1. #1
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    Default What should I expect on the first day

    I know others have asked this before. I will be starting next week, what are somethings that I should expect? How should I act? Should I bring coffee, donuts or is that too much?

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    Basic rules (I'm sure you get others too):
    -Mouth shut, ears open.
    -If you don't know, ask.
    -If you came from another department, nobody on your new department cares how you used to do it.
    -If someone shows or tells you something you already know, just smile and say "thank you".
    -Stay away from the members with bad attitudes-it will rub off on you. Bad attitudes are easy to get and hard to lose.
    -Do not try to get into the verbal jabs that take place in the station-you have not been there long enough to know the rules.
    -Address officers as "sir" unless told otherwise.
    -Be on time (20 to 30 minutes early), in uniform, and ready to work.
    -Turn your cell phone or pager off and leave it in your locker.
    -Read every piece of paper given to you-it does not matter if it is a poorly written memo, a union contract, SOP's, or paperwork from human resources. Read it and know what it means.
    -Keep a small notebook. List new things learned and write down what you find that you need to learn.
    -------------------
    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
    -----------------------------------------------
    Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

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    --------------
    Last edited by POWERSLADDER2; 08-26-2007 at 10:19 PM.

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    I see what you are saying. Keep your mouth shut, smile and do what is asked of you. I am not an expert no matter what my background, and stay out of trouble. What about bringing dounts and coffee too much the first day?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparky472
    What about bringing dounts and coffee too much the first day?

    i've never been in this situation, but I would think not. Later in the week however, i think it would be ok.


    But like I said, I've never been in that situation.
    ------------------------------------
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
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    hey take it from a fellow proby, what these guys have said is CRITICAL. a buddy of mine joined up with me about 4 or 5 months ago and he was kicked off after the 3rd week because of his mouth and attitude. as far as the donuts, i dont see the problem with it, but some guys may get a little touchy about it (it happened with me). i run evening/night shifts (2000 - 0800)and if we wanna bring in donuts or something, we mess around with each other about it but thats as far as it goes. cause when the shift starts, you are a family (or team) and families like to joke around. at least thats how it is at my station.

    Gas City Rescue Squad / Fire Dept. Rescue 1

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    Here's my advice...

    Eyes open, ears open, mouth shut and hands ready to help.

    Ask a question if you don't know or understand, and you have NO advice that is of interest to anyone.

    Stay FAR away from the gripers...Align yourself with the motivated and don't try to suck up.

    Everyone is "sir", unless they tell you differently.

    As time goes by, you'll begin to feel more comfortable with the crew, and they'll start to feel more comfortable with you. At that point, it may be okay to begin to join in on a few of the harmless pranks and ribbing that goes on, but DON'T get carried away.

    Read, listen and learn! Most of what you think you know...you don't. Learn how "they" do it.

    When the war stories are being told...Listen intently. You can usually learn a good deal from them.

    Do the crap details, and do them well. Every probie/rookie gets the worst jobs to begin with...It is a test of sorts to see what your made of. Show what your made of by doing your very best and don't ever, ever complain.

    Endure the ribbing of the vets. Remember that they too were once in your shoes, and you will one day be in theirs.

    And most importantly of all...HAVE FUN!!!!! This is the BEST job in the world!




    Kevin
    Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
    IAFF Local 2339
    K of C 4th Degree
    "LEATHER FOREVER"
    Member I.A.C.O.J.
    http://www.tfdfire.com/
    "Fir na tine"

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    just remember that everyone was once in your socks and haad to go through what you are and worse. the hard work will pay off later. when you are no longer the proby you will be able to understand what the proby has to go through and maybe you will appreciate what you go through. and about the joking, pranks, busting chops if they didn't like they would just ignore you, they make fun of you to show the love. its kinda goofy but thats the way it is i guess. good luck at your new home.

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    Default Lesson in anatomy

    God gave us TWO ears, TWO eyes and ONE mouth for a reason. I've learned that little piece of advice goes a long way in life, not just in the fire service.
    28 P.R.I.D.E.
    Protecting Residents In District #1 Everyday
    www.westmead1.com

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    Always be working. I know that is key in my engine house, if there is work being done, you should be in the middle of it. Cleaning tools, painting tools, or just cleaning different parts of the engine house are all activities that will keep you busy. In addition, by painting tools I’m not talking about painting the working surface, I am talking about company markings. Here, each company, be it an engine, ladder, or rescue, all have unique markings that are company specific so we don’t lose our tools. It seems as if the tools need marking constantly.
    You also need thick skin; you will be worked on. It’s just a game and isn’t anything personal, unless you make it personal. A know it all attitude, a “we did it this way” attitude, bragging about how much “experience” you have prior to being hired are all an excellent way to be run off of the job.
    Everyone goes through the same thing; it is nothing more than a “right of passage”. You put up with a little garbage, work harder than others for a while; it is just paying your dues.

    It really is a small price to pay, for a career like this.

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    Like everyone else has already said pay attention. Remember names, it can make you feel really dumb when they call you into the kitchen 15min after you have met everyone and they ask you to repeat back to them what there names are. If you find yourself listening to a story and luaghing stop! theres probly something else you could be doing. if you have an oppinion keep it to youself I cant speak for everyone but they might not care until day 365. if there are others there farther along in probation talk to them. Remember above all you were hired for one reason you were smarter, stronger, and talked a better game than the other canidates who were passed over stay calm. Remember the basics they teach you.

    good luck.

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    Smile Working Example

    I was a manager for Ameritech/affiliates for 13 years. I was 29 when I gave in to the tug in my heart (that was always there) and became a paid on-call firefighter in my city. It was a combination department however doesn't give "preference" to hiring full time from the on-call ranks. I did that for a couple of years when I applied for a full time position. I didn't think I would get it. Hundreds applied, etc. and it would be a huge pay cut (65%) but surprisingly, I kept making the cut to the next step. It turns out that I got offered the job. It was a rocky thing because I got laid off after 9 months but got hired back less than a year later.

    I am still here so all in total, 3 years now. I am 35 years old in a department that the average age is 49. There are still a lot of departments out there that prefer maturity, common-sense, life experience and people skills (along with the rest of the educational stuff). I wish I was 25 again but at this point in my life, I feel I can offer the department/community a better "product" because of what I have been through in the previous 30+ years.

    DON'T wait though because departments do not hire (usually) over 40. It will be tough enough at 35+

    Good luck! I cannot tell you in words how "WORTH IT" it is...

    Kevin

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparky472
    I know others have asked this before. I will be starting next week, what are somethings that I should expect? How should I act? Should I bring coffee, donuts or is that too much?
    So Sparky, inquiring minds want to know. How did it go? What was it like? Please fill us in!




    Kevin
    Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
    IAFF Local 2339
    K of C 4th Degree
    "LEATHER FOREVER"
    Member I.A.C.O.J.
    http://www.tfdfire.com/
    "Fir na tine"

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    Bring $$$...you will have to buy ICE CREAM for somthing.

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    If its your first day, you had better be knocking on the door with your elbows. Donuts, cakes, pies, etc... Skip the coffee, most houses have more than enough. But fresh pastries go along way. Knock with your damn elbows.
    Just another one of the 99%ers looking up.

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    Someone should copy and paste this thread into a handbook, good info above. All the advice given so far is very important and very accurate. My additions are:

    1. Keep your ears open for the suttle hints:
    "what should we have for dinner tonight?"
    "Does anyone know how to....?"
    These suttle hints are sometimes thrown out for the new FFs benefit to see if they are going to make an attempt to fit in. Jump in with both arms wide open. If someone is doing a personal project in the station, stop by and offer help or ask questions, attempt to learn someting new. After 22 years I've learned that there is someone that knows something about anything on our job and almost every day I learn something new.

    2. Get involved with off duty functions early and often like Union events and department events. There is always someone doing a home project like roofing, siding or concrete work, don't hesitate to offer your services.

    3. As said so many times above, but, is worth saying again.
    Avoid having 20 days on the job with a 20 year mouth.


    Good luck and let us know how it goes.
    "Firefighters do not regard themselves as heroes because they do what the business requires.”

    Chief Edward F. Croker, FDNY

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    Sparky 472,
    All this has been said before and what exactly applies wil depend on your department, but I have found this advice to serve me well.
    1) You have 2 eyes 2 ears and 1 mouth. Shut up and listen.
    2) Like the brother said, you should be knocking with your elbows. Let the guys on shift tell you not to bring in stuff. In my house the 20 year guys come in with food in the morning or they get their balls broken for being a cactus ( hands up and empty).
    3) Check the rig. It doesn't matter who else is riding, if something is missing it is your fault.
    4) Be busy always. In my dept. many houses won't let you work 24 hour shifts for 6 months. Thank God, because after a straight tour I was ready to collapse.
    5) Be the last one to sit down for a meal and the first one to get in the sink after a meal. While preparing for a meal you better be doing the worst job (ie. trimming chicken).
    6) Your first year on the job determines your next 20. You are a proby. work hard. Put all your gear on for every call and always step up.
    7) Paid to 6 ride to 6. be ready to ride at least an hour early and do not take up early.
    8) All that said, remember, you now have the best job in the world. Whatever house you wanted to go to, your house is the best one on the job because you are there.

    Be safe and have fun.
    PK

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    Here's a piece of advice I was given as a probie:

    "Remember one thing: you're joinin' us; we're not joinin' you. This is a team. Listen to the guys, and we'll bring ya home."

    That has always stuck with me.
    Do it because you love it, not because you love being seen doing it.

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    Smile

    Oh... did anyone mention, buy ICE CEAM!!!

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    You can't listen with your mouth. But you can with those rather large flaps on the side of your head.
    J

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    Default Probie Advice

    There's been a lot of very good advice. I hope you see the common thread is be observant and pitch in to help at all times.

    One thing that usually doesn't get mentioned is start identifying the senior men you can learn from, officer and firefighter alike. Your drivers will probably be the most experienced, or most senior men there. Stick close with the officer and/or firefighter who likes to be on the street rather than in front of the television. Start opening up the rigs and take out the tools and see how they work. Ask your driver or other firefighters how they work, how to service them. Remember, you may know where it is on the rig, but that doesn't mean you know how to use it.

    Finally, and most importantly, if you are ever shown how to do something, then don't leave it at that. Do just what you were shown in front of the person who showed you. Pulling lines, throwing ladders, starting a tool, whetever it is. This takes out the assumption part of a person's knowledge.

    William Carey
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
    Andy Fredericks,
    FDNY E.48, SQ.18
    Alexandria, VA F.D.

    Rest in Peace

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    Arrow

    Hmmm..... as an explorer everything you guys said is exactly how I'm supposed to act on a Ride-Out. I'm like a probie without all the knowledge, I have to make Coffee, bring Ice Cream , take out the trash, bring medical aid bags in-and-out, always doing something. I've learned that my best friend at the fire station is a highliter and an IFSTA 4th Edition. I'm definately going to practice the Shut-Up and Listen technique, not that I talk alot, but it will problably make a difference if I talk less. By the way, as a Probie/Explorer/Noob, it is not OK to laugh at jokes that are not directed at you right?

    Thanks!!
    Chris
    Explorer

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDExplorer
    I'm like a probie without all the knowledge
    Yeah, but there's more to it than just that.

    Quote Originally Posted by RFDExplorer
    By the way, as a Probie/Explorer/Noob, it is not OK to laugh at jokes that are not directed at you right?

    Thanks!!
    Chris
    Explorer
    It depends on way too many factors. I think it is safe to say that in any house you don't want to try to fit in to the crew too quickly. Like someone mentioned earlier, "you're joing the crew, they're not joining you". Remember that everything you do is being evaluated. Now I'm not saying go in and put on some dog and pony show, because they'll see right through that.

    The flip side of this is that you don't want to completely alienate yourself from the crew either by not laughing with them sometimes. Laughing at jokes can be no big deal to some and a really big deal to others. Learn which it is for the crew you're with and act appropriately.

    I would also advise to NEVER initiate the humor. That is where the line is definitely crossed and trouble could soon begin for you. Good luck to you.

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    put your hand in the toliet before you take a ****.

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    HAHAHA. your absolutely right!! i NEVER thought of that, but well, lets just say you gave me some GREAT ideas!
    -jon

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