ISFSI Member Spotlight: Terri Reid

Tell us about yourself and why you decided to join the Fire Service?

My name is Terri Reid. I have been a dedicated member with  Baltimore County Fire Department in Maryland, which is a combination fire department for over 23 years. In July 1995, my mother went into cardiac arrest at home. I watched the EMS & Fire personnel actively try to revive my mother however, she succumbed to her illness after she arrived at the hospital. While noticing a few items Fire & EMS personnel left behind from the call including the plastic wrapping for the endotracheal tube, I had wondered if I could have done anything to help and how I can help other people in the future. I began working as a trauma technician at a local hospital. My co-worker (Michael Thorpe) asked me if I ever thought about joining the Volunteer Fire Company. I never gave it a thought but he encouraged me to join Kingsville Volunteer Fire Company. I successfully completed the application process followed by the probationary process six months later. In the meantime I completed EMT-Basic and was starting Firefighter I. I continued my journey with the volunteer company until I was hired March 2003 as a career member with the Baltimore County Fire Department.

Who or what inspired you as an Instructor?

While venturing through my career with the Baltimore County Fire Department I always wanted to learn more about the Fire & EMS industry and teach other personnel the dynamics of the Fire Service. My partner John Ritz encouraged me to instill my knowledge and skills into current and future students. In August 2007, I joined the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute (MFRI) to be an instructor. I’m currently an Advance Life Support, Basic Life Support, Hazmat and Support Instructor.

It’s motivating and inspiring to have your past or current students express their appreciation for giving them the courage and ability to be successful in the Fire Service.

What are some things you are working on in your department and how can others learn from that?

As a leader in our department, I am working with members to understand “it’s ok to not be ok”. We have been taught for so many years to be strong and not complain because our ultimate goal is to help the citizens we serve. Our goal is to train safely and efficiently but always remember it is ok to discuss a concern and or ask a question. Having a one-on-one discussion or a round table discussion with our personnel will assist with teaching our members on different levels as well as evaluating their ability to complete tasks. This inspiration came from Captain Dena Ali, Raleigh Fire Department, North Carolina.

Secondly, I am working with personnel to climb the ladder and complete the promotional process. We will not be able to be in our position forever, we have to prepare and enhance our personnel to take our place and instill our knowledge, skills and abilities to protect the community we serve.

Tell us about a Project or Training accomplishment that you consider to be the most significant in your career.

Attending Dr. Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute (EDI) in New Orleans, Louisiana at Dillard University has been a great inspiration in my career. This training program was established to develop the management skills and leadership potential of African American Firefighters. Dr. Holmes was involved in mentoring thousands of Fire Officers throughout the world as well as advocating for modern and inclusive Human Resource Management practices in fire departments. Dr. Carl Holmes (Rest in Power) served 30 years in the Fire Service retiring as an Assistant Fire Chief with the Oklahoma City Fire Department in 1981. This was a very a powerful life changing program that taught me the ability to make tough decisions in a leadership position for the betterment of the Fire Department and the Communities we serve. This is a five year program and I proudly graduated EDI in 2013.

Attending the Fire Department Instructor’s Conference (FDIC) is another experience of a lifetime. This granted me an opportunity to join ISFSI, learn how to be a strong leader and attend classes with supreme instructors like Captain Angela Hughes, Fire Chief John Alston, Retired Deputy Chief Leonard Carmichael, Michael Gagliano and many more energetic instructors.

I was invited to participate in the three year project (2015-2018) called the NFPA Responder Forum led by Mr. Ken Willette. The NFPA Responder Forum brought together fire service leaders, up and coming first responders and subject matter experts to tackle emerging issues faced in the fire service. Some highlights of the NFPA Responder Forum were participating in the Fire Service Response to Civil Unrest Report. My journey with technology in the Fire service and having the distinct honor to meet and listen to Chief Alan Brunacini (Rest in Power). This was a unique experience utilizing the electronic concept rather than pen and paper. I experienced an opportunity to appreciate the importance of collecting data with Dr. Lori Moore-Merrell.

These amazing accomplishments gave me an opportunity to meet and network with some brilliant leaders and talented members in our unique industry.

What do you hope to accomplish as a Fire Service Instructor?

While fostering the responsibility of a Fire Service Instructor, I want to continue to teach, lead and assist personnel with continuous learning. I also want to learn from them as well. 

What’s the biggest change you noticed in the Fire Service since you started?

Adapting to the innovation of technology. We are fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to engage in quick responses, data collection and virtual conferencing to continue to keep personnel effectively engage especially during challenging times.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I’m a big observer and very passionate about helping people be successful. I’m open and available to learn new ideas.

And, finally what advice do you have to give to another instructor?

Be a Positive role model for your students.
Do unto others as if you would like done to you.
Ask a question before you assume
Safety is everyone’s responsibility
LEAD by example

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