01.01.10 The First Day

The Company Officer

The Company Officer

For many, the New Year has brought forth a new set of challenges as some of you transition from the firefighter rank to that of a Company Officer. To others, a promotion has added a bar; bugle or axe to your collar and with it increased duties and responsibilities. Along with the new title or transitioned title of Company Officer, came a new badge but chances are it come without operating instructions.

It is hoped that you achieved your new found rank and title under the right conditions of merit and worth based upon credentials, knowledge, experience, education, training, skills, leadership and preparation and that popularity alone didn’t drive your promotion, appointment of election. You worked hard, studied diligently and proved yourself under both combat fire suppression operations and within the station environment under non-emergency conditions.

Regardless of the traits or circumstance that manifested themselves and gave you your new title and badge; you are now a Company Officer, a first-line supervisor and someone your brother and sister firefighters, you company and your department will look to for leadership and actions. To many of you today; 01.01.10 is the first day, the first step in what may prove to be your most rewarding, memorable and gratifying period in your fire service career. Serving as a Company Officer carries tremendous responsibilities that at times may have life and death implications based upon your decisions, actions or directives.

Recognize that it isn’t about the number of bars or collar brass bugles you have on your collar, the color of your helmet, or the “title” you have.  What it is all about is being capable to do your job; competent and fully understanding, having the knowledge, skills and abilities to lead and operate in situations that demand the highest caliber of abilities in situations that may be very unforgiving based upon your errors, omissions or deficiencies. Take the time today to reflect on what has brought you here today and how prepared you are for the job ahead throughout the year before you. Identify and recognize your strengths and weakness, work hard to further enhance those strengths through training, experience and education and at the same time to overcome, reduce and eliminate those perceived or actual weaknesses and gaps.  

Above all maintain the right perspective and outlook; respect your firefighters, but be a supervisor and enforce those requirements everyone is held to; maintain the balance of risk management, measured undertaking s and aggressive tactical deployments- You are not Superman, Ironman or Batman; you are Human, and with that are vulnerable. Promote Safety through Leadership and have the Courage to be Safe. Be an Officer, act like an officer and understand your role; you have the ultimate job before you and there are many who now are looking to YOU for answers, direction, guidance and leadership. Welcome to one of the greatest jobs in the world and with it immense responsibility, obligation, duty and accountability: You can Do it!

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Chris Naum

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