I thought this morning I missed the cutoff for the First Due Blog Carnival. Of course, as usual, I’m confused. The link was to The Handover EMS Blog this month being hosted over at 999Medic. Since I’m all about keeping with the spirit of things, I’m going to post anyway, this month’s subject being “respect”.
Now while I haven’t read the other posts yet (I don’t want to be led in a certain direction), I want to call attention to the issue that so many of us in emergency services are bemoaning the “lack of respect” for our profession these days. I’m going to make this short and sweet: you will never be afforded the respect you think you deserve if you can’t clean up the mess you have made.
We have continued, for decades, even centuries, to tolerate less than professional conduct from our “brothers”. We have failed to embrace better methods of doing our jobs. We have shunned safety over bravado. We have permitted people to lead us who lack education and enlightenment. We continue to resist standardization not for the sake of technical improvement but because “that’s not the way we do it here”.
This is as much about the fire service as it is about EMS. I keep seeing battles popping up all over the place about whether the fire service is the best place for EMS, or third party, or whomever. People, LET IT GO. Communities must evaluate what suits them best and do that. Different models work for different circumstances. Continue to fight among each other at your own peril; the divisiveness is staggering. We are in emergency services, all of us. If we continue to beat each other up, we all continue to lose. And when we lose, the community loses.
You want respect? How about showing consideration and professional courtesy toward one another? I went to comment on a blog yesterday and saw a terse statement about something along with a statement pretty much daring someone to reply. For people to have a difference of opinion is acceptable; for someone to be daring someone to comment so they can exchange heated words, well, it’s reprehensible.
I had the opportunity to speak with a visiting delegation to our Town from Brazil yesterday. I did a little research and opened up with a paragraph introducing myself and my position with the Town in Portugese. I likely butchered it, but these visitors were immediately smiling and laughing (at my Portugese, I’m sure), but it opened us up to dialogue. I spoke about the six weeks I spent on a similar exchange to Australia and the amazing experience I had and the memories I will have forever.
But what I spoke about mostly was how that experience made me realize that an entire world away, we were all really brothers and sisters. We might speak a different language, but it sure as hell doesn’t make them idiots. We have ideas and dreams and vision and it is muy importante that we share those ideas and dreams and visions and seek to understand what we can do not only to further our own goals, but to reciprocate, to help othters achieve their vision as well.
If we really want respect, we need to give respect. How many times have you heard that one? But so long as we go on with an entitled attitude, that the people we serve should be eternally grateful to us and bow down and kiss our asses on a daily basis, we will fail miserably to earn their respect. To them, we are just another expenditure in the municipal budget. We need to embrace a servant mentality, and even more so, we need to understand our own culture and how that interacts with the other cultures we deal with. I’m not talking about foreign culture; I’m talking about the fabric of your neighborhood and community, and in a bigger sense, our emergency service world.