Not My Mess

Good morning! Sorry it’s been so long since you’ve seen activity on the site and social medias. I recently had a child and have been basking in that gift, and learning how to juggle everything.

You are welcome to submit writings to the blog by emailing tcole@firefightersupport.net. I hope that everyone has a good day and as always, if you want to chat send me an email!

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I’m sure we’ve all had, or have been, a bad roommate. Maybe they’re late on rent, they don’t appreciate private space, they’re loud at night – they don’t clean. I know I’ve been one of these types of roommates before. But we grow and learn and take responsibility for ourselves and our actions. Stick with me here, I’m going somewhere.

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Often the firehouse can be the first real experience people with roommates. While we don’t live together every single day, a lot of the same issues occur. We’re late on hall dues, the station is small, people like to have loud fans at night. But something that we always seem to instill in new members is the ability to clean up, not only after themselves but after the group as well.

It is important for new members to take responsibility or be taught how to take responsibility for the group and the station. The station is our home away from home and no one wants to live in a dump. The simple task of doing the dishes or mopping the front room is not only a requirement of the job but it also shows ownership and respect for one another. I want members when on the fire ground don’t look at the commanding officer when given a less than desirable assignment and say, “can I do this instead”, “He’s the one that did that”, etc. I want them to grab a tool and a buddy and get the task done. These small non-arguable assignments add up and help to complete a much larger more daunting task.

We as individuals so often have large, daunting tasks that we face. Maybe not every day but certainly many times through out our lives. And the little things that we do when it doesn’t matter build our character, good or bad, so that we may face these trials.

Maybe we have a pal who works in the firehouse. We joke and go to calls and have a good time. That’s the metaphorical mopping and doing the dishes – one day you notice that she is having a hard time. Could be for any number of reasons. But you’ve built a comradery with her. You’ve shown good character through out your friendship. You’ve helped each other out in smaller ways in the past. And because you have taken time to set that foundation you are now trustworthy enough to be there for her when she needs real help. You grab a tool and your buddy, and you get to work.

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We need to be able to lean on another. We need to be able to trust that when we are given a task, no matter how small, dirty, or boring it is that those around us will know it will be completed. We need to instill this in our junior members early. Don’t expect them to know what to do on the first day; Remember, it’s likely the first roommate situation they’ve been in. We can’t expect them to know what to do for someone in the firehouse that is having a large and daunting task.

We must look out for each other in the small ways so that we are better prepared to handle the larger situations when they occur. Take responsibility for one another. Help each other out. All mess is our mess.       

Timothy Cole