Todays podcast is an interview with Riva Duncan, the Vice President of the Grassroots Wildland Firefighters Organization. She’ll talk about the Presidents proposed 2024 budget and all that it might mean for our federal wildland firefighters as well as the promised permanent changes in pay grades and job classifications. Tune in and hear the latest that could have long lasting impacts on all of the firefighting community.
Tag: fire leadership
#82, Get Yourself Some Cheap SunGlasses…. Oh Yea!
If you’re going to push the rules, you better know exactly what they are…. even when it comes to sunglasses. And you should be really good at your job and valuable to your employer too. Today’s story is a comical recollection of a time when I pushed the rules and culture of my fire department. I was just pushing back against all the pressure for conformity. It’s a fun story and it makes me laugh almost 40 years later. Hope you enjoy this one.
#81, My Interview on “Life With Fire”
If you’re a visitor to my website, you already know about my book. Of course, the book isn’t on store shelves until September 5th, 2022. But the lead in information for the book is already on this site. So you probably already know that I’m not only a retired firefighter, a hilarious storyteller and a wise leader (ok, i’m joking just to show you how hilarious I am), I’m also a trans woman. But that last item is the least interesting thing about me. This week’s story is from an interview I did with Amanda Monthei on her podcast called Life With Fire. If you’re a firefighter or especially a wildland firefighter, I think you’ll enjoy it. For those of you who aren’t firefighters, you might scratch your head and wonder about those of us who do fight fires, but you’ll enjoy it just the same. Thanks for listening.
#80, Did I Cross The Line?
As first responders we have a responsibity to the public we serve. I’d say an overriding responsibility. Is that responsibility greater than department polices? More important than our Chief’s direction? And who exactly is our public? Do we have any responsibility to our neighboring jurisdiction’s taxpayers? And if there are policies and direction that keeps us from responding appropriately, what do we do about it? Today’s story ask’s the question, did I cross the line? Take a listen and let me know what you think and as always, thanks for listening.
#79, Better Call The Waambulance
Many years ago I was a Division Supervisor on a fire in the northern rockies. Listen in to how I dealt with, or didn’t deal too well, with some of the line medics assigned to my Division. You’ll get a good laugh at this one.
#78, What Goes On Behind The Radio
As wildland firefighters, we often have no idea about what goes on behind the scenes in dispatch. If you’re not a wildland firefighter, you might not have any idea just how complex the work can be. Getting a helicopter or an extra crew on a small fire might seem like it should be a simple request. Depending on how much fire activity is going on around you, getting one extra crew or a helicopter may be a big thing. You may be competing against all the other fires in your Geographic area. Yes, your little type 5 fire is often competing for resources with all the other fires around you. Yes, if you just had one more crew you could hook this small 5 acre fire. Yes, this fire may get big and need an IMT if you don’t catch it. But the reality is there are dozens of other fires near you in the same boat. Not to mention the type 2 fires and type 1 fires in the geographic area.
So listen in as my guest with 35 years experience working in dispatch logistics explains how the system works and what goes on behind the scenes. And after you listen to the story, I hope you’ll have a greater appreciation for what’s going on behind the radio.
#69, If You Think People Might Be Watching You… They Are!
Sometimes we think no one is watching us. But in reality, someone is always watching. Whether you’re a firefighter on a crew or engine, or you’re a Captain or Chief, someone is always watching you. That doesn’t mean it’s like big brother looking over your shoulder all the time. It’s just the way it is. Your subordinates, co-workers and supervisors are always watching. And that means you’re having an effect on those folks. It means you’re influencing those around you whether you mean to be or not. People are influenced by the words you use and the actions you take. It’s real life.
Knowing that those around you are being influenced by your behavior is an important lesson to accept. It took me years to understand that. Today’s story demonstrates just how much our actions can impact on those around us. Please take a few minutes to listen and think about the story. As always I appreciate any feedback and thanks for listening.
#66, Hi, I’m Bobbie and I’m a Knucklehead
If you’ve listened to many of my stories, you’ve probably heard me refer to my beloved co-workers as knuckleheads. Well, we’re all knuckeheads sometimes. In this weeks story I’ll prove to you a few times that I was certainly one. The easier and quicker we are to admit it, the better it is for us. And not only is it important to admit it, we can improve our status with our employees when we do.
I’ll describe some of the team building and camaraderie that can develop by being honest, admiting your mistakes and moving on. Some good natured teasing can ensue. Take it with a smile and know that you’re a part of the team when the guys are giving you a hard time. Hope you get a laugh and take home an easy leadership lesson too. And as always, thanks for listening.
#63 – Secret Tears (There’s No Crying in Firefighting)
As firefighters we usually try to portray ourselves as tough and capable. And for the most part we are. But even tough firefighters have emotions. This story isn’t about all the bad things we’ve seen and the emotional toll it takes on our mental health. But it is about the emotional let down that we may experience after a long two or three week wildland fire assignment. Everyone is different of course. This week’s story is just about my own reactions to the stresses of a long stressful fire assignment. I’d love to hear your comments about your own experiences. Please leave a comment.
#58 – The Cost Of Erratic Human Behavior
This week’s title could fill volumes of books about how “erratic human behavior” costs society in so many ways. You might think fighting fire is a pretty straight forward operation. I think it used to be simpler. Or maybe it seemed that way because when I held positions lower down in the organization I didn’t have to deal with the politics. That might be a part of it. But as fires have gotten bigger, they involve more and more communities and infrastructure. Imagine a fire where you might be dealing with a County government administrator and possibly a mayor of a small town. Now muliply that by 5 and you get an idea of the politics that fire chiefs/managers are dealing with. And don’t forget all the utility companies, highway departments, railroads, etc etc. Every one of those entities has some involvement during a large wildfire. This story is about one tiny landowner and how that landowner impacted the work and the success of many firefighters during a large wildland fire.