Lessons Learned at the Ohio Fire & EMS Expo

Good afternoon! It's my last week before I leave the injured reserve list and return to the Jumpseat. I am looking forward to the first time I put on my turnout gear on again!

After returning from teaching at the Ohio Fire and EMS Expo, I would like to share one of my experiences.  It was a great two days in downtown Columbus while meeting, teaching, and talking with fire service folks from around the globe. It is funny how we learn more from talking with different folks than we ever do from classes.

This time was no exception as the constant stream of introductions happened. The more hands I shook and the more people I met, it occurred to me that I am meeting me. It is funny how you can meet someone from thousands of miles away and speak the same language, use common terms, and even complain about the same problems. It's funny, how that works. 

One huge point that I took away from this trip is the need to learn from the past. “Those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it” kept coming to mind as the stories were shared back and forth. As a young firefighter, I never took to heart the stories from the experienced members. Now, looking back, that was not a wise move. Stories of fires past, grab's made, and personal experiences make the connections between firefighters even stronger. 

You see, most often when someone brings up a situation they have faced, we have faced the same thing. Pulling from their experiences and adding them to yours will allow you the chance to reflect, asses, and learn from both to make sure that we improve on it the next time around.

People have been fighting fires for centuries, how long have you? We have a duty to share our stories while listening to others and take them back to the firehouse where we can put them into our memory in case we see them again. Just as someone said this past week, “if you have ever crawled a hallway in zero visibility while listening for screams,” you will know what I am talking about. I believe that most of us know that feeling and if you do share it with the rest of the world so we can learn from your experience. Grab a junior member or a senior captain and sit down to share stories.  You will be amazed and might even learn something!

Bunker up, cuckle in, and remember that we all start in the Jumpseat!!!