Authentic… You can’t fake caring. It has to be authentic or you have to be making an authentic effort without the promise of reward. Either you genuinely care about your crew members or you don’t. It doesn’t make you a terrible person. However, I think if you find yourself at the firehouse treating your peers and subordinates like they are numbers, it’s worth asking yourself why. 

Most of us will do a twenty plus year career spending 1/3 or more of our life in a firehouse living with other firefighters. Naturally, I assumed that we would just care about each other because we live together, eat together and experience trauma together. It’s just not the case in every firehouse. Not that’s it’s “wrong.” Some people just don’t have that experience and honestly, it bothers me. 

I’ve been lucky over the course of my career. Either I had people that cared about me when I needed it or I’ve been the one caring. Though I didn’t always do it right, genuine connections were made with my brothers and sisters around me. This has made it way easier to endure things like mandatory overtime, busy years on the box and personal problems that are unique to the life of a firefighter. Though upper administration may see me as a number some days, I do not identify with that number. I am not “23971.” I am a real guy with a name that chose a career in the fire service to serve my community. You are the same. So, let’s start learning to care about each other beyond the badge. On and off duty. 

I’m not asking you to be ate up with the job, attend conferences, classes and seminars. I’m encouraging you to give a shit about the men and women around you. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Firefighters sniff out “fake care” in a heart beat! Learn to care because you want to… This is especially important if you are in a leadership role. Not an officer role, a leadership role. Formal or informal, if you are in a leadership role and don’t care about your people, I would challenge you calling yourself a leader. But hey, that’s just my opinion. It’s my article. 

Care. It’s that simple. Don’t know how? Learn how. Need help? Get help. Trust me, it’s worth it. – Josh Chase 

Published by Joshua S. Chase

My mission is to strengthen, encourage, and empower others.

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