“Passing The Torch”
Since 2004 I have been honored to write the monthly training drill for the Iowa Firefighter. I began when Iowa passed the 24-hour training requirement to assist departments in meeting these needs. I am often asked where the ideas come from and have I repeated any. Honestly, I have never repeated one and they have mostly flowed easily. In the past few months, it has felt a bit more like a chore. I must admit that the time has come to pass the torch. You all deserve a writer that has a “fire” inside them for training that I once had. I have found such a person!
It is an honor for me to introduce Cole Kleinwolterink as my replacement. I have known Cole for a very long time. He grew up as a friend of my son in Sheldon. He was a teacher and coach prior to becoming a firefighter in Waukee, IA. I have spent time with him discussing the needs of Iowa’s Firefighters. Cole is truly passionate about the fire service. He is better trained and more prepared to write this monthly drill than I ever was. It has been an honor to see his growth and I look forward to watching him take this article forward for a very long time. Thank you for all the kind words of support I have had from all of you over the past years and stay safe!
As a drill for this month, I would like you to think about your exit plan. Have you thought about when you will be leaving? I am reminded of a quote from Cliff McFarland “get out before they hate you”. I have another one from Jim Carpenter “they love to see you come and they love to see you go.” It would be great if you can develop your replacement and then work with them to provide a smooth transition. I realize that we often have politics within our department. Ideally your replacement will have at least the same level of education and certification as you. Wisdom is knowledge gained through experience. Experience can be both good and bad.
You never know how people will respond when in charge of an emergency. Be certain to observe who you plan to take over to ensure they perform well under stress. Do so first under training scenarios and then real emergencies. Break duties down within your department to allow others to develop leadership skills.
Upon completion of this drill the firefighter should be able to…
• Determine when you plan on retiring.
• Identify candidates that could potentially replace you.
• Assist in professional development of replacements.
• Monitor replacements under training and real-life emergencies.
• Retire, and look back on one of the greatest things you could have ever been a part of!