1. #1
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    Default Advise for the new Probie

    Hmmm, let's start a few good threads.

    What's everyone's Advise for the New Probie:

    (Ok, "New" is probably redundant!)

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    LISTEN, LEARN, RESPECT
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

    IACOJ-WOT proud

    GO WHITE SOX!!!!!

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    Default probie 101

    Know how to make the damn coffee!!!! (Oh yeah, and if you can see the TV clearly from the dinner table...you are in the WRONG SEAT)

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    Never mind the TV. When we eat, the TV in the kitchen gets turned off, and we have nice, appropriate dinner table convesation. We ask each other about our days, how everyone's family is, what's new. Ah, the hell with it, who the hell am I kidding? The probie should be the last one to sit down, and the first one to get up and dive into the suds. And, if you let him/her (see, I can be PC when necessary) cook, make sure he/she knows what they are doing. Not like my new guy the other night. We let him cook for the first time. Big mistake. We had to explain to him that in order to have grilled, marinated lemon chicken, the chicken has to be taken out of the aluminum pan you marinated it in and actually placed onto the grill, otherwise you have boiled in the pan on the grill lemonade flavored chicken. Sheesh. No wonder it took him an hour.
    Leroy140 (yes, THAT Leroy)
    Fairfield, CT, Local 1426
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    hmm...here's a few:
    -Check over the truck and your equipment everyday
    -If you don't know - ask
    -come ready to learn
    -use common sense
    -dress and act professionally
    -take care of yourself, your #1
    -be humble and respectful
    -volunteer for duties, don't wait to be told
    -feel like you earned your seat on the truck
    -know that the public, especially kids, are watching you and look up to you
    -ask about your progress- what your doing right and wrong
    -learn-there's usually more than one way to skin a cat, so if you know one way, don't think there might not be a more useful way for you or someone else out there; so...don't be a know-it-all, listen to the instructors, odds are you don't know everything even if you have previous experiences.
    -love it and be proud

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    When you come out of your first good fire, ask everyone that was around you what they saw, what happened and any other observations. When you see how much you missed, you'll start to learn to avoid tunnle vision.

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    shut up, listen, pay attention to what senior members do. Heed any advice given to you, or find out the hard way. Work hard and drill hard.....earn the respect and trust of the senior men around you...THis will take some serious time!!!

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    Watch, listen, learn...and never be afraid to ask questions. The only stupid questions are the ones never asked.

    Stay safe. (thats another good one too)
    Jonathan Martin
    martinj@wpi.edu
    WPI Mechanical Engineering
    "Be safe, use smoke detectors...be safer, sleep with a firefighter..."

  9. #9
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    Default New Rookie

    What you do when you first start out will set your reputation and follow you throughout your career. If you don't start out on the right foot, they will show you the door. The crew already knows more about you before you show up than you think.

    Use these standards during station visits, your interview process, and as a new rookie to demonstrate you already know what to do when hired:

    You're a snotty nose rookie. Keep your mouth shut. Be cordial, friendly and humble. You have no time or opinion until you earn it. You can't force it. That will come with a lot of calls and a few fires.

    Big clue here. Leave the electronic leashes off and in your vehicle, along with your piercings, until a time where all your duties are complete. No matter what you might think and how friendly everyone seems to be, you are being watched! It could hurt you big time.

    Call your new captain before your first shift and ask if he wants you to bring anything in. Bring a peace offering of donuts and desert your first day. Homemade is best. Arrive early and ask the off-going firefighter what you should know at that station. Your new captain should meet with you to outline his expectations. If not, ask him.

    Unless you're told differently, put up and don't forget to take down the flag. If the phone or the doorbell rings, make sure you're the first one running to answer it. There will be certain duties on each day of the week. Tuesday could be laundry day, Saturday yards. Keep track. Stay busy around the station. Always be in a clean proper uniform. Always be ready to get on the rig and respond.

    Check out the gear on the rig each morning. Make sure the 02 gauge and the reserve bottle shows enough to handle a long EMS call.
    Firefighters usually have "Their" place to sit at the table and in front of the TV. Don't hog the newspaper. The off-going shift has the first crack at the newspaper. You probably have probation tests.

    Don't park yourself in front of the TV; you have a test coming up. Stay busy. No matter what the atmosphere, you're being watched.

    Although you might be a good cook, don't volunteer to cook until asked or rotated in. Make sure your meals are on time. The old adage "Keep them waiting long enough and they will eat anything" doesn't apply here. Be the last one to serve your plate. Don't load up your plate the first time around. Wait to go for seconds.

    Always have your hands in the sink doing the dishes after a meal. Be moving out with the garbage and mopping the kitchen floor after each meal.

    Learn how to help the officer complete response reports.

    Don't tell jokes until you're accepted.

    Don't gossip.

    Don't play "Your" music on the radio. Don't be a stupid generation X'er or Y’er and always ask why when told to do something. Help others' with their assignments when you finish yours.

    Ask how you're doing. Volunteer for assignments. Keep track of these to present at your evaluations.

    Don't start pulling hose and other equipment at a scene until the captain tells you.

    Always get off the rig before it backs up. Stand to the rear side to guide the rig. Never turn your back on the backing up rig.

    It's not uncommon to move to one or more stations during your probation. At your new station, don't act like you already have time. Unfortunately, you have to start all over again as the new rookie.

    You will have an elated feeling rolling out on your first calls. There is nothing like it. It could last your whole career. Enjoy and savor it. You earned it. You're the last of America’s Heroes.

    I miss it.

    You can find more on entry level and promoional testing secrets on the job section career article section of this firehouse.com web site

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob"

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    Be patient. It's going to take a long time to learn all you need to learn. Don't expect to be there just because you went to one fire.

    Even though they may not always act like it, the older guys WANT you to succeed. (They don't need any failures around.)

    People are more likely to help you if you act like you want their help.

    You're not a hotshot just because you joined a fire department, so don't act like you are. Any moron can get on a department somewhere. Not all of them become GOOD FIREFIGHTERS.

    There's usually more than one way to do something. Just because someone taught you one way, doesn't mean that some other guy needs you to correct him.
    TW
    Essex Junction Fire Dept.
    Vermont

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    Learn to take jokes well! Everybody will tease you about something.

    As others have said, show a willingness to learn, an availability for extra duties, and respect everyone in the station.

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    I did not think that someone would try and turn this into an advertising thread...but...

    Look Listen and Learn are good pieces of advice....

    I find that most probies have no problem with the first one and lack abilities in the second two.

    >Know your job and DO IT!

    >If you are not sure of something....ASK

    >Be safe

    >Accept constructive criticism and make appropriate behavior modifications...

    Artie's advice of what to do after your first "job" is great idea....
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    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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    Very important Stay away from cliques. They are a cancer. If you want respect earn it never demand it. You are only as good as other people see you.

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    Don't start looking at your watch or the clock as it gets near shift change.

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    1. Respect the honor and traditions of the fire service.

    2. Respect those who have done the job before you.

    3. Keep your ears open and your mouth shut...pay attention!

    4. When listening to the "war stories" learn to differentiate the "real stuff" from the "fluff".

    5. Don't be afraid to think "outside of the box" once in a while.

    6. A fire never went out by reading a book...you have to use the knowledge contained in the book, with some common sense, a little luck and a whole lot of courage.

    7. Don't be afraid to ask questions.

    8. Don't complain when given the dirtiest, most menial task in the firehouse...usually it is cleaning the bathrooms! We all did our time to clean the latrine.

    9. When there's work to be done, take the initiative.

    10. Most important: wear your stuff and go home safe and sound at the end of the shift and/or incident.
    ‎"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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    Shut your mouth and open your eyes...
    "When you are safe at home, you wish you were having an adventure-when you're having an adventure, you wish you were safe at home"

    --Thornton Wilder

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    5. Don't be afraid to think "outside of the box" once in a while.
    True; but understand that the probie's box is a small box for a while. Don't freakin' freelance.

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    This is all really great advice - keep up the good work!

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    Geez Louise.... are you guys joking? If firefighters in america treat new members like this, and think it's acceptable. Then how the hell do you ever get, and keep, new members. Being respectful, keeping your mouth shut, paying attention etc. Is one thing..... But some of the things comming out of your mouths boarders on bastardisation and descrimination. If I came into ANY workplace and was treated the way you guys are outlining, i'd never want to come back. What ever happened to welcoming people with open arms? Being open minded? Hey maybe the generation X and Y'ers have something to offer that you haven't yet thought of?

    The idea isn't to make it as hard as possible for the new guys just because "That's the way it's always been".... the fire service is ever evolving. Too bad the people in it aren't.

    The probie should be the last one to sit down, and the first one to get up and dive into the suds.
    The tradition in staff stations around here is exactly the opposite. First shift, the probie comes in and is welcomed by all staff members who will cook a welcoming meal for him/her. Usually a lunch, as a probies first shift will be a day shift. Regardless of who's the new guy, chores (like doing the dishes) are shared BY ALL members. Expectations on the new guy are no more and no less than the 15 year veteran leading fire fighter. With that said you should be offering to help wherever possible, but most other firefighters should decline, because you have tests to sit, remember?

    Check over the truck and your equipment everyday
    Vehicle checks are an entire shift affair. Anyway, are you going to give this sole responsibility to the new guy? HELL NO. Are you insane?

    You're a snotty nose rookie. Keep your mouth shut. Be cordial, friendly and humble. You have no time or opinion until you earn it. You can't force it. That will come with a lot of calls and a few fires.
    Well that's just a stupid and backwards opinion to have. You have no time and no opinion? Get a grip. Sure, you shouldn't just be butting in and giving opinions or critising senior members, especially on the fireground.... But senior members should endevour to ASK probies what their opinions are, and they SHOULD have them. You don't want a firefighter who's a mindless drone, you want someone who can think on their feet and be able to speak up when they need too.

    Bring a peace offering of donuts and desert your first day. Homemade is best
    So you're going to judge someone on whether they made them themselves or bought them at donut king? No, you're not shallow at all, are you.

    Unless you're told differently, put up and don't forget to take down the flag.
    I wouldn't be doing anything like this unless specifically told to. People get very funny about things like flags.... most departments will have prodedures for raising and lowering and who does it. Wait to be told for this one, DEFINATELY.

    Check out the gear on the rig each morning. Make sure the 02 gauge and the reserve bottle shows enough to handle a long EMS call.
    Err, again, you're going to trust the probie ALONE with this responsibility. Vehicle checks are an important part of any shift and are not just some "Crap job" you can throw to the probie because you can't be arsed getting out of your lay-z-boy.

    Although you might be a good cook, don't volunteer to cook until asked or rotated in.
    Why the hell not? It'll give you a good chance for an ice-breaker with new people.... and if you screw it up, who cares. It's one meal. It's not going to be the end of your career. Do what a good mate of mine did when he burned his first meal, pay for pizza....

    Always have your hands in the sink doing the dishes after a meal. Be moving out with the garbage and mopping the kitchen floor after each meal.
    How about just "Do all the tasks assigned to you, then when completed, offer to help others". Don't go telling people it's their job to do EVERYTHING. After all, they are part of a TEAM (apparently anyway).

    Don't tell jokes until you're accepted.
    And while your not telling jokes, why don't you spit and polish EVERYONE elses boots. Get a grip.

    Don't start pulling hose and other equipment at a scene until the captain tells you.
    Huh? So the probie isn't supposed to show initative on the fireground, but is supposed to do EVERYTHING else without being told to at the station? Funny logic there.

    Some of you guys really need to get a grip, treating people like this does nothing more than alienate them and make them feel like they aren't part of you're special little club..... they might not technically be yet, but how are they ever going to get there if you don't accept them and treat them like a person.

    You guys seem to be content treating people like dirt just because "It's the way it's always been done". How about you grow up, get into the year 2003 and welcome these guys with open arms, you never know, you might learn something from them....

    *Shakes head in disgust*

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    DAMN it Dave, YOU LISTEN UP!!!...

    Actualy, your post rings pretty true.

    We sit and wonder why we have fewer and fewer volunteers showing up, but when they do we stick a cold water hose into their bunker gear, pound them on the head and start ranting about the great chipmunk fire of '77...



    But by God its tradition!
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

  21. #21
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    Not down here it aint tradition, I'm with Dave on this one.

    We tend to accept people that work hard, play hard, and drive ahead. Someone shutting up and taking on the menial jobs all the time would be viewed with suspicion as to their motivation.

    If they overstep the boundaries, other members will advise them of their mistake, most rapidly.

    We want them to be fully effective members of the crew as fast as possible.

    As for letting the clueless people check the truck.. Kiwi runs screaming in terror from this one.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    Dave1105....

    You are taking these comments way out of context.

    There has been many a "probie" who thinks they know everything because they spark at fires and have seen "Backdraft" a gazillion times....they also believe the movie was real

    There has been many a probie who volunteered at another department before getting hired on...they spout about being at "the big one" when in reality, they were manning a rehab sector or filling scba units.


    One learns a lot when they listen , and when a probie is ratchet jawing away, the only thing he/she hears is him/herself!

    When someone comes onto the job, they have to pay their dues just like anyone else.

    They do get welcomed into the firehouse.

    They do get their assignments and a mentor to taker them under wing.

    Some of them will volunteer to do the shopping, cook and clean up afterwards...other have to be told repeatedly that their wife/mother/lover/significant other does not work at the firehouse and that we do not have maid service.

    They will get a gentle ribbing...a lot of firefighters use that as a personality gauge. Those who can take it and dish it back usually make the type of firefighter that you would have no problem being on a line with. The job of the company officer is to make sure that things do not get out of hand. Those who go crying to the company officer or worse, forgoing the chain of command and going directly to the Chief tend to make their own situation.

    A firefighter will also acquire his nickname during this period of time. Some of them are complimentary and fit their personality while others are earned due to poor attitude and stupidity.

    Doing menial tasks in the firehouse without complaint builds character. It helps when they have to do the real nasty duties on the fireground (body recovery, etc.)

    Vehicle checks are an entire shift affair. Anyway, are you going to give this sole responsibility to the new guy? HELL NO. Are you insane?
    Probies should be going over the trucks and equipment every duty tour, just as the senior firefighters do. That's how they learn which compartment the equpiment is in, so when it is needed on the fireground, they aren't looking through every single compartment in search of it.


    Don't start pulling hose and other equipment at a scene until the captain tells you.

    Huh? So the probie isn't supposed to show initative on the fireground, but is supposed to do EVERYTHING else without being told to at the station? Funny logic there.
    I have to disagree with your statement.

    Many times a probie has the "moth to the flame" syndrome. Doing fire station maintenance tasks does not take rocket science, and the possibility of death and injury from mopping a floor, taking out the trash, wahing a truck, etc. is microscopically minimal. On the fireground, however, the "moth to flame syndrome" can have catastrophic results!

    It is the job of the company officer to make sure that he/she goes back to the firehouse with the same number of people he/she left with, alive, breathing and uninjured. In turn, the firefighters, from the senior person to the probie are responsible for being their brothe/sisters keeper. That means taking a step back, looking at the big picture, making a decision as to whether the fire will be fought offensively, defensively or not at all! Imagine going to a flammable gas incident with fire, let's say an overturned liquified natural gas tanker and the probie grabs a hose line an sprays it into a pool of burning liquified natural gas without any supervision whatsoever. He/she "took the initiative", and now has exacerbated the situation to the next level.

    Dave... there are thousands of people with their names on waiting lists to join fire departments. Whenever I hear someone say "this job sucks"... I remind them that the local burger joint is hiring, and don't let the door hit them on the arse on their way out! Send in the next Probie!
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 11-20-2003 at 03:32 PM.
    ‎"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

  23. #23
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    Geez Louise.... are you guys joking? If firefighters in america treat new members like this, and think it's acceptable. Then how the hell do you ever get, and keep, new members.
    Most of this is directed towards career probies.

    But some of the things comming out of your mouths boarders on bastardisation and descrimination. If I came into ANY workplace and was treated the way you guys are outlining, i'd never want to come back.
    No it's not, rank and senority have EARNED respect. Besides, in our Union, your are an Apprentice, and you will get treated like one.

    Vehicle checks are an entire shift affair. Anyway, are you going to give this sole responsibility to the new guy? HELL NO. Are you insane?
    Or are you more insane not having the Probie know where everything is at on the engine/truck. Equipment location a operation is a fire fighter job critical skill here in America. Beisides, YOU are responsible for checking your OWN PPE/SCBA.

    But senior members should endevour to ASK probies what their opinions are, and they SHOULD have them.
    There is a difference between being asked an opinion and cocking off at the mouth.

    You don't want a firefighter who's a mindless drone, you want someone who can think on their feet and be able to speak up when they need too.
    That is true, that's why knowing the differance of an opinion and a legite safety concern that needs to be voiced is also a critical skill for an American firefighter. If you are spoutting opinions, you are not paying attention to the job at hand.



    Although you might be a good cook, don't volunteer to cook until asked or rotated in.
    Why the hell not? It'll give you a good chance for an ice-breaker with new people....
    Good idea, and in your 1 day as a firefighter, you have the crew a pegged- don't worry about any food alleries or religious considerations.

    Don't start pulling hose and other equipment at a scene until the captain tells you.
    Huh? So the probie isn't supposed to show initative on the fireground, but is supposed to do EVERYTHING else without being told to at the station? Funny logic there.
    There is vast difference between house ediquate and FREELANCING on the fire ground.

    Dave, before you start bashing American Firefighters', you might want to know a little more about our training and traditions. I know it may hurt some peoples feelings, but learning, knowing, and practicing job critical skills are far more important than whether or not I made you feel bad...
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    But, isn't everything upside-down and backwards "Down under?" Just kidding.

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    I am going to go ahead and build my bunker while I make the statement that I think Dave is actually very progressive. Dont get me wrong I am a firm believer in tradition, as long as it is not a hinderance to doing the job. After all horses and dalmations are very traditional signs of the fire service, but they are no longer used because it is no longer fesiable. IMHO the people comming into the fire service are changing, for that matter the whole world is changing, and like it or not we have to change with it. You say that your dept has a waiting list of hundreds of names just wanting to get on it, that is all fine and well, however not everybody can say that. To me there should be a nice balance between the days of old, which many of us grew up in, and the days ahead like Dave sees. Each probie should be well informed about the menial tasks he is assigned, and he should do them with great gusto, however he should not be scorned and on the same token he should not be coddled. Many of you have posted on the officers and chiefs section of this related thread that you should remember where you came from, this should also apply to the senior firefighters. Have the old guys clean the bathrooms or ride backwards on occasion, it keeps em humble and isnt a little humility in everybody a good thing. It is to me, after all I am no better than you are, and you are no better than I am.
    Ok my bunker is done, you may comence throwing your stones.
    After I'm dead I'd rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one

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