Apparently, Firehouse Zen has become the choice blog for commenters with naked pictures of Miley Cyrus and those who have a career selling makeup brushes. There are quite a few other interesting comments that seem to get trapped in the spam filter (Thank God for spam filters, by the way) and yet I waste my time looking through those comments to see if somehow, someone got snagged inadvertently. It has happened several times before and I’d hate to lose a valuable insight because of whatever criteria spam filters use to trap those comments anyway.
So I am left to wonder, does someone actually sit around and come up with some of those bizarre paragraphs? Is that a job somewhere? Is some mother distraught because her child, who she cared for and sent to a decent college is sitting around typing “jeans will advance concoction electric authoritatively patanol over the counter”? (I didn’t dare cut and paste it and thus have whatever link it is hanging out on my site).
I’m assuming that people actually click on some of that, which is why they send it out. Otherwise, what is the point? It reminds of of the point I was slowly getting to, and that’s whether or not a message of enlightened leadership is actually getting out to the leaders of our emergency services. Why does it seem that we have so many in our midst that just don’t get it?
I was having a long discussion the other night with Ron Richards (withthecommand.com and Task Force 1 Training) and his wife, Linda, about the need for our industry, career and volunteer, to begin to agree on some real issues, or else we will continue on being the doormat we have been for decades. I was pointing out that a lot of the problem rests on the shoulders of chiefs and other officers who have no vision beyond lunchtime, much less for the future. Ron equated what we do to missionary work. It’s like we are going out into the unknown, reaching out, and ultimately (hopefully) inspiring some others to also take up the cause.
As with those spam messages, I wonder if what we are saying sometimes falls on deaf ears. Are we proclaiming the vision of something that can never be, because vested interest and egos will always keep firefighters fat, dumb and happy? Should we revel in the presence of the whackers and the unprofessionals, knowing they won’t likely be competing with us for our own jobs?
I take comfort in knowing there are others like us out there, and those who may not know they are yet, but will need to have the shade pulled up so they can see the light. We will, of course, continue to do just that. We need to show people that what we are telling them is true. Our industry, the fire and rescue services, is on the brink of a sea change. There are widely-accepted technologies and best practices that are being used daily out there that won’t see the inside of a fire station for at least another 10 years. It’s a sad state of affairs, but with continually rising costs and continually shrinking budgets, we will have to continue to slog on. And the only people we can blame this on is ourselves, because we failed to draw the right picture for others to understand where we were going and where we needed to be.
Be a missionary of change. Illuminate the paths of others, so they can see where they are going. Help those along who need a hand. But of all things, strive to do the best job possible for your citizens. They deserve it, and frankly, they are why you exist. Treat them like it.