Communications Lesson: You control the flow of information

While having a conversation with some veteran Fire Officer’s, the topic of effective communications came up.† I often ponder what folks with these fancy degrees, who take a host of speech and communications classes really take away from them. The worst thing that I see administrations do is leave a firefighter’s mind to wonder and guess what is going on. This even applies for the Company Officer. When you get information share it.† If it is not a personal issue or personnel matter why are we making information top secret.† I do understand that everyone in the fire department does not care to know, but there are many that do.† If you are the administrator for the fire department it is imperative if you want your mission to be complete you communicate it to your members.† Ensure that they understand in which direction you wanna go in and clear up any misunderstandings.† Notice I did not sat they had to agree with it, just understand it and get on board. Most time you will find that if you communicate the information in a logical fashion it will be received very well even if it’s not agreed upon.† Communication like I’m speaking of also gains your members trust, and they need to be able to trust that you are looking out for the best interest.† So how do we get the information out.

  1. Monthly newsletter
  2. Fire Dept Blog site or web based media
  3. Regular and Special departmental meetings

These are just a few suggestions I’m sure more will be added. What you will find when you control the informational flow things will run a lot smoother. If you look† at successful administrations, and company officers they are the one’s who’s member’s are informed, but they are still the one’s controlling the flow.

1 Comment

  • Amen! I thought I was the only person thinking department information was useful to the average SCBA wearing FF and not only to those with white shirts and some ‘semblage of speaking trumpets on his/her shirt.

    Over the years, I’ve heard just about every chief and company officer complain about the speed, inefficeincy, and inaccuracy of most “grapevine” gossip lines. In order to provide accurate information, I’ve never been able to understand why many departments don’t spread accurate information BEFORE the grapevine has an opportunity to be placed into effect. Also, I’ve never understood why some departments consider just about all information to be “top secret”. Why should anyone have to undergo background checks, polygraph examinations, ettc. to learn when the next apparatus will be delivered or which vendor just got the toilet paper contract?

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at firefighterbasics@gmail.com

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