If you are Division qualified does that mean you should be able to handle ANY Division ANYWHERE in ANY conditions? What happens when our abilities don’t line up with the situation – regardless of quals?
How do you react when you see someone hesitating? How should you react? Here’s a tip, be kind. There is most likely a reason for the hesitation. Find out what it is, then you can discuss if it’s warranted.
Do you know enough to hesitate? This is called humility – try it.
Consider all this while reading this piece.
Experience vs. Qualified vs. Skills vs. Ability
By Kipp Morrill – State Aviation Manager & Fire Program Safety, BLM California
We are firefighters. We are doers. We make things happen.
It’s why we became firefighters.
We are a “can do” group of people. So when someone asks us to do something, our first reaction is “When, where, how far, let’s go”.
Are we qualified? Do we have that on our red card? Am I a trainee? These are all common questions that run through our mind.
But what happens when we are “qualified” to do a particular task but really haven’t performed that task? Maybe you have but it’s been a really long time or in a different fuel type? Fire people don’t like to turn down assignments they are otherwise qualified to take on so it takes some serious self-reflection and honesty to let that Division Sup know that maybe the assignment isn’t the best fit for you and your crew.
It takes checking ego at the door sometimes to admit that maybe you might be biting off more than you can chew. But the good news is there are ways to mitigate and really make it a win-win situation.
Maybe you can shadow for a couple of shifts before taking over that division? How about watching that “C” faller take out that monster snag. Or maybe ask if a couple of your folks can work with the firing crew to get an idea of how the fuels are burning?
Just because you can doesn’t always mean you should.
Really being honest about the skills you and your crew bring to the fire takes confidence and professionalism.
Humility – Try it.