Company Officer Leadership: Moving Forward in 2017

The recent election of Donald Trump to replace outgoing President Barack Obama has caused a great amount of discussion globally—firehouses included. Now that the people have spoken through our democratic voting process, it’s time to move forward and continue on with our daily responsibilities as company officers.

As professional fire service personnel, we know that one of the most influential positions of power in the world has very little impact on what we do daily when the bell goes off in the fire station. As company officers, we’ll continue to train and supervise our people and expect them to provide a high level of service to the communities that we serve. Fire service personnel everywhere continue to provide invaluable contributions in the realm of prevention, response and mitigation.

Based on data from NIOSH (1994 – present), we’re on pace to record the lowest number of firefighter fatalities in the United States in one year.

Fire departments across the country continue to employ alternative EMS models that are in line with the community para-medicine concept. UL and NIST continue to employ untiring efforts to educate us on modern fire behavior.

Lastly, organizations such as the Boston Fire Department continue to recognize the importance of cancer prevention through awareness, education and reengineering principles.

As we prepare professionally for 2017, we must continue moving forward as educators, leaders and innovators. What does that look like for the company officer?

  • Ensuring that our firefighters wear their SCBAs from the beginning of an incident through property conservation and overhaul.
  • Ensuring that our firefighters doff their gear before getting back on the apparatus.
  • Ensuring that our firefighters wash their gear (including flash-hood) after every fire and on a frequent basis.
  • Using ICS on all incidents.
  • Employing rehabilitation and medical-monitoring strategies at extended operations and in elevated-temperature environments.
  • Encouraging our firefighters to spend less time at the coffee table playing the role of mayor or fire chief—use that time to enhance knowledge, skills and abilities germane to the profession.
  • Encouraging our firefighters to seek out certifications and college degrees.
  • Encouraging our firefighters to branch out and learn from other fire service personnel in different parts of the world—take on a global perspective.
  • Ensuring that seatbelts are worn by all individuals while the apparatus is moving.
  • Being kind to each other—as humans, we’re all going through issues in our personal and professional lives. PTSD is not just associated with the military—it’s in our communities and in our profession.
  • Being consummate role models and keeping our younger firefighters engaged.

This list isn’t exhaustive; however, it is a tectonic list that if rigorously employed by company officers will allow us to realize a downward trend in occupational fatalities and cancer diagnoses in the fire service.

Regardless of who is serving as America’s president, you, Company Officer, can and must ensure that everything on this list is executed. Your firefighters are counting on you! Continue to remain a student of the profession.

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