As firefighters, we're often too busy saving lives and protecting property to take a moment to appreciate the experiences we encounter during our shifts. However, taking pictures at work is an excellent way to capture these moments for ourselves, our departments, and our communities. These images help build department morale and maintain a visual history for our families and us.
Taking pictures helps create camaraderie and improves firefighters' cohesiveness. When we take photos together, it helps us bond and creates a stronger sense of unity. We become more than just colleagues; we become a family that can rely on one another to do the job. The memories we capture together build relationships that last long beyond our time in the fire service.
Additionally, capturing pictures during our shift can help firefighters create a digital legacy for ourselves, our loved ones, our station, and our department. Everyone can look back on them and recall the moments that brought us joy, sadness, and a sense of achievement. For firefighters who have long working hours and may miss out on important family events, these pictures can help our families feel more connected to our experiences and lives at the station. Moreover, if a firefighter were to suffer a tragic loss while on duty, our family and friends can celebrate the firefighter's life of service through these memories.
It's important to note that we're not talking about tacky or tasteless selfies that illustrate firefighters in a bad light or photos that show bad behavior by firefighters. By all means, ground rules need to be established. We need to ensure that any images captured help build the department up and promote high morale - firefighters in action, on training exercises, or participating in community events. Strong photos covering these things help connect with the community and show the people firefighters are inside and outside of the uniform. We must show the public what we firefighters do and inspire others to join the profession.
Fire department administrators must allow firefighters to take pictures during their shifts. It's a tremendous grassroots recruiting tool and assists with retention. It can be a powerful tool if done correctly and respectfully, without fear of punishment. Firefighters must know that our departments support us in capturing these moments and that our contributions are valued.
Capturing pictures on shift is crucial for firefighters to record and share the moments that define our dedication to and passion for our inherently dangerous job. It enhances departmental morale, fosters a stronger sense of shift camaraderie, and establishes a digital legacy for firefighters and our families. Department leadership must permit this practice as it is a powerful tool to promote the firefighting profession and motivate others to join and support their communities.
Josh Friedrich is a fire fighter/paramedic in Lewisville, TX and serves as the Secretary and Communications Manager for Lewisville Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 3606. Josh is the Fire Fighter Relations Coordinator at NEP Services where he works tirelessly as a resource for the fire service labor organizations they serve. Josh also is aware that leather helmets are forever, smooth-bore nozzles are king, and engine work is the Lord's work.