Owning the Job. Part V – A Cup of Coffee

Read all of the “Owning the Job” articles here

Many firefighters enjoy coffee.

FireGeezer is always talking about putting the coffee on after his Morning Lineup:

Now let’s check out our own equipment and get ready for the day.  I’ll get the coffee started and see you back in the day room in a little while.

From what I understand, when he was on the job he would enjoy the morning lineup and offer some interesting news to his firefighters each morning (prior to the blog).

The Tailboard Blog offers this on his about page: Grab a cup of cahfee regula and have a seat on The Tailboard.

What is it about that darn coffee?

This post is about two things

  • Enjoying “coffee time” each morning whether you drink coffee or not
  • Welcoming visitors into your station

Enjoying “Coffee Time”

Roanoke Firehouse #3 Bunn-o-matic CW Series three burner coffee maker. Yeah, we are proud of her! Stop in and enjoy a cup of joe!

Most of us don’t actually have a defined “line-up” in the morning when we get to work (or when duty crew starts for volunteers). We simply meander on in to the firehouse sometime hopefully before the bell rings. Back in the day, firefighters would dress out in their uniforms and stand for inspection. After the inspection, the firefighters would get the rundown of the days activities, chores, and other news from the Captain.

I am not sure I would mind it either way. I do enjoy “coffee time”. We show up and say hello to the off going shift, get some coffee, and listen to what happened the day before. There are some great stories to be heard each and every morning at our firehouse.

Enjoy that time, listen to what is being said. Jump on the “one upper” when he sits there chomping at the bit to tell a “better” story!

One thing that I am trying to change in my firehouse (on my shift and starting with me) is the complaining about the other shifts. I don’t think our shift does it too much, nor do the other shifts. Trust me, we typically have something to jump on them about…but what good does it do. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying not to fret them at all. We just need to tone it down a bit. Let the Captains handle any of the actual serious stuff that needs to be taken care of. After all, everybody can’t be on A-shift!

If you are the rookie, or the least senior firefighter…make sure their is coffee on!

Welcoming Visitors

This is actually the first thing I brought up to my company after attending “Pride and Ownership”. We all sat down and I went over some things I think we can do better. Welcoming guests is one of them.

Whether it is someone dropping off cookies, looking for directions, a neighboring crew, a retiree, an off duty firefighter, or Chiefs we should welcome them into OUR firehouse. After all, when someone comes to your house do you just let them walk in without greeting them? I didn’t think so.

Remember, a high percentage of people only see us when we are in the fire trucks. Make sure that if they stop in at the firehouse they get a warm welcome!

If it is a retiree or Chief, everyone should be notified. Everyone should then come and greet the individual(s). Shake hands, and someone should offer them coffee.

I did get one interesting question…

Let’s say you have a Chief who nobody likes. Do you ignore them or not treat them with respect? NO. Remember, you must respect the rank. You don’t have to respect the person, but always respect the rank.

What about someone who you just don’t get along with…both of you can’t stand each other. Shake their hand. Trust me, if you walk over and shake their hand and welcome them in your firehouse or do the same in theirs they might just start to get it…that we can still be Brothers even though we don’t get along.

I have been in a lot of firehouses. The only thing I regret is not drinking that cup of coffee. From now on, when I am offered a cup of coffee, I will drink it. It shows that I feel welcome in THEIR firehouse.

As loud as I can be, as much as I can cut-up, as much as I enjoy conversation and seeing other firehouses…for some reason, I always walk around like I am on eggshells in other peoples firehouse.

Oh, and one more thing when visiting other firehouses…don’t overextend your stay. Get in, enjoy your time, and leave before the conversation lags! You never know, they might have something planned and don’t want to push you out the door.

By the way, I drink my coffee black…