Fireman Rob is an inspiring storyteller and impact leader. He is a speaker, trainer, competes in Ironman races in 50 lbs. of firefighter gear, breaks World Records, and delivers bears to children in hospitals. He has worked with Fortune companies, community groups, and colleges, including 3M, US Bank, Southwest Airlines, ATF, Timex, USA Triathlon, and Kraft. His presentations focus on overcoming adversity and discovering purpose. He encourages people to build mental strength and become better leaders.
A critical step for transitioning away from being a first responder is to make sure that you have something to look forward to every day and that you have the help needed to deal with any demons or physical ailments. Transcript: "This is a perfectly timed question of figuring out what the critical steps for transitioning. And for me I'm getting towards the end of my career and making sure that you both have Financial you know Independence. But I think one of the bigger things for me is actually being able to have my own self identity outside of the fire service and find something that I'm going to be able to successfully do For the rest of my life. Because when we retire, we retire a little earlier, but it's for the meaning of your body is beating up, your mind is still adjusting to everything that you have. And so making sure that you don't just be stagnant at the end and have something that you're looking forward to every single day. I think that's a huge critical step when you're transitioning away from being a first responder and, and, and living that life, because you're going to have sleep, you're going to have kind of Of a normal schedule, you're going to be around. So making sure that you have the help that you need to deal with the demons that you have or deal with the physical ailments, but at the same point have something that you're going to be looking forward to every single day. Moving forward."
Human behavior can be applied to fire safety and emergency response in order to improve educational components, search tactics, and leadership within crews. Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of each individual on a crew can help create a more effective and efficient team. Transcript: "I think when you look at where we can apply human behavior to improve both fire safety and the emergency response side from the fire safety side. I think it's great because we can apply human behavior to our educational components that we put out into the communities. As far as you know, what is probably the first thing that comes to mind when there's a fire or when there's smoke or when there's an emergency then we apply it to. Okay, well, what do we want them to do? And I think that's one of the bigger things than the fire safety side. For the general public. But on the emergency response side, I think it's great because we actually are able to understand better on search. You know where the things where the place that we want to search for as far as human behavior. It's also time together as a crew. How does leadership really play a huge role in each individual crew. And then as a bigger part, the command structure. And when you look at human behavior, Or I think it's so important that you understand each and every person on your crew, that is such a critical part of understanding that human behavior. Because then what's going to happen is you're going to have more effective and efficient crew. If you utilize the strengths and weaknesses of each individual and counteract them to be able to have a cohesive team."
I think that tattoos in the fire service are not unprofessional and they are a way for firefighters to remember their story and to use it to help others. Transcript: "So what do I think of tattoos in the fire service while I have a few tattoos? And I think for the majority of it I think it's it's not a lack of professionalism. I think it's really a lot of people put a lot of thought into what they put on their bodies and for me a lot of it is my history. My story is so that I can remember. And also it's kind of putting it into permanent form of this. Something that I want to remember and this is something I want to be able to utilize to help other people remember. Maybe they're, they're struggling moments or their perseverance moments and I think, you know, it's it's a very personal thing. It's a very powerful thing to some people, so that's my take."
Firefighters stay up-to-date on the latest technologies and best practices by understanding the basics, reading Firehouse Magazine, staying aware of UL testing, and learning from experiences. Transcript: "This is something in the fire service that we always have, as we always have the latest and greatest and best practices. And a lot of times, it's great to understand the basics. And that's what we always say, is understand the basics first, because you never know when the latest greatest or the technology is going to fail. And you have to go back to the roots of what your training was. And we always maintain, I mean, there's a fire engineering Firehouse magazines that really keep us up-to-date the UL testing. Is also another thing that helps us to understand the materials that are being used in buildings, but a lot of times it comes from experiences that comes from the situations that people get into and they tell their story afterwards of how they utilize certain equipment, how do they utilize certain Personnel to be able to make it work? And I think that's how we stay up-to-date on most of the new technologies needed and the best practices."
It's important to maintain positive relationships with partner agencies and stakeholders as we all have the same goal of helping the community and making sure that every firefighter comes home at the end of their shift. Transcript: "Yeah, definitely think that maintaining positive relationships with partner agencies and also stakeholders is so important. And I think a lot of times we get in our own ways of thinking that, you know, we have more calls or we're a bigger agency, but at the end of the day, we all do the same job and we all have different Specialties. We all have different equipment. We have different budgets but our main goal in our main mission is to help the community. Tea and make sure that every single man and woman firefighter comes home at the end of shift. And so when you try to build that relationship that positive relationship, make sure you're coming from a place that you understand that we are all doing this together and doing it for the same reason and continue to progress that in a positive manner."
I was diagnosed with PTSD recently and it's important to understand that it can be caused by many different incidents, not just one. It's important to remember that you are still in charge of your own life, even with PTSD. Transcript: "This is always a tough question to answer, but I was diagnosed with PTSD not too long ago and I kind of stained from wanting to have that tag on my head or that tag of being somebody who at that time, they say wasn't able to handle your emotions. But I have had many incidents from being at the fire service to being in. Military to going to search recovery at 9/11. And I think the one thing to understand about PTSD is it's a lot of times, it's a cumulative and it can happen in many different Realms. A lot of people just say oh it's from this one incident and yeah that can happen PTSD can be from you can have in develop individualized PTSD from different events that happen within your career within your time in service. And for myself, I Finally have come to the grips of what I'm dealing with and being able to say that I have been diagnosed with PTSD, but at the same time that it can't run your life. You have to be the owner of your own life and I think that's the biggest thing for firefighters or First Responders to be able to understand to move forward."