CSFA President's Message

Collaboration versus cliques

Collaboration vs. cliques? What comes to mind when you think of each word, and how do they impact organizations? Throughout our careers we will see examples of various forms of human interaction that can build up an organization or be very damaging. We need to remember that the fire service culture embodies one of service to others, teamwork, and the commitment to fixing our neighbor’s issues on sometimes the worst day of their lives.

Collaboration isn’t just a fancy word that’s used without a true belief in the meaning, instead it reflects our core value of teamwork and the necessity of adding the value of a diverse blend of people to carry out tasks and defined goals. Cliques are the exact opposite of this and instead breed a solo mentality, one that does not accept being unique, and does not advocate inclusion. Cliques leave our people on the sidelines and allow gossip and groupthink to run rampant, in the end discrediting people in positions of influence. We can’t be proactive about behavioral health issues and not address being closed minded to all the men and women who serve in many ways and the dangers of not opening opportunities in a fair and transparent manner.

I’m proud of the new spirit of inclusion and diversity that we have at all levels of CSFA and continue to be committed to lead an organization that is all inclusive for the entire California fire service. Our LEDS Committee is one of our proactive approaches to having courageous conversations, sharing personal experiences, and finding common ground to make us all stronger to meet our mission.

As we journey through our careers, we continue to learn powerful lessons that should give us pause and reflection. We need to remember where we came from and realize that our paths started from a place of humble vulnerability. With that in mind let’s focus on mentorship and bringing everyone up. Together we can continue to collaborate on making every aspect of the fire service better than we found it.

Stay well and stay safe!

Battalion Chief, Eddie Sell
CSFA President

CSFA President
Long Beach Fire Department
Battalion Chief, Eddie Sell