Perception is reality...and a large part of one's perception is based upon their environment... past, present and their expected future.
For example, if you are around positive people the majority of your life then you more than likely will have a bright outlook on things and most who cross your path will consider you to be a smiling optimist. Conversely, if you spend most of your time around people and situations that steep in negativity then you will probably share a life view full of gloom and despair.
If a firefighter has spent most of his or her career in an environment (and with leaders) that foster traditional fire service values such as taking care of each other, doing the right thing, and pride in the job, then this firefighter will more than likely believe that almost all firefighters are safe and that leaders and organizations are more than capable of taking care of their workforce. In these firefighters opinion, anyone who speaks differently must have a mistaken perception or simply aren't doing their job. These firefighters balk at phrases like "we need to be safer firefighters" and "safety culture."
Some of us in the fire service enjoy working for an organization that is run by true leaders, leaders that lead by example and work to instill and cultivate the appropriate fire service values in their subordinates.
Some of us do not.
Some of us received quality initial and regular, realistic and beneficial on-going training.
Some of us did/do not.
Some of us work with peers who are dedicated to doing everything they can to make sure we all go home. Some of us do not.
Some of us are conscientious firefighters.
Some of us are not.
Some of us understand the difference between being a true firefighter and a fire department employee.
Some of us do not.
Successful operations and LODD case studies offer proof.
Don't confuse what the fire service should be, or what we want it to be, with what it currently is.
Consider your words carefully when demeaning those who speak of safer firefighters...
Like the old saying suggests "walk a mile in their shoes."
Take care and be safe.
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