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Thread: Ride alongs

  1. #1
    Senior Member WannabeintheFD's Avatar
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    Default Ride alongs

    Yes, this probablly could go in the explorer forum, but i was looking for some of the department views...


    how do you feel about explorer ride alongs? are there things that the explorer should really work on when they are there or should it be more of (for lack of better words) Shut up and watch kind of thing? What are your thoughts on the explorers coming along (good and bad)

    Thanks



    Kelly
    I havent failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.

    - Thomas Edison


  2. #2
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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  3. #3
    expvol
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    Comming from an ex explorer and now voly, there are a few rules.

    First ride alongs are ok with me aslong as the explorers follow a few rules, and they come with a positive attitude and a willingness to learn. Plus it allways helps to have an extra hand for cleaning, overhaul, pr and other station and call duties.

    Ask the Senior officer if you can ride and set up an intervel of times so you can gain a good relationship with the crew and the officers-this will provide some of the best training you can get.

    spoke only when spoken too

    if you dont know, ask-pertaining to locations of items and how to do something.

    dont ask dumb question

    if you see something that needs to be done around the station, ask the officer, do it

    watch everyones back, if you see a hazzard, let them know.


    be yourself, if you arent you will fail very fast


    listen to direct orders from the officers, IC, BC, and follow them.


    Go to the station and do a unit orientaiton before you ride out so you know where everything is.

    and have fun.

  4. #4
    Forum Member stm4710's Avatar
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    Default

    Dunno funky.........I am mixed on this. I as an explorer for DFD never rode along.

    Dont get me wrong I was not to far from where you are less then a year ago.But since then I have gotten older and little wiser.

    On the first hand:
    I have worked at and investigated alot of fires since then.
    I know that a fire ground is hectic and crazy and not some place---a kid(no offense) should really be. I think back to when I was 16,17 and realize that I was not mature enough to really be there.
    Now before the whole 14-17 age demographic get there feathers up and gets defensive and says----"Hey I am really mature and I can handle it"....you can't......like I said, I was in your boots not to long ago and I was the one saying "Hey I am really mature and I can handle it" the loudest.
    Guys dont worry......the sky is not falling.......yes there will be a torrmorrow and another fire!

    One the second hand:
    I think explorers might be useful at a fire. No, I am not talking about responding code 3 in your primer gray & rust ford escort with your 4 ways and dash whacker on!!!!!!! I feel sorry for a department that relies on high school students manpower!
    Explorers could be very valuable handing out water bottles.
    I dont know where you get your hose, but where I get mine......it dont roll it's self up!
    Explorers are great for public events and PR. Exploring is one of the most positive things a person can do to increase there knowledge in firefighting.


    But funky ya know what as far as rideing along to see whats going on to learn something. To be honest all the fire I have been to,the actions all inside. And what your going to learn from watching outside you can watch from behind the fire line where you are SAFE!
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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    I recently did ride-alongs with local city F.D. on ambulance service. It was a requirement to pass EMT-B. I found that it was a good chance to learn from the professionals who do this every day, and take some of it back with me to vol. dept.
    It was a good time for me to get in some extra study time, as there were people there who could explain the things I didn't understand, and give me a better feeling for what I was doing.
    Take full advantage of every chance you get to ride, as this will provide you with a lot of experiences, and opportunities not available to everyone. Try to pick up as much as you can from these professionals.

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    Default Disagree

    Hey there expvol, I must disagree with one thing you posted, there are no dumb questions!! Never forget that, the question that you fail to ask will be the thing that gets you in trouble in the future.

  7. #7
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Disagree

    Originally posted by 10Truck
    Hey there expvol, I must disagree with one thing you posted, there are no dumb questions!! Never forget that, the question that you fail to ask will be the thing that gets you in trouble in the future.
    I totally agree... However, you must be careful about how you ask them. I know a new volunteer in the area that, I believe, has a desire to learn as much about the job as possible. Other folks I know, however, don't like him at all. When he asks questions, he makes it sounds like he quizzing you to see how much you know. If he'd just re-word things a bit, folks would tell him more.

  8. #8
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    Wink

    I was an exploer for 2 years and I rode alot.I am now a firefighter.If you ride I think other firefighters will respest you because you made an effort to learn.Every time I rode they were more than happy to have me and awnser any questions I had.And when you get old enough to apply you will have more experence and have been envolved with more than you would have if you would not have rode.Even if you can't do as much as other firefighters you can still learn.At least half of the firefighters in our department have been an explorer and they encourge all of our explorers to ride.
    I hope I have awnsered your question.

  9. #9
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    Hmm..well...I will give you my thoughts being a fulltimer that was an explorer also.

    1) Find out what the shift officer expects of you, were you should ride, which unit you should ride on and whether or not you should wear your PPE, and wear you should make your rack. (Some places don't let riders wear gear as they are expected to watch and observe from a distance or in the truck. Accept it and live with it if thats the case, you can still learn by watching.)Oh, find out the names of your crew and the unit designation your riding with so if you somehow get seperated you can find us again or vice versa. :P

    2)Never assume. Ask before you slide the pole,sleep in a bed, look in truck compartments, use the phone, etc.

    3)You are a guest. Be humble, be polite, but be yourself. Ask nicely, please and thank yous are a plus. Don't interject in private conversations or make comments unless your sure it is OK to do so or you are asked. Conversley, don't be a silent bump on the couch that is SOOOO boring, we work with guys like that and we were kinda hoping our rider would have some personality!

    4) Ask questions about things you want to know about, but please, not during a Code or the middle of "Survivor". Sounds simple but who here has had a rider that merely shrugged shoulders when they were asked if they had a question?

    5) It doesn't hurt to ask to lend a hand during housework, truck washing, etc. It isn't your job and I wouldn't expect you to do the work but if you want to help most likely it won't be refused and it will be remembered if you ask to ride again.

    6) Finding out the prefered brand of ice cream and favorite flavor of ice cream to bring with you ( half gallon of Choclate Chip Cookie Dough please!)would be a nice touch, or even a Box of Joe from a local Dunkin' Donuts!

    More later....

    So Kelly were are you riding anyway? Dover???
    Proud to be an American, Union Firefighter!

  10. #10
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    Another ride along question:

    I'm going to have my IFAC and NFPA certs as of the first week in may and have been running with my volly company for about six months now so I have seen some action. I was wondering if when I visit family this summer in Chicago if I would be able to get a tour of one of the stations/ride along/spend a shift or two at a station. I would love to see what the ciy/paid verson of the job is like and see what they do in there local. Does anyone know if there is even a chance if I could do something like that?
    Bucks County, PA.

  11. #11
    Senior Member WannabeintheFD's Avatar
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    Default

    [QUOTE]So Kelly were are you riding anyway? Dover???


    Yea, we arent going to be right now, but hopefully soon. Im just excited. they would set us up at the station for said day with a shift that we have been around a few times.

    and its cool too becaues ill be riding on big red trucks instead of lee green
    I havent failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work.

    - Thomas Edison

  12. #12
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    Default ride alongs

    I dont know I am kind of up in the air on this one. In a way i think that an explore being on the scene could be a good thing for them in the way that they will get to see how the scene is ran and what it is like. But on the other hand i feel that if they are going to be on the scene then the best know what to do...the scene is not a classroom it is a workplace for the time being with a job to get done. It all depends on the call as well... it is up to the department to decide what they can and cant do. But i feel that they should not be responding code 3 to a call either.

    C Fisher
    Firefighter / EMT

  13. #13
    expvol
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    if you dont know, ask-pertaining to locations of items and how to do something.
    dont ask dumb question
    My rule Dont ask dumb questions pertians to common sense questions, I have asked a few in my time and you all should know what I am talking about.

    And you all forgot to read my other rule
    if you dont know, ask-pertaining to locations of items and how to do something.
    What I mean is there is a time and a place to ask questions and there are certain questions that you dont ask, such as personal questions, etc...Questions about department things you should not even know about, stuff that will **** off the Capt.

  14. #14
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    what about certified ff's looking to take a tour/ride along for a shift in a city department? Does that happen often or at all?
    Bucks County, PA.

  15. #15
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    Default Regular station visits

    If you're bent on doing a station visit or ride along, first make an appointment. You take a big risk by just showing up and expecting everything to be scheduled around you. And think about it. Would you just show up a someones home unnanouced? Of course we are there to serve the public. But this is our home away from home.

    Yes, most firefighters want to help. Some couldn’t care less. When my son Rob showed up for a station visit, the firefighter answered the door and told him, “We’re busy, you don’t have a chance in hell. Go away.” A year later this same firefighter called Rob up and asked him to for a trade. Oh, yea, Rob reminded him of the time at the front door.

    Station visits can help or destroy you! Candidates want the opportunity to visit stations as a way of showing interest, gain information for their oral, and can say in their oral they had been to the stations. Often they don't know the culture and etiquette. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression.

    We had a candidate in one day. He had an opinion on every topic that was brought up, including sports and the current movies. When it came time for lunch, he was the first one on his feet to fill his plate. His mother would have died from embarrassment.

    Let me be blunt here. Dummy Up! You don't have enough time or experience to have an opinion! In this situation you have to be humble, have your questions already written down and realize you are a snotty nose rookie. Too many candidates come in wanting the badge so bad they act like they already have time and want to impress the guys with all of their knowledge. BIG ERROR!

    This information will spread like wildfire and destroy you with those who will be making the decisions. Too many candidates tank themselves here and they never know what happened. This applies even if you're already a firefighter applying for another department. You are not part of their family yet. You have no time or experience!

    After giving this information at a college fire program a candidate shows up at my station the next day. He didn't make an appointment, have a piece offering, or have any questions ready. McFly?

    One candidate told me in another class that he had made an appointment and had to wait a half hour when he got there. Poor baby. Understand this is our home. We spend more time at the firehouse than with our own family. So here you come waltzing into our home not knowing what to do.

    Should you go to as many or all the stations in a department? Please spare us this part. Don't turn yourself inside out trying to cover all of the stations hoping the word will get back that you did. It could make you look anal and compulsive. This will raise its ugly head in the psychological test if you get that far. One or two stations are fine. If you try to do them all, it only increases the chances of saying or doing the wrong thing or catching a shift of malcontents that will badmouth you.

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

    Fire "Captain Bob"

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  16. #16
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    As an explorer with tons of ride-along time, I think it is a great thing to have. We are a post with a small/medium size department. Capt. Bob brough up that it may hurt your chances of getting on if go to too many places. I do not agree with this, how else can you meet new people (making possible contacts...) and learn the firehouse culture? At least here, the culture seems a little different from house to house, be it a single company house or one with two or three companies, there is a noticable difference in attitudes. Personally, we learn the stuff by the books at explorer meetings, but on ride-alongs you learn that things don't always go by or work by the books. We are not able to participate in the actual emergency work, but for unexperienced kids, watching is the best way to learn a lot. If there is a fire while we are riding, we stay with the driver or don't move more than a few feet from the rig.

    As far as time/rules, we have two set days per week we can sign up to ride during, and the ride is only 3-5 hours depending on which day/evening you sign up for.

    Ride-alongs are a great way to try to help show the department that the explorer post is still around, and educating kids that want to learn.

    So for anybody that does ride-alongs here are a few things I would recommend

    1. Always Ask to look over the rigs, rigs may be arranged very differently. AND ALWAYS make sure the compartment doors are shut.

    2. Do not take a nap, unless you are able to do a whold shift or something of that sort. If you are only there for a few hours, WAKE UP!

    3. Always offer to pay, most of the time they will gladly feed you for free but always offer, it's just simple manners. Remember to follow the chain of command when getting your food, with the exception of them saying, "Jump in, we're not getting your food for you", well, then you can probably start eating.

    4. Do what your captain or OIC tells you what to do, if you are not to leave the rig on calls, sit down and get comfortable. It is best to find out what you are to do when you first arrive at the firehouse.

    5. Offer to pitch in with the housework or any other work. Washing garbage cans or mopping really isn't as bad especially if at any minute you might get to go on a call.

    6. Try not to be a lazy oaf and just sit in front of the t.v., it's hard sometimes, but you could be reading through some manuals or checking out the equiptment and make more use of your ride time.

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Post any other suggestions you might, these are just ones some of the explorers here have run into.

    Good luck, remember ride-alongs are a privilage, but they can be a lot of fun too. They almost always have been for me, of course there are a few buttheads here and there but most seem to be very welcoming of us and our interest in firefighting.

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