There’s that saying; “I’d rather be lucky than good.” When it comes to the fire service I agree but I also believe that those that work very hard at being good tend to make their own luck. Sometimes those lucky breaks are really just preparations made by thinking firefighters who put a ladder in the right place before it was needed and someone called it lucky. Other times an incident commander calls it luck that the interior crew withdrew when they did before the hostile fire event occurred, never realizing that the well studied and experienced company officer was keeping tabs on the interior conditions and using his noggin as well as his book knowledge and experience to make an educated decision as to when to beat feet. Is there luck in the fire service. I think so. But I don’t rely on it, and I certainly don’t wait for it. I believe you go out and make it for yourself.
There’s another saying that; “Practice makes perfect.” We all know, or should know, that the statement in and of itself is false. You can practice something wrong every time and all you’ll be doing is something perfectly wrong. Perfect practice makes perfect. That, however, takes a huge amount of effort. More effort than a couple hours here and there on the training ground a couple days a week. If you do a ladder drill during your prescribed training time are you looked at like you have leprosy if you suggest later in the shift to go over the drill again back in quarters? Daniel Manning wrote an excellent article for Fire Service Warrior entitled Focus, give it a read. It talks about keeping your, a, focus, and about becoming infectious to others. Something you can do with training as well. If you want a little more up-beat inspiration take a look at the below video. It’s of Remi Gaillard, soccer star. Watch the vid and think about how much practice he has gone through over the course of his career to be able to do the things he can with a soccer ball. Is it luck? Maybe. Or maybe those that put in the effort get paid off in spades sometimes too.
Pretty cool, huh? Imagine being so confident with a 24 or a 35. Imagine grabbing the line and just knowing how much line you’ll need to make the stretch. What if you never had to be nervous when standing in front of the pump panel again? It could all come true…with some hard work.