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  1. #1
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    Default Questions for the new guys

    Guys...

    I am looking at remodeling the process that our volunteer fire department currently uses to train new members. At present, all new members are required to complete a Pro Board certified Firefighter I. Additionally, we have developed our own "academy" of sorts. We are a small volunteer department with a population of about 10,000. Our department has approximately 50 members. My question to you guys...

    If you entered a department with NO experience in the fire service, what would you change about your training, working relationship with senior firefighters, anything that would have helped you "learn the ropes" a little faster?

    If you entered a department as a precertified firefighter, how fast were you allowed to participate as a fully "cleared" firefighter? Did you serve any type of probationary period? What would have made your transition into your new department smoother?

    Thanks for the help guys! I look forward to your responses.
    Last edited by FFD122; 10-06-2008 at 01:55 PM. Reason: spelling


  2. #2

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    The most important things for the new guys is teaching them their specific role. Make sure that they know EVERYTHING about the equipment they use (ex. SCBA, bailout systems, radios, ect..) and stuff on the truck. Make sure they go through every peice of equipment on the truck and actually train on it, eventhough it may seem like common knowledge. Make sure they know their assignments of the seat they will be riding. a full firefighter 1 &2 course is a must, for everybodys safety !!!

    as far as fitting in as a member of the crew, that comes with time and is really baised on the caliber of your new hires...

    maybe have the recruits complete some ride time, not as a functioning member, but as an invisible rider/observer....

  3. #3
    Forum Member tnff320's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFD122 View Post

    If you entered a department with NO experience in the fire service, what would you change about your training, working relationship with senior firefighters, anything that would have helped you "learn the ropes" a little faster?

    I have actually been in both situations before. As for the first one, when I first got on, I thought training was great. But as time passed it was the same thing over and over. So it got real old when we trained on the same stuff as the first day I started.The ropes really weren't that hard to get down. We all got a short piece of rope to take home and practice all the knots, whiched helped cause I could just pick it up whenever and just tie stuff. The senior firefighters also helped out pretty well, so they were fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by FFD122 View Post

    If you entered a department as a precertified firefighter, how fast were you allowed to participate as a fully "cleared" firefighter? Did you serve any type of probationary period? What would have made your transition into your new department smoother?

    As for this part, I wasn't put on a probie period, because I had the same certs and then some as everybody else. So I was cleared whenever they decided the were going to allow me to join. The transition was pretty smooth, I really wouldn't change much.

    Hoped I helped.
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  4. #4

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    Default My suggestion

    I recently entered the fire service with no experience, and I'm still in the sort of "academy" that our county has.

    As far as senior firefighters are concerned, the guys that I like to be around are the guys that actively encourage participation. I think it's a bad idea to treat a newcomer as a pest. When you're trying to get new members, the biggest turn off is being made to feel like you're unwelcome. I'm not saying that you have to be warm and fuzzy, because the new guy does always get some ****, it's inevitable and it helps to test their mentality. But the senior firefighters who make good firefighters encourage training participation and allow the rooks to get their hands on equipment and train with it right off the bat. A good rookie is one who wants to get started TODAY, and giving him the feeling that the want him to start training to be the best possible firefighter as much as he wants to. Start training ASAP and get the new guy acquainted with as much as his mind and body can handle.

  5. #5
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    I got back in the fire service after a long break in service. We have a county recruit school all new firefighters must go through. I had a enormous amount of training from another state but decided to go through anyways to brush up and learn about all the changes since the last time I was in the fireservice. Even though I had some expereince Iwas treated like a probie and had no problems with it. The key thing I believe is to make sure they know their role as a probie and would highly recommend a mentor program with senior firefighters. Furthermore if feasible aside from normal drill maybe setup a time weekly to go over basics with probies ie: scba's, donning and doffing bunker gear, what tools are on the truck and where and how to use it. Ride time/Silent observing may not be a bad idea so they know what to expect on a run. Another key thing is observe the probies and see how they learn some learn out of a book others learn from hands on and try to accomadate as much as possible to get them up to speed quicker.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber EFDSTUSSY's Avatar
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    This sounds familiar to me, I recently reformed our recruit training program. The FD I transferred from to where I currently am had a mandatory Do-Or-Die type 10 week academy. It was good, although now looking back I see the problems we had. It's only been 5 years but it seems like forever considering the training you do AFTER recruit academy! But I definitely wanted more time, learning the "small" things such as radio procedures, where stuff goes, who does what on what type of call, and the business of the FD between calls. The one other thing was I would have liked to spend more time with the different company, and station officers to start building those crucial relationships before you ride behind them in an engine. Those are some of the things we have tried to increase training on in our recruit academy, as well as an actual class on customer service (Our BC has an awesome curriculum if you're interested), which has done some really good things for our image in the public.
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  7. #7
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    If you entered a department with NO experience in the fire service, what would you change about your training, working relationship with senior firefighters, anything that would have helped you "learn the ropes" a little faster?
    My biggest complaint when I first joined was the time it took before I could ride apparatus, even as an observer/layout man. I joined in October and the first class wasn't available until the end of Jan. I had to wait until I had finished FF1 before I could ride anything. Everybody else in the class was riding as observer and/or layout man. I've noticed that a key is getting people involved early to keep them interested.

    If you entered a department as a precertified firefighter, how fast were you allowed to participate as a fully "cleared" firefighter? Did you serve any type of probationary period? What would have made your transition into your new department smoother?
    When I changed departments, I knew a lot of people on the new department. That helped a lot. All that I was required to do was memorize where everything was on each piece of apparatus and demonstrate that to the Captain in charge of that piece. The hardest part and my only problem was finding a time when both of us were at the station at the same time.

  8. #8
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Good Points...........

    Quote Originally Posted by Eng34FF View Post
    My biggest complaint when I first joined was the time it took before I could ride apparatus, even as an observer/layout man. I joined in October and the first class wasn't available until the end of Jan. I had to wait until I had finished FF1 before I could ride anything. Everybody else in the class was riding as observer and/or layout man. I've noticed that a key is getting people involved early to keep them interested.



    When I changed departments, I knew a lot of people on the new department. That helped a lot. All that I was required to do was memorize where everything was on each piece of apparatus and demonstrate that to the Captain in charge of that piece. The hardest part and my only problem was finding a time when both of us were at the station at the same time.

    Both Good Points here. One thing that i've seen, with varying results, is the "Buddy" (Mentor would be a better description) system. When a new person joins, they are paired with an experienced member who can answer questions, offer advice, etc. While this type of Program can be quite successful, it also can have a downside, if an energetic, "Go Getter" new person is teamed up with a Couch Potato. This can be avoided if "Management" uses some care in selecting Mentors for the Recruits.


    In my area, (and 34's as well, we're only one County apart) How quick one can start riding is sometimes impacted by things that the VFD is unable to control. For Example, We use a Law Enforcement operated Background Check system. Results are sometimes slow in coming because of the amount of work that the system handles. Same with Physicals, in that a Medical Practice has a Contract to do Physical Exams for the County Government. Problem is that they do ALL of Government's work, including new hires for any Public Safety Agency. If the P.D. is setting up their next Academy Class, Volunteer Fire Applicants may have to wait for an available slot on the schedule.

    BUT, as stated above, Give the newbie SOMETHING to do to keep them interested and feeling like they are making progress.
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