I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been telling a story in the kitchen, or someone has replied to an online post: “You really need a hobby.” While I can respect their opinion I see nothing wrong with being totally immersed in the fire service. Looking back over pictures from when I was a kid several birthdays where firefighter themed. One of the best one involved the gear and SCBA from my favorite show squad 51. I got a scanner as a teenager and would ride my bike to calls. I remember being upset with my parents as my birthday fell after the 2nd Thursday of the month, because I was going to have to wait until the following month to join the volunteer Dept. on my 16th birthday.
So why is it when I hit the major leagues I should feel compelled to alter my mindset? If anything wouldn’t I want to be just as, or even more involved to make myself the best I can be? I have found that surrounding yourself with like minded individuals only leads to being better at your job. Yet in many cases drilling, having an app on your phone or wanting to talk about something other than sports is frowned upon.
Why would someone look down upon another for wanting to further their education by attending a conference or class put on by an organization other than their department? We should always be looking to make ourselves better. Outside training and education sources make a tremendous impact.
We are surrounded by information that is at our fingertips. It’s easy to pick up a phone and find training tips on every topic we could possibly think of. Training seminars are popping up all over the the country. FOOLS chapters host many of these local classes. The experienced fire service veterans who teach at most these events are always willing to share their wealth of experience and allow attendees to bring the information back to their own departments for the betterment of the entire service.