IN OUR LAST EPISODE …
Jack Allen was 10 minutes into his first day as the newly promoted Captain II at Task Force 1. The condition of the firefighters at the first line-up did not meet Allen’s standards and he scheduled a second one ten minutes later.
At the 8:10 line-up the crew was in more presentable shape, almost all of them purposely put mud on their shoes. A direct challenge to the Korea marine vet who has a “spit and polish” reputation. (link to earlier article)
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Responses to last week’s post include:
Requiring excessive, arduous or punitive training or maintenance: Happy (Justin) and firehat.
Dal90 refers to a Band of Brothers incident “These guys we can presume know their stuff, they demonstrated they can work as a team through the shoe gag, they’re just testing to see how easy the new Captain gets ruffled.” (Original book by Stephen Ambrose.) ( TV miniseries. )
Mac “I would spray their boots off with a hose (should have one of those somewhere in a firehouse) while they stood at presentation. Then, I would explain that details are what must be paid attention to, as details will be what get you killed.
Then I would dismiss the senior firefighter for the day, after explaining (in private) that his behavior was unacceptable, and every day that he had a repeat performance, he would be sent home. Today was free, but starting tomorrow he would lose pay and be written up. All of this would be done while calm and unruffled. But the point is: my will will outlast your stubborness.”
Gerald Woodruff wants to know if Allen is a jerk or a jake. ”Leadership which has the by product of commanding respect dictates that the firefighter would show up to roll call and not want to disappoint their Captain.
…(this is) an opportunity to win their confidence by leadership skills. What would happen if he noted all of the deficiencies to them asked for a drink of the pop and said, tomorrow we will do better. Tomorrow he could stand at the locker room door and tell the firefighters not to bring the pop or return with clean shoes.” Gerald is showing that line-up is a discretionary time issue. (Timely Discretion)
Dave LeBlanc learned from a mentor that we earn ink (tatoos) through our time on the job. Allen’s response to this issue will add new content to his reputation backpack or earn ink. Of all the responses, Chief Joe got the closest to Allen’s response.
WHAT DID CAPTAIN ALLEN DO?
OK, that’s a little better, but I guess I will have to be more specific. I want all of you to be in clean dungarees, with shoes shined. Probably not as shiny as mine, but shined. We will try this again at 8:25.
THIRD LINEUP AT 8:25
The crew assembled. Shined shoes, combed hair, zipped up jackets and no food.
Now that’s more like it. I was beginning to wonder of this side of town was a different fire department.
Since this is their first line-up, Allen now describes his expectations:
I am sure that you have your ways of doing things and I am anxious to learn those things.
I like to go to fires. I expect 100% effort at emergencies.
I look for clean station and clean apparatus that is well maintained.Most of all, I look for teamwork in all cases. Any questions?.
Allen demonstrated the efforts advocated by Caulfield in rapidly winning the fire station leadership game. He went from Confrontation to Conquest, skipping over the Open Warfare level.
It was handling the open warfare incidents as Special Projects captain that lead to Caulfield writing his book. (Leadership Game Rules)
Mike “FossilMedic” Ward
URBAN COMMANDER is an irregular feature aimed at career staff working in metro-sized fire departments. It will cover topics that were too esoteric, short-term or “sharp” for the Fire Officer: Principles and Practice textbook. Click “Urban Commander” under Categories to get all of the articles.
Also on FireGeezer…
- Organizational Hypoxia – March 15, 2013
- Morning Lineup – March 22 – March 22, 2012
- LAFD reduces Light Force staffing to put 11 additional ambulances on the road – April 30, 2013
- “We have a firefighter shot” Scott Miller 1992 – April 29, 2012