Define.

This time of year is so draining. I’d like to say it’s just the heat, but it’s not.

It’s the heart. It’s the mind. Its the profound memories. It’s the things you have no control over. The insights.

Certain times of years remind you of what you lost and/or what you let go of. Things happen that open your eyes wider so you see truth. Moments and truths that give you “ah ha’s”, “duh’s”, and “well, shit’s”. Things that are said or done that define for you….

Define courage.

Define wisdom.

Define adaptability.

Define love.

Define family and friendship.

But remember and be open to the fact that they can define the lack of each just as quickly. Sometimes louder.

You begin to see things for what they are worth. Sometimes what you thought was worth something turns out to be worthless. And that can change you.

Let those worthless things go. Let any change be for a better you.

Stick to the worthwhile things that are defined…

The worthwhile love. The worthwhile family and friendships.

Stick with those who are courageous, wise, and adaptable.

And make any changes you need to be courageous, wise, and adaptable yourself.

A worthwhile you.

Letters of shame

Not too long ago I was informed that I had a crew that was “deficient” in a subject matter. I was taken by surprise with this. But then again I wasn’t. That might make sense to you if you know me, or it might not.

Anyways…over the years I have honed in on the skill of finding out all sides of a story before popping off at the mouth.

Note I said “honed in”….not “mastered”. Ha! I’ve lost my shit and been wrong. I’ve eaten several “I apologize” in my time. I’ve probably apologized more for crap I didn’t do than anything else. But that’s the game. (That’s another blog for after retirement…when I can unleash. Hahaha!)

So I’m told how they don’t know basic information. How not knowing this information could get people killed. A couple of examples were given that made it sound like the “defiency” in this one crew could have killed us all…. although the crew had no part in the decision making of either example. I did.

I read it, and stored it for a later day. Why? When you engage in your employees, you get to know them, and you pay attention to how they act in certain situations, you can usually grasp whether accusations are true, somewhat true/somewhat false, or false. I already had a sense of what was true and what was false.

When dealing with complaints, be sure and take in all factors for BOTH the accused and the accuser….who, what, where, when, how, why. In this case I did just that. And I then felt the need to roll my eyes. (Saying that will probably get me a write up….or I’ll have to apologize. Hahaha! You know as well as I do that people will read this and twist it.)

I finally got around to speaking with my crew. It was a basic training session to go over stuff that we rarely deal with. My guys were rusty. They admit that. That’s a truth.

Another truth while I mentioned it… They were no where near as rusty as their boss’s boss…aka ME. Hell, when I read what they had been asked I couldn’t have rattle the answers off either. And don’t even ask me what I thought the piece of equipment they were referring to was used for…..

The issue boiled down to this…..when he was asked a question he couldn’t remember right off the bat. Didn’t rattle anything off fast enough. Didn’t have information memorized that we get from a resource we carry all the time….a reference book.

So what happens next? The instructor immediately acts like an asshole about it…in front of everyone. Well, when you pop off like an asshole, chances are the person you are belittling in front of other people will immediately shut you out.

Whether they pop back off at you, they decide to walk off, they get upset, they report your behavior, or they just shut down and don’t talk anymore, they are shutting you and your “instruction”, your “knowledge”, your “authority” out.

And that’s what happened.

Approach is everything. Lack of tact and too much ego aren’t skills I ever remember hearing about being effective. Especially not in this day and age.

You just look like an egotistical asshole. And once that happens, it is hard to get your credibility back. I speak from experience. I’ve been that asshole.

Contrast

The contrast from one event to another is very interesting in the first responder world. I feel it has a huge part to do with acute stress that first responders build. This is just one example of the 1000’s I’ve had. It was the latest. I would love to hear others from any first responders.

Last shift I worked was the final night of a major festival in our city that occurs in the district I am responsible for. The last night of this festival includes a huge fireworks display.

I have some freedom in the position I have so I met my family at a location near the festival to watch the fireworks. I stopped for ice cream for my children on the way. I made it about 10 minutes with them before a vehicle accident with entrapment came across the radio. Being the closest Battalion Chief, I responded to assist.

The only patient was the passenger in a large truck. His wife was driving and their young son was in the back seat. They were hit head on by an alleged drunk driver. Another car had been following the swerving vehicle for a few miles. From what I was told, he was calling the police to report him. Then BAM…during his efforts to protect, the vehicle hits a family head on. Imagine what he felt seeing that.

The victim was very critical and unresponsive. He was what we call a “load and go” due to his condition. He was loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the hospital.

While he was being loaded into the ambulance, his wife and son we’re watching. His mother had been contacted and came to the scene. When she saw him she immediately went into shock and became another patient.

When the incident was taken care of I left and drove right straight to where my family was. My husband and 2 children. We got to listen to some great music and watch an incredible fireworks display together.

In a matter of 30 minutes, I went from a scene of broken and twisted metal, a broken body, and a broken life to ice cream, music, and fireworks.

The contrast.