RELATIONSHIPSFirehall6 Ways to Be a Great Teammate

6 Ways to Be a Great Teammate

“New York City, USA – May 26, 2012: Three FDNY firefighters are seen standing by their fire engine at an emergency call in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan.”

By: Ryan Provencher – CRACKYL’s Executive Fitness Advisor

We have been talking recently about firefighters as tactical athletes, and strategies to develop the “Athlete’s Mindset”. The final strategy in this series to consider in developing the Athlete’s Mindset is to be a great teammate. When greeting new recruits, one of our Captains will often say, “I am here for We, and We are here for Them”. This quote sets the tone for the Academy and establishes a culture of ownership and teamwork in new Recruits.

Here are six ways that you can be a great teammate:

Own Your Physical Fitness

Take ownership of your physical fitness. Conduct a self-evaluation to get a sense of your current fitness level related to where you want it to be. Select a specific and comprehensive firefighter fitness program that will help you to be “Response Ready” when duty calls. Click here for Goal Setting tips, or here for things to consider when selecting your Workout Program.

Stay On Point with Your Nutrition

Select a nutrition plan that supports your performance as a tactical athlete. There are a lot of options out there, and there is no one size fits all approach. It is important that you find a meal plan that works best for you. Click here for basic meal planning tips.

Prioritize Sleep and Recovery

Embrace the idea that “Self-Care” lays the foundation for service to others. If you are beat up and broken down, you will not be able to give your best self to your crew or to your community. Sleep and recovery are critical components of being “response ready” as a firefighter. Click here for sleep and recovery tips.

Maintain Knowledge and Skills

You will hear athletes on sports teams say things like, “study the playbook” or “practice like you play”. These ideas apply directly to us as firefighters in terms of our performance. Be proactive in setting up a schedule for studying important concepts such as strategy and tactics, EMS protocols, department policies and procedures, etc. Participate in regular skills training through scenario-based training, hands on training, skills drills, etc. The opportunities for us to learn and grow are never ending. This is one thing that is so great about being a firefighter, you will never feel stagnant or bored!

Lead With A Positive Attitude

Bring a positive attitude to work and make a point to lift up your teammates each day. There is a saying that applies to a lot of what we do, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”. Next time you feel frustration or negativity creeping in, look for ways to change your perspective in a positive way. 

Own Your Mistakes 

Everyone makes mistakes and nobody expects perfection. I will never forget my first day on the job when a senior firefighter told me to always own my mistakes and learn from them so that I don’t repeat them. Now I am the senior firefighter passing this on to our new recruits. I have never seen anyone chastised for owning a mistake, and more often than not we all have the opportunity to learn.

Your attitude and performance will elevate that of your crew, your crew will elevate the cohesiveness of your shift, your shift will set the tone for your entire department.

Are you ready to embrace the “Athlete’s Mindset”? 

Ryan is the Training Division Chief, Health/Safety Officer, and Wellness/Fitness Coordinator in his department, founder of Firefighter Peak Performance, and Executive Fitness Advisor for CRACKYL Magazine. He has a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science with a minor in Nutrition from Washington State University. He has worked as a Volunteer Firefighter, Firefighter/EMT, Firefighter/Paramedic, and Company Officer before promoting to his current position. Ryan is grateful to combine his love for firefighting and physical fitness over his career of nearly 30 years. You can get in touch with Ryan by email [email protected]ia.com.

Photo by Cris Acosta