New Rookie

I talked to a devastated candidate at a written test. This paramedic had been hired with four other medics by a good fire department. After four months he was fired. He said he thought things were going fine. Then, the captain started telling him that the...


If you don't start out on the right foot, they will show you the door. The crew already knows more about you than you think before you show up.

I talked to a devastated candidate at a written test. This paramedic had been hired with four other medics by a good fire department. After four months he was fired. He said he thought things were going fine. Then, the captain started telling him that the other firefighters didn't like some things he was saying, started counseling and documenting him for not taking down the flag, rolling up the hose, etc. He said he was busy doing other assignments. The writing was on the wall.

I asked him what the other new rookies were doing? He said they were too busy kissing ass. My only reply was, "I hope you learned that if you were too busy kissing ass, you wouldn't be trying to get another job!"

A large agency BC was sitting on a recent oral board for medics only. Twenty-five candidates came through his oral board that had been fired by other departments. When they were asked why they were let go, they answered it was a conflict of interest. In his mind he said yea it was you. If you can't keep your mouth shut, learn and do you job once you hit the floor for a year, why should we take a chance on you.

What you do when you first start out will set your reputation and follow you throughout your career. If you don't start out on the right foot, they will show you the door. The crew already knows more about you than you think before you show up.

Use these standards during station visits, your interview process, and as a new rookie to demonstrate you already know what to do when hired:

You're a snotty nose rookie. Keep your mouth shut. Be cordial, friendly and humble. You have no time or opinion until you earn it. You can't force it. That will come with a lot of calls and a few fires.

Cell phones are causing problems for candidates and rookies. I can't believe the stories I'm hearing. Candidates are carrying their cell phones to written tests. A candidate was in a department academy and his cell phone starts to ring. He told the training officer, can you hold on a minute, I have a call. Yeah, right. The training officer told the class the next time he hears a cell phone go off, they were going to play who can throw the cell phone the furthest.

On an emergency call, the BC was trying to raise dispatch without success on the radio. The rookie took his cell phone, speed dialed dispatch and handed his cell phone to the BC. Cute? Smart? Innovative? That's not the reception he received.

Rookies are carrying their cell phones and crackberry's on duty. Their phone rings, they answer it and go right into cell yell with their friends and relatives. Wives, girl friends and dysfunctional others call all day long with important stuff and to do pillow talk. Cell phones are ringing in locker rooms. Some try to be cool by putting their cell phones on vibrate or stun. Even though they might not answer them when they go off, they still pick them up to check the caller ID or the text message. Then when they think no one is looking, they slip off and return the call. THIS IS DUMB! These are not part of your emergency issue.

This will not get you off on the right foot. Big clue here. Leave the electronic leashes off and in your vehicle, along with your piercings, until a time where all your duties are complete. No matter what you might think and how friendly everyone seems to be, you are being watched! It could hurt you big time.

If you have an emergency situation, ask your officer if you can carry your phone because you are expecting an emergency call.

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