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  1. #1
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    Default Question for fellow officers...

    I have a question for any officers, or any "old timers" that may be able to offer some suggestions. Let me start by giving you a profile of my department. We are a Fire and EMS dept for a city of 10,000 - 15,000 depending on the time of year. I am Rescue Lieutenant. (Full time) I am a 25 year old, with 6 years experience in Fire and Rescue, 5 of wich have been on this dept. I am one of four Paramedics with a staff of 24 EMT's. (Fire only excluded) I also work part time in a level 1 trauma center here in Omaha. (Univ of Ne Med Center)
    My question is, do you fellow officers, past and present always seem to have SOMEBODY questioning your every move? I was prepared for criticism when I took this position two years ago (yeah, i'm young) but I was not ready for this. It seems like every damn day there is somebody or someone who criticizes me behind my back, or always has something to say about my decisions or actions. I consider myself a good medic, and a pretty approachable guy. Now keep in mind, my dept VOTES it's officers. So I assume my coworkers have confidence in my abilities and decision making skills. This will be the third year they have voted me into the position of Lt. But the same people who vote for me are the same ones who criticize and question everything. And it's never to my face, it's always in private behind my back.
    So I'm asking all of you, is it like this everywhere, or just my particular dept? 'Cause I gotta tell ya, I'm getting pretty tired of it.

    Mike


  2. #2
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    I've had the same problem here, the best thing for you to look at is, who's critisizing you? are they capable of conducting a proper opinion or is it biased? is it always the same people over and over? are they trying to get into the same position as you? are you younger yet more experienced?

    I mean there's lots of things to think of here, and really your best bet is to either confront them, or ignore them. If you keep retaining this position obviously someone or a few someones have faith in you

  3. #3
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    A full time department that "elects" its officers? Egads!

    In my opinion, any officers position in any department, whether it be career, volunteer or paid on call should require the minimum of an exam using textbooks that reflect what the job is all about
    (Massachusetts HRD, are you reading this? You should be!)

    Some FD's also have assessment centers where the officer candidate is interviewed by a panel and given a situation or multiple situations to deal with as the OIC of a company.

    With the bugles or butter bars comes the second guess, question everything and criticism factor factor. Keep in mind that many of those who second guess and criticize wouldn't have the first {expletive} clue of what to do if they were put in charge. It's easy to look back after an incident, but we do not have the luxury of "do-overs". Will you as an officer make the right decision 100% of the time? If you do, you are either incredibly lucky or psychic!

    Your main focus is to make sure that everyone goes home. You may **** people off, but they will get over it, and if they don't, tough. My signature says it all....
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 04-16-2005 at 08:34 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

  4. #4
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    My opinion is if they can't constructively criticize you to your face then don't sweat it. I say constructively because that is what gets things corrected if there is a problem. Complaining doesn't help. Making suggestions how things could be done better, then talk it out.
    Also maybe those criticizing you behind your back aren't confident enough in their opinions to tell you to your face.
    Oh and by the way it goes on here and probably won't change.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Dave1983's Avatar
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    A full time department that "elects" its officers? Egads!
    Whats up with that?

    You cant let what people say bother you, unless you think they may be right
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

    Success is when skill meets opportunity
    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

  6. #6
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    Angry Backstabbers??

    My question would be in what manner are they criticizing you. Is it purely destructive, as in "Who does Lt. Assh*le think he is..." or is it more in line with.. "I always thought it was policy to charge a line while covering extrication crews, did the Lt. know the policy?.."

    The reason I ask is that I have experienced (as I'm sure many have) the actions of another firefighter that purely sought to discredit my newly achieved rank. For the first few months I just shrugged it off (harder than it sounds), and put it down to sour grapes. However, it continued well beyond what would be a 'normal' grudge and became more vindictive where everything I said and did was commented on. The only way that this could be addressed was by having a meeting with all department officers to discuss what was occuring and dispel rumours that had been circulating about the manner I had given directions. Then the Firefighter was 'interviewed' by the Chief and Asst. Chiefs, given an opportunity to make a formal complaint if there was a basis for one (of course there wasn't), then was essentially told that further instances of such behaviour would not be tolerated, he was informed that his actions had been discussed by the officer membership of the department and that all were aware of his tactics. While I realize that this gentleman still probably has rather negative feelings towards me, his ability to spread rumour and hatemongering has been quite effectively checked.

    Was going to the Chief the 'man' thing to do.. well, I'd have probably lost a fistfight, and by resorting to that level would have also lost any credance I had. Continuing to ignore it would have lowered my morale, and with the negative feelings being created possibly the morale of other firefighters that were constantly being approached and had to listen to the tirades. I believe I did the right thing, and while it wasn't pleasant, things have definitely improved.

    BTW, I also did look introspectively to see if I was the cause of the issues. Truth told, I partly am.. we are one of many POC F.D.'s caught in the change from old school to new school.. I practice what others have preached and have ruffled feathers.. I believe turnout gear should be worn at all calls, additional reflective PPE worn on Traffic Incidents, trucks should be washed and cleaned after calls, ICS should be used, etc etc... Essentially that this after all is a job, and an occasionally risky one at that, not a frat or clubhouse. Not always popular, but certainly defendable.

    Good luck with your situation, but my recommendation would definitely be to not let the situation become a cancer and have it eat away at your and the dept's morale. Treat it, or if necessary excise it .

    Cheers
    Last edited by Fawlty; 04-17-2005 at 11:41 AM.

  7. #7
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    I guess I should have elaborated a little more. I am one of the youngest members of the dept - not by time in service but by purely years in age. For the last 30 some years we had been licensed through the old EMT-I curriculum, only to go Paramedic within the last 18 months. ALS is pretty new to some of the older members, and that seems to be where the problem lies. Some of the membership does not seem to want to change, or is not willing to accept the new way of thinking that comes with ALS. (All the new medics are under 30) This results in a lot of unnecessary second guessing and just plain disbelief. Just the other day I was accused by an older, more rough around the edges EMT-B that I wasted 45 seconds on a code without doing anything. Reality is that I was trying to interpret the rhythm and figure out how to get the 300lb woman out of the damn house. But it got passed on to the rest of the membership that I was "piddling around."

    See what I'm saying?

  8. #8
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    Default

    By the way, we're not all full time. Frontline squad and engine crew paid, backed up by volunteers. Roughly 60 members total fire and rescue.

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