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  1. #1
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    Default How do rookies get situated?

    I just was wondering how rookies get situated when they dont know anyone in the department to start off with, i am not outgoing with strangers... is it relatively easy to get situated into the a department, or is it like high school football where rookies carry everyones equipment, heheh..
    Chilaha


  2. #2
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    Well, in general you're going to start off with a lot more work because you're going to need to take some training and spend some extra time just so as to get up to speed on things. And, depending on the dept., they may want you to accomplish a certain amount of training before really getting to do much.

    If its a good department they will make you feel welcome and work to get you integrated with everyone else.

  3. #3
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    Default Getting Started

    In my department, the sponsor is responsible to bring the candidate to the board. Once background checks have been completed, the candidate is requested to attend a general meeting where the sponsor introduces the candidate to the membership. We have a policy that firefighters are expected to be familiar with every apparatus (9 pieces in 2 stations), so the candidate is expected to spend time with Station Captains, Lieutenants, and firefighters to become familiar with the equipment and operations. When classes are available, the candidate must complete 188 hours of state certified instruction before being accepted as a firefighter. With this arrangement, there is plenty of time to become aquainted with the rest of the firefighting family.

  4. #4
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    Have you worked at other jobs?????


    Have not read the book but is suppose to be good;::;


    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/098285...055480-2669465

  5. #5
    Forum Member Jay Remmy's Avatar
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    That was the situation I was in. I started out kind of out-of-the-loop, but once I started coming around the station more and just getting to know people, I'm decently close with some of these guys and I just keep meeting new people.

    I have heard of some stations where if you're a rookie, your treated like a leper, but I love the guys at my station and they definitely make me feel welcome.

    I ended up doing more work, being the rookie, but nothing too dificult (washing the engine, changing light bulbs and other random busywork around the station)
    :-J Remmy

  6. #6
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    Default

    First of all, start hanging out at the station. When you see someone start cleaning or working on/with something ask if you can help or be shown how to do something. Your willingness to learn will go a LONG WAY! Secondly, if you see someone doing something that isn't fun to do like clean a bathroom or take out the trash, offer to do it. The fire service is deep rooted in tradition and the newer you are the worse the jobs you should be doing. In time you will earn respect from the "Elders". Most of all, show respect to those that were there before you. And if all else fails, wash the Chief's car....that gets ya big points!! LOL

    p.s. - when you learn something, make sure you learn how your "Department Does It"

  7. #7
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    Default Rookie

    When a rookie starts out at a station, he is looked at as an outsider. It takes some time and effort to become accepted into the group.

    After the rookie attends training, attends meetings, social activities and actual fire and EMS calls, the rookie will bond with the other members and eventually "blend' into the group.

    Look at someone who joined two years ago. They were once an outsider and two years later they most likely fit in, like they were with the group forever.
    Last edited by FIRE117; 08-31-2011 at 09:38 PM. Reason: spelling

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chilaha View Post
    I just was wondering how rookies get situated when they dont know anyone in the department to start off with, i am not outgoing with strangers... is it relatively easy to get situated into the a department, or is it like high school football where rookies carry everyones equipment, heheh..
    Chilaha
    That's probably not a bad analogy. When things start off you're going to carry a lot of tools and do a lot of watching. That's the way it is. No one's going to give you respect or trust you to just do this job until you've proven yourself. Unlike high school football, people's lives depend on our ability to do our job. getting a guy in there with the experience, training and mental ability to work under the conditions that we do vs an untrained, unproven guy could mean the difference between making a rescue and a recovery (Or between you walking out and going home to your family or being carried to the morgue).

    In my department you'd be welcomed with open arms around the station and we'd all go out of the way to teach, train and get to know you. In return we ask that you listen to what we tell you and go out of your way to learn. Don't always wait for us to come to you, come to us with questions or requests for training.

    Last I'll address the "I'm not outgoing with strangers". Get over it. If you're going to be a firefighter you need these guys, you need to know them, they need to know you. You need to become a member of the team, the first part of that is walking up and saying "Hi, I'm "Chilaha"" A great ice breaker to start a conversation is to pick a tool off the truck that you're unsure how to use or what it is and go ask a senior guy. "Can you tell me what this is and how and when it's used?"

    Get over the shyness, if you're cut out for this work you'll become very close to the men and women on your department, they'll become like family. Before long you'll be willing to do things you probably never would have dreamed of before. The reason you'll be willing to do this is because you'll know the guys you're with can be counted on to make the right choices and that if you get into trouble they'll be there to help you and they'll know the same thing about you.

    Good luck and welcome to the fire service.

  9. #9
    Forum Member RIT4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by craigsheets View Post
    First of all, start hanging out at the station. When you see someone start cleaning or working on/with something ask if you can help or be shown how to do something. Your willingness to learn will go a LONG WAY! Secondly, if you see someone doing something that isn't fun to do like clean a bathroom or take out the trash, offer to do it. The fire service is deep rooted in tradition and the newer you are the worse the jobs you should be doing. In time you will earn respect from the "Elders". Most of all, show respect to those that were there before you. And if all else fails, wash the Chief's car....that gets ya big points!! LOL

    p.s. - when you learn something, make sure you learn how your "Department Does It"
    Nailed It!!! also remember keep your mouth shut and ears open......worked for me! Just have respect and a willingness to learn and you should be fine.
    I can think of no more stirring symbol of man's humanity to man than a fire engine.

    -343-

  10. #10
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    Anybody besides me remember 25 rules every probie should live by? It was published in firehouse a few years ago. We used to make our probies read it during their orientation. It's still hanging downstairs on our training board, they just don't read it to them anymore.

  11. #11
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    When I started I knew one person on the department, so everyone else was a new face. The fire Service was also new. I just finished my FF1, so I was about as green as they come. The only thing that I really knew was ICS (because of my day job). I was really nervous going to the station for the first couple of times, because I was afraid that it might be kind of the "Good Ole Boys Club". I wasnt sure how they would treat outsiders / Rookies... I cant say that I am the shy type, but going into a area that I really knew nothing about did make me nervous.

    The first month on the department I couldnt make calls because I was waiting for My state Practical Test. So I just showed up to every Monday night meeting. They also Had a Fundraiser in that period and I did everything possible to help. I read alot of articles on here about the First year of Probies, but althose articles were mostly written by Full-Time guys. In my opinion VFD are alittle more relaxed with New Recruits. I found out quickly that if they can see that you are the type of guy that wants to learn, they will teach you everything they know. I found out their saying is "If we dont show you how to do something how can we expect you to know it".

    A few things that I did in the beginning that I think helped get me some in gaining respect around the firehouse:

    1) If you dont know something "ASK"
    2) If you are going to get something to drink, see if anybody else wants something
    3) At my department on Monday nights they feed us, there are certain times when everybody should do there part, but dont let the senoir guys do the dishes. If you ask and they say "NO, We'll do it" then at least wipe the tables down or be ready to take the trash out. Just dont sit down and relax right away.
    4) Dont be the guy that just goes to calls with active fire, get your butt out of bed and go to the false alarm calls. There is stuff to learn on these calls. Plus you never know when a simple alarm will turn into something big.


    I was blessed to be part of a department with a great group of guys they are very accepting to people that are in it for the right reasons. The hardest part of this whole thing really isnt getting to know the firehouse, it convincing your wife to be on your side. You will be gone more, and she will not like it. When the tones go off at 2AM Dont turn on all the lights in the bedroom and run around like a crazy person. She will get tired of that... Crabby wife at home = Not as much fun at the firehouse trust me...

  12. #12
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    Just go, introduce yourself and background, and volunteer. It's really that simple. The VFD I am in the process of joining (our way is you attend 4 consecutive weeks of meetings and are then voted in as a probationary member) is very welcoming. You'll start off with the simple stuff (chores and simple tasks) and move on up with training. Heck, the first time I went I was put to work checking out the small engine equipment (chainsaws, extrication saws, blowers, gensets) and running it because that's something I have experience with and doing truck checks with a more experienced VFD member so I could start learning what stuff is...I even learned to fill air packs that first night.

    Respond to the calls. You aren't certified to do the big work, but you can be a gofer and you learn stuff.

  13. #13
    Forum Member Picc.93Truck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MuskyNut View Post
    ........
    1) If you dont know something "ASK"
    2) If you are going to get something to drink, see if anybody else wants something
    3) At my department on Monday nights they feed us, there are certain times when everybody should do there part, but dont let the senoir guys do the dishes. If you ask and they say "NO, We'll do it" then at least wipe the tables down or be ready to take the trash out. Just dont sit down and relax right away.
    4) Dont be the guy that just goes to calls with active fire, get your butt out of bed and go to the false alarm calls. There is stuff to learn on these calls. Plus you never know when a simple alarm will turn into something big.


    .........
    This... The more calls your on, the more your fellow firefighters will trust you. And if its anything they need to have in you, its trust. Just because you've shown up to ever Strt call you could have, doesnt mean they trust/like you. We have a guy or two that don't show up to AFA/MVA/B.S. calls, and were about to take his pager...He doesnt deserve the good things we have provoided him (New set of gear, Minitor V pager, HT1250 radio) All decent stuff for our company's funds to supply each member with all this stuff...
    Firefighter 1/ PA EMT-B

  14. #14
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    The main thing to do is to get yourself known around the fire department. Go to all of the trainings, meetings, etc. that you can. Not only will this allow the other folks on the department to get to know you, but you will also learn some respect from them as well. This is what I did when I was new to my department 4 months ago. Now, I know all of our members well, they know me well also. Always make sure to be the first to volunteer to wash the truck, do the dishes, etc. It may be hard at first, but stick with it and these folks just might become some of your greatest friends.

  15. #15
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    Just like everyone else is talking about. Jump in there. I know it's weird at first, I'm not a very outgoing person either and it was definitely awkward walking into the house as a noob not knowing anything. Hang in there and try to help anybody you can. You WILL make friends and earn respect. It just takes time. You will look back a few months from now and smile

    And don't worry, I'm in the same boat. I moved across country and now I'M the one walking into a new house not knowing anybody.

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  17. #17
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    I joined my local dept, was the "new man". Everyone slowly started to getting to know me, ran calls, learned as much as I could. I helped out wherever I could (still try to). I Attended and graduated my Firefighter 1 class. I tried to learn as much as possible..I have went on the most calls in our dept for my first year as a probie + lots of training drills...Been to a few fires, done some training in fires.. thermal balance and the like...built some trust with the guys. ..Becoming a full active member very soon..still learning more every day.
    I read alot here..I don't post alot here (as you can see)
    Also, your line officers/senior members are always a valuable resource. Use them. That's what they are there for..
    Joining a FD was one of the best things I think I have ever done in my life, and don't regret it at all.
    Last edited by swfr237; 12-07-2011 at 02:24 AM.

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