A Fire Chief's Advice On How to Be a Great Firefighter
Vincent Dunn | Deputy Chief (Ret., Fire Department of New York)
1. The fire service is a dangerous profession. Every year, on average 100 firefighters die and another 80,000 are injured. To stay safe, study and learn about your emergency work and its hazards. Knowledge of your job enhances safety.
2. Heart attacks are the number-one killer of firefighters. Remain in good physical and mental condition. A lifelong commitment to exercise and good living can save your life and make you a better firefighter.
3. The military, police and fire service – we are all in dangerous professions where members risk their lives. But fire fighting is different. We have the best of the death professions. For example, in the military to be a good soldier you may have to shoot people.
In law enforcement, to be a good police officer you may have to arrest people. In the fire service, to be a good firefighter we have to save lives. After your career is over, your memories will be good ones.
4. The job makes the man or woman; the man or woman does not make the job. What does this mean? It means look at your supervisor or chief. You will most likely assume some of the personality traits of that person during work. We rarely change the job.
The job changes us. When you set your sights on a position or rank, look closely at the person who has that job, because you may become like him or her.
5. Support your boss. The top job is the toughest assignment in your department. If you get an opportunity to work with the chief, take it. You will see close-up the pressures and stresses of the position. So, if later you achieve the position, you will know what to expect.