I’m sure the morale in in some departments is pretty low right now. With all the venom coming from the haters and the constant attempts to defund our services, the attacks seem to come one after another anymore. I was looking at a video recently of a fire department going through some tough times and a close-up of their front pad prompted a double-take.
I didn't post a link to the video specifically because I'm hoping it was of one of their closed stations, because I'm pretty sure no self-respecting fire department would allow their station to grow cabbages in the cracks on their front pad. There are, however, departments out there who are very much like that, then they can't understand why there is no confidence from their customer base, and the whole thing makes me wonder about the culture of some of these departments to begin with.
I have often shared my views regarding the impression we make on others, and how important that impression is to maintain, not just when you WANT that impression to be professional, insightful, forward-thinking, etc., but at all times. Why? Because if you have to convince others that you are what you say you are, it isn’t going to happen overnight. It has to be a perception of everyone at all times because when you really need others to see those qualities in you, it will be too late to change the perceptions when that moment occurs.
A clean fire engine, a well-kept uniform, a coiled up garden hose (instead of just thrown in a heap) are all just stupid little things that may not be important to some of you. But to the casual observer, they indicate an attention to detail that indicates your organization has self-respect, self-discipline, and that the individuals value the opinion of the community. More importantly, though, is that these details aren’t just window dressing, that the organization actually must live those values and demonstrate through their interactions with the community that they are those things and that they really do provide the best possible service. Positivity breeds positivity. If you look and feel professional, you are more likely to act that way.