Firehouse Magazine

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Instructor John Dixon

Passionate, Relevant, and Current Knowledge Sharing For Your Department

Are You A Seeker?

Are You A Seeker?

On the road of life there are many positive courses of action that can be taken. As we all have come to understand, there are positive outcomes as well as negative ones. The choices we all make each and every day play a huge part in where the road takes us. What thoughts, actions, and decisions are we making to ensure that we will arrive at our desired destination? What do you seek in life?

The title of this article asks a very profound question.


Let's examine how we can become better at becoming a seeker rather than a peeker.

Seek Knowledge & Wisdom

Some may say that the fire service is heading down the wrong road. There appears to be a line in the sand in terms of where the destination must be. The us versus them mentality. Why?

We should all become better at listening to others points of view. We should all become better at listening with the intent to understand rather than the intent to reply. Merely peeking into a portion of a message, training tactic or thoughts of action is a disservice to all. It's counterproductive and damaging to the end game, the destination.

How will you seek knowledge and wisdom?

Seek Mental & Physical Fitness

There is a growing epidemic within the fire service. Our mental and physical fitness levels are declining. Why are we allowing this to happen to ourselves? We preach brotherhood but fail to live up to the actions of what is expected of a brotherhood.

Suicide and substance abuse are climbing at alarming rates. Are we truly our brother's keepers or are we just peeking into the problem and hiding within the shadows.

90 Percent of what we do as firefighters and first responders occurs off of the fire ground or emergency scene but we focus solely on the 10 percent of the actions we perform the least.

Gordon Graham says it best. We are focusing on the high frequency /low risk events when we should be focusing on the high risk/ low frequency events.

When was the last time you went to the gym? When was the last time you did a push up or got your heart rate up to improve your cardio profile? Our fitness levels are a direct result of recent LODD.
In NJ alone there were 9 firefighter line of duty deaths and 8 of them were due to health reasons. This is unacceptable.

How will you seek to improve your mental and physical health? What are you prepared to do?

Seek Technical & Tactical Proficiency

This is where we must focus on our fire ground strategy and tactics. The 10 percent of what we do. The opportunities to train are out there but many refuse to take advantage. There are great people within the fire service that take much of their free time and money to research not only the "new" and exciting techniques but the very basics of firefighting as well.

When was the last time you took in a training class that wasn't mandatory? When was the last time you decided to learn something new or reinforce what you already know?

My fire service brother Mike Daley recently published an article on Firehouse.com titled: Are you good enough? If our answer to this question is anything other than a resounding "no", I fear that complacency has shown its ugly head yet again.

Are we seeking continuous improvement or are we peeking at our computer screens honing our skills as armchair snipers. Choose to become technically and tactically proficient with learning how to do our jobs safer not tearing others apart because they might have a different perspective of where the destination might be.

How will you seek continuous improvement? What is your destination?

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Apologetic Passion

Apologetic Passion

Let's examine why it may be beneficial to be apologetic for having passion.

Many leadership guru's, foward thinkers, and thought provokers will say "never be apologetic" for having passion for whatever it is that you choose to pursue in life. Whether it's your career, hobbies, and even your personal beliefs, our passions may fall under intense scrutiny by those who do not share it with us.

I would like to offer up a different perspective. Let's call it "Apologetic Passion."

Let me be as clear as I can be; I will never be one to apologize for my passion but I will apologize to others because they have chosen not to embrace it. I have learned to become sorry for them. You see, we all have a choice each and every morning when we rise from our beds. It may sound cliché but the choice we must choose is to be better than we were yesterday.

Continuously seeking out improvement no matter how big or small it may be. This is known as the "Kaizen" way of life.

Complacency and low morale are like bacteria growing within the body. It's going to take like minded individuals who band together like white blood cells attacking the bacteria. Those who have been vaccinated against positive leadership either don't know it because they are trapped by a culture of default rather than a culture by design or they have made a choice not to seek help and are looking to infect others.

Those who choose the attitude of "talking the talk" will soon have their motives uncovered, while those who have chosen to "walk the walk" will continue to do so. Whether it it's behind the scenes or out in the open. Our passion will shine through and become contagious.

Eventually natural selection will take over. Those who make the choice to become better will do so and those who choose not to will hopefully be eradicated. Attitudes, behaviors, and passion are contagious.

Let's ensure that our attitudes, passion, and most importantly our actions are qualities worth catching.

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Voices In Your Head

Voices In Your Head

While driving home this morning from a 38 hour moderately busy tour of duty in the station I started to hear a few voices that were whispering in my head. After turning off the radio to make sure I wasn't crazy or hallucinating the voices became louder. I would like to share with you what these voices were saying to me.

Let me first set the stage and explain why I think this was happening to me.

There was a recent LODD in NJ. The Firefighter was only 44 years young with a wife and family. He had worked a Christmas tour in his Fire Department and was called home by God.

This got me thinking as we all do when we learn of a LODD. Wow, only 44 and gone! This is when the first voice started to chime in. The voice said "John, this could have been you." I chalked this up to my inner subconscious trying to keep me on a path to ensuring that this doesn't happen to me, at least to the best of my ability.

I started to realize that I'm extremely tired and couldn't wait to get home to get some rest. Call it a day at 0930 hours and just be thankful that my ticket wasn't punched. This is when another voice started to whisper in my brain.

The voice said "Hey you. Yes you there. Go home, go to sleep. Waste the day!" "There is nothing you can do to prevent this from happening to you!" This, my friends was the demon I call "Complacency!"

It would be very easy to pack it in for the day, take the easy way out and allow the "Negative Insurgency" to control me. As I drove closer to home and passed the gym the voice then said to me "Nah, you don't have the energy to work out today, just go home!" "There is nothing you can do to prevent this from happening to you!"

As I continued to drive I looked down at a picture of my beautiful daughters on my dashboard and this is when the third and final voice spoke to me. "Don't do it for you, do it for them!" This is when my grip became a little bit tighter, my knuckles turning white on my steering wheel. I started to become angry with myself. Why was I allowing the negative insurgency to speak to me? Why was I even listening?

The moral of the story here folks is we all struggle with the voices in our heads. Its ok, we are not crazy. These voices are sometimes good for us to hear. This is what allows us to make the decisions to become better. To not let the negative insurgency take control of us. This is what I like to call motivation. It comes in all shapes, sizes and voices.

In times such as these I remember all the conversations I have had with my close friends and mentors or as my good friend Andy Starnes likes to say, "The Board of Directors", helping me on my journey towards becoming better. Lifting me up when I'm down.

Upon reflection when I finally arrived home from my hour long commute, I hugged my wife and children a little tighter this day. Looked at the couch and shouted out "NO!" Got changed to go to the gym and made a decision that I will not let complacency win. The negative insurgency has no place in my head. Seek continuous improvement, don't ever give up!

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Welcome

Welcome

Welcome

Welcome and thank you for making the decision to seek continuous improvement. It is my goal to help you take your training and skills to the next level with relevant, current, and passionate instruction on all topics fire service related.

This website is dedicated to all those who will not be apologetic for having passion for their service. The "brotherhood" is alive and well, together all we have to do is live within it and share our passion with others.

This website is for informational purposes only and in no way is the information considered to be gospel. I encourage all of you to get involved, pass on knowledge, and leave the fire service in better condition than we found it. Our motivation and attitudes are contagious. We must ensure that ours are worth catching!

If you should have any questions or would like to just talk, please reach out to me. I have an open door to listen, large shoulders to lean on, and thick skin so the negative insurgency has no way in!

Be safe! 

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