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  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    FL, USA

    Default Lt. vs. Cpt. Responsibilities

    Hello everybody, looking for a little advice on handling of a recent occurance. I am a newer Lt. (within the last three months) of a department in the process of rebuilding and reorganizing. We have many new members and a handful of guys like myself with several years with the department.

    This particular incident began with myself asking a Jr. FF (Asst. Chief's son), to show a new FF, exactly how to clean a face mask from an SCBA. In front of several other Jr. FFs and other new FFs, I was told, "NO". After several requests, I went and checked on the new FF myself, to ensure proper cleaning of the face mask. After the incident, I spoke with our new Capt. (former Lt.) and asked for him to talk with this Jr. FF (they have a pretty good relationship). The Capt. then said, "you are a Lt., handle it".

    I will be finding out in the next few days if this Jr. FF was "spoken to" or not. My question is this: as a Lt., should it be my responsibility for punishments or "talkings to"? My thought is that this should come directly from the Capt., since he has more of an outsider view and could be more fair for the Lt. involved and any Jr. FF or FF.

    Thanks for any help!

  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber pelcap's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002

    Smile Use your "power" wisely

    As Captain of my department for the last five years and Lt. the previous three years, I would recommend you handle the situation as needed. The only reson I would call in the Captains if you are unable to solve the issue. On my department, the three Lts are expected to handle any situation they come across. After the Lts have exhausted their options, then they may go to either myself or our other Captain, on up the chain to the Chiefs (if needed). I understand being new to the position and I will tell you it never gets easy. But as a new or old Officer and a leader you need to establish a mutual respect with all your members. There is a fine line between buddy and Officer that only you can find the right balance. Not knowing how the conversation went down, I would recommend you talk with your Jr member and let him know why you asked him to help and leave him with a sense of impowerment and trust. Sometimes the words sound right but come across alot different (trust me I know).
    Best of luck to you and I wish you the best. This will be a learning experience like no other.

    The FF in question is the Asst. Chiefs son. I would still talk to your FF but at the same time communicate with your Asst that you spoke with him about the issue. Your "higher" command officers should always be in the loop when something like this occurs and no matter what the relationship outside the Department, you are one of the officers.
    If you need any other assistance, feel free to contact me. pelcap@firehousezone.com
    Last edited by pelcap; 05-23-2006 at 05:02 PM.
    Capt. Warren Jacobs
    Pelican Fire/Rescue
    Omnis Cedo Domus
    • -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should; 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.

  3. #3
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Pt. Beach, NJ


    As a current Captain and past Lt., if the Jr. FF said No and did not have a very valid reason, he would no longer be an active junior FF. There is this thing called Chain of Command. Some people need to learn it early.
    "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?

  4. #4
    Forum Member THEFIRENUT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    East Texas


    As being a past Asst. Chief with a son as a Jr. FF, I would say this. You should give this Jr. FF no special treatment. You need to talk to this individual and find out why you were given NO as an answer. Maybe he was unsure of the "exact" procedures for cleaning the mask and was embarrassed about it. Or maybe this Jr. FF needs to learn the "Chain of Command" as Bones put it.

    This could also be a "power play" stemming from the fact of being the son of the AC (hopefully not, for this could turn into an all-out political fiasco if the AC thinks that his son deserves special treatment). I would take care of this as soon as possible.

    I would definitely handle this yourself. This is part of being an officer. Like pelcap said, don't go to your captain unless you fail to get your desired results. Good luck and always remember.....treat everyone as YOU would like to be treated.
    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" **

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005


    Sounds like someone maybe trying to see how much he can get away with his new officer. Take control of the situation, talk to him one on one, if he continues to be defiant, your next step is to go to your Capt. or higher. I have talked to my superiors in situations like this to get advice, so as not to make a snap decision, but as my Chief has told me, you will get the respect of your comrads if you take control of the situation. Don't try to use your rank as a power trip, but as a badge of respect.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber
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    Feb 2006
    Memphis Tn


    Brother I feel your pain. I work for an all paid city department with 50+ stations. I just made Lt. back in Jan. I made it quick with only 8 years on the job and I was assigned to a truck company with very senior men. By senior I mean they all have at least 18 years. My firsts day on the company was interesting. There was some grumbling and a few off color remarks. Regardless I have a job to do and I will do it. There is a difference between being the boss and being bossy. I try to keep that in mind every day. I made it clear up front what I expected and I have stood firm on things where I needed to and changed my stance where it made sense. The bottom line is that leadership can be a bitch. You are close enough to the men where you want to be the buddy, but you still have to lead them. I've run into a few problems since I've been here. There usually comes that point where you have to nut up and say I'm the Lt and this is how I want it. I had to, and it worked out ok. I'm starting to earn the respect of the men here. They know I'm not going to get hung up on chicken-$hit, and they also know when I want something done I'm not put up with any cr@p either. When they all got together to play a practical joke on me I knew I was doing ok. The bottom line is YOU are the leader, so lead. Get out in front. Participate in all the work, joke where you can and have fun when you work, but always remember you are the leader. As for your particular problem, you need to nip that in the bud right quick. That was blatant insubordination and it should not be tollerated. If you do the men will never respect you. You don't have to be a tyrant, but you are the Lt and they have to respect the rank.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Mar 2006


    This also sounds like a new Jr officer might be trying to be the boss and not leading by example, it could be that the Lt has not earned the respect of members? and yes in a vollenteer dept. you need to earn members respect. when people start bossing younger and newer members all the time are they trying to lead or just trying to use there power?.if the jr.FF was doing airpack cleaning without supervision it means he has probably been around for a few years also,and yes we have had this problem with some people that think having been on a few years makes it there right to be the boss senority dose not always make a good leader.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005


    I agree with everyone else about the JR/FF. I'd say he's testing you, I would have a talk with that member, and to cover your self I would ask the cap to sit in on it(but you do the talking) that way he can't run to dad afterwards and then they try to blackball you.I'm a pd ff and I also run with a vol dept (that I've been with since I was 16) that is fairley busy. I've been an officer (Capt.)for a very long time and now am the Asst.Chief, but when some one does something like that ,that is unacceptable, and I would tell them this kind of behavior is not going to be happening at the firehouse, and if it happens again you'll be suspended for 1 month and if anymore problems happen with you we'll ask you for your gear.Also keep a paper trail on your people that way it does'nt bite you in the end,and have them sign it.Also don't do this in front of your people pull the member away and talk to them.Unfortunetly that member is going to be your example of showing your fd members that you mean business,and you'll get some respect from the members as well. You have to draw the line between fd and friendship. And to answer your question, what happens when your the only white hat around? You have to be the bad guy sometimes.I tell my people if you don't like the way I handle things then don't put me back in at election time,so they must like what I'm doing because I'm still there.BE SAFE

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Southern California

    Cool I agree.....

    I agree with dday..... I have a policy, that there is only one person that yells or disciplines my FFs........ ME.
    I also work for a carreer Fire Department and work Paid-Call for another Department, we are severly short on manpower in our town. When I report to work at the Paid-Call Department, I am the "Captaineer." I have to function as the Company Officer and also the Driver/Pump Operator.
    By handling the situation with his Captain, it will show the Captain that you respect his rank, his crew and in the long run help both crews respect you; knowing that if they screw-up it will be dealt with in a controlled manner.
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

    Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

    Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003


    And you would wonder why they are rebuilding and reorganizing. If you are wanting to reprimand the junior for saying no, be sure that you are not doing it out of ego, and that you are doing it for the right reasons.

    I do respect the fact that you did at least keep the captain informed of the matter. This does cover your butt in the event there is a power struggle with the chief and the son.

    But like others have said, if you are doing this for the right reason, talk to the junior, but do it with another officer in the room. By doing this, you are again covering your butt, and you are showing the junior that the department has a sense of strength amongst the officers, which probably has not happened in the past, Hence wondering why they are rebuilding and reorganinzing.

    You mentioned dishing out punishment. Seems that you convicted the young person without talking to then and getting their reason as to why they said NO.

    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Jun 2006


    It really doesnt matter why he said "no" unless there was a safety issue than the task should have be completed than after, the Jr. and Lt. could talk about it if there was somthing wrong.

    The Jr. is wrong. As a C.O myself I would give a coaching session and if that didnt fix it than next the next step.

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