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FDIC 2023 Quick Take: ‘An unquenchable faith’ in the mission and each other

Chief of Training Brian Brush encourages first responders to trust the public’s unquestionable faith in fire/EMS members to power an unquenchable passion for the mission


Brian Brush – chief of training for the Midwest City (Oklahoma) Fire Department – gave a powerful keynote presentation at Thursday’s FDIC 2023 Opening Ceremonies.

Photo/Janelle Foskett

INDIANAPOLIS — “The public’s faith in us is unquestionable? Is your faith in our mission unquenchable?”

Brian Brush – chief of training for the Midwest City (Oklahoma) Fire Department – posed this question during a powerful keynote presentation at Thursday’s FDIC 2023 Open Ceremonies. Brush focused his presentation, “An Unquenchable Faith” on how first responders can tap into others’ faith in them as well their faith in each other to build trust and belief within the brotherhood and sisterhood.

Memorable quotes from the presentation

“It’s not about what’s on this stage; it’s about what’s in this room,” highlighting the power and passion of the many first responders in the room.

“Let this serve as a reminder – the world knows us as one,” referencing that the public needs us to reject our divisions in order to work together to best serve them.

“Faith: It is belief. It is trust. It is hope.”

“Take a second to think about those who believe in you …. Their faith is now pressure, it’s power.”

Key takeaways about “an unquenchable faith”

Brush urged the hundreds of first responders in attendance to remember that the members of the public, whether consciously or subconsciously, places an absolute faith in public safety. They expect first responders to be ready, physically and mentally, to provide selfless service – as a unit. They do not expect or want to see division among the ranks or crewmembers who simply aren’t ready for the job – or even passionate about the job. The chief further encouraged first responders to not think of this absolute faith as pressure but rather as a power to achieve their mission, knowing they are trusted.

Brush acknowledged the upcoming 50th anniversary of the seminal “America Burning” report, published on May 4, 1973, while underscoring that the challenges facing the fire service have changed, and first responders must be able to adapt their mission, with passion. After all, some challenges from 50 years ago are no longer the same dire threat, referencing the significant drop in the number of structure fires since the “War Years” of the 1960s and 70s.

“Our problem was once material; it is now existential,” he noted, underscoring the need to refocus attention on our mission of service.

Further, he said, in the face of current challenges, firefighters must focus more than ever on training, staffing and standards.

Brush argued that one way the fire service as a whole can reaffirm its mission is by focusing on firefighters’ wins. So many websites and registries track various losses, but it’s time, he said, to use our data-driven mindset of recent years to highlight the ultimate fire service mission – lives saved.

The Firefighter Rescues survey launched in 2016 and has since tracked a huge number of firefighter saves, Brush said, validating the faith in our members to fulfill the mission – and the power of firefighters to make such a considerable impact on others’ lives.

“Our key metric should be lives saved,” Brush added, highlighting the power of faith in connecting the fire service’s ultimate mission of saving lives with our faith in ourselves and our crewmembers to get the job done.

Janelle Foskett is the editor-in-chief of and, responsible for defining original editorial content, tracking industry trends, managing expert contributors and leading execution of special coverage efforts. She joined the Lexipol team in 2019 and has 18 years of experience in fire service media and publishing. Foskett has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and a certificate in technical communications from the University of California, San Diego. She lives in San Diego County, California. Ask questions or submit ideas via email.