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Complacency kills, so does ego


Most know who John Denver is. Most know how John Denver died. Many don’t know what led to his death. In a nutshell being arrogant caused his death. Mr. Denver was an accomplished pilot with over 2700 hours of experience. He had pilot ratings for single-engine land and sea, multi-engine land, glider and instrument. He died flying his new plane. His plane, which was new to him and an experimental, was owned previously. After he purchased the plane, he had it repainted inside and out. This meant that all the instruments were not marked. He went to take delivery of the plane and decided to take it for a flight. As an experienced pilot he should have known not to fly a plane without having the cockpit properly labeled. In addition, the valve to switch fuel tanks was in an awkward and hard to reach position. Denver’s plane ran out of fuel and crashed into Monterey Bay. Mr. Denver did not have sufficient training on the experimental plane. All these failures led to the death of John Denver.


What can we take from this short story as Officers and Firefighters?


Ego can kill, so can complacency. Lack of training and failure to keep your skills fresh is dangerous in our business. As a leader in your organization, you are responsible to ensure your people are skilled with the latest tools, as well as keeping our core skills fresh.


Keep your ego in check, don’t be arrogant. Never think you don’t need to train. Listen to others, they may have you best interests at heart.

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