Lats and Longs

Issue 8 and Volume 12.

See That’s Inside the August 2017 Issue

Let’s start at the very beginning of our careers with a great piece from Dr. Nicola Davies on navigating from the desire to become a firefighter to getting there. Davies describes the steep qualifications and climb just to make an eligibility list and offers great advice on how to get involved with your local fire department, discover what’s expected, and make this climb easier. Don’t let your desire to make this your career become victim to the process. Rather, make the process work for you and make you a better firefighter for the experience.

As a new firefighter, you will have hundreds of firefighters, company officers, and chiefs telling you where you fit, where you are now, and where you need to be headed in your career. The first lat and long is your first firehouse or volunteer company assignment; moving from here is where finding the next coordinate gets tricky. This month, David Rhodes uses a similar and related metaphor to discuss the fact that our careers mimic our human growth. David takes us in as newborns and describes our “teens” and path to adulthood in this profession. Our peers are always the greatest navigators because we must have a selection process to determine which ones will lead us to the right coordinates. See David’s great advice in this month’s Humpday S.O.S.

Selection of mentors, peers, and confidants is a major part of getting to where we need to be, but we also have to ensure that we have a well-laid-out plan to get us there. Candice McDonald writes a great piece that shows exactly what this plan should look like. Setting goals, asking for help and guidance, and getting involved in your organization are great, but we operate under standard operating guidelines (SOGs) for virtually everything we do. Candice gives us some life SOGs that will keep us on the right path – according to plan.

Once we’ve reached David Rhodes’ “teens,” it’s easy to form biases and expectations that may not always be in the department’s or your best interest. The best way to prevent yourself from drifting off course toward the wrong coordinate is to learn how to properly listen to your instincts. Steve Marsar understands this as he’s been an officer who’s successfully relied on his instincts to manage busy fire companies. Steve will show you how doing the right thing is the best instinct and will help you navigate in that direction.

Now that we’ve got the job, have made our way through recruit training and that difficult first year, and are headed toward promotion and opportunity, we have to understand the lats and longs of our operations. There have been quantum leaps in geospatial software platforms that allow fire department personnel to discover more about themselves and their capabilities than ever before. We are in an age of seemingly infinite ways to show how important we are to our communities by using our lats and longs to also show our community’s risk and vulnerability. This month, we introduce you to FireCARES, an incredible platform developed to apply “scoring” to our fire departments to help us plan, deploy, and strategize based on the risks in our community. No longer are response times the only metric our politicians and citizens care about. We can now demonstrate how we’re doing based on our performance to any lat and long in our community, be it any residence or a business. I’ll take you through what this incredible program can do, how it was developed, and why it needs all of us to properly make it the standard on which we will decide any changes to our fire departments in the future.

There’s a lot in store for you this month in FireRescue to get you where you want to go. It’s up to you to want to get there, but we’re always here to help navigate the way. It’s easier to stay on track and not get lost nowadays as our paths’ lats and longs are now known before we leave the barn on any emergency or personal endeavor. At FireRescue, we’re glad to be a part of your career and to be one of the lat and longs you look for every month. Thanks, as always, for your support!