Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vest wearing sissies

I was recently reading a heated debate in a forum where tempers were flaring. I may not be able to do the topic justice but I’ll try to summarize. I would refer you to the site, but I do not condone the form of childish name calling that I observed. It’s embarrassing, not to mention completely unprofessional. We wonder why we suffer to obtain and maintain the support of our elected officials and general citizenry? Some contributors have lost sight of the fact that those forums can be read by anyone. Ok, on to the topic at hand.

The sparring parties in this debate were warring on the topic of aggressive fire attack strategies. On one side of the debate was those advocating for strong command and control of the incident where the incident management team is responsible for assignments and accountable for the actions on the incident scene. On the other side of the debate were those stumping for more independent action by firefighting crews, denouncing the need for “vest-wearing sissies.” The tone of the comment led me to believe the author was of the opinion that incident and sector commanders who don identifying vests in the process of managing their incidents are fearful of aggressive structural firefighting.

As I have been a student of human motivation for many, many years, I have come to understand that all motivation is spawned from two emotions – fear and desire. Everything we do (and say) comes from fear or desire. I have to wonder… those who behave this way in forums - ironically, almost always anonymously - what are they afraid of? Or, what is it they desire?

You think you know? Feel free to post your thoughts. I just ask that you keep your comments courteous and professional. Remember… everyone has access to the forums.

Fire Chief (ret.) Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, EFO, CFO, MICP

[Note: Also posted in the Kitchen Table blog.]

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