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  1. #1
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    Post Explorers in the firehouse

    I am an explorer at a volunteer company in New York. Every Wednesday, I ride EMS first response with a CFR or EMT. About a week ago, the guy I was riding with was running late so I asked him if he wanted me to inventory the rig (Ford Expedition). He said sure so I got to work. I know pretty much all of the equipment because I have been riding for 4 months and over a year with another company, I also took a CFR coarse but am not yet certified. I also would ask the guy I ride with any questions if I had any. Before I was even two minutes into the inventory, this hot headed Lt. comes running out and tells me "I can't have you going through the stuff without anyone around!" I tell him I got permission from the guy I ride with but that wasn't enough and he contined B.S.ing me. This Lt. really embarrased me and throughout this and even complained to the chief and the guy I ride with. I got called into the chiefs office but didn't get in too much trouble. Things like this happen all the time at my dept. and for stupid reasons. I used to go through the engines to familliarize myself with where what was. It really was helpful but now I wont even do that anymore because I don't want a hard time. What do you think of this ?


  2. #2
    Forum Member RLFD14's Avatar
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    Does the LT really *know* you well? - ie. have you worked around him enough that he is familiar with your job aptitude and character? Perhaps you guys are just experiencing one of the occasional personality conflicts that we all experience in life.

    Without having witnessed it, the incident is tough to call. What appears from one side to be receiving unwarranted BS could from the other side appear to be explicit giving of instructions and expectations. However, I would conditionally allow that after the LT was advised that you were given permission - assuming this was officially "not OK" - the LT should probably have ended the conversation with you by letting you know that the person who gave you permission is not authorized to do so in that circumstance, and that you should not do it again.

    Like you, I have run into many many many people in this service who have decided to lay into me for various reasons (especially when you're new or just joined a new service), and it can hurt your pride and confidence because you are certain that the attacks were not warranted. However, place yourself in their position to understand their motivations (if not to defend their actions). If someone new joins the department and brings with them a long list of certifications, talks the talk, walks the walk, wears a uniform shirt from some department, has an IAFF sticker in the window, claims ten years of experience, whatever.... I am nonetheless not going to do an interior attack with this person or otherwise place my life in their hands until I have been in training with this person and had time to evaluate their practical skills under fire, observed their grasp of common sense, and witnessed their ability to handle emergency scene stress. I don't want them rummaging in the trucks unsupervised. I don't want to really do anything with them outside of training and low-risk situations or give them much free reign until I get to really know them. It's not personal and not intended to offend them. It's more about my own self preservation - professionally and literally.

    So you see... if this LT doesn't know you very well or has any reason to doubt your abilities (remember one 'oh crap' displaces about 100 'attaboys'), you will get questioned. I am not defending what the LT did, only explaining why it might happen. You will go far understanding what motivates people and working in that framework, and not get far at all if you expect people to behave in what you believe should be a normal framework.

    Good luck, stick with it. Be safe.
    Last edited by RLFD14; 02-21-2005 at 04:28 PM.

  3. #3
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    RLFD14, some good words of advice... Thank you very much. I do think the Lt. was someone out of line... I can see his point of view though and he has not had a real oppurtunity to see me in trainings or in the field. Some good points. However, as far as going through the engines... I have been encouraged to do this. I will wait for supervision the next time.

  4. #4
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    I too will agree not to defend the actions of this "So called Lieutenant" -

    The problem is with in a Volunteer Fire House you have some really great guys and Girls who will help you learn and you have some Real Idiots that think just because they have a title {Ie: Lieutenant} they can look down on the people who actually care {Such as the young person orginating this post} - Maybe asking a senior member such as the Idiot Lieutenant for permission to check equipment would be a good idea in the future -

    Remember as a Junior you're limited and should let the higher ups have the control.

  5. #5
    Forum Member firefightergtp's Avatar
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    This is a tough situation. As a Lieutenant myself, I can't necessarily say that he reacted the wrong way. While I promote my junior members going through the rigs and familiarizing themselves with it, I dont think I would feel the same about an explorer.

    While it is necessary that you do familiarize yourself with the apparatus, as an explorer, I wouldn't want you doing it by yourself. Is it because I dont trust you?? Probably not, its because the liability of it all. It's not like you were just looking around, you were doing the rig check for the shift. Checking the rig for a shift is a liability issue that a full member should be taking care of, not an explorer.

  6. #6
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    I encourage our Explorers to assist with the rig checks, not do them alone. Its nice for the firefighters to have an extra pair of hands, and it gives the Explorers exposure to the apparatus/equipment in a supervised setting. Plus, they work together and get to know one another, which makes the team effort work a little better on the scene of an emergency.

  7. #7
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    Currently the Junior Firefighters in the FD that I run with are assigned to a specific piece of apparatus. Our weekly drill takes place on Monday evening beginning at 7pm. An hour before drill starts, the Junior Firefighters are at 1 of 2 stations assisting with the weekly checklist on the apparatus they are assigned to. This gives them the knowledge to know where the tools are. The Junior FFs take the checklist and make sure everything is there. While this is happening, other Senior FFs are there to assist the Junior FFs if they run into trouble.

  8. #8
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    I know how you feel man. I've run into some trouble with my Lieutenant before but this was another reason. It was a misunderstanding on my part, and it kinda got me into a bit of crud.

    What I would do is talk with the LT. Tell him your sorry and just try to explain what happened while explaining you were just trying to help. And ask what it is that you can do so no more misunderstandings happen again. The answer will probably be "Ask questions, or, Ask me. (the Lt.).

    With me being a cadet Lt. I have been with my dept. for pretty much 4 years now. The guys respect me and trust me (to an extent im sure). But when I first started out and wanted to go over the trucks I would ask the driver of the truck. Because I would be his right hand man when we were on a call. So we would go over the truck together. Plus if you had any questions they would be there to answer them for you.

    Just think about it and with the time going on im sure you will get more trust on you and you can do somethings on your own.

    Good Luck,
    Cadet Thompson
    Last edited by Cadet228; 03-10-2005 at 04:24 PM.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
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    Smile EXPLORERS IN THE FIREHOUSE

    i have been a member of my dept for 4 yrs and curently i have all my firefighter certifications and emt. explorers should spend any time they can spare at the fire dept to get to know their equiptment and things like that.

  10. #10
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    Erie, PA, USA
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    The Junior FFs at West Ridge FD are allowed to hang out at either station but only until 1030pm unless they are assisting with training or on a call. Also, the Junior FFs are not allowed in either station unless a Senior FF is present in the station as well.

    What rules does your FD have for the Juniors/Explorers hanging out at the station?

  11. #11
    Forum Member ENG4RillA's Avatar
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    Where I am from we are encouraged to go through all the trucks and know all trucks from all five firehouses in the city. However I know one truck more than any other truck in the city becasue i am always around this certain firehouse because when one of my advsiors are there I will go with them. Sometimes I try to assist in what ever is needed while they go over their weekly inspections. Plus I need to know where everything is when we are on a call so that I can get what is needed and be able to assist in what ever way possible. Sometimes on call I will be the Chief Driver's Right Hand man in helping him with what ever he needs. In our by-laws actaully it says that we must become familar with all trucks and as well all officers of each firehouse. As a junior member we have to work with every truck in town depending on what section of town the call is in. As for asking it is nice just to ask the person in charge of the apparatus because they are responsible for what is on the truck and what maybe missing. I think it is good for junior members to take inventory because this way you know what is on the truck, and where everything is, and then maybe someday you will take over the job of being in charge of the truck.
    Eng # To firecom I have a 1 story wood frame structure with a man on the roof putting the fire out...

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