My point is exactly what you just stated - age and experience level influence how a person looks at a situation. The person I was responding to appeared to believe differently.
Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
Now I realize that laws don't mean much in your little slice of this world, but most of the rest of us do actually abide by them, particularly child labor laws which specifically prohibit live fire operations for minors. That's why I said a junior turning 18 would be lacking real fireground experience unless the department was ignoring the laws regarding the use of juniors.
Truthfully, a junior turning 18 should be considered a "fireboy" as you put it. Even with good training, unless somebody has been violating child labor laws, that kid is not going to have real fireground experience putting a lot of that training to use.
Of course that will be the case if they are not trained to activly work with fire to some extent while a junior.
Again, it's not all about the little backwoods VFDs.
We should be treating that kid very much like the way a tradesman learns their craft. After initial training, they spend a significant amount of time under the direct supervision of experienced tradesmen continuing to learn the craft and hone their skills before being "turned loose" to "work on their own".
And define "significant". Are we talking 10 or 20 fires which for a small rural department that runs only a few fires a year, that's almost a career. Yes, i agree that new members need to be mentored and supervised but most departments simply do not have the luxury of a long seasoning period before any new member simply has to be turned loose to operate pretty much on their own.
Unfortunately, many of these kids and for that matter "rookies" of all ages, literally get thrown "into the fire" and are pretty much expected to operate above their actual experience level right away, rather than having that chance to directly learn from a senior firefighter/fire officer under combat conditions and develop the needed skills and knowledge base for those conditions. Many times these people are paired up with other firefighters that don't have much more experience and sent to work on their own.
No sh!!!t Sherlock, that was pretty much the point - preparedness and proficiency require repeated hands-on experience and many new FFs don't get that opportunity under a mentor's wing.
I look back now at my first year in the fire service in a relatively small town VFD and can clearly see just how ignorant and unprepared I was for "combat conditions" even though I had been through my state's entry level training class before running calls.
And that is where realistic live fire training comes into play. problem is for many departments the ability for that training is very limited or in some places essentially non-existant.
And in a rural department where there are very few fires for real world experience the problem is even worse.
True, but willfully violating child labor laws to provide that training isn't a solution either. Sometimes you just have to wait your turn.
Holding back a junior that demonstrates the desire to train harder than most and shows the ability to perform some limited live fire training under direct supervision isn't the way to solve the problem.