What I’ve Learned

Ten Lessons Learned During my First Year as Fire Chief, Part II

Be a leader not just a manager. Model the behavior you expect to see. Empower personnel to make decisions befitting their rank. When personnel and officers are given the freedom to do this with the expectation that they make decisions supporting the mission, vision, and values of the department and the town an amazing thing happens, they do the right thing every time.

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Ten Things I’ve Learned in My First Year as a Fire Chief, Part I

I made it clear that I set the bar very high for myself and others around me. I had a brief moment where I thought of lowering the bar, but I quickly removed that thought from my mind. I kept the bar high and made my people “reach for it” and achieve it. Which meant that I then pushed it even higher! So my advice to chiefs is: Don’t be afraid to continually raise the bar. You will be amazed at what can be achieved.

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Career Cut Short: Preparing for the “End of the Line”

Before losing that first job, I’d never experienced such a “loss” in my life. I’d been very successful in my first career as a firefighter, advanced through the organization and retired as a battalion chief. Losing that first job after retirement was a huge blow to my ego and my self-confidence.

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Looking Back on Leadership Beliefs

Now that I'm a grandmother looking back on my fire service career, I feel as if I have something to share that I believe will help other public safety leaders to never lose faith in people and their organization. This is the best job in the world and my enthusiasm 36 years later is stronger than ever! I'm going to speak from the heart because I've always been a compassionate person who loves people.

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What I’ve Learned

The craziest thing that I’ve seen on the job was a US Army horse’s hind legs stuck in the grill of a FBI agent’s vehicle during the 44th Presidential Inauguration. Fort Myers Old Guard was “saddled-up” waiting to start the march down Pennsylvania Avenue, when a horse was “spooked” by all of the confusion and noise. When it slipped in the street and attempted to return to all fours, the horse kicked both hooves through the grill section of the Federal Officer’s Chevy Tahoe.

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