Being Chief: Leadership Principles for the ARFF Professional


Today, I announce the launch of my new book, Being Chief: Leadership Principles for the ARFF Professional. This is the first, and only, book dedicated to leadership for the aircraft rescue firefighter.

Why did I write this book?

As the leaders and the experienced in our profession age out, we are forever losing their wisdom and shared knowledge. Private industry realizes this and tries to capture that knowledge through, what is referred to as, “knowledge management”.

Knowledge management can be simply defined as, “the process of capturing, distributing, and effectively using knowledge.”  Knowledge management is taking advantage of what is known to maximize an organization’s value, or a department’s value to the community. Of knowledge, there are two types, explicit and implicit. Explicit knowledge is data, facts, and captured documentation. Implicit is the knowledge that exists in the heads of people and is only acquired over time through education and experience. This implicit knowledge becomes codified when it is shared through discussions or documentation.

Being Chief is a best effort to jump start a formal knowledge management process in the ARFF industry. For this book, interviews, surveys, and follow-up conversations were conducted from more than thirty ARFF chiefs and leaders. 

The book is divided into three parts:

Part 1: Leadership Lessons. Common themes, advice, lessons learned from these conversations are compiled and shared in this section.

Part 2: “In their own words…”. This section includes the full interview, survey responses, and personal stories from these leaders.

Part 3: Leading On. This section identifies mentors that have gone before, the value of mentoring, and provides recommended resources for leadership development.


What can you learn from reading this book?

There are many books on fire service leadership, and many more on leadership in general, however, this is the only book that focuses on leadership within the unique niche industry of the  aircraft rescue and firefighting environment.  

Being Chief will prepare the ARFF professional for a leadership role by enabling them to:

  • Know the most valuable traits an ARFF chief or leader must possess

  • Understand the five actions an ARFF leader must apply for maximum leadership impact

  • Hear directly from the voice of experience of those who have excelled in the industry

  • Prepare for a major aircraft incident response and post-incident effects

Being Chief
is a tool for the ambitious and forward-thinking ARFF professional. This is a tool to be used for gaining the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to achieve their leadership goals. By reading and learning from the years of experience shared here, the gap to achieving a leadership mindset can be decreased.