1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Default young fire fighter needs advice

    hello i am a 17 male firefighter located in a small maine town.
    i jioned the firedepartment for it has always been my dream, it also allowed me to fallow in my farthers foot steps as well as my greatgrandfathers. this has ment a greatdeal to my whole family and myself even more. but what i need is for some vetren firefighters to just give me some good advice to fallow. if u can help me please do

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hi Daniel,
    Welcome to the fire service. The best advice I can think to give you is to always use common sense. Learn as much as you can about the equipment you will be working with. If you have a question about how something works, ask someone who knows. Get a copy of the IFSTA Essentials of Firefighting and read it. This manual is by far the best source of information on basic firefighting out there. Subscribe to trade magazines such as Firehouse, Fire Engineering, Fire Rescue etc. They are full of valuable information. Use the best personal protective equipment you can at EVERY fire. Were your SCBA at EVERY fire. Participate in drills willingly and with enthusiasm. Try to come away from every training exersise having learned something. Critique every fire call you go on and see what you did right and would do again or what you feel you did wrong and would change next time. Keep a journal of the calls you respond to. They make great material for drills and discussion in the future. Above all, don't ever think you know all there is to know about firefighting. We learn every day. You seem to have a great attitude and I respect the fact that you seek advice from "Old Timers". If you ever need any help or advice please feel free to e-mail me. Best of luck in your new endeavor and let us know how you are making out.


    [This message has been edited by mfgentili (edited June 05, 1999).]

  3. #3
    Ed Shanks
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Here's a few tidbits, and I'll bet others can add to the list:

    Always have ALL your protective gear on when entering a fire scene. Learn to put it on without having to look at it. Same goes for your air pack.

    Check our your air pack BEFORE you start to use it. Make sure the mask fits air-tight. Make sure there's a full tank. Make sure the regulator works properly, and the bypass works. Give your partner's air pack a quick check, and have him/her check yours.

    NEVER enter a burning structure alone. If you and a partner are operating inside a fire building and one of your air tanks runs low, you both leave. The other one can't be too far behind the one whose low air alarm is sounding off.

    Learn building construction so you'll have an understanding about how safe a burning structure is, and how soon it is likely to fail, given the location and size of the fire. Know what a bowstring truss roof and other unsafe roofs (in a fire) look like.

    Learn how to safely operate all the equipment on all the trucks. Know in which compartment they're kept, where the fuel/cord/etc. is, and how to make field repairs. LDH can be re-coupled in the field if you have the right size Allen wrench, but cloth-jacketed rubber lined hose has fitings that need a special machine to expand a brass ring from the inside of the coupling. A Cooper Hose Jacket can cover a blown 2 1/2" coupling.

    DON'T FREELANCE!! Acting on your own can get you or someone else hurt or killed. If you see fire issuing from a window, don't just pick up a hose and squirt water in the window. You could drive the fire back at the interior attack crew, or scald them with steam, or get yourself blown across the street.

    When you get off the truck at a fire scene, have something in your hands. An axe, a light, anything you think you might need. If there are already trucks on the scene, ask the pump operator of the attack truck if he needs anything. As you approach the burning structure, if there are already hoselines stretched to it, drag some extra hose up to the point of entry. That makes it easier to advance the hose inside. You can't have too much hose near the fire.

    Keep a short piece of rope or webbing in a pocket, for use rolling a mattress. It's much easier to roll a smoldering mattress and carry it out or toss it out a window than it is to push, pull, and wrestle that big, flat, floppy thing through the house.

    OK, guys, what else?

    IAFF 1176

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    One thing that comes to mind. If you are assigned a task and don't understand or know how to do it properly, make sure to say so right away. There is no shame to admitting that you aren't sure how to complete it. If you try to fake it just to save face, you may cost someone else their life. Remember to always ask questions.

    Learn all the jobs, at some point you'll have to do them

  5. #5
    Tom Lafleur
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Welcome to the best job in the world.
    Ditto to all the above.
    Stay Safe

  6. #6
    Herb King
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Welcome to the most rewarding and the most frustrating career in the world. My advice is to join and stay for one reason only, yourself. Don't become involved just because your father and others are in. Look inside yourself and see if this is what you want to do. If so, listen to those elders and others with all their advise and you will have great experiences. But if its not for you try another field when you can be yourself and grow. There is no worst experience than being in the fire service because you think it s expected of you and have to experience all that comes with it.

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Also take as many classes and courses as you can. My department pays for all classes I want to take (FF1, Driver/operator, hazmat awareness. Also took a great course from B&M railroad, we have 3-5 trains per day through town) You can never have too much knowledge!

    David Brooks, Firefighter, D/O
    Newmarket Fire Department
    Newmarket, New Hampshire

  8. #8
    Jim M.
    Firehouse.com Guest


    David, the advice given above is the best you'll ever get. Remember to come dressed to work, with the tools for the job and the knowledge to use them and you'll have a wonderful time and meet some great people. Don't join the crowd that stands around and grumbles. Keep attending the regional fire attack schools and learn new stuff. Don't know whats closest to you but Cumberland County and York County both have excellent schools twice a year on weekends. I can get you on mailing list if your dept doesn't get it now.

  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Im still new to the service too. Have been a FF since June '96.

    The best advice I can give is listen to the Vetrans, learn from their mistakes. Something that was told to me once "Son before you respond on a call you have to ask yourself 3 questions. Do I know this person???? Are they related to me??? Or do they owe me money??? If the answer is no to all of these then its not your problem. you are there to help, so theres no need to get excited. If your thinkin' "oh gee this is fun" then your not concentrating on the job at hand. This is when you screw up. And when you screw up you or someone else gets hurt."

    As for the best piece of equipment to keep in your gear... a 15-30 foot length of rope. This is useful in hauling gear up to 2nd or third floor, extending searches, and if you need to bail out you can do so safely.

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I am also a 17 yr old fire fighter. I have been with the dept. for 1.5 years. I have a few things I would like you to know...It will get very frustrating when you are on scene and because of your age will be unable to perform duties that you are capable of. When this happens try not to get frustrated, but when it is all over have a talk with the chief or your commanding officer and express your concerns. When I first joined I was the only Jr. member the dept. had in a long time. People did not seem too thrilled about me being there. The main thing that I concentrated on was learning as much as I could, especially about the apparatus the dept. has, and then go to as much training as you possibly can. Once you have done this and you have a working knowledge of the fire service you will be looked upon a lot different no matter how people look at you now. If you need any more info, just email me...


  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I have been in the fire service for about 1 year. Since your not supposed to enter a burning structure, maximize all the stuff you do out side of the fire. Like streching hoselines, setting up lights, getting tools, changing bottles. You should know exactly what to do when you pull up. If your fast and acurate at doing these things, you will be given more privilages to do at a fire.

  12. #12
    Ken Apel
    Firehouse.com Guest


    All the posts have given good advice but I would like to stress one more thing. Get into the house work needed to keep you department in top shape. It's a great way to learn the equipment and the old` timers will love you for`it and will break there necks to help you out in other areas. Station duty can make or break a rookie

  13. #13
    TRUCK 110
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If I could interject..Become the Gopher; in tense Situations people do not remember where the whoogie waugie is..you can put your hands on it..You could be 2 steps ahead of them, much like a Surgical Nurse is to a Surgeon.. Moving things into place, knowing it will be needed..Do the odd jobs..Like pull the Fire Extinguisher on the MVA..the Wheel chocks for Auto Stabilization..The Hook on that Rubbish Fire..The Water Can for that Smoke invest..or maybe the one with that Kind Word to the Little One, who's Mom or Dad mightbe hurt on that EMS Call.. Be the Ambassador for the Fire Dept..Telling the Public What and Why you might have done Something to Help someone in their time of need, like why do you cut holes in the Roof, Break Glass, or Cut the Door off the car; Be a Friend.. and most of all be a FF who does it right; your actions and mannerisms maybe the imprint for that next Basic you have to take under wing to take your place asking the same questions here in this Forum..
    Be Safe and Thanks for the Post.


  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Welcome to the best job in the world

    I'd like to add my agreement to everything that's been said already and give some other observations i have:

    -Look around, often
    -Never do nothing
    -Some of the greatest lessons are taught by the old timers. Listen to the "War stories"
    -Learn the job, know the job, do the job
    -Always remeber that when you are on a scene, you aren't just a firefighter, you are THE FIRE DEPARTMENT. you represent us all.
    -Remember that there is nothing brave about taking stupid chances
    -No matter what happens, carry on. The fire will not wait.
    -Remember that what other people call "Heroism" is our job, we're trained for it, we do it, simple as that
    -Remember that you won't win all your fights

    -Look in your local phone book, count up all the doctors, lawyers, plumbers, electricians and all other professionals that people call for help. The citizens you protect can choose the best of these to help them if they have problems. When those same citizens are enduring the most terrifying moments of their lives they only have one number to call, yours. your job is to be the best trained and prepared person to respond to that call. Remember that.

    Hope some of this helps


    "We're not heroes, we're professionals"

    P.S. oh yeah, don't live up to your nickname, wear SCBA ALWAYS when dealing with hazardous atmosphere.

    [This message has been edited by Bryant (edited June 15, 1999).]

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Welcome to the ranks. As a 17 year, 2nd generation firefighter, I remember a lot of the things you're going through. Just remember the most important thing is to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. Safety is always first. Know your equipment. Attend all the training sessions you can. When you're responding, it's not the department's emergency until you get there, so don't let the excitement of responding make you forget there are others on the road. Listen to your officer and do what you're allowed to do, and do it conscientiously. You must do well at simple tasks before you can tackle those that are more involved. When it comes time for roll up, be the first one to help get your equipment back in service. Take the initiative in everything you do and soon you will be the one the new guy is asking for advice.
    At the station, if your people are are anything like mine were, learn to take a practical joke with aplomb, especially if anyone has an axe to grind with your father, or if they just want to see if you have the same mettle he did. Many groups of men (including firefighters) are like chickens. They play around and peck at each other, but when one shows a spot of blood, the others will peck all the feathers off of him. Take the hazing with a grain of salt and don't over-react.
    Another very important aspect of your job is learning how to deal with the unpleasant things you will probably run across in the performance of your duties, such as death, injury, events involving children, etc... Find out if CISM (critical incident stress management) is available to you. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to tough it out by yourself. Keeping all the frustration and anger inside can have deleterious effects on you and your relationships with others.
    Last but not least, be proud. Act to deserve the pride of others. Firefighting is one of the most admired professions in the world. Let's keep it that way.
    Capt. Dan

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest



    All good points to remember. Learn everything you can, what you don't know can kill you. Don't rely on the hitech stuff, learn the basics. It will get you out of a bind every time. Always take the time to plan, going off half-****ed when you see the red stuff will get you and your buddies in trouble. Be part of the team, nobody lasts long when they go it alone (literally). Find your limitations, your niche, do a good job. In the volunteer side not everyone can do everything. Find out what you can do and want to do, and do it better than anyone else. There is a job for everyone. Keep an open mind, if you look up the definition of the fire service it reads "change". Things change all the time, keep up to date. It could save a life, maybe your own.
    I wish you a great future serving your community, we all need more dedicated members.

    Be Safe,


  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Learn as much as you can about the job you are about to undertake. Learn about the apparatus of your company, where things are and how they work. Not just the pumps but every hand tool, every power tool, etc.

    Your safety is of great importance. Thats why God created turnout gear. WEAR IT! No matter how simple the job seems there is always an element of danger. Remember you can't offer assistance to someone else if you become the one who needs assistance.

    There is a great deal of excellent information in the above replys.

    Stay safe,

  18. #18
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Welcome to to best job in the world. I was just saying the other day to my relief that its getting tougher everyday to leave the station. My advice to you is to get hooked up with at least a five year veteran. If you're in a slow company don't worry. Check out your equipment at the start of each shift. Acquire a working knowledge of all tools assigned to your apparatus. Never let anyone discourage you. Get in shape and stay in shape. Work hard on the fireground. Be compassionate to victims. Don'y worry, someone will notice you. Do not praise yourself. Just do your job the best that you know how and you will be accepted by your peers and that's really all that counts. Good luck!

  19. #19
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Good luck with your new venture in the Fire Service. There will be a lot of good with the bad situations. Like you, I was following in my fathers footsteps and he was my biggest role model. I first became a junior firefighter in the dept. that my father was Chief of and then followed him in becoming a career firefighter. Now 18 years later I love this career as much as I did 18 years ago. My biggest thrill was to watch my dad in action, because he is my HERO!

    Also, find yourself a good role model and learn everything he or she knows; go to as many Fire/EMS/HAZMAT/etc. schools as possible because education makes you a targeted person; use to your advantage.

    Stay Safe, the Fire Service already has enough DEAD HERO's. That means use your Head.

    I hope that will get you started and if you have any other questions feel free to E- Mail me.

    Stay Safe and listen to your DAD!!!

    Jack Wilson
    Firefighter / Paramedic Student
    Heavy Rescue Co. # 1
    Wilmington, DE

  20. #20
    Rick Decorie
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Three words of advice: Never stop learning!

  21. #21
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Daniel-welcome into this great family!! First and most important-SAFETY, yours and everyone elses. Learn the basics and use them, they will serve you well. Keep a open mind,listen,and watch how the seasoned folks do it! Ask questions-even if you think it's silly you'll be better off for asking! Learn where every little thing is at on the trucks and at the station. Learn every job-be what they call a "utility firefighter", one that knows all the tasks and equipment and is willing to do all. Trust and repect your fellow firefighters, your life may one day depend on them and visa versa! Use common sense-if it doesn't seem right question it. Go to all the classes and trainings you possibly can-train hard and with a passion for what you are doing! BASICS!! May GOD watch over you and protect you!! mike email petrosky@umich.edu


  22. #22
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Don't put yourself into any situation that would take someone else to get you out of.

  23. #23
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Boy what a question! Everyone likes to give advice. The only thing I can add is to become a old grizzled veteran develop a program to keep your body fit now and keep to it. The number one killer of firefighters is a heart attack. If you develop a good excercise routine now, it will stay with you for the rest of your life.

    See ya on the BIG one!

    Lt. Bill

  24. #24
    Firehouse.com Guest


    smokeater_411; ALWAYS look and act like a professional, both when engaged in offical fire department activities and when not "on duty". NEVER say that you are "ONLY a volunteer firefighter". This is the finest profession in the world. It makes no difference if you are being paid or not, the position of being "on the job" demands your best effort at all times. Listen to what your instructors and the senior members of the dept. tell you, use common sense to pick and choose the good advice from the not so good. Welcome to the profession.


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