Tactical Craftsmen


Tools may change but basics remain



Much of the year has been spent discussing various tactics and strategies. Each new, recycled, or so-old-it’s-new-again idea has been wrung through the mill, planed and trimmed for use. The theories and facts of practical application sit on the shelves for us to use where they fit the need. Much like that brand new miter saw with laser line, folding stand and multiple adjustments, the tools on the shelves have great attractiveness and shine. Only when we’re on the job site can we fully embrace their use by trying them out when they fit the application.

A master carpenter will have at his disposal a wide variety of tools each day, but the nature of his work requires the steady knowledge and use of the basics and basic tools. A nail gun can certainly make a job go fast, but it’s that framing hammer on the belt that gets the workout, and it’s also what the apprentice carpenter cuts his teeth on.

The fire service at times gets hung up, much like a coupling on a tire, around new flashy packaging or the newest tool on display in the aisle. A healthy balance of the basics combined with putting new ideas to the test on the worksite will give us all the feedback needed about new tools. While a salesman can make a good argument for why we should have the new gadget on our tool belt, the craftsman will be the one to give an honest assessment of its use.

Firefighting isn’t a hobby or once and done skill. It is craftsmanship, dealing with a call for service and leaving the homeowner satisfied that quality work was done. New employees on the job are learning a trade, not acquiring community service hours, and need to have mastered the basics of their craft long before they are able to take the lead one day on the job site.

Are you teaching craftsmanship?


Photo courtesy of Mark Brady, PGFD PIO. See more here.


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BioPicBill Carey is the online public safety news and blog manager with PennWell Public Safety, or more specifically FireRescue Magazine/FirefighterNation.com, JEMS.com, LawOfficer.com and FireEMSBlogs.com. Bill started in the fire service, as a third generation firefighter in 1986, on the eastern shore of Maryland and then continued after moving to Prince George’s County. He served as a volunteer sergeant and lieutenant at Hyattsville. Bill’s writing has been on Firehouse.com, Fire Engineering, FireRescue Magazine, FirefighterNation.com, the Jones and Bartlett 2010 edition of “Fire Officer: Principles and Practice”, The Secret List and Tinhelmet.com. His recent writing on firefighter behavioral health has been nominated for 2014 Neal Award for Best Subject-Related Series.


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