Being the best firefighter you can be!
First, I want to thank Craig Freeman and the Perfect Firefighter Candidate/Firecareers.com team for allowing me to share of my experiences and thoughts with you, I’m really excited to be a part of this great resource for both future and current firefighters. I also want to thank you for taking the time to read and even comment on the items I plan to share with you now and in the future!
I want to start off with my first blog with a letter one of my fellow firefighters gave me a year or so ago (unsure where he actually found it) as I think it helps provide focus and perspective to future and even current firefighters, and is even timely because of the reference to St. Patrick’s Day. I don’t know who the author of this was, and it is titled “anonymous letter found in a firehouse at the Fire Department New York (FDNY).”
I interpret the intent of this letter to be something all firefighters, especially the newly hired firefighters (and even for future firefighters), to read and understand. It has a great deal of logic and really hits home. Take the time to digest and understand what is said, and more importantly, try to put into practice the words provided here. Doing so will allow you to be the best firefighter you can be, while also allowing you to serve your community and your department to the best of your ability.
Anonymous Letter Found In A Firehouse at the Fire Department New York (FDNY)
I, ____________ having been appointed firefighter in the Fire Department of the City of New York, do solemnly swear that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of New York, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of a member of the Fire Department of the City of New York, according to the Laws, Regulations and Orders governing the Department, and will obey the orders and directions of my superiors, to the best of my ability.
It doesn’t matter how you got here. It doesn’t matter how you leave here, you will leave here. It DOES matter what you do when you are here.
Continue the tradition. People respect you for a reason. Do the right thing. Show the people you are a professional. Get in the books. You have the greatest job in the world, still. You are not in it for the money, support your union. It is a brotherhood, regardless of your race, gender, or nationality. You might not agree with everyone, but you will be backing them up on the line and you will be forcing a door with them. Every run could be your last so don’t take them for granted because your career is going to go quick. Take the time to learn things you don’t know. If you are in the truck and you’re detailed to the engine for the day, take a good look at the hose bed and see which bed holds the supply line for relaying water and find out how to do it.
Grab it and drag it back to the second due engine and it could save your 24 partner’s lives. If you are in the engine and you’re detailed to the truck for the day take a good look at the thermal imaging camera because you have the can and might need it to get out of a sticky situation or find your officer who went down four feet away from you. That camera can save your life or his. Know how to set up an aerial, know how to attach a pressure gauge to a standpipe and how to read it. You will never learn all there is to learn on this job. Even the top gun DAC learns something everyday. There are Department Orders filled with new procedures, glance at them at the watch instead of watching Britney Spears shave her head on the E channel.
You’re going to know someone you have worked with who dies. You might not remember his name but his face is right there because you sat across from him on the back step a few times. The pain you suffer when you stand in line as the rig drives by as you hear the pipes playing entitles you to being called one of the Bravest and it is certain that the rig will drive by you. You’ll meet a brother who survived and it will bring you right back to earth so quickly you won’t know what hit you. The job is different than it was. We all know this. It will continue to change but one thing remains the same. When the alarm rings you will get in the rig and you may never come back. Get in knowing a little more than you did the last time you got in and this may change the outcome. Have a great St. Patrick’s Day and when you walk up 5th Avenue, enjoy it because you deserve it.