Pennington: Culture Change? Whatever

Changing anything in the fire service takes more time than most of us have on earth? One change that I can’t totally agree with is why we need a cultural change. Do we really need to change the reasons, behaviors, and ideals that bring us to serve our communities as firefighters?

My vote would be no. So why does everyone say that we need a cultural change?

Maybe it’s because the people making the statement don’t fully understand what our culture is. Becoming clouded to the job we perform everyday and losing touch with reality can happen to leaders who sit behind a desk for too long. The same leaders who sat in the seat we sit in and said some of the same things we say.

Taking the time to step away from the desk and quit over analyzing everything would serve them well. Let them come and survey how the men and women of today’s fire service are learning better than ever, becoming more educated than ever, and are continuing to make the fire service a better place.

Today’s firefighters have 24/7 access to the happenings around the world, almost on a “as they are happening” basis.  With this information is coming education and awareness to the required adjustment in procedures, tactics, and teamwork.   Maybe this is what the folks talking about “culture change” are talking about.

Agreeing that some things should be changing in the fire service, this jumpseat rider can agree that we need to be learning from all happenings from around the world.  Reaching out to learn, understand, and adjust to ensure that these things don’t happen to us should be something that all firefighters just DO!

Burying 100 of our brothers and sisters is NOT acceptable and we should be trying our absolute best to lower this number. Lowering that number does NOT come from changing the culture of the fire service.  It comes from educating the young, learning from the older, and having leaders who have their finger on the pulse of the fire service. 

Give your firefighters the education, access, and support needed to learn from the fallen while continuing to be just what we are, firefighters. Understanding that there may be a "bad” risk, we all understand that our culture will always go above and beyond the call of duty for those times where a life can be saved.  That’s what firefighter culture is all about

Our culture is about sacrifice, honor, commitment, and service!  If you want to change that it may be time for you to call it quits!!!!!!