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How Firefighting Has Helped Me Develop

    1. Patience

    On the fire I mentioned yesterday, I just sat in a truck waiting to be called, although given the circumstance I did not expect to be needed, I was there as a contingency. Hurry up and wait is very common on fires and other incidents. The ability to sit and do nothing is not easy but has gotten easier. We all have occasions where we need to be patient.

    2. Taking direction

    Something that I have seen over the years is that people who have been successful in other walks of life find it difficult to fall under a chain of command where they are not the one in charge. When I first joined the department I did not fully understand how important this is.

    I'm the chief of a pretty big department but yesterday, I was the guy driving a water tender (big water truck), there to take instruction. Unless there was a reason to feel unsafe or if the directions were unclear, I needed to just do what I was told which yesterday meant stage and await further instruction.

    3. Not responding

    This is about knowing when to keep quiet or not let someone else get a rise out of you.

    Kind of like the scene from The Godfather when the Don tells Sonny to never let them know what you're thinking, there are many times where it is not advantageous for you to tip your hand. Sometimes your best interest lies in no reaction at all.

    4. A lot about leadership

    Chances are most people think of themselves as being leaders. Who knows how much of a leader I was before my involvement with the fire department generally or how much of a leader I am now, more than 11 years into being chief but I have learned about leadership and am aware of how my opinions on leadership have evolved, not changed so much as evolved

    5. What it means to be part of something bigger than yourself

    This could be its own list but it pertains to the success of the department, the success, development and enjoyment that the whole group experiences individually, future success (meaning how it carries on when I am no longer the chief), having a direct role in giving back to the community where we love living

    6. Skills and experiences I would have never otherwise had

    One of the reasons I am so drawn to firefighting is that it is so dramatically different from anything I'd done previous to my joining up back in 2003~I may have joined in late 2002 but got certified as an FF2 in March, 2003.

    7. Getting so much enjoyment and purpose out of something I never saw myself doing

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