1. #1
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    Default Trying to make change where it is needed.

    I am on a dept that is small and needs some up dating. I have been on for a while and love what I am doing but the way the dept is being ran. (crap) I have to way to figure out a way to convince the the bosses to try to change there ways. Get away from the good ol boy bull s**t. My biggest concern is drills. It is becoming a waste of time to even show up. The point of drill is to practice learn new things refresh. I have not seen that in six mouths. This is tip of the ice burg . I would continue but by the time I was done I would have a book writen. Basicly what can I do as a little ol firefighter.

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    Good luck. Many depts. face this challenge. Usually from bosses that have never read a NIOSH fatality report and if they did they know it will never happen to them. " We have always done it that way" is their mantra but nothing will change until someone gets hurt. Find a better dept. One who cares for the safety of their members and their residents. Life is to short to keep spinning your wheels in vain.
    Ed
    Last edited by penman; 05-07-2009 at 08:45 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by losixtream View Post
    I am on a dept that is small and needs some up dating. I have been on for a while and love what I am doing but the way the dept is being ran. (crap) I have to way to figure out a way to convince the the bosses to try to change there ways. Get away from the good ol boy bull s**t. My biggest concern is drills. It is becoming a waste of time to even show up. The point of drill is to practice learn new things refresh. I have not seen that in six mouths. This is tip of the ice burg . I would continue but by the time I was done I would have a book writen. Basicly what can I do as a little ol firefighter.
    The first thing that I would recommend is to step up and take a leadership position. You don't have to be the Cheif, but you can start to make a difference in lower positions. You specifically mention drills. Step up and volunteer to lead or plan a drill. Take people out and drill whenever there are enough people at the station. Start small and lead by example.

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    All departments suffer from this situation in one way, shape or form. I would agree with Eng 34 here. Work from within by achieving a postion of leadership.
    A little adivse on that though.
    1) Don't expect or demand instant gratification. Change in the fire service or any organization with an entrenched way of doing things, takes time...and perseverance. As you move up, or even if you can just build respect and influence over time, try to "groom" upcoming members to your way of thinking and build alliances to acheive the changes that are necessary. Sounds like alot of political BS I know but it is in most cases, the way things work. Here's one more tip on working with others..when all goes well it's WE, when things go bad it's ME.
    2) Change is a difficult thing for one very important and emotional reason among others. When someone calls for a change, even a small one, it implies that something is wrong...which in may cases it is...but no one likes to be told they are wrong. Human nature is to become comfortable with the way things are, and if I'm comfortable and you say I must change, well that means that I must be doing something wrong..and woe onto anyone who says I'M wrong even if they're "right". Remember too that any changes will most likely require stepping on some toes which will illicit a reaction. Show no anger or disrespect when disagreed with.
    3) Choose your battles. If there is no interest in one aspect then move on to the next...you can revisit anything once you have gained support and have had some proven successes, even small ones. Make a plan and seperate that which is readily achieveable from that which will require a long term approach. Also simply talk to your fellow members about what THEY see as problems that need addressing...you may be suprised to find that you are not alone.
    4) Maybe most important of all. Change for the sake of change is counterproductive at best. Know what exactly it is that's wrong or needs updating before trying to change anything. Keep personal views as far removed from the process as possible...in other words just because you don't agree with something or think it's the "right" way doesn't mean it needs changing. Do your homework, research facts, figures ect ect to build your " case" and be as objective as possible in presenting it. Many times people react negatively if they percieve a personal agenda at work.

    Hope this helps a little

    Good luck

    Cogs
    Last edited by FFPCogs08; 05-07-2009 at 09:55 AM.

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    First thing you have to do is take the horses out of the stations and to a farm miles away.

    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFPCogs08 View Post
    All departments suffer from this situation in one way, shape or form. I would agree with Eng 34 here. Work from within by achieving a postion of leadership.
    A little adivse on that though.
    1) Don't expect or demand instant gratification. Change in the fire service or any organization with an entrenched way of doing things, takes time...and perseverance. As you move up, or even if you can just build respect and influence over time, try to "groom" upcoming members to your way of thinking and build alliances to acheive the changes that are necessary. Sounds like alot of political BS I know but it is in most cases, the way things work. Here's one more tip on working with others..when all goes well it's WE, when things go bad it's ME.
    2) Change is a difficult thing for one very important and emotional reason among others. When someone calls for a change, even a small one, it implies that something is wrong...which in may cases it is...but no one likes to be told they are wrong. Human nature is to become comfortable with the way things are, and if I'm comfortable and you say I must change, well that means that I must be doing something wrong..and woe onto anyone who says I'M wrong even if they're "right". Remember too that any changes will most likely require stepping on some toes which will illicit a reaction. Show no anger or disrespect when disagreed with.
    3) Choose your battles. If there is no interest in one aspect then move on to the next...you can revisit anything once you have gained support and have had some proven successes, even small ones. Make a plan and seperate that which is readily achieveable from that which will require a long term approach. Also simply talk to your fellow members about what THEY see as problems that need addressing...you may be suprised to find that you are not alone.
    4) Maybe most important of all. Change for the sake of change is counterproductive at best. Know what exactly it is that's wrong or needs updating before trying to change anything. Keep personal views as far removed from the process as possible...in other words just because you don't agree with something or think it's the "right" way doesn't mean it needs changing. Do your homework, research facts, figures ect ect to build your " case" and be as objective as possible in presenting it. Many times people react negatively if they percieve a personal agenda at work.

    Hope this helps a little

    Good luck

    Cogs

    Excellent advice here. I noticed another post you mentioned something about changing how the attack line is racked. There may be a better way, but people all over the country use different attack line setups and make them work. It comes down to a little bit of personal preference.

    Try to separate personal preferences from things that really need to be changed. That's part of picking your battles.

    You don't mention how long you've been on the department or what previous experience you have. Make sure you spend enough time to get a feel for what is happening and why things are done the way they are. People are very resistant to the new guy trying to change everything, especially if they keep saying that their last department did it this way.

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    Show how different things can work too. Next time at work ask if a crew can "try" something else. Show them how it works and explain the benefits. Maybe a few or even alot of guys might catch on and like your idea. You then, also gain some credability. I have gotten a few things changed like this in my dept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    First thing you have to do is take the horses out of the stations and to a farm miles away.

    Unless the horse is dead they will find their way back time after time after time. May need to shoot them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Unless the horse is dead they will find their way back time after time after time. May need to shoot them.
    I think we've proven that even the dead ones need to be beaten from time to time.

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    Why not volunteer to lead one of the training sessions on a topic. Then at least you know one of them will be good. Plus maybe you'll get others interested in doing better on their co drills. There are tons of drills out their to choose from. Also suggest in a subtle way to have some guest speakers come in and teach some drills. For example like the gas and power company on what to do on lines down and gas leak calls. Or some one from the local propane dealership or maybe someone on farm machinery. Some of the extrication equipment dealers will come and do a class on the chance you might buy from them.

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    Find members who feel the same way you do. Talk to them. Develop a relationship. Talk among yourself.

    More than likely each of them know one or two other members who feel how you do.

    Develop a group. Propses changes not as one person, but as a group.

    Use subtle hints like "just sotra" leaving a magazine article in a trade magazine about a change or idea open on the coffee table.

    Talk as a group in the bay about a change so that one of the old guards can "overhear" the conversation, and more importantly, can "overhear" that is is a group idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by losixtream View Post
    I am on a dept that is small and needs some up dating. I have been on for a while and love what I am doing but the way the dept is being ran. (crap) I have to way to figure out a way to convince the the bosses to try to change there ways. Get away from the good ol boy bull s**t. My biggest concern is drills. It is becoming a waste of time to even show up. The point of drill is to practice learn new things refresh. I have not seen that in six mouths. This is tip of the ice burg . I would continue but by the time I was done I would have a book writen. Basicly what can I do as a little ol firefighter.
    Change always begins "at home," so to speak. Be sure you are setting the example for all of the things you want to see improved. Be prepared to along the way get teased about being "gung ho" while the others lay back and pretend they look cool. My specific suggestion for action is to begin occasionally inviting another member to meet you at the station to drive the trucks, wash the trucks, inspect SCBA, etc. Establish relationships and a group of supporters behind the scenes. Next thing you know one of them might speak up at a meeting.

    I learned the hard way that I could not bully my ways and ideas onto the department. I paid for it for years and, in some ways, still pay for it.

    Good luck.

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    Let people see you are serious about positive change, one way to do this is to get classes and certifications on your own time , you can use this to build credibility and knowledge so you can back your "change" up with facts and skill. You can also approach the “old guard” and express your desire to take a more active role in the dept, as an officer I love nothing more than when a firefighter steps up and shows initiative.
    Totally Unacceptable !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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