Where There’s Smoke

   “We choose to go to the moon ..., not because (it is) easy, but because (it) is hard!” Some of you aren’t as old as I and won’t recognize that near quote, but it is from President John F. Kennedy. At a recent sermon in church the pastor asked us to choose “hard things.” By that he meant, among other things, going out and spreading the gospel. I find, often, that the way the church deals with problems often can be used in fire departments as well. This choosing “hard things” is one of those that seems to have application for firefighters too. We can just wait for people to knock on our door telling us they want to be on the fire department, or we can go out and recruit. We can talk about how to pump the truck, or we can go out, lay hose, and pump the truck. We can give lip service to cancer prevention among firefighters, or we can actually disinfect our cabs and SCBA’s. 

   There is value in “hard things.” If all you are doing is easy things then there is no challenge to your crews to become better. There is no means of learning new ways of doing things so that when the rubber meets the road, you can put those learnings (is that a word?) to use. I find that firefighters love to train and if all they do when they come to the station is sit around and talk, their interest wanes. If, on the other hand, they are challenged on drill night to learn some things - and, better yet, to teach others new skills - they will thrive and want to come to the next drill night. Our department is so blessed to have a group of men and women who want to learn, who want to teach, who want to serve their community in the most positive and professional way that they can - and my department is no different than hundreds of departments all across the nation. If you aren’t one of those departments, then make the changes that are necessary. I often say that the only thing I don’t like more than change, is the way things are. Change is inevitable and change can be good - not change just for the sake of changing, but change because of the fact that fires burn hotter than in the past, buildings collapse faster than in the past, and the chemicals that we face today are the worst of ever before in our history. The failure to change leads to not being able to do our job - and, unfortunately, it can lead to serious fireground injury or even death. That is not acceptable. 

   We choose the hard things - not the easy ones. The fire service has always been and will always be faced with hard things and hard choices. As I travel around talking to firefighters across this great state, we are in good hands because I see men and women who want to serve their community and are willing to deal with the hard things, because where there’s smoke... 


Blaze Publications, Inc.

Jeff Gargano - Editor
P.O. Box 122
Humboldt, IA 50548
Phone: (515) 604-6400
Fax: (515) 332-1505

News and Advertising: News and advertising deadlines are the 15th of each month for the next month's issue.


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