As a firefighter, you are always working as part of a team. Failing to work as a team can have drastic consequences and can result in either a crew member or victim becoming severely injured or worse. For this reason, learning to work as a team is something Fire crews put a lot of resources into teamwork because all the training in the world becomes obsolete if you’re not working as a single unit.
Creating a Culture
When new recruits get hired on to a department, they undergo a training process to get them familiar with the procedures of the particular hall and department. However, creating a culture of teamwork can be more difficult and getting the crew outside of the fire hall is proven way to create this culture.
Beyond the mandatory volunteer commitments outside of the hall, some departments will participate in recreational sporting leagues. This could be soccer, ice hockey, football or as my department chose softball. Softball however is a game that is individualized. When a batter is at the plate, he is by himself, there is nobody else who can swing the bat for him, or help him get on base. He is alone. However, it takes 9 guys to put up runs, and it takes 9 guys to get 3 outs every inning. And regardless of how individualized this can be, the best teams always know how to work as a team.
I re-call my first game with the department like it was yesterday. I was up to bat and my newly appointed captain was on 2nd base. I was still getting used to the team bat but I had in my hand what was supposed to be the best softball bat available, the new DeMarini J3. I hit the ball into left centre field and the captain rounded 3rd scoring easily. When the inning was over, all my teammates who are also my colleagues gave me a high five and I felt instantly like I was part of the team. This continued for the remainder of my first year with the department and I saw how our comradery on the field transferred into the hall as it provided us a separate theatre to get to know one another. When you are working, there is a different atmosphere and people tend to be more reserved making it difficult to truly get to know one another. On the ball diamond it’s a completely different story. Colleagues are able to bond over long home runs, quick double plays and diving catches. I am sure that our department would not be as close to each other at the fire hall if it wasn’t for the ball diamond.