Good afternoon from the injured reserve area of the jumpseat. Looks like I will be out of the jumpseat for a few months while healing a torn rotator cuff. It is somewhat sad to think that I will not be on a rig for a while.
Once hearing the confirmation of my injury it made me begin to think about it possibly being the last time I ever ride a fire truck or ambulance. Did I accomplish all my goals, serve my community well, and leave with the feeling that I left it better than I found it? When the uncertainty of an injury comes along you have plenty of time to think about these things that we all take for granted.
Do you set goals for your fire service career? We should write down clear goals for the stages of our careers. The goals will help direct your career path and insure that you don't get stagnant as you work toward these goals.
- Complete paramedic class
- Become hazmat trained
- Begin taking leadership and officer classes
Just these few items came to mind while writing this blog. Your goals can be different than mine, but should be measurable, attainable, and set out in advance.
Other ideas that come to mind:
Serve my community well - Serving our community as firefighter is not the end, it's just a portion of how we should stay active in our communities. Many firefighters serve as coaches, mentors, and leaders in the different community programs. From Girl Scouts to sport coaches we should remain active when our helmets are hung between shifts. A positive image and a tradition of service is what we should be about.
There are many areas where we can support our communities. Non-profits such as United Way, YWCA's, and local church groups are a great place to start. It is a rewarding feeling when you help someone in need and we, as firefighters have a lot to offer.
Pay it forward - In my opinion this is the most important of all. Leaving the fire service better than we found it is what we all should strive for. What is all that knowledge and experience going to do if you take it with you. Take the time to teach, mentor, and contribute to the service that we all so dearly love. Find a young firefighter and take them under your wing and share your knowledge so they too can learn.
Take the time to write some of you experiences down to share on places like Firehouse.com. They don't have to be grammatical perfections, they have to be written to the ability that your point gets across. The main point of pay it forward is to help the advancement of the fire service and leave it just a little better than you found it. Add your stamp, make your mark, and contribute to the goal of making us all safer.
As I head out the door to start the recovery from my injury I will encourage you all reading this blog to do not take your fire service career for granted. It can be gone in a instant. Make every day special in your way. Life is precious, enjoy your time in the jumpseat, front seat, or front office because, in the blink of an eye, you could be sitting on the sidelines wishing you could just run one more call.
Stay safe and bunker up, buckle in, and remember that we all start in the jumpseat!