I want to talk about…. what is brotherhood? Plain and simple. Brotherhood is treating others like family. In a family, sometimes you’re there to prepare people and make them better. Sometimes you’ve got to be hard on them. Sometimes you just need to be there for them. I think a lot of that gets lost. Sometimes people think it’s not their job. We’re just co-workers and I think that’s the wrong attitude because not everyone grows up the same.
Some of you might have grown up with a construction background while others didn’t. Some of you might have grown up in a background with computers while others didn’t. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. I hear a lot of guys saying it’s not my job to turn him into a man. Yes, it is. That’s the difference. That’s this profession. We are a family. Everyone comes in with a basic knowledge from the academy, very basic. It’s up to the crews to develop them further.
Too often we think everyone should be a certain skill level right when they walk in the door but most of us, it took us 10, 15, 20 years to know what we know now. That new guy walking in doesn’t know. I think we’re too hard on them not realizing they just don’t know better yet and that’s part of building that environment and culture in your department of that family atmosphere and taking care of each other. You never know when you’re going to fall on hard times.
It doesn’t mean you turn a blind eye to stuff. You’ve got to deal with things. You can’t avoid conflict but I think that’s the part that’s lost too often is not trying to take care of people and give them the tools necessary so they can even help themselves.
Something I’ve seen lately, a couple new guys we’ve had coming in, they probably lacked a strong father figure growing up. You can tell that with just some of the regular handy skills around the station while others had that. It’s always about sharing, sharing what we’ve got, helping people out to be a little bit better and putting that extra effort out there. If you’re coming in doing the bare minimum, you can’t expect to get very good results from it or be complaining about administration if you come in and just get by. I think too many people also put in the minimum and they expect different results to go on. Right now, my agency, we have, our number one chief is retiring end of January and our number two chief’s retiring end of February so our city manager say he’s going to look outside for a chief. I’ve heard people state, nothing’s going to change. That’s unfortunate because those are the same people that do the same thing every day and they don’t understand that they can change what their doing to get the results they want to see.
I can speak at my station and actually, the guy that relieves me, we do things differently than most of the others do. That’s just with training every day, clear expectations, and working with each other. Not everyone does that. That’s not saying that the rest don’t but a lot of them aren’t as clear on everything that they want to get done, doing riding assignments and practicing game plays for when you get the big fire. I’m looking forward to see what this outside chief might bring. Anything is possible. You can change anything you want but you have to do something different.
The brotherhood’s there. It’s always been and always will be for the guys that give it. You’ve got to give the effort to receive the effort. If you don’t take care of your people, they’re not going to want to take care of you.