1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by captray
    I was a JR firefighter for 5 years and I was hanging around the fire department for a few years before that... I am 20 now and a Captain with a VFD. Many people look at me and blow me off because of my age even though I have experience (not 30 years worth but still) and more qualifications that most people no matter what their age. I am Firefighter II, EMT-P, Rescue Tech, Haz-Mat Ops, etc. but am still put down on because of my age. Is that right or should respect be given regardless of age?
    Even though it is a little strange to see a 20 y.0. captain.......

    captray, keep your head up and do your job. The respect will come when everyone sees that you are qualified for your position. Only being 20 means you have had just 2 years of actual fire ground experience, so give it some time.

    To answer your question; respect shouldn't come with just age, experience, or certifications. Do your job well, be fair and show respect for your fellow firefighters and you will get the respect that you are due!! Take care and stay safe!!
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

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  2. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by THEFIRENUT
    Even though it is a little strange to see a 20 y.0. captain.......

    captray, keep your head up and do your job. The respect will come when everyone sees that you are qualified for your position. Only being 20 means you have had just 2 years of actual fire ground experience, so give it some time.

    To answer your question; respect shouldn't come with just age, experience, or certifications. Do your job well, be fair and show respect for your fellow firefighters and you will get the respect that you are due!! Take care and stay safe!!
    How many runs have you made in the last 2 years? How many runs did your department do 20 years ago vs. 2006?

    My point being that "experience" is very subjective. 20 years experience running 40-50 calls per year is different than 250-300 calls per year. It is the exact same reason there are differences with FDNY (1000's of runs) vs. Upstate New York or Vermont (100's of runs).

    My department in 1995 was running about 100 calls and in 2005 246....

  3. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefDog
    How many runs have you made in the last 2 years? How many runs did your department do 20 years ago vs. 2006?

    My point being that "experience" is very subjective. 20 years experience running 40-50 calls per year is different than 250-300 calls per year. It is the exact same reason there are differences with FDNY (1000's of runs) vs. Upstate New York or Vermont (100's of runs).

    My department in 1995 was running about 100 calls and in 2005 246....
    The point that I was trying to make was that with just 2 years of "fire ground" experience, others might not see this as enough time in the "hot seat". Your officers should have more experience than the people that look to them for guidance (they are on the same department, so they are making the same amount of calls +or_).

    We should all agree that experience without training/certifications (or visa-virsa) doesn't hold as much water as both of them combined.
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and possibly that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

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    Quote Originally Posted by THEFIRENUT
    The point that I was trying to make was that with just 2 years of "fire ground" experience, others might not see this as enough time in the "hot seat". Your officers should have more experience than the people that look to them for guidance (they are on the same department, so they are making the same amount of calls +or_).

    We should all agree that experience without training/certifications (or visa-virsa) doesn't hold as much water as both of them combined.
    Yes, I agree... my point / also question was more how many incidents were responded by the young Captain? He may have a fair amount of calls or very little.

    I am third generation, and was "programmed" from a very young age to understand firefighting. When I was 18, I had the general understanding of stuff down and needed on scene experience. I could do most anything in a training enviroment because I had that background. If you don't have to figure out which end of the hose the water comes out of like a normal 18 yo probie things can progress quicker than normal.

    I have a Captain on my department that was "programmed" too. For his age he has done very well. (early to mid 20's) He has been the officer on the first due engine for multiple working fires and has done an excellent job committing the apparatus the right way. This is not only me saying that but other Chiefs, insurance investigators and State Fire Investigators.

    Age and call volume are variables that can be misleading.....

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    Default Experience

    In 2005, I ran 732 calls out of my departments total of 1200. On 245 of those scenes, I was the IC due to lack of staffing. In 2004, I was on 802 calls out of my department total of 1138. Our Assistant Chief has been involved in the fire service for 16 years and estimates he's been on maybe 500 calls at max. Who truly has more experience?

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by captray
    In 2005, I ran 732 calls out of my departments total of 1200. On 245 of those scenes, I was the IC due to lack of staffing. In 2004, I was on 802 calls out of my department total of 1138. Our Assistant Chief has been involved in the fire service for 16 years and estimates he's been on maybe 500 calls at max. Who truly has more experience?
    You could possibly have more experience in areas but he "might" have more experience in larger working fires. That is where "experience" is subjective.

    Of your 245 incidents where you were IC, it may have been more of one type of call. For example, MVA's. The Assistant Chief may have more working large fire experience over his 16 years because thankfully the town does not burn down every day.

    Every call is different, MVA's are different than HAZMAT which are different than a Commercial Building Fire. You could use the analogy that a carpenter has many tools in the tool box for different situations. Experience on a particular subject is just as varied as the number of tools in the toolbox.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by captray
    In 2005, I ran 732 calls out of my departments total of 1200. On 245 of those scenes, I was the IC due to lack of staffing. In 2004, I was on 802 calls out of my department total of 1138. Our Assistant Chief has been involved in the fire service for 16 years and estimates he's been on maybe 500 calls at max. Who truly has more experience?
    You state that you have a "lack of staffing", yet your AC doesn't make very many calls. This tell me that either he has a VERY demanding job or he is picking and choosing his calls. To have only 500 calls in 16 years?????

    From your post, it sounds like you are getting your experience. So I suggest that you take their ribbing with a grain of salt and carry on.

    One question.....Is your position appointed by the chief or elected????
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and possibly that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

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    Default Appointments

    I was appointed by the Chief to serve as temporary Captain. After about 3 months, our firefighters voted at one of our monthly meetings to keep me as Captain permanently.

  9. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by captray
    I was appointed by the Chief to serve as temporary Captain. After about 3 months, our firefighters voted at one of our monthly meetings to keep me as Captain permanently.
    Maybe I misunderstood your first post. Were these members of your own dept. "blowing you off"? It doesn't sound like they are from your dept because they voted you in. If they are the ones then it sounds like they are just having fun. If it bothers you that much, I would let them know before it creates a riff between you.


    If the grief is from other Dept's, then you might have a problem. If you are the IC of the scene and other members are not following your orders then I believe that you should ask them to leave. You can only have "one" IC.

    Either way, it looks like you have had some good training. Just remember to keep your members safe and be firm, but fair. You will go a long way in your fire career (volunteer that is).
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and possibly that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

  10. #35
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    Sorry I didn't reply sooner, I didn't realize that you replied to my earlier post.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    and you don't think it would be easier to just replace that 1 officer? Why replace the "good" Chief just because 1 of the guys he picks is not what the membership thinks is the right choice? After all, you (the membership) don't have any say in your officers other than the Chief, so why worry about their qualifications...it's out of your hands.
    how easy is it to replace an officer? you have to wait until the annual elections, rights? If a chief appoints the officers, if three months in the Lt isn't doing his job, he can be replaced. Plus, having a chief appoint his officers ensures that there are no divisions within your officers (your chief and Asst chief are both qualified, but operate differently, and as a result, they don't work well together). Plus I would trust my Chief to make the hard decision to remove someone from office because they weren't their job, even though it might not be the popular thing to do.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    I'd rather the MAJORITY of the members that will have to work with and follow that officers decisions have a say in who that officer is.
    I would agree with you on that one. But I have also seen (more on the squad than the fire side) some idiots elected to offices, and some qualified members not elected because they weren't the most popular. I've also seen some qualified people not run for office because they didn't want to make waves with those who are currently in office or currently running for office.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Question for those that pick the Chief and then let them choose the rest of the officers....what your administrative side? Do you elect a President and let them pick all the rest of your administrative officers?
    most would for similar reason as appointing the line.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    PS - by the way, we hold ALL the officers accountable for THEIR decisions, not just the Chief. If my 2nd Lt screws up, he knows without fail he will be hearing about it.
    he will be hearing about it, but do you have the ability to do something to prevent it from happening in the future?
    Quote Originally Posted by CaptRay
    In 2005, I ran 732 calls out of my departments total of 1200. On 245 of those scenes, I was the IC due to lack of staffing.
    were they real calls? ie, were they fires, or AFAs, medicals? you can IC an MVA, but can you IC a PIN job with 3 people trapped, one DOA, and another needing to be flown out? I'm not trying to downplay your experience, only that I know I can IC a simple scene, but I know I would be over my head if I was put in charge of a complicated one.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Just a few thoughts...

    In a perfect world, officers would be promoted through a merit-based process which takes into consideration training, experience and leadership skills, probably overseen by a joint fire service/municipal/civilian board of some kind.

    Unfortunately, we don't live there, so we have other methods...

    We have a combination of elections and appointments. The Chief and both Assistants are elected, while the Captain and Lieutenants are appointed by the chief officers as a group. All positions have a job description that is known up front, so everybody (officers and the crew at large) know what's expected of everyone, and can judge their performance accordingly.

    While not perfect, this seems to have some advantages over both the "elect everybody" and "elect a Chief who appoints everybody" methods...

    In the absence of a joint commission, the membership serves that purpose in selecting chief officers. Since we don't have any "social" members or any kind of "social hall" operation and don't allow alcohol on the premises, either in containers or in our members, the "who buys the beer" popularity problem is minimized. Only fire personnel and a few support personnel are voting, and for the most part they seem to view the candidates in terms of qualifications and experience, rather than popularity.

    The line officers are appointed for a variety of reasons...

    The Captain has several duties, but the key one is to be the training officer. This has to be filled by someone capable of designing, coordinating and delivering training programs (both internally and joint with mutual aid companies), and also sometimes involves unpopular decisions (things of the form of "you need to meet these requirements or I need to deactivate you/reduce your role until you do", for example). Since the Captain is singled out above the other line officers, he/she also has that "if none of the chiefs are around, you're it" responsibility when it comes to incident command, while all Lts. are considered equal in rank (we don't designate "1st Lt.", "2nd Lt.", etc.). There's a lot to be said for having a committee of the chiefs appoint this position, rather than electing it.

    The Lieutenant positions are supposed to be developmental positions, although they are sometimes filled by very experienced personnel anyway (right now, one of the Lts. is an ex-Asst. Chief). Their duties are relatively simple...apparatus and equipment maintenance off the fireground and team leadership on the fireground...so there is room to take a chance on people in these positions. These are appointed specifically because that means they can be changed at any time...allowing the chiefs to correct mistakes in appointments before they become disasters, if it comes to that. The same could apply to the Captain, although the chiefs historically have been much less likely to take a risk on that position.

    With this system in place, our six officers have an average of 20 years each in the fire service, although only one is older than 40, and four of the six are ProBoard certified FF-I or higher. This year so far, the officers collectively account for four of the top five in total training time, four of the top five in total accumulated outside training portfolios, and six of the top ten spots in total responses to incidents. After all, you can't expect the probies to go out and work if you won't go out and work with them. I don't think we're doing badly with this system, but it probably could be even better.

  12. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite
    how easy is it to replace an officer? you have to wait until the annual elections, rights?
    he will be hearing about it, but do you have the ability to do something to prevent it from happening in the future?
    ANY officer, even the Chief, can be removed from office. Any member has the power to formally question an officers conduct/actions. (not at a fire scene ) There is a process in place for how to go about it and it usually will involve a meeting between the FF's questioning and all of the fire officers. If that officer is not performing as expected, they either step up to the task or may be removed. It's not a simple, your elected your in for good system. Like I said, all officers are held accountable for their actions/decisions.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  13. #38
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    With regard to small, low call volume volunteer depts. Why reinvent the wheel. There are not enough fires to get anyone, including myself as chief, enough experience to be qualified. So why not take what a ff does for a living into consideration. All of our officers are either the boss, supervisor, or self employed. At least we are used to making decisions, communicating effectively and managing resources. Those skills may be as challenging to learn as many fire fighting skills.
    That base of knowledge makes a good foundation for any training and fire ground experience. Just my 2 cents.
    Jeremy Quist
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    Not the end of the earth, but you can see clods falling off from here.

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    In my department I started when I was the age of 19. Since then I worked my way up throught the ranks and now hold the Deputy Chief's position at the age of 27. I have taken all the training in this time to qualify for the position and have gotten all the experience I could. I have the respect of my peers and I feel that is due to my peers feeling I am qualifyed for the position and I treat people fairly as possible and respect them, and in return I receive respect from them. For others not to respect you cause of your age I would not say is true. Like others have said in this forum, treat people the way they want to be treated and the respect will come soon enough when they see your the man for the job.

    Mike

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