Tactical Safety: Great Expectations

By Ray McCormack

Do you have great expectations, or just plain old regular expectations, for yourself, your fire department, and the fire service itself this year? Great is beyond good and a much higher level than satisfactory as a grading. A great expectation is neither an unreasonable nor unreachable goal if you put in the time and effort required to reach it.

How much are you willing to do to reach your own goals as well as assist with organizational goals? Personal goals allow for rapid and continuous participation; whereas organizational goals are a bit more elusive. Most fire departments only work from the top down when it comes to change and solutions, forsaking lower-level input. This is not because they only want ideas attached to titles–it is because that particular business model has yet to make the rounds in the fire service in any substantial manner. The national fire service is a lot more inclusive and supportive, especially when it comes to idea generation.

New firefighters enter the fire service with great expectations for making a difference and an opportunity to master their craft. Officers that receive new firefighters need to emphasize that people’s lives are often in our hands and that responsibility is something you must work at throughout your career.

To meet the one great expectation among your peers of being a good firefighter requires a fair amount of work and commitment. If you invest in this great expectation, you will serve the public and your fellow firefighters extremely well. Including some tactical safety into your expectations doesn’t hurt, either.

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Ray McCormack: Tactical Safety for Firefighters

RAY McCORMACK is a 30-year veteran and a lieutenant with FDNY. He is the publisher and editor of Urban Firefighter Magazine. He delivered the keynote address at FDIC in 2009 and he is on the Editorial Board of Fire Engineering Magazine.

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