I do not claim to be an expert, psychologist or therapy worker; however, I do believe I have a knack for “tuning in” to what people are projecting to me through their various mannerisms. With time and experience, anyone can fine tune their people “reading” capabilities through dealing with them on a day-to-day basis. This is especially true when your line of work is in the medical field.
When I first signed up to be on my department’s USAR (Urban Search and Rescue), FEMA Florida Task Force 2 (FLTF2) team, I did not have a clue about the different disciplines there were and what was available. I just wanted to be a part of it. The Task Force Leader at that time said we needed logistics personnel. So, I said "OK," sounds neat to me! I soon found out that no matter what industry or organization you work for, logistics is basically the backbone of any company/organization. It is the support!
When you take your apparatus to your department’s maintenance facility, whether in-house or contracted, a good professional working relationship goes a long way. There is a lot to be gained and learned when you treat the personnel that work on your trucks with respect and dignity. They have a tough enough job as it is day in and day out.
I remember when I first started going through the procedures for becoming a driver engineer in my former department, I do not recall being told about wheel chocks, or how to use them! Once assigned to a driver’s position, I don’t even recall having wheel chocks on my apparatus. That is probably because the geography of Miami is flat (boring). It was not until a few years later upon becoming the driver engineer instructor that I became educated on their use.
Your uniform says a lot about you and your organization. Personal appearance and hygiene always need to be kept in mind. The way others see you — the public, fellow employees, and others that you associate with in your line of work — can make a statement based on first impressions and beyond.
Every department operates with policies, standard operating procedures, guidelines, etc. However, no matter how strictly you follow these parameters, they do not "always" work from a practical standpoint. Is following them to the "T" always working in the best interest of the client/patients/public?
During morning checks of your apparatus, it is important to not only check the power tools on your truck, but also the hand tools. Regular maintenance and cleaning need to take place to assure that they will perform correctly when needed and be presentable in case a public demonstration takes place.
Keeping this philosophy in mind is a "win-win" situation for both the public and the firefighters that use the tools.
For those Firefighters who have taken an interest in their department’s apparatus by participating on an apparatus or equipment committee, build specification committee, etc., there may be the opportunity to do an apparatus prebuild, midway, or final inspection at the apparatus manufacturer. Be prepared and assure that you are intimately familiar with the specifications prior to hitting the inspection floor.