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The ‘real’ job of a firefighter or EMS provider

Community outreach and education may not have been what you signed up for, but it’s a critical role of first responders

Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Today’s Tip is for fire and rescue.

And Today’s Tip deals with the “real job” of firefighters and EMS professionals.

When you signed up to become a firefighter or EMS professional, I bet you had a picture in your head about what the job would be like. You probably expected to be fighting fires and cutting people out of mangled cars. You thought about helping people who were having heart attacks, responding to other medical emergencies, and performing CPR. You know, the stuff you see on TV.

But you quickly figured out that your typical workday is a bit different.

You’re probably doing a lot of things that don’t involve emergencies at all. Things like visiting schools, reading to kids, conducting tours of the fire station, attending child bicycle helmet events, or giving fire prevention talks.

Some members of your crew might take a day off when these types of events are scheduled. Or maybe they try to stay with the apparatus while the rest of the crew participates. You’ve probably heard things like, “This is not what I signed up for.”

These are all great opportunities for you and your organization. You are educating the community and helping people stay safe.

You will realize this when you respond to a house fire and everyone is safely outside–because they had working alarms. Or when you arrive to find the fire is already out–because a sprinkler system or a fire extinguisher you recommended.

You are a public servant. If you’re being asked to perform a task, it is probably in support of the mission of your department. It might not be what you envisioned before you started, but don’t underestimate the impact it’s having.

And that’s today’s tip from Lexipol.

Gordon Graham, signing off.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.