For the Prospective Fire Officer: Prepare

I started a new video series and am presenting a new class at FDIC 2015 called "10 Commandments for the Company Officer: A Guide for Success off the Fireground." The class touches on 10 things for the new company officer to consider for success in the firehouse and dealing with his members.

In the first section, or the "1st Commandment" we discuss preparation. Without getting to long in a blog post, there are some very basic steps that one can do to be an effective officer and candidate for an officer promotion. Of course, as with anything, there are things you would add to this list or change a little. The intent is to provide a prospective officer and/or new officer some advice that will help them to be successful.

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Here are some items that have been helpful to me in my career; advice given by some great officers over the years and experiences learned (sometimes the hard way) over the years.

Prepare:

--Be good at the job you're doing now! Don't get in too big of a hurry to promote that you let your current position suffer.
--Learn to accept criticism and be smart enough to make changes or improvements to make the criticism productive.
--Ask for help; you can't do everything alone and glory comes in the shape of the success of the team, not the individual.
--Find an officer that you admire and is willing to help you along with honest feedback, and use it!
--Your reputation is hard to change; create the right one from the start by being honest, respectful, and humble
--What you do when nobody is looking is who your are
--Be productive and take initiative, whether anybody notices or not.
--Be loyal to your department and have pride in your job
--Chase kinks in the fire house, the problem is that of who finds it, so fix it. 
--Accept responsibility for your mistakes, don't blame others for your faults and mistakes

This is a short list and I'm sure other items can be listed. This is a basic list of ten items that you can build on and use in your firehouse and share with others. I encourage you to add to this list based on your experiences to help those that come after us.

Be prepared and keep in mind that what you are doing now may be what you're judged by down the road when that promotion comes around.

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