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  1. #1
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    May 2002
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    Kreamer, PA
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    Question Any advice for a new Capt?

    Hi, I have been reading posts for a while, and decided to post a question of my own.

    I am 20 years old, and have been an EMT for just over 3 years now. (In PA, 16 is the limit for cert.) I currently was appointed EMS capt at my volunteer company. I know, it sounds crazy, a 20 year old as capt. But, that's the way it is in this area. Our fire cheif is only 26. So, anyway, my question is... Does anyone have any advice for me on handling the responsiblity while I am still learning myself? How do I deal with issues such as approaching the older members, who do not look at me as an authority figure?

    There is also a problem in the dept with individuals who feel EMS has no place in a fire house. Does anyone have any ideas on dealing with that issue? Any advice from seasoned officers would be greatly appreciated.
    Renee

    "Those who have seen the storm, come to fear the calm." ~~unknown


  2. #2
    Member
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    Apr 2002
    Location
    Louisville
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    31

    Default Grocery List for New Captains

    You must go out and do something right now before you make another run. Go to your local drug store and pick up the following items...
    1 Bottle of over the counter pain pain releiver (for headaches) 2 Bottles of Pepto (youll really need that) and as many bottles of tums as you can afford..
    But seriously, if confronted with an issue at a scene or more commonly at the station, please always ask yourself how you would want to be treated and talked to before you say a word. Remember on difficult issues, there is nothing wrong with getting back to an individual after you have had time to research an issue. Always be honest even and fair. Always stay calm, but if you get mad, HIDE IT. You will be much more effective calm and collected than you will be upset and scattered. Good luck with your new adventure, your going to need it. Most of all, enjoy your new position.


    Captain Paul Sinclair FF/Paramedic
    Louisville, Ky

  3. #3
    Forum Member
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    Jun 2001
    Location
    Illinois
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    540

    Default

    Coming from a firefighter/emt peon.

    Listen to your guys problems.
    Stand up for them.
    Don't let someone else push you around.

    There is nothing that annoys me more than to hear someone talk to their officer about a problem and the officer says I'll take care of it and it goes no farther.

    Most of the new guys on my dept. will come to me on a problem, because they know even though I am not an officer I will make sure an officer knows, and I will stand behind them.

    The older officers will no doubt try to push you around, remember you are a captain also, they have no more rank than you. Don't take their B.S., but don't be an *** either.

    I am assuming your chief appointed you and he trusts your ability, hopefully you trust your ability also, this is not the type of job to second guess yourself.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    May 2002
    Location
    Wonthaggi, Victoria, Australia
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    Default

    >There is nothing that annoys me more than to hear
    >someone talk to their officer about a problem
    >and the officer says I'll take care of
    >it and it goes no farther.

    i completely agree with Mike here mate, if you can listen to your 'troops' and (at the very least!) offer your support to them whilst looking into their issues, you'll build up a great team amongst your crew, and that is what i feel Captains need in order to effectively fill their position!

    coming from a background where i have been working closely with my brigade's Captain on a daily basis, and also from a younger point of view (18-y.o. brigade secretary who started at 17!), i have also noted that Capt's should NEVER be afraid to reach out to others in similar roles (as you no doubt have done by posting here - however the telephone is also a great option), there is a wealth of information and support out there for people like you. past captains are brilliant, and whilst you might feel a little awkward approaching an older ex-Captain (ie. worrying that they may look down on you), most of them are quite flattered when you ask their advice and will quite readily offer it. one of our Capt's never really turned to others for advice, almost suffered a complete breakdown from trying to manage everything whilst trying to hide the fact that he wasn't coping, and only now has he started to get back on his feet again - as a result of opening up more to advice!

    to summarise my rambling - COMMUNICATION and TEAMWORK will be your most important words from now on. remember and value them!

    i hope i helped in some way..best of luck with your new role

    cheers,

    -Mish!
    ---

    Michelle Harmer
    Secretary
    Wonthaggi Urban Fire Brigade

  5. #5
    Member
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    May 2002
    Location
    Connecticut shoreline
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    42

    Default Been there done that, got out of it

    I am currently in my 13th career year, with 26 years in the service, Like you, I wanted to get involved and back in (groan) 1978 as a 20 year old I was made A Lieutenant, in my fire company.... Luckly I had another Lt. and a Captain above me...

    I am sure that they have some confidence in you, or you wouldn't have got the job...
    do your utmost to live up to
    to they're confidence...

    obviously there are a million things that can and should be said here...from "political issues" to as you stated, the age/ respect thing.

    If you "know" how things really should be run, out in the world as well as back at the station, then .. abide by the rules, and stand on the side of them, exceptions WILL come up, but things need to be discussed and looked into , after the fact... If you have a senior member who constantly pushes, it really needs to be addressed, firstly one on one... man to man... Not in the public eye, not in a confrontational, manner... Look Joe, I know that you thought, yada yada , but..... this is what we need to have happen.... try to keep it from being confrontational, dont approach him/her or them in a manner that they would feel "put down" ie: butting heads .. (who the heck does that lil snot nose think he is...)

    Use the approach, look this s why we are here, this is what the rules say we are supposed to do, we just need to do what is correct within those guidelines, and if there is somethig you dont understand about that, maybe you should review the situation...

    Respect is never just given,
    Respect is earned

    and while most often we "think" we should be respected because of the rank, we might wear, we really need (especially younger folks) to earn the respect. If your straight forward and fair, realistic and knowledgeable in your dealings and not afraid to get into a situation, (get your hands dirty so to speak) then people will respect what our trying to do and be.

    You also need to stay in close contact with other powers to be in your community and surrounding ones if applicable, with respect to face to face dealings on the street, as well as keep up what is going on in other jurastictions that might be an improvement to your own services even if you have no direct dealings, if you have insight and are "well read" then you will instill confidence and respect...
    Treat everyone with respect, as you would wish to be treated, dont belittle
    others inside or outside the organization which leads to an air of proffesionalism in your dealings...
    Yelling on a scene...Might be a nessisary evil, because of noise or emotions, maybe even because someon on your crew is having a bad day.... dont confront on the scene, do and get done what needs to be done, upon getting back to quarters review what happened and why, discuss the issue with either the person involved or maybe the others who witnessed it, in a proffesional manner!! and have a talk with the individual... critique incidents, imformally... determine what could have been done better,faster, and as a group discuss shortcomings...and what everyone can do in a similar situation to work the scene as efficiantly as possible.


    Obviously I dont know your entire command structure/ situation but certainly your in a position now that many people will be looking to you when the poop hits the fan, and you will be the first to get slammed when it goes bad
    stay away from the power struggles and who is trying to get what and focus on the service your group is there to provide....when in doubt use common sense and CYA...
    Jim

  6. #6
    Member
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    May 2002
    Location
    Connecticut shoreline
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    42

    Default some more stuff

    one more thing you should try to develop, is a means to
    BE ABLE TO JUSTIFY any and all your actions as an officer...
    wrong desisions can be fatal ones... and people do die in all sorts of situations... obviously, You are trying to keep this from happening, especially to your crew members, so you want to be safety minded and all, and you need to be able to make a desision that will be as safe for all involved as is possible, weigh the possible consequences of doing "A" and doing "B", and know that its possible to have a No Win situation and a no win situation where others die or get injured besides the original focus of your response....

    Whew I hope that makes sense...


    The best officers are the quiet and calm ones who display confidence both in they're crews and LISTEN to them, when they have something to contribute.

    Emotional yelling and jumping up and down no only sets the crew into "whatta jerk mode" but can also cause them to screw up, more readily.

    Try not to "micro- manage" the crew...
    access the incident, triage, get your folks working on patiants,
    get the other services you need to do what needs to be done, get more help if you need it, check as to how your members are doing , what they need to get things done, and taken care of, get the buses on they're way...

    >>DONT get Tunnel vision and try to be aware of the entire situation around you
    wires down... Point em out, so you dont have another victim to deal with...
    gas leaks/spectators smoking
    Haz mat mva truck vs.car and your first on the scene ...
    that sorta stuff

    communication with the other members, and agencies...

    the cop pulling up might not be seeing the incident in the same light that you do,

    or the FD might need to be doing haz mat, both from a life safety as well as environmental standpoint, but if you need a protection line, let them know, if you need hands , they might want to request aditional assistance... for things to get done properly and timely...

    think of some worst case senerios in your locality, your first due, whatta ya do? kinda stuff...

    (school bus vs. gasoline tanker)
    (hostage situations)
    (man down inna manhole or basement or grain silo)
    possible hazmat exposure
    (probible infectious exposure) decon procedures...
    (2000 lb person diff breathing conjestive heart failure)
    Plane or train crash in town etc. if, knowing you could effectively deal with situations like these with resources available, or how to get those resources then you'll be about as ready as anyone to do the job...


    Jim

  7. #7
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    Jul 2001
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    Points unknown
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    Default

    Hey ems121KVFC

    I know were you are comming from. I was just appointed ems and rescue lieutenant for my vol. department. I also am young and still learning. I have been on the department for 3yrs, but I have put a lot of time into it so far. I think the biggest thing that I have found so far is that you should not let anyone try to push you around.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Kreamer, PA
    Posts
    7

    Talking Thanks....

    Thank you all very much for the good advice. I am now 3 months into my position, and, so far so good. I am still willing to listen to any insight from anyone who wants to offer some advice. I am trying my best to be very open minded. I also tried to think of other officers I have a lot of respect for, and think about why I respect them. Then I try to strengthen those virtues in myself. The biggest thing I came up with was knowledge. I am trying to learn as much as possible and be very well read in all types of emergency services, especially EMS.

    as a 20 year old female capt, I can still use all the help I can get.

    Anyway, thanks again, and keep the good advice coming.
    Renee

    "Those who have seen the storm, come to fear the calm." ~~unknown

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