I'm not referring to individuals or teams that have attained the #1 status in their sport. Rather, I'm going to discuss the dearth of champions in fire and EMS departments who can turn the word champion (the noun) into champion (the verb). The key difference between mentors and sponsors is that mentors are “one-way streets”, giving their chosen mentee a gift of wisdom, time, and advice. Sponsorship requires reciprocity and commitment; sponsors serve as champions.Read More »
Tag Archives: Diversity and Inclusion in the fire service
5 Wishes for the Fire Service in 2023
As we begin the year 2023, “wish lists” for the coming year will be a popular topic for many writers and I’m no exception. Hopefully, we’ve learned some things in the past twelve months and can use those lessons to make 2023 a safer year for firefighters. So, without wasting any time, here are my “5 Wishes for the Fire Service” in 2023.Read More »
An Epiphany About Diversity and Inclusion in Organizations
I recently had one of those “I never thought of it that way,” moments about diversity and inclusion in an organization, particularly fire departments, because I did serve with the Chesterfield (Va.) Fire and EMS Department for 26 years before retiring as a battalion chief. See if any of what I'm about to share with you “strike's a similar chord.”Read More »
How long with this s*it go on?
By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer NJ fire chief sexually harassed teen volunteer: lawsuit I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. About sexual harassment in the fire service. And if you are male firefighter—of any rank—why aren’t you as well? As I’ve written in this space many times, male firefighters could stop sexual harassment, sexual assaults, and all ...Read More »
The Diversity “Dog Whistle” in the Fire Service
Last time I checked, it's 2019. Isn't it about time to retire the diversity "dog whistle?" Why is it that so many white males in the fire service still hear "diversity" and their Pavlovian Response is "Diversity is fine, but not at the expense of quality and competence?Read More »
Build inclusiveness in your fire department and they will come
By: Marlene Kostyrka, Assistant Chief, Charleston (SC) Fire Department As I scroll through social media these days there seems to be a glaring issue with people skills, in the fire service. My motivation for writing this blog is a personal mission to provide information on inclusiveness and how the lack of it creates an internal risk that will take years ...Read More »
Why aren’t fire departments getting better at inclusion?
By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer So, I was on the road headed towards FDIC 2019 in Indianapolis and some random thoughts began running through my head concerning fire service organizations and sexual harassment and inclusion and how are these things all intertwined. And how does the fire service work to eliminate that entanglement? Former U.S. Forest Service Battalion Chief ...Read More »
Barriers to Inclusion: A Case Study
By Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer Bringing more women into your fire department is not going to add value or capabilities to your organization unless your department’s leadership recognizes and addresses its barriers to inclusion. In a recent piece for FireRescue1’s on-line trade journal, 7 steps to an inclusive fire department culture, I wrote: Diversity is about counting people. Inclusion ...Read More »
Diversity and Inclusion: What’s Your Fire Department’s Plan?
Diversity is about counting people. Inclusion is about making people count. Diversity is about the ingredients, the mix of people and perspectives. Inclusion is about the container – the place that allows employees to feel they belong, to feel both accepted and different. To achieve success today and tomorrow in meeting the challenges it faces, a fire department needs a group of people who think differently – in a place that's safe to share those differences.Read More »
Clan Behavior and its Influence on Fire Service Culture
I submit for your consideration that fire department leaders will not find the “fix” until they recognize that those new members (outsiders) are being exposed to the behaviors and expectations of the firehouse clan from Day #1 with a department. Who’s teaching them in those entry-level training programs? Who’s working with them at the firehouse when they come on board?Read More »