Leaving a guy behind
I'll make this short and to the point. My department received a call for a fire alarm activation. My gear was staged right next to the engine and I was halfway dressed when the Engine pull out went down the road. There wasn't a full crew and two empty seats. I'm pretty ticked off that they didn't wait 10 seconds for me to put my coat on and get in. Granted I'm only a probationary member but I'm 9 weeks into the academy and have been with the department 7 months. The way I see it, if it was an actual fire they still could've used me to help raise ladders, change bottles, and help the pump operator out. Am I crazy for being ticked off? Is that really messed up? Feedback please.
I'm sure you're ticked, but as a new member you can rest assured they will continuously bust your balls to see how you respond. It helps build a thick skin, which you will need for interacting with people other than your fellow firefighters.
If they needle you about it--"Hey, probie, too slow!", make a joke and don't confront them. Tell them everything was going smoothly until you put your feet into your boots backwards or something.
By the way, on an AFA, I'd just as soon miss the truck anyway.
Don't get too upset about it. You missed an AFA - and yes, perhaps the excitement that a new members gets from going down the road with the lights and sirens on, but other than that, you really didn't miss much.
As our Kentucky brother said, maybe they were trying to needle you a little bit to get a rise out of you, but don't let it get to you. Continue to train, score well on your tests in the academy, and you'll be on that rig before you even know it.
Even though I don't know whether leaving you behind was appropriate in the circumstances, a foolish wasting of human resources for the sake of a ten second delay, or a deliberate attempt to needle you to see how you would react it makes no difference to the advice I would give.
Any bad reaction on your part now would be the wrong thing. You are too new in the department to be demanding anything and you certainly are not the one responsible for making sure the engine is adequately manned when it responds (although you are responsible for getting to the truck in a timely manner).
If the guys leaving you were in the wrong, it is up to those in charge to correct it and if they were not or alternatively if it was a minor issue done in an effort to test you then reacting badly will just show you are going to have trouble fitting in with the team in the future. EastKyFF gave you very good advice with the "boots on backwards" comment to laugh it off if you get needled about it. If you cannot pass that one on with a smile on your face then in my opinion you are better looking for another career.
At this stage, knowing the new guy will make an effort to fit in with the team is a high priority and having a tantrum about being left behind will mark your card the wrong way. It is possible (although I doubt it) that their behaviour was outrageous and whoever was responsible should be held to account and disciplined, but even if that is so it would be a bad career move for you to initiate the process.
Save your outrage for something which is worth fighting for, and if you do start a grievance issue never lose your temper in the process. The worst mistakes I have made so far in my forty year career have all been made when I was too busy being ticked off about how someone else was (not) doing their job and lost focus on the job I was meant to be doing. You did good asking for advice. Listen to it and consider it and if you follow it then don't do it because I said so, but because my words made sense to you. Good luck!
As you progress in the Fire Service let me say this..."This will not be your last time a engine will leave without you." I was a Firefighter for over thirty years and trust me when I say this.....I was left holding my AXE more than once. Relax and take the ribbing.......
Turn it around as a learning experience....
Instead of getting ticked off why you were left behind ask yourself why it took you longer to get your gear on?
We practice getting gear on. May sound ridiculous but now our guys get donned quickly and correctly.
Practice and next time be the one sitting on the engine waiting on them and just smile (to yourself of course).
1) it was an AFA. did it turn out to be anything burning? no need to get ticked
2) if it was an actual fire, yeah, I'd be ticked. I'd also be sitting on the bumper of the 2nd due piece all dressed up and ready when it pulled out.
3) get dressed faster. generally I have my bunker pants on and I'm hustling to the truck with my coat and helmet in hand, esp if the engine is on. if it's not started yet, I put the coat on, but either way, you got to move faster
4) did they intentionally leave you? ie, did they see you getting dressed and pull out anyway? or did they have a full crew (not all the seats full, just enough that your departments considers full, typically 3 to 5 firefighter), and were out the door? the former is annoying, the latter is perfectly understandable, especially considering you are still in the academy.
it was only an AFA. as a very old firefighter once told me, "don't worry, there will be others." Well, he also told me "come down, even for the fire alarms. while they are often false alarm, they can also be your first sign that a fire does exist."
A grand total of one post by the OP. I'm not sure our replies are being read...
What's the rest of the story on this. Were the rest of the guys dressed and you were just to slow at getting dressed or did these guys not completely get dressed because "it's just an AFA" Do yourself a favor and if you missed the rig because these guys were complacent and didn't fully get dressed then they did you a favor by leaving you. You're early into your journey of being a firefighter don't let bad habits like complacency kill you.
Out the door on a first due with less than six (6) here will get you an A** chewing if you were in the Right hand seat. It matters not what the reason. Now if it were a reported structure, you being a probie, would get you on the second due, because all 4 FF must be pack qualified on the initial.
Are you delaying the response of the first-out engine to ensure that six are on board? I'm also curious as to the need for six before you roll. You must have a very strong membership roster.
Originally Posted by kuh shise