From the Pen of the Chief – July 2022

Today has been hot while working on this article. The pager has had a workout with heat-related calls as I mentioned in the other article. I hope everyone is taking care of themselves and drinking the proper fluids to stay hydrated and doing their best to stay cool. I’m afraid the dog days of August will be biting us this year. The extended forecast and many of the weather professionals stated that it will be a very hot month so we may be busier this year.

But before we can talk about the fair, we need to address some issues at the firehouse. This will be our 60th year serving the great state of Missouri and the State Fair and the station is tired and needs some help to make her look her best. We have some work details scheduled. June 24-26, July 29-31, and August 5-7, which is also the Board meeting weekend. If you can help us make the station shine for the 60th Anniversary please come because together everyone achieves more.

Some changes are in place for the fair which will be addressed in your letter of acceptance if you applied to attend this year. To the members, I want to say thank you before the fair starts. If it wasn’t for your time, dedication, and loyalty to the Missouri State Fair Volunteer Fire Department and the FFAM we could not function or serve the great state of Missouri or the State Fair patrons. To all the members that are working very hard to make all this happen by acquiring equipment from departments, districts, and vendors, without the donations, we could not function. Thank you! I want you to know each one of you has my heartfelt thanks and appreciation. There’s no I in “team,” and we are a team. A well-versed, oiled, smooth-running team as I have mentioned many times, TEAM. Together Everyone Achieves More. So here is something to ponder on during our adventure at the State Fair.

Small Tactics for a Big Firefighter Morale Boost


Instead of dealing with disciplinary issues, they often get brushed under the rug, which kills morale as other firefighters wonder why they put in so much effort to do a great job. Standards must be set and everyone must be held accountable for those standards. Proper mentoring, training and coaching will alleviate the need for a lot of discipline, but there is always going to be someone who pushes the limits and messes up. That person needs to be disciplined.

Passion, Humor and Fun

Firefighters want leaders who show passion and purpose for their jobs and in the process, also have some fun. This will also help prevent burnout, as those who focus on all the things that are wrong with their jobs miss the opportunities to see all the things that are right. This type of negativity will hurt morale.

Sense of Integrity

Morale will take a rapid decline when integrity is breached. Always follow through with commitments! Broken promises not only deteriorate morale but also set up a pattern of distrust among the firefighters. If you ever do breach integrity, take full responsibility for it, show humility and demonstrate a long pattern of changed behavior.

Communication and Transparency

The communication issue is prevalent in every fire service organization. There is a massive hoarding of information going on. While all information cannot be shared, you can certainly be as transparent as possible and communicate effectively as to why certain information cannot be shared. Information that can be shared needs to free-flow throughout the chain of command.

Mentors and Role Models

Firefighters expect strong mentorship. Many firefighters feel there is a lack of strong role-model examples in their department and a lack of leaders who recognize what true leadership is. 

To the old-timers and the brand-new, I hope this will be an enjoyable fair, filled with adventure, fun, education, and friendship. Thank you again and see ya soon.