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Investment, Preparation & The Mental Process

I was scrolling through my social media before roll call at the station and I am usually not stirred or impressed by much. Then I read a post on Facebook by Chief Isakson; it stated.

“Our investment, our preparation, our mental thought process, decides whether people live or die.”

For some reason this got my mind stirring and I started mentally unpacking this statement.

1. “Our Investment.” What was your investment? What did you put your time and or money in to get a return? Did you spend money to go to a class, training, or conference on your own, without the department paying or ordering you to? Or on shift did you and your crew invest time and learn territory, pre plan, or check hydrants? Remember your investment will either pay dividends or a loss. It is up to you.

2. “Our Preparation” How did you prepare for your shift and or the job? Did you get a good night rest before your shift or were you tired, dehydrated, or hungover? I am saying not to enjoy your time off but before the night before maybe take it easy. How is your physical fitness? Are you an asset or a liability to your crew and people you serve? When we took the oath to serve, we also took the oath to be fit to serve your community and crew. Are you mentally prepared? Your mental preparedness is just as important as your physical preparedness. You can have all the technique, knowledge, and every pump equation blah blah blah in the world. If you cannot physically perform on the fire ground, you are a liability. And, even if you are the biggest stud in the firehouse but cannot perform the most basic tasks you are a liability. Have a balance, be prepared mentally and physically prepared. It’s your job and you owe it to the citizens of the community you serve.

3. “Our Mental Thought Process” How are you getting mentally prepped for your shift? My commute to my station is about an hour and fifteen minutes, so about thirty minutes out I start as we say, “getting your mind right.” I start asking myself, “What is going on this week in my territory that could have an impact on our response or different type of incidents?” Is it the weekend? I ask this because a major highway runs through my territory, so higher volume of traffic. What is the temperature? If its summer means more volume of traffic of vacation goers. Are there any road closures, special events, or anything out of the ordinary going on that shift?

Is school in or out? Are children out during the day? This could help during your response to a job. And there are thousands of more things that could go through your head before the shift depending on where your located in the country, time of year, staffing, and the list could go on and on.

All these put together makes an equation. Any deficiency that comes from these points mentioned above could cause you to lose a few seconds or minutes here and there could be detrimental to the community you serve. Seconds count and will add up. But on the flip side if all these parts of the equation are clicking, and you and your crew are invested, prepared, and have your mind right it could be the deciding factor between life and death.

This is totally my opinion. Feel free to decide what it means to you.

Firefighter Jake Hill

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