Fire Department Culture

Responsible Culture

In my discussions with officers around the state a common complaint comes to mind on what we can do to improve our environment back at the firehouse. There is a grand list of topics that can improve a work environment, and one of them is Culture. Culture is a topic that often gets overlooked, or worse, never discussed as it seems to be a moving target that we cannot get our hands on as Officers.

By definition, Culture is the total of what everyone brings to the work and/or social environment. In other words, if you had a group of members that were only firefighters, you would have a culture that lives firefighting, nothing else. But most of our operations have quite the group of members with varied interests, backgrounds, goals, etc..

So the question is, do you need to change your culture, or get members to accept the culture you have?

Sometimes, the answer is both.

In addition, who is responsible for Culture? The answer is nobody, but everybody. Nobody has to be in charge of culture, but if it needs to change, as usual, it should start with the Leadership of the Department. The challenge here is to first look at it, understand it, then decide where it needs to go to, and how to get there. Therein lies the challenge. How do you deal with culture change, and does the leadership understand and embrace the VALUE of a culture change?


More on this in upcoming issues…………….

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Nick Wallick

Nick Wallick was responsible for plant operations, property management, and Environmental Health and Safety as Vice President of Dur-a-flex, Inc., in East Hartford, CT . He trained instructors for Dur-a-flex’s widely acclaimed internal university system, teaching employees continuous improvement, self-improvement, and Lean Manufacturing strategies. He has been in the fire service since 1999 and currently serves as the Fire Chief for the Town of Hebron, CT.

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