1. Where do you see the fire service in the next 5-10 years?
I see it even more over stressed with responsibilities. Over the years, the fire service has become a multi services profession to keep with the needs of the community. With new specialized needs coming, and less people doing them, keep up the skills is a trying task.
2. Of what you can see why has there been a decline in volunteers over the past decade?
Again, over stressed with responsibilities. People live further away from their communities they would volunteer for. Potential volunteers now have to navigate the many volunteer opportunities besides just the fire service. Over time, the ways people can serve their community has increased dramatically. The min skills needed to perform in the fire service has increased with complexity. These are not impossible things to overcome, but are extremely challenging.
3. Who in the fire service do you look up to as a mentor?
First, I don't have just one. I was taught long ago by one of my mentors that I will need difference guidance through different parts of my life and career. I have had the good fortune of finding people for the differ facets of my life. More important than who they are, is the answer to the question what are the different parts of your life.
4. What book(s) are you currently reading?
The Dad Manifesto. A book giving some simple advice for anyone trying to be and instill in kids to be good people. I need to get back to reading much more. At the moment, I find myself reading more research papers on Cancer, public speaking, learning, and leadership as these topics relate to the fire service.
5. Looking at all the areas of the fire service (engine ops, truck co. ops, technical rescue, etc.), what area or areas do you tend to focus on the most? And why?
My interests lie in hazmat and instructing. Hazmat is one of the of the few emergencies that you hurry to get to, then take your time to mitigate. Handling emergencies in this manner matches my personality. Instructing is a way take the lessons I learned and pass them on to others to give them a head start on life. I've already made the mistake. You get to learn from it.
6. If you were to leave the fire service today, what mark do you hope to leave on it?
I'm hoping to leave a template for others to use. What I currently see in the fire service is a number of people who have the desire to do good things, but don't know the steps. Much like a mapping app on a smart phone, if I can others direction to where they want to go, some alternate routes to get there, and an estimate of how long it takes, I will have done my part. In the end, I hope to help ordinary people to be extraordinary in his/her own way.
7. What advice would you give young firefighters or men and women thinking of becoming part of the fire service?
Let the fire service be a part of your life, not your only life. Use it to augment the life you want to be remembered for.
8. What is the driving force behind your success?
· Hard to say. I find myself still midstream in most of my ideals or projects. Success is achieving goals. Everyone should have goals. Here are mine:
§ Teach people how to think, not what to think
§ Teach people that they have in them extraordinary things, even if they believe themselves to be ordinary people
§ Teach people that good leadership is the best way to solve many organizational problems
And that's a wrap for our second installment of "Station Talk". In our third installment of this series, we will talk with FF/EMT Nick Witczak about the fire service, training and his vision for future generations.
Until Next Time; Work Hard, Stay Safe & Live Inspired.