Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fire Talk

There has been a lot of talk recently on various social networking forums regarding the spelling of "hotshot"--one word or two, etc. According to NWCG's Glossary of Wildland Fire Terminology, like it or not, the spelling is "hotshot."

I remember the same arguments about "air tanker" versus "airtanker." Or even the contentious debate about "engine" replacing "tanker" and all the fallout that was associated with that change. Does engine refer to the truck or the engine in the truck? I know I still think "tanker" when I see a Type 4 engine.

Over the last few years, there has been a struggle in the leadership circles that I walk revolving around the term "virtual staff ride." The Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program contends that "A staff ride is a case study that is conducted on the ground where the event happened." Therefore, adding the term "virtual" to staff rides contradicts the very nature of a staff ride. Next time you are tempted to use the term "virtual staff ride," opt for the more generic term "case study."

Being humans, we cling to the that we know and have been taught. Whatever our differences, I believe that we stand behind our debates as a means of creating a more professional firefighting force. Some find the debates trivial, but I find them a seed of leadership.

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