Lessons from a Fire Station

Thanks to some friends of ours who had won a dinner at the Fire Station at an auction they attended, Sharon and I were treated to a nice dinner at a nearby Fire Station, even more I picked up some leadership lessons along the way. In addition to dinner we were treated to some Questions & Answer time as well as a tour of the station and best part of all for us a ride along on one of the calls.

Here’s some lessons I picked up along the way:

1. Have a system in place.

On 24/7 call leads to an interesting work schedule. The station we visited had 3 teams A, B, C. Typically you work every other night for a few shifts that you get a number of days off. That means that Team A has its own fridge, Team B its own fridge, and Team C its own fridge. The calendar is already filled out for the year and color coded so you know by a quick glance which your time to work will be.

Even more than figuring out sharing food, their is a schedule during the day for training, paper work and yes, handling emergencies. The night is focused to handling those emergencies as well as getting rest when possible.

2. Have a common language.

In the call I went on fire fighters from different stations arrived, not only that but also from different jurisdictions. Yet they spoke a common language. They had developed not only in San Diego but around the country, a common language to use as well as a common system to dealing with emergencies. This is good. Do you really want them figuring out who does when the emergency arises? No, you want action fast. Even more you need action immediately.

Similar to the Fire Truck I saw on my visit, but this one is is from Chico, CA Thanks to Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:ChicoCAEngine4.jpg First uploaded by: User:Nick Precision on the English Wikipedia Caption: Picture of the City of Chico’s (California) Fire Engine 4

3. When you need to deal with the issue, do so now!

As they were fixing our dinner before we arrived, the team of 4 was called out on a call. They pulled the meat out of the oven, and off they went. The call I went on, I didn’t even go get my jacket. I just got in and went, and we went with sirens blaring and red lights shining.

4. Determine chain of command and empowering leadership decisions before the crisis arises.

I was impressed to see the system in place to respond to medical or fire emergencies. There is a set chain of command. Resources are not only dedicated but also deployed to handle the situation before the situation is fully known.

5. Thanks those who serve so well for a job well done.

Getting a closer look at what goes on in the Fire Station on a Friday night provided a greater appreciation for the sacrifice and service of our La Mesa / East County / San Diego Fire Fighters. I was deeply moved by their service, and greatly appreciate not only the lessons they taught but the work they do each day. God bless them abundantly!

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