A few weeks ago I read a post on WWW.Workingthejob.com by Jason Jeffries. In his post he dissected the Navy Seal Creed and how its ideals applied (or should apply to the fire service). While he is not comparing the Firefighters to Navy Seals a lot of their values stated within their creed are values that the fire service should adopt (including a more rigorous selection process).
Since I read the post I have looked on the internet for a “Firefighters Creed”. There is the firefighters prayer (2 versions even) that some call a creed, but it is not. We have no creed, we have nothing that the lay person can look at or read to determine what the values of a firefighter are. We have nothing to show people interested in becoming firefighters what is expected of them.
One thing I did find was a citizens interpretation of a “Firefighters Creed” Stemmed from the Obion County Incident (if you do not know look it up) here it is:
I am a contracted firefighter. I look out for myself, the firefighters to my left and right, and no one else.
I will always take advantage of the fact that I can finally tell Smokey the Bear to pound sand, and will do so at every possible occasion.
Less than $75 to put out a burning house is unacceptable.
I care not for ribbons, nor awards for valor. I do this job for the opportunity to put out fires and to finally get that speedboat I’ve always wanted.
In any firefighting situation, be it urban or rural, I will always locate the beer and women, because I can.
I will deploy on my terms, and if it ever gets too stupid, I will simply find another fire department that pays me more.
While people may think this is in relation to one incident, I have heard several times out in public how negative our profession is viewed. One person even told me that his “friend” was a firefighter and that his friend told him it almost felt like stealing for getting the amount of money he made for the amount of work he did. That almost made me sick when I heard it an even now to type it I get a little queasy in my stomach.
The even worse truth is I know a lot of guys who that above “creed” applies to. Guys who are in it for the pay check, and the awesome schedule. I am no different from most as I to in this tough economy need a part-time job to make ends meet and live the lifestyle I want to live. However I will not take leave for my part-time job, I place my fire department job FIRST, and take the fact that I am a fireman VERY seriously.
I do not pretend to be perfect, I have been in the fire service 15 years, and am still learning everyday. I owe it to the citizens I serve, the men and women I serve with, and my family to be the very best I can be at all times. I will often fall short of perfection, and may never get there, but I will never ever quit.
I think a great example of who the fire service should emulate is that of the U.S. Soldiers Creed
I am an American Soldier.I am a Warrior and a member of a team.I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.I will always place the mission first.I will never accept defeat.I will never quit.I will never leave a fallen comrade.I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills.I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.I am an expert and I am a professional.I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy, the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.I am an American Soldier.
It is short, simple, and to the point. It embodies everything we should be, and do. It talks about being physically tough, being trained, maintaining equipment,discipline, professionalism, teamwork, and most importantly placing the mission FIRST. In fact if you replace a few key words with firefighter, or fire service then it is almost perfect for the fire service.
If we base our actions on those values above we can not fail as a fireman, or as a fire service. If we base our actions on the “greed creed” then there is no way you can succeed.
Make the choice to be the best you can if not for you for the other impacted by your actions. It is difficult, it takes hard work, and others will try to pull you off your path. In the end though it will be worth it.
Do not forget that FDIC is just around the corner, and keep following along on twitter @averagejakeff.
I’m back on shift tomorrow and Sunday, and running the Monument Ave. 10k on Saturday so posting chances will be limited.
As usual thanks for reading, spread the word, and STAY SAFE!