Apparatus from the Bowers Fire Company are ready for the next run.
Photo credit: Photo by Ryan Pennington
Welcome back to the Jumpseat. Today, as I sit in my favorite recliner, I wanted to share the experience that unfolded this weekend. I had the honor to visit the state of Delaware while presenting my "Fighting Fires in Hoarder Homes" programs to the Bowers Fire Company. It truly is amazing the feeling that walking through the doors of a fire station more than eight hours from home can feel like home and speaks volumes of the firefighting community.
Often when I travel to places to present I return with just as much learned as I have taught and this trip proved to be a great example of just that.
Fire Chief Phillip Pennington (no relation) gave me a guided tour of his town, department, and state. All that I can say is "wow!" Delaware has the true meaning of the fire service figured out! The community support from the whole state was amazing. I asked people about their local fire departments while traveling in and all that I would hear was praise.
The biggest lesson that I learned is what it means to take pride in your department. Every station that I visited, unannounced, was spotless. Their equipment was clean, neat and organized, almost to a military precision. Their apparatus were the same way. Most of all is the pride that I saw in the faces of the tour guides. Company pride that truly comes from deep inside showed everywhere you looked.
As I regrettably left this wonderful trip, it didn't hurt that Bowers Fire boarders the bay, not the ocean. I boarded a bumpy plane ride home and reflected on what I had learned. Pride in your department doesn't need more manpower, money, staffing, training, or better management. Pride comes from your heart and shows in how you maintain you department's belongings.
P = Putting
R = Respect
I = Into
D = Department
E = Equipment
Pride comes from being a part of a family, a fire service family. A nationwide community of people brought together with one common goal, service.
I would like to send a huge shout out to the members of the Bowers Fire Company, the Fighting Muskrats. I hope that they learned half as much from me as I did from them. I know that the next time that I am tired, worn out, mad, sad, or happy that I will remember what it means to take "Delaware Pride" in my department.