Beware of the Firefighter FIRE Extinguisher.
I am not talking about the tool and I am not talking about putting out the fire that we are called to extinguish at emergencies.
I am talking about the fire that burns in all of us who are called to this noble profession. God has place a burning desire in us to serve and love others.
One way we fulfill this calling is by joining the fire service. If you are like me, which I know you are because you are here trying to become better voluntarily and feeding the fire that burns within, Therefore, you have been called to be a firefighter.
We have a burning desire to be a firefighter and ride the engine, do the job and be the best we can be. Career or volunteer, it doesn’t matter. What we need to beware of is the fire extinguisher.
They Dress Like Firefighters & Hang Around Fire Stations
These “fire extinguishers” dress like firefighters, act like firefighters and hang around fire stations. They even ride the fire equipment. However, they have no burning desire to be a firefighter. They do it for all sorts of reasons except that it’s their calling. It’s like they got on the wrong train at the train station and ended up at our station.
Beware because they are jealous, disgruntled and bitter. They wish they had a desire and they don’t. So they will discourage you like they did me. They will mock you like they did me. They will shun you like they did me. Realize that you have the burning desire in you and God has placed it there for a purpose. This purpose that you have is what they desire so badly but cannot take from you. So they can only try to extinguish it.
Don’t let them! This will be a test for you.
View it as a test for your fire to burn stronger.
View this challenge as:
- A test for your fire/passion to endure
- A test to demonstrate how strong your fire is
- A test to demonstrate that they can’t extinguish your fire
Your fire is like the sun. It’s burning hotter and brighter than any amount of water or agent they can muster up can extinguish. Your desire is not going to be extinguished, PERIOD.
You may be young in the fire service and starting to question why this is happening. You may be in the fire service many years and wondering why this is happening. You may be in a station of fire extinguishers, like I have been. Realize this, fire extinguishers like other fire extinguishers.
They flock together looking to extinguish true firefighters because they are miserable deep down. They are jealous, disgruntled and bitter because they don’t have that fire, that passion in them. So they want to extinguish it in you. They plan and scheme to do things like tell you lies and hold you back. They hide out in all levels of the fire service. From the chief on down, they have infiltrated the fire service.
The Warning Signs
I have seen these “firefighter fire extinguishers” in positions of senior firefighter, driver, lieutenant, captain, chief, and instructor. Be aware of certain things they say because they are like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Have you heard these:
- Stop training and sit down over here. You’re making us look bad.
- You’re just a rookie ( Or fill in with any other label). You don’t know anything.
- You’re not important.
- They’re not paying you for it, so don’t do it.
- What are you trying to do, save the world?
- Why are you reading that book? You have a test?
- Why are you taking that class? It’s not required.
- Stop wasting your time. If the company doesn’t provide it, then I don’t need it. If the company wants me to have, they can buy it for me.
- When you speak up, they roll their eyes saying, “You think you know everything do ya”
Here’s another big indicator: they take short cuts and want you to do the same!
Then they will even start making lies about you and getting others to confirm the lies.
How To Handle Firefighter FIRE Extinguishers
Here are 7 ways to keep the fire burning while in the midst of “Fire Extinguishers”
1- Surround Yourself with True Firefighters.
Find others that have the passion and befriend them. Support each other and look to build your group of true firefighters at your shift, station or department. Sometimes you cannot do this physically because you’re at a station that is full of extinguishers. Look at other stations in your department, neighboring departments, online for Facebook pages, websites, audio tapes, mentors, etc.
2- Try To Positively Influence Them; If Not Then Distance Yourself
Try to positively influence them. Go above and beyond the call of duty. Keep doing your job the best you can. Although this is the best thing to do, most won’t change and actually may get more hostile towards you.
If you’re in a shift or volunteer fire company that has lots or “FIRE extinguishers,” transfer out of that station or shift. If you’re a volunteer, look for another station or department.
If there is only one Fire Extinguisher in the group, let your officer know and see about giving them the opportunity to change or move out.
Most likely a fire extinguisher will always be a fire extinguisher. However, I always tried to give someone the opportunity to change. Maybe they have a small kindling of the fire and it just needed some rekindling to flare up again. Generally, this is not the case though and most likely you will won’t to distance yourself from that firefighter fire extinguisher.
3- Find Positive Outlets to Fuel Your Fire.
Take some classes. Visit expos and training events that are not required by your department. A great way to find other true firefighters is to attend training and classes that are not required by your department. Fire extinguishers usually avoid those unless its paid for by their department and they get a free vacation from work.
4- Spend Time With True Firefighters.
Spend time with, do dinner with, and do ride alongs with true firefighters.
Go and befriend firefighters who love to learn and train and have fun. Some will be in your station/department and some will be in other departments. Go to their fire houses or shifts and hang out. Have dinner with them, ride calls with them. It will be like re-charging your batteries and feeding your internal fire.
Look for a mentor or two or three who have the passion you have and look to spend time with them. Build a friendship, offer to help them and let them know that you would love to train with them. If they would let you know when their training and if it’s ok with them, you would be there.
5- Faith It Till You Make It.
Know that you are not alone and other firefighters have dealt with these firefighter fire extinguishers. That this too shall pass. It’s just a matter of time. Keep the faith! Nothing lasts forever.
Keep working hard and preparing for the future. Know that one day you will be around great firefighters with passion and you want to be prepared. So focus more on the future than on your present circumstances.
6- Remember, You’re Welcome Here at FirefighterToolbox
Remember, you’re one of us! We know what you’re going through and want to support you. We need you in the fire service. We want you in the fire service. Keep going!
7- Keep Going
Remind yourself that you are not alone. I personally have gone through those exact situations. I have spoken to many others who have as well. Know that you are in great company. Keep going!
If someone has lied about you or a situation, know that you are more than one event. What you do on a regular basis and over the long haul will determine how people see you. Short term they may believe it, but if you continue to do the right thing and surround yourself with the right people, it won’t effect you. Keep doing the right thing and keep going!
What doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger. Keep going!
As everything in life passes, this too shall pass. Keep going!
Focus on the future. Keep going!
Let that fire burn, BURN FIRE BURN!
God Bless, Be Safe and LET THE PASSION BURN ON.