I just completed promotional testing for the position of Captain in my department. The process is always stressful, and yet I always view it as competing with myself. After all, I can only control how well I do…not everyone else.
One part of our process is the “problem employee”. While I don’t think I am allowed to discuss our process, I will relate it to every other “problem employee” testing scenario/process I have read or studied about.
The basic premise is that you have an employee that is having issues. You have to get to the root of the problem, which means you have to relate to them. Then you have to do corrective action/discipline. You have to change the course the employee is on. Oh, and you have to do this as a brand new Captain to the company on what seems like your first day and the first time you have ever talked to the employee. Reasonable?…not at all.
Let me paraphrase…
On your first day as a new Captain, in your new company, you have to help out an employee who needs help…and you are meeting them for the first time. I certainly hope there aren’t any Chiefs out there who think that understanding and assisting with behavioral health issues is that simple.
Sure, in the testing process you can make up any relation to the employee you would like.
But let’s talk about real life.
Who is looking out for who?
Why should we be looking out for each other?
When and where to turn for help for ourselves and others…
What is Behavioral Health? Read this…
Firefighters and their families must have access to counseling and psychological support.
Initiative 13 means that firefighters and EMS professionals and their families must have the resources to deal with the various complications that their jobs can bring to their lives, especially issues regarding emotional and psychological stress. They must also have help available to deal with the problems in living that all of us sometimes face, regardless of the work we do, especially regarding family, finances or even drug and alcohol issues. Health and safety standards (like the NFPA 1500 Standard on Firefighter Health and Safety) require that assistance programs be made available to ensure that such services are there when needed. (EGH FLSI #13)
The National Fallen Firefighter Foundation through their Everyone Goes Home Program has developed the 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives. The thirteenth (13) one is Psychological Support.
Why do we need to look out for each other?
It’s simple. We see things, do things, and experience things that MOST people only see in movies and tv shows. Even then, it isn’t real and it is digestible for the view audience. We see the real thing. Those are our experiences. We have to live with it. We have to be able to deal with it.
We are unique individuals. We signed up for this because it is what we want to do. However, we are still human. We have to be able to cope.
More than that…we have to be able to cope while still doing what we do.
And then there are our personal lives…Yes, even our issues at home and finances can effect us just like they can effect anyone else. We have that on top of potential occupational stress…or the other way around. We are susceptible to both.
And we have to manage it. And we have to be able to help others manage it.
Do you have the resources?
Do you know how to cope?
Do you know where to look for resources for others?
Remember, this was one of our promotional test processes for making it to Captain. Does your department do more for you than just making it a gimmick for getting promoted? Find out more with the links below. I am not an expert…just a messenger.
Initiative 13 means that firefighters and EMS professionals and their families must have the resources to deal with the various complications that their jobs can bring to their lives, especially issues regarding emotional and psychological stress.
For more resources available through EGH and NFFF: email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-201-1238.
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