Carter: Some More Tips for the New Fire Officer

Let me suggest that some of my greatest problems as a fire officer came about as a result of my own personal mistakes which were made worse by a poor reading of the actions and attitudes of the people around me.

The key is to define your place in the world, and then strive to achieve it. On those days when I was a bit upset with things at work in Newark, NJ, I used to like to pause and ponder. How many people are out there who would literally kill to be a battalion chief in a major fire department? And there they were paying me to do a job that you do as your hobby at home, something you have wanted to do since you were a kid. I suggested that I need to wake up and enjoy God’s Grace.

Let me assure you that it is important to have goals and aspirations. But let me suggest that you must reconcile these with the reality of your life and your world. For you see, it is from that distillation of what you want and what you are capable of doing, that a real vision of what you might actually do is created. Remember, how can you reach the moon if you don’t occasionally shoot for the stars?

It is my hope that this column has given you a bit of insight into what you need to know to succeed as a fire officer. For if you do not know, you will never go. Or if you do go without the knowledge, people could die.

Above all remember that you are a servant of the people placed in your care. If you hold them in low esteem and treat them like dirt, it will show. Likewise, a sincere concern, demonstrated in a consistent manner will be rewarded. Remember the Golden Rule and you will do well as an officer. Ignore it at your own peril.