I “Get It”… And I’m Gonna Give It To You

A while ago I was having an “All Smoke” with a couple of my mentors, Captains Richard Dollahan and Chris Garniewicz.  We were busy solving the Department’s problems (yeah, ours has them too) and started wondering how we can motivate people to approach the job with the same passion and intensity that we do.  HOW DO YOU TEACH SOMEONE TO “GET IT”?

We discussed all of the key topics such as mentoring, being “the thumb” and other brilliant theories.  The collective conclusion was that YOU CAN’T!

Could it be as simple as, you either GET IT or you DON’T? Maybe it is.

We are optimists, so we reorganized our thoughts and realized that the three of us were always the ones (respectfully) taking the time to intimately learn our equipment, asking questions in training and having this discussion while everyone else was in the house enjoying “personal time”.

So our new theory is this… if you GET IT, then maybe you need to GIVE IT to other people.  Even if it means holding their hand, breaking the ice or handing them a tool in the dayroom and asking them questions about it.

Maybe the problem is that we get so deeply engaged in expanding our own knowledge, experience and brains, that we forget to include others who may be content hanging back.  They may be willing to learn but need a nudge or they may too intimidated by the “Type A” macho crap to pipe up and ask.  Give it to them, set them up for success, build their confidence and maybe they’ll start to “get it”.  Drag people into conversations and training and remember that little nugget of knowledge may save their life or yours.

I love this job.  I love my brothers (some more like distant cousins, but family anyhow).  Our profession is one of the most intense, interpersonal, technical and risky out there. I understand and appreciate what it takes to have pride and ownership in myself, a crew, a rig and a firehouse and how all that translates to success when the bells ring.  I get it… and I’m gonna give it to you?

-Thanks and Be Safe-


Also check out…

“30% Club…  Wanna Join?  Pay Your Dues”, by Jake Rixner via www. SafeFirefighter.com,  April 26, 2011

“Be The Warrior”, Matt McDowell via www.safefirefighter.com, May 25, 2011

“We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident”, Chris Brennan via www.fireservicewarrior.com, December 26, 2010



  • Boom Shacka-lacka!!! Sorry, I’m a moron. I’ve agonized for months about how to explain what “It” is, but the words always seem to fall short. Who needs the explanation of “It” when you can pass “It” on and see “It” grow in others. Thanks for your words bro!

  • Gillian says:

    Damnit… YES! I have been watching my father do this for years, he has built a wonderful department doing this but I have never figured out how he managed it… THIS is exactly how he managed it and every member of Walpole Fire and Rescue would agree with me. Going to attempt to stop banging my head against the wall momentarily and try this…

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S.A.F.E. Firefighter

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