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A Message from the 1st Vice President – JAN 2019

Welcome officially to the New Year! Since you are reading this it is a good sign that you made it through all of the various holidays that closed out 2018. As hard as it is to believe the year certainly sped by as they all seem to do anymore. I hope you all had a good close to 2018 and my hopes are you have a prosperous and safe 2019!

Let’s talk about goals in this edition. It seems about the end of one year and the beginning of the next many of us jump up and make noises about one thing or another to improve ourselves either through better eating, more exercise, more education or other similar endeavors. While all of these items are admirable, are they realistic? Oh, we all say they are and we have the best intentions, but a short time into making that modification in our lives something always seems to come along and derail us. Before long we sink in to that funk that perhaps we are a borderline failure or just somehow don’t have the required discipline to stick to our goals.

This issue can extend beyond those personal expectations we set with the best of intentions and spread into our work or even family lives. We sometimes set goals that many times for reasons beyond your direct control fall short and we once again start sliding into that funk. Eventually we reach a point that we just don’t care anymore and give up on trying to do something positive with our lives or careers and just start going through the motions to exist. When this happens it can lead to many negative results if left unchecked.

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A Message From the 1st Vice President – November 2018

Well believe it or not, just as expected the winter months have begun, daylight savings time has wound down, busy schedules have not slowed and we are headed in to the traditional “holiday” season. I hope each of you are well and will have the opportunity over the coming months to enjoy much needed rest and interaction with family and friends.

I believe we should talk about motivation this time. For a large share of people this is a word or concept that just happens with little to no effort. For others, motivation can be a challenge. For some people they have been highly motivated, but now find themselves… Let’s just say, less than motivated. I would imagine if you think back to your early days in the fire service you were highly motivated. It was exciting, it was new, it was a challenge, and you wanted to learn. For some, that remains the spirit right up to an into their retirement years. The rest fall someplace between the highly motivated and the person who leaves the fire service entirely.

Perhaps we should examine why over time some of our members are no longer very motivated to put out their best effort, show up for incidents or trainings or even stay a member. I firmly believe that motivation is one of the key drivers in keeping a person actively involved in the fire service. It is incumbent on each of us and particularly on the formal leaders in the fire service to make the fire service worthwhile and to spark the motivation every member had at one time.

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A Message from the 1st Vice President – 09-2018

Greetings! Hopefully you have had an opportunity to enjoy the summer as once again a simple blink of the eye and it seems like it is already ending. Normally a time filled with activity including vacations, local and state fairs, sports and other events. Unfortunately for many of us it has not been a time filled with much if any needed rain. Speaking of fairs, the Missouri State Fair has come and gone and from all reports the staff of the Missouri State Fair Fire Department did another outstanding job serving all visiting the fair. Great work folks!

This edition, let’s talk a little about convention. As you are or will become aware as you read this edition the FFAM 2019 Convention is being hosted by the FFAM Board of Directors and is being planned for April 12-14, 2019. Put those dates on your calendars and as soon as we develop more information concerning the planned events, lodging and other news we will let you know so you can make plans to be there.

What is convention? The dictionary, an old paper version of a google search for a word, defines the word as the summoning or convening of an assembly; an assembly of persons met for a common purpose; a meeting of the delegates of a political party for the purpose of formulating a platform and selecting candidates for office. Okay, so what is the FFAM Convention? The FFAM Convention draws a little from all portions of this definition. We do summon our members, we do meet for a common purpose and it is a meeting of the delegates, in our case for our annual meeting. So let’s look at each of these elements just a bit. Continue Reading →

A Message from the 1st Vice President – 07-2018

Greetings! I hope each of you are having a tolerable summer and have had the opportunity to get away with family or friends for even a brief break from the normal day to day of our hectic lives as servants to the public.

This time let’s talk about hats and tee shirts. So immediately, the thought crossed your mind that the old guy has officially lost it because what could hats and tee shirts have to do with the fire service anyway? Stick with me on this one and just maybe I am not as far gone as some may think.

Have you ever given much consideration to why people join the fire service. Whether it be on a paid full time agency or a completely volunteer agency where personnel don’t even receive a stipend of some sort? Well think about it a minute, because there has to be a reason buried somewhere in the history and future of this profession. We have examined this issue from time to time on a local basis and I think we may have discovered why people keep agreeing to join a dangerous, often thankless, dirty, stressful, mind numbing, time consuming and physically demanding profession… it has to be the hats and tee shirts that have our stunning, yet not really unique, logo proudly displayed. Continue Reading →

A Message from the 1st Vice President – 05-2018

Greetings to all! Well another convention has come and gone and by all accounts it was another successful event to be recorded in the history books of the FFAM. If you didn’t get the opportunity to attend this year, start making plans for next year’s convention as it is never too early to make a reservation and get the event on your calendar.

Now that convention has passed let’s talk a bit this time about rest. Seems fitting to talk about this now as we had an opportunity to rest a bit, although I am sure not everyone did, during convention. Now you might be thinking “what does rest have to do with me, or for that matter the fire service.” For the sake of this article the term rest is going to be a large all-encompassing word to cover all aspects of what you may think rest is.

The concept of rest in the fire service is somewhat obvious, but encompasses many things. Getting some sleep, relaxing, taking a break, disconnecting or recharging yourself. These are important steps to help you avoid what can at times be deadly consequences of not resting. Continue Reading →

A Message from the 1st Vice President – 03-2018

Greetings all! Hopefully you have avoided the flu, upper respiratory invasion and the cold weather. Just think, before we are ready we will all be talking about how hot and humid it is and will be hoping for fall weather to cool things off. I am sure each of you have an abundant amount of things already lined up on your schedules for the remainder of the year and I hope you have included convention, the state fair, relaxation and family time to help balance out your hectic schedules.

Let’s talk about the term professional this time. What does that really mean and how does it affect the fire service and you? Of course the dictionary says things like “relating to or connected to a profession; engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a past time; a person engaged or qualified in a profession”, but how do those definitions fit in the fire service?

Whether you are paid for what you do in the fire service or not, do you consider yourself a professional? I hope you answer here is a resounding, yes. If not then perhaps you should spend some time reflecting on why you do not. I believe it does not matter if you are paid or not, in the fire service or in any other field of work, you should always strive to be a professional. If you think about it just a little, would you want a doctor who has attended school, graduated at the top of their class and been around for a long time cutting into you to “fix” a problem if they are also not a professional? The same can be applied to calling a fire department for assistance. Even though they have shiny trucks, well dressed staff and carry their book of certificates with them wherever they go, if they are not professional in their behavior and service module do you think the public values them? Continue Reading →

A Message from the 1st Vice President – 01-2018

How can it already be 2018? I hope you enjoyed the end of last year and had the opportunity to visit with family and friends during the various holidays. Early last year in one of my messages I said we would visit the training topic at a later date. I guess “a later date” has arrived. So let’s visit about training a bit.

Why do we in the fire service train in the first place? Is it so we know what we are doing, which affords us a better chance of being successful and safe in our tasks? Could it be because as individuals we want to do things to improve ourselves? Perhaps it could be driven entirely by the pursuit of compliance with NFPA or ISO standards. Of course there are many reasons we pursue training and we will not discuss them all. When training time comes, my wife always reminds me of an episode of the Flintstones, an old cartoon for you who have not heard of them, that highlighted the training for the Bedrock Fire Department, which basically served as a way to get out of the house and socialize because like the town’s name suggests everything was made of rock and there really were not many fires. I always assured her that although some of the meetings were somewhat social we were actually preparing ourselves to serve the public to the best of our abilities. Continue Reading →

A Message from the 1st Vice President

Greetings! It would appear that this year is getting close to going in the books so to speak. It is hard to believe how fast time passes by with our busy lives. I hope you are making plans to spend time with family and friends during the upcoming holidays. If you have a friend or maybe somebody at the fire station who has no one to share this time of year with, you might think about including them in your plans. A little bit of kindness surely couldn’t be a bad thing. Keep in mind the holidays are a stressful time with many extra issues added to not only our lives, but those we serve. Suicide attempts or contemplations have traditionally been thought this time of the year so take that extra minute and make sure those around you are coping well and don’t need a little extra help or understanding. Continue Reading →