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by Phil Davis: A chief's perspective of fire departments

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Have a backbone
February 02, 2013
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So how important is training? Now wait- it’s not that simple. Obviously training is essential to ensure competence and quality, not to mention that it builds camaraderie and credibility. But is missing training a reason to suspend or dismiss a person from your team? One of the big challenges for volunteer organizations is recruitment and retention and in this case I can argue that you can add by subtracting! A person that refuses to participate in training and only wants to “play in the game” is bad for morale, teamwork and your credibility—even if they are performing at a competent level. It is favoritism to not hold your team accountable to each other and the entity as a whole, and favoritism is bad for the group. By having the backbone to eliminate a bad apple from the group your credibility and respect will swell. People want to be part of an organization that they can be proud of and one that has a stellar reputation. By not tolerating unacceptable behavior the message is sent that we ARE a credible, honorable and respected organization. This applies to organizations regardless of the entity affiliation—volunteer fire departments, the sheriff’s posse, a faith-based organization or NGO are all struggling to recruit and retain good people. Perhaps this advice will help in those endeavors.

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