Beyond the Call of Duty

Today is my middle shift at the fire hall, but since I leave for New York around noon tomorrow, it’s my last shift of the cycle. We have had a pretty busy shift since every time that we have went out on a run, we have ended up running two back to back.

After lunch, the administration called several of our trucks to station one for an Employee Recognition Committee Awards Ceremony. The committee recently went through the archives of documented life-saving events and are going to be tracking these from now on. I think it is a great thing for the department to do, and hopefully the tradition will be carried on. They are going about it the right way.

Basically, if an employee goes “Above and Beyond the Call of Duty,” and the event is reported to the Deputy Chief, then a summary of the situation will be submitted to the committee. The award is the “Chief’s Award,” however, the Chief of the Department and the committee collectively decide on if the call/situation warrants the award.

The award could consist of any combination or all of three ways to be recognized. They had a very nice plaque made by one of the guys in our department. The recipient can be added to the plaque as one of the ways of being recognized. Another way is that the recipient may receive a “Chief’s Award” challenge coin. These are very nice and were produced by the guys over at NM-Coin. Check out my product review by clicking here. The third way to be recognized is to have a Letter of Commendation added to a journal that will be kept in the Chief’s Office and also filed in your personnel file.

The committee has made it known that this is not to be taken lightly, and they want it to really mean something. Today, they presented a firefighter on my shift (B) with a coin, a Letter of Commendation, and his name on the plaque. I sure hope this a tradition that is carried on through the years, and is something that is EARNED.

While in Atlanta attending a conference in September, I overhead several firefighters from California referring to a similar program in their department. Just by hearing them talk, it was obvious that the guys seemed to think it was something that was GIVEN…not earned. They joked about how it didn’t mean anything to earn it, and how in some instances, everyone who responded to the incident earned the accommodation. I don’t believe that will be the case with my department. The committee reviewed cases back as far as 1999, and in this round, they are only issuing 15 awards at this time.

Congratulations to everyone who received an award, and I’m honored to know you have my back.

We leave for New York in the morning, so I will have more to post upon returning. We will be working in Breezy Point on Friday, and most likely be in the Rockaways Beach area on Saturday. Our distribution point will be the Wyandanch Fire Department on Long Island.