Size Yourself up by “Your Children’s Standards”
By: Shannon R. Stone, Battalion Chief
City of Fort Walton Beach FL Fire Department
Are you ready? Are you ready to make that rescue, that tough push, that critical decision based on your experience and training? Are you as good as you can be? Are you doing your part to make sure your brother to your left, and your brother to your right is ready? By ready I mean have you practiced, reflected, self evaluated, studied, mentored your fellow brothers and prepared yourself for any and all situations you may encounter as a firefighter or an officer? At first thought this may seem to be a simple question but once you put some thought into it and consider it in an objective honest manner, one may come up with an answer he may not want to admit.
On a regular basis I remind the firefighters I work with to ask themselves if they are ready, and to reflect about one simple concept….”Am I good enough for my children?” If you had to make that rescue today, would you be prepared to successfully rescue your son or daughter or that one person that if you lost, your entire world would crumble? If you think about it for a moment, it’s a pretty sobering thought.
Every operational task you perform you should be doing your own “internal” size up, asking yourself if your performance is up to your “children’s standards”. Are you good enough to succeed for your children? This is my personal internal size up factor. I ask myself this question on a regular basis and because of this outlook, I continue to push myself to get better. This job is a never ending dynamic learning process and it will pass you up in a blink.
So the next time you find yourself wanting to cut training short, finding an excuse to not attend that next seminar or conference, decide to cut out of a training seminar early, skip reading that article your officer gave you,skip running those saws or checking medical equipment out, or not repeat an evolution to shave off seconds from a task, ask yourself that one question…..Is this good enough for my loved ones?
If you can’t answer that with an immediate confident YES, then get back to work and hone your skill to your “children’s standard.” To be great at this job, you have to put in the work. Trust me, when you arrive and that family is frantically pleading with you to save their children, they want…no they demand and expect that you will be great at the job, not just good or average! You should expect nothing less from yourself. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for your kids…one day it may be them you will be rescuing.