This is a saying that I found to be accurate and applicable to the fire service. I have had the pleasure of traveling around the country speaking to different fire departments spreading the message of firefighter safety and during my travels I have noticed that our fire departments are made up of the same types of people. Most times I can close my eyes, change some names, and then forget that I'm not at my home department. Just like the title states, the clowns may be different, but the circus is the same.
Some of the personality types that I have experienced go like this:
The book smart leader: Seems like we all have the higher up leader of the department that knows the books from cover to cover. Sometimes it seems like they can't function on the fireground, but you may be surprised of their performance. Knowledge is power!
The pack mule: We all have this person that seems like they could pull the wagon across the country. From the power lifters to the absolute workhorse, these folks seem to be the ones that we call when the load gets heavy! You always want to keep in mind that these silent workhorses may know more than you think, so use their abilities wisely and include them in on all decisions.
The guru: I would compare these people to Inspector Gadget. Whenever things get technical they are the go-to folks. From underwater basket weaving to high angle pig farming, they have a grasp on it all. These are the people that we pray are on-duty when the technical rescue call comes in. We should lean on their knowledge on day-to-day operations too, to make ourselves ready for when things get technical.
The jabber box: This is the person that never shuts up! These folks with the type-A personalities can be a useful tool when dealing with the public. From PIO to fire prevention their thirst for speaking should be maximized. Teaching is a great place for most of these folks, that way they can talk all day and be productive.
These are a few examples of some of the personalities that I have come across in my travels around this great country. It amazes me every time I visit a new fire station that you can just about bet that they have at least one, if not all of these types of people. We need to keep these personalities working together for the common goals of safe and timely responses. Just because you're the pack mule of the bunch doesn't mean your knowledge isn't as relevant as everyone else's.
This is what makes today's fire service strong, our diversity! So on your next response let's make it the "greatest show on earth!" A nice safe show!
Thanks for the visit to the jumpseat!
From the Jabber Box!