1. #1
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    Question How to be a good Explorer?

    Hello. I'm an explorer with a large career fire department. I've been an explorer for about two years now and have been riding-along for about one and a half years now. I've learned a lot through riding-out and also from talking to the firefighters.

    The department I'm an explorer is the department I would like to get hired on with later on in life. I've learned that the first impression I make is really important as any of the people I come in contact with just might be on an interview panel/board later on in when I apply.

    I would be interested in learning from some of members here on how I can become a better explorer when I ride out (and in general).

    I've established that I am absolutely nothing when I come to the firehouse. I realize that I'm not a rookie. In fact, I'm about a 20 notches below a rookie. I have a good attitude and use my manners (yes sir, please, thank you, etc) and try to learn as much as I can.

    Normally when I ride out...my day ends up something like this:

    1. Arrive at the station and make sure there is coffee brewing. I'll make sure the paper is on the table and that the table is clean. I'll clean up any messes on the table or inside the kitchen. (We're only allowed to ride from 9AM-10PM so when I arrive, breakfast is already done).

    2. After that, I'll immediately start to clean the restrooms and make sure they're clean. Learning from a veteran firefighter...I leave the soap in the toilet...lol.

    3. I'll sweep and mop the whole station. After that, I'll usually start to clean windows and make sure that there are no little messes around the station (like ants all over a piece of dropped candy).

    4. I'll wash the engine and ambulance and make sure it's clean.

    5. After that's been done...it's usually around 3-4PM. I'll find something to clean or work on. If I need a break (which I usually do from working non-stop), I'll read a book like Essentials and ask when I don't understand something.

    6. When we do get a call, I'm always first in the engine. I'll go ahead and open up the garage so the driver doesn't have to. I make sure I've got gloves on (provided it's an EMS call) and I'll buckle up. When we do get to the scene of a call, I'll grab our ALS bag, oxygen bag, and AED (depending on the call-type). I'll carry the equipment back out to the engine and make sure no officer is ever carrying equipment.

    7. When we get back to the firehouse, I'll jump out of the engine and help back the engine up. I'll plug in the Plymo-Vent and electrical cord. At some point when there is not much going on, I'll ask whoever I can find if they need help with anything.

    8. At dinner, I'll wait until everybody has gotten their food (or when I'm asked to go ahead and get my plate). I'll get a little food and be first-up to do dishes. I'm sure to not start washing dishes before everybody is finished. After dishes, I'll help clean and then mop the kitchen again. If there is trash, it will be emptied now.

    9. If I get on serious call (cardiac arrest, shooting, etc)...I'll usually leave the scene and walk over to the ambulance. I'll use my best judgement to prepare anything that might be needed. For a cardiac arrest, I'll usually spike two 1000ml bags and set them up, get some various size cathethers out and get some vein-gaurds out, a tourniquet, and lay them out on the bench.

    10. While at the hospital, I'll clean up and load the stretcher back into the ambulance.


    That is a quick run-down of what I do when I ride out. What do you think? Is there anything I can improve or change on?

    What other suggestions do you have to help make me a better explorer? It doesn't have to be somethign I actually can physically do...do you have any advice on how I can have a good attitude?

    I usually bring something tot he station when I ride out like ice cream, cookies, etc. I will occasionally chip in some of my opinions and what not but usually I keep quiet and just do my thing...haha.

    I would love to hear from yall any advice that you have. I've gotten great advice/tips from both new out-of-school rookies and also veteran firefighters.

    I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    1) Go to the explorer section.

    2) Read all the sniveling and whinning there.

    3) Do the opposite.

    4) Study hard in school- that is your career now.
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
    USAR TF Rescue Specialist

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    1) Go to the explorer section.

    2) Read all the sniveling and whinning there.

    3) Do the opposite.

    4) Study hard in school- that is your career now.

    Good solid advice.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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

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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    1) Go to the explorer section.

    2) Read all the sniveling and whinning there.

    3) Do the opposite.

    4) Study hard in school- that is your career now.
    And 5), keep up the good work you're doing now.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    1) Go to the explorer section.

    2) Read all the sniveling and whinning there.

    3) Do the opposite.

    4) Study hard in school- that is your career now.
    +1 agreed. I've known a few kids that threw themselves into explorers/volunteer service at the expense of their school work. We had a kid that used to ride out alot until his mother called the station and told us about how bad his grades had gotten. We sent him home till he got his grades back on track.

    Oh, and not to sound like a hard ***** but, when you get to the academy, no one will care how long you've been an explorer or volunteer or how many fires you rode out on. I've done some training and went trough academy myself of course, and there is always one in every rookie class. The academy starts everyone at zero, remember that.

  6. #6
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    Is this a joke? I get the feeling this is someone creating another account in spite of explorers not doing any of that and trying to create some sort of 'perfect' rookie to have other explorers base themselves off of.
    Last edited by DarkStarr; 08-27-2010 at 08:25 AM.

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    DarkStarr, I'm dead serious. I wasn't the best explorer when I started out...I use to just kinda sit on the couch and watch TV but I found a guy who pretty much just mentors me and helped me to learn how to act.

  8. #8
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    Box9104....

    Sounds like you are on the right track. However, I am concerned with how much cleaning you are doing. Just make sure they are not taking advantage of you. Otherwise, there is some great advice here. I just want to add a couple things.
    -You have two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk.
    -Don't get a big head or whine. Nothing worse than someone who thinks they know it all.
    -Listen to the guys and observe them. You can learn a lot from them. Ask good questions too.

    I once was an explorer as well. Once you do it for a while, you can tell which ones you can listen to and which ones are the cranky lazy guys. Above all else, use good judgment and listen to your officers. If you do that, you sound like you will make a great probie someday.

    Keep up the good work man!!!
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

  9. #9
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    Arrow

    My biggest issue with people cleaning my ambulance for me is they usually don't. They clean the cot up real good and shove it back in the ambulance without giving the inside a second thought.

    When your running a bad trauma or a code that's when your risk of exposure to bodily fluids is at its highest. What I like to do is take everything that was used on the call (stethoscopes, BP cuff, monitor, etc.) and place it on the rear bumper, then I mop out the back, wipe down the bench and jump seats, if it hasn't already been done I strip the cot, clean it, get it ready to load, usually by that time my partner gets back and we get all the stuff sitting on the back bumper cleaned and the cot reloaded. If it was a really bad trauma or lacerations in a location prone to extensive superficial bleeding (the scalp and face come to mind), I wipe down the cabinet handles and go through the cabinets to make sure they haven't been contaminated.

    Always wear gloves when you're cleaning anything from/in the back of the ambulance.

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    Not exactly a Fire Explorer story for advice but once when I was in the Navy,my duty section's Inport Mobile Repair Party(sort of shipboard involuntary fire department) had performed in less than a sterling manner on a drill.We weren't cut any slack on it because the ship had just returned to our nomal homeport after an extended overhaul period in Norfolk.
    Anyway,the Command Duty Officer explained to us how we were going to improve on our skills.At the first of his list was,"You will take COPIOUS notes during lectures..." and I took that advice to heart.
    When I joined my volunteer department in 2003,I was the first one in my probie class to break out paper and pen and take notes on what was being said.
    Yes,some of the subject matter had been covered 17 years previously but repeated instruction is never a bad thing.It refreshes in your memory points that you might have filed farther back than you should have before you go out and do something dangerous.
    Having never been on a department that allows Explorers to take an active part in fireground or EMS calls,I can only repeat what has been said previously,that you should use this time to learn what is where on the rigs and wait until you are an actual FF before grabbing a nozzle and going in or treating patients.
    There will be plenty of time to take risks like that or literally hold someone's life in your hands once you've finished the basic part of your training.But,that's just me.having been injured more at my "real jobs" than I ever was on fire calls does add a different perspective on the question.
    And remember,training NEVER ends.90% of what you will learn will be taught after you graduate from being an Explorer and from training school at your department.

  11. #11
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    Let me warn you about one thing... I have been an explorer for the same amount of time and I am at the station more than most of the firefighters. Make sure that they are not using you to do their house chores... This happens with a lot of carreer departments with explorers. At my department our Chief makes sure that our explorers are not used or treated like the b**ch of the station.

    Just a warning...
    Explorer Assistant Chief Alisha Fern

    Leadership: The ability to guide, direct, and influence others.

    Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future.


    alisha.fern@firehousemail.com

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    [QUOTE=Explorer Asst Chief Fern;1206240]Let me .[/QUOTE
    Last edited by Iessthename; 01-26-2011 at 10:07 PM.

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    Couldn't remember what the thread was about, so I thought I'd reread it to refresh my memory. The OP's 9th point in their original post popped out at me.

    Why are you doing the Driver's job? If your on the seen of a serious call, with a high potential for a patient in need of emergent transport, an individual qualified to drive the ambulance to the hospital should always be with the ambulance ready to transport at a moments notice with or without their partner. While the qualified driver is waiting for the transport they should be spiking bags and laying out all of the necessary supplies needed for two IV's. When I say lay out I mean leave the supplies in their sealed packages so that if they aren't needed they can be returned to the appropriate cabinets. If you're helping the driver spike bags and lay out IV cathes and Veni-GardŽs, that's ok. Just don't do their job for them, if you do you're helping them shirk responsibilities and they'll turn into one of those EMTs that I run across every now and again that doesn't know how to spike a bag or how to find anything in their ambulance.

    The statement about leaving without your partner is geared towards MCI's, if it's just your ambulance on scene you probably should wait for your partner.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iessthename View Post
    you shouldn't have to worry about them using you for that. you should already have volunteered to do such and be doing it before being asked.

    know your place. you'll be cleaning now and even more if/when u ever get on the job. what you consider being treated like a bitch is what everyone b4 you went through. wrong attitude.
    No, you have the wrong attitude (not surprising since you've been here for all of one day...). Not every department everywhere treats their new people or juniors like **** on the bottom of their shoe. Yes they need to be willing to work, but she's talking about firefighters pawning their tasks that they are assigned to do off on someone else.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    No, you have the wrong attitude (not surprising since you've been here for all of one day...). Not every department everywhere treats their new people or juniors like **** on the bottom of their shoe. Yes they need to be willing to work, but she's talking about firefighters pawning their tasks that they are assigned to do off on someone else.
    Thank you. This is exactly what I meant by my post. I work very hard at the fire department too, but I would never let any of the firefighters use me to do their housechores. Hopefully most fire chiefs are like mine and realize that explorers are an asset to the department, and help prevent that from happening.
    Explorer Assistant Chief Alisha Fern

    Leadership: The ability to guide, direct, and influence others.

    Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future.


    alisha.fern@firehousemail.com

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    My chief is the same way.

  17. #17
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    how to be a good explorer..... that is simple. DO NOT ARGUE LIKE I USE TO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! alot of the guys on here can agree with that. oh! and nuse spell check
    Firefighters need not fear fire, but give it all their respect.

  18. #18
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    • Show up when you say you will or are told to. Be on time.
    • Be an active member of the team.
    • Follow the established rules.
    • Pay attention during training.
    • You are an Explorer- not even a trainee or probie yet. Don't misrepresent yourself.
    • Don't make up stories, lie, or conveniently not tell us something. We will find out. It may not be today, tomorrow or even next week. But we WILL find out and it WON'T be pleasant for you. I promise.
    • Do NOT allow yourself to be abused by those who want to use you to pawn off their work. BUT- you should offer to assist them. Many boring and menial tasks can be used as a great learning opportunity. Helping out shows you are a team player and are willing to pitch in and take a share of the work that needs to be done.
    • Volunteer to help at all Post and department functions. This includes community services, fundraising, public education, and so on. There is more to the job than just emergency response.
    • Be sure to remain in good standing in school. This includes academically, attendance and your conduct.
    • This is not an old lady weekend knitting club. This is also not some drop-in activity at the recreation center. This group takes dedication and teamwork. I tell my Explorers to treat their activity in the Post the same as any sports team. You don't show up for practice- you don't play in the game. No uniform- you don't play either.
    • Have to leave early? Well, don't bother coming at all.
    • Focus on what's important- the basic skills. Obsessions with lights, sirens, pagers, radios, chasing calls, or whatever won't make you any better. Spend that time and effort paging through a textbook- It will pay off.
    • Appreciate what your instructors and advisors do for you. They do it for you, not themselves.
    • Be aware your advisors put in a significant amount of their own time behind the scenes to run the group. It takes them a lot of time to prepare before you show up. Return the favor by being prepared yourself.
    • Don't cause problems for your advisors. They deal with enough already. If they have to spend time explaining your actions to the Chief or are busy playing damage control, that's time they not able to spend working on other aspects of the post.
    • Watch what you put online. The wrong thing will haunt you- forever. And if you know you are doing something stupid, forget the cameras!
    • Pick your friends carefully. The wrong crowd will ruin you.
    • Don't draw attention of the police to yourself. I really shouldn't have to explain this one. Remember- we know all the cops in town and we chat regularly.

    That's enough for now.

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