Another great post by Chief Kelleher at workingfirechief.com
MAKING "FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION" THE FIRE SERVICE NORM
Obviously nothing in life is perfect. As odd as it may sound, mistakes have to be acceptable. In-fact, you have to make several mistakes in order to learn the best way to accomplish things. As many seasoned firefighters will tell you, "its not how horrible you mess-up... its how well you're able to recover". Those same seasoned firefighters will also tell you that the only way to become good at this is by never giving up.... never accepting failure.
In today's technologically advanced world, it has become easy to see different types of mistakes/failures in the fire service on a routine basis. Whether its from a citizens video recording or the increasingly popular firefighter helmet cams. There are even several fire service based websites and blogs related to all of the aforementioned forms of media. Unfortunately, most times the videos are critiqued by the ever famous "Firefighter Anonymous" and the comments section begins to resemble a fierce digital domestic dispute. Ultimately, very little is learned from them and the younger firefighters, that are starving to become better, are left without a positive direction to go in.
We must strive to make "Failure Is Not An Option" a way of life in the fire service. We can not accept nor breed mediocrity. Although there will always be "bumps in the road", we must dust ourselves off and continue to be as good as we can be. Most of this can be done by continuous "practical" drilling. Learning how to quickly/efficiently stretch hose lines, place ladders, complete searches and proper size-ups of buildings are only a few of the areas we need to excel in. Another arena we must better ourselves in is the way that we treat our fellow firefighters. If you are familiar with any of the studies done by the Volunteer Fire Council or the IAFF, you may have seen that an increasing number of individuals leave the fire service because of oversized egos and lack of camaraderie. Hearing this is certainly hard to imagine. Especially when you think about the fire service of old and the cohesiveness of it.
The simple fact is, each and every one of us has taken an oath and/or responsibility to do our best for the citizens we serve. In addition to this, we also have the responsibility to gather as much knowledge as possible and pass it on to each person that will listen. We must carry on the tradition of being mentors to the younger generations. All of this will make us the best that we can be. When our time of influence has ended, we will have comfort knowing we never gave up.