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Chicago Fire Officers Association

Competency vs. Complacency

To all executive board members,

                 The last meeting of the season will be held at 6:30 PM on Tuesday the 27th of May to accomodate some board member schedules. I hope that all can make it as this will be the last meeting until September. Please look over your copies of the constitution and bylaws if you get a chance so we can bring up your concerns at this meeting. Have a great Memorial Day weekend!!! Mike Gacki


Competency vs. Complacency
By Gene Callahan

In this day and age with the abundance of technology (omnipresent television, cell phones, internet, PDA's, GPS, etc) and the speed of everyday life, we have created a society where doing enough to get by has become the standard mode of operation. There is too much to do and too little time for reflection on how to become better as a team or as an individual.

I have been retired now from the CFD for more than 10 years, and as I reflect back upon my time on the job I find myself contemplating two words which are critical to defining the future of the CFD, competency and complacency.  When I consider the word competency, I wonder if we ask ourselves often enough if we are competent in our particular role on the CFD.  The CFD is one of the world's leading fire and rescue services because our committed members have repeatedly asked how we can grow; improve and become more proficient for our community's safety and security. Complacency can also play a major, albeit negative, role in the future of the CFD.  Just as we must continually ensure that we are growing more skilled everyday, equally important we must protect against becoming too content with performing our duties. 

Questions to ask ourselves

  • Do I follow the SOPs set forth by the CFD?
  • Do I listen and consider others alternative ideas, instruction and suggestions?
  • Do I offer alternative ideas and suggestions based on the knowledge I have acquired on the job?
  • Do I learn from watching others' successes and failures?
  • Do I take the time to share what I have learned openly and unselfishly with others?

Based on your response to these questions, you will quickly be able to gauge if you are improving the CFD and leaving behind a legacy for others to follow. 

An incident from many years ago illustrates the role competency and complacency play in the CFD.  A tanker of gasoline developed a large leak of its product.  The CFD responded and immediately lead out a 3" hose line as a watch line to keep the product flowing away from the tanker.  A chief officer arrived on the scene and, listening to subordinate suggestions, agreed to implement a unique solution. A blue shirt suggested pulling the tanker over to a gas station located about 100 yards from the scene and emptying its product into its underground tanks.  With the owner's permission, they moved the tanker to the gas station.  When they got to the site, the fittings were not compatible.  They used one of the street pylons (used for holding traffic up) as a funnel and were able to empty the product into the underground tank until the leak was repaired, keeping the 3" watch line in place until the operation was completed.

Now, I ask you, would this chief officer have been more competent by implementing his own plan without regard to others' ideas? Would the blue shirt have been more competent by remaining silent instead of sharing an innovative solution to the situation? This example shows that the most competent are those who are not complacent and are willing to make changes and grow for the betterment of the current situation and the long term reputation of the organization.

As I reflect upon the fine men and women of the CFD in my retirement, I am reminded of the late John F. Kennedy asking, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."  To spin this phrase, I ask, "Ask not what the Chicago Fire Department can do for you, ask what you can do for the men and women of the CFD."

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Ore. Park-and-Ride Fire Burns 5 Vehicles, Injures Man
July 29-- A car caught on fire in a TriMet park-and-ride lot in Tigard on Tuesday, injuring one person and damaging a total of five vehicles, authorities say. Witnesses reported explosions and one car engulfed in flames about 2:15 p.m. near Southwest Pacific Highway and 74th Avenue, said Alisa Cour, a Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue spokeswoman. A man was found injured in the area and was taken to the Oregon Burn Center at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center for treatment, according to Cour. Two vehicles were destroyed and three others had fire-related damages. No one else was injured. The cause of the fire is under by Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, according to Sgt. Tom Duncan, a Tigard police spokesman. Investigators are still trying to determine if the source of the blaze was suspicious, he said. The injured man's condition and identity have not been released. -- Everton Bailey Jr. Copyright 2014 - The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.
Posted on Thu, 31 Jul 2014 00:20:00 GMT

Blaze Rips Through Three Homes in New York City
A firefighter was among thirteen people injured in the four alarm blaze in the Bronx.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:49:00 GMT

Cleveland Firefighters Charged in Apparatus Crash
It is alleged that the two lied to investigators of the June fire truck accident.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 23:32:00 GMT

Kevin Lawlor

Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:18:54 GMT

Southwest Public Safety

Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 20:17:22 GMT

Flames Engulf Historic Pier in England
Boats from several nearby towns were also on the scene in an effort to control the fire.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:13:00 GMT

Smeal Fire Names Two New Dealers For Tenn. And Va.
Smeal Fire Apparatus Co. has announced two new authorized sales and service dealers for the company -- Atlantic Coast Fire Trucks for eastern Tennessee and RedStorm Fire & Rescue Apparatus Inc. for an eight-county area in southeastern Pennsylvania.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 19:07:00 GMT

Dublin, Va., Puts Rescue/Engine 2 in Service
Rescue Engine 2 is Dublin (Va.) Volunteer Fire Department's newest apparatus. It is built on a Pierce Velocity cab and chassis with a Detroit Diesel engine, an Allison transmission and Pierce's TAK-4 independent front suspension and Control Zone electronic stability control. It also has a Pierce PUC 1,500-gpm pump, a 750-gallon water tank and a Husky foam system. Other features include hands-free SCBA brackets, PS6 seating, and side-roll protection. It was sold by Atlantic Emergency Solutions, Inc.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:50:44 GMT

Minn. Fire Damages Several Structures
Several fire departments were called to the blaze in Fridley.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:22:00 GMT

Ill. Camper Burns
Roscoe firefighters tackled a camper fire last week.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:21:00 GMT

Children Rescued in N.Y.
An FDNY rookie rescued a child at a Brooklyn fire Tuesday.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:15:00 GMT

Sonoma Valley (Calif.) Protects With New Type III
The Sonoma Valley Fire Protection District has taken delivery of an all-new HME 34D-Type III department. The new wildland apparatus is built on a four-door International cab and chassis, with under the seat storage and seating for six occupants. It is powered by a MaxxForce engine and an Allison transmission. Other features include a PTO Darley 500-gpm pump and a Darley 1-1/2 AGE 26BSD portable pump, HME Hydra Technology and a FoamPro 1600 foam system. It's also equipped with front bumper hosewells, a Sigtronics intercom system, 27-inch wide side-mount pump enclosures, two pump house hose lay bed, a Hannay 150-foot booster reel, and a 20-gallon Class A external bolt-on tank. The new apparatus has a brushed stainless roof compartment, adjustable hosebed dividers, rear wheel well SCBA tubes, suction hose storage, ladder storage compartments, two Worden wheel chocks and heat-treated alloy steel frame rails.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:08:47 GMT

Suit Filed Against Conn. Departments Over Fire Death

Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 16:00:00 GMT

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Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 15:49:00 GMT

TECGEN Gear Donated to Washington State Firefighters

Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:57:24 GMT

Boston Six Alarmer
Crews battled a six-alarm fire in East Boston Wednesday.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 14:24:00 GMT

Investigators Seek Cause of Ill. Restaurant Fire
The flames at Red Apple Diner lasted for two hours and were put out by an estimated 50 firefighters from eight area departments.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:32:00 GMT

Boston Firefighters Battle Six-alarm Blaze
One firefighter was injured in the blaze that caused $750,000 in damage.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:30:00 GMT

Grant Helps Ohio FD Replace Aging Fire Apparatus
The $346,000 grant helps Springfield Twp. replace a rig that has been taken off the street.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 13:00:00 GMT

Calif. Crews Rescue Horse Upside Down from Trench
A specialized animal rescue team was called to assist San Bernardino firefighters.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:55:00 GMT

Residents Concerned About Calif. Wildfire Response
One resident said she wants a "faster, better, more coordinated fire response" after the blaze near Yosemite.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:53:00 GMT

Retired Ore. Firefighter Honored for Saving Suicidal Woman
Randy Leonard, who left Portland Fire to take on politics, remembered his training.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:50:00 GMT

Canadian Firefighter Suffers Brain Bleed, Remains Hospitalized
The 20-year-old fell ill while getting on a truck to respond to an emergency.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:47:00 GMT

Pa. Council Looks to Eliminate Only Paid Firefighter
The Connellsville council said the paid fire department, through attrition, has one paid firefighter.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:45:00 GMT

Md. Department Looks to Change Retirement Program
Harford County's moved to collect benefits at 50 instead of 55 count cost $1 million more annually.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:40:00 GMT

German Man Killed During Cold Water Challenge
A man was killed when a digger truck tipped over during the cold water challenge.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:30:00 GMT

Honolulu Fire, Police Helicopters OK'd to Fly Again
The city grounded the four helicopters when the previous maintenance ran into financial trouble.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:09:00 GMT

Chicago Crews Pluck Three Boaters from Lake Michigan
A storm caused a 19-foot sailboat to overturn, throwing three people into the lake off Chicago.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 12:00:00 GMT

Five Rescued as Burst Main Floods Calif. University
Los Angeles firefighters used boats to pull people from the eight million gallons of water that flowed near UCLA.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:35:00 GMT

Pilot of Tree-trimming Chopper Critical After Ohio Crash
The chopper, which features blades that spin about 5,000 revolutions per minute, struck a deerstand in Logan County.
Posted on Wed, 30 Jul 2014 11:30:00 GMT

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