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    Default The transition from "Old School" to the "New School"...

    I know this has probably been beaten to death here on these forums, but since i dont feel like resurrecting old threads, ill create a new one.

    What are some of the ways you guys have started these transitions in your Volunteer Fire Departments? I know its pretty common around the country in rural areas to have "Old School" Chiefs, methods, trucks, policies and so forth. And i know alot of times it is a delicate situation that has to be dealt with in time and professionally.

    Some examples im interested in resolving include:

    Fireground Methods
    Radio Terminology
    Uncertified Officers
    POV Vehicles and protocols
    Outdated equipment

    Any input would be greatly appreciated.

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    Define "Old School" and "New School."

    For many firefighter, "Old School" is just anyone who was already a Chief when they came on the job -- whether that was yesterday or 30 years ago.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

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

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    Before you hastily change the world, define the problem with what is currently happening. Change for the sake of change does not usually end real well. If there are safety issues with outdated equipment or procedures, bring studies, data, and books to show why you are proposing the change. Simply saying taht "all the progressive departments do it" will only create defensive attitudes and fights.

    As for terminology, the FCC states that all communication that may be used by more than one entity or department should be in plain English. This is NIMS Alert NA: 023-06 sent December19, 2006.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChathamVFD9921 View Post
    What are some of the ways you guys have started these transitions in your Volunteer Fire Departments? I know its pretty common around the country in rural areas to have "Old School" Chiefs, methods, trucks, policies and so forth. And i know alot of times it is a delicate situation that has to be dealt with in time and professionally.
    You hit the nail on the head - time is probably the one thing that will effect a change from older thoughts, methods, and procedures.

    Volunteer fire departments can be one of the most complicated policitical organizations that exist in the US. There are those that embrace change, while others embrace not changing because "we've always done it that way." Many strike a good balance between tradition and keeping-up-to-date, while others don't.

    As changes are made, older members will often feel unappreciated or that their time and experience doesn't count. It's important to keep them in the loop, share their knowledge, skills, and abilities with newer or younger members, and seek their input on changes. It helps to explain that some changes are mandated, while others are needed so you can be proactive before a problem arises. Anticipate what the nay-sayers are going to tell you, and have educated answers for them. Don't mistake that for being defensive, however. By thinking about the ways that they'll question you, and formulating answers ahead of time, you'll might actually find that something you thought was going to work out really well might actually have more ramifications than you anticipated. Trust me, I've had some great ideas - until I thought about it in-depth and discovered that the tried-and-true method of doing it was actually working really well.

    As you contemplate making changes, be sure that all of your thoughts revolve around what's best for the citizens and the members alike.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    You hit the nail on the head - time is probably the one thing that will effect a change from older thoughts, methods, and procedures.

    Volunteer fire departments can be one of the most complicated policitical organizations that exist in the US. There are those that embrace change, while others embrace not changing because "we've always done it that way." Many strike a good balance between tradition and keeping-up-to-date, while others don't.

    As changes are made, older members will often feel unappreciated or that their time and experience doesn't count. It's important to keep them in the loop, share their knowledge, skills, and abilities with newer or younger members, and seek their input on changes. It helps to explain that some changes are mandated, while others are needed so you can be proactive before a problem arises. Anticipate what the nay-sayers are going to tell you, and have educated answers for them. Don't mistake that for being defensive, however. By thinking about the ways that they'll question you, and formulating answers ahead of time, you'll might actually find that something you thought was going to work out really well might actually have more ramifications than you anticipated. Trust me, I've had some great ideas - until I thought about it in-depth and discovered that the tried-and-true method of doing it was actually working really well.

    As you contemplate making changes, be sure that all of your thoughts revolve around what's best for the citizens and the members alike.
    Great post,

    Thank you

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    For me, "old school" vs "new school" means "social club that fights fires" vs "fire department staffed by volunteers."

    It's amazing the lengths the old school folks will go to to prevent the transition and keep their club going.

    As mentioned, in many cases the only solution is time. Oftimes the "old school" is led by someone who wouldn't take an office if you paid them. They're happy with their elevated status. Unfortunately they often have a loyal following.

    Eventually they retire, or just stop coming around. Then things can progress.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    For me, "old school" vs "new school" means "social club that fights fires" vs "fire department staffed by volunteers."
    ..................
    Last edited by ChathamVFD9921; 11-19-2011 at 09:16 PM.

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    So are you a farmer or a mechanic ?
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    So are you a farmer or a mechanic ?
    Actually, i work at a private Ambulance company. Maybe thats my problem, im used to having to follow SOP's and Protocols and a boss that CARES about what were doing.

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    Just remember -what goes around comes around -what you consider old school , at one time was considered new school - and your new and improved "show them the light" new school ways will someday be challenged by a wet behind the ears new wave chef wannabe.
    ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    ... and your new and improved "show them the light" new school ways will someday be challenged by a wet behind the ears new wave chef wannabe.
    Nothing wrong with new ideas coming from new members!
    Career Fire Captain
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    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    Just remember -what goes around comes around -what you consider old school , at one time was considered new school - and your new and improved "show them the light" new school ways will someday be challenged by a wet behind the ears new wave chef wannabe.
    ...........
    Last edited by ChathamVFD9921; 11-19-2011 at 09:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Nothing wrong with new ideas coming from new members!
    .................
    Last edited by ChathamVFD9921; 11-19-2011 at 09:15 PM.

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    Box alarm - never said anything wrong with new members and new ideas , A fd needs new blood - just remember new is not alway better - and many "new" ideas are actually old. Generally the best changes are gradual and implemented in increments. It gives you time to evaluate and fine tune or possibly reject the changes. Again just remember -your "new school" ideas will eventally become "old school"
    ?

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    First off, what rank are you? How much time do you have in the department? If you've been there for 6 months, you're going to be considered the 'whiny newbie'. If you have some time in the department and/or are an officer, you'll have a much better shot at getting some change rolling.

    One of the biggest tips I can give you is... SHOW them why there should be a change. Last month, I got on a kick that I was going to make sure that everyone wore a reflective vest. I wrote a policy on it, got it approved by the Chief, and got ready to implement it. Rather than just standing up and saying "here's the policy; read it, learn it, live it", I did a powerpoint that started with the video of the two firefighters being hit by a car in South Carolina. Then I had the NIOSH report of the fire policeman who was struck and killed in eastern PA. Then some incident photos showing the difference between vest and no vest. A slide with the applicable Federal regulations showing it's the law, a slide with the PA BLS protocol, and then our policy. Rather than having the new policy shoved down their throats, my people saw WHY we were doing this. Much better acceptance.

    As someone else wrote, time is a factor. You won't change the world in a day. Heck, it took a lot of training and showing people how much more effective LDH is than laying dual 2 1/2s. Several years went by until I finally got acceptance to buy LDH. It's not that they were opposed to it... it was that they had been trained for years on 2 1/2 for supply lines.

    If you tick off the 'old guys' your battle will be a lot harder. Remember, they didn't grow up with computers and technology. The statement "I saw it on the Internet" is just going to shut their minds, for the most part. If you show THEM what you saw, they will get it a lot better. Hence my 'old-timers' completely understand our Cleveland load, because I pulled up videos of it and they got to see it in action. Then I did it myself and they got to see it in person.

    As to uniforms... if you've got some extra funds laying around, buy your EMS crew jumpsuits. Again... show them why they should wear them (BSI, kneeling in puke, having gloves/scissors right with you, reflective trim, etc.) and they probably will. They may be tickled that you got them something too... I couldn't believe how buying a couple older drivers new boots improved my popularity!

    Good luck!
    Last edited by xchief23; 11-17-2011 at 02:45 PM.

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    .................
    Last edited by ChathamVFD9921; 11-19-2011 at 09:15 PM.

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    First of all, since you are in Ohio, you are REQUIRED to have a current firefighter certification. The Ohio State board of EMS, under the Ohio DPS, CAN AND WILL CHARGE YOU for practicing without certification. They CAN levy fines (BIG ONES), you can even be charged criminally. I'm not sure where you are in Oh., but you need to let your leadership or township trustees know they are endangering the financial well being of whatever township or town you serve. If your local government has insurance for liability or your equipment, you can just throw that out the window if you let uncertified people operate as firefighters. Ohio only requires 18 hours of continuing education a year to keep your card. If they can't manage that, they need to QUIT.
    Having said that, you need to figure out where your dept. is in relation to meeting Ohio and NFPA standards in regards to training, manpower, and equipment. Involve everyone in the dept. and get advice and insight from the other depts around you to see how they solve these things. It's going to takes some time to make that leap. There are paid and volunteer depts., but there shouldn't be any such thing as professional and amateur depts., fires don't make that distinction. Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    First of all, since you are in Ohio, you are REQUIRED to have a current firefighter certification. The Ohio State board of EMS, under the Ohio DPS, CAN AND WILL CHARGE YOU for practicing without certification. They CAN levy fines (BIG ONES), you can even be charged criminally. I'm not sure where you are in Oh., but you need to let your leadership or township trustees know they are endangering the financial well being of whatever township or town you serve. If your local government has insurance for liability or your equipment, you can just throw that out the window if you let uncertified people operate as firefighters. Ohio only requires 18 hours of continuing education a year to keep your card. If they can't manage that, they need to QUIT.
    Having said that, you need to figure out where your dept. is in relation to meeting Ohio and NFPA standards in regards to training, manpower, and equipment. Involve everyone in the dept. and get advice and insight from the other depts around you to see how they solve these things. It's going to takes some time to make that leap. There are paid and volunteer depts., but there shouldn't be any such thing as professional and amateur depts., fires don't make that distinction. Good luck!
    ...............
    Last edited by ChathamVFD9921; 11-19-2011 at 09:16 PM.

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    Here you go.

    4765-20-01 General provisions.
    (A) No person shall provide firefighting, fire safety inspector, fire instruction, or other related services without possessing the appropriate certificate issued by the executive director pursuant to section 4765.55 of the Revised Code and Chapter 4765-11 of the Administrative Code.

    (B) Every individual who is certified as a firefighter or fire safety inspector prior to the effective date of this rule, shall apply for a certificate of fire training in accordance with rule 4765-20-19 of the Administrative Code within twelve months following the effective date of this rule.

    Effective: 01/24/2008

    R.C. 119.032 review dates: 01/23/2013

    Promulgated Under: 119.03

    Statutory Authority: 4765.55

    Rule Amplifies: 4765.55

    Now of course all the cert's a person have, have been given the same expiration dates, but you still have to have the individual cert's, and the continuing training to renew them. Google "Ohio firefighter certification" and you should find the .gov site that has all the regs. I will say this, THE OHIO STATE EMS BOARD IS THE LORD GOD KING OF YOUR CERTIFICATION WORLD, and THEY WILL LET YOU KNOW IT. I got run through the shredder for a paperwork glitch that was not my fault, and was compounded by another guy in the same boat but who had a anger management problem. He ****ed them off and it cost me money. You don't want to do that, trust me. Luckily it just cost me some money and not my job.
    Last edited by johnsb; 11-17-2011 at 04:23 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    Here you go.

    4765-20-01 General provisions.
    (A) No person shall provide firefighting, fire safety inspector, fire instruction, or other related services without possessing the appropriate certificate issued by the executive director pursuant to section 4765.55 of the Revised Code and Chapter 4765-11 of the Administrative Code.

    (B) Every individual who is certified as a firefighter or fire safety inspector prior to the effective date of this rule, shall apply for a certificate of fire training in accordance with rule 4765-20-19 of the Administrative Code within twelve months following the effective date of this rule.

    Effective: 01/24/2008

    R.C. 119.032 review dates: 01/23/2013

    Promulgated Under: 119.03

    Statutory Authority: 4765.55

    Rule Amplifies: 4765.55
    So in English, this translates to?

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    No person shall provide firefighting, fire safety inspector, fire instruction, or other related services without possessing the appropriate certificate

    Bud, I don't think you can make it any more plain English than that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    No person shall provide firefighting, fire safety inspector, fire instruction, or other related services without possessing the appropriate certificate

    Bud, I don't think you can make it any more plain English than that.
    I can see that.

    But it doesnt answer my question of whether your ONLY allowed to have EMS cards, and still be a member of a fire entity (which got answered in another thread, thank you).

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    So I guess "new school" you fish for a bunch of information on the internet from total strangers so you can try and undermine your chief? Glad I am old school. Nothing wrong with trying to improve things --- but there is a right way and a wrong way.
    ?

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    I have been on a a 100% volunteer fire dept for 26yrs now.Im on the second round of the old school new school scenario. Ive been an officer of some type for 20 of the 26yrs.Currently Im working my way back up as assistant chief again.Every year during elections I try to encourage the younger guys to start taking more responsibility and run for office. I would be more than happy to be a senior FF giving advise and slowing down. At this point no one is stepping up even though of the 28 firefighters more than 1/2 are less than 40yrs old some as young as 21 few are stepping up yet. It takes a lot of dedication including time and patients to be an officer on a 100% volunteer dept. The only certificates I have is first responder and auto extraction. Other than that its just 26yrs experience plus attending training schools at the regional and state levels for many years. No firefighting certificates are needed here in ND. The transition to the way young on the old way may be slow and painful.The key would be to have a few of you new school guys volunteer to take on training aspects and other duties if you can. Be really involved.Then if you have the training an experience why not run for an assistant position.Don't push the old school out of the way but offer to take on their duties while your changing to the "new way". Then practice your new way.For example use the radios the "new way" but be patient and tolerant when the old school uses the old way. Offer to do radio training a couple time a year if time permits. The Firehouse and its membership can be very political so speaking softly and putting extra effort in to it may get you far. Don't spout off at a meeting then never volunteer for extra duty even if it just cleaning the hall. If you just spout off at a meeting your a whiner on our department and mostly ignored.On our department being 100% volunteer the extra time you put in pays you nothing,but seems to eventually get you an officers position.
    Dave
    Assistant Chief
    Fairmount ND



    a positive attitude may not solve all your problems,but it may annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    So I guess "new school" you fish for a bunch of information on the internet from total strangers so you can try and undermine your chief? Glad I am old school. Nothing wrong with trying to improve things --- but there is a right way and a wrong way.
    No this is called trolling.

    Nobody is being undermined, the internet is a KNOWLEDGE portal, and i am using it as so. If you dont like it, dont contribute.

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