by Tim Klett, Lieutenant –– FDNY
Webster’s Dictionary defines trust as: A deep belief or confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability and justice, etc. in another person or thing. Within this definition there are words like confidence, integrity and reliability which echo the true traditions and values that have been ingrained in the fire service since the first fire brigades of early America.
We must always remember that, in the end, trust is the fuel that runs the engine we passionately call the American Fire Service. Without it, we are simply a ship without a rudder. A ship drifting aimlessly without any clear direction or sense of self. Imagine the confusion, indecision and, most of all, hesitation that would exist on the fireground without trust. It’s important to realize the disastrous effect that any lack of trust would have on our fireground tactics—and ultimately the people we are sworn to protect.
When talking about trust it’s important to identify that there are many different types of trust found within our fire service life.
There is trust in your equipment. This type of trust includes knowing that your local municipality/department has equipped you with the latest and best equipment possible. Knowing, and trusting, in the integrity of your personal protective equipment—and the fact that it will do its job when it matters most—allows us to go places, and do things, that were previously thought impossible. Trust that the nozzle, saw and tools used everyday will perform as advertised—under the most adverse conditions possible—is essential. Understanding that daily maintenance and upkeep of the tools and equipment allows them to continue to operate as intended is vital to developing and maintaining this trust. We must be completely confident in the reliability of our tools—trusting that they are ready to perform at a moments notice, under any circumstance.