Fireground Management

How to Build Department Morale

Issue 7 and Volume 164.

BY FRANK VISCUSO AND JOSEPH VISCUSO It’s hard to conceive that there may be firefighters who would trade their career in the fire service for a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. desk job. We are fortunate in our profession that the majority of firefighters are happy to be on the job and thoroughly enjoy coming to work; however, there is a minority who are dissatisfied and disgruntled. Unfortunately, in most cases the disgruntled always seem to be the most vocal. Over time, those voices seem to multiply (after all, misery loves company) and eventually morale begins decreasing to obviously low levels. Take, for example, a 100-member fire department. If that department has 10 chronic complainers, 30 happy but less-vocal firefighters, and 60 who are caught in the middle, the 10 complainers typically have the edge on converting the other 60. What is the solution? A strong leader, regardless of rank,…

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