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  1. #1
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    Default Is this really too much to ask for?

    A quick intro about me: I joined a major metropolitan fire department when I was 30. After 6 years, I promoted to Lieutenant. A long time friend and ex-Deputy Fire Chief met up with me after I promoted to Lieutenant and wanted to share some of his advice he gathered throughout the years. To make a long, long story short...I learned so much through our conversation and took it to my team at the firehouse. I've since moved on to a different station and my new team seems to be slightly upset about the way I "run" things.

    Do you think this is too much to ask for out of my team?

    1. I expect my team to arrive at the Firehouse no later than 0530 (we run "traditional" 0700-0700 shifts). I, personally, believe it takes at least an hour and a half to do a THOROUGH and COMPLETE check of EVERY SINGLE piece of equipment on our engine. When my team and I go in service at 0700, I expect to be able to respond to ANY call with COMPLETE assurance that our engine is 100% ready to rock-and-roll. There are a couple of firefighters that say it's "unreasonable" and "crazy" to show up at 0530.

    2. Our station answers a lot of Automatic Alarms. I expect my team to gear up COMPLETELY (bunkers, SCBA, Irons, thermal cams, etc) on EVERY AFA call. I've seen other companies who just respond in regular station wear. I think it's 100% unacceptable. There have been times where crews respond to a "routine" AFA and find a working fire...only to gear up on-scene. Jesus Christ...this is our JOB to RESPOND and be PREPARED to rock-and-roll. That "routine" AFA could be THE time. It could be THAT fire where that little kid is trapped. It's our job to respond and be prepared to act.

    3. I've noticed some crews that will take 1-2 minutes to turn-out on one of those "routine" MVAs or EMS runs. I expect my team to be (from the second of the tones) ON THE ROAD in 45 seconds day or night. Some say it's crazy to be in such a hurry. I've heard..."Mike, it's just a medical emergency. Why do you want us to run to the engine?". Again, it's our JOB and DUTY to respond in a FAST manner. Just because Locution says "Fall" or "Headache" doesn't mean it's not serious. I've seen "Gun Shot Wounds" turn into nosebleeds and "Medical Emergencies" turn into to confirmed chokings.

    4. I expect my team to buckle up. Every ride. Every time.

    5. I expect ALL our EMS bags to go in on EVERY EMS call. I expect our airway kit, AED, and general EMS bag to go in on EVERY call.

    6. Anytime we have an overtime firefighter or new rookie, I expect to sit down with them and have the infamous "BST" (as my team calls it). It's the Big Safety Talk. I explain to them that safety is EVERYONE'S responsibility. I expect ANY team member to speak up if they think something is dangerous. I explain that there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with speaking up when you think something is dangerous. Whether it's a rook telling me that he thinks what I'm doing is dangerous...or me telling a driver that he's driving dangerously. There is NO barrier when it comes to safety.



    Is that really THAT much to ask for? I'm not laid back. I don't mess around. I've got a job to do with 100% of my effort! I've had people get upset with what I expect and even one firefighter leave the house for a reassignment because he didn't like my "rules".


  2. #2
    Forum Member FIREMECH1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael232
    I've since moved on to a different station and my new team seems to be slightly upset about the way I "run" things.

    Do you think this is too much to ask for out of my team?

    1. I expect my team to arrive at the Firehouse no later than 0530 (we run "traditional" 0700-0700 shifts). I, personally, believe it takes at least an hour and a half to do a THOROUGH and COMPLETE check of EVERY SINGLE piece of equipment on our engine. When my team and I go in service at 0700, I expect to be able to respond to ANY call with COMPLETE assurance that our engine is 100% ready to rock-and-roll. There are a couple of firefighters that say it's "unreasonable" and "crazy" to show up at 0530.
    I'm going to assume this is a paid department, with a union.
    They aren't paid to start at 0530, they are paid to start at 0700. If the driver wants to come in early, say 0630, to talk with the previous shifts driver about the rig, then that is his obligation, and not yours to enforce or make mandatory. His job starts at 0700, in which his first responsibility is to go over the rig and do his morning checks. You trying to do what you posted, will get you in trouble with the Union.




    2. Our station answers a lot of Automatic Alarms. I expect my team to gear up COMPLETELY (bunkers, SCBA, Irons, thermal cams, etc) on EVERY AFA call. I've seen other companies who just respond in regular station wear. I think it's 100% unacceptable. There have been times where crews respond to a "routine" AFA and find a working fire...only to gear up on-scene. Jesus Christ...this is our JOB to RESPOND and be PREPARED to rock-and-roll. That "routine" AFA could be THE time. It could be THAT fire where that little kid is trapped. It's our job to respond and be prepared to act.
    No argument on the above. But don't go on air until you need to.

    3. I've noticed some crews that will take 1-2 minutes to turn-out on one of those "routine" MVAs or EMS runs. I expect my team to be (from the second of the tones) ON THE ROAD in 45 seconds day or night. Some say it's crazy to be in such a hurry. I've heard..."Mike, it's just a medical emergency. Why do you want us to run to the engine?". Again, it's our JOB and DUTY to respond in a FAST manner. Just because Locution says "Fall" or "Headache" doesn't mean it's not serious. I've seen "Gun Shot Wounds" turn into nosebleeds and "Medical Emergencies" turn into to confirmed chokings.
    That's a hard call. They should be out of the doors in a minute, not more than that. The Med Unit guys should be out faster.

    4. I expect my team to buckle up. Every ride. Every time.
    If they don't, pull them aside, and chew their arse off. If it's a continuing problem, latrine duty.

    5. I expect ALL our EMS bags to go in on EVERY EMS call. I expect our airway kit, AED, and general EMS bag to go in on EVERY call.
    If it's on the rig (like they should be), then there shouldn't be a problem. If it's not, then you have a problem.

    6. Anytime we have an overtime firefighter or new rookie, I expect to sit down with them and have the infamous "BST" (as my team calls it). It's the Big Safety Talk. I explain to them that safety is EVERYONE'S responsibility. I expect ANY team member to speak up if they think something is dangerous. I explain that there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with speaking up when you think something is dangerous. Whether it's a rook telling me that he thinks what I'm doing is dangerous...or me telling a driver that he's driving dangerously. There is NO barrier when it comes to safety.
    There's a line in what you say, and how you say it to the "outsider/rookie". Make them feel comfortable, and let them know what you expect of them. But don't make it into a micro-managing speech. If you do, the older guys will lose some respect and what authority you do have. There is nothing wrong with being safe. It's how you do it, that makes the difference.

    Is that really THAT much to ask for? I'm not laid back. I don't mess around. I've got a job to do with 100% of my effort! I've had people get upset with what I expect and even one firefighter leave the house for a reassignment because he didn't like my "rules".
    Only "ONE"???? Being a hard ***** is one thing, being a leader is another. You tell me which one you are.

    And so you know, I am not a FF, but lowly mechanic. But I was one over 30 yrs ago as a Marine Base Volley for almost 3 yrs. If you were my officer, I'm not sure I would have stuck around.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    from the tone of your post, it could be your approach in enforcing these rules that is the problem

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    Michael232:

    I hate this to you... but your reaching. If you have a bit of compliance, it is only because you have bluffed them so far.

    You state you are a LT. I wondering when a low-level officer (company officer) had that much stroke. You state that the crew is slightly upset. My guess is they are way past that.

    I've been around for 38 years, and I have worked for tough Captains and Chiefs. But nothing like what you lay out.

    As a Chief, I don't allow my officers to change the shift hours. The contract usually defines all of that. I don't allow LTs to move anywhere close to what you state. Captains have some latitude, but must always run it past me before they implement standards. No one can make up the rules as they go along.

    We have a Rules and Policy Committee that works on that. They make recommendations to me. If I agree, then I still must carry it past the legal dept and ultimately to the executive committee in the jurisdiction. I have the latitude to enact policy and procedures on the fly, but they are subject to review by a higher authority, depending on the situation.

    There is nothing wrong with being proactive. But the only thing that comes to mind when I read your post is... Napoleon is back.

    Here is a little advice. The company officer is not served by his crew, he must serve his crew. Don't forget where you came from. Your still alot closer to the bottom of the ladder than the top. If you wish to climb it, then you must learn to lead by example, not proclamation.

    Good luck with your command.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Where my son runs he routinely gets to work early - his choice, and chiefly to beat the brutal traffic there.

    If you expect me to show up at 0530, you'd better expect to pay me from 0530 - whether I'm a firefighter or a dishwasher. I may be dedicated to the job, but not that dedicated. Showing up an hour and a half early also means I've got to move the rest of my life up an hour and a half - including my bed time the night before I come to work - and that's an hour and a half less I get to spend with my family, etc.

    You won't get an argument from me on the seatbelts.

    Nor on full bunkers (not on air, as noted)

    Nor on taking all the EMS equipment in.

    I won't argue that a company should be out as quickly as possible, but it really needs to be because they want to, not because you said so. Try this next time the topic comes up - hand each of them a drinking straw and have them breath through it. See if that extra minute makes a difference. Learned that from an EMS instructor.

    Safety needs to be a culture, not a lecture. I'd opine that it's OK to lay out the ground rules (seat belts, etc), but a lengthy lecture is just preaching, and not many people want to be preached to. In reality, if safety is a culture with your company (and not just a fiat), then you may not need to give a "BST" at all - the members of your company will communicate that information by word and deed to new members.

    Based on how you describe yourself, I'd say you're a little over the top. Like kids with an overcritical parent, your crew will constantly test you and leave "home" at the first possible moment (as one already has). At this point, it appears you won't even know why.

    I admire your desire to excel, but leaders lead. Governance by fiat is rarely popular.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Forum Member mtg55's Avatar
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    Mike, I'd have to agree with all the above. Gear, Seat belts, EMS equipment, and safety there is no argument. I expect the same from my guys and no less. Volly or Paid. Showing up 1.5 hrs before shift uncompensated and out of contract; I don't know. Don't get me wrong, each shift should do a full inspection of the apparatus and equipment at the start of every shift, but I don't even think the AC where I used to be would have the authority to mandate that. And just keep in mind, if one of them gets injured in the firehouse and they're technically not on the clock, someone will have to answer for that. Try and change your presentation a little bit. You have expectations of them and thats great, you should. But they also have expectations of you. Buy the team lunch, sit down and hash it out. Thats part of being a TEAM. I think a lot of what you want can be accomplished with everyone coming out happy (and possibly a better team) in the end. Good luck.
    Matt G.
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    Other than the start time, the rest is understandable, though it would seem you may be ignoring the fact that your team has some experience as well. Maybe an AED is unnecessary for a broken ankle?

    But part of the problem may be you and "your team" concept. My immediate first impression is of a new young officer who's ignoring tradition completely to "straighten out" what you see as an archaic system? What are you the an officer of: an engine "team", a "truck team" or a group of sales people in telemarketing center? Team, my azz! How about your company?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael232 View Post
    A quick intro about me: I joined a major metropolitan fire department when I was 30. After 6 years, I promoted to Lieutenant. A long time friend and ex-Deputy Fire Chief met up with me after I promoted to Lieutenant and wanted to share some of his advice he gathered throughout the years. To make a long, long story short...I learned so much through our conversation and took it to my team at the firehouse. I've since moved on to a different station and my new team seems to be slightly upset about the way I "run" things.

    Do you think this is too much to ask for out of my team?

    1. I expect my team to arrive at the Firehouse no later than 0530 (we run "traditional" 0700-0700 shifts). I, personally, believe it takes at least an hour and a half to do a THOROUGH and COMPLETE check of EVERY SINGLE piece of equipment on our engine. When my team and I go in service at 0700, I expect to be able to respond to ANY call with COMPLETE assurance that our engine is 100% ready to rock-and-roll. There are a couple of firefighters that say it's "unreasonable" and "crazy" to show up at 0530.
    I would absolutely say that this is "unreasonable" and "crazy".

    First, you are likely putting your city into an untenable legal position with personnel essentially being forced to work an additional 1-1/2 hours per shift without pay.

    It's one thing to have a department wide expectation that personnel arrive a little "early" in order to prevent off-going personnel from taking in a "late call" and working over, but this sounds excessive to me.

    Second, how big is your engine that it takes 1-1/2 hours to check it?

    Third, the engine should be "100% ready to rock-and-roll" at 0700 even if you don't check a single piece of equipment. The vehicle should always be in that condition, unless you're still "cleaning up" from a call. If you feel that your crew has to come in that early to ensure that the apparatus is ready to go at 0700, then you either have a serious problem with the crew that you are relieving not doing their job properly or the problem is YOU.

    2. Our station answers a lot of Automatic Alarms. I expect my team to gear up COMPLETELY (bunkers, SCBA, Irons, thermal cams, etc) on EVERY AFA call. I've seen other companies who just respond in regular station wear. I think it's 100% unacceptable. There have been times where crews respond to a "routine" AFA and find a working fire...only to gear up on-scene. Jesus Christ...this is our JOB to RESPOND and be PREPARED to rock-and-roll. That "routine" AFA could be THE time. It could be THAT fire where that little kid is trapped. It's our job to respond and be prepared to act.
    In general, I would agree that it's not unreasonable to expect them to be properly geared up for AFA calls.

    3. I've noticed some crews that will take 1-2 minutes to turn-out on one of those "routine" MVAs or EMS runs. I expect my team to be (from the second of the tones) ON THE ROAD in 45 seconds day or night. Some say it's crazy to be in such a hurry. I've heard..."Mike, it's just a medical emergency. Why do you want us to run to the engine?". Again, it's our JOB and DUTY to respond in a FAST manner. Just because Locution says "Fall" or "Headache" doesn't mean it's not serious. I've seen "Gun Shot Wounds" turn into nosebleeds and "Medical Emergencies" turn into to confirmed chokings.
    I think "45 seconds day or night" is pushing it a little bit. Without knowing anything about your station layout, I'm not even sure if that's even feasible. If you have people running in the fire station to meet that time, I think that's a huge safety problem. NOBODY should be running in a fire station.

    In general, I see no problem with a 1-2 minute turn out time for the "routine" calls you mentioned. In fact, the "out the door" goal at my EMS side job is 2 minutes or less.

    4. I expect my team to buckle up. Every ride. Every time.
    I fully agree with this, however your positions in #1 and #2 here may be having an adverse impact on this. Is 45 seconds enough time to get to the apparatus, get fully geared up (like you expect), board the apparatus and be buckled up before the apparatus moves?

    5. I expect ALL our EMS bags to go in on EVERY EMS call. I expect our airway kit, AED, and general EMS bag to go in on EVERY call.
    Without knowing more detail regarding your equipment and the types of EMS calls you respond to (i.e. all EMS calls vs priority calls only), it's hard to say if this is truly unreasonable. However, I will say that when working EMS, the equipment I take into the building is dependent on the nature of the call and the building type/patient location within.

    6. Anytime we have an overtime firefighter or new rookie, I expect to sit down with them and have the infamous "BST" (as my team calls it). It's the Big Safety Talk. I explain to them that safety is EVERYONE'S responsibility. I expect ANY team member to speak up if they think something is dangerous. I explain that there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with speaking up when you think something is dangerous. Whether it's a rook telling me that he thinks what I'm doing is dangerous...or me telling a driver that he's driving dangerously. There is NO barrier when it comes to safety.
    I don't necessarily see a problem with doing this, however it's hard to say if you're being "over the top" with this without actually seeing the presentation.



    Is that really THAT much to ask for? I'm not laid back. I don't mess around. I've got a job to do with 100% of my effort! I've had people get upset with what I expect and even one firefighter leave the house for a reassignment because he didn't like my "rules".
    In some respects yes, in some respects no. An authoritarian leadership style often doesn't sit well with the troops, particularly if what's being asked of them is viewed as being excessive. From your tone and content here, I'm not the least bit surprised that you are getting "push back" and people leaving the crew.

    Additionally, being laid back doesn't automatically equate to messing around. I consider myself to have a somewhat "laid back" approach to things, but I expect (myself and others) to follow the rules, do their job properly and give 100% effort. Being "laid back" also doesn't mean that a person doesn't have the ability to be "serious" when needed or appropriate to.

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    Is this for real?

    How old are you and how long have you been a firefighter?

    I think the acronym "BST" is taking on a different meaning when you are giving it. This may be good for the rookies but for a seasoned guy who is on overtime?

    You also cannot force anyone to work 1.5 hours longer without paying them. Also in some states that could be considered "callout" time where you would have to pay them for a minimum of 3 hours.

    And for the other stuff, maybe you career guys can jump in, but isn't there department policies or contract which states what regulations need to be met for response time, equipment and etc? If so what you demand is pointless, the only thing you can demand is what the policies/contract state.

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    I like FM1's style, so this might be long...

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael232 View Post
    Do you think this is too much to ask for out of my team?

    1. I expect my team to arrive at the Firehouse no later than 0530 (we run "traditional" 0700-0700 shifts). I, personally, believe it takes at least an hour and a half to do a THOROUGH and COMPLETE check of EVERY SINGLE piece of equipment on our engine. When my team and I go in service at 0700, I expect to be able to respond to ANY call with COMPLETE assurance that our engine is 100% ready to rock-and-roll. There are a couple of firefighters that say it's "unreasonable" and "crazy" to show up at 0530.
    Horribly out of line. Here we generally relieve about an hour ahead (scheduled 0800/1800) and are considered a bum if you don't. BUT, big BUT, we have member-for-member relief, meaning if I come in an hour ahead, the guy I'm relieving can get out an hour ahead. If my relief is a bum and shows up on the dot, then I eat the hour, but it's rare, and I'll hit traffic one day and it'll even out in the long run. Sounds like you don't have the same relief - they're stuck until 0700 no matter what. So you're asking them for a 25.5 hour shift, but only paying them 24, with no flex time built in. For what? If the equipment doesn't work, adapt/overcome. If it was OK for the other shift, should be OK for you. Yes, check for yourself in case something happened to it, the other platoon didn't, or whatever. But checking the equipment is part of the job, and shouldn't be a charitable contribution. Sounds like that's what you're asking. Actually, it sounds like what you're asking is criminal to me. As in "theft of services" of your members by not compensating them.

    2. Our station answers a lot of Automatic Alarms. I expect my team to gear up COMPLETELY (bunkers, SCBA, Irons, thermal cams, etc) on EVERY AFA call. I've seen other companies who just respond in regular station wear. I think it's 100% unacceptable. There have been times where crews respond to a "routine" AFA and find a working fire...only to gear up on-scene. Jesus Christ...this is our JOB to RESPOND and be PREPARED to rock-and-roll. That "routine" AFA could be THE time. It could be THAT fire where that little kid is trapped. It's our job to respond and be prepared to act.
    Ok. But are you bringing your hoses, adapters, etc. with you as well? Why, you might need them if it's something! We have a system that works for us, everyone gears up, and takes a tool. Sometimes you've got to know when leaving something on the truck is still close enough to not matter. Different than if incident's remote from where truck is parked.

    3. I've noticed some crews that will take 1-2 minutes to turn-out on one of those "routine" MVAs or EMS runs. I expect my team to be (from the second of the tones) ON THE ROAD in 45 seconds day or night. Some say it's crazy to be in such a hurry. I've heard..."Mike, it's just a medical emergency. Why do you want us to run to the engine?". Again, it's our JOB and DUTY to respond in a FAST manner. Just because Locution says "Fall" or "Headache" doesn't mean it's not serious. I've seen "Gun Shot Wounds" turn into nosebleeds and "Medical Emergencies" turn into to confirmed chokings.
    Understandable to a point. I was going to blast you, until I realized you're talking "shoe runs" (what we call EMS runs). We have two categories of accident though, "MVC" - shoe run, "MVA" - entrapment/otherwise bad MVC. After one bad experience, all MVCs are MVAs until proven otherwise, so I will gear up for them.

    4. I expect my team to buckle up. Every ride. Every time.
    OK.

    5. I expect ALL our EMS bags to go in on EVERY EMS call. I expect our airway kit, AED, and general EMS bag to go in on EVERY call.
    OK. All our EMS is one bag (BLS FRC only) and the AED. So we do the same. But, we don't bring (say) a spine board on every run, even ones sent as "trauma". See closing comments for #2 vs. when you get on scene and then have to walk 1/2 mile to get to patient.

    6. Anytime we have an overtime firefighter or new rookie, I expect to sit down with them and have the infamous "BST" (as my team calls it). It's the Big Safety Talk. I explain to them that safety is EVERYONE'S responsibility. I expect ANY team member to speak up if they think something is dangerous. I explain that there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with speaking up when you think something is dangerous. Whether it's a rook telling me that he thinks what I'm doing is dangerous...or me telling a driver that he's driving dangerously. There is NO barrier when it comes to safety.
    For a rookie, yeah I could see a thorough BST. Presumably you'd be sitting them down to go over your expectations of them, what theirs should be of you, etc., and this is a good chance to do so. But OT/detail/MXT, especially a vet, shouldn't need it. Them you should simply say "if you see anything wrong or unsafe, speak up" or whatever. If it is not your dept. culture to speak up, some more elaboration may be warranted. But they don't need a lecture, especially from someone with "less time on than they have in the station toilet" .

    Is that really THAT much to ask for? I'm not laid back. I don't mess around. I've got a job to do with 100% of my effort! I've had people get upset with what I expect and even one firefighter leave the house for a reassignment because he didn't like my "rules".
    As others have pointed out, it's one thing to have groundrules, it's another to have RULES. Don't be Napolean or a d!ck - if you have the respect of your men, you shouldn't have to be. If you have to use rank to get the men to do something, you've failed as an officer. From the tone of your post it sounds like you run a dictatorship. They're supposed to be professionals, so let them prove it to you.

    You also sound like a micro-manager. We had a training exercise with our marine unit recently. Which command would you respond to better? 'Marine unit, get the 5" line to the shore' or 'Marine unit, tie a rope to the 5" line and use your Zodiac to bring the rope to shore so the 5" line can be pulled in.' Both commands get the job done. The second was the one issued, and EVERYONE involved in the exercise was talking about the chief who gave it. Do things HAVE to be done your way to accomplish the mission?

    Why are you NOT laid back? Most of the best officers I have known, know when to be laid back and when to "switch on" to officer mode. It's one thing to be all business on a fireground, but in station when it's just you and your guys, well, they're supposed to be your brothers, right? I'm not saying to run a frat house or anything, just relax. If you can't enjoy the down times, it's just all stress all the time. The guy who left - was he a decent FF? If he was a bum, he left because he now has to work - OK. If he wasn't a bum, he left because you're a bad officer - something needs to change.
    Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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    From my reading, this may be another case of command vs leadership (and if you don't know the difference, I would suggest from everyone's sake that you give up your officer seat).

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    Requiring your guys to work extra hours would last about 1 shift around here. Then the Union Pres would call you up, and "cease and desist" would be part of the conversation.
    Bottom line is it's "your" crew, you can run it however you want.
    But if it doesn't make common sense, don't expect people to follow your lead.

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    Trying to strong arm your men to come in early is way out of line and Im surprised no one's called you on it. As long as they're not late let it go.
    Expecting the men to be in full gear is not unreasonable just tell them and if they don't, "remind" them. They will get the picture.
    I had an officer who stated many times, when the door closes the piece rolls and many times he would leave guys and read the riot act when he returned. Well to make a long story short everybody started taking their time to get to the piece and make him look like an arse. Remember we're adults and treating adults like children will cause a reaction totally against what you hope for.
    Also running to the engine? WHY? I know a guy who shattered his ankle trying to run to the piece and for what? If you don't get there you're no good.
    As for giving a BST, again for what? You don't give your men any credit. Trust me the other firefighters will tell him/her how you're like. Peer Pressure works the best. The best one I ever heard was a senior man (Citywide 123) said just watch the officer and follow his lead and you can't go wrong.
    Don't become the officer who everybody dislikes (your rep is already travelling around your job). What will end up happening is nobody will want to work with you and your retirement party will be held in a phone booth.
    Getting the job done and being a tyrant are two different things. Praise in public & discipline in private. If you're going to be a "Boss", all that will happen is you will get the bare minimum and nothing more. Your men can make you look like an idiot real quick and real easy.
    At present, if you were one of my officers I would "encourage" you to transfer to another District.
    Relax, find what motivates your men and key on it. Let them know what you want and get out of their way, you might find out that they know what they're doing.
    The arse you bite, you might have to kiss it when it goes by you.

  14. #14
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    I have been sitting here for 10 minutes trying to think of the best way to word what I have to say.

    Basically this topic makes me sick. When you choose to lead from a position of fear, you arent leading. True leaders become what they are because people WANT to follow them. It may be out of respect, devotion, admiration, loyalty or trust. BUT NEVER FEAR! I can only guess that the tone you use with the men is the same you spew in your post. If that is the case, they arent following you because youre a leader. They follow you because of your rank. The best officers I have ever worked with act like one of the guys but never need to remind you who is boss.

    I use to work at a station where the officers office was located off of the kitchen. There was never a problem until an officer decided he needed to post a sign on the door that stated "This office has an open door policy but if the door is closed, Knock." I didnt disagree with the policy behind the sign, just the attitude the officer displayed when he hung it. The decision was made by some members to hang there own sign on the other side of the door. It stated "This kitchen has an open door policy but if the door is closed, Knock." Funny thing, both signs were removed at the same time.

    I have a feeling that if you were my officer, you might be seeing some "signs" as well.

    Is this really too much to ask for? It doesnt sound like youre asking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael232 View Post
    I've since moved on to a different station and my new team seems to be slightly upset about the way I "run" things.

    Do you think this is too much to ask for out of my team?
    Team?? Where is the team in your concept? Are you assigned only rookies? You better dial it back a bit before the chief has to do and intervention. If this is a seasoned crew you can bet you will have your hands full. Of course they could all be screw ups and you are the only worthy fire fighter on the crew. Ya' think?

    Your first mandate is the reason we have unions.

  16. #16
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    What everybody else said There is a lot of good advice on this thread. I think if you apply it, you will make out alright. Did you ever hear the saying "You can catch more flies with honey than you can with vinegar"?

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    From one Lt to another,

    I'd chill the f*** out. I think you lack something called Brotherhood.

    Instead of influencing the further loss of brotherhood in the fire service start building it back up with your crew.

  18. #18
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael232 View Post
    1. I expect my team to arrive at the Firehouse no later than 0530 (we run "traditional" 0700-0700 shifts).
    If the work day starts at 0700, then they should be there ready to work by 0700. They're not getting paid to work at 0530 and it's unreasonable to expect them to do so.


    I, personally, believe it takes at least an hour and a half to do a THOROUGH and COMPLETE check of EVERY SINGLE piece of equipment on our engine.
    Then it needs to be done on-duty. Not before. Equipment checks should be the first order of the day but it's unreasonable to expect them to be done off-duty.

    There are a couple of firefighters that say it's "unreasonable" and "crazy" to show up at 0530.
    I agree.

    2. Our station answers a lot of Automatic Alarms. I expect my team to gear up COMPLETELY (bunkers, SCBA, Irons, thermal cams, etc) on EVERY AFA call.
    Agreed. Otherwise they're going to seriously regret it the first time it's actually a fire.

    3. I've noticed some crews that will take 1-2 minutes to turn-out on one of those "routine" MVAs or EMS runs. I expect my team to be (from the second of the tones) ON THE ROAD in 45 seconds day or night.
    Unreasonable. The typical "best response" with bunker gear, assuming a small station where everyone is within 50' of the engine all the time, is going to average ~70-75 seconds. 90% of your responses should be under 90 seconds. Add another 10 seconds for every additional 50' of foot travel distance to the engine and an average of 40 seconds if the crew is asleep when the call comes in.

    Response should be prompt and deliberate but not hurried to the point of recklessness. For instance, the only time a firefighter should run is during PT -- never in the station or on the fireground.

    4. I expect my team to buckle up. Every ride. Every time.
    Agreed. That means buckled in before the engine rolls and until it stops. No exceptions to gear up enroute; that happens before getting on the engine and donning SCBA happens on scene if it can't be donned while buckled.

    5. I expect ALL our EMS bags to go in on EVERY EMS call. I expect our airway kit, AED, and general EMS bag to go in on EVERY call.
    That really depends on how your bags are set up.

    6. Anytime we have an overtime firefighter or new rookie, I expect to sit down with them and have the infamous "BST" (as my team calls it). It's the Big Safety Talk.
    As long as it doesn't get pedantic, good idea.

    Is that really THAT much to ask for?
    Some yes; some no. You're on the right track, you just need to tone down some of the unreasonable expectations.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Without going into any details that have been covered by everybody else so far I will just say this:

    A good officer does not have the mindset that it is "my team", a good officer knows that he has been given the opportunity to lead "the team".
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

  20. #20
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    1. I expect my team to arrive at the Firehouse no later than 0530 (we run "traditional" 0700-0700 shifts). I, personally, believe it takes at least an hour and a half to do a THOROUGH and COMPLETE check of EVERY SINGLE piece of equipment on our engine. When my team and I go in service at 0700, I expect to be able to respond to ANY call with COMPLETE assurance that our engine is 100% ready to rock-and-roll. There are a couple of firefighters that say it's "unreasonable" and "crazy" to show up at 0530.

    Yes it is unreasonable to demand they arrive 90 minutes early. It is not unreasonable to expect the crew to be in uniform and ready to ride by starting time. You are only a LT. You do not institute contractual policy, you enforce and obey it.
    .............................. .............................. .............................. .............

    2. Our station answers a lot of Automatic Alarms. I expect my team to gear up COMPLETELY (bunkers, SCBA, Irons, thermal cams, etc) on EVERY AFA call.

    Fine

    Jesus Christ...this is our JOB to RESPOND and be PREPARED to rock-and-roll. That "routine" AFA could be THE time. It could be THAT fire where that little kid is trapped. It's our job to respond and be prepared to act.

    Yes..you fight what others fear.
    .............................. .............................. .............................. .............

    3. I've noticed some crews that will take 1-2 minutes to turn-out on one of those "routine" MVAs or EMS runs. I expect my team to be (from the second of the tones) ON THE ROAD in 45 seconds day or night.

    And do you have a BST talk if they're on the toilet and take more than 51 seconds to wipe?

    Some say it's crazy to be in such a hurry. I've heard..."Mike, it's just a medical emergency. Why do you want us to run to the engine?". .

    If a guy falls because of mandatory running to the rig are you going to stand up and say, "I told them to run all the time. It's what I want them to do."
    .............................. .............................. .............................. .............

    4. I expect my team to buckle up. Every ride. Every time.

    Ok
    .............................. .............................. .............................. ..............

    5. I expect ALL our EMS bags to go in on EVERY EMS call. I expect our airway kit, AED, and general EMS bag to go in on EVERY call.

    Don't know your EMS situation so I won't comment.
    .............................. .............................. .............................. ..............

    6. Anytime we have an overtime firefighter or new rookie, I expect to sit down with them and have the infamous "BST" (as my team calls it). It's the Big Safety Talk. I explain to them that safety is EVERYONE'S responsibility. I expect ANY team member to speak up if they think something is dangerous. I explain that there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with speaking up when you think something is dangerous. Whether it's a rook telling me that he thinks what I'm doing is dangerous...or me telling a driver that he's driving dangerously. There is NO barrier when it comes to safety.

    Driving dangerously. . ok

    OT seasoned guy should take about a minute to get him up to speed ( high rise pack, band aid bag location, 2nd/3rd due assignment,etc)
    Rookie..about a minute and a half. "Stick next to me and you'll be fine". Say what's expected, any questions. Then have him go over the rig with the driver who will also explain company issues.

    .............................. .............................. .............................. ............

    ... I'm not laid back. I don't mess around....
    I've had people get upset with what I expect and even one firefighter leave the house for a reassignment because he didn't like my "rules".

    He might not be the last.
    It seems like you really don't respect your crew, just use them as tools for your position.


    I hope you read everyones comments...not just look at them and brush them off. There's good advise.
    Good luck

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