Psychological safety is the belief that you won’t be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes. At work, it’s a shared expectation held by members of a team that teammates will not embarrass, reject, or punish them for sharing ideas, taking risks, or soliciting feedbackRead More »
Tag Archives: leadership
Why is sexism and misogyny still a problem for the fire service? It’s almost 2023!
I posted the following reply to this COURAGEOUS firefighter in the UK who continues to "shine a light" on the sexism and misogyny that apparently "alive and well" in the London Fire Brigade and other fire brigades in the UK. Antonia, do whatever you must do but PLEASE do not let the ba$tards prevail by taking your own life! I hope that the supportive comments in this space are helping you to keep your "head above water!" But it's not solely a problem in the fire service culture in the UK. Sexism and misogyny are both "alive and well" in too many fire departments around the globe, including the U.S. and Canada.Read More »
Why aren’t more women becoming career firefighters?
Why does the fire service have difficulty attracting, hiring, and keeping women on the job? Because in too many fire departments there's still a “gauntlet” that women have to “run” every day! And that gauntlet is not a single challenge, but rather multiple challenges.Read More »
Book review: “Hot zone”–Memoir of a Professional Firefighter
I've read many other books about the firefighter experience over the years, but none of those authors managed to give me that same feeling that “I was there,” like Dennis Smith's "Report from Engine Co. 82." But that came to a screeching halt when I started reading “Hot Zone” written Division Chief (Ret.) Chris Howes. Howes has written what I believe will become “the book” that accurately describes the journey of a person in a fire and EMS department from the day they start their probie (entry-level) training to the day they retire.Read More »
Where are the Champions in the Fire Service?
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 »
Five Reasons Why You Should Attend Class at The National Fire Academy
This past Friday and Saturday, I attended the 32nd Executive Fire Officer and Leadership Symposium at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. It was the first time I'd returned to NFA since about 2005 or 2006. This was my first time, however, returning as a freelance writer and not an active fire officer with the Chesterfield (Va.) Fire and EMS Department, where I served for 26 years. Nonetheless, I still got the same “chills down my spine” as I drove onto campus (After having my car inspected by campus security), that feeling I was returning home to what I and many others consider “the home of the American Fire Service.”Read More »
An Objective Tool for Evaluating a Response to a “Firefighter Mayday!”
I believe that a fire department that would use such a template for its post-incident review of a “Firefighter Mayday!” declaration would objectively gather the necessary information to have a positive influence for how it responds to future "Firefighter Mayday" situations.Read More »
Gordon Graham: The “Go to Guy” for Understanding Risk Management in Public Safety
I first heard Gordon Graham speak about risk management in the realm of public safety many years ago when he was the keynote speaker at the Mid-Winter Conference of the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association. From that moment I became a true believer in one of Graham’s core tenets “Predictable is preventable,” along with his concept of evaluating risk in public safety by asking two key questions. What’s the level of risk for an activity or operation? What’s the frequency for that risk?Read More »
How Many Firefighters Does It Take to Rescue One Firefighter?
How much longer will we in the fire service allow this myth to survive? The fact is, there are few women or men that could rescue a downed firefighter alone.Read More »
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 »