Shared Post: Take the High Road and Worry About Your Own Company


Facebook post from a friend encourages us to always be the better company



This was a Facebook post by Patrick MacKay that was simply too good to stay only on Facebook. He’s allowed us to share it.

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Once upon a time, not so long ago, I was a “live-in” member of a volunteer fire company that was well-respected for their ability to do the job but not very well liked for their tact or interpersonal skills. Most of us were young and dumb, failing to see where we were going wrong. Anyways, because of this, people took advantage of any opportunity they could to get us in trouble, or shine light on the trouble we’d put ourselves in. One thing that really got folks in an uproar was when we’d be in another company’s first due! The first-due company wouldn’t even be staffed, yet they’d be all bent out of shape about it. If a run came in for their area, we were going to be the company dispatched anyways. The perception was that we were “hanging out” in their areas. However, the reality is we were making ourselves intimately familiar with these areas; spotting plugs, walking buildings, stretching hose, and memorizing streets.

Fast forward to a few years later in 2009; a career engine company is now staffed in the first-due where we used to “hang out”. Many of the folks who complained about us “hanging out” are assigned to the rig or have become chief officers in the system. One evening the box alarm is transmitted for a Commercial Building Fire at 2899 Jeff Davis Highway. We are running as the second-due Engine. The first-due career engine is located less than half of a mile away from the location and arrives quickly; however they have trouble locating a hydrant to use. Appropriately, they call on the radio and advise us of such and give elaborate layout instructions to complete a reverse lay to a hydrant that we needed to find. Nothing warmed my little heart more than being able to reply “Copy” and proceeds to inform them of the hydrant buried in the bushes at the A/D corner of the building. They announced they’d have their own water and we began to lay in from a second hydrant when they scaled the box back and gave the return of “good intent”.

As you can see from the picture taken yesterday, the fire marshal’s office did a good job and encouraged the owners to make the hydrant a little more visible and accessible than it once was! I tell this story because there are a few good lessons to pick up on:




1. Don’t be a dick! Be a humble professional and take pride in your work but don’t walk around with a chip on your shoulder. It’ll make your life easier and people won’t look for reasons to make your life difficult.

2. Don’t just “hang out” when you’re on the air. Pay attention to your box alarm area and learn it inside and out. We knew this hydrant existed because we sought it out and knew it was a tough one to spot.

3. Worry about your own company before you worry about what someone else is doing. Rather than focusing their attention to where we were and what we were doing, many of the folks in the system would be better suited focusing on bettering themselves and their company. It’s easy to sit back and judge others, it takes effort to get off your ass and evaluate yourself/make yourself better.


Top photo courtesy of Lloyd Mitchell Photography. Second photo courtesy of Patrick MacKay. Each used with permission.

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