Work-related pressure is present in all kinds of work but not as common or as grave as when the job description demands that lives and properties be given high priority at all cost. Being a fire safety officer puts me into a lot of work-related pressures as the demand for public safety rests in my hands. Since 2004, I have been leading a team of fire safety officers that have been exposed to various situations that tests our patience, objectiveness, problem solving skills, and our willingness to risk our lives to save the lives of other people.
As a fire safety officer, I have acquired and developed certain skills and abilities that are necessary in doing our jobs successfully and with few damages in life and properties. As my experience as a fire fighter increased, my competencies on various levels have increased as well. Five of these competencies are leadership, working under pressure, managing a difficult situation, problem solving, and learning from my mistakes. A thorough discussion on these competencies appears in the grid summaries below. Developing the competence took years of practice and a lot of hours of experience.
As a part of the team that either go through the front lines in emergency situations or act as a support team to ensure the safety of the people going in the front lines as well as the onlookers, working under pressure is a common thing. Most of the time, I have worked as a leader and thus took responsibilities in most of the occasion. Being a leader, it is necessary that I maintain communication lines open and anopen mind in order to perform my work.
In my line of work, pressure often comes in the form of other people or people who have high expectations on the kind of job we perform. Pressure is usually very high when the demand for public safety is high. In operations where lives and properties are at stake, we bathe in pressure and we need to strengthen our nerves in order to deal with the pressing situations and at the same time muster enough efforts to stay focused on the tasks at hand.
In most occasions, we deal with pressure by putting our lives on the line while in some situations we need to be as hard and as tough as possible – physically and emotionally – to withstand the urge to be carried away. In some occasions, managing a difficult situation comes after working under pressure. In firefighting, managing a difficult situation is analogous to keep as many lives as possible without harming your life or the life of your team members. In some situations, it is difficult to manage difficult situations because of a number of factors that would easily come up during the process.
For example, a lack of knowledge in structural analysis can lead to a difficult rescue situation for the team which risks everyone present. The example I chose in managing difficult situation is during a practice drill where we have to stop the bomb from detonating where I miserably failed. The situation was difficult for me because I have my team watching how I performed and my performance would add to their respect for me. However, my knowledge on electronic wiring and bomb disposal are limited and so I was not able to dispose the bomb.
Instead of making an excuse, I made sure that I acknowledge my defeat and start from there.