Dear, Out of Shape Firefighter
On that day you took the oath, you lost the right to be out of shape. The community you serve expects a physically fit firefighter to answer the call. The physical demands of our job require that you consistently train your body. It’s irresponsible and unacceptable for a deconditioned firefighter to get on the rig and respond to a call. Yes, irresponsible. We wouldn’t respond with a malfunctioning SCBA, we shouldn’t be responding with out of shape firefighters. We are and should be held to a higher standard than the public. That standard starts with you and an honest assessment of yourself. Ask yourself, who would I want responding on my own family?
If you want the best showing up to your emergency on your worst day, then you have to be the best yourself. The deals (excuses) that some make in their head to make it acceptable to be out of shape will not matter in this moment. Experience, seniority, rank, and all the other things used as compensatory measures (excuses) aren’t good enough. The fire doesn’t care about your excuses; it shows no mercy regardless of the deal you made with yourself. Ultimately, you will lose, along with your crew and the citizens.
Let’s talk about honor. Honor is defined in many ways and is used to describe doing things right. It’s giving your word that you will be there when needed, and that you will show up prepared. Arriving as a sub-par performer is dishonorable. It’s saying that you really don’t care. And if you don’t care, then why are you even showing up? Here’s my best guess at an answer to the previous question: you like the pageantry that goes along with the title firefighter. You like the shirt on your back, sticker on your truck, and the ability to tell everyone you’re a firefighter. Let’s be clear, your actions aren’t matching up with your narrative. You’re setting a bad example for the fire service and all those who are doing the job with honor.
Somewhere along the way, your idea of right and wrong became watered down. Someone showed you an easier way to do the job, but the problem is there are no shortcuts to hard work. Someone sold you a lie and you bought it. I’m not blaming that person because you made the choice, and you continue to make that choice everyday.
It takes consistently putting in the work to show up ready on game day. We have to train hard even when we don’t want to. Here’s why and I think this will bring it all together – it’s not about you. It’s not about the status, the accolades, or even the paycheck. It’s about the people who are relying on you to show up at your best when they’re at their worst. It’s about your crew and their families. It’s about everyone with which you show up on scene. It all comes down to showing up ready.
I challenge you to wake up every day pursuing the best version of yourself. Pursue becoming the person you would want rescuing your family. You swore the oath, now do the work.
Editors Note: Original Facebook Post on Fit To Fight Fire