My first white leather. My grandfather's, actually. This was a very, very long time ago.
I hope you all had a great Father’s Day weekend; whether you are a father or you were honoring your own father it was a nice weekend to think about the guy who brought you into the world.
My father, as many of you know, was a chief officer for several jurisdictions over his career. Between he and my grandfather, who was also a chief fire officer, they inspired my eventual career choice as well, and the rest is history. When I look at the differences between the fire service as they went through the ranks and what we have to deal with today, I see a completely different picture in a lot of cases. I can see where the seeds of change were planted, particularly in areas where my dad was influential, like breathing apparatus, hazardous materials, and aircraft crash fire rescue, just because I was closer to those changes. To the untrained eye, someone might not even detect how far we as a fire service have evolved.
While I am very far along in my career, some of you who have just gotten started probably can’t even understand what a different place we are in today. The fact that I can share the things I have learned via a blog post was unthinkable even as recently as 15 years ago. Who knows what changes are in store for us in the next 15 years or even more interesting, the next 15 after that? From advocating fire prevention and detection systems, to finding a better way to do ventilation, or whatever was the issue of the day, my father and my grandfather were often trying to be ahead of the game and inventing a new approach. They were innovative before innovation was even something we sought in this business.
Be open to change and skeptical about the status quo. Just because it seems like we have done something the same way for years, doesn’t mean there’s not a better way to do it. And doing something just because “that’s the way we do it” isn’t a good reason either. The things we do should have value, otherwise we are wasting resources. We shouldn’t do things “because”, we should do things with the end goal of serving the public to the finest extent possible, and if that requires change, we need to examine it for improvement.