Learning from Dark Days with Chad Costa

Every firefighter can recall the worst incidents in his or her career—you know, the ones that made a serious impact on their psyche.

They may not have realized it at the time, but these are the days that helped shape their philosophy.

You might remember that I was a helicopter pilot years ago. In flying, we call these kinds of days the times we “scared ourselves.”

You invariably learn some lessons from those times, and usually, humility is one of them. The realization that you could have had a very bad day is burned into your mind.

Then there are the days and weeks or even months where things just go badly. The ones where we question if we’re meant to do the job in the first place. The ones that keep us awake at night, wondering, “what if…?”

My guest today has experienced both of these situations, and he has the benefit of a long career to measure their value. He’s here to discuss what happened, how it affected him, and the lessons learned.

Chad Costa is a returning guest to Code 3. He’s an assistant chief for the city of Petaluma, California Fire Department. He has two decades in the fire service, covering diverse territories from city to rural districts.


Chad’s article: ‘The darkest days of my career’ prompt an important realization

Chad’s article: ‘I could hear trusses failing’: The incident that truly humbled me