“In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus.” Philippians 2:5
The fire service is made up of a diverse group of individuals who come from various backgrounds, religions, races, and environments. We are as different as they come when you look at us from an outsider’s perspective.
What is it that ties us all together?
What is the common bond in our relationships?
Which value system or organizational practice is it that puts us in the same “mindset”?
If you want to see an example of how the world’s problems can be solved, watch a group of firefighters perform during an emergency. They function together, under a central command, working towards a common goal without haggling over the details.
Chief Alan Brunacini says it best “done beats perfect”. We work towards a control time, stopping the forward progress of the incident, and bringing back a sense of normalcy to a chaotic event in other’s lives. We don’t focus on our differences, our issues (God knows we have them!), or whether or not we like the company we are working with. We get it done for the sake of our safety, our citizens, and our inner drive to make a difference.
Why this happens: Standing on Common Ground
We function under the Incident Command System (ICS). We arrive at an emergency and plant our flag in the ground defining the beginning of the end of this incident.
The first arriving officer stakes their claim by examining the situation (size-up), formulating a strategy (IAP), and continually evaluating the critical fire ground factors, conditions, and progress of the incident as he/she implements the tactics with the resources requested for their incident.
This plan is executed through branches, groups, divisions, strike teams, etc and is expanded as needed depending on the size and complexity of the incident. It is “pre thought out battle plan” if you will that allows IC the freedom of safely applying an Incident Action Plan within a framework that all the team players are well versed in.
Every firefighter faces insurmountable challenges with the knowledge that they are: well trained, well equipped, and will function under a common framework (ICS). This gives us confidence that, no matter the task, we will strive to positively influence the situation and leave it better than we found it.
As we face difficult challenges in life, they can often negatively impact our heart and our passion for life in general. Take a moment and look at the previous skills mentioned above that you possess. You possess the ability to face down any problem and take command. Despite any circumstance, you can quickly formulate a strategy to solve the problem.
Why not apply these valuable skills to our own lives?
Firefighters, the well trained, well protected are often the most vulnerable to pain, tragedy, and loss. Too many firefighters suffer silently for years without speaking of their pain. The signs of such suffering are too obvious in our trade: high divorce rate, alcoholism & drug use, and PTSD are just a few of the “side effects” of our personal pain.
The next time you come upon a personal struggle take a moment and pray. Simply ask God for His Help and guidance. The most powerful prayers are the simplest and most honest ones.
“Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear”Isaiah 65:24
Cover Photo Courtesy: Brett M. Dzadik (brettsfirephotos.com)