I am sure I am not the only one who sees this. For some reason not just in the fire service but in our culture we fear sharing what we know. A lot of people never share what they know so that the people below them will stay exactly that below them.
In some professions this may be acceptable, but NOT in the fire service. We need to be sharing EVERYTHING we know with up and coming firefighters. In order to keep the tradition,culture,passion, and all of the other good things we love about this job we need to share. We need to take every chance we have to impart fireground knowledge, the history of the fire service, the history of our individual departments, and anything we can to ensure our future.
The above picture demonstrates one of the BEST places to share your knowledge, the fire house kitchen table during a meal. Think about it, we meet at the table usually three times a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) this is the time to share stories, new policy updates, etc. What if the rookie was off last shift, and you caught a fire? Don’t just rub it in his face get the audio from dispatch and listen to it while your eating. Hopefully this will spark some discussion on the tactics, and what went right, wrong, etc.
We go on EMS runs EVERYDAY! People, businesses, etc. invite us into their places everyday to take care of them. We should always be looking around for our safety, but take this chance to look at the door you enter, the ceiling, the content load, anything that could hinder you in an emergency, and then after the patient is taken care of point it out to the crew. We just found out on an EMS run that the hallways in a nursing home we frequent are to long for our high-rise pack, so we had to come up with and train on a way to overcome this. A discovery leads to discussion, which leads to a plan, which leads to training that’s what we call a JACKPOT!
This is not just limited to the older guys as well, we have a lot of younger guys coming on the job that have a lot to offer. Maybe the kid with the degree is not the best at running a chainsaw, but he may be a computer wizard, a map genius, or an expert on modern fire behavior. I worked with a guy who was new to Fire and EMS but was fluent in sign language so he taught us some basic phrases in order to communicate with the hearing impaired. In an environment where the rookie is “seen and not heard” this would have never been possible. Now do not get me wrong the rookie should act like a rookie, but take the time to invest in your rookie and find out his/her background. What they know may just surprise you, and benefit you.
The overall point is NO HOARDING OF KNOWLEDGE! Share what you know, encourage and foster an environment of sharing, training, and hoping your people will one day be better than you. If your people end up better than you then the fire service will be better overall.
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!