Tag Archives: incident command

The T-Shirt Firefighter & the Bumper Sticker Christian

double-oaks-2nd-alarm-full-view-1024x768 The T-Shirt Firefighter and the Bumper Sticker Christian

It is not uncommon to see a person wearing a T-shirt that indicates they are a firefighter. In many instances, the words or pictures on these T-shirts are not pleasant and are often proclaiming actions this individual isn’t living out. This often angers firefighters who take the craft of firefighting seriously. But what about our faith? Do we take it as seriously as our place in life as firefighters? What about those who wear T-shirts or bumper stickers claiming they are Christians but live a life that is contrary to what God’s word proclaims? Shouldn’t this cause us to pause and reflect on what’s more important?

Perhaps you have heard it said: “I’m not a Christian because they are all hypocrites.” Sadly, this is true for many of us. We claim a belief that we often fail to consistently live out causing more harm to Christianity by our poor examples.

“It is an extraordinary difficulty quality to fake. It is beautiful to see demonstrated in someone’s life. However, it is equally obvious when it is lacking. What is it? It is a healthy, consistent, and balanced faith” (Stephen Arterburn).

Stephen’s word’s ring true that it beautiful to see the love of Christ demonstrated consistently in someone’s life. This in fact, is a living Epistle of God’s handiwork written before the eyes of the world for all to see that God can save, God can transform, and God can do anything in anyone’s life if they will put their trust in Him.

Make no mistake, this is not a condemnation of those who strive to follow Christ and fall down as most of us do. This writing is for those who claim merely a title and not a relationship with Christ as many of us often fall into this trap. Their belief is only as deep as their devotion. How do I know this? Because this was my life until 2006 when I felt the weight of conviction. The conviction came from the Holy Spirit, showing me that I was leading others astray by claiming a belief that I didn’t truly have.

For firefighters, we often are angered or frustrated by those who claim to be firefighters but fail to consistently train, improve, or perform well when the call comes in. Yet, we who take such a calling so seriously, often fail to live out the values of our own faith. We find ourselves in an uncomfortable place of self-conviction as we stand in front of the mirror realizing it is we who have failed.

In our faith we often fail to live out our belief in the following examples:

We claim Christ, yet we compromise truth, condemn others, criticize, all instead of living out our faith in truth and love…

We claim o be good & dedicated parents; yet the hours we invest in our careers far outnumber the time we spend with our spouses and children…

We claim to love Jesus; yet we fail to consistently do what He says. (Luke 6:46 46 “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”

We claim to be Christians, yet our finances prove we love our possessions more than our creator. Jesus counsels us on the dangers of loving riches more than God. One such example is the counseling of the rich young ruler in Luke 18:22-23 “So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me. But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.”

We claim to be witnesses of the Gospel, yet we share more gossip & slander than the Good News. This can be seen in our lives where we pray for someone on Sunday and then gossip among ourselves about their concern during the week. We have to remember that when others allow us the privilege to pray for their private concerns that this isn’t an opportunity for us to gossip; it is an opportunity to intercede and strengthen our own prayer life.

We claim to be saved from our sins; yet our lives reveal a different story of lust, foul language, lies, adultery and more. For myself, the hypocrisy of living a double life was a weight that I could no longer bear. I lived a very rough and perverse life while at work and then would attempt to be the good “godly” man at home. God began to convict me of this and has been slowly hammering away my old behaviors, habits, and things that kept me from being close to Him.

James reminds us that if we claim something our actions will ultimately reveal our hearts:

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?” (James 2:14).
Jesus reminds us that if we know Him, love Him, and remain in Him our lives will be living proof of our belief: publicly and privately.
“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit” (Luke 6:43:44).

In closing, we who claim to know Christ out to be living lives that reflect the depth of our relationship. Therefore, we should all be investing more into our time with Jesus so that when we wake up to face the world that they would see Him in us. Otherwise, if we say we love Jesus yet we act like the secular world we may hear Jesus’ words:

“Why do you call Me Lord, Lord and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)

May we all take the time to strengthen our relationship with the One who loves us so much that “He gave His only begotten Son so that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16b).
God bless,

Andy J. Starnes

In One Moment

Many of us complain through our joys rather than celebrate them…

We fail to realize that our lives are but mere moments…

And it’s up to us to either live with remorse or cherish them…

In one moment, we stand before God at an altar…

In one moment, we cannot believe that our marriage has faltered…

In one moment, we hold a precious new born child…

In one moment, we are signing papers over differences that can’t be reconciled…

In one moment, we are pious and preaching at others…

In one moment, we are found guilty of the same sin we condemned our fellow brothers…

In one moment, we are living a dream, perfect and serene…

In one moment, we are found wanting, our nightmare has erased our dream…

In one moment, we have a family, a job, and all that we could ask for…

In one moment, we are hiding in an alley, shivering in the cold suffering from our own personal disaster…

In one moment, we are saving others, making a difference every day…

In one moment, we are staring down the barrel of a gun wondering if there is another way…

In one moment, we are comforting others with counsel and guidance…

In one moment, we are refusing our own advice lost in our own personal bias…

In one moment, we are healthy and we take it for granted…

In one moment, we are disease stricken, hopeless, and abandoned….

In one moment, our lives can suddenly change…

Yet we often take these moments for granted, failing to realize they will never be had again…

This all comes back to a garden where we lived in perfect fellowship…

We had it all, yet we longed for more even though there was only one prohibition…

Rather than focus on what we have, we pondered that one refusal…

The decision to eat of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil…

From this day on we have been spiraling downward, hell bent on having it our way…

Yet what we failed to realize is that God warned us yet we did it anyway…

We chose to decide what is good and what is evil based on our own decisions…

We chose to invalidate morality, condemn accountability, and justify our own sins…

The collateral damage since that day is plain for every eye to see…

Failed marriages, rampant violence, and even the killing of our own unborn children…

All neatly justified, elaborately explained, by society’s freedom from religion…

We rip God from the very pages of our history as to say to Him, You are not welcome here…

Yet we welcome and encourage His word to the incarcerated as it calms the violence and fear…

We scream at those who follow Christ, you are hateful and intolerant of our views…

While they serve the least, feed the hungry, and struggle with their own demons in their pews…

We lash out at those who say there is only one way to God through Christ….

While in reality, our doctrine loses its explanatory power at the end of our lives…

For only then as the thief on the cross realized at the last moment…

Only Jesus Christ can save us from our sins and his precious blood made for our atonement…

Sadly, many of us realize this one moment too late…

Our death bed conversion never occurs as we enter the brimstone lake…

We weep and we gnash our teeth in the darkness but our cries are not heard…

For in our one moment, we chose to ignore the voice of our Savior and Lord…

We chose our moments to be defined by our own righteousness that fell far too short…

We chose to justify our sinful lifestyles only to be found guilty in the highest of courts…

We thought we would stand and give God our explanation…

Yet we fell silent, on our knees, and confessed our lack of His salvation…

But this story doesn’t have to end this way for all of humanity…

For God sent His Son to save the world from this terrible calamity…

If we would but accept His gift and confess our sinful heart…
He will give us a new heart, a new mind, and a brand new start…

This is the promise from God that cannot be broken…

His word will not return void and we are free to be one of His chosen…

Will we accept this freedom in Christ this treasured gift that He gave?

His blood, His sacrifice, was given so all may be saved?

It is a gift that must be received for our relationship to be restored…

It costs us nothing but our submission to the One Jesus Christ Our Lord…

He gave it all so that we may live…

In our one moment, what will we choose to give?

God Bless,

Andy J. Starnes

 

 

 

This is My Fire House

Welcome to my fire house, it is like no other…
 
Here we answer the call of the needy, the hurting, and bring calm to the chaos…
 
This is my fire house, a place of provision, security, and accountability all in one…
 
Here we eat together, pray together, play together, and share our burdens…
 
This is my fire house, it is like no other for only here can we be real with one another…
 
Here we fight, argue, and occasionally have times of discord….
 
This my fire house, four walls that house those who go out to serve the world…
 
Here we ventilate, open up, extricate, and bring life back to one another…
 
This is my fire house, where training isn’t optional it’s a part of our life…
 
Here we read, we discipline, we exercise, and we practice to be prepared…
 
This is my fire house, it is like no other, for I am responsible for those under its roof…
 
Here we watch over one another, we take care of one another, and our daily actions are the proof…
 
This is my fire house, it is like no other for we have good times, dark times, and experience loss…
 
Here we shed tears, we shed blood and sweat, and remembering those that we have lost…
 
This is my fire house, a place of solace and peace for those that are blessed to dwell…
 
Here we speak of heaven, praise God, and together we have been through hell…
 
This is my fire house, a place of rest for the weary and a place to come home to…
 
You see this isn’t a fire station filled with trucks and equipment…
This is my home with my wife, my daughter, and the love that fills it…
 
You may have thought of the fire house with those that you love…
And that is a special place as well, but first remember what we have been given from above…
 
Remember your family, your spouse, your children and how we respond to them…
 
Remember their desperate calls for help when they need their dad, their mom, and their friend…
 
Remember how you train, how you work, and how you would give your life for them…
 
Remember how no matter when the moment strikes you will always answer the call…
 
For this is your fire house, the one given to you from above and it should be placed above all…
 
God has given you a family, those under your care that you are to fight for…
 
This is our greatest blessing, our greatest calling, and the reason we train so tirelessly for…
 
This is my fire house, and I will fight the fires of life with those entrusted to my care…
 
We will train ourselves up in the way we should go and always be there….
 
This is my fire house, a place of shelter, protection, provision, and peace…
 
Those that dwell here will respond to each other, to others, and the last, lost, and the least…
 
For Jesus is our Commander in Chief and we seek his direction daily…
 
We may fail, we may fall down, but He walks with us through the fires ever so bravely…
 
He will never leave nor forsake therefore we will stand together through it all…
 
Knowing that this is my fire house, that He has equipped those within it to answer the call…
 
God Bless,
Andy J. Starnes
Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries.

In a Battle? Time to Get to Higher Ground!

In the midst of the storms of this life, have we considered how well we are communicating with the One who controls the winds and the waves? In the middle of the firefight when the flames are raging, how well are we communicating with the Ultimate Incident Commander?
“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me for in you my soul takes refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed. I cry out to God Most High, to God, who fulfills his purposes for me” (Psalm 57:1-2)
 
There is a battle raging right before our very eyes. Police are being targeted and killed, religious freedoms are being removed, innocent unborn children are being murdered, terrorism is on the rise, and the importance of morals & values are being diminished by many leaders in society. Yet there is an even greater war going on….
 
“For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens” (Ephesians 6:12).
 
The Bible clearly tells us that there IS spiritual warfare going on all around us. For those who believe, we see its effects clearly around us. Yet we also fight a battle within ourselves against our sinful nature. We fight against our own lust, lies, anger, hypocrisy, idolatry, greed, and so on.
 
“For the flesh desires what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit desires what is against the flesh; these are opposed to each other, so that you don’t do what you want. But if you are led by the Holy Spirit, you are not under the Law” (Galatians 5:17-18).
 
So how do we fight against this invisible foe along with our sinful nature? Paul reminds us in Ephesians that we should “put on the full armor of God, so that you can be ready to take you stand against the devil’s schemes” (Ephesians 6:11). However, are we truly ready for battle? The issue isn’t the armor of God in many cases; but whether or not we are communicating and in relationship with the One who is leading the battle.
 
We must boldly then pray “For through Him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Ephesians 2:18) and know that “In Him through faith we approach God” (Ephesians 3:12). This can be hard for many of us. For myself, I feel that my prayers are often hindered not because of God but because of me. I feel unworthy to approach him because of my sins. I forget the great price that was paid for my own sins by Jesus Christ. I have to come once again, boldly yet broken to the foot of the cross and cry out to My Lord having the full confidence that He will hear me not because of what I have done but because of what Jesus Christ has done for all of us.
 
We can then pray as Paul did that God would “strengthen you with the power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted, and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s Holy people to grasp how wide and long and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:16-20).
 
So are ready for battle? Are we willing to put the time in as a good soldier of Jesus Christ? Time in prayer, Time in studying His word, and Time in showing God’s love to a hurting and lost world even if it costs us?
Remember, a solider expects to be attacked, they expect their enemy will come at them. Let us then boldly pray and pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus knowing that He will fight our battles if we will remain in Him.
 
God Bless,
Andy J. Starnes

The Shortest & Most Powerful Verse

The Shortest & Most Powerful Verse:

“Jesus wept” (John 11:35)

As firefighters, we don’t like to admit that we often hurt. Not just a physical pain from our work but an inner torment. We often push down the emotions from the things we see, the struggles in our own lives, and the stress we experience. Then in one moment, we erupt as if our emotional pressure relief valve gives up. The tears come and they fall like rain. Perhaps, in this moment we could take the time to remember that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ also shed tears.

Jesus experienced the same emotions that you and I feel. Every one of us has shed tears, tears of joy, and tears of sadness.  We will face trying times and some of these moments will seem impossible for us to deal with.  And as a follower of Christ, the more that we work for Him, the higher position we rise to, the greater the opposition we will face. It is a certainty that has been foretold by Jesus and lived out by Him and all of those who have followed Him.

“If you want to be my follower you must love Me more than your own father & mother, wife, and children, brothers, sisters-yes more than your own life.” (Luke 14:26)

In John 15:18-25 Jesus predicts our coming persecutions:

18 “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of it, the world hates you.20 Remember the word I spoke to you: ‘A slave is not greater than his master. ’If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will also keep yours. 21 But they will do all these things to you on account of My name, because they don’t know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin.  Now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 The one who hates Me also hates My Father. 24 If I had not done the works among them that no one else has done, they would not have sin. Now they have seen and hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened so that the statement written in their scripture might be fulfilled: They hated Me for no reason.

Many of us have fallen away when we have suffered for the sake of Christ but we must remember the words in 1 Peter 4:12-19.

“Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you as if something unusual were happening to you. Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of the Messiah, so that you may also rejoice with great joy at the revelation of His glory. If you are ridiculed for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.  None of you, however, should suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or a meddler. But if anyone suffers as a “Christian,” he should not be ashamed but should glorify God in having that name. For the time has come for judgment to begin with God’s household, and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who disobey the gospel of God?

 

And if a righteous person is saved with difficulty,

What will become of the ungodly and the sinner?

So those who suffer according to God’s will should, while doing what is good, entrust themselves to a faithful Creator.”

Every person that we can read about in the Bible struggled, suffered, and wept. Yet, do we realize there is such a thing as tears of joy. The actual chemical composition of tears of sadness and tears of joy are actually different. So when we feel the emotions flood our hearts let us not suppress them let us embrace them and remember:

God counts every one of our tears:

“Thou numberest my wanderings: Put thou my tears into thy bottle; Are they not in thy book?” Psalm 56:8

God Himself has shed tears:

“Jesus wept” John 11:35

God will wipe away our tears:

“4 and he shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more: the first things are passed away. “(Revelation 21:4)

The tears of joy and sadness in life will come but let them fall knowing that God the Father counts every one, God the Son has shed tears, and God will wipe away every tear from our eyes one day. We can take comfort Jesus was “made in every respect like us, His brothers and sisters, so that He could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then He could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since He himself has gone through suffering and testing, He is able to help us when we are being tested.” (Hebrews 2:17-18)

We are to remember that this world is the training grounds for heaven. We are made for a higher purpose, predestined for good works, and He will use all things to work together for our good and His glory if we will yet trust in Him. Hold the line, don’t let stop fighting the fires of your life, and remember He is with us though it all.

God Bless,

Andy J. Starnes

Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries

 

 

Organizational Processes & Firefighter Ethical Performance

Do Organizational Processes Affect Individual Firefighter Ethical Performance?

Clearly, public service ethics has become a very broad and often ambiguous category that sometimes generates controversy as to what constitutes the term” (Zamor, p.1). Yet in the realm of public service, it continues to demand individuals of higher moral character and behavior while failing to produce a consistent example or mechanism of enforcement. Why is this so? One begins to wonder, with all of the emphasis on the individual how much of their ethical performance is determined by the organizational processes or culture?
Let us consider these questions:

• Will the members of higher moral character tire of doing the right thing because the organizational climate is ethically absent? Or ‘if the opportunity presents itself, and the risk of getting caught is low, and if the organization does not foster an ethical climate, then chances are fairly good that corruption will take place” (Zamor, p.6).

• Will a devout religious individual fail ethically if forced to choose between their principles and their paycheck? If socioeconomic pressures continue to remove an individual’s ability to freely communicate their personal beliefs will we see a decline in the profession or in the pulpit?

• Will a compliance based ethical employee fail the organization if not given proper boundaries such as codes of ethics and organizational controls? What if the ethical fence has been well defined but is continually moved for certain individuals in the event of ethical disasters?

Why are ethics important to the fire service?

It has been said that ethics are “the process by which we clarify right from wrong and act on what we take to be right’ (Zamor, p.1). The phrase that grabs our attention is deemed ‘bureaucratic discretion’; wherein the public servant exercises his or her ability to make the proper decisions within the framework of organizational controls and codes of ethics. In firefighter terms, this is when an individual faces down an incident and has to make a decision.

As a firefighter we have our framework, the incident command system, and we understand our response protocols thus knowing our resource capabilities. We size up the problem, formulate the incident action plan, and move into action. On the average, firefighters are statistically consistent in these areas because of the constant training, accountability measures, and the constant practice of these skills.

Yet in the realm of ethical decision making we seem hesitant and treat the decision as if it were a hazardous materials incident. We recognize, notify, identify/isolate, and protect if necessary because we know what we are dealing with may have consequences that outlive us. We sometimes put off making the decision or avoid it altogether which goes against the very nature of firefighters. Thus we return to the title and question of this article: Do organizational processes affect a firefighter’s individual ethical performance? I believe that the individual’s ethical performance is impaired or affected by the organizational processes for three main reasons:

• Claim without consistent conduct.
• Fears of financial loss.
• A lack of organizational controls and codes of conduct.

First, any individual who is employed in an organization that supports ethical behavior in policy but their organization fails to truly exemplify it in its daily actions will be setting the stage for ethical dilemmas. Policies without practice are mere words without meaning. Many organizations fail to recognize the critical nature of an individual’s spiritual beliefs, their impact on their behaviors, and their daily decisions. “An individual’s spirituality is critical to his/her comprehension and perception of ethical behavior” (Zamor, p.6). The prophet Isaiah sums it up well: “The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught” (Isaiah 29:13).

And the inherent nature of an individual to ignore the code of conduct is explained well here:
‘Operational enforcement structures and procedures’ hence end up taking ‘the form of elegant plaques that are hung on the office walls and thereafter ignored. They may be quoted on ceremonial occasions, but never taken seriously enough to use in assessing the conduct of individual members” (Zamor, p4).

In firefighter terms, the organization’s member’s talk must match its talk. In all of the research it comes back to integrity. “It is the public servant’s internal moral character and individual conscience that is critical in ensuring that actions are ethical and are in line with the ethics codes, and that they are carried out with integrity and morality. Carl Friedrich (1935) stated that internal control and individual conscience are the core of ethical behavior and standards in the public service.” (Zamor, p.4). In short, if those who create the policies fail to follow the policies it breeds apathy and anarchy. Its members will stop believing in them and they will have lost all credibility.

Secondly, individual ethical performance is often compromised for financial reasons. Many employees have failed to speak up on matters of principle, unfair treatment, or other issues for fear of losing their job. An organization that persecutes those who stand up for their beliefs has gained compliance through fear and intimidation.

Lastly, we come to the compliance based ethical individual. The policies, procedures, and general statutes are specifically for these individuals and without them they would wander off. “Left to their own, some public servants may engage in selfish behavior. This is where external controls like rules and regulations, penalties and punishments that impose constraints on the conduct of public servants find usefulness” (Zamor, p.6).

Many departments fail to publish their code of ethics and S.O.G’s believing that they are common sense. These departments fail to be proactive and often react by writing a policy based upon an ethical breech. Thus the “Your name here-S.O.G.” is born. Each time an ethical dilemma is faced a new policy is written and each year the policy book grows thicker and the offenses continue. An organization must endorse, train, and educate its employees on its policies and processes. ‘When ethics training is successful, employees become aware of ethical choices and have the knowledge and resources to choose and carry out the right choices’ (Zamor, p.8).

Despite the organizational processes that may impact individual ethical performance “ultimately, public service ethics depend on the individual conscience of the public servants and the organizational constraints that may take the form of rules and regulations, codes of conduct, organizational process, structures, and culture” (Zamor, p.8). The ethical performance of the individual resides with the individual but the organizational processes can be a test of one’s moral character. The power of petition is based upon the depth of the relationship thus the ethical performance of an employee is based upon the depth of their conscience and beliefs. An individual will do the ‘right thing’ in the difficult moments if their values are deeply rooted. Such “values are formed long before people enter public service” (Zamor p.8).

Another process that is critical to individual ethical performance that is often overlooked is the hiring process. Each organization would do well to conduct more research to discover if the person’s ethics they are about to hire truly align with the values of the department. Some employers are already using Emotional Quotient Testing in their hiring processes. Certain departments are using these processes with great results. One department that was interviewed currently use a service called Zero Risk HR for Emotional Intelligence Pre-employment Assessment (http://www.zeroriskhr.com/). This is another type of organization control to insure the department is hiring those who value align with the organization. Chief Dennis Rubin, states it well in his class “How not to hire idiots, thugs, and misfits.”

“It would be interesting to “dollarize” all of the costs associated with the discipline process that a department spends during a single year. Some examples are the personnel needed to investigate bad behaviors; the time and effort to document same; the cost to consult with outside agencies such as police or attorneys; if a member is suspended or terminated, calculate the replacement overtime costs; the aspect of spending time with the media explaining the situation and so on.” (Dennis Rubin)

In conclusion, the ethical performance of an individual can be affected by organizational processes but it is ultimately up to the individual’s values. These processes are in the news daily such as ‘Firefighters vote no confidence in Fire Chief’, “Former employee alleges firing was based on her whistle blowing efforts”, and “Firefighter fired for social media post.” The examples given in this article show how the informal cultural processes of an organization can affect an individual’s ethical performance. The fire service would be wise to begin to evaluate the organizations ethical performance regularly, train employees on proper ethical behaviors, and continually monitor the health of the organization by the ethical behaviors of its members.

Works Cited:

Casey, Michael P. (2007) Emotional Intelligence for Emergency Service Leaders.
Retrieved from: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/pdf/efop/efo40416.pdf

Genevieve Enid Kyarimpa & Jean-Claude Garcia-Zamor (2006): The Quest for Public Service Ethics: Individual Conscience and Organizational Constraints, Public Money & Management, 26:1, 31-38
Rubin, Dennis. (2012). How not to hire idiots, thugs, and misfits. Fire Rescue1 magazine. Retrieved from: http://www.firerescue1.com/fire-department-management/articles/1377396-Hiring-plan-How-not-to-hire-idiots-thugs-and-misfits/

The Firefighter Rescue Plan: How to call for help?

The Firefighter Rescue Plan: How to call for help?

Let us consider each part of this scenario as one who has become lost in the ‘fires of life’:

A sudden and unexpected calamity occurs in our life and we rush in to prevent any further harm without thought of a back-up plan.  Then the situation takes a turn for the worse and the world “collapses” around us. In this moment, we feel “pinned down” by the weight of this problem.  Our thoughts turn to anger and our pride prevents us from calling for help.

The situation seems hopeless; every effort to save ourselves only worsens the problem.
Anxiety begins to weigh heavy upon our heart. The circumstances have paralyzed us and we fall upon our knees as we cry out in desperation to God: “Please save us!”

Take a moment and think about this:

What if someone knew that in the future we would need to be rescued?

What if they knew that no matter how many people tried to save us that we still would refuse their help?

What if they knew that the only way to save us was to give up their own life for ours?

Even though at that moment, we would have never asked for their help or admitted our need for their help, this person still chose to give up their life for us. Why would anyone do such a thing?

Because He loves us more than you could ever imagine.

God demonstrated His great love in this:
“While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

Every firefighter wants to save a life. It is not any firefighter’s wish that anyone should die. So it is with God, He doesn’t want anyone to perish. The imagery is powerful, realistic, and it is true. God chose to save us before we asked. He answered the call of our heart that we refused to make. Many of us, including myself, only chose to call out in a moment of desperation. This is where many of us meet God. When there is no one else to save us, no back-up plan, no emergency fund, and no one to call.

The plan from the very beginning was to save us all. As a firefighter, you understand the plan of redemption even if you aren’t a Christian.  One who calls for help is saved by another that he or she has never met, and never can repay what has been done for them.
Sound familiar?

Each and every moment is a gift. God has made a way home, a personal rescue plan, just for us. His name is Jesus Christ. He will reach through our darkness, give us the breath of life, and bring us through the fire into the safety of His arms.

Many have become lost on their journey in the fires of life. It is not God’s plan for anyone to be lost but to be rescued. He is actively searching for us. His love pierces through the deepest darkness and his light shines through the most turbulent smoke.  If we would but call upon his name we will be saved. 

Romans 10:13 for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Every citizen is taught from an early age how to call for help. They are taught to call 911 and they know that help is on the way. In our lives, we should not be afraid to call upon God to be saved. We should not be afraid to call out to Him for help and we should realize that He has placed a wonderful support group in our presence if we would merely ask.

James 4:2 states “You have not because you ask not.”

Each of us will face moments in life that will be more than we can bear. It is not meant for us bear the load alone. In firefighting, we go in together and we fight together. We overhaul together and we get back in service together.

It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It is a sign of strength. Take the time and consider this:

“Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9

Notice something? “Your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” If those around us, that we place our trust in, are undergoing the same kind of sufferings than who better to talk to, to lean on, and to ask for help from?

Our rescue plan has been defined, the team has been deployed, and they are standing at the ready to help. In Part three of this series, we will begin to how to “End the trend” of firefighters not receiving the help they so desperately need.

Until then, start by asking God for help, and leaning on our brothers or sisters around us. Lawyer's rd 4 alarm fire

Available? The value of Divine Appointments:

Have you ever been interrupted? Have you ever thought “I just don’t have time for this right now?” Has someone called, showed up, or caused a change in your schedule because of their urgent need? As firefighters, we stop what we are doing to answer the call of “an unscheduled appointment.” Yet when our loved ones interrupt us we seem to forget that we are still servants to our fellow man: on and off duty.

Consider this:

Most of the ministry of Jesus was through interruptions. As He was on His way great crowds would follow Him, people would reach out to touch him, people would bring their children to Him, and each time He would bless, heal, and feed them.

What can we learn from this? We are often too focused on the destination and often miss the blessing of the journey. How many opportunities to help or impact someones life have we missed because we were so focused on ‘just getting there.’

Ministering like Jesus means being available to others despite our schedule. The number one enemy of ministry is busy-ness. We were created and saved to make a difference and this occurs by God’s appointments.

“Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” James 1:22

A friend of mine recently thanked me after a phone conversation where he was sharing some very painful personal trials. He said, “I called someone in the church that said they could help me and the minute I started talking I felt as if he was trying to get off the phone.”

I began to understand that at that moment God had taught me a very powerful lesson. I didn’t fix my friend’s problem nor did I have the means or abilities to provide a solution. Ministering to others requires that we be available and that we are vulnerable. Neither of these is convenient or comfortable but they require a sacrifice of our time and our heart.

Are we willing to give of our-self so that others may know of His love?

We must decide which is more important?

Our schedule or His?

A completed to-do list or a changed life?

Think about it…

When it comes to making a difference; no appointment should be necessary.

Spotlight on Brotherhood: Share the Load Program

Share The Load Program:

Featuring Mark Lamplugh Jr. from 360 Wellness & The National Volunteer Council’s Share The Load program

As first responders, we face continual exposure to stress throughout our careers. It is well known that first responders have a higher rate of heart attacks, stress related disorders (PTSD, anxiety & depression, and other unhealthy coping mechanisms), and those that answer the call for help seldom make the call when they face down the ‘fires’ of their lives.

Firefighters and first responders often don’t call out for help due to a numerous reasons. Many of us have had the misfortune to lose a loved one or close friend to suicide. Sadly, many of us have witnessed the traumatic effects on our brothers or sisters who have battled depression, substance abuse, alcoholism, and other issues.

As firefighters, we practice situational awareness, being proactive, and being well trained in our craft. Why is it that these issues continue to grow statistically in our profession? Shouldn’t we be well trained in recognizing the signs of a ‘working fire’ within the heart of our fellow firefighter? Are we not a brotherhood? What can we do to better take care of each other?

This Spotlight on Brotherhood is meant to encourage one and all that something is being done and being done well. This ‘spotlight’ is meant to draw attention to a light in the darkness. Our brothers at American Addiction Center and the National Volunteer Firefighters Council have teamed up to create the “Share the Load Program.” They are taking a bold step in the right direction. Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries is a proud sponsor of this program and it is our heartfelt mission to inform first responders everywhere that there is hope.

Yet in the face of hope, many of us do not share our burdens. We suffer in silence while our lives burn down around us. Our eyes seem to cry out for help but our words fail us. In need of rescue, many of us fail to call a personal MAY-DAY. Let us briefly explore those reasons and how this resource can overcome those objections.

We don’t believe there is help out there so we don’t call?

“The first step in getting help is to make the call. Simply call 1-888-731-FIRE (3473) any time day or night. Calls are free and confidential. A skilled, trained Intake Counsellor will answer your call. Make sure you identify yourself as a firefighter, EMT, or family member of the fire service. The Intake Counsellor will listen to your problems and concerns and identify local resources in your area, or when appropriate, locate national treatment options that work within your needs and insurance capabilities. Trained assistance professionals who are members of the fire service are available to talk, and the licensed counsellors at AAC treatment facilities have undergone intensive training specifically on the culture and needs of the fire service.”(from NVFC website)

Would they understand? Yes, they would!

When we hurt, who do we feel the most comfortable talking to? Our fellow firefighters! One of those licensed professionals is Mark Lamplugh. Mark Lamplugh Jr is a 4th generation firefighter and former Captain with the Lower Chi Chester Fire Company. He is now a national treatment consultant with 360 Wellness specializing in First Responder Services. Mark has placed and referred 100’s of firefighters nationwide. Mark dedicates his life making sure every firefighter gets the help they need for Addiction and Mental Health issues. mark

360 Wellness has access to the best treatment centers and clinicians across the country. Let our experienced wellness specialists match you with a treatment center or clinician that meets your needs and gets you on the road to full recovery as soon as possible. We make sure to get you the
best possible help available. Call our wellness hotline and speak with a wellness specialist to help you find the best help possible: (800) 901-1640

Mark W Lamplugh Jr
Chief Executive Officer
Cell: 561-762-9729
www.360wellness.org

 

The citizens are taught to call 911 when in need; why don’t we call for help?
When you call 1-888-731-FIRE, the Fire/EMS Helpline any time day or night there will be a licensed professional ready to help us with problems such as: “alcohol or drug addiction, depression, suicide prevention, stress or anxiety, critical incidents, PTSD, stress caused by financial or stress problems, relationship issues, work related concerns, or psychological issues”

When you call, you will receive compassionate, non-judgmental support you can trust. Depending on your individual needs, you can speak with a trained fire service member who understands what you are going through, you can be referred to local resources to help with your specific problem, or you can be admitted to a treatment facility where there are licensed counsellors trained in the fire service culture. If a treatment center is needed, the Fire/EMS Helpline will work with your insurance to make sure there is no cost to you.” (From NVFC)

Brothers and sisters, there are fellow fire service professionals who are ready, willing and able to assist us by ‘sharing the load.’ We are not meant to carry our burdens alone. It is our hope that if you know someone in need, you are in need, or this will help your department that you will reach out. We have included the links to the following resources that are available:
Share The Load Program from the National Volunteer Fire Council: NVFC Share The Load

In our next Spotlight on Brotherhood we will continue to share the valuable work of other organizations that are helping lift up our brothers and sisters. Until next time, come along side one another and lift them up! Encouragement! We all are in need of it. May God Bless those who take courage to the next level by being strong enough to share their pain.

The Ultimate Fireground Commander

Isaiah 43:2

“When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you.

When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!

When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you.”

Who is able to:

To stretch the right line, to the right place, at the right time…

To be on point, never missing a cue of a tense situation…

To stay calm no matter the chaos and provide the right words to inspire others…

To mitigate every circumstance with the proper tactic…

To be well equipped and always ready even when others fade…

To have the ladder at the window at just the right moment to make the rescue…

To reach through the darkness and make the grab..

To breathe life back into someone when all hope is lost…

To extricate from an impossible set of circumstances as if the metal couldn’t hold them…

To do all this and never boast, never seek recognition, and prepare to do it all over again…

This is the embodiment of servant leadership. This is an analogy of what God does for us each and every day through Jesus Christ.

If you will let Him, He will take command of your life. He will never lose track of you. He will never forget you. He will always be there for you. And His light will shine though any darkness.

For He has conquered death and defeated the fires of hell.

He is the Ultimate Fire Ground Commander and His name is Jesus Christ.

Will you let Him take command of your life?