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The Remedy

It has been a few weeks since attending the Fire Rescue International in Kansas City, and much time has been spent reflecting on many critical aspects of the fire service. I can’t help the fact that I keep rewinding a few conversations I had during that trip; some good but many disheartening topics came up that keep circling our industry like a funnel cloud sweeping through a neighborhood.

You may ask yourself why I labeled this Blog “The Remedy.” Please hear me out; when issues and turmoil become obvious in a fire department, we often speak about the existing problems, which create discontent and anxiety amongst the team. Just like an illness, a “Remedy” is often needed to overcome those problems. Sometimes, you may think deep down inside that it is too late, or far gone, to devise a “Remedy” that will cure the morale and make up for lost time within your departments; however, I will tell you from experience it is never too late to begin building that “Remedy.” Our organizational success does not, and will not happen overnight, and it surely is not defined by a single scenario or event; it is merely defined by how you lead from the front, day in and day out, setting egos aside and doing what is best for everyone!

Bear with me for a moment…you are a Chief Officer who holds a set of expectations for your Captains, Lieutenants, and Firefighters, but at the same time, the Firefighters, Lieutenants, and Captains hold expectations of you as the Chief Officer. You see, this is not a one-way street. This is an intersection where it all comes together through a REMEDY of navigating an intersection to manage and mitigate difficult times, challenging emergencies, tough conversations, shrinking budgets, reduced manpower, training initiatives, and compliance with policies…And the list goes on and on for days!

The Remedy is NOT:

  1. Forcing a one-sided approach to build your resume through dictatorship.

  2. Hiding behind a desk and representing your team from a computer.

  3. Letting your team sacrifice their lives if you are not willing to sacrifice yours.

  4. Building a plan without involving the people you are responsible for.

  5. Betrayal and backstabbing to get ahead of your peers.

  6. Setting benchmarks without input from your leadership team.

  7. Hiding documents and keeping information to yourself.

  8. Re-branding your fire department without input from ALL members.

  9. Taking away the identity and historical memories of the department.

  10. Faking it until you make it.

The next time you face a challenging situation, sit back and relax, take a deep breath, and do not overreact. Your “Remedy” is most likely sitting there waiting for you to make the right move, have the right conversation, and empower the right people. Stay safe, train hard, train often, train together…


Jeremy Rebok, CFO, BS, CPS


Paul Combs - 2019 Bullseye

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