Tactical Safety for Firefighters: Operating With a Sense of Entitlement

By Ray McCormack

What does operating with a sense of entitlement actually mean? Well, like most things, it is up to interpretation, yours and mine. Here you will get my view. For me to get yours, you can respond in kind. We are all entitled to an opinion. Many give the dig that new firefighters have some air of entitlement about them. Here’s a little secret: it’s not just the new people, and that’s a good thing.

What are you entitled to as a firefighter? Let’s see.

  • Gear that’s compliant.
  • Tools that function correctly.
  • Training that is relevant.
  • Leadership that is insightful.
  • Support that is unwavering.

Etc., etc., etc.

That’s not what people are referring to when they scoff at firefighter entitlement. Many see the paid world as earning too much with too much time off, and the unpaid world as costing too much and very fraternal.

I think we are blessed when we work with firefighters who operate with a sense of entitlement. They get that entitlement by doing their job correctly and effectively to save property and lives. Firefighters who care about their skill level and consciously work towards mastery are entitled to some swagger.

If mediocrity is what we are shooting for, then please tell us. Firefighters love the truth. Our greatest sense of entitlement comes when the truth is known. The truth is something all firefighters are entitled to.

What truths do firefighters need? Let’s see.

  • The location of the fire.
  • Solid command judgments
  • Determination and courage
  • Task completion skills
  • Shared trust.

Etc., etc., etc.

Operational truths are all around us. We need to seek them out and demand that their presence be known. The public is entitled to quality performance on arrival. We need to practice our craft and operate in high gear, improving our delivery system of saving. Add tactical safety to your sense of entitlement swagger.

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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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