All Clear - A Firefighter Health & Wellness Podcast

Igniting Personal Growth: Training, Leadership, and Mental Strength in the Fire Service with Craig Stalowy

April 05, 2024 Travis McGaha / Eric Stephenson Season 2 Episode 9
Igniting Personal Growth: Training, Leadership, and Mental Strength in the Fire Service with Craig Stalowy
All Clear - A Firefighter Health & Wellness Podcast
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All Clear - A Firefighter Health & Wellness Podcast
Igniting Personal Growth: Training, Leadership, and Mental Strength in the Fire Service with Craig Stalowy
Apr 05, 2024 Season 2 Episode 9
Travis McGaha / Eric Stephenson

Unlock the door to personal growth within the fire service as we sit down with the The Standard podcast's Craig Stalowy. With a wealth of 20 years on the frontline, Craig ignites a conversation on the crucial need for continuous training and education, particularly within volunteer departments. He brings to light the various landscapes of learning, from the digital realm to the visceral experience of drills in full gear. This episode is your guide to mastering the skills that ensure readiness for any call, offering Craig's seasoned advice on adapting training methods to individual needs and preferences.

Discover how military strategies can shape fire service leadership and how mentorship, literature, and conferences can carve the path for aspiring leaders. We also tackle the silent battle of mental fitness, proposing a proactive stance towards psychological well-being. By exploring polyvagal theory, peer support, and educational opportunities, we underscore the essential shift from reactive measures to a proactive cultivation of mental strength and safety within the fire service community. Join us for this enlightening journey and equip yourself with the tools to thrive amidst the flames.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Unlock the door to personal growth within the fire service as we sit down with the The Standard podcast's Craig Stalowy. With a wealth of 20 years on the frontline, Craig ignites a conversation on the crucial need for continuous training and education, particularly within volunteer departments. He brings to light the various landscapes of learning, from the digital realm to the visceral experience of drills in full gear. This episode is your guide to mastering the skills that ensure readiness for any call, offering Craig's seasoned advice on adapting training methods to individual needs and preferences.

Discover how military strategies can shape fire service leadership and how mentorship, literature, and conferences can carve the path for aspiring leaders. We also tackle the silent battle of mental fitness, proposing a proactive stance towards psychological well-being. By exploring polyvagal theory, peer support, and educational opportunities, we underscore the essential shift from reactive measures to a proactive cultivation of mental strength and safety within the fire service community. Join us for this enlightening journey and equip yourself with the tools to thrive amidst the flames.

Your one stop shop for graphic design, screen printing, embroidery and more.  Proud sponsor of the All Clear Podcast.

Use the code All Clear to get 10% off your first order.

studioprintshop.com

Support the Show.

Thanks for listening to All Clear!

You can contact us with questions, suggestions or just to say hi at our website
allclearpodcast.com


Also Visit Our Sponsors - Studio Print Shop at
studioprintshop.com

Speaker 1:

This is All Clear Firefighter Health and Wellness where we help you light your fire within. I'm, travis, good to have you here today. I have a very special guest with us. We have Craig Stalloway from the Standard, another excellent podcast. If you've not listened to it, I encourage you to. How are you doing today, craig?

Speaker 2:

I'm doing tip top, sir, and I could. I'm telling you, we said it off air, but I could listen to that accent all day.

Speaker 1:

All right, I appreciate it. So I'm glad to have you here with us today. If people don't know who you are, they should know.

Speaker 2:

So I'm going to let you introduce yourself, tell us about what you're doing, and then we're going to talk a little bit about some training today sure yeah, thanks for having me on the standard started when, uh tom, my partner and I realized that there was a bit lacking in the pretty much overall development of folks in the fire service and we were going to conferences and, I think, having pretty good conversations, and then so we started our podcast, which rolled into our two-day master the basics class and we go out and we talk all over the country and we're doing something very similar to you.

Speaker 2:

We're just trying to make the best well-rounded individuals that we can, and currently I'm a Lieutenant out at our training facility. I work for the city of Aurora, just outside of Denver, and been doing that for a year now and I got a year left before I head back online and, yeah, I've just been doing this for about 20 years all over the place. I'm originally from Chicago and my brother actually lives down in North Carolina. Oh, excellent, what part? Yeah, he lives in Asheville, asheville.

Speaker 1:

Okay, one of our board members is a retired battalion chief from Asheville Fire and she is one of our board members and also a trout guide. Shout out to Joy.

Speaker 2:

We went fishing down there on what's that big river that runs through there.

Speaker 1:

There was a couple of them through there, actually up in the state.

Speaker 2:

I can't remember which one, but we got in that river and it was like bathwater and I was like we ain't finding any fish in here, man. But it was a good time. We enjoyed ourselves.

Speaker 1:

I'm glad. Like I said, north Carolina is a beautiful place. I've lived here my entire life. I couldn't imagine being anywhere else, but so one of the things that I enjoy about listening to y'all's podcasts I've been listening to it for quite a while now is the fact that you guys push the value of education, the value of training, and I imagine in Colorado it's very similar to here in North Carolina. A lot of your departments are not paid departments. It might be smaller volunteer department, maybe a combo like we have here, and one of the things that I've learned is that sometimes a smaller department may not have the traditional access to world-class training. I think that's something that's important and a lot of times they feel like they suffer.

Speaker 1:

We live in the world of YouTube, in the world of the internet, in the world of social media, and there's so much information out there for firefighters Some of it good, some of it bad. There's great resources out there for firefighters, some of it good, some of it bad. There's great resources out there and I know I've learned a ton of stuff from not necessarily the fire service, but I've learned how to work on my wife's car through YouTube. I've learned just all kinds of stuff from what are basically free resources. You'll never get certified out of it, but there's good education there. Have you found that to be a benefit where you are out there in Colorado? Just some of these free resources that are out there on the internet?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, let's go back to the fact that not everyone is a paid department. I came from a volunteer department when I first started and I actually think that there's a huge benefit to not being at a paid department. If you want to get good, we had the latitude to pretty much go out and do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. There was very. There was less checks and balances than if you want to go and you want to do a live burn, you have to go through all these different steps. At our department, for a good reason, there's 500 of us. We don't want everyone going down to the training center all the time, but at a volunteer department at least the one that I was at you could get six or seven people and you could go, have a day and pretty much run it yourself. So I think there's a huge benefit to those smaller volunteer departments.

Speaker 2:

When it comes to all the stuff on YouTube and Instagram, I have some general rules Instagram and I have some general rules, so one of which being, if you're not in your gear and you're trying to teach me something, I have a hard time buying into that, because I can make a lot of things look really easy if I'm in shorts and a t-shirt, but if you're telling me that this is how you're gonna go ahead and do the Denver drill and this is how I're going to go ahead and do the Denver drill and this is how I'm going to pick somebody up and move them through a window, you need to be in the same gear that you should expect me to be in to do the real thing.

Speaker 2:

That's the first one. The second one is you got to vet it yourself. If you see something that looks wild, go and try it yourself and see if it works. And see if it doesn't. You are your own filter when it comes to hey, is this a good tactic or not? The other thing that is is that might work for this person. So the way that I throw a ladder as a five, 11, 200 pound man is going to be much different than a five foot 120 pound individual. So just cause you see someone doing something doesn't mean that it's a bad technique. It just might not be the one that works for you.

Speaker 1:

I know one of the things that I learned a while back. I've got some friends with a twisted fire. I don't know if you've ever had any exposure to them or not, but they are a group of guys here in North Carolina and they teach advanced tactics and training very much what you're talking about and one of the things that I learned from them is, they said, you need to know more than one way to do something, whether it be how to breach a door or whatever the case. You don't need to know 15 ways to do it, but it's good to be proficient at two or three ways in case you have to adapt as you go and do you find that the case as well? And that would be some of the value in this stuff that's out there floating around.

Speaker 2:

What's that Bruce Lee quote? I fear the man who doesn't know 10,000 kicks, but does one kick 10,000 times, yeah. So I think there is some nuance to that answer. It's very attractive to go out and do the sexy advanced stuff, but what we need to do as a fire service is get back to the basics, right? I don't care if 10 ways to force a door, but your mask up time is two minutes. Listen, I'm already inside.

Speaker 2:

So, yes, I do think that there is a place for you trying to get 1% better with a new technique or a new way to do things, but that is after you have a good base of 99% of your skill set.

Speaker 2:

So it's the same thing If you have someone who is morbidly obese and they want to lose weight, they want to get in shape and they're like you know what? I'm just going to start taking some creatine, and that should fix everything. You got to start from getting a good base and then those little things. Like you shouldn't even be worried about supplements until you can do a few different physical tasks relatively easily. The same thing with the fire service. If you can't mask up in less than 30 seconds, why are you worried about baseball swings and coils and all the wild deployments that I see online. That stuff's cool, and if that keeps you engaged, that's awesome, but you need to know how to throw your ladders, you need to know how to stretch a hose line, and if you don't have that yet, don't worry about all the other stuff.

Speaker 1:

So basically, back to basics. If you can't do the basics, the rest is pretty much a waste at trying to learn it until you get your basics down.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, Kevin Shea talks about mastering the basics until they become advanced, and I think that is what the fire service needs to focus on, and those other things will come. If you are so good at the basics, it's easier to pick up those little nuances. But if you don't even know which end of the halogen to start with, I probably wouldn't start with a double halogen technique. And I'm seeing this inside our recruit academy. Right, we're getting people who were delivery drivers two weeks ago and now we have 20 weeks to make you a firefighter. We start with firefighter 101, and we will work you up to. I think we put out a really good product, but we're not starting with advanced techniques. We're starting with the basics and we will drill those until you have them down and then we can do some other cool, fun stuff. But there are a lot of people that want to just jump right to that and you're missing the boat. You're missing what's important.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think that's true in a lot of not just in firefighting but in a lot of things. But if you don't have your basics, you just got to watch it. But if we get outside of the realm of talking about masking up and Denver drills and all the practical hands-on skills, there are a lot of other skills that firefighters have to be proficient at, particularly as you advance in your career and you get into a leadership role, whether it be a company officer, chief officer, things like that. Do you find that any of the information that is available today as far as leadership administration, things like that do you think that has any value to firefighters as they advance a little further in their career? Granted, it might not be good for a rookie, but do you think that might work for that guy that's been there five, 10 years on the job?

Speaker 2:

I don't think it's ever too early to start that process. What's interesting because I was in the backseat for the majority of my career and what I found was that when you start a new position, you train in that position. So if I'm going to be a firefighter, I go to the fire academy. If I'm going to be a plumber, I go to a trade school. We don't have anything like that for officers, right? You're like, hey, you were a good firefighter, you're probably going to be a good officer, but no one's teaching you how to do it.

Speaker 2:

And that is where our leadership is lacking is that people aren't seeing leadership as a trade. They're seeing it as a position that they can either get to a new piece of apparatus or get to an administrative position, make more money. Those are all fine. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with those. Those are all fine. I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with those. But you need to see your when you say you want to take the officer's test, for us it's the lieutenant. If you want to take the lieutenant's test, you need to treat that like a trade. So you need to go to conferences, not just for firefighting but for leadership. You need to read leadership books. You need to find mentors, you need to, and I don't necessarily think that there is a time in someone's career where man, when should I start doing that? You start doing it right now, because someone's looking up to you, regardless of whether you have a leadership role or not. After you are no longer the youngest person in that station, it's time to start some leadership.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, leadership isn't always, like you said, a title. Sometimes it is just the fact that you're teaching somebody that came after you how to do a skill, how to do something. But if you ever get a chance, we did an episode a while back with our former fire chief here in Concord, north Carolina. His name is Ray Allen and he taught our officer candidate school and he had a section he did on leadership rules and regulations that you can learn from Band of Brothers, and that is such a spectacular program. We put a small version of it on here, just even though it doesn't come from the fire service.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes leadership can be learned in a lot of different places. I know one of the ones that one of my guys is reading right now is Jocko Willink, where he's talking about leadership basically from the front, how do you do it and things like that. I've not read that book myself, but he seems to be very into what he's learning there and that's coming from a military background a little bit different, but yet there's value to it. But one of the things that has become a passion for me personally over the last couple of years is podcasting, and a lot of people laugh when I say that, and I think you might be into that too, a little bit, but you.

Speaker 1:

But with that, I have found a few podcasts that have been helpful to me personally and to some of the folks around me, and I want to bounce those off of you and see if you've ever heard of them and see maybe, if you maybe have one or two of your sleeve that we could benefit from maybe a few books and a few other things. So I figured we could maybe make a game out of that. I love it All right cool. So when it comes to podcast, there's this one really sketchy podcast called the Standard.

Speaker 2:

Stay away from that one. Those guys don't know what they're talking about.

Speaker 1:

That's what I thought. That's what I thought. No, honestly and this isn't me just being nice to the guests Standard, one of the best podcasts out there for the fire service. Regardless of where you come from whether it be admin side, you're on the truck, it doesn't matter A lot of good stuff in there and particularly the information that you guys push forward on be better. If you're not willing to fail, you're not willing to progress. That's what I take away from it. Hopefully that's correct in my understanding. But yeah, that's a good podcast of standard. I'm a fan.

Speaker 1:

There's another one, roger Sutherland is called A Healthy Shift. He's actually out of Australia, but he talks about diet and sleep, different things like that how we can thrive, not just survive as shift workers and I've had him on our show before Super nice guy, very knowledgeable. And when we learn how our bodies work and how not to fight them when it comes to sleep and when should you eat. Even if you come in from 2 am from a call, what do you do? To me, that type of information is very valuable, particularly on the health and wellness side, which is what we're focusing on. But definitely a humdinger there. If you hadn't checked that one out. That's another Southern term. Humdinger there If you hadn't checked that one out, that's another Southern term Humdinger.

Speaker 1:

I like it. I'm learning, you're learning. Another one that I personally like is called Fire Code Tech with Gus Gagliardi. That's a great name, oh yeah, he's a great guy. He talks about fire protection systems and I know people are getting ready to reach for the switch and turn off the podcast right now. No, fire code is not as boring as you think, but Gus is a fire protection engineer that talks a lot about sprinkler systems, things like that, and when you don't deal with that every day, as far as the design of it and all that I'm sure you've been on the truck. You're concerned if there's a sprinkler system in that building or not, because that can be a game changer. When you understand the basics of how it works, it's a total game changer and he breaks things down into a very simplified manner. Great stuff.

Speaker 1:

Also, non-diet companion, jeff Ash. He and I have been working together on health and wellness that is not diet focused and that can be incorporated into a firefighter's lifestyle. I know you guys are big on fitness. His big thing is if you're hungry for a reason, take advantage of it, eat, fuel yourself to move on. And then, finally, one of my personal favorites, brett McKay, with Art of Manliness. I don't know if you've ever listened to that before. Oh yeah, brett McKay always has topics not specifically firefighter related, that I have learned from read some great books off of his site as well or off of his podcast. So those are some of the things that I utilize personally and I didn't know if you maybe had a few up your sleeve that you personally enjoyed that we might could benefit from.

Speaker 2:

You had mentioned something earlier about using, I think, that Jocko book Leadership, Taxes and Strategies. Yeah, it is from the military, but leadership is leadership, regardless of where you're at. It is getting people to focus on the mission and helping them succeed. That really is, in my opinion, like what our job is as officers them succeed, but that really is, in my opinion, like what our job is as officers. Now you can break that down into getting the best out of people and but your overall goal is to focus on the mission and take care of your people and watch them succeed. Like that. That is that's in every organization, that's in everything that you do. It's what we do as parents.

Speaker 2:

I don't like to. I don't like to necessarily. I don't see my direct reports as my kids by any means, but there are a lot of parallels where you need to have it as your main focus as a leader is to find a way to make your direct reports succeed, Just like I want to make sure that my kids succeed. So I think getting information from non-fire service folks is, if not more valuable than getting it from others in the fire service. I think we can glean a lot from that. Leading in the fire service really starts with setting an example, being the standard of what you expect. And that's where I see a lot of leaders struggle, because it's very easy to say, hey, I want you guys to train more, and you never get in your gear. Or you could go to the other side, where you have a very laissez-faire leader who is never in their uniform, you never see him doing anything and he just doesn't get in your way. People might look to that and be like, oh, he's great, he never messes with us. Is he really doing a good job leading you or is he just getting out of the way? So I think holding a high standard for yourself is the start of that right. So if you feel like you want to be an officer one day and you don't train, you mess around at work, you haze people, you are not kind to others, and then you automatically or now you want to take a test and you want to be the person in charge, no one's going to listen to you because you set the tone. You told everybody who you are for the last, however many so years. So start that process now.

Speaker 2:

And where I like the things I listen to and the things I read. Very rarely are they fire service related. So I really like Friedman's podcast. I listen to a lot of Rog Rogan. I think he has some really interesting people. On the books I'd say if you are trying to get into a leadership role, you should read Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni. You should read Crucial Conversations and it's a book that basically teaches you how to have those hard conversations with people and not be. Some people are like oh, I'm really good at tough conversations and they go in there and they are very adversarial and they think that they're doing a good job. So that one's a great book. Anything by Simon Sinek he has Leaders Eat Last and Start With why those are great books. But yeah, I don't read a ton of fire service stuff for leadership. I just try and find the best leaders and try and take what they have to say and move it into the fire service realm.

Speaker 1:

I got you and I've been making notes here as we're going along. These are things that I'm going to add to my to-do list, but outside of even leadership. I mentioned two that were health and wellness, or maybe three I mentioned that were health and wellness. What are some additional skills that you have found that are beneficial to be better at our jobs that aren't necessarily leadership, or here's a hands-on, practical skill. What are some other things that you think are important? I know you've mentioned multiple times about if you're not fit you're, you might not be fit to serve, so to speak. What other things, like health and wellness and all that, do you think are worthy of consideration? If you want to be a well-rounded firefighter? These days.

Speaker 2:

I think it's just what do you need to do to be a well-rounded person, right? You need to be able to. And I think it's just what do you need to do to be a well-rounded person, right? You need to be able to. And I think when you have a family, those priorities change just a little bit. So I can speak to maybe that a little bit more than I could. I don't really remember life before.

Speaker 2:

Kids and families think that when we talk about being a fit firefighter, we're not just saying, hey, can you go out and run a marathon or can you deadlift 500 pounds? That's not necessarily what we're talking about. What we're talking about is do you have the right behavior? Do you have the right knowledge? And then, obviously, the physical attributes right? Those are the three pieces of the puzzle, right? The three-legged stool of being a fit firefighter. You could deadlift 500 pounds, but you're an idiot. I don't want you on my crew, right? There's no room for it. So are you going out to conferences? Are you trying to learn the most about the craft? And then there's the behavioral piece. Can you keep your head about you? Can you maintain some sense of stability when things go a little bit haywire. And then the third one is obviously the athletic portion of it. So what does that look like for you? Are you training in your gear? If you are a super athlete outside in shorts and a t-shirt and you've you don't regularly put your gear on and train, then you're really letting yourself down. You're going to let your crew down because you're not ready for it. You're not ready for game day NFL teams. They don't just put their pads on Sunday, right, they wear that stuff throughout the week to get ready to perform. And so those are all the attributes that that you want to have.

Speaker 2:

We had talked off air about mental health, and I think that the term that I think is more appropriate is mental fitness, and the reason I like that is because it's something that you constantly have to work on. It's not something like, hey, I got good mental health, I'm smooth. It's something that is constantly just like your body. It's constantly a, it's an atrophying muscle.

Speaker 2:

Having a route to not only learn about your own mental fitness, but having resources above and beyond what's provided by the fire department, I think is very important because for the most of us not everybody, but for the most of us not everybody, but for the most of us, there will come a time in your career where you get apathetic. You want to quit. You no longer like yourself or anybody else, the amount of trauma that we see. We need to find a way to deal with that if we do want to keep going forward. And in my opinion, the fire department does not provide and this is nationwide, this is not just where I work. They try their best right Peer support, employee assistance programs outside mental health professionals. That's all good and I think it's important, but we need to create a space where people will work on themselves, regardless of whether the department provides it or not.

Speaker 1:

I think you hit a very, very important fact right there about working on yourself. If we don't try to defuse things before they get bad, it's not going to do a lot of good to try all the techniques in the world to try to get calm when we're ramped up to a hundred mile an hour, and that's something that I think more education is needed. And talking to folks around us. We have a peer support program through the Cancer Alliance here in North Carolina and just when you talk to people that are in that space of peer support and just generally helping for mental fitness, you can't fix yourself 100% when you're already at 100 miles an hour. You have to slow down. You have to know how to fix it when you're at a one or two as opposed to a nine or 10. So that's the big thing is we have to learn how to start managing stress and managing these things before they become a problem.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we need to learn how to downregulate. So are you familiar with the polyvagal theory at all?

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Okay.

Speaker 2:

So I went through and we did a. An episode on this, called a ketamine, saved my life and I went through.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, thank you. I went through some rough, a real rough spot and came out of nowhere. I thought I was good to go. I used the resources that I'd used in the past and they didn't work anymore. And throughout that journey I found out about polyvagal theory and now I'm teaching our recruits about it.

Speaker 2:

Right, let's give you this tool and say, just because you think you're broken at some point, we have to teach you that, like how to get back to neutral, and the goal is not to be happy all the time. That is not. That's not what we should be looking for. That is a that is, an outcome based approach, as opposed to a system or journey-based approach where, hey, I'm going to move through these different emotions and when I start to get ramped up to that 10, I can at least bring myself back down to a six-ish and try and get some work done. So that's been our big push.

Speaker 2:

We went and talked to the Colorado State Fire Conference about that Fire Chiefs Conference, about that, and then we'll be talking at the Mile High Fire Conference this year. So we're trying to get the information out there that when you feel like lost and there's no hope, it's not because you're broken, it's because the systems in your body are going haywire in an attempt to protect you and so, just like an allergic reaction, right, your body goes into this overdrive of we need to protect our host, and we can. There are tools and techniques to bring you back to neutral. You are not lost forever, even though it might feel like that.

Speaker 1:

You are very right in that and, as you boy, I wish somebody had heard our conversation before we started today.

Speaker 1:

But one of the things I was telling you about that situation I had, about the investigation to where, out of nowhere, it's whoa what happened. Why am I feeling this way? What happened? And if you don't know how to process it, it can be problematic and you have to get on top of it. And the fire service has always been reactive, not proactive, when it comes to so many things. And we're learning about that and, like I said, part of our mission here with our podcast is to build a better firefighter, ignite that fire within to get you to be better as best you can.

Speaker 1:

And another area that's huge and, sadly, if you go to any conferences, you've probably seen this. There's cool things. What's the buzzword for this conference? What is it? Right now? It's mental health. That's the thing right now. What was it two years ago?

Speaker 1:

It was cancer, and that's always been our core mission with the organization that I work with and it's that same thing we try to teach people. It's not hard to fix a lot of these problems. It's not hard to avoid a lot of exposures. Wash your gear, hose yourself off before you leave the fire scene, guess what? You've knocked off 95% of your problem. And it's this type of education that it's important for people to get and, as you mentioned, conferences are one of the best ways to get around people that have a like mindset to yourself, because if you're at your department and you don't feel like there's somebody like you or that doesn't see your point of view, I assure you if you get around a bigger group than the 10 or 15 guys that might be immediately around you, you'll see there's other people not that different from you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and I think that goes back to the leadership stuff. Right, if you can educate yourself about these things, then you can start to set the tone. I'll use a simple example of where this comes from. Let's say that we go to a call and it's a food on the stove and someone was cooking with a Teflon pan and the product caught on fire and it's just smoke in the room. Right? No, not an emergency.

Speaker 2:

When we walk in there, most of us don't have our masks on right, because they're like oh, this isn't really a fire, I don't want to look weak, I don't want to Okay. So, without a doubt, if one person puts their mask on, everyone else will too, and that could be the probie. It doesn't have to be the officer. So you have opportunities to lead and to make crews safer and better at any rank in the organization, and that takes some organizational courage for sure, because no one wants to look weak in front of the other folks. And the same thing when it comes to mental health, right? If you just don't say anything and you want to seem tough, you're not helping that person who's struggling, and they could probably use an opportunity to speak up too. And so we have these opportunities to make the fire service better. The knowledge is out there. You need to have the organizational courage to implement that stuff.

Speaker 1:

Yep, and if you don't have buy-in from the leadership, then a lot of times it's hard to get buy-in by everybody else. Whether the initiative is cancer reduction, mental health, physical fitness whatever the case is reduction, mental health, physical fitness whatever the case is, if you don't have buy-in from the top, it's really hard to get it to move forward.

Speaker 2:

I'll lightly push back on that, where I believe that water boils from the bottom. So if you are a informal leader in the organization and you see an issue that's going on, there's a way to make those people at the top understand you. Now that's a big pull, especially when money's involved. But if you can find a way to show the bean counters that avoiding starting this process will cost them more money in the end you're going to turn some heads. So it's all to me it's all in the delivery. If I want to start a program where we get a second set of gear for our members which we do we're very lucky. We have two sets of gear. So after a fire we can ship ours off, gets professionally cleaned and then we can use our backup set.

Speaker 2:

And that didn't come down from our administration, that was brought from the line. And if you take the amount of cancer claims, that sum of money and say, listen, to buy a new set of gear for everybody is going to be a million dollars. All these cancer claims we've had in the last, however many years is $8 million. So you need to speak their language. You can't just throw your hands up in the air and be like, oh, our administration is terrible, they don't take care of us. Well, what are you doing, regardless of your rank, to make a little bit of noise and say, hey, this is a problem that we see. But you could say, hey, these departments that are similar size as us, they all have a second set, and it might be where you go out yourself as a backseat firefighter and start looking for grants. If you can come to administration with a well-defined problem and a well-defined solution, how are they going to say, no, I would be shocked.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, my chief always has said don't come to me with problems, come to me with answers. He said if you've got a problem, okay fine, but if you can bring something to the table, even if it's a terrible idea, if it's at least moving toward resolution, it goes a long way. So I do agree with what you're saying on that level as well. So, yeah, have you heard of the one three, one rule?

Speaker 2:

I have not. All right, this is just a suggestion. If you're trying to figure out how to put something together, if you can go to your boss with one defined problem, three possible solutions and one suggestion of those three, how do you say no to that? That shows your, the person above you, that, hey, I've thought about this. Here are three different ways you can do it. And then here's my suggestion based on my research Lights out. So, regardless of how big the problem is but you're right, you don't just want to go and complain to somebody that's not going to go anywhere Bring them some solutions. They have a million things on their plate. If you can say, hey, here's the well-defined problem, here's the well thought out solution and here's how we're going to fund it, I don't see they might say, hey, you got to tweak these two or three things because this is where I see a problem. Awesome, go back to the drawing board, fix them and then you're then you're off and running.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I that. I will definitely try that. I've got a few little issues not issues but projects that I'm working on right now and maybe, if I approach it that way, it might be a little easier sell on a couple of them, but cool.

Speaker 1:

I think, so, yeah, and, like I said, it's always interesting when you talk to people in different places and you see how they resolve issues and work through their career basically, and I appreciate you taking time today to talk about training and some of the stuff that you see that's facing firefighters. Craig, like I said, a lot that we can learn from you and from you guys over there, and I've talked to firefighters from California, colorado, as you move across the country. It's the same job but there's same problems but a lot of different solutions on how things are handled. So it's definitely good to get a chance to talk to you on that.

Speaker 2:

It's the same circus, different clowns.

Speaker 1:

That's it, and different sideshows too. And different sideshows, and not everybody needs a bearded lady. Trust me, all right there's plenty out there. Yeah, all right, there's plenty out there. Yeah, all right. So if people want to get ahold of you, how do they find out about Craig and all his wonderful projects that he's working on with his team over there?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we, you can download the podcast pretty much anywhere. You can watch our podcast on Spotify. We we upload there. We have a Patreon, we have a store for gear. You can find all of that at the-standardus and from there you can get links to just about anything. Hopefully, we'll be having another two-day class coming in the fall called Master the Basics, and we start out the class with about a few hours worth of lecture. First we start at 5 am in the gym, we all work out together, then we do a lecture, then we're on the drill ground for the rest of the two days and it is I know I'm biased, but it's one of the best classes out there. We have roughly a three to one student instructor ratio, and so the amount of time you get with direct instruction is like no other class that I've taken. Be on the lookout for that.

Speaker 1:

Okay, cool, excellent. Like I said, it's good to talk to you Before I let you go, though we do have a tradition here on the All Clear podcast, so I'm going to ask you a question. You may or may not know where this is going, but what's the difference between a guitar and a fish? Oh man, I don't know. You can't tune a fish.

Speaker 2:

Well done, well done. I'm going to add that to my dad jokes.

Speaker 1:

Oh no, we have a whole catalog of them here. We try to share a dad joke at the end because if you've made it this far it's worth the payoff.

Speaker 2:

I got one for you.

Speaker 1:

Go ahead. What did the zero say to the eight? I have no idea. Nice belt, I have to write that one down. I may have to wait a year before I can use it on the podcast, but I'll definitely put that one down, that's all right. All right.

Speaker 2:

I may have to wait a year before I could use it on the podcast but I'll definitely put that in there, that's all right.

Speaker 1:

All right, craig. Thank you for your time, sir, and we'll talk to you soon. And, as we always say here on our podcast, light your fire within. You have been listening to All Clear. All Clear is presented by the North Carolina Firefighter Cancer Alliance and the First Responders Peer Support Network. You can find out more about us at allclearpodcastcom. Leave us a message. We'd appreciate hearing from you. If you like what you hear, tell someone. Opinions expressed by guests do not always reflect the opinions of the podcast. Intro and outro music provided by Wayne John Bradley. And, as always, light your fire within. See you soon.

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