Faces of the Fire Service

After last week in Indianapolis has ended and my head has quit spinning one thing keeps coming to mind: the faces of the fire service. There is no doubt that FDIC is an amazing place full of excited firefighters who have traveled from around the globe to learn, laugh, and share with thirty thousand “like minded” people who want to better themselves. Tall, short, big, and small walking through the convention center the different types of people amazed this jumpseat riding firefighter.  As they kept walking and talking I could not help but think, wonder if they can do the job or not. There really are only two types of firefighters: those who can and those who cannot!  It’s just that simple! Lets look at a few types of firefighters we all have.faces



Let’s face it, there are many firefighters who are drawn into the service because of the brotherhood, belong to a social group, or collect a paycheck.  These folks are the ones who have an opinion on everything from what sized line to use to choosing the company logo. Hobbyists hang back in training or choose to make more excuses why they “Can’t” perform a skill.  These same folks are the ones who proudly display their fire department swag as they walk around the community.

These folks need a little extra push and encouragement when hitting the drill field. Their enthusiasm is evident but sometimes they can feel overwhelmed or not able to live up to their personal expectations.  Offering them words of encouragement and reassuring them will go a long way to teaching them the skills, even if a number of repeats are needed.


Gun ho:

Many folks enter the fire service with a level of excitement to learn and serve.  They are the ones that want to spend the first three to five years becoming a firefighter with an “ALL OUT” attitude.  Spending countless hours completely wrapped up in the fires service and neglecting some important things such as family and friendships.

We should harness their excitement when around the fire stations.  It can infect then entire fire department.  Keeping these folks grounded to the most important things in life is also important.  Love for the fire service is a great thing but without a well-rounded life we are nothing.  Family comes first and they should only have to suffer so much before we give them some time!




Pure Lazy

If you entered the fire service to lay in a recliner, you are in the wrong business.  While we all enjoy time lying around “ten toes up” it should be last stop on your tour of the firehouse.  Even the slowest houses need to have a schedule for your shift that includes training, cleaning, and preparing.  We all know the firefighters that are in the recliner before the sun comes up and are still lying there when it’s time to go home.

These folks offer some of the most challenges.  Finding their motivation points can be a task that will take twenty plus years.  Peer pressure can be one of the best ways to get them moving.  Gather the others in the station and working together while isolating them may just give them the kick in the pants that is needed to start the ball a rolling.



There is no doubt that firefighters come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and genders.  Really, everyone can be divided into two groups:  Can do the Job or Can Not!  Which group are you in?  Seeing thirty thousand firefighters, some in skirts, really hammered home one glaring point to this jumpseat rider.  I want to be one of the CAN DO’S for the rest of my career. Whatever type of personality you are and for whatever your reasoning for entering the fires service was you can become a CAN DO if you make an effort.  If you have fallen off in fitness, skills, drills, or attitude find an officer or firefighter who can do.  Reaching out and showing some initiative will start your journey into the can do’s.  It will not be an easy journey.  It will take hard work.  But it will be worth it knowing that when the bell rings you will ready, Jumpseatready to help those in need!

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