Engaged and Ownership

What do these two little words mean to you in your life? They have different meanings for all of us I’m sure, but, how much thought do we give to these words in our Professional lives as Firemen and as Brothers

In our everyday lives we are engaged in sports, playing, coaching, watching, etc. We are engaged in our families, by being loving husband or wives, fathers or mothers, watching our children grow into well rounded adults. We own cars, houses, computers, cell phones, you name it, we seem to own it. I’m sure everyone out there could fill the page or pages with more, but what do these two little words mean to us as a Fireman? Look in the mirror and ask yourself, if the same level of engagement and ownership at home, is the same level you put forth, when the bell sounds, if everyone did, this would not have ever been written.

Do you take ownership of the Fire Service? Many of our “brothers” will tell you they do, while they are on that cell phone they own, discussing their secondary job for the next day, in the middle of a light weight building construction class? Think about you and the members you rely on every day. This example is only one of a thousand different examples floating around our Profession.

Is your department, your company, or most importantly you as a Professional Firefighter, regardless, career or volunteer, fully engaged in your Profession for the your tour, however long it might be? Do you train, using relevant training or do or you officers pencil whip it to make everything look in order? Do the officers and the senior members work with the younger, newer members to mentor them, or is that “silly training” we just did a couple months ago? Okay, so what’s your point 

Are we as Fireman fully engaged to the job at hand? I say absolutely not for many of us and to me that is unacceptable. Josh Materi, from the Seattle Fire Department put it best. I hope many of you have seen the quote, if not try using that computer you own to search Facebook for it, instead of checking out prospective dates or local pubs. Pay attention to lessons learned by becoming engaged in the recent events going on in our Profession, the rescues in Lowell Mass, wall collapses injuring our Brothers in Detroit, and many more. Become Engaged in our Job, not the fantasy football team you are going up against next Sunday.

Every tour is a training tour; every tour is a learning tour. Fires happen period. We as true Brothers would take a job every shift, but, it doesn’t work out that way. Every time we get on the rig, is a time for us to shine, because we are not being called just to see our smiling faces. We are being called to mitigate someone’s worst day. For those out there that do not like running calls or feel the strong need to drive extra slow to that alarm activation, because you are sure it’s false or we might get disregarded, consider another line of work! This Profession is about so much more than a paycheck and days off. Our Profession is about saving Lives and Property, it is time for all of the Fire Service to stand up look in the mirror and treat Ownership and Engagement as Priority number 1.


  • Joseph Spelmont says:

    Excellent article and a very appropriate topic. BUT if you were serious about shining on the job, you would step up to the current times and use the title “firefighter”. By utilizing “fireman” it only makes you sound ignorant and behind the times. It takes away from your credibility.

  • Nate Q. says:

    I would disagree about it taking away his credibility, especially since it’s used just once. On a daily basis, male nouns and inclusives are used when addressing a group (i.e., “How are you ‘guys’ doing?”). It might be surprising for you to hear that number of the female firefighters in my department refer to themselves as “firemen”. To them, it is a way of showing that they’re excelling in a traditionally male-dominated profession.

    Sorry, I just don’t think it makes sense to tell someone they wrote an “excellent article” and then bag on their “credibility”. Sad to see that’s the main thing you took away from that post.

  • drillmaster2 says:

    Sorry I’m first getting back this now. Joseph, thanks for getting involved/engaged, taking ownership of your opinion. I truely appreciate that. Firefighter/Fireman, you still understood my point of the piece. The PC world has eroded our Profession, period. When did it become ok to not be able to operate the apparatus, run calls in the middle of the night, and the dreaded PR assignment on a weekend. In my opinion, there is a huge difference between a Fireman and the PC firefighter. The title of the piece says it all! Nate, thanks Bro! Stay Safe all! Drillmaster2

  • Dave LeBlanc says:

    There are some that feel that our title is that of Fireman. It is not a bash against anyone doing the job, but harkens back to our origins.

    It is a title steeped in tradition and a touchstone to those gone before us and the contributions/sacrafices they made.

    I personally feel that we get so caught up in names that we miss the big picture of why we are here. I know women that are firemen and proud of it.

    I’ll end with this…..

    “I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we who know the work which the fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling. Our proudest moment is to save lives. Under the impulse of such thoughts, the nobility of the occupation thrills us and stimulates us to deeds of daring, even of supreme sacrifice.”

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