Updated: Dec 3, 2021
New Year’s Resolutions and your VFD Every year we make New Year’s Resolutions for the purpose of cleaning up our bad habits, starting new habits, or enhancing our overall well-being. Do you do this for your organization? Here are a few quick examples for inspiration:
Goal-Setting: Brainstorm some short-term, medium-term, and long-term goals and write them somewhere prominent. A great place to do this is a dry-erase board in the office. This will help to keep these goals in mind and hopefully attainable throughout the year. Maybe set some “due dates” to further inspire you and your officers. Communicate the goals to the entire membership for an exercise in transparency and incorporate your membership into the leadership! Tactical Resolutions: Shortening your time on the highway to decrease responder risk, decreasing complacency on nuisance calls (i.e. gearing up for all fire alarms, leaving the nozzle FF at the pumper while the officer and other FF investigate), performing pre-incident plans while on calls, etc. Readiness: Instituting a daily/weekly equipment check program, preventative maintenance initiatives, overhauling and breathing new life into your training program. How about working on the physical fitness of your responders? Leadership Development: How about investing in those who invest the most in the organization? Identify the flaws in your leadership team and take action. Small changes lead to big results!
Most importantly whatever you decide to do, make sure to communicate the goals with your team. This way your leadership team and membership are all working towards the same common goal. Failure to share will result in unknowns, distrust, and a lack of progress.
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There are simple short-term goals that you can work towards for the "behind the scenes" operations of the department:
Give your website a makeover. Make it appear more modern and user-friendly. Focus on what matters: recruitment, donations, and engagement.
Post more on social media. Perhaps even open a new account that your department is not using (Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram).
Update a few of your Bylaws.
Evaluate and update your onboarding process.
Perhaps your goals are more department-specific. Maybe this is the year you launch a capital campaign for a station renovation or new station. Whatever your goals may be, go out and tackle them in 2022. Don't frontload everything either. All too often we see energetic officers at the beginning of the year and they trail off throughout the remainder of their term or year. Keep that energy and motivation going. Don't burn out!