Owning the Job. Part I – Self Evaluation

Read all of the “Owning the Job” articles here

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend “Pride and Ownership” presented by Chief Rick Lasky.

My head hasn’t stopped spinning since. I don’t know what to think. I have been reflecting on what I heard and my feelings are all over the place. Where do I go from here?

At the very least, I believe that I am on the right track. My fire department…not so much, but hopefully I am wrong. How do I get it back on track? Am I even capable of being part of the solution to some of our problems? Is the solution right in front of me? I only wish my entire department had gone to the class.

Low morale, bad attitudes, lacking leadership, loss of traditions, lack of pride, no honor, too little integrity, loss of camaraderie, too little respect, no discipline…I could go on. Hopefully the building blocks are still there and I can help salvage the hull of what is a great fire department.

The Fire Critic Rhett Fleitz with Chief Rick Lasky

Let me be clear, Chief Rick Lasky’s class isn’t a one stop shop for how to save America’s fire service. It is a blue print on some of the things he has done and seen done that has worked. My fire department will never be Lewisville, but it can be better than what it is now.

To me, the class is more about what isn’t working, what can work, and creating an attitude that will make change. A cultural shift in attitude about what we know is right and making us do the right thing.

I plan on writing several articles on this subject. I am not sure the exact direction I will go. It will be more of a layout of issues I see in my department and the fire service as a whole to help provide critical thinking in making things better through attitude change.

You simply cannot quantify what I got out of the class. The hard part will be me putting my thoughts into positive ideas that will effect change.

I am not perfect, but I think I “get it”. I think I have a positive impact on my department and elsewhere.

Here are my initial thoughts (some of which I have been reflecting on for a long time). Consider it a self evaluation…do it for yourself. This is more of me thinking aloud.

  • Pride: Yeah, I am proud to be a firefighter. Do I exude my pride to others?
  • Honor: I have honored those firefighters we have lost. I have attended the NFFF Memorial Weekend. I was a past member of our Honor Guard and have stood at the casket of many. I have remembered, and I never forget. I have shared others sacrifices with firefighters who don’t pay attention. I have tried to instill honor in members I have worked with.
  • Ownership: I need to work on this. I need a better understanding of what I need to do to take more ownership in MY Department. Some of that work will be educating others that we all need to take ownership!
  • Integrity: I need a lot of work in this area. Not that I don’t get it, but I have some work to do. Part of what makes it difficult (not an excuse) is the area in which I serve and how WE are treated by others. I understand that by treating others better (the way they should be treated), we will be treated better!
  • Brotherhood: I get this…in my mind. I have worked on this my whole career. However, there is still so much more work to be done. Fences need to be mended, egos need to be hung up, and we need to be united.
  • Respect: I am an asshole (in a kinda good way I think)…I give respect, and I am respected. However, I need some polishing up to be more effective. I respect everything about the fire service. I just need to act like it more!
  • Tradition: ah, tradition…I think I have a handle on this, but like everything else I need to work on it!
  • History: Ok, finally somewhere I exceed in. After all, I did take almost a year to research, collect, and write a book on the history of my fire department[Firefighting in Roanoke by Arcadia Publishing]. I think I can check this one off my list…but not so fast, I have to continue to share the history of the department. No resting on my ass!
I know there is much more to reflect on, these are just some initial thoughts!

If you have not seen the presentation or read the book, you MUST!


The video below is from a previous class as shared by Fire Engineering.