top of page

Keep an open mind to others in their daily struggles.

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

Why are we now so quick to judge?

Is it an envious thing or jealousy thing? Do we have too many materialistic items now?

It really shouldn't be, but we have become a society of labelling and putting things into compartments. I personally don't like this labelling lark and the selfish attitudes shown by so many. Not conforming and doing something different is a good thing, it shows we have drive and ambition. Standing up against bullies and wrongful doings should not be the time to turning the tables and making the victim feel it is their fault.

How can we accept corrupt policies that are directly effecting our lives and lives of others?

If you say things and are outspoken, straight away someone will be placing you into a box and by your choices, placing you into the type of person you are.

Come on! Really are we becoming that shallow?

I've been called so many things, some maybe a bit too rude to put on here, thick skinned, but trust me, I will treat everyone accordingly to how I am being treated. I guess that's how my Karate and Aikido has been too. Match the opponent with their energy.

When did being honest become wrong? Nothing can be more honest than reality.

A quote I've seen recently,

"Be careful how much you tolerate, for you are teaching others how far they can push you".

I've had Officers saying I'm always negative and argumentative................"No I'm not," I'd reply smiling lol. I'm an up beat positive person, but will stand up against wrong and to protect my crew and the public.

Maybe they haven't seen the months of knockbacks and restrictions that are seriously effecting our front line crews and their lives. Being behind a desk they have come detached from reality and dealing with people in their hour of need.

Yes, I signed up for the career, this was my choice at the ripe age of 21. And no regrets.

My Grandfather signed up for WW1 lying about his age, he was only 16, so in comparison it's nothing. And so many others have their tales to tell too.

I like to think my job shadows my personality, I show compassion in helping others.

We all react differently each time and this is something to be aware of too.

Maybe our reactions vary from instantly arguing and being confrontational or being the submissive, can't be arsed to get involved, shrinking deeper into oneself and closing down. This doesn't help anyone. The more we suppress our emotions the more it will fester in our sub-conscious and body cells.

We judge so quickly, yet do we know the full story of what people are carrying or been through?

We may both witness the same trauma, but have a completely different effecting result because of it. Tolerance levels for all of us can vary from one day to the next.

We are all walking our own path and making our own decisions.

How led are most by the manipulated and sometimes corrupt media and Governments around the world. Personally I choose not to watch it as it's all doom and gloom. How I used to shout at the TV during the time we were on strike when we'd listen to the blatant lies about us because we dared to stand up for ourselves and yet it got me nowhere. My pulse rate soaring and fuming, what was I doing to myself, they still don't care so my small voice has had little or no impact. I recall typing out a letter and posting it to all my neighbours telling them the truth so they would have a balanced view of why we were doing it. To make a good judgement you need both sides of the story.

I choose now to look after myself and family, friends and colleagues and their families around the world through this blog, in the hope that others may realise they aren't alone and understand what some have absorbed over time. I couldn't have been easy for my family, but I was never going to tell them, how could I?

Remember, actions speak way louder than words and there are far more good people in this world that they would let you think.

Being kind is simple and infectious too.

It's called the "Ripple effect".

The way we think, can and does, have an effect on how we feel.

Really think about that for a moment.

How good do you feel when you instinctively help someone without thinking, it maybe holding a door open or reaching a can of beans from a top shelf for an elderly person. It's a nothing gesture to you, but means so much more to someone else.

Acts of random kindness is humanity at its best.

I think of "stress triggers" and think how this makes me feel.

Now if and when they occur, I push myself to think of all the good things in life too.

How does this also make me feel?

So my thoughts may bounce from one side to the next until I can control emotions through my thought process.

But I am aware of this now and can self help.

How does this relate to the Fire Service?

We as firefighters en route to an incident are aware initially to a small amount of information. We respond to the bells going down, rush from various parts of the station, dress (boots and leggings, tunic if lucky,) and clamber up into the truck.

For an example, a HOUSE FIRE.

I don't want to use any specific incident this time as there are way too many.

We will know the address, type of property (thatched or terrace etc,) and importantly, if there are persons reported, still inside the building. This last piece changes everything. The driver may go faster so getting rigged in BA in the back, you're being thrown about a bit more. Seat belts restrict, but you're body is still moving. Your thoughts are now racing of previous incidents and what you could be facing when you arrive. Seconds count here, the oblivious driver in the car in front that hasn't seen the blue lights and flashing headlights in their mirror is seriously putting the person at risk inside a burning building. You're looking at the plume of smoke, as you get closer, it's intensity and billowing pattern. This comes with time and experience, but you can read the fire intensity from the plume. And you'll pass frantic members of public as you approach.

As Officer in Charge you're thinking of so many things and how to send in crews and effect rescues, and weighing up all that you have to prevent it escalating further. Covering jets, hose-reel jet for BA crew, ladders!! A 10 second window of making life and death decisions is a luxury.

A terraced house roof fire can spread very quickly as can a thatched cottage. The number of appliances attending isn't going to be enough, more man's endless!

The list goes on, it's only when you're sat in the OiC's seat making the decisions and holding responsibility for the public and your crew that everything you do carries just that little more weight.

That said once the BA crews are stepping inside the building they are on their own. This is part reason I didn't want go further up the promotion ladder as I loved wearing BA, a direct effect on rescuing people, so as a LFm, now Crew Manager I had a fantastic role of being in charge and also being in the back and hands on again. This is what I joined for. Or the lack of promotion could have been because I spoke my mind and Officers didn't like the truth. Ah well lol

Imagine now you are entering the front doorway with smoke billowing over your head out into the front garden, the noise of the pump racing giving you a decent pressure in the hose-reel for firefighting. You're, listening to the roar of the fire beyond the radio messages and your breath into your facemask. This time we'll say it's a fire in the kitchen, ground floor, yet the person is trapped in the first floor bedroom. Which way you going? To be honest here are too many variables to say as it depends on the heat, the size of fire, the risks and savable life. It may be that simple, you close the kitchen door and come back. Gas cooling the smoke as you go.

We'll say you've closed the kitchen door and lessoned smoke into the hallway from the fire for a while, the next crew in can deal with the fire. You are heading up the stairs for the person trapped. You have no idea what you'll find as it's thick smoke now at the top of the landing. As you find a doorway with feeling it with the back of your hand, you then scan round the room with a thermal image camera, (if you're lucky enough to be carrying one, yet something else to carry though.) You can't rely on it because if it fails then you haven no idea how to get back down and out. We look for landmarks, identifiable furniture etc. You need a plan of the layout of this small house in your head. You've sized the property from the outside and it should be a standard house. Don't be fooled, people will change doors, walls and handles. Solid floors, wooden floors and bits missing plus steps up and down.

Looks like a lump on the floor, you check it over, it could be someone's laundry or that's how they hang their clothes! This has a body feel to it, you've located the casualty, great, just got to pick them up now and negotiate the furniture and obstacles and stairs and down through the heat barrier with this sometimes small and sometimes heavier person. Oh plus all the kit and heavy BA set. But this is what it's about.........saving life! Giving someone every chance.

And 1 of you will have the heavier end and going backwards. Feeling the walls with your feet now as a point of contact. Your breathing hard from the intense heat and exertion of lifting and carrying, plus still talking to your mate who is being guided or guiding you all out.

It's about communication. It is different and not for everyone, but I loved it and like I said, we all have something to contribute in our roles in helping.

So think about how you would like to be treated if you'd done this today?

Spare another thought to the Control Staff that took the call and were chatting to the person the crews had just hauled out. Speaking with them on the phone, feeling their panic and trying to reassure them, yearning for the sound of 2 tones to be heard over the phone, the relief of knowing we had arrived outside the property. Or to them hearing the failing voice and coughing as they are over come by smoke fumes, a thump and then silence.

This can be even worse on the mind. Maybe witnessing isn't as bad after all.

So when we all go home to either an empty or family packed home, none of us want to show or speak of what we've done or been involved in. For the family home we are distracted and the mind doesn't compute, just pushes it down and away, yet for the times when silent and still, trust me, it will catch up. Hence I had to write this to help myself and others.

To the Ambulance crews desperately working on them on the lawn and then again in the Ambulance en route to hospital. We all do are bit as a huge team to save lives.

Never take your work home difficult is that these days?

Even applying a plaster to your child and re-assuring them, you've done your bit, but to them it's still a trauma.

I try and fill my head with good stuff now, or as best I can to compensate.

Think of it maybe as if you go on holiday, you usually take photos and it's all beautiful places that you can reflect and remember with warm feelings. Now liken this to the trauma you've just witnessed and, 'et voila', you have your very own new album of photos stored in your head.

Remember this won't go away, we have to work at it and help ourselves.

But we can have hope that it will get easier.

Smiles hide a lot, but smiling is infectious and positive, laughter is good for all.

Remember................................Keep talking.

I always think of others in the world that are in a far worse place than myself.

I have a roof and meals and simple pleasures. I am a very lucky man.

Reality is that everything we have can all change and be lost in minutes.

Reality is hard hitting, so reach out to each other if and when needed.

Look for the positives, there are so many and out there right in front of us all.

Be the out stretched hand to help others.

1 Comment

Tracey Nash
Jul 21, 2020

Sums it up perfectly Rob appreciate the Control perspective and recognition of those faceless calls that live with us xx

bottom of page