By Daniel P. Sheridan
Firefighters are like musicians playing in a symphony–each firefighter knows his role in the fire as a musician knows his instrument. Sections like the strings are similar to an engine company, playing their part in the symphony. The chief, of course, plays the role of the conductor. Like in a symphony where the conductor knows exactly how each instrument is supposed to sound, the chief is expected to know each of the positions at a fire. A conductor would never play a viola at a concert, nor would a chief grab a tool and start forcing a door.
DANIEL SHERIDAN is a 24-year veteran of the Fire Department of New York and captain of Engine Company 46. He is a national instructor II and an instructor at the Rockland County (NY) Fire Academy. Sheridan founded Mutual Aid Americas, which works with fire departments in Latin America.