Fire officers have a wide variety of responsibilities. They range from in house duties to on scence duties. Everything from making sure that the reports get completed, to crew training and cleaning to making sure that a crew stretches the appropriate attack line properly as ordered, to commanding the scene just to name a few. Most officers, especially in a volunteer system, have other responsibilities such as meetings and committees that fall on days other than their duty. If an officer fails to attend one of these meetings they miss out on the opportunity to gain insight to new happenings, potential changes in SOPs or protocols, or they miss out on training that they can’t get another way. I very recently had a subordinate officer make a remark on a social networking site about the lack of a reminder for a meeting he was supposed to be in attendence for. When did the fire service begin being a hand-holding service?
My parents raised me to be responsible for my activities. Track, Cross Country, working part time, Firefighter and EMT classes…. all were activities that I took part in while in high school. I was responsible to know where I was supposed to be and when. If I missed something, or there was a conflict – I had to be responsible for making the appropriate notifications to my boss, coach or instructor that I couldn’t be present and explain why. Now that I’m a “boss” I’m responsible for being on time for meetings, duty, training classes and committee meetings. If I can’t be present I HAVE to make other arrangements, whether that means getting someone else to cover for me, or rescheduling.
Are there any others having issues with officers not being responsible for themselves and their time? Does anyone have any advice on how to approach this issue? Because my parents taught me, I’m at a loss at how to approach this. What I’m afraid of is that this attitude of “Oh well” will begin to permeate through the ranks of the members and then there will be problems of no one taking responsibility for anything.