BY ROBERT COOKMany classes teach students how to be effective fireground officers, but these are limited to strategy and tactics. The one course I haven't seen is one on how to be an effective officer at other times-when you aren't on the fireground. For volunteers, this is almost 80 percent of their fire career. Whether you have been elected, appointed, or promoted to any rank as a fire officer, unless you have the skills to speak properly and understand people, you are going to fail. If you have not been taught how to do this, you will never learn properly on your own. Many people learn to fight fire through experience. As they answer each alarm, their memory banks record the ex...

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