station 40 who have it right!
DANIEL BYRNE, a Firehouse.com Contributing Editor, is a firefighter/paramedic, with the Burton, SC, Fire District. A 20-year veteran of the emergency services, he holds both an associate and bachelors degree in fire science, is a National Fire Academy Alumni, and a veteran of the Desert Shield/Storm war with the U.S. Marine Corps. Daniel is the recipient of local and state awards for public educations and relations. Daniel is moderator of the Fire Prevention and Life Safety forums on Firehouse. You can reach Daniel by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.