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Professionalism is a state of mind.

Posted by Shan Raffel
Shan Raffel
“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting tech
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on Sunday, 04 March 2012
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The general thinking has been that if you are paid to fight fires, then you are a “professional” firefighter. Does this mean that if you are retained or a volunteer that you are not professional? I believe that it depends on your definition of professional.

I have worked with “professional” and volunteer firefighters in several countries and I believe that I can say with some authority that the core values displayed by a “professional” has very little to do with how much you get paid, and a lot to do with how you think and behave.

I have met “volunteer” firefighters who display an extremely professional attitude and a high level of expertise. Unfortunately, there have been a few occasions where I have worked with full time paid firefighters who display a very “casual” attitude to all aspects of their profession. Some of these so-called professionals believe that after 4 years of service, any form of training is not only unnecessary, but also boring.

When it comes to attitude and core values I believe that there are only 2 types of firefighters. Professional or Unprofessional. Sometimes they are paid, partially paid, or unpaid. You can tell them apart by the following qualities.


Dedicated to serving the public.

Keen to learn new skills and always prepared to maintain skill levels.

Prepared to learn from mistakes.

Skilful and open to new ideas.

Displays expert knowledge and a desire to gain depth of understanding.

Works as a team player to provide the very best service.



Incompetent and unable or unwilling to admit it.

Think that they know all they need to know.

Blame others for their mistakes.

In a comfort zone that closes their mind.

Always looking for the easy job or position.

'It has been said that there is as much difference between a man who has not trained and cultivated his intellect and one who has, as between a dead man and a living, and the same contrast may be made between those who have not studied fire brigade work and those who have.'

Sir Eyre Massey Shaw 1868

Professionalism is a state of mind and the choice is yours!

Shan Raffel

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“Shan has pioneered and championed a global paradigm shift in fire fighting techniques that are now accepted as standard practice. His expertise in this area is what drives QLFA seamlessly through the industry”


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