Tag Archives: Hilton Head Island

Mixing EMS and The Fire Service

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When I hear anyone suggest that the merger of fire and EMS is a mistake because “firefighters lack the skills to provide paramedic care”, I am highly insulted.

Character vs. Characters

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Has the bar gotten so low that we’re willing to bring in anyone, so long as they can fog a mirror? I know staffing is tight right now, but if the personnel on my team can’t be trusted to do the right thing when no one is looking, what reason should I have to trust them when the going gets tough?

I Am A Firefighter Because…

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I am a firefighter because I literally grew up in a firehouse. My grandfather was a firefighter’s firefighter. His nickname was “Smokey”. He was the Chief Fire Marshal in Montgomery County, PA up until his death in 1981. My uncles and my father all became firefighters as a result of his influence; not just firefighters but leaders in their field. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather be.

Get Everyone On Board

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If your small unit leaders aren’t on board with organizational vision, don’t count on the personnel they supervise joining in to resist them in carrying the desired vision out. It will be much easier on those troops if they can get along with their misdirected officer than if they embrace the change, so you can count on the message not getting through when it is most needed.

Capitalize on Your Strengths

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When we put together teams, the act of doing so in order to develop effective teams requires some thought as to what is needed by the organization, but to fail to consider the small team dynamics and assume everything is going to go swimmingly, is simply nonsense.

Taking The Plunge

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Happy New Year! Recently I was on my way to work and marveling at the sunrise (I get a good shot of it going over the Cross Island bridge on the way to my station) and got to remembering one call where a person dove off that very same bridge.  I was thinking, if you’re […]

Command Presents

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It’s that time of the year that we hear the word “presents” often enough to make your ears bleed, so I was wondering if my misuse of the word “presents” got your attention. Apparently it did, or you wouldn’t be reading this now.  Or maybe you didn’t notice.   If you didn’t notice, go and […]

Playing With Sharp Objects

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Recently I was dwelling on an inventory of stupid and dangerous things I have done in the past. Since the list was way too long to go on about, I began to wonder why I did those things.  While some of them were from my youth (like jumping off a roof with an umbrella), and […]

The Thanks of a Nation

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Maybe it’s the observation that many of the politicians who are quick to take credit for the nation’s preparedness are slow to ever visit a fire station, or maybe it’s my expectation that instead of having to beg for the table scraps that our law enforcement brethren leave for us, we might also get a seat at the main table, but I just don’t see the fire service gaining the amount of respect that we deserve for the sacrifices we make.

An Atmosphere of Trust

Trust is a pretty interesting concept of its own. As a leader, you have to earn the trust of the troops. And as I pointed out, twenty years of being their buddy can go right out the window if you hose them on one thing.

The Fixers

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What is our mission in the fire service? How can we go on in our lives without a suitable title for what it is we do?

Use of Faith-Based NGOs As Disaster Response Partners

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For some of the new readers here, not only is Firehouse Zen about enlightened leadership, it is about management issues and creative solutions to ongoing problems in the emergency service industry.  If you are a long-time reader, you may recall our discussions in the past regarding disaster response and credentialing, and in an effort to […]

Distance Separates Us

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Distance separates us.  Of course it does, you are probably thinking.  That’s not that much of a revelation.  But distance separates us all the more so because by being distant, or more so, by not being alike, it also indicates a schism between you and I.  The fire and emergency services are united in our […]

Balance In Power

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Right now there is an interesting discussion on Dave Statter’s blog, STATter911 (in the comments) on orders given by a commissioner to remove a flag sticker from a locker.  Despite the conversation outlining the age-old struggle between being too harsh and too lenient, the underlying issue is one of conflict: the escalation of events to […]

Science Is Your Friend

While taking Honora to school a few days ago, Bob Edwards was speaking on NPR Radio with Chris Mooney and Sheril Kirshenbaum, the authors of the book, “Unscientific America”.  While the book apparently discusses “scientific illiteracy”, some of the commentary seemed applicable to what we currently endure in the fire service; clinging to tradition for […]

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