Fire Service Needs Leaders Who Are Willing to Do the Right Thing


Blog by Richard Blackmon

Captain, Fulton County Fire Rescue Department (Ga.)

Have you ever noticed that doing the right thing takes more work than not doing the right thing? Sometimes, it would just be much easier to just turn a blind eye, right? But in our profession, it’s essential we never turn that blind eye. Reason being, someone might get hurt or killed.

Doing the right thing starts with rookie firefighters and goes all the way to the top. When the new firefighter is doing their regular daily routine, such as house work, do they always do the right thing?

Sometimes it might be easier to look past the item that needs cleaning, but why not just take that extra step and clean it? When the driver is checking off the equipment and sees that something needs attention, it’s on them to do the right thing and get it done. If someone’s life ever depends on that equipment, it will be too late to go back and do the right thing.

As a fire officer, doing the right thing is critical to the department. Holding personnel accountable and to a high standard is essential. If you make a practice of turning a blind eye, you might as well wear blinders to work.

Once you let something just go by failing to take action you have set a low benchmark for yourself. Trust me when I say it takes work to always do the right thing. You have to set your standards early in your career and stay focused and dedicated.

Sometimes it will take courage. But be strong. Don’t ever be afraid to do the right thing. You have to be able to look yourself in the mirror and be proud of the person you’re looking at. Not your boss or subordinates or peers, but you!

You can never get in trouble for following your departments SOPs. Set your bar high, stand tall and do the right thing. You’ll be better for it and so will your department and the community you serve.

About the Author

Richard Blackmon is a captain with the Fulton County Fire Rescue Department in Georgia. He has worked in the fire service for more than 15 years and is a training officer for his department. Before joining the fire service, he served as a master sergeant in the US Air Force and saw combat in Grenada, Panama and the first Gulf War.

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