Fireside Reading

By John M. Malecky

Achieving Individual and Departmental Excellence
By Bennie L. Crane and Dr. Julian Williams

Available from:
1-800-752-9764 or 918-831-9421
Fax: 918-831-9555
ISBN 0-87814-842-6

Price: $29.95 + S & H

This book can be classified as a human relations book that promotes harmony among races, creeds, genders, and ethnicities. It endorses a personal approach in members relating to members rather than a stereotype judgment.

Author Crane is a retired chief from the Chicago (IL) Fire Department and presently is a field instructor with the University of Illinois Fire Service Institute. Author Williams is not with the fire service but has an impressive resume.

The first chapter, “Let the Healing Begin,” tells about the effect of September 11, 2001, from the New York side (Williams) and from the Chicago side (Crane) and how impressions were formed in each city. The second chapter discusses a personal agenda–the need for one and how to design one. The third chapter reinforces the second by discussing human endowments that we are born with such as self-awareness, imagination, independent will, freedom of choice, and conscience. Other chapters deal with empowerment and entrapment, interpersonal communications, human behavior, conflict resolution, behavior and attitude, effective leadership, embracing responsibility and trust, and other topics. There are a number of cases discussed that took place in the Chicago Fire Department as well as some outside the department and the fire service.

The human behavior chapter touches on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Many of us who have studied for promotion have read at least one book in which these interesting points were explained.

The chapter “Embracing Responsibility and Trust” is essentially what the book promotes-in other words, “Be all that you can be.” It is something to strive to live by. The chapter has several pages devoted to “how we see each other” from the perspective of blacks, whites, Latinos, and women, which also includes ratings of their own groups by each. The appendix is a personal motivational workbook.

In essence, this book looks to achieve human relations by seeing everyone as human or individual rather than as a member of a group, which could give a person a false impression. By relating to each other as humans and on an individual basis, and empathizing with others, we can achieve departmental excellence.

John M. Malecky is a 32-year veteran of the Bayonne (NJ) Fire Department and a battalion chief with Battalion 2. He joined the department in 1970 and was named a lieutenant in 1987, a captain in 1994, and a battalion chief in 2000. He is author of Apparatus Deliveries in Fire Engineering.

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