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Code 3 Podcast: How to develop command presence

Tom Merrill discusses command presence – what it is and why it’s important


Let’s say you’re a new officer. You want your crew to follow you, right? Now how do you get them to do that?

One thing that absolutely will NOT work is to order people around arbitrarily. This does nothing but make them annoyed with you. Put yourself in their place: What would get you to follow someone? Chances are, it’s an attitude called “command presence.” That’s what instills confidence that you know what you’re talking about.

In this episode of the Code 3 podcast, Tom Merrill discusses command presence – what it is and why it’s important. Merrill is a 35-year fire department veteran and a former chief of the Snyder Fire Department in Amherst, New York. He is now a fire commissioner for the Snyder Fire District. Merrill served 26 years as a department officer, including 15 years in the chief officer ranks. He also is a fire dispatcher for the Amherst Fire Alarm Office.

Code 3 is hosted by award-winning journalist Scott Orr, who has covered the fire/EMS/police beat for most of his 30-plus year career in news. He’s worked around the country in both TV and print. Orr was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease over a decade ago, but that doesn’t stop him from interviewing fire service leaders on issues that concern firefighters around the nation.