The reason why Sun Tzu at the head of 30,000 men beat Ch`u with 200,000 is that the latter were undisciplined.” (Sun Tzu (The Art of War))

“It comes down to tactics”. I don’t want to do anything first. I want to do seven things all at once.” (Tom Brennan)

“You can learn it right and you’ll do it right for the rest of your career; or you can learn it wrong and spend the rest of your career trying to do it right.” (Chief Jack Jansen, Columbia (SC) FD (ret.))

“Don’t confuse enthusiasm with capability.” (Unknown)

“We can practice leadership principles, but the only to learn to use them is to lead…”(Judy Columbus)

“Train the way you’re going to fight or die the way you were trained.” (Unknown)

“The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary.” (Vince Lombardi)

“Any firefighter should know how, a good firefighter knows why.” (Unknown)

“A fireman who says he is never afraid, he’s either a fool or not a fireman.” (Chief Bob Lewis (via Captain Shane Comparetto, Hardeeville (SC) Fire Department)

“He’s not heavy, he’s my brother.” (Lt. Richard Dollahan Engine Company 325 Bluffton Twp. Fire District)

“Some days you’re the windshield… some days you’re the bug.” (Elizabeth McDowell)

“It’s all about the man next to you, that’s it, that’s all there is. ” (Unknown)

“Good, fast, cheap… pick two” (Captain Chris Garniewicz, BTFD T375)

“Complacency and laziness breed further complacency and laziness, and the only way to stop it is by removing it from our mindset.” (From “PLAY LIKE YOU PRACTICE: Part 1 Introduction to the concept | Traditions Training Blog)

“The firefighters’ leadership, bravery and technical knowledge are tested on an everyday basis… They cannot hide behind rank, a desk or e-mail.” (Quote from article in the “Marine Corps Gazette”. Excerpted from “First In Last Out: Leadership Lessons of the New York Fire Department, John Salka)

“If everyone showed up at fires naked, I guarantee no one would get hurt… (instead) they give us helmets on our first day. Our job is risky, sometimes we need to accept that and do our job”(Anonymous)

“If you only do what you’ve always done, you’ll only be as good as you’ve ever been.”(Robert “Bob” Murgallis)

“Firefighters are hired to take calculated risks… (there) are some safety risks that are only taken because of ignorance, or lack of training which amounts to the same thing.”(Jim Casey,From “The Editor’s Opinion Page”,Fire Engineering April 1976)

If you do not want to risk your life for your neighbors please turn in your badge, your pager, your gear, and your self-proclaimed title of “hero”. No one put a gun to your head and said, ‘You will be a firefighter!’”(The Fire Service Warrior,From “We Hold These Truths to be Self-Evident”,December 27, 2010)

The Cavalry adage of feed the horses first, then the men, then the officers (Matt Leonard, DCFD, from Managing a Bunkroom:Part 1: Identify Your Members, FDLiveIn.com)

“We the willing, led by the unknowing, continue to do the impossible for the ungrateful.”(Unknown)

Am I being effective in my efforts or am I merely showing up in my fireman costume to watch a house burn down? (Joe Brown, www.justlookingbusy.wordpress.com)

“We are what we repeatedly do… Excellence then, is not an but a habit.” (Aristotle)

“Life’s tough, wear a cup.” (Comment cited in “Misguided Anger”, September 8, 2011,www.backstepfirefighter.com)

“Romantic visions of courage and heroism are the stuff from which novels are constructed, but the reality of courage and heroism to a firefighter is hard, dirty work.” (From “Report From Engine Co. 82″)

“When your attitude is sick, stay home, or at least stay away from me. I don’t want your emotional vomit on me.” (Chief Rich Gasaway, via Twitter)

“If you’re going to swing for the fence, make sure you can run the bases.” (Bill Carey, from “Biggest Lesson From DCFD Logo Rebuttal: Tact”, www.backstepfirefighter.com, January 5, 2012)

Some are associated with a great company. Others make a company great. (RE: John Vigiano, Lt. Rescue Company 2, Captain Ladder Company 132, FDNY (ret.) (From Bill Carey’s Facebook Page))

“Leadership is a verb, not a noun”

“Learn the job, by doing the job” (from the Fire Department Training Network (FDTN) promo video)

– See more at: http://www.safefirefighter.com/quotes/#sthash.UEQgA05d.dpuf


  • Shane Comparetto says:

    A fireman who says he is never afraid, he’s either a fool or not a fireman. (Chief Bob Lewis)

  • John M. Scheibel says:

    Only the Wisest and Stupidiest People Never Change….

    Are You Either ??

  • Paul m. Enhelder says:

    Lets not kid ourselfs! We are in a risky job!! But, do we have to die, to try and save, that which is already LOSSED?? How about learning Risk vs. Benifit!! This is my response, to your quote of the Month!! That thinking is Old School and Outdated !! Lets Risk a lot to Save a lot!! CourageToBeSafe

    • Thanks for the comment. I agree that we should never over commit ourselves to save the unsavable (life or property). However, the context of the quote was guided more toward the frightening overreaction of some to the mere presence of fire in certain buildings. There seems to be a recent fire service movement that, just because a building and the people who may be in it meet a certain demographic/ geographic criteria, they are less worthy of us risking our lives to serve. I believe we are here to serve the public, and everyone in it, not just certain levels of society’s hierarchy.

      That being said, while I agree with you I also agree with the Fire Service Warrior. Thank you for reading, hope to hear back from you in the future. Be SAFE!

  • Andrew says:

    Unsure of who came up with this but the local MAYDAY instructors have “Train to live, Live to train” on their helmet shields

  • Taylor says:

    Hello i was wondering is there any firefighters that can help me with my career speech I have a few questions that I would like to ask.
    Thank you

  • An actual decision is measured because you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.~Tony Robbins

  • James tamed says:

    Everyone should support and volunteer at the fire department because we need help and we cant do anything without your help

  • You have quite sensible collection of quotes, I hope you don’t mind me tweeting some of them. you may also follow me @kidron_fire, I’d be happy to share thoughts with everyone.

  • A fireman who says he is never afraid, he’s either a fool or not a fireman – I guess there’s no getting used to it.

  • The second quote should be, “You can learn it right and you’ll do it right for the rest of your career or, you can learn it wrong and spend the rest of your career trying to do it right.” This is a quote I developed on an overhead transparancy designed for my class on “Fire Service Maintenance Training Programs” held in Cedar Rapids, IA during the mid 80s.

    • safefirefighter says:


      Thank you for the quote. Now we can fix it and it won’t have to be “unknown”. Also, feel free to chime in on any post here or on our FB page. Sorry it took so long to get back to you.


  • George Hawkins says:

    If you put enough water on a fire it will eventually go out!

  • Stephen Simich says:

    I use this one all the time in training:
    “Perfection is the goal, excellence will be tolerated”
    by John Maxwell- Leadership management book.

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