Remember the excitement of going to the carnival? You know, before we became “spooked” by the the guy with more arms than teeth running the “Zipper” screaming to us riders: “YOU ALL WANNA GO FASTER?” We’d all scream back, “YEAH!” And the ex-con with his glass eye gleaming would grab one of the long red levers with all eight and a half fingers and shove it forward forcing the ride into overdrive, the screaming kids only drowned out by the sounds of Bad Moon Risin’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival cranking at an ear-splitting level.
All for two tickets. Damn, that was cool…
Those were times we look back upon with fondness. We were young with out lives splayed out endlessly in front of us. We were pups with a lot to learn. In time, we would be growing into mature young adults- all blazing our own trails and creating our own ways of life. Eventually we would find ourselves in the fire service, young, dumb, and full of come on, you didn’t think I’d really go there, didja? All of us didn’t stay young, most of us didn’t stay dumb, and, well, you can finish the thought…
My point is that there were many sign posts along each of our journeys that we look back upon and never forget. Just like the when the kid puked on the Tilt-O-Whirl, we also have a few memorable moments in which someone said or did something that left an indelible impression upon us. And we grew from that, and we became better firefighters in the process. The truth is, we benefited from someone who Shared the Wealth.
This month’s First Due Blog Carnival sought out your stories of someone who Shared The Wealth in your life. I asked you to Share that Wealth with us all.
I had a feeling there was some fantastic stuff out there, but I absolutely amazed at what you took the time to share. To all of you, I express my sincere appreciation for Sharing The Wealth. There stories are simply incredible.
To our readers- please set aside some time to reach through all of these. This is some exceptional stuff. Don’t short-change yourself by skimming through it too quickly. If you must, bookmark this page and come back to it so you can properly savor it and benefit from it all.
Then YOU Share The Wealth.
Here’s how. Forward these stories to someone you know, whether it be a rookie just starting out, or someone who feels a little stale and could use a pick-me-up. Print a couple up and post them at your station so that others can benefit. Perhaps you have a story you would like to share. Get it to me and I’ll make sure to share your wealth.
YOU make the ride go faster. YOU crank the tunes to ‘eleven’. YOU make it a memorable moment for those riding on YOUR carnival ride today.
On to the submissions!
Chief Reason Art Goodrich was once asked this question during a class taught by Rick Lasky. “I left the class with a new found attitude,” Art relates. “I no longer viewed us as invincible. I no longer thought that we could get into any situation and get back out without assistance. It caused me to take a better look when I was doing size up at a scene.” Art takes it a step further by focusing on a major flaw that many of us have in our wheelhouse. What is that flaw? Read about it here.
Hydrant Girl is relatively new to the fire service and, thus, offers this unique perspective in her Sharing of the Wealth. As you can see, it doesn’t take very long to be the recipient of some sage advice from the right person who told her, “Find what skills you can offer your team and work to strengthen them. You won’t be the best at everything, but no one is.” He went on to say that the best crews that he’s worked with worked together. They built on each others skills and were successful because they knew their strengths and weaknesses before they went in the fire rather then too late. “ Who said it to her and why? Find out here.
“Looking back on it, the things we talked about that weekend were shown to us as being “fresh” ideas ten and even twenty years later.”
When I saw that Mick Mayers had offered up some of his wealth, I knew we all had struck gold. In Firehouse Zen, Chief Mayers writes about leadership and attitude, two of the topics closest to my heart in the fire service. In his article, Mick frames his story by reminding us that he has spent a bunch of time with nationally recognized fire service leaders and could have chosen from any of them when sharing his wealth. Why then, does he tell us the story of the relatively unknown Chief Harry Diezel? Because “he was able to inspire a young officer candidate in sixteen hours of a seminar, by exposing to him to the potential of emergency services from an entirely different model than ever envisioned.” Read about how Chief Diezel was able to send Mick down this particular road in his article over at Firehouse Zen.
“Since I don’t have a juicy “moment of Zen” for you, I will instead give you some things I have learned along the way from some great guys.”
Hard to believe that you have never experienced a moment of Zen, Rhett. Wait, I take that back. Unencumbered by zenness, Rhett Fleitz AKA Fire Critic has instead offered up some pearls of wisdom he’s learned along his winding road in the fire service. You may have heard of some of these before, but they are definitely worth a revisit. Chances are, some of your rookies need to be exposed to these as well. Read them here . Thanks, “Big Toe!”
The message is simple, yet it is often forgotten. I use it to reign myself in when tension is high and focus is required.
Captain Joe Schmoe over at Report on Conditions offers up some words of wisdom which should be a part of everyone’s mindset. Head on over to his site and read about what he is talking about. As usual, all his stuff is spot on. Bookmark his page and read it often. Then come up with an adjective or two about his writing style and e-mail them to me. It will help me describe to myself why I am so attracted to it. Dare ya!
“Who messed with my gear?” I yelled. No one looked up, busying themselves with putting on their turnouts
Rachel Smith is a wildland firefighter and graduate student studying fire ecology and community risk abatement at the University of California, Berkeley. That’s what it says on her site, Flash Fuels at RachelCSmith.com. It should also say excellent writer. Rachel tells the story of how, as a green rookie, she became acceptable as a member of her company and the necessity of reacting correctly to the traditional “tests” flung her way. This is a “copy and save” article. You will want to refer to it when it comes time for a young rookie to go through this mental obstacle course. See it here. Thanks, Rachel. It blew me away!
The beauty of mining for these nuggets is that you never know what you will find. Bill Carey over at BackstepFirefighter.com takes us down the road less travelled. How? As firefighters, we are constantly inundated with “Thou shalt’s”. Well-meaning “experts” point to a particular method, procedure, tactic, or strategy that has worked exceedingly well. For them. While such advice is often valuable to some (or even many) Bill reminds us that we are all different, and we don’t necessarily fit into the cookie-cutter way of doing things. Maybe we would do better by taking what we read, hear, and see and determine how it effects US and OUR organization before falling in lockstep behind it. Very refreshing. Like a glass of pineapple-mango juice. Thanks, my friend!
My offering here at Fire Daily is simple. Ever notice the guy who never really cooks? Oh sure, he’s trying, he wants to do it right, but no one ever showed him how to do it. Be the firefighter who has the ability to recognize, and the desire to help, a faltering member of your company. Too often, we fall into some sort of competition, a race, in which we are not only better, but better than the next guy. In my opinion, true leaders cast such competition aside, opting instead to mentor those nearby, ensuring that the end game results not in one winner, but a team of winners. For Chissakes, show the idiot how to peel an onion before he hurts himself!
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So there you have it. Thanks to all of you who Shared the Wealth this month. We are now a little bit richer. Keep feeding us, we are hungry for this stuff.
To our readers- if you found this valuable, promise us YOU will Share the Wealth.
YOU Create a ‘life memory”’ in a young firefighter’s life. YOU teach them how this all works.
Make the “Zipper” go faster. Crank the music to eleven.
Oh, yeah, almost forgot. Stay Stoked!