A captain and crew practicing face piece replacement during a company training session.
Photo credit: Darin Virag
Greetings from the Jumpseat. It truly amazes me that sometimes inspiration to share information from the jumpseat comes from the most unlikely of places.
This past week I was sitting in my church -- easy now, this is about the fire service -- listening to the best pastor that I have ever heard preach a sermon. Pastor Seth Polk talked about "building your foundations on solid ground" when it hit me like a freight train. This sermon needs to be taught to every firefighter in the service, especially the backwards facing "jumpseat" riders like myself. As our careers start in the jumpseat during our basic training it is the best place to build a solid foundation of skills.
As I have said before, we all start in the same place on day one: a rookie with aspirations on becoming a firefighter that has the skills necessary to be completed under pressure. So how do you build a solid foundation of skills? I believe that it starts with Y-O-U.
When you show up for that first day you need to show up with the determination to become the best firefighter you can. Developing a good learning set that includes listening skills, eagerness to learn, and a work ethic. Don't be the person who "hangs back" and goes last when doing a skill. I have noticed that most often the best students are those who volunteer to go first during an evolution.
These folks take the lead role for two reasons. One, is they don't have any care if they fail while attempting a new skill. Peer pressure in our business is real and shouldn't have anything to do with learning a new skill, especially the first few times. Second is their passion shines through. If you are stepping up to go first during a skills challenege you are showing determination to not only learn a skill, but be good at it.
So if you are reading this blog in preparation for your first day or last day of training in firefighting you should be ready to build your skills on a solid foundation. For some of you this means breaking bad habits and returning to the jumpseat for a come to "chief" meeting. You know we all have experienced those where the chief reeducate us on how it's done in our department.
One thing is for sure that if you learn from a book that is thousands of years old and apply what you learn to our business you will never have to worry about getting called in because you have built a foundation as solid as a ROCK!
Thanks for the stop in the jumpseat!
Bunker up, buckle in, and remember that we all start in the Jumpseat!