1. #1
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    Question What makes a good line officer???

    hey all. its recently been rumored that i'm on the "up and comming" list for a line officer. but then again, we all know what rumors are like. anyway, true or not, i thought i'd throw out the question and see what kind of advice i get. So what DOES make a good line officer?? thanx for your time, stay safe! peace.
    Matt G. Warminster Fire Dept. Station 90
    IAFF Local F-106

  2. #2
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    Fair but Firm

    Give responsibility for success to your firefighters

    Take responsibility for failure as yours alone

    NEVER yell an order, direction or report over the radio, it won't come over any louder.

    Be your firefighters friend, but not their best friend.

    Never blame a superior for an order you have to give.

    Compliment publicly

    Criticize in private

    Earn respect, don't demand it

    Be the firefighter's advocate, not the Chief's puppet

    Admit when you're wrong

    Don't point out when you're right

    Lead by example, not by the book

    Come home with the same number of firefighters you left with.

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    Well stated, Artie...

    If I may add to it...

    Don't expect your personnel to do something that you would not do yourself. When something has to be done, pitch in...this is lead by example.

    When the troops do well, let them know about it.

    When they don't, use it as an opportunity to train, not punish.

    Don't forget where you came from.

    When the rumors start to fly, consider the source.

    Sometimes the sound of silence can be as deafening as the crack of thunder...
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 07-13-2002 at 11:33 AM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Trust the experience and training of your crew, develop the weaker skilled ones into strong FFs and the strong skilled into strong leaders. Someday one of them might replace you.

    Remember, what you put into their trainging is what you will get out of them when all hell breaks loose and the fan blades get slimmy goo all over them.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

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    Or, to put what the others have said in another way:

    1. Be willing to teach.

    2. Be willing to learn.

    3. Take care of your crew.

    Good Luck!
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

    These statements are mine and mine alone
    I.A.C.O.J. Building crust and proud of it

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    I think the others have pretty much said it better than I could. Just one thing I learned when I made the step from FF to line officer. There is a fine line between confident and cocky. Err on the conservative side. And to expand on what CJ said 2. Be willing to learn. Be smart enough to take suggestions from your firefighters. In the long run it will make you a better person. No one has all of the answers.
    Shawn M. Cecula
    Firefighter
    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

  7. #7
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    Let the men do their job.You take care of them,they'll take care of you.

    Stick up for the men.I was lucky to have one of the last "old timers" as my first lt.He told me day one,"if a chief is yelling at you for something you did,tell him I told you to.Then come tell me what it was."

    Pick up a damn mop once in awhile.


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    See and Hear the big picture.
    Know each of the guys capabilitys .
    Know were your guys are working.
    Know when its time to back out.
    Carry a BIG flashlight.
    Never yell at a job ,it makes the guys nervous.
    Keep the guys safe but let them do there jobs
    and the guys will take care of you..

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    Keep your brain in gear - never move faster than it is.

    Try to anticipate what might be needed - have your crew in the right place with the right tools ahead of time.

    When someone comes with a complaint, listen. Make sure you really understand & they know you cared enough to listen. Tell them you'll check it out, but don't act until you get the rest of the story. Think about it, decide, and then get back to them. Explain your decision. Know that your job is to explain & theirs to listen. They don't have to agree.
    Proud to be honored with IACOJ membership. Blessed by TWO meals cooked by Cheffie - a true culinary goddess. Expressing my own views, not my organization's.

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    All of the above is excellent info. I have some personal experience to offer and maybe it will help.

    -No matter what happens, NEVER forget that you were in their shoes once upon a time and looked up to your officers. Don't let them down. You remember the officers you wanted to be like or you thought you could learn from.

    -Treat each and every guy on your crew with respect.

    -Lead by example. Do not stand and yell orders and watch everyone else work. This is the best way for the newer guys to learn something from you.

    -Look at each task, training, working a fire, maintenance, whatever it is, as if you are training your replacement.

    -Always be fair, but firm. Be there for your guys when they need you and watch out for them. Don't babysit or micro manage them, but you are responsible for them. Keep the big pitcure.

    -Stay calm at all times. They are looking towards you for leadership and if you loose your head, then nothing gets done.

    -Above all, always be aware of firefighter safety. That is your main job to make sure all who go, come back.

    Good luck on your promotion, if the "rumor" is true.
    ____________________
    Lt.Jason Knecht
    Altoona Fire Rescue
    Altoona, WI

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    Don't expect your personnel to do something that you would not do yourself. When something has to be done, pitch in...this is lead by example
    Well Said Gonzo...

    And everyone else...I just have one thing I would like to add...

    Make a decision....wether it is a good one, or a bad one, don't be afraid to make one!

    Ember
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    Default one more thing....

    When the time comes that you and your crew have to takea bite of a s*** sandwich, be sure to lead by example and take a big bite...
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Remeber the old military term - "Nobility of Command."

    Your men get taken care of before you do. They eat, get refreshed, and get first dibs at things before you. It your job as an officer to take care of your crew. If that means there is less time for you to get what you need, then so be it. That is part of the territory of being an officer.

    Don't forget, just because you have a bugle, or soon will, doesn't mean that you know everything. You keep learning until the day you retire. Keep taking classes and advancing yourself because you will only improve yourself, which will improve your crew because they will learn from you.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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  14. #14
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    Gonzo and Engine Lt.....Well said..

    I would also say that while formal education is good....NOTHING...NOTTA...."0"...ZILCH
    replaces time on the job and practical experience. Books don't fight fires and solve problems. As Chief Brunacini said leaders are born not made.

    I am sure I will duplicate some things but also my thoughts:
    >Fair and equal treatment
    >Mentor, educator
    >Common Sense
    >Sees the big picture
    >Understanding
    >Thinks and moves on their feet
    >Willing to listen
    >Leader (not dictator)
    >Do what the crew does....(your hands have to fit a broom, or an lawnmower or mop!)
    >Stay Calm
    >Remember where you were once a firefighter and how you got to where you are now.

    And to side with my friend Gonzo...willing to eat what the crew eats.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    Smile thanks

    hey all. thanks for the great advice. still haven't heard anything, then again, i am on vacation. but, thanks again, and if anyone else has any advice, it would be much appriciated. Thanx! stay safe.
    Matt G. Warminster Fire Dept. Station 90
    IAFF Local F-106

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    Always lead by example! This means when you order a drill, you fully participate in that drill!

    Use tact when talking with or issuing orders to your f.f.'s. I was well respected as a Vol. lt. because of this!

    Just like I would tell a rookie, be the hardest worker in the bunch, your people will follw that example!

    Allow your people to go out and take classes, and bring back that info., and teach the rest of the crew! This makes each feel important, and in turn, the others have to rely on the one with the knowledge, it teaches teamwork, and gets everyone "in tune".

    Get to know your people personally! The only thing I am dissapointed with about my dept. is our lack of brotherhood! It is there, it just is hidden behind alot of other crap. Knowing them will help you know how they will react to a variety of situations!

    You have to take responsibility for them. Good or bad, if they are right or wrong, an officer who tells it like it is, and defends his men when needed is held in high regard. Not only with his crew, but dept. wide!

    Best of luck to you! I imagine you will be a good officer, simply because you asked for advice! Take care of your boys! Come home safe!

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    Default take your time

    *Let your crew know what you expect of each and everyone of them and ask them what they expect of you.
    *If there is a time when you know a confrontation is inevitable try to take it behind closed doors. ie. not in the publics eye.
    *Take advantage of every learning opprotunity for you and your crew.
    *Know when to have a good time and when to go to work.
    *Understand that you will not see eye to eye with everyone. Eventually you will **** someone off.

    Good Luck with everything.

    Keep them as safe as you can.

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    Trust your Chauffer. He knows the way, and he knows how to set up. Let him do it. Just don't let him do it too fast.
    FTM - PTB

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    A good line officer:

    a) Does not get excited
    b) Lets his men do their job
    c) Looks after his men on and off the fireground
    d) Keeps his men under control on and off the fireground
    e) When possible is inclusive in his decision making
    f) Knows when its time to retire
    I hate an officer wh tries to micro-manage, if we are given a job to trench a roof,or do a search, or whatever then we are professional enough that we can do that on our own. I once saw an officer who rather then ask a firefighter to do something was flailing away with an axe. Thats not his job, its mine.

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    I agree with most of the previous posts. I would like to stress on a few things that ALL officers should have from the top down.

    * LEADERSHIP- being able to lead by example. Like it was said earlier, don't expect your crew to do something you wouldn't.

    * EDUCATION/TRAINING/EXPERIENCE- don't act like a know it all, but rely on what you have. Also rely on others for what they have. Some FF's might specialize in a certain aspect of the job, learn from them. Continue your education and training. Again, leading by example.

    And probably the biggest of them all............

    * COMMUNICATION- communicate with your rank and file frequently! The quickest way to p*ss someone off is to blow them off. Take all concerns serious. After all (depending on how your systems work) the beginning of the chain of command starts with Lt's and Capt's. If someone has a concern, and you pass the info up the line, stay in contact with both the FF and the higher ups until an answer is brought back. Communicate communicate communicate!
    K.A. Dempsey
    fire69dawg@yahoo.com
    "If you want to make God laugh, tell him what you are doing tomorrow"

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    90,
    Everything posted is true. Something in our area that does not work. (I ain't to far away from ya) Keeping your hands clean on the scene. Gotta get dirty man. To many officers standing around yelling orders just doesnt work. With manpower almost always being limited, you gotta remember your roots and don't be afraid to revisit those roots. Sure you have more responsiblities as an officer, but don't let the guys catch you sippin' coffee while they are out there in -5 weather on a structure. Know what I mean?
    Although I am a line officer. I probably don't run the shows the way most line officers do. Prolly cause I really don't know exactly what true line officers are to do in a small rural company. We are a small time fire company, but what is cool is that all my guys know what is expected of them. We talk out a scene on the way to the call and so forth. Each guy on our crew can fill in any position at any time, with exception of Chief of course. My job is basically interiors, that includes me going in with my men. I have never sent the guys in unless I was with them. I have to go with them, we don't have enough people to have me stand outside and give orders. But the guys like that. They know and trust me, we anticipate each others moves and thoughts. You also find your lacking fighters, by lacking I mean, they may be better suited to do exterior work etc..
    And that is fine, not everyone is cutout to go inside.
    It is a challenge, but it is also a learning experience. Work with people, so people can work. Good luck, I hope you receive your position.

    Pete

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