Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 5

ICB Blog Post 11


Last week we discussed two very important character traits; those traits were maintaining a strong work ethic and taking the proper initiative.  This week we are going to cover two more equally important character traits that will help you achieve success throughout your fire service career:

  1. You must maintain a positive attitude, and
  2. Have the mindset of sharing this with others while on duty.

The academy and the probationary period can be compared to a pressure cooker.  You will be pushed beyond your physical and mental limits.  However, having a positive attitude with the correct mindset will enable you to overcome this pressure.

There will be bad days.  There will be days where you will be completely broken down.  You will find out what you are made of and what your limits are during this process.  It is important to know what your pain threshold is and also what you are capable of achieving under pressure.  This is a profession where you will be under pressure your entire public safety career.  It is essential to learn how to improvise, adapt and overcome in this stressful environment.  Remember, this is the best job in the world.  Everyday we are on duty is an opportunity to help someone that needs us to mitigate his or her emergency.

Passion is contagious and so is negativity.  One is motivating and the other is a disease.  Stay out of “Negative Town” city limits.  Don’t allow yourself to be consumed with negative energy.  Focus all of your energy on building positive meaningful relationships with your fellow academy classmates.  Lead your own mindset and don’t allow yourself to be a victim of the mental trap of negativity.  You are in control of your own thoughts and the ability to overcome any mental obstacle.  Rise above the negative environment and be aggressively positive.

It takes leadership to be a follower.  First you have to lead yourself.  Everyone can be a leader by first leading themselves. Followership is leadership.  Remember this concept while in the academy and beyond in the probationary period.  Be the best follower that you are capable of being for your fire officers and senior firefighters.  When you are at your best, your leadership can be at their best.  It takes a team effort to be effective on the fire-ground.  Remember, it is our citizen’s worst day in their lives when they place the call to 911.  We have to be at our best for them.

Take pride in every thing that you do.  There is an opportunity to leave your unique set of fingerprints on everything you touch throughout your public safety career.  Take pride in knowing that you are making a positive difference.  Take pride in this profession.  Take pride in serving your community.  Take pride in your appearance.  Every action is an opportunity for you to demonstrate just how proud you are of being a public servant.

The probationary firefighter displays leadership qualities by maintaining a positive attitude with the correct follower mindset. There is greatness within you.  During the probationary period you will have to constantly self evaluate your own strengths and weaknesses.  Aforementioned within this series; you must strive to remain humble while your leadership showcases your specific strengths and they most certainly will assist you with overcoming your weaknesses.



Cover Photo Courtesy: Rob Fling



Chris Baker has over 10 years of experience in volunteer, combination and career fire departments in California.Chris holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Associates of Science Degree in Fire Service Command Company Officer. He is a California State Fire Training certified Fire Officer, Driver-Operator, Fire Instructor, and Lead Firefighter I Certification Evaluator.  Chris is an Adjunct Instructor in the California Community College System.  He is a member and educator with the International Society of Fire Service Instructors.  Chris is an Advocate for the Everyone Goes Home Program through the National Fallen Firefighter Foundation. 


You can contact Chris through his website:instructorchrisbaker.com

Twitter: @instructorbaker 

Facebook: @InstructorChrisBaker

Instagram: @instructorchrisbaker

LinkedIN: Instructorbaker 

or by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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