…and Here We Go.
Well, Leather-freaks…it’s time. We currently have over 1,100 Facebook followers. Adding in Twitter followers of both ELAFF-associated accounts and direct email subscribers on the blog, we reach closer to 1,400 people…maybe 1,500. No matter the exact number, we have far more followers than I ever imagined we would and the ELAFF community is growing daily. We aren’t going to beg you for “likes” and grovel for followers anymore. That isn’t what ELAFF is about, and it was beginning to get on my own nerves.
So, let’s give some stuff away, so that we can get back to the serious content of the ELAFF movement.
We are actually going to be running two contests. You all should know about the MN8 Products giveaway, so we’ll discuss the other contest first.
The “Guess the Location of ELAFF HQ” Contest
Over the past two years, ELAFF has been distributing “sound fire service ideas with a satirical twist” to an ever-growing audience. Facebook fans range from Alaska to Alabama, along with some international fans. Through all of this, we have maintained strict secrecy over the location of ELAFF HQ and our true identities. It has worked, and the blacked-out photos are fun, but we have reached the limits of what we can accomplish “undercover”. As some formerly anonymous bloggers have said, “Anonymity is overrated.” It is time to give it up. We are going public.
Of course, we can’t simply show our faces and post our names. This is ELAFF. We are still Lt. Lemon and Capt. Chaos. We’re going to have some fun with this unveiling.
This contest will be for the followers who haven’t been clued into the whereabouts of our hide-out. We are interested to see how well we’ve hidden our identities, but this means we have to set some limitations.
If you meet any of the following criteria, you will not be eligible for this contest (don’t worry, you can still win some Foxfire gear):
- If you have met either Lt. Lemon or Capt. Chaos in person. (Our memories are photographic…we remember EVERYONE.)
- If you are our friend on either of our personal FB pages.
- If you have received a Lemon Wedge in the mail. (Sorry, you’ve seen my return address…but you have a Lemon Wedge!)
- If you are relatively familiar with anyone who meets the above criteria, or we think you had an unfair advantage.
How To Enter:
Enter your name, email address, and guess of where ELAFF HQ is. You can give a vague guess, like the West Coast or the Northeast, or you can give a more detailed guess, like a state or city.
The winners will be the entrants with the three closest, and most specific, guesses.
The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd nearest guesses will win a Limited Edition Gold, Silver, and Bronze Lemon Wedge, respectively.
Capt. Chaos and I also plan on throwing in other random goodies from ELAFF HQ. There is no telling what those will consist of, but they will be worth it.
This contest will run until 9pm PST on March 2, 2012.
**If you know who we are and you let the secret out, I’ll give you a high-five to the face.**
The MN8 Products Giveaway
The contest that you’ve all been waiting for. We will randomly give away 1 Foxfire Helmet Band, 1 Foxfire tool wrap, and 1 XL Foxfire t-shirt from MN8 Products.
The only requirement for this contest is that you must “like” the ELAFF FB page and the MN8 Products FB page. The contest entry form should allow you to do this when you enter. Everyone is eligible except for Capt. Chaos and myself.
How To Enter:
Go to the ELAFF Facebook page and click the “Big Giveaway” tab on the left sidebar…or just click here.
You may enter once per day, until the contest ends.
This contest will end at 9pm PST on March 2, 2012.
There you have it…you may begin entering now.
A New Frontier
February 11th, 2012
Today marks the 2nd anniversary of the creation of the ELAFF Facebook page.
Two years ago, an inside joke at the firehouse led to the creation of Excessive Leather Accessories for Firefighters. What started out as a place to post funny videos for ELAFF locals soon became a tool to spread USEFUL posts, articles, and ideas. Somehow, random firefighters from across the nation began to stumble upon this little “gag page”, and our following began growing rapidly. My posts on Facebook began to get lengthier and last year, after much prodding, ELAFFHQ.com became a reality. Captain Chaos joined in the venture and we’ve been tweaking things ever since. We now have over 800 Facebook “likes”, along with a small amount of Twitter followers and email subscribers. Through this endeavor, we’ve had the opportunity to network with some great names in the fire service, of whom I have a tremendous amount of respect and would never have expected to come in contact with otherwise.
Lt. Lemon and Capt. Chaos at a recent mutual training event.
Alas, as the movement grows, we must grow with it.
We have a big overhaul to make here on the site, but this is ELAFF and Lt. Lemon and Capt. Chaos don’t do anything subtly.
We don’t want this big change to be simply about ELAFF. We want community involvement in our posts and ELAFF in general, so MN8 Products has stepped up and offered some awesome, glowing, Foxfire accessories to give away as part of a “blog overhaul” contest. We’ll also be offering up a few, special ELAFF prizes.
Here’s the catch…
As part of getting these freebies to give away, we have to reach a large enough audience. We’ve never begged for followers before, and we really aren’t begging now, but before we can start the contest and “overhaul” we have to reach 1,500 Facebook “likes”. This will be the one and only instance where we grovel for “likes”. I promise.
We gained nearly 200 “likes” in a 48 hour period this past week…getting less than 700 more should be no problem.
Thus begins ELAFF’s one and only “pledge drive”. We’ll have more details on the prizes, contest, and overhaul once we reach 1,500.
Share, comment, and complain away…
Thanks for reading,
The term “Pride and Ownership” isn’t new to the fire service. Hopefully, most ELAFF readers are familiar with it and understand its importance to successful company operations. Chief Rick Lasky runs the most comprehensive program on “P&O”, with a lecture program, a book, a blog, and an internet webcast show. These are all great programs, and you can find more info on them by clicking here. Recently, Rhett Fleitz (The Fire Critic) attended one of Chief Lasky’s seminars, and was spurred to write his own blog series on the topic (link to all posts here). He did a great job of explaining “P&O” as he understands it, and I decided to take the time to write a quick post from my point of view. Maybe other sites will join in and compile a number of posts on the subject, as they did with “Brotherhood”.
I’m going to try to make this one short and sweet. I know that we’ve gained a lot of new followers recently, and they may not be accustomed to my occasional “novel-length” posts, as Captain Chaos would say. I’ll simply break down those two words and their meaning to me.
Pride is a fickle beast. It can obviously be a great tool for company development, or Chief Lasky wouldn’t talk about it, but it can also be the downfall of an individual’s career. It should be noted that we are not really talking about “individual pride” here. Individual pride, or pride in oneself, is fine in limited amounts, but it can be toxic if over-applied. Too much individual pride will eventually cause us to put ourselves ahead of everything else. Ahead of our Brothers. Ahead of our company. Ahead of the civilians we serve. This can be seriously detrimental to the firehouse atmosphere. Be proud of your accomplishments, but never let that pride lead you to abandon your Brothers. So, what type of pride are we looking for?
The pride which “P&O” refers to is bigger than the individual level. We are talking about “company pride”, “departmental pride”, and “fire service pride”. We need to have pride in the bigger picture. If we have pride in our company, then we will be willing to go the extra mile to improve our company (or department). What if your company is the slow, outlying runt of the department? Perfect! What if your department is small, underfunded, and poorly motivated? Perfect! You have the perfect opportunity to display the effects of company pride. Start by leading the example yourself. Take some extra time to do some short drills/P.T., clean and fix up forgotten tools or repair a worn and broken area in the firehouse (every ‘house older than 1 year has SOMETHING broken). If you are a full-timer, do this after normal work hours, while the others are watching t.v. If you are a volunteer, do it on a night when there is no regular training and you aren’t assigned to a duty shift. You may be alone at first. You may attract remarks questioning the purpose of your actions. Hopefully, others will eventually join in. Once you build “company pride”, it becomes a nearly unstoppable force. Each shift wants to contribute more than the others, each company wants to work harder than their neighbor, each department wants to be the best, and we ALL want to make the fire service function better and more efficiently.
Jason Jefferies at Working the Job posted THIS article, which includes an email from a retiring Charlotte (NC) fireman. What is one of the things that stands out to me in this post? He doesn’t just refer to himself as “a fireman”, he repeatedly calls himself a “Charlotte fireman”. He doesn’t just hold pride in our profession; he has pride in his department. Officers and senior firemen, this is for you. Company pride is the key to your crews working harder, training more, and ENJOYING the job at YOUR department. Make sure that your crews aren’t simply “proud to be firefighters”. They should be “proud to be (insert your dept. here) firefighters”. This is huge for retention problems in both the paid AND vollie worlds. If your members are simply “firefighters”, they will have no problem leaving for another department if morale gets bleak in your ‘house. However, if they are proud to be “(insert dept. name) firefighters”, they will be hard pressed to leave under any circumstance. Chiefs and administrators, let your personnel build pride in their department. If they see a need for improving a piece of front-line equipment, let them do it. They know when something isn’t working, they use that equipment…you don’t. Their lives depend on the proper function of that equipment…yours doesn’t. Let them make the department their own. If they want to build tables and other firehouse items, encourage it. If they decide to start an impromptu drill, *GASP*, WITHOUT an officer…let them roll with it. Stop the micro-management, it stunts department growth, quells company pride, and buries morale in a grave of dissolved motivation.
“Ownership” picks up where the “pride” leaves off. Once there is a fair amount of company pride developed, we begin to OWN our company. This means taking everything that happens to the company “to heart”. If something happens to the company, it happens to you. If a tool is dirty or broken, it is YOUR fault because that is YOUR tool. This doesn’t mean that those tools don’t belong to your Brothers, they should feel the same. If something isn’t right, you fix it. Take things personally. Don’t just be a member/employee of your department, make that department YOUR OWN. If every member makes that personal commitment to the company, there will be a dramatic improvement around the ‘house. This all goes back to “company pride”.
With that, I’ll end this post. Feel free to leave a comment, and don’t forget to “share” this post using the buttons below.
We have some big news coming up in the next month or so. Stay tuned and stay safe, “leather-freaks”.
P.S. Don’t forget to donate to the National Firefighter’s Endowment for your chance to win a new Phenix leather helmet.