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  1. #1
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Default Back To Basics- Something simple I learned from the military.

    I have been meaning to write this for a long time.

    I have never severed in the armed forces, but once worked as a civilian Federal Firefighter at a military base. During that time, I once heard a former Marine, now Firefighter say some important words to me. I took note of this phrase and put it away in my "bag of tricks".

    Later on, I have watched the movie Crimsom Tide several times and heard Captain Ramsey of the USS Alambama state that exact same phrase atleast twice during the movie as he spoke to his team of Officers.

    Finally those simple words- "Keep your people informed" or "Keep your troops informed".

    WHAT?!?! Thats so basic and easy. Yes, but look at a cross section of your new and old salt Fire Officers. They are so busy on the phone, computer, making plans, setting up the day, reports, getting that divorce, part-time job, etc. that they sometimes forget to simply keep their people informed of the plan or task at hand.

    Application- Me as a Fire Officer, I have stuck with this platform and found it works better than you might think. I have observed my subordinates act and function more confident being "in the loop". They've asked less questions about operations and feel more like part of the overall success of the plan or day.

    Non-Application- Me being a lonely Firefighter on a major Southern California wildland fire with a micro-managing Fire Captain who wont share any information just makes me more frustrated and ******ed off. I have no idea where we are going, who we are working for or what our next move is. (This should sound familiar if you know the 10 Stanard Fire Orders and 18 Situations)

    Does this mean "spill the beans" on everything and everyone? No. Just keeping your people informed on the plan of the day or mode of attack.

    Hope this helps someone out.

    -Bou
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 01-16-2009 at 03:20 PM.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    An ex-girlfriend once told me- "Communciation is key". Hope this helps someone out. Made a world of difference for me.

    -Bou
    Yet she's still your ex?

    Good Advice nonethelesss.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  3. #3
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Mc- After all of that, you zeroed in on the "girlfriend"? You horndog. I guess I will go back and edit my posting.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Yes, Capt(N) Ramsey did say words to that effect, with great effect, too, I think. Although I heard similar long before, the phrase is still true. To try and answer your last question though, Bou you are correct, not all information needs to be told, but certainly what is pertinent to the mission. Any and all background information should be disseminated in a timely and effecient manner - hopefully before arrival O/S. Perferably (I think) in most cases during the pre-fire planning stages. And absolutely update the crews during an event. It might be the difference between a good or bad "Line" decision at a crucial point/place in time.

    The other night, I rode with the Medics. It was the last shift that Al and I will work as he is retiring this week. {he is going to be missed from the Station} We were talking about all sorts of stuff while sitting with our thumbs in dark places during a fire incident. Something he said really struck a good sounding bell in my head.

    The dicussion was about manpower and materiel distribution within a department - not just at an emergency event, but also in administrative matters. The phrase was:

    "We dont need to re-invent the wheel everytime. Just go out and borrow someone else's wheel."


    Now of course the object is to put that to practice........
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  5. #5
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Bump- I want to hear more from the "Old Salts" here.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    Bump- I want to hear more from the "Old Salts" here.
    MAN you dug pretty deep for this one eh Bou? I thought I was going to try and add something prophetic.. then found out I already had! LOL heehhehee

    However, your original comments stand.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    I couldn't agree with you more Bou.

    Let me give you an example from my current situation.

    We normally would have a monthly staff meeting with everyone where people would get up to date on upcoming activities and trainings, news of things happening, this is broke, this is fixed, news from City Hall, and interactions with everyone from the Chief down to the newbie. It was great for morale and everyone was on the same page with everything.

    In the last 5 months, the City told every department we had to cut back 5% expenses. We decided to eliminate the staff meeting nights, shut some lights off, and not purchase some items we were going to purchase. We did not want the training to be cut.

    Now, what I am noticing is that people are not as informed, and because if that, not as motivated and not as "happy" as they once were. There are people now that feel a disconnect to the upper officers, including the Chief. in fact, there are some people who have not talked to any white shirt in 5 months. (depending on your way of thinking, that could be a good thing)

    What I am trying to do now in the last month or so is to take the first 10min or so of a training night and do a short news briefing of what is happening etc. like what we had in the staff meetings. Haven't noticed any change yet but that is only for the people who have showed up. I am thinking of doing an email update once a month or better just to keep in contact with some people. I kinda don't like that because it's impersonal, but I guess it's something.

    I totally agree with Bou that your troops need to be informed and feel like they are a part of the team and part of the decision making process. If you do not empower your troops, they will not support you.

    As officers, we need to support and empower our people whenever and wherever we can. A good officer once told me " you are training your replacement everyday" and this is so true.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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  8. #8
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    I agree..... Communication is the key!! An email can be a quick and effective way to update people on things, especially if you don't get to see them very often.

    I get these "Thoughts for the Day" sent to me in my email. I can't remember exactly what one said, but basically it said "An organization that doesn't communicate cannot change. And organization that can't change is dead."
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
    IACOJ

  9. #9
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firenresq77 View Post
    I agree..... Communication is the key!!

    And so would my 9mm aimed at Mini-Me.

  10. #10
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    And so would my 9mm aimed at Mini-Me.
    Careful.............. Remember, he bites!!
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
    We are all adults so there is no need to act like a child........
    IACOJ

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