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Use training time wisely

Keeping the crew busy with work of any kind might look like a good strategy, but be careful. Firefighters know when they are being given busy work and will rebel against it, making a morale problem even worse. A better approach is to focus on the mission at hand, and demonstrate commitment to the service you provide as well as keeping the crew safe.

Focus on real hazards when you train and pre-plan. If there is a railroad track in the district, train for a potential derailment or hazardous materials incident. If there is a warehouse, go find out what they store there and how you would access a fire in the furthest corner of the building. Experiment with new hose loads. Get to know the teachers at the school down the street. Doing something every day to prepare for eventual real emergencies will make the time at work meaningful, enhance teamwork, and build confidence among the crew.

Read more in the column: Leading at the Slow Station

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