Politics and Tactics with Frank Ricci, Anthony Avillo and Chris Pepler

Politics and Tactics with Frank Ricci, Anthony Avillo and Chris Pepler

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It is My Knowledge and You Can’t Have It

It is My Knowledge and You Can’t Have It
By Justin McCarthy & Frank Ricci

During our time in the fire service we have served in every type of department, small combination as a volunteer, very small career to urban. We have witnessed a disconcerning trend we like to call mutual jealousy, (Justin McCarthy) Being the son of a retired Assistant Chief set out to learn as much as he could and as fast as he could. He picked brains and often times went out on my own to learn things by any means necessary whether classroom or apparatus floor.

Learning is the key to growth. Gradually, as expected, certain people became reliable sources of information. Some could be called on at any minute to explain something, ANYTHING, but there were also those who did not want to be bothered. Some individuals who knew it, but did not care if you did. They seem to view sharing knowledge as a threat. Throughout our careers we learned the value of building those around us. April is here and FDIC is the place where there are no egos or "mutual jealousy." We all benefit when we share what we know and learn from others. 

The fire service attracts the type of individual who is always willing to help the public. However there are often times we are not willing to ask for help for ourselves. We want our crew to be the very best, yet we can all recall witnessing or being a part of belittling someone because they made a mistake. We have all heard the old timer ask "what is wrong with these new kids” and “don’t these kids have any common sense?” But these are the same people who are making it hard to ask for knowledge; We just do not get it.

If your the old timer it is time to use your skills to mentor that new firefighter. On the other end of the spectrum why do some accomplished firefighters and officer continue to be intimidated by other knowledgeable firefighters and officers, shouldn't the standard be, is this member going to pull me out when something goes wrong?

 Now please do not get me wrong, we love little hazing and think a certain amount of “ribbing” is part of our culture, a culture we love. Note fire house antics should never involve any form of discrimination or effect any fire house equipment.

Some of these older guys are forgetting that they did not learn everything they know in the training academy when they started. So what is the fear? From talking to people of different generations it seems as if it is just that, fear. Fear that those “in the know.”

These people fear someone could be better than them when the time comes. These people fear that they won’t be turned to in a pinch. That is ridiculous! This is a team sport, we have seen some amazing things done during our tenure and so far I haven’t seen one person alone doing everything at a scene.

We need to accept that we are only as strong as our weakest link. When one person is expecting everyone to “just know” they create problems in an already hectic environment. Expectations should be clear and directions should be minimal on scene since this is no time to be teaching and getting frustrated with the crew. We do not raise to meet expectations we fall to our level of training. So get out and train.

Assuming we are all thinking of someone we know who fits this M.O. realize if you cannot think of someone it may be you. We must all encourage each other. Everyone on a crew brings SOMETHING to the table and this is what needs to be maximized, it could be a background in carpentry or a hobby in boating, any info can be utilized in what we do.

Firefighters need to stand up and take responsibility to mentor our new members and each other. All our skills are perishable! Our service and cummunity can all benefit from helping each other.