“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it is the slogan of the complacent, the arrogant or the scared. It’s an excuse for inaction, a call to non-arms” Colin Powell.
I have several great stories about complacency, but I’m sure you can get plenty of examples every day at the kitchen table. The only people you will impress by cutting corners and needlessly risking injury are people who do the same. Dress for every alarm as if it is going to be a job. Don’t show up unprepared to do your job. Check all of your equipment every day; SCBA, lights, personal safety items and pocket tools. Check everything on the truck every day; fluid level, fuel levels, does this thing even work? There is a reason all of those tools are on the truck, one day you will need them, and you will need them in a hurry. Don’t get caught with a tool that doesn’t work because it hasn’t been tested in a month. Don’t show up with just enough fuel in the saw to start a cut. Would you call AAA for a jump start if they did not have jumper cables last time you called? NO. It’s your job to be ready.
Do your job with knowledge of the inherent risks associated with it. Look around at newer construction practices, automotive advancements, economic fluctuations, things happen and you should actively think about the hazards involved.
The important thing for all firefighters to remember is that this job is “ultra hazardous” we don’t need to make it more so. It’s easy to tell who is doing the job and who is just trying to be a tough guy. The tough guy is the one on O2 with “smoke inhalation”. He’s the one who you have to keep a special eye on while working at an incident so he doesn’t hurt you or other people. There is nothing macho about being stupid.
At the end of the day all the people you try to impress will abandon you. The “salty” old guys will be long since dead. Your co-workers will have moved on, retired, or gone home if they are lucky. You may have gone to their funerals. You may have worked the incident where they were killed, or injured bad enough to have to retire. Or maybe it was your job to console the widow or husband. If these things have not happened yet in your career, they will.
It’s your job to be the last one standing. Do you job safely and with all of your equipment on. And ACT like this job is dangerous. Act like over 100 firefighters get killed in the line of duty every year. Don’t be scared be prepared.