Everyone has new years resolutions. I don't. I take personal inventory pretty frequently, usually when I have a change in my life or I when someone I know does. Today I'll share my lessons for last year and how they motivate me for this year. I'll try to be brief.
Last year was a big year for me. I wrote my first article in 2010 and nobody found out until this year. I'm fine with that, I never wanted to be a household name, I'm just a guy doing the same job as you and want it to stay that way. The change came earlier this year when I did the Boston ladder culture article. I was so frustrated with other bloggers talking about "over laddering", "needless ladders" and the like, that I felt I had to defend the practice. In doing so I actually found a new motivation to my writing. Now I want to start discussions. It does not have to be me and I don't have to be right but someone needs to open up a discussion on the topic everyone is thinking about. I like the change, and now put a lot more effort into my work, because if I don't one of the readers will hold me accountable. And I'm fine with that.
My blogging life is the result of a chance encounter at the Firehouse Expo. I went there on a whim and signed up for some live fire training, last minute of course. When I got down there I was told I needed a flash hood. What?! Who wears those? So I asked every person with gear if they had an extra or if they would share. Boom, chance meeting that turned into this. I do plan on attending a confrence or 2 this year, hopefully not tied to a booth. I recommend everyone go to at least one, just go. I know we all know everything, and those guys from (Insert Fire department here) can't teach you anything, but give it a try. Make sure your liver is in good shape first.
A very close friend of mine got hurt at a fire, mayday and all, and will be out for a very extended period of time. Getting a call from his wife at 2AM was a wake up for me in more ways than one. After listening to him talk about the incident and what he had to do to get out I have now increased my emphasis on fitness and have vowed to keep my crew closer together at fires. I have also been forced (By Mrs. Anchorpoint) to update all my life insurance, short and long term disability policies, and make a living will and put it all where she can find them. I think that was a bit much, but it calmed her down so it was worth it. This incident also reinforced for me that sometimes the biggest help you can give someone is to just show up, repeatedly. And the way to show you don't actually care is to never visit.
Training has always been a priority for me, the coming year will be no different. My crew is used to me know and they now the shennanigans they can get by with, which is almost anything at this point as long as the job gets done safely. They know we are going to do a drill, and they come up with a drill more often than me. This year I think I'm going to add more non-engine specific drills to fill in some of things that may be keeping us as a company from losing sight of the big picture of the firefighting profession.
The last thing for me this year is studying for promotion. I read a little something everyday from the fire science world. I'll have to spend some more time with reading the same crap over and over, and over. Ugh. The last time I took this test I got put in my place pretty quickly, and that place is nowhere near the top. Live and learn. They beat me and it's on me to do better.
Remember the world is constantly changing, if you are not changing with it you will one day wake up in a world you do not recognize, don't be that guy/girl. You are only as good as you last performance, make sure it doesn't suck.