1. #1
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    Exclamation HELP !Just appointed to a leadership role in a VFD

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    Last edited by kntryfolk; 03-09-2011 at 05:04 PM. Reason: dont want an english lesson

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    bump up !!!!!!!!

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    Cool Huh.....

    No one really knows who I am.
    The chief has not made a formal introduction with the assumption that everyone knows everyone. I look around the room and know a lot of faces and not many names. It is a small town after all.
    Well, first off I would have taken care of the part about the faces/names part by introducing myself to my future colleagues/FD members.

    Initially I would not make a bunch of changes but would ask why things are how they are. Not to question what they are doing, but more about why they decided to do it this way. There may be a legit reason why.....

    My problem is me and about 3 other guys who have worked as career firefighters for several years have had a volunteer dept. that has been ran by a fire chief with no certification or formal education with members that don't have any certification or formal education quite literally thrown in our laps and have been told to fix it.
    I came into a similar situation while I was a FF, in our case it was more wanting those that are coming behind us to be the best they can be. So instead of being part of the problem I became part of the solution. Regarding the training how I worked it was by using the CSFM (California State Fire Marshals) Volunteer FF Certification Track to establish the training standards. This took care of a few problems: Lack of certs/qualifications, disorganized training subjects and little to no record of Training. It also allows for a simple role into a CSFM FF 1 Certification. It's great to see the "Old Timers" light-up and appreciate when you sign their training record and say "thank you for your time."

    I have to give credit to the guys for being there and being willing to help. A few of them know a thing or two as well. We have many young guys who are either just 18 or just out of high school, and probably half a dozen older guys who have been on the department a while.
    Tell them how you feel about them and keep it in a positive manner. Most often when we focus on the positive things, the negatives disappear.

    How do I go about setting a base line for training with these guys? I don't wanna insult anyone, but it seems to me like everyone really just needs to start back from square one. The guys who do know things don't completely know the subject. I don't want to be the guy who has to tell these guys who have devoted years to what they are doing they were taught bass ackwards and they have to unlearn everything they have learned. The chief however is kinda putting me in that position.
    Check your State's Fire Marshal or State Training and I am sure that you can find the training records I talked about earlier. If not, then use the IFSAC FF 1 and 2 curriculum if that is what your State uses. Since you're a Career FF it's just like when you get a Probie and you are the Senior FF. Use the training record(s) to get them to the level that they want to achieve. If they "don't need any of those .............. certifications" respect this and make a training record for them and store it away. Chances are that once it's full and you take it out and show them, they'll change their mind; if not then you gave them the opportunity, so you've done your part.

    The biggest lesson I learned was that Vollies are truly great, dedicated, motivated, golden-hearted people that just love being a FF. Patience is definitely a virtue and you will receive HUGE dividends on what you put into your folks. If you have any personnel that have specialties or special passions build that into the training (shows them you respect their knowledge, experience and shares the responsibility of training). I'm not claiming to have the "cure all, save all" information here, but I am sharing what I have done in the past that worked awesome for all involved.

    Stay safe my friends.....
    Last edited by mikeyboy; 03-09-2011 at 12:33 AM.
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    Paragraphs please.......

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    My first advice would be not to come in and try to change everything at once. Pick the major issues and focus on them. You will also need to sit back and figure out whos who and what needs fixing. Like Mikeyboy said, find out why they do things the way that they do, there may be very good reasons for that.

    It also sounds like you haven't been with the department for very long. I would suggest setting up drills/training and use that time to get to know everybody before you start "taking command." Be sure to actively participate in this training so that the guys see you work and know that you can actually do what you are trying to teach. The first step will be earning their respect and letting them get to know you.

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    Sounds like you have a challenge ahead and you are looking forward to it. Good for you and good luck.

    My best suggestion is to keep an open mind. "Your" way may not always be the best way. I'd get some FF1 books and start working through that.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eng34FF View Post
    I would suggest setting up drills/training and use that time to get to know everybody before you start "taking command." Be sure to actively participate in this training so that the guys see you work and know that you can actually do what you are trying to teach. The first step will be earning their respect and letting them get to know you.
    A further thought along that line is that your drills can serve as an impromptu test - not only do you get to know the individuals, but with some careful observation you can determine what they know, which will provide you with some direction on what training they need.

    You might also discover some trustworthy in-house experts that you can tap for training assistance.

    You may also find out the social pecking order, which no doubt exists, and around which you will need to exercise some caution. Alienate the wrong people, even unintentially, and your road just got a lot longer.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    A further thought along that line is that your drills can serve as an impromptu test - not only do you get to know the individuals, but with some careful observation you can determine what they know, which will provide you with some direction on what training they need.

    You might also discover some trustworthy in-house experts that you can tap for training assistance.

    You may also find out the social pecking order, which no doubt exists, and around which you will need to exercise some caution. Alienate the wrong people, even unintentially, and your road just got a lot longer.
    Great advice. Knowing the politics and who has the ear of the members is key to success.

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    Last edited by kntryfolk; 03-09-2011 at 05:06 PM. Reason: too much subjective info

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    First step is to learn to be a firefighter and never assume anything.

    For your first post it appears that you had a burr under you saddle and had to blow off steam.

    Don't air your or the departments dirty laundry in the open.

    Also learn how to compose and separate all the typing. I, after maybe 5 lines, had trouble reading what you wrote. I copied it and pasted it to a blank document and separated it so I could read it without going blind or having my eyes cross!


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    In the small town that I live in I was appointed to an un-named leadership role at this point in the VFD by the new chief, who is also the rescue squad captain I currently work for.

    I am a Pro Board FF2/Paramedic and worked in a professional dept for nearly 12 years. I have had involvement in a VFD prior but my experience here is a little more difficult. The city council came to an agreement by the recommendation of the mayor, the city decided to remove the chief of this department, who was the chief for nearly 30 years. The current chief and myself have met some resistance to say the least, but we are trying to move forward.

    My problem is me and about 3 other guys who have worked as career firefighters for several years have had a volunteer dept. that has been ran by a fire chief with no certification or formal education with members that don't have any certification or formal education quite literally thrown in our laps and have been told to fix it. I have to give credit to the guys for being there and being willing to help.

    A few of them know a thing or two as well. We have many young guys who are either just 18 or just out of high school, and probably half a dozen older guys who have been on the department a while.

    How do I go about setting a base line for training with these guys? I don't wanna insult anyone, but it seems to me like everyone really just needs to start back from square one. The guys who do know things don't completely know the subject.

    I don't want to be the guy who has to tell these guys who have devoted years to what they are doing they were taught bass ackwards and they have to unlearn everything they have learned. The chief however is kinda putting me in that position.

    No one really knows who I am. I am trying to get things done through suggestion rather an order. Tonight was a good example I convinced the guys a triple lay was better than the really really messy flat load they were using on the cross lays and we also re packed the hose bed properly.

    I know these guys have to be thinking who is this a hole telling us what to do and how we should be doing it. The chief has not made a formal introduction with the assumption that everyone knows everyone.

    I look around the room and know a lot of faces and not many names. It is a small town after all. WHAT WOULD YOU DO!
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Thank you Capt. I do think I am going to remove this post I am feeling alot of negitive energy and not getting alot of straight forward answers. I also feel I am being ridiculed for asking some questions that might not be exactly proper, but I came here looking for help. Im sorry if I offended anyone. I will leave this posted for a few days for people to see my apology.

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    Your "messy flat load" is another man's simple load that is next to impossible to mess up. Dont assume that your better way is always better. And if your Chief isnt leader enough to introduce you to the men , step up and do it yourself.
    ?

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    Step up to the plate guy.

    Stand up introduce youreslf. The chief is wrong for not doing this and expalining the whys and why nots.

    Be your own man. Hit the floor on your feet and take over.

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    1. What is an un-named leadership role?

    2. Lead by example.

    3. Change for good, not for the sake of change. Don't expect all your ideas to go over well. Some will flop. Some will in reality not be good ideas.

    4. Go slow.

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    an un named leadership role is we just got the department handed to us and we havent worked out a rank structure all i know is he wants me to be in a command type position this is what has been told to me by the chief

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    theres too much assuming about the kind of person i am and too many english teachers here where is the delete thread button btw you people take crap too personally you can believe me when i say something looks like crap it looks like crap when it was poorly done it was poorly done
    Last edited by kntryfolk; 03-09-2011 at 05:12 PM. Reason: addendum

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    someone please delete this and put me out of my missery

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    kntryfolk - relax!

    You came here looking for advice.

    Your presentation could stand improvement, but you did state your case.

    You were given advice. Great advice. Based on your statement that "you just got the department handed to you" you've got a real challenge on your hands.

    It also sounds like you have the chance to make a difference.

    We have questions - and we may well have answers. While it's never a good idea to hang dirty laundry out to dry, it's possible for you to present questions and information that may help us help you complete your assigned task.

    Without standing in your shoes, we can't give you exact answers. We can't fix your issues - you have to do that. Step back, identify your issues, and start to work on them. The five step process works pretty well.

    On the other hand, if you're going to take a little constructive criticism about your writing style that badly, you may not do well when your new charges challenge you, either.

    As has already been said, man up. Read back through the thread and apply the advice given to what you have to do, then do it.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kntryfolk View Post
    theres too much assuming about the kind of person i am and too many english teachers here where is the delete thread button btw you people take crap too personally you can believe me when i say something looks like crap it looks like crap when it was poorly done it was poorly done
    Gosh, if you can't take this - then what are you doing in a Fire Department? I mean really, this thread is calm compared to many of the other ones on here.

    I mean come on, what did you expect? People throwing rose petals at your feet as you walked in?

    You have gotten some great advice here, and I am going to add just a bit more - don't be so thin skinned. You will live and last longer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kntryfolk View Post
    an un named leadership role is we just got the department handed to us and we havent worked out a rank structure all i know is he wants me to be in a command type position this is what has been told to me by the chief
    First of all, it sounds like your chief needs to stop mumbling around about what he wants and name officers to positions, instead of saying completely ludicrous stuff like "I want you to be in a yet un-named leadership role." Geezus, how about being just a little more vague?

    Secondly, until he stops pussyfooting around, gives you a REAL RANK, I wouldn't do a damn thing. Make him step up, introduce you to the FFs and say what your position is and what you will be expected to accomplish.

    I have been accused of being a cynical individual, and it may be true, but it looks to me like he is setting you up to take a good hard kick in the crotch if you do something that either, annoys the troops, or isn't what he wants. Look up the word scapegoat...

    Good luck because with this bunch of BS you have described you will most certainly need it.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    Quote Originally Posted by kntryfolk View Post
    theres too much assuming about the kind of person i am and too many english teachers here where is the delete thread button btw you people take crap too personally you can believe me when i say something looks like crap it looks like crap when it was poorly done it was poorly done
    If the little bit of abuse you got here brings this reaction from you do you seriously believe you have what it takes to assume a leadership role? You are going to be questioned on every change, most every drill, most every decision. My advice, grow a thicker skin or don't accept this amazing "as yet un-named leadership role."
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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    Wild crazy idea here, but try using a standard rank structure.

    Chief
    Assistant Chief
    Captain
    Lieutenant
    etc....

    If that is too difficult to grasp....fold the department.


    Take a deep breath. Go back and read the stuff you wrote. You asked for help while giving almost no information. You got some. Now you are harping on people asking you to make a more readable post....

    theres too much assuming about the kind of person i am and too many english teachers here where is the delete thread button btw you people take crap too personally you can believe me when i say something looks like crap it looks like crap when it was poorly done it was poorly done
    Hello pot, meet kettle.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Too late Bones, he didn't like what he heard and took his fire axe and went home.

    Man, nobody has any kind of thick skin anymore, or in his case, any skin at all.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
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    Welcome to the "kindler/gentler" fire service.
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    Welcome to the "kindler/gentler" fire service.
    And to be brutally honest I HATE THAT NONSENSE!

    The crew I am on affectionately calls our station the Snake Pit. If you aren't taking grief over something you are simply NOT part of the crew. Kinder, Gentler? Not a chance. But you know what, not only would we walk through the gates of Hell for each other, you best not come in as an outsider and try to stir some ****. We are tight.

    In this case, the OP wanted validation for the crazy situation he finds himself in and frankly it is screwed up. The Chief wants him in some "as yet un-named leadership role." What the hell is that? The fire service has long has pretty standard rank structures including Chief, Assistant Chief, Divison Chief, Battalion Chief, Captain, Lieutenant, MPO(Driver, Chauffer, Apparatus operator, Heavy equipment operator), firefighter, and some have Sargeant or foreman.

    Follow that up with the Chief talks to the OP about it, yet doesn't introduce him as an officer or detail his duties to the troops. Like I said before I wouldn't do jack squat until it was all OFFICIAL with a title and an explanation to the troops who I am and what the hell i am supposed to be in charge of. I guess I am funny that way.

    Either way it don't mean nothin', not a thing, since he went home and is probably having cookies and milk with his mommy right now.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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