Thread: new fireman needs advice
09-17-1999, 08:41 AM #1firefighter_ixoyeFirehouse.com Guest
new fireman needs advice
Hello i am a new firefighter in the state of maine
I am now 17 but will be 18 in a a couple of weeks
to tell the truth i am afraid of dieing every call i go on though i puch it aside to get my job done write is that normal, i find my self looking at my dad alot when we go to a fire togather though its only a quick glace every now and then is it wrong
i also am worried about my peers when on the job site i dont want tpo sound like a worry wort but i have some fears,
i would also like tro ask some addvice from older firefighters as to what i can g\do for the best
09-17-1999, 01:35 PM #2fridayFirehouse.com Guest
Welcome to the ranks! Firefighting is a proud profession with an illustrious history. As to your fears, they are normal. There is no place on the fire ground for anyone who has no fear. Fear helps protect you if you master it instead of letting it master you. The best way to master your fear is to increase your knowledge. Be diligent in attending training. Listen to those who have been there before, not blindly, but with common sense. Stick to the tasks that you are qualified to do and learn the job above you. Volunteer to do the unpopular parts of your job- like rolling hose, washing trucks. Help inspect and maintain your equipment and learn how to operate it. Use your safety equipment- every time! If you don't have all that you need- find a way to get it. Use your youthful enthusiasm and figure out new ways to do things at the drillfield, but be willing to learn other ways as well. Above all, always be a part of the solution to problems, don't contribute to them. Capt. Dan
09-17-1999, 02:31 PM #3BURNSEMSFirehouse.com Guest
Again Welcome, My father always told me Fear is a Good thing, I think every one feels it at some time, Dont Let fear drive you away from the main function,, use it as a guage to determine your boundries, there may be some things that you just dont feel comfortable doing, thats Ok, just accept it Tell your Officers and Step into those uncomfortable areas a little at a Time. Use Training as a methode to meet your Fears head on this is where you can make mistakes Learn, Correct, Do Over as Often as Possible.I got into the Fire Stuff at Your age also my father was a Assistant Chief of our Dept so Did I have to mind my Ps and Qs you bet, was I scared You bet, Did I want to follow him around You bet, Did he Let me NO WAY, I was a Fire Fighter just like the rest and I had a Job to Do So I had better Do it, If I had a question ask, Otherwise it was get Dirty Time... Relax and take advantage of these forums, Study and be the Best You can be, and in Time you will still have fear but you will Know when its Serious and when its Not....
Here today for a Safer Tomorrow
09-28-1999, 08:18 PM #4John MyersFirehouse.com Guest
Welcome to the family, what my brothers have been telling you is true.I too was 17yrs old when I joined,my new family taught me everthing they could to make me a great firefighter.They made one mistake,the one lesson I wasn't ready for.Death,the call goes like this a car crash on the interstate me still young and naive I got on the engine,we pulled up I only saw one car,I though this is going to be easy.Boy was I wrong as I walked along the gaurdrail I looked to see what the EMT'S were looking at it was a six yr old girl dead.But my family saved my life and my career.By telling me this help the ones you can,the onesyou can'tyou must carry on.I just hope I haven't turned you away,we need you just remember were not GOD!!! good luck
09-28-1999, 10:05 PM #5nsfirechapFirehouse.com Guest
Welcome to the family!!!! We in the fire service are all brothers and sisters. So far you've gotten some sound advice.
After 22 years there is still a fear factor on every call I go to. One thing that has helped me over the years is to trust my protective clothing and SCBA, but not to be be overly trustworthy. Bunkers and an air pack have not transformed me into Superman as of yet. Training helped and continues to help.
After awhile there is a real trust that builds up amongst you and your department members, you really become a TEAM.
Faith helps me alot, but I promise no sermons here.
Yes, we are in adangerous profession, but you can prepare for the dangers.
One thing to remember-DO NOT LET ANYONE BELITTLE YOU FOR HAVING THESE FEARS OR to be afraid to admitting them. If you ever find your self in a situation that you are not comfortable in there is no shame in getting out. A few years ago I stayed in ane spot on a wildland fire that I knew I should not be in. but I did not want to appear to be afraid, well... to make a long story short I almost got myself killed. Better to be safe and smart.
If we can ever be of any help let us now.
Have a great safe day!!!
09-29-1999, 08:40 AM #6Jim M.Firehouse.com Guest
Never let anyone tell you to do something you have not been trained to do! You will find many of the older members learned by the seat of their pants and some of them feel you should learn that way too. You have a whole variety of classes available in your regional Fire Attack schools. Take them all.! Find a FF1 course in your area and take it. By training in a safe environment with qualified instructors, you'll find out when to be REALLY scared and when to be careful. 99% of our calls in Maine are "plain vanilla", it's knowing WHAT to do, WHEN to do it and most importantly, HOW to do it. Good luck.
09-29-1999, 09:21 AM #7EPFD-ALFirehouse.com Guest
Welcome to the fire service! All the advice given to you so far is 100% right. You're very, VERY lucky to be coming in to our brother and sisterhood at this time. Years ago there were no SCBAs, 2in 2out rules, FAST teams, PASS devices, ICS, laws, and etc for enhancing firefighters safety. There's still a great deal of risk, but we've come a long, long way. Remember: There are no stupid questions .. just stupid answers. Never be afraid to ask questions. If you do these three things evrything will be AOK:
#1. Train #2. Train #3. Train 10-4?
09-29-1999, 09:10 PM #8SteamerFirehouse.com Guest
Sound advice from each and every post. I agree wholeheartedly with Jim M. that "it's knowing WHAT to do, WHEN to do it and most importantly, HOW to do it." I would like to suggest that we all tend to forget to train how to "do it" when the fire forgets how it's supposed "to do it". We all run that risk of things going wrong regardless of how much we train. The fire service in general should train as regularly on fireground survival techniques, so when things go wrong (and we all know that they will at some point in our careers)we have the skills to survive that situation.
I don't want to scare you away from the service, but an awareness of survival techniques might not only save your life, but the life of a brother or sister firefighter as well (maybe even me should our paths cross).
In the end, the fire service is a teriffic career that will bring you more satisfaction than you could possibly imagine. By the way, welcome to the ranks!
09-29-1999, 09:53 PM #9NVFD933Firehouse.com Guest
Again I would like to welcome you to the largest family you will ever encounter. The fear and animosity you are feeling now, will lessen with time, experience, and training but it will ALWAYS be there. learn to control your fear and use it to your advantage, the key is to not let it control you. You will learn as you receive more training that you will count on that fear to heighten your senses, which will intern make you more aware of your surroundings, which will intern make you a better fire fighter. You will be able to tune into the fire and your surroundings so when you see things going bad you will be able to feel them going bad as well, and that's the fear telling you to "Get the Hell out of here".
You might also want to keep in mind that as a rookie you may be the subject of several practical jokes. Just remember that every fire fighter goes threw this. It will go away soon, this seems to be the most popular way for senior officers to tell the new guy that "We are here for you", it sounds silly but it wont be long before you are the joker and not the joke-eee.
Listen, learn, and have fun
09-30-1999, 01:34 AM #10docjwtFirehouse.com Guest
Welcome to the "family".. Every post before me has been right on track.. Training and trust in your fellow firefighters has been the key in my 14 years "on the job". Controlling your fear is what seperates "average" firefighters from really good ones... Lear to use it to your advantage. In addition train, train, and then train some more... The more you learn, and the more you work with your gear the more confident you will be.
Good Luck, and stay safe!!
James "Doc" Tarpley
North Tooele County FD
10-01-1999, 03:20 PM #11Sledgehammer57Firehouse.com Guest
After reading all the posts I went back and read you initial post again. Some fear is not only normal and healthy - it is absolutely essential. The thing that scares me the most is the firefighter who has NO FEAR. This is the person who is going to get someone hurt or killed. On the other hand and just to be the devil's advocate -- firefighting is not for everyone. If after a while your training and experience do not start to ease your fears then it may be time to admit that this is not the place for you. DON'T QUIT BEFORE YOU GIVE IT AN HONEST CHANCE but realize going in that you may not be suited for the dangers of the field. In the meanwhile WELCOME and best of luck.
10-01-1999, 04:24 PM #12edfcFirehouse.com Guest
I've been at this 26 years and I'm still scared. The fear has pushed me to train train train, learn learn learn and to use common sense. Remember it's not what you don't know that will kill ya. It's what you don't know, you don't know that gets you killed.
Having said all this if the fear prevents you from doing the job volunteer or career, then I suggest you find another job or hobby.
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