Thread: Young line officers
02-25-2001, 02:37 AM #1ff/emt-murrayco22Firehouse.com Guest
Young line officers
How old is the youngest line officer in your department? What age do you feel is to young to be a line officer?
02-25-2001, 06:21 PM #251Truck_KFirehouse.com Guest
I don't think it is an age thing as much as it should be a quality thing. I wouldn't want anyone that has been in a department for less than 5-6 years, as an active, continuing education firefighter, not a good buddy of the next guy who always buys the beer and shares his can of Skoal. This is a big responsibility, to be a line officer!It should not be left to kids to do. And that's the bottom line!
02-25-2001, 06:43 PM #3Smoke286Firehouse.com Guest
Under our current system you would need about 18 yrs in to make the top of the Lt's list. 23-24 to make Capt.
02-25-2001, 06:44 PM #4Tindog18Firehouse.com Guest
I'm an 21 year old Lt. In an upstate NY. The previous reply was right its not a matter of age as a matter of professionalism and dedication to the fire service. It may seem wrong to the older members and lifetime members that a person is too young, but if he/she is doing their job and doing it well whats the difference?
02-26-2001, 07:09 PM #551Truck_KFirehouse.com Guest
The difference is, if it is your responsibility to take a crew into a building on fire, you better know what the heck you are doing, what they are doing, what the building is doing, what the hee-haws on the outside are doing! How can one be an effective fire officer with only a few years in a department? How many fires could one be in in this day & age? Anyone can run an auto alarm or an accident, but when the brown gooey stuff hits the fan, can that same person effectivly lead his crew into war, and return them safely? Betcha it is the "older"member that pulls the 19 y/o Lt. out!
02-26-2001, 08:29 PM #6E_man9RFDFirehouse.com Guest
We have one Captain who is in his early twenties. He isn't a bad guy, however there is a maturity factor that we haven't addressed yet. True, an officer must be a leader and looked up to, yet that officer must also be able to handle him/herself around their charges.
I believe that there must be an experience level involved also. I don't feel that a couple of years (overall) is suffucient for a person to be promoted to any officers position. Unfortunately, we have no testing instrument to weed out those who are not best suited for the job. It's "who you know & who you blow here."
Eng. Co. 9
"In all of us there are heroes... speak to them and they will come forth."
"In order for us to achieve all that is demanded of us, we must regard ourselves as greater than we are."
02-27-2001, 01:43 AM #7pyroknightFirehouse.com Guest
The problem with young officers (line or staff) is that if they haven't seen much fire, they want to be where the action is. They're so busy tryin' to prove they can do the job (which they should've done before they became an officer) that they aren't DOIN' their job (BEING an officer). If a young officer has been on a busy rig and has matured, no problem. If a young officer is the chief's buddy and he's green as grass, watch your back.
02-27-2001, 03:53 AM #8MB1213635Firehouse.com Guest
my two cents. Which officer would you rather have leading you, someone who can keep his/her cool under pressure and knows what needs to get done, or the person who loses his/her temper and who knows what needs to be done, but is stubborn and can't adapt? Age, in my opinion is not too much of a factor.
02-27-2001, 09:36 AM #9Lewiston2CaptFirehouse.com Guest
Another topic that must be addressed is the fact that "older" members tend to have the attitude that they have put in their time and are leaving it for someone else to do. Now that someone else is a younger guy that doesnt exactly have the experience for the job but does have the motivation. Many VFDs now dont have the luxury of people competing to join up. We ofter have to go and do some serious recruiting to get people, and often those people are younger.
My solution to the issue is that those companies that fit the above description encourage the "older" members to take a more active role in the FD and provide assistance to the young officers when they think they need it. If the officer is smart they will gladly accept the help.
B.T.W I am one of those young line officers. I have 5 years in the dept and just started my second term as Capt.
Shawn M. Cecula
Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2
02-27-2001, 12:31 PM #10cfr3504Firehouse.com Guest
I'm the youngest line officer in my department @ 21 years old. We have 5 line officer positions, Cheif, Asst. Chief, Capt, and 2 Lt.'s. I'm one of the Lt. starting my 1st term. The other Lt is 22, and is beginning his 2nd. Our Asst. Chief is 26. We are a small rural all volunteer dept. Officers here do more that be the person in charge on a hose team. Responsibility is of course divided between us, but we are responsible for maintainance, supplies, paperwork, etc. in addition to command duties on a scene. Officer seclection occurs yearly. The top three positions are chosen by the membership, so, the members must be comfortable with the knowledege, experience and decision making skills of the officers they select. Those three officers appoint the two Lt's. Again the dept must have faith that the elected officers will make wise decisions based on leadership ability, training, experience, attitude,ability and willingness to get the job done. In our dept. officers are usually chosen based upon those criteria, and of course maturity, more so than age.
02-28-2001, 02:55 AM #11smokeeater51Firehouse.com Guest
I don't want to cause a ****ing contest here, but I'm seeing some pretty narrow minded opinions. I know quite a few "seasoned" officers that couldn't lead a fart to fresh air, and quite a few young officers that would make you think twice. I am one of three Lt's in my department, all of which are in our 20's. 29, 27, and 22, in that order. I am number two in line. The problem with our society today is, everyone is too quick to generalize, and it's a damn shame. I'm not saying that ALL young officers are good, cause even I know that's not true. I'm just saying don't be too quick to jump, some of us "young" guys have seen and dealt with quite a bit.
Take care, stay safe, & stay low!
[This message has been edited by smokeeater51 (edited 02-28-2001).]
02-28-2001, 09:04 AM #12TDFDCaptain#5Firehouse.com Guest
Age is not really a factor. Maturity, responsibility, sensability, skill and experience are all terms that come to mind when I think of an officer. I must agree that our dept. has 30+ yr. members that could not lead if their life depended on it(literally) as well as 5-10 yr. members the same. I myself am 29 and a captain. This is my seventh year as a FF. I attend 95-100% of our calls yearly which gives me the upper hand experience wise. I have also attended every course offered since I started which so far makes me the fattest(ooh, that hurts!) paper weight for diplomas in my dept.
But paper aside, you cannot do the job unless your FF's repect you. And I can honestly say that mine do. This is because before I was an officer, I was constantly asked for my opinion, or was the one to take the initiative with others following behind. My age was not a factor, they just trusted me and my judgement. This is not to say that I don't respect the senior members or never ask them for their opinion sometimes. They are valuable learning resources that should be tapped.
Now there will always be members that are jealous that they were overlooked for promotion. Us "young pups" are too green. Hey, whatever! Jealousy is not a good leadership skill. I have confidence that when the chips are down, I have, can, and will perform my duties. One of those important "skills" is people skills. Without them, you can't get anything accomplished.
BTW, I am the youngest officer in the dept. but not the youngest ever.
[This message has been edited by TDFDCaptain#5 (edited 02-28-2001).]
02-28-2001, 09:15 AM #139C7Firehouse.com Guest
Small combination department...career staff includes one Chief, a Deputy Chief, three Lieutenants, and two (soon three) FFs. I am the youngest of the officers (LT) at 37. 11 years in the fire service.
Some days it seems like 137.
You asked for my opinion, now you have it. Any similarity to another opinion, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
02-28-2001, 03:45 PM #14St11FireEMSFirehouse.com Guest
I am our youngest at 19 yrs old. I am 2nd ems lt. I have been through many classes and real scenes. I hate when people look at the kids and run their mouth off about hoe bad they are. I have been in the dept. for 4 yrs and EMT for 3. Some kids take the responsibility and learn and that makes them good officers.
02-28-2001, 04:51 PM #15EnginemanFirehouse.com Guest
I am a 22 year old captain with my dept. Before I turned in my resume for the position I confronted all members of my station and asked them what they thought of me, how my performance was, what I needed to improve on,and if I had their backing. I also confronted several members from our 2 other stations on the same topics. If no one believed in me or was going to back me then there was no reason to apply for the position. I let the members know what my goals where if I where to receive the position. Needless to say I was the top choice out of all to apply. This is the best way for a young member to go about trying to obtain a command position. Let others be your evaluator. If they have nothing good to say about you or will not back you then there is no need to apply if your members have no faith in you. This also helped bridge the gap between the members who had been on for years and had the attitude of "I don't have to take orders from some kid." They saw that I was very serious about the position and was not doing it for an ego booster. This is just my "2 cents".
02-28-2001, 07:39 PM #16First InFirehouse.com Guest
Age should not be the determining factor. Everyone's background is different. Some of the best line officers I've had the privilege of working with (and for) fall into this category. One, no two, of the finest commanding officers in my end of Harris County are 24 or 25 years old (not exactly sure.) These guys have both dedicated 7 or more years to education and training. As a result, they have been successful as career firefighters also. I'm a career company officer and a volunteer firefighter. If a young guy is serious about what he does and has the right attitude mixed with training and experience, you bet I'll follow him in anytime, paid or volunteer, young or old. (I do agree with the experience factor brought up earlier. If a young firefighter places himself in the right atmosphere with under the right leadership, older fire officers should be worried, as it seems some are!)
03-01-2001, 10:56 AM #17LtStevieB82Firehouse.com Guest
Funny how succession is created in a vol. dept. After a while, many lifers just do not want to be officers. That moves the young blood up, with the lifers there to offer advice and counsel. Kinda like in war movies, where the young lt. relies on his grizzled sgt.
Our youngest officer is a 21-yo lt. He and I joined about 6 years ago, and we've each been officers in the neighborhood of two years. I'm 31. We have an assistant chief who's in his late 20s, while the rest of our brass is in its 30s and 40s.
It's not about the age, it's about the quality of the person and ability in the job.
03-01-2001, 11:21 AM #18SFD-129-3Firehouse.com Guest
I'm glad to see the thread changed from young guy bashing. Originally I was going to reply "who would you rather have as a command officer: a 25 y/o with 10 years on or a 35 y/o with 5 years?" It is all about experience and training. People don't get promoted without a serious look at their performance and skills.
03-01-2001, 07:44 PM #19LisbonTrainingOfficrFirehouse.com Guest
Smokeeater is the man...
As long as you show good leadership qualities, stay progressive and move the department forward you should be in the position. Its the old guy who believes in "good old boy" and is the anchor of the department that you have to look out for. Remember bad attitudes are contagious.
But progressive attitudes always squash the bad ones....
03-02-2001, 09:09 PM #20fireNresq22Firehouse.com Guest
GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!!
03-03-2001, 10:53 AM #21fire69dawgFirehouse.com Guest
I believe that age is a factor to a point. If you have 5 year member who has been constantly active, taking any training classes he can get his hands, and is a "leader". Our line officers are predominantly older. Both in age and in years of service. I think any new officeer should have sufficient training behind him/her, and should also be given at least one leadership style course, to give them pointers.
03-03-2001, 01:37 PM #22fc80chiefFirehouse.com Guest
I just got two questions.
How old do you got to be?
When you don't got anybody that age that wants to do the job, then what the hell are you supposed to do then?
I have never seen anything in any traing manual or any class that I ever attended that requires a specific age be attained. I agree that mature and responsible idividuals hold these positions, but to look down your nose at somebody because of their age only is just pure BS!
03-03-2001, 02:29 PM #23Tindog18Firehouse.com Guest
Training Training Training
A cool head under pressure, senseable decision making can be accomplished by an officer at all ages. 51 truck you even said yourself age shouldn't matter but a sense of quality. Without training the seasoned vets are just as good as the rookie.
03-03-2001, 10:41 PM #24DickeyFirehouse.com Guest
At the ripe old age of 27, almost 28 in May, I am still the youngest officer on my dept. My Dept. is a small dept. with 45 members and serving a population of 7500 and we are paid on call with one full time inspector. The odd thing is that I may be the youngest officer, but one of the most senior officers. I am the Training Lieutenant for our dept. I was promoted to Lieutenant when I was 23 with 5 years on, for a total time on of 10 years.
I agreee with everyone else that it is an experience and maturity level rather than an age thing. Some people had a hard time dealing with someone younger than they were giving them orders. Another thing that I had to deal with was new guys coming on that were older than I am. I think it's all how you look at it. Yes I am young, but I have some experience under my belt too. The key is to not get cocky, treat people with respect and stay level headed at all times which makes for a good officer I think.
Lt. Jason Knecht
Altoona Fire Rescue
03-04-2001, 08:13 AM #25chow_wow84Firehouse.com Guest
most of the officers at our brigade are fairly old, ( i am a volenteer firefighter from victoria - australia, but that's not to say that a voung officer is any worse, with all the modules and compecentcy training done everyone is at an equal leavel, and for all of our up coming officers there is a officer training course that takes place, which shows all about what you need to know and all of that,
i think that a young person can be just as effective if not more than an older person!
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