1. #1
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    Default Addressing a Lt. 24/7

    Just curious what the general consensus is on this one?
    Recently my new Lt of two years comes to us (crew of 4) and says "from now on you all are to address me as Lt. all the time". In the past we have addressed him by name around the station and at outside functions etc but when on a call, or in front of the public or another officer or someone outside the FAMILY of 4 of us we address him as "Sir" or "Lt". This system has never been broken and has seem to work with mutual respect for both him personally aswell as the position. We respect him and he respects us and have a truly good working relationship.
    I approached him this morning and said "Lt. I think this new LT thing 24/7 might isolate you from the crew and separate you from the family on an inttrapersonal communication kinda way". He said "nope, this is the way its going to be" I asked if there was a problem with the "old way" and if someone hadn't been respecting him or the position and he said no. I asked why then........he replied "Because when I want something done, I want it to get done!" I asked has there been stuff that hasn't been getting done and if he really thought by calling him LT all the time if things would start getting accomplished. He replied " no you guys have been doing a good job but from now on its "LT".......end of subject.
    This is out of charactor for him. He and I have known each other for a long time and have been fellow engineers together for many years. I have never had a problem following his lead, but as 10 years his senior I can't help but wonder what this is going to do to the "group dynamics" of the FAMILY and why the sudden shift to MILITARY.
    If some of you more experience LT's could help me see your side of the fence with this I'd greatly appreciate it.
    Please keep in mind he will be the first to tell you that we are very respectful of him and the position and will tell you we get stuff done without the LT thing.
    Is this an LT thing that I'm just not seeing?

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    I had 8 years as Lt and now in 4th year as Captain. I have never asked guys to call me LT or Captain so I can't speak for why. My gut feeling, someone outside your "family" said something, he is getting outside pressure, and he is doing a "CYA".

    PS - sounds like you have a good group working there.
    "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?

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    On my old vollie department,we'd use first names when it was just us but around the media,it was always Chief Jones,Captain Smith and Lieutenant Brown when referring to them and addressing them.Some of the longer service folks got away with front naming them in that situation but I stayed with the formal address even if ten minutes ago I'd been ragging "Jodie"about the fish that got away before we got the call and then suddenly calling"LT Brown,..."
    The tighter the company,paid or volunteer,the people know without being told when and how to address their superiors,no matter what the view of said superior is.

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    It's not required around here, but it depends.

    Our head advisor for explorers I call him by: Lt. So and So

    My friends Dad who also happens to be a Lt. when I'm at his house it is
    Mr. ***** , but at the station or any dept. function it is Lt. *****.
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    While I was still in the department (33 year career) I was always called Lou or Lt. That is just plain respect for the positon and the individual. Off duty is another story. I can't agree with him wanting to be called Lt. at all times while off duty. I don't know of any department around me that would require that the members use the named rank while off duty. Although the firefighters always seemed to call me lou first while off duty, then it was always my first name or my nickname (usually used the majority of the time) after that. I would always seem to do the same off duty by saying Lt., Capt or Chief but then it was always first names and/or nicknames after the first greeting. Personally off duty I always preffered they use my first name or nickname.
    Last edited by FireLt1951; 06-01-2006 at 04:42 PM.

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    I call our Chief and Asst. Chief , Chief when off duty.
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    Sounds a tad bit pretentious in my opinion, as well as a bit much. He may be able to require you to address him by rank while you're on duty, but I seriously doubt he has any control over you off duty. Addressing a guy by his rank off duty is usually a matter of habit or respect, not out of an obligation or mandate. I have to be honest, if someone demanded I address them 24/7 by rank like that, it would really make me wonder just what their motivation is. While I agree you have to at least respect the rank (respecting the person is altogether different), respect is a two way street. I suspect, as you fear, he might lose some personal respect by making this move. Your talking to him and posting here is already a clear sign that this move is not going to sit too well with the group, who may start to wonder if he thinks he's that much better than everyone else. I have NEVER asked, required or expected my guys to address me by rank, and quite frankly I always felt a little awkward when they did (aside from an official or public function).

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    If an officer required me to address him by his title during our off duty time it wouldn't be a problem...I simply wouldn't have any reason to hang out with that kind of guy off duty.

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    JMHO.... While on a call or in publics eye always use titles. Around the station I prefer to be called by my name, But most of the guys still use my title. Just remember is the guys call you by your title all the time it is out of respect but if you have to tell them to do it your either on a power trip or there is something wrong around the firehouse. Again this was my opinion.

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    We have a combination department (I am a vollie, most officers are career), and several months ago we were on a fire scene, and I called over to our battalion chief using his first name to ask a question. He came over, and in a very quiet and respectful way, he answered my question and then said "by the way, call me BC when we're out here."

    I have known this guy for more than ten years on a first name basis before he was promoted to BC. I was very impressed with how he handled the situation--no big deal, but he got the message across--and I felt like and idiot for slipping like I did. Anyway, I am careful now to call all officers by rank when they are on duty. It's safer and more respectful that way.

    And it does suggest a higher level of professionalism to the public. Off duty, that may be a bit much, but I probably wouldn't complain anyway.

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    We would only use the titles around here when out in the public eye, or if the crew decided to use the rank on their own. Nobody holding rank here would expect to be called "Captain" or "Lieutenant" in the normal day to day routine. If one of the crew started addressing me by my rank in the normal course of the day, I'd probably suspect they were up to something.

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    I dont know if it has already been said yet or not. But tell him- Ok, but for now on I want to be called Firefighter Jones, 24/7.

    Watch how old it will get.

    -Bou now together with Mini-Me

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    I have worked for guys who I always called "Sarge", "Lou", "Cap" or "Chief", sometimes even off duty. But I did so out of respect for the position (on duty), respect for the person and a sense of protocol. I never had an officer tell me I had to call them by a title.

    I guess I would not have done well in that world. If that Lt. had told me that I would have laughed in his face. I picture this guy about 4'9" with a long history of guys like me taking his lunch money away from him in grammar school.

    BTW, if you didn't call him Lt. off duty, what is he going to do about it? How could you possibly be disciplined?

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    In the station, on the living quarters side, it is rather informal. Some of the guys call me Ron, others use Captain or Cap, a few use "Captain Ron"... on the administrative side of the building, in the view of the public or at an incident, I get called by my rank or radio designation as a sign of courtesy and professionalism.

    A company officer who feels the need to be called by his rank 24/7/365 on and off duty definitely has issues....
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 06-02-2006 at 09:19 PM.
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    I have been called so many things.....Bou

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    I know how I would address him..... jagoff.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    I prefer to be called Kevin when in an informal setting at work. On scene, on the air, in front of the Chiefs, etc., it is always Lieutenant, as it is with any officer in our dept.

    As I told people when I was promoted...My name didn't change, just my pay grade did.

    The newer/younger guys usually all call me LT. They do it out of respect, which I do appreciate, but I certainly don't demand it from anyone.

    Off duty, I don't want to be called Lieutenant, Lt., Lou, or anything else except Kevin. Lieutenant is my rank...Not my name!




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    Quote Originally Posted by LtDPSJFD
    We would only use the titles around here when out in the public eye, or if the crew decided to use the rank on their own. Nobody holding rank here would expect to be called "Captain" or "Lieutenant" in the normal day to day routine. If one of the crew started addressing me by my rank in the normal course of the day, I'd probably suspect they were up to something.
    Pretty much sums up my thoughts, usually when someone is using my title in the station its either a brand new guy right out of a fire class that taught them to expect R Lee in Full Metal Jacket or someone who's going to get their nose up my backside if I stop suddenly.

    I try to keep it pretty informal in the station as long as they follow my commands like the word of god on the fireline.
    Last edited by NonSurfinCaFF; 06-03-2006 at 01:35 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    I know how I would address him..... jagoff.

    lol...that's the best answer yet.

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    I only address are Chief and DC's by saying Chief.

    I like to say Captain so I say it to him, but that's it no requirements to call the LT, Lieutenant. Besides here elections are held every year so imagine demanding being called LT, then try and get voted in again....LOL!!!
    You need only two tools: WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the duct tape.

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    Thumbs down

    There's a guy who gave me my first shot at firefighting as a paid-per-call firefighter a few years back. He was the chief of the department then and has since been retired for a year or two. Do you know what? I still call him chief. Why? Because I respect him for what he did for me.

    Any man that wants to be called any title 24/7 (this side of the POTUS), I would consider to be a pompous loon. Also, I'm curious as to what he calls you in the station and during off-duty time. Because I've found the folks who wish to be called by their rank all of the time seldom return the favor to those below them.

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    Cool I agree

    I agree with what has been typed..... I have Captains and Chiefs that I worked for that have retired, but yet I still call 'em by their ranks. I have had a couple of Captains that have required us to only call 'em by their rank. All it does, in my opinion is seperate them from the crew..... not good.
    In my carreer, I have found that individuals that resort to this usually have a problem with being insecure as a leader..... if he is a new promotie, then that may be what is going on. It took me many years to get comfortable as a N.C.O. in my Paid-Call Department, however now I like to keep it informal. Like Captain Gonzo said, informal round the house and formal in public or onscene........ simple enough for me.
    I have seen it so bad, that one Captain has gone so far as to make his wife and kids address him as Captain......... the look on my wives face the first time that she say that was priceless. When we got in the truck she was like "what the f..... was that about?" Not really focusing on what she may be talkin' about, I asked her what she meant............. she said, " I can't believe that he makes his wife and kids call him Cap or Captain, what an as......"
    I was shocked, and since then have noticed it, numerous times....... and just like I typed earlier, it causes a seperation.... she won't hang-out with 'em any more. My personal feelin' are that I don't want him to tell me how to live his life, so I won't tell him how to live his.............
    Being a carreer Engineer it is very difficult to work for a supervisor who does this, the FFs may think that you are in total support of him, and start to not trust you...... and if you don't call him by how he wishes to be addressed, it could send a message to the FFs that you don't respect his authority.....
    Trust me, I feel your pain and frustration....... just handle it carefully, and remember what you ultimate job is.... the middle management between the FFs and the Captain. Plus, if he gets too umbearable there is always bid time, but if you do leave, you should be honest and tell him why you are leavin'.
    Just my two cents; stay safe and have fun......... this really is the best damn job in the world..........
    "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.....

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    Must suck to be an Engineer.

    "Hey Eng!" just doesn't seem right.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU
    I dont know if it has already been said yet or not. But tell him- Ok, but for now on I want to be called Firefighter Jones, 24/7.
    Althought I think this is the best response to a LT like that, I think his reaction may not be the most pleasant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Must suck to be an Engineer.

    "Hey Eng!" just doesn't seem right.
    Especially if the fire truck is in operation in the vicinity of a Chinese restaurant!
    ‎"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

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