Teaching An Old Dog New Tricks

Greetings from District 11! As I sit here writing this article, the Missouri State Fair is winding down, and we at the State Fair Fire Department are already making preparations for next year. After all these years, 17 I think, it still amazes me how it all comes together so well. Given the fact that we all come here from various parts of the state with many different ways of doing the same job. We train together and learn from each other as we share the way we each do things back home in our own departments.

You’re never too old to learn. How many times have you heard that? About a year ago, Carrollton Fire Department, where I also volunteer, announced that they were going to offer an in-house Firefighter 1 and 2 course and asked if I would like to sign up to take it. I think my reply was, “I’ve been doing this for 30 years! Why would I bother with that?” I tried to talk myself out of it with the justification that I’m too old. Well, when the class started in January, I found myself in class amongst some very young men of 18 to 20 somethings. So, there I attended right alongside those young men at the ripe old age of 51. The knowledge that I gained was amazing. Yes, a lot of the lessons I did already know, but I learned a lot of new things, too. I’m not going to lie though, the practicals and repetitious drills were probably the hardest things I’ve ever done. I would definitely recommend taking this course at a much younger age. But here it is eight months later, and I am now newly certified in Firefighter 1 and 2, and in hazmat awareness and operations.

So, absolutely you can teach an old dog new tricks, and you’re never too old to learn. As cliche’ as that sounds, it is definitely the truth. I wish more would have the attitude of always trying to better themselves so in turn it betters their department. Aren’t we in the business of helping our communities in their times of need? So we need to keep up to date with the latest and most improved ways of doing our jobs. The old attitude of, “well that’s the way we’ve always done it,” doesn’t mean it can’t be improved. So, my challenge to you, keep learning. Don’t quit, and if you’re an “old dog” like me, keep on keeping on!

As alway, if there is anything I can do for your departments as your Director by attending an event or whatever the need, I would love to represent the FFAM by attending. Give me a call (660-542-4062). Until then, Stay Safe.