Friday, August 5, 2011

Trust your fellow man

Trust is a strange beast. It can be earned over time, demanded in extreme moments, and it's hard to build. And yet trust is fragile.

The job of a firefighter, EMT, or Medic comes with a heavy dose of trust. You have to trust the guys around you to not only know what the right thing to do is, but to actually do it. It doesn't matter if you're pulling a line into a raging house fire or guiding the guys carrying the stairchair. You have to trust them to be there and not lead you astray.

Trust can be shattered easily, and like a precious piece of china, it's never quite the same once it's been broken.

By design or necessity, we have to trust our leaders, have faith in them, respect the rank (if not the person as well).

Recently, my leader shattered my trust completely. It was a simple act, so simple it seems quite stupid. I'd fueled the truck and he was helping me get turned around. It was dusk and he was using what I call "flapping fingers" instead of a proper hand signal. I made it known that I couldn't see his signals clearly.

In front of the station, he used the same flapping fingers gesture and backed me into a curb before blaming me in front of the whole crew. The trust was shattered right then and there.

I've been on the fence about this captain since he was moved here. He's recently promoted and has done so many things in his short time here that I truly question many of his actions daily. It's as if he can't draw the line between leader and friend. We have too many rookies here to have another friend. We need him to be a leader, a strong leader who can lead by example. We don't need another buddy who never removes his bluetooth and doesn't even notice when the tailboard man has wandered off.

Then again, what do I know? I should have just stopped the truck until he could use the proper signals. Next time, I will. Until then, I'll be damned if I'm going to buy curb cream for hitting a curb I couldn't see while my backer wasn't using the proper signals and never motioned for me to stop.

It will take a long time for me to ever trust him on a personal level again. The first building block of that trust would be owning up to the improper hand signals or apologizing for a callout in front of the whole crew. Captain or not, I'm not holding my breath for either of those.

Yes, it may seem petty to some. I'm still a girl, I'm supposed to be complicated to figure out. Welcome to the mind and thought process of Firelady.