Sunday, January 2, 2011

Party Time...not

Today is MY New Years Eve. As mentioned in the prior post, I was 'on' last night. After the somewhat busy late night, I slept in a bit and didn't get up until about 0800. Right now I could use a nap.
 But I got up when I did because today is, after all, MY New Year's Eve. So what did I do with my day?
 Well, first of all, I wanted to clear my plate of my 2010 responsibilities. I spent the next 6 hours responding to emails, doing the end of year statistics, and sending out the department calender and schedule of events for the next 6 weeks. I made a follow up call on the patient we RMA'd early this morning to make sure he recovered somewhat (lived) from his 'episode' (I worry about some of the folks we don't take in, and if I made the correct decision.) He is fine, but wow, does he feel lousy.
 I transferred some of my current 'to do list' to the new Captain via email and know he will have it covered. Lastly, I took a look at my personal 2010 stats and contemplated where my head is at. My responses are down in 2010 by 24%. Why, in a year that our call volume went down, are my responses dropping like a stone? I spent some time contemplating this and looking at the data of when I was most likely to answer a page, and when I wasn't.  I learned some things about myself, that I can work on in 2011. I expect to have that number back up in the new year.
 Then I spent some time thinking about what to do with this brand new year I have to deal with. I read Lt. Morse's post and although nobody asked me what I had planned in the coming year, it made me realize that I should have a plan. Especially since I am jumping out of one role, as an EMS Captain, and jumping into another, as a Fire Lt.. Very different worlds are these.
 I plan to continue my support for the EMS group, of course, but over the year I hope to wean that off as they get their feet planted. It also became apparent that my new Fire Captain actually expects me to do my job and report to him. This is refreshing, but I will have to learn that I work for somebody else now. We've already had one small mis-step, and that should be enough for me to adjust my thinking. He set me straight.
 So in 2011, my road map is pretty easy to lay out: Work on my truck and keep it in combat ready condition. Sharpen things up a bit. Provide some quality training for my crew and get the new guys to understand their role in a functional way. Continue my support of the new EMS Officers while stepping back as quickly as possible. I also need to maintain my teaching role at the County Training center, and perhaps merge in some new specialty classes. I'll also hold onto my duty night spot on the ambulance because I like that stuff, and the night I am on, Sunday, is one that I instituted several years ago. Sunday night continues to be the highest call-count night of the week. That pretty much covers my Department role.
 As for myself, I plan to drink less, and be available more. (It may go without saying, but Volunteers do not 'drink and run', at least not in my department. If I have had a beer, I am out of service, no matter what. Any civilians reading this may believe we all sit around drinking beer at the fire house waiting for a call. I assure you that we haven't done that in 15 years. In fact, at my department, there is no alcohol allowed on the premises at any time, for any reason.) With the loss of the Squad burden and the phone calls around the clock that went with it, I figure this will become pretty easy in short order. I am already feeling like the load is lifted. I also plan on enjoying the job more, something which has been quite hard to do for the last year or so.  My new motto is "relax, you know what needs to be done, just do it."
 The last bullet point on my 'plan' is "projects". I have a couple of small ones as related to the Lt.'s job, but these are just routine things to get done. I usually like to have something on the horizon in the way of a goal. Something on the 'bigger side'. Something that nobody has applied to our needs before. I keep looking for new ways to apply 'stuff' in a different way that brings a benefit we haven't had before. I have such an idea for 2011.
 I haven't gotten much past the thinking phase at this point. I need a volunteer and I am hoping when I get some of the details worked out I can get somebody from out there in the blogosphere to help me out. Somebody who has an open mind, a thick skin, and something (worthwhile to my people) to share. Can you keep a secret? Ok, but promise not to tell. Promise? OK, but if you let this out, I can't claim the idea as my own, everybody might start doing it, the Fire and EMS service would benefit from it as a whole, and then where would we be? So keep it under your hat, OK? Here's my idea: Many of the super bloggers and intelligent, knowledge sharing folks use Skype to chat and discuss issues with each other, right? I live in a Department that is largely comprised of non-computer friendly people. But they are intelligent and hungry for knowledge. We all know that nothing in the fire service is received better than from somebody who has the experience and really knows the job, right? What I would like to do is find somebody that would agree to getting on Skype for an hour or so and delivering some particular session on some particular subject matter to my Department via a skype session. We could put the Instructor up on the big screen and have a camera feeding him back video of the classroom. questions could be exchanged, interactions could happen, and learning could take place. Instructors could share their knowledge and skills from their den, bathroom, or wherever. Students would have access to instructors from outside the area that would give them a very different perspective and introduce new ideas from a different region.
 Obviously, the first time through would be a little rough. The instructor and the students would have to realize, and be sensitive to the limits of the technology. I don't think I could get funds the first time through to pay for the instructor from my Board, but it sure might be fun to try this. So at this point, I'm looking for someone who is willing to play the game and give it a try. Anybody out there who thinks they can spare some time to play around and also has a subject, can send me an email at . Of course, we can work on the subject together. Being an instructor myself, I have several canned programs I can deliver, but I can also mold them to the requirements of my audience.  I have to honestly admit that my 'guys' are a little tired of listening to me and I don't blame them. We are a rural, volunteer agency with an aggressive fire attack mentality who also runs EMS. We have the whole range of experience from 30 year veterans to brand new Firefighter 1's. That's my big project, keep it secret, but let me know if you want to come play.

 2011 is a new year, full of possibilities. I have some plans, but to be honest, in this business, we are largely influenced by what goes on around us. I haven't left much room in my plan for that. Being a crotchety old SOB, I don't allow too much room for what others think or do, but I am wise enough to realize that I have to make adjustments from time to time. I can go with the flow to a point, lets see if anything backs me up against the wall. That's when it can get interesting.
 I hope 2011 is a growth year for all of you. I wish you health, happiness, and good things for your loved ones. Obviously, I hope you stay safe and come back to read once in a while. For that last part, I Thank You.

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