I had the distinct pleasure to interview Ryan Sutter. Ryan was Trista’s choice on the original season of “The Bachelor.” Since then, he has been a fire service professional, a competitor on “American Ninja Warrior,” a home remodeler — and most importantly, a loyal father and husband. He’s also doing a special partnership with BIC to harness his fire expertise and shine the spotlight on an important issue — lighter safety.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Ryan! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to your fascinating career path — one that’s spanned fire service, reality TV, fitness competitions, home remodeling, parenting and more?
There really isn’t much of a story to it. I enjoy adventure, challenge and experiences. All of these, in some way, satisfy those categories. The fire service was an opportunity to do something meaningful as a profession while also providing plenty of time to be thoroughly engaged in life. It just worked out.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you during your years in fire service?
Towards the end of my career we received a call for a semi-truck that had crashed. Upon further investigation, the vehicle had lost its breaks, crossed four lanes of traffic, ran up a hill side and launched into a canyon. The truck, carrying corn, landed with its cab about 100 feet down in the river, upside down in a waterfall and on fire. I was the technical rescue coordinator and thus the first person to repel down into the canyon. When I reached the bottom of the canyon it was apparent that this single call encompassed multiple disciplines within fire and rescue. It was a truck fire, hazardous materials incident, swift water incident, wildland fire and eventually an extrication — all 100 feet into a steep canyon. The entire call took two days to complete and another to remove the truck from the river via crane.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The funniest mistake I first made was probably returning to work after the Bachelorette. Not only did I receive a tremendous amount of grief for it from the department, we experienced a rash of false alarms due to people pulling fire alarms hoping I would show up. Luckily, I don’t believe that mistake will ever repeat itself!
Can you describe how your work is making a significant social impact?
I worked in fire service for more than 17 years — and I’ve learned that no matter what our profession is, we all want our loved ones to be safe. So the work I’m doing with BIC Lighters is a small way to improve the way we approach fire safety. A new survey shows that 77% of Americans don’t realize that all safety standards, aside from requiring a child-resistant feature, are voluntary. It also showed that more than 80% of Americans don’t know that most pocket lighters are NOT tested extensively for safety. And less than HALF (only 48%) say their child has been taught about pocket lighter safety.
Are there three things the community can do help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?
There are a few simple yet vital things people can do to be safer around lighters and instill the same in their children:
- Store lighters out of sight and reach of children, in a secure location and talk to kids about lighters. Teach them to tell an adult immediately if they find a lighter or matches, and not to touch them. Not all parents own lighters. Even if you do not have a pocket lighter in your home, a child could encounter one almost anywhere.
- Only purchase lighters that meet key safety standards. Choose a brand you trust, (such as BIC Lighters they undergo more than 50 separate, automatic quality checks throughout the manufacturing process), which are guaranteed to meet or exceed all recommended and mandatory safety requirements.
- Never use a lighter if it’s been compromised in any way, for example, after exposure to excessive heat or prolonged sunlight, or in violation of the warnings and instructions accompanying the lighters.
How do you define “Leadership”? Can you explain what you mean or give an example?
Leadership is in some way, shape or fashion earning the trust of another so that they’d follow you into danger without question or hesitation.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Good question. Maybe I would inspire a movement in which every person picked up one piece of trash every day, threw it into a trash can and, while doing so, consciously thought of one new thing to be grateful for. “One piece for peace” movement.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“My dear, in the midst of hate, I found there was, within me, an invincible love… In the midst of chaos, I found there was, within me, and invincible calm. I realized, through it all, that… in the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushed against me, within me, there’s something stronger… something better pushing right back.”
~ Albert Camus
I like this because it motivates me to persevere knowing that by doing so, I build both strength and purpose.
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