Brand new Vollunteer...
Just got on with Sunnyvale Fire Rescue last night. Got my T-shirt and call # (but no pager yet, they were out of pagers).
Any advice? I want to show up and learn as much as possible. I'll volunteer for all the "gofer" jobs just to learn where stuff is and how it works. I'm really glad to have this opportunity.
Also one more thing - when is it ok to wear my station's shirt/cap? Only when making calls?
Congrats on joining. I'm sure you'll find it fulfilling.
Originally Posted by Gambit7
My advice: Be a sponge. As you said, show up and do as many jobs, and learn as much as possible. Also meet as many of the other members as possible.. camaraderie is a big part of it.
As for FD-wear.. it depends on the department. I suggest talking to the other members. Some places encourage the free advertising. Others limit it to while on-duty. In general: If a picture in the press or on the internet would embarrass you or your FD.. you probably shouldn't be wearing your FD stuff... Common examples: out at a bar, concert, robbing a bank, etc.
That last one espeicially would be a bad time to wear one to. It tends to give the cops a great place to start looking for suspects. :p
Originally Posted by voyager9
Voyager is right! Be a sponge. There are years of knowledge to be had by just listening.
A good easy thing I would do is know your apparatus. If your asked to get the cribbing or airbags at a MVA your only going to have a few second before someone else comes to grab them for you. Take a camera and photograph every compartment and look at them till you know where each tool is stored (by name and what it does).
That is one of the first things our new members are set to. Know the trucks. They cannot fill out a seat on a truck until they've proven they know where everything is (and what its called).
Originally Posted by mncowboy96
In most cases new members won't be pack qualified so their primary job on scene will be to get equipment. If I'm inside I am relying on them to know where stuff is and get it quickly.. on Scene the driver, and most of the senior members are going to be too busy to hold hands.
When I first joined I made a point to go through all compartments on every truck at the start of duty crew.. only took a few weeks before it was second nature.
Make a list of questions you have, pull a firefighter that you may have some aquintance with and ask them some or all. Try another firefighter and get any that you missed or the first didn't know. If all else fails go to your officer and ask them. Learn what you can, train when you can and like before make friends with you brothers and sisters. They will be the ones watching your back while in the midst of it all. It makes life easier to be on good terms with the people you spend time with and who help you learn and have your back.
Know the trucks. There is little you can do if you cannot find the tools.
Sounds like good advice. Learning the trucks can take awhile (Depending on how many you have to learn) We have 13 including our rescue truck (6 of those are grass rigs with foam and gel systems) I spent a few saturdays down at the hall locating tools. We do truck check once a month, and each truck has its own check list to go over, so I started with #1 and found the stuff, worked my way down the line. I am on rescue and 1 grass rig, so it is alot easier for me to know where everything is on the rescue truck, which is the most complicated one (in my opinion) to know where to go for the tools/cribbing. Also our truck companys will do "work partys" every once and ahwhile to go through, clean out compartments, organize and whatever else needs to be done. If they do this on your dept. go to ALL of them, not just your company. The guys on my dept. were more than happy to walk through with me as they were doing it letting me know where each tool was, what its job was etc.
edit* Also have one of them show you how to swap air packs out. It is a quick thing to do, but can be very helpful on a good working fire.
reminds me of a quick story. During FF1 class one night we had just learned how to change and fill packs. I was still at the hall just hanging out with the guys playing air hockey when we got a call for working structure fire. It was great to know how to change packs while still fresh in my head.
Never miss a chance to work.
Never miss a chance to train.
Voyager - You got me again. "Robbing a Bank" caused my second cup of Coffeee to be everywhere except in the Cup. My wife has prohibited me from reading Snowball and a couple of others while drinking anything, you'll probably be added to the list........ :eek: :D :D :p
Back to the O.P. - Everyone else said it already, Train, Train, Train. Listening instead of Talking isn't a bad habit to have at times like this.......:)
I'll throw $1 into the jar for the Chief's New Keyboard fund..
Originally Posted by hwoods
I will share my trick getting to know the apparatus.
During station coverage I happened to have my digital camera with so I went around each apparatus and photographed each compartment.
I put each apparatus in its own folder on the pc so I could look up the truck and go by file name to each compartment till I had it figured out.
My only down fall was I forgot to photograph the power connections so my first fire I pulled out the fans to start ventilation and then I realized I had the plug with no idea where to plug it.
Ended up the truck was set up a little inconvenient and there was only one plug and it was on the opposite side of the truck to where I set up.
I had to make some adjustments that took 2 minutes longer but sure seems like the longest 2 minutes in the world when you got guys inside asking for that fan for ventilation.
Thanks everyone for the advice! I will take all of this into consideration, and I will be sure to learn as much as I can. And I'll make sure and try to help out with as many calls as possible, and I'll try and make friends with everyone at the station. They all seem like really nice people.
How was the interview...much like those for paid positions?
No, the interview was really informal, even the officer's interview. They didn't last very long, and it was pretty much no pressure.
Originally Posted by sachse1
You sound so much like me when I started. I would spend hours at the station just looking through everything. A few words of advice....
Before making suggestions, learn their way and what they have tried. they may have tried something before and it didn't work.
As others have said do not shy away from work to BS with the guys. be the first to roll hose and clean up..
Do not expect to have respect for awhile. As i was told, " Respect is earned not given."
Do not be afraid to ask questions. A good instructor would love to have you ask questions.
If your department allows or you have access to, attend as many certified classes as you can but be sure to do the basics first. You do not want to get overwhelmed with an advanced class from not knowing the basics.
On a personal note, it nice to see someone so interested in the fire service and wanting to learn not just hang out. Good Luck, initial impressions from me is you will be a good addition to the service.
A short list of tips
1. Walk around like you own the place. You are the BMOC now...
2. Make sure you tell the "old farts" how to do something better they will respect your input.
3. On your first call body check someone into the engine so you get a good seat.
4. GET LOTS OF LIGHTS FOR YOUR PERSONAL VEHICLE; those make you look very cool.
5. Talk endlessly about your first fire. Make sure to make it sound like a combination of the Towering Inferno, Backdraft, and Ladder 49.
6. Create your own personal "I'm a hero" mixtape. Play it whenever you walk into the station.
7. Take pictures of everything. Post to Facebook.
8. Ask the Chief when you get to be and senior firefighter/engineer/officer starting tomorrow.
9. State that you "need your beauty sleep" and skip every call between the hours of 7:00pm and 11:30am.
10. Mention frequently that the fire department was "better in the old days."
11. Make the theme to Emergency your ring tone. Have your significant other call you at drill.
12. Suggest ideas to raise money for the department. Make sure you don't help when the time comes.
13. Remember family comes first: bring them to calls and drill!
14. Respond POV to the fire. Who needs water, SCBA, ladders, tools, and backup?
15. Forget your fire department hat and shirt. Go buy the ones on the internet that say things like "I fight what others fear" and "American Hero Firefighter." Make sure each shirt has flames, an eagle, the silhouette of a firefighter, and the American Flag on it. Buy a gross of each. Wear only at a time until it becomes faded and full of holes. This will show your dedication.
I hope this list helps.
Will the tones and klaxon from station 51 do? :rolleyes:
Originally Posted by Backwooder
Yes, but only if you refer to your self in the third person as KMG365...