The Value of Mentorship

How many mentors have guided you throughout your career?

Mentorship is vital to the future succession planning of the fire service. Everyone can positively benefit from having a mentor. Mentorship is how we bring continuous improvement to our profession. There is value in having an established advisor in your life to offer you counsel and guidance throughout your career.

I have immensely benefited from the sound guidance from my valued mentors throughout my career. The ability to have someone to call and ask for help is vital and extremely necessary, regardless of rank, title, or position. Mentorship transcends the firefighter classification and applies to all in our profession. Mentoring is critical, especially when developing a career action plan with your mentor for future succession planning.

I am the product of my mentors. My successes are their successes, and my failures are also their failures. Through each, I share the burden of failure or the joy of success with my mentors. The value of having a mentor can be the difference between success and failure.

The mentorship continuum is exemplified when you transcend the role of mentee and become a mentor. The mentorship continuum comprises of an initial investment that is reinvested into a mentee. Mentorship is how we leave the fire service better for future generations. My mentors have demonstrated through their example of mentorship how to pay it forward and invest in the future.

Mentorship is simply coming along the side of someone and assisting them throughout their fire service career. How many mentors have guided you throughout your fire service career? Have you called your mentors recently to acknowledge and express your gratitude in the value of their mentorship? We honor our mentors when we return their investments into the future generations of the fire service. It’s what we do; we mentor each other.


Chris Baker has over thirteen years of experience in volunteer, combination, and career, fire departments in California. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Anthropology and Associates of Science Degree in Fire Service Command, Company Officer. Chris is a California State Fire Training Certified Fire Officer, Driver-Operator, Fire Instructor, and Lead Firefighter I Certification Evaluator. He has over nine years of teaching experience in the California Community Colleges System as an Adjunct Instructor in the EMS discipline, Firefighter 1 Academy Instructor, Fire Science Instructor and Adjunct Instructor at the Fresno City College, Career Technology Center, Accredited Regional Training Program. Chris is a member of the California Fire Technology Directors’ Association and the California Training Officers Association. He served as a volunteer Peer Reviewer on the FY 2017 Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response Grants (SAFER) for both hiring and recruitment/retention. Chris also served as a Peer Reviewer on the FY 2017 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and the FY 2018 Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG). He is a Volunteer Advocate Regional Manager, Region IX (CA, NV, AZ, HI) for the Everyone Goes Home Program through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Chris also serves as a volunteer member of the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Safety, Health and Survival Section serving in their staging area. He was a member of the 2018 and 2019 Safety Stand Down committees. Chris is a member of the Fire Department Safety Officers Association (FDSOA). He is a member of the Board of Directors and Public Information Officer (PIO) for the National Fire Heritage Center located in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Chris is the co-host of the Fire Engineering: The Future Firefighter Podcast. He writes blog articles published through Firefighter Nation and the Fire Engineering Training Community on mentoring the future generations of the fire service.

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