You know, this started out as a Facebook status, but I…I had to keep writing and adding to it.
You see, today (Monday 9/12/16 – the day after the 15 year anniversary of the twin tower attacks) I’m in the weight room. I’m cracked out on pre-workout, doing chest day. Slamming weight in silence; no headphones, no TV. Nothing. Just the weight.
Today, I have a lot on my mind. And I mean a lot.
This weekend I met firefighters from around the globe, I met rookies and chiefs. I met FDNY firemen. I met pipers and drummers.
Let me back up, Saturday the 10th was my 31st birthday. I also did the 911 Memorial Stair Climb in Dallas that day. That’s when my mind started this post.
On Sunday, I met Jeff Cool, FDNY “Black Sunday” survivor. I met John Walters, FDNY 9/11/01 survivor. I scaled another 110 floor stair climb in Ft Worth that was open to firefighters and anybody wanting to climb for a fallen military member or first responder.
Today, before I came to the gym, I learned of a fireman from my department that was a career fireman, and currently a volunteer, is in grave condition due to cancer.
This is where my mind is at; if you’re still here reading this, then thank you. I’m getting to the point soon, I promise.
There are millions of motivational fitness and fire service training quotes, articles, and pictures out there, but for firemen, there are two that I can think of.
One: Get fit and train for the people you serve.
Two: Get fit and train for the people that would do ANYTHING to be able to walk in your shoes again.
We owe it to the men and women in and out of the fire service to be as selfless as possible.
The fire service has never been about self, nor should it be, in my opinion. People asked, “Why are you doing two climbs? You’re crazy!”
I didn’t do it for me. I did it for those who can’t. I took names to the top of those towers that are deceased FDNY firefighters. I took names and memories of friends and family that are deceased or not physically able to climb.
A good friend’s father passed away awhile back, I wore his name on my helmet. I brought up memories of his pride in his son and his friendliness towards me in my heart. There’s many others that where in my heart as well. My grandfathers, grandmothers and so on…
The team from my dept took OUR (ownership…different article for another day) department name to the top in Dallas, while our department, short staffed, took a beating from 911 calls at home.
Sometimes we have to beat the hell out of our own bodies while we have the ability to do-so. We should do it for the people that’d love to be healthy enough to do it too.
According to Albert Schweitzer, “example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing”. Leaders must lead by example. It is very simple, but it is easier for some leaders to say it than do it. A leader is defined as “the person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country”. So does that mean that a leader wears a different color gear or helmet; wears gold instead of a silver badge; or have multiple bugles on their badge, collar, and helmet?
Leaders are individuals who will lead their troop from the front line. They know what is right is right and what is wrong is wrong. They adhere to the ethical reason and do what is right, even if it is not the favorable decision at the particular time. They can push the un-driven, train the unmotivated, and persuade the most stubborn of firefighters. They are not afraid to train other people, even though it may show their weakness. Leaders have passion for the job. It shows in everything they do. They wear their uniform with pride when they come to work in the morning, and stand resilient after grueling hours of work. They are dedicated and are proud when they clean their helmets after battling a fire. They do not need other people’s approval because they do not have to prove anything. They do their job because that is what they were destined to do.
So, who are these leaders and where are they? They are all around us. He is working quietly while guiding younger firefighters. He may be filling up somebody’s cup of coffee so that he can make a fresh pot, because he knows that other firefighters were up first that shift on the ambulance. He is the first person out of bed the morning so that he can start the morning chores early. He is the guy pulling out a hose load in the bay to fix what looks like spaghetti in the tray. My point is they are all around us. They are doing things that needed to be done. He does not point fingers. Instead, he works hard. He knows that the best motivated firefighters will follow him because good character and moral integrity are inherent in the best firefighters.
What makes them such good leaders? They work hard, lead the men by example to guide, mentor, and promote integrity, honesty, and commitment. They keep the pride alive in the rest of us. They ease the pain after bad calls. They provide calmness and good working relations in difficult situations. A leader could be the rookie who grabs a broom and a mop a little earlier than normal to get the job done, motivating an elder to assist them in completing the tasks that have to be done.
These are just examples. Leaders are not bosses; they work with their followers. You should also know that you lead others, whether you know it or not. You have an obligation to uphold the integrity, the character, and the pride to be a well- trained and motivated firefighter. Remember, training breeds the confidence that is required to successfully accomplish the objective promptly and efficiently. Second guessing yourself makes you slow down, and deprives you of the confidence that makes you motivated. As a leader, you must have the ability to lead a team and drive them to success.
As part of Station Pride’s continuing mission to support Firefighter owned small businesses, I took the opportunity to check out HeroPrep.com. When a company is created and operated solely by firefighters for firefighters it always tends to give me the warm and fuzzies. Without knowing any of them personally I already have an idea of what I’m getting into.
HeroPrep is a firefighter and EMT test preparation website where they guarantee a 100% pass rate on your IFSAC or ProBoard Firefighter 1/2 and/or NREMT test OR your money back! That’s a very bold guarantee for a company to make and I was curious to see how it all worked. HeroPrep.com has designed custom study-question test banks that provide thousands of questions across relevant topics.
One interesting facet of HeroPrep.com is that they also operate a Firefighter and EMT job posting website called Recruit911.com. Not only can you prepare to pass your emergency services exams but you can also FIND A FIRE JOB or EMT JOB, once you pass. Seems like a very convenient arrangement of services.
Upon arriving at the homepage, (www.HeroPrep.com), it appeared very clean, formal and professional. It wasn’t flashy or over the top. The style had a very basic feel about it. You immediately knew you weren’t there to be dazzled and you were definitely there to learn something. The graphics are neat, rustic, and professional.
The website consists of a “How it Works Section”, About, FAQ’s, Support, Job Board, and a section on learning how to become an EMT. All of the navigation tabs provided thorough insight into the process and answered all the questions I had for their service.
In order to utilize the multiple-choice, study-question test banks you must first create an account and purchase the desired service. After creating a log-in and password with a confirmation email you were ready to start. This process was easy and a standard across the internet with regards to purchases.
The Dashboard and Test Banks
Depending on the service you purchased you will be given access to your desired study test bank. For example, if you are taking the Firefighter 1 Test Bank; the bank is divided into function categories such as Fire Service History and Orientation, Fire Behavior, Ropes & Knots, Water Supply, Fire Streams and so on.
If you are taking the NREMT Test Bank the areas are segmented into Airway, Trauma, Medical, Obi & Peds, Cardiology, and a specially designed NREMT Test Simulator that mimics the NREMT exam.
I kept looking for an immediate response to my answered questions and then realized I was literally taking a practice test. All of my correct and incorrect answers were displayed upopn completion of each quiz.
Each functional area of the test appears to be thoroughly covered. After completing each quiz you can see a breakdown of the areas you need to focus on. You will see your grade, an explanation of the answer as well as graphs to show your progress.
Every quiz tracks associated data such as how long it took you to complete, how many attempts to pass each topics and so on. There is valuable, usable data that is displayed to help you hone your studying.
As I made my attempts I did not readily notice any repeating questions.
My Discussion with HeroPrep’s Creator
As with any discussion with an individual who owns a company I don’t like hearing their “pitch” I don’t like listening to what’s so great about their product compared to others. I like to form an unbiased opinion based on my actual experience with the service.
With that said, I had a conversation with the creator of HeroPrep. Currently they provide Firefighter 1, 2 and NREMT test preparation service. In the near future they plan to expand that service into Instructor, the driver operator series, inspector and officer test preparation.
He also explained changes being made with Recruit911.com and a possible package deal. With the purchase of a HeroPrep service you will be given access to Recruit911.
My Honest Thoughts
I’ve invested in several similar services throughout my career.
Taking practice tests or answering practice questions is one of the best ways to prepare for an exam, hands-down. While taking practice tests you become comfortable with physically taking the test while you are learning and studying. Flash cards are great but they don’t give you that test-taking feeling.
The student dashboard was very basic and simple to navigate. There was nothing flashy it was pure Quiz City. The questions in the test bank were nearly identical to questions I’ve experienced in actual tests.
To be entirely truthful…I actually learned a few things I didn’t know, which made me a little excited. I thought I was going to smoke through the quizzes with no issue but I was stumped a few times. Which, by all rights, is exactly what you want to have happen. We learn from our mistakes.
The test banks were exactly what you would expect from a test preparation website. I attempted to access my account from my iPhone as well as my iPad and the website IS mobile-device-enabled which made taking quizzes even easier. I was completing topics while I was out and about in my Ladder Truck.