Quitting Already???

Quitting already??? Well it’s the second week of the year and you had crazy goals and aspirations for 2023. Already, you’re thinking about quitting. It’s been a week! You are already starting to make small compromises and excuses as to why you will not accomplish these things. Why? It’s because what you are setting out to do is hard. It’s not easy and the road looks daunting. 

This year you were going to lose 15 pounds and fit back into that turnout gear you’ve been squeezing into. This year you were going to fit back into your dress uniform. In January you were going to sign up for a rescue class but missed the dead line. This year you were going to study for promotion, but are now considering not even buying the books. This year you were motivated to change your attitude, but are still talking shit about B shift eating all the ice cream. Ok wait, let’s not get carried away. B shift did eat all the ice cream and it’s rude…

My point. If you chose some worthy goals for the fire service this year, it should be hard. Why would you want easy? Easy is for people that want to serve donuts. No disrespect if you serve donuts, it just looks easy… We’re one week in and you want to quit already! We’re not doing that. We chose hard things to challenge ourselves this year and we’re going to get them done. 

You want to accomplish all you set out to do on the fire service this year? Set big goals to give your self some direction. Then, start small. Squeezing back into bunker pants? Maybe start with walking instead of a marathon. Study for a promotional exam? Buy the material. New certification you want? Do the research and sign up for the class! It’s the small consistent steps over time that win the wars in life and move us toward our goals.

It’s week two. Do what you said you were gonna do. Not because you told other people and feel bad about not doing it. Do it because you told yourself you wanted to accomplish something great this year and it’s worth it! You need a hand with goals? I know a guy… It’s Week two 2023… Go. 

Josh Chase 

Not a competition…

Not a competition… Let’s get right to it. The fire service is not a competition of who can do it better or what department is better. This is a collective effort to provide the communities we serve in with the best possible outcome during an emergency! I would say we are competitive in nature, but it’s gotten to the point where some days the competition turns into mud slinging. 

There is nothing wrong with taking pride in what you do. Nothing wrong with having a standard, it’s just not a competition of “who has the best standards.” We need to continue to work together as the fire service progresses and stop seeing each other as a threat, problem, competition. You have a standard? Live up to it consistently and maybe people might model it. Barking at people to adopt your method has never really proven popular. 

Standards reflect your inner character and are a direct reflection of your life and how you’ve handled experiences. You can be right or you can be wrong. It’s all in how you handle the two. Both can be handled with arrogance or humility. Its really up to you to choose which you will embrace. 

There is more than one standard in the fire service. There is more than one opinion on leadership, strategy, tactics, promotions and morale issues. Instead of arguing with each other about our opposing views. We could work to understand each other while realizing that our single minded view may be incorrect. It happens. I know it’s hard to believe, but I’ve been wrong on multiple occasions.

While I understand it’s not a competition, I am still sometimes plagued by a competitive nature that thinks “I am right.” I am not right all the time. It’s not about being right all the time. So, I say what I gotta say hoping others will embrace and relate to my opinion or thought. Right? I don’t know. Is that what’s it’s really about? Being right? 

It’s not a competition for the best opinion, correct knowledge, or a popularity contest. Influence those you are privileged to lead. Reach the people in your niche, and work in community with other fire service members to move this craft forward. 

At the end of the day we are here to serve a community of people who need us. We are not special, we are servants of the public who need to see themselves as such. While I believe what we do is important, I do not believe it entitles me to special treatment. Stop competing for attention, build community, move forward. We can do this as a team! 

Josh Chase 


Emergency medical services… For the last almost 18 years, I’ve worked two jobs. Not for two different departments, for one department. In my department we are all cross trained and we all ride the ambulance, box, medic, bus or whatever your department calls it. 

We are all at least advanced emergency medical technicians. Some of us are intermediates, and some paramedics. BLS or ALS. We ride the box together. Half our shift is spent on the box, and the other half on the truck, engine, or squad. Every now and then we get on a fire truck for 24, but that’s not all the time for everyone. 

The city is 64 square miles and there’s a lot going on everyday. Honestly, the majority of the calls are medical calls. We do “fire stuff” too obviously, but everyone needs 911 for everything. Stubbed toe? Gotcha. Gun shot? Be there in a sec. Sunday morning stabbing? Putting down my brunch and on the way. Fire? Yes please. 

I worked on busy ambulances for a good part of my career so far. I’ve had the opportunity to help a lot of people as well. I admittedly love the fire stuff way more than I love the box, but I can’t take away the fact that I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of good on the medic. It’s where most of the “saves” happen. 

If you’re riding the box, I see you mi compadre. Informal leadership is even more important when in the back of the medic by yourself with a partner saving a victim from a gunshot. Rank? No. It’s skills, competence, and confidence. It’s building trust with your crew so they trust you to lead them through the bad calls on scene. 

Jump seat leadership is just as important on an ambulance as it is on the fire truck. We don’t have a whole lot of officers out there riding ambulances anymore. At least we don’t where I’m from. So, make the effort to lead where you are and train the younger generation of firefighters to lead themselves on the box, so they can lead others. 

I don’t ride much anymore since I’ve been promoted, but I haven’t forgotten the challenges that are faced on busy ambulances. The challenges my crews face on a daily basis. If you’re riding the box I see you mi compadre. Stay engaged.