The Consciences Observer or Activist

The Consciences Observer or Activist. So… the operative question today is this: What did you do on your last alarm response related to operational safety and enhanced situational awareness? Do you: participate in, contribute, join in, share, lead, promote, instruct, present, facilitate, help, assist, aid, or neglect, disregard, undermine, abuse, challenge, demoralize, undercut, damage, torpedo, circumvent, or avoid?

Taking it to the Streets
The adage that the fire service has more recently adopted states; “There are no “routine calls”; referring to the safety consciousness that all responding companies should endeavor to consider when responding to an incident . We seem to do a lot of things at times out of common practice and repetition, you know; “We’ve always done it that way….” syndrome.

  • There’s a resonating theme that is making its way around the fire service dealing with an apparent “culture of extinguishment” and the suggested and inaccurately described “diametrically opposing” fire service safety culture promoted by those on the “Dark Side”
  • Are you an active participant, engaged and contributing towards safety operational parameters of our profession or are you the consciences observer, passively or aggressively sitting on the sidelines of the apparatus floor? Campaigner or militant; advocate or protester? Where do you stand?
  • I began this discussion today with one distinct, poignant contemplation and value; Do YOU have the Courage to be Safe?
  • The resonating theme that challenged all of us and carried the banner of Safety during this year’s Safety week was; Protect Yourself: Your Safety, Health and Survival Are Your Responsibility.
  • YOUR Responsibility-Not someone else’s, but your; responsibility, task, job, duty, charge, accountability conscientiousness, and obligation.
  • We don’t really think anything is going to happen to us, certainly nothing so adverse that I don’t go home after the call.
  • Nothing is going to happen to YOU; it happens to someone else….
  • BUT to everyone else-YOU are the other Guy!

On any give day, at any give alarm, the dynamics around us at times may be in or out of our direct control. We may not be able to see what the cards have in store for us, BUT we must ensure we use every fragment of training, fortitude, knowledge, skills, courage, bravery, insights, luck and sometimes (other divine) intervention to get us through.We must have the fortitude and courage to be both safety conscious and measured in the performance of our sworn duties while maintaining the appropriate balance of risk and bravery.

The demands and requirements of modern firefighting will continue to require the placement of personnel within situations and buildings that carry risk, uncertainty and inherent danger. As a result, risk management must become fluid and integrate all personnel. We must manage dynamic risks with a balanced approach of effective assessment, analysis and probability within command decision making that results in safety conscious strategies and tactics.

Stop and reflect today, where do you stand? What are your true beliefs and convictions in regards to the developing safety culture that is being forged and institutionalized within our fire service? Are your professing one thing, but implementing or allowing another circumstance?

1 Comment

  • Robert Avsec says:

    Nice piece of work Chris! More people in the fire service, as the saying goes,"need to get real". Policies and procedures and training are all components, but all will ultimately fail unless people change their attitudes.

    Keep up the good work. The blog looks awesome!

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