1. #1
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    Default What Changed in Your Life Since You Became a Volunteer FF?

    Well, its been some 4 months since I joined your community as a volunteer FF. My life is changed forever. I love it. But I noticed some interesting changes so far. I am curious if you share any of these traits?

    1. I can't go to bed unless I have a pair of jeans and shirt laid out, car keys in pocket, socks and sneakers at the ready, and pager on, ready and charging.

    2. Check the pager again before retiring for the night in case its not on, ready and charging.

    3. Car backed into the driveway, NEVER to be parked head first again.

    4. Stopping at station on way home from work, just because there may be a task to accomplish. Or a call.

    5. When wife asks where to go out to eat, default to restaurant in our first due.

    6. Stress when wife leaves kids with me to do errands because we might get something and I will be "out of service".

    7. Sometimes listen to scanner to get the extra 4 seconds jump start at beginning of dispatch transmission before pager alerts.

    8. Worry when you have to do a # 2 that the moment you begin pager will sound.

    9. Check pager for proper operation during long periods of time between runs.

    10. Log on to firehouse.com forums while waiting for pager to sound.

    Did I miss anything? I mean, we're all in this together right? What am I missing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1080iAddict View Post
    What am I missing?
    If you aren't careful, the rest of your "life". Congrats on joining the fire service, but don't let it consume all of your time and thoughts. Remember your wife and kids still need you, your time and your full attention. Welcome to the Brotherhood! Best of luck to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SAFD46Truck View Post
    If you aren't careful, the rest of your "life". Congrats on joining the fire service, but don't let it consume all of your time and thoughts. Remember your wife and kids still need you, your time and your full attention. Welcome to the Brotherhood! Best of luck to you.
    Rich is correct...

    Your family comes first. There'sa story on the news page about some whackjob in Tennesee who was "going to call" with his wife and kids in the car driving 85 miles an hour and requesting his dispatcher to call the SP to call off the trooper who was behind him

    You can't make every call. Don't skip out on your kid's recital, birthday party or game....

    Unless you are self employed or independently wealthy, your employer may take umbrage at your requests to leave every time a tone drops.
    ‎"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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    It's all good gentlemen. This was more of a fun spirited thread. Sure it will calm down but I am with you in every sense of your comments re work and family. Just small things I noticed so far in amusement.

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    Well I thought it was precious.

    I have an ex-cousin in law whose a Captain in Spring Volunteer Fire Department. He joined after talking to me for a while. He'd always wanted to do it and I encouraged him because it's just so much fun. Called him a while back and told him I thought it was pretty cool to have a relative (even an ex) in the fire service. I think he thought I was nuts and maybe dangerous. He might be right.

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    Smile

    [QUOTE=1080iAddict;761646]8. Worry when you have to do a # 2 that the moment you begin pager will sound.

    I always hate when that happens!

  7. #7
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    See, you made three mistakes I can see...

    1. You didn't start when you were 18

    2. You got married

    3. You had kids..

    Okay so the last two were just a joke, or were they......anyhow..welcome, enjoy, learn..and most importantly don't get dead.

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    well i do understand exactly what you say and the 1st year was just like that.
    but i almost lost the most important thing to me, my soon to be wife.
    although some do apply still, i make sure to spend time with her

    as for other things, I always place helping others high on my list, and i drive more carefully then before

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    That's funny. I used to do most of those listed and still do a few of them. I understand the humor too. However my rule, and the rule of the department is first is family, second is full time job, then third is the FD. If you follow that, you will be fine.

    Now, the things I do or don't do what experience has taught me......

    1. Lay out clothes at night before bed. ALWAYS take the time to wear socks!
    2. Listen to the pager completely before moving. It's amazing what information I missed while scrambling to find my keys, put on shoes, etc.
    3. If you take your gear with you like I do, always bring it inside to be warm.
    4. Slow down. The few seconds you save by going balls to the walls isn't worth you being out of breath and all wound up when you need to be calm, cool, and collected.
    5. NEVER just stumble through something. If you don't understand something or have questions, please ask before you kill or injure yourself or others.
    6. Realize there is always someone in need, always emergencies, always fires. I can only make the ones I am available for. I don't have to save the world everyday. An emergency for them does not mean it's an emergency for me.
    7. Realize that you did not cause the incident, whoever is involved is better now that you and your dept. responded regardless of who survives and who doesn't.
    8. No one lives forever. Death is going to happen, sometimes it happens sooner for some. People die and it is not my fault. That is just the nature of the beast.
    9. Take "alone time." You need to take advantage of time off WITHOUT a pager.
    10. Never talk about the last call on the current call. The walls have ears.
    11. Never, never, never ever drive department vehicles onto a frozen lake at anytime for any reason, no matter what is going on!!!
    12. A good firefighter/officer never brags about how good they are. If you have to remind yourself how awesome you are, then it's time slap yourself back to reality.
    13. The day you think you know everything is the day you need to retire because you are dangerous. Training is a constant thing. Arrogance can get you and others killed.
    14. A good officer/instructor is always training their replacement. (think about that one!)
    15. You truly are your brothers keeper. Always watch your back and your brothers back to be safe. No building is worth a human life.
    16. Never have any regrets. Find a balance of personal time, family time, and fire department time.


    Just passing on some lessons I learned the hard way.
    Stay safe.

    Good luck
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

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    11. Never, never, never ever drive department vehicles onto a frozen lake at anytime for any reason, no matter what is going on!!!
    Sounds like there might be a good story in that one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by randsc View Post
    Sounds like there might be a good story in that one.
    My thoughts exactly!!!!


    Dickey....... do you have a story to tell us...?
    ------------------------------------
    These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
    ------------------------------------

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    I'd like to hear that story as well!

    My sleep schedule is off since joining the dept. That's my biggest change!
    Lieutenant/EMT-B

    VSFFA Member

    "I'm a CCEMT-B."

    "Remember, if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off."

    "A lack of effort will always lead to failure."

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1080iAddict View Post

    1. I can't go to bed unless I have a pair of jeans and shirt laid out, car keys in pocket, socks and sneakers at the ready, and pager on, ready and charging.

    3. Car backed into the driveway, NEVER to be parked head first again.

    6. Stress when wife leaves kids with me to do errands because we might get something and I will be "out of service".

    10. Log on to firehouse.com forums while waiting for pager to sound.

    1. I sleep in my bunker gear..........Not really, but I have a dedicated set of clothes in the top of the closet for "out of the blue late night calls"

    3. I drive the engine home and leave my vehicle at the station......again not really, but I seldom back the truck in to driveway, I didn't see where it saved a whole lot of time for me

    6. I used to stress a little over this one, then I realized if my daughter is with me, I don't have to worry about responding to a page and her being in the wrecked car I am responding to......

    10. I could live with a hardwired brain into Firehouse.com.......great support, ideas, and comments from fellow emergency personnel, and great educational threads and articles for an eager learner like me! (Do i geat a free year for that?)
    Last edited by SWLAFireDawg; 01-24-2007 at 07:26 PM. Reason: Clarification of #6

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1080iAddict View Post
    Well, its been some 4 months since I joined your community as a volunteer FF. My life is changed forever. I love it. But I noticed some interesting changes so far. I am curious if you share any of these traits?

    1. I can't go to bed unless I have a pair of jeans and shirt laid out, car keys in pocket, socks and sneakers at the ready, and pager on, ready and charging.

    2. Check the pager again before retiring for the night in case its not on, ready and charging.

    3. Car backed into the driveway, NEVER to be parked head first again.

    4. Stopping at station on way home from work, just because there may be a task to accomplish. Or a call.

    5. When wife asks where to go out to eat, default to restaurant in our first due.

    6. Stress when wife leaves kids with me to do errands because we might get something and I will be "out of service".

    7. Sometimes listen to scanner to get the extra 4 seconds jump start at beginning of dispatch transmission before pager alerts.

    8. Worry when you have to do a # 2 that the moment you begin pager will sound.

    9. Check pager for proper operation during long periods of time between runs.

    10. Log on to firehouse.com forums while waiting for pager to sound.

    Did I miss anything? I mean, we're all in this together right? What am I missing?
    Been spying on me, huh?

    Very funny stuff. I also like Jason's post...some very true and well thought out advice in there. I might just print it out and hang it in my locker.

    BTW...I too would like to hear the reason behind #11.

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    Sounds like you're really getting into this Glad you're enjoying your start in the fire service, I hope you will always maintain your enthusiasm. But remember, you can't be available for every single call. Don't fret so much about always being available. Go to that restaurant that's outside your first due area and don't worry about it. Park your car like you normally do. DO know where you put your car keys .

    And like Dickey said, SLOW DOWN! Biggest mistake I see from rookies is dashing around at 100 mph, not able to control the adrenaline or themselves. That's how people get hurt. Driving too fast, throwing equipment around, fumbling around putting on SCBA, whatever....getting in a big panicking hurry will at best cause you to foul up and at worst get someone hurt.

    A local instructor put it this way.... SLOW = SMOOTH and SMOOTH = FAST. I think that's good advice. Take a little time to do each step methodically and the speed will come naturally. Take a second to take a deep breath and calm down before you get on the highway...undue speed will only gain a few seconds but could cost you in the long run....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Very true statements from all. After awhile you are more comfortable about knowing where your stuff is at, and then the 2am page comes and you scramble for your keys, dig in the drawer for socks. It makes you a rookie all over again, and makes you think for awhile. I always have a set of bunker gear at the bottom of the steps so I'm bunkered when I get to the station. We also have bunkers at the station, so we dont have to drag any along.

    I DO need to hear about the frozen lake story.

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    7. Realize that you did not cause the incident, whoever is involved is better now that you and your dept. responded regardless of who survives and who doesn't.
    So very true. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. We are "here" to try and help make that bad part get better.

    13 and 14 are very imortant too.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    I have one to add.

    Pee BEFORE you respond. The time you use before you leave saves you grief later. It's a royal PITB if you have to hold it while waiting 30 min to package and go.

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    1. Sweatpants are a wonderful thing at 3 AM. Keep your glasses in the same spot.

    2. It works, don't worry about it.

    3. Scarey enought I do this. It does help on our snow covered street that I don't have to change the momentum of the truck and can keep going.

    4. NO, this is what I call a GAL (get a life). Show up when you are paged or when you have training/meeting. If someone needs you at another time they can pick up the phone and call.

    5. Not good for us with kids. Eat at home.

    6. Not a big deal, just listen on your scanner, if you have one and joke if you hear something funny. If you don't, go spend time with your kids.

    7. That's what a pager on scan is for You hear something really bad happening and say to your wife " Watch out, here it comes." *BEEP*

    8. You'll be at the station running the radio or doing the computer.

    9. See #7.

    10. Nah, do it all the time, even when you can't respond.

  20. #20
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    Good rule, I use the same one.

    1. yep, cold feet suck
    2. I learned this one after a while.
    3. N/A
    4. Add, no tunnel vision. Watch your speedometer, listen to your radio/pager and LOOK around as your drive. Yes, I stop at green lights.
    5. AMEN!
    6-8. Agreed
    9. Yes, Sunday mornings before church are good times for this.
    10. HIPAA!! Also when your neighbor asks, don't tell them.
    11. What the hey? I want to hear this because I have driven my own car across a lake when frozen using fish camp road.
    12. Agreed, but take a compliment when someone gives it to you.
    13-16. Agreed.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    That's funny. I used to do most of those listed and still do a few of them. I understand the humor too. However my rule, and the rule of the department is first is family, second is full time job, then third is the FD. If you follow that, you will be fine.

    Now, the things I do or don't do what experience has taught me......

    1. Lay out clothes at night before bed. ALWAYS take the time to wear socks!
    2. Listen to the pager completely before moving. It's amazing what information I missed while scrambling to find my keys, put on shoes, etc.
    3. If you take your gear with you like I do, always bring it inside to be warm.
    4. Slow down. The few seconds you save by going balls to the walls isn't worth you being out of breath and all wound up when you need to be calm, cool, and collected.
    5. NEVER just stumble through something. If you don't understand something or have questions, please ask before you kill or injure yourself or others.
    6. Realize there is always someone in need, always emergencies, always fires. I can only make the ones I am available for. I don't have to save the world everyday. An emergency for them does not mean it's an emergency for me.
    7. Realize that you did not cause the incident, whoever is involved is better now that you and your dept. responded regardless of who survives and who doesn't.
    8. No one lives forever. Death is going to happen, sometimes it happens sooner for some. People die and it is not my fault. That is just the nature of the beast.
    9. Take "alone time." You need to take advantage of time off WITHOUT a pager.
    10. Never talk about the last call on the current call. The walls have ears.
    11. Never, never, never ever drive department vehicles onto a frozen lake at anytime for any reason, no matter what is going on!!!
    12. A good firefighter/officer never brags about how good they are. If you have to remind yourself how awesome you are, then it's time slap yourself back to reality.
    13. The day you think you know everything is the day you need to retire because you are dangerous. Training is a constant thing. Arrogance can get you and others killed.
    14. A good officer/instructor is always training their replacement. (think about that one!)
    15. You truly are your brothers keeper. Always watch your back and your brothers back to be safe. No building is worth a human life.
    16. Never have any regrets. Find a balance of personal time, family time, and fire department time.


    Just passing on some lessons I learned the hard way.
    Stay safe.

    Good luck

  21. #21
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    The "6" Eyes have it. We all want to hear the truck over ice story... I put one IN the beach a few years ago.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianB35 View Post
    Pee BEFORE you respond. The time you use before you leave saves you grief later.
    Never delay going to the bathroom. Don't wait for the next commercial, halftime, after-dinner, anything. Inevitably the tones will drop for a 2-hours wires call which may turn into a pump out.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

  23. #23
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    Dickey.

    That should be printed and pinned to the wall of every station in really BIG letters.

    Well done.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    Dickey.

    That should be printed and pinned to the wall of every station in really BIG letters.

    Well done.
    Thanks man! Just started thinking and based on experience, it just came out.


    Quote Originally Posted by RFRDxplorer View Post
    My thoughts exactly!!!!


    Dickey....... do you have a story to tell us...?

    Um.....one time......in band camp.........
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

  25. #25
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    Ok.....I give.

    The year was 1994. I was in the running for the next Lt. slot that was open. The night before it was going to be announced who go promoted, we received a call of an ice shack fire on Lake Altoona. Lake Altoona is a very popular recreational spot for lots of people, and lots of fishermen that the majority of the lake is in our jurisdiction. Every winter, there is a small village of ice shacks of varying degrees of comforts. This particular year, there was a big problem of people breaking into shacks, then setting them on fire.

    We get this call, 3rd or 4th of its kind of that week. Since I was at the station already, I said myself and another guy would take the brush truck out and keep the engine at the station. This brush truck was brand new at the time. Only had it for about a month or so. It didn't even go on a fire call yet. In fact the water tank was just filled on it the week prior to this call. I thought we could test it out, show it off a little while we were at it, and it would be easier than an engine responding. We drove out, put the fire out and started heading back in. We were met by the Assistant Chief who strangely had a very straight face on him.

    He proceded to chew my ***** up one side and down the other as to why you do not take any city vehicles on the ice for any reason because the vehicle is heavier than most (300 gallons of water, misc. equipment, etc) and we would have a greater chance of busting through the ice. Plus, how would I explain to the Chief that his new brush truck was at the bottom of the lake! After a proper 5 minutes of chewing, him, my driver, and I heard a very loud, very deep cracking sound, followed by a bunch of popping noises. As we looked at each other and held our breath, a pop was heard very close to us and all three of us saw small ice chips out of the corner of our eye fly way up into the air. We looked where it came from and there it was.....a very large crack in the ice that went directly between the new brush truck and the Assistant Chief's truck. I felt my pucker factor go from 0 to 110 in an instant! The color drained out of all of our faces and our eyes got wide. I suddenly had images of the brush truck being a new fish crib and my promotion going right out the window.

    In a split second, he stopped poking his finger into my chest and yelling so bad he was spitting in my face and said "see you at the station!" He was back in his truck in a flash and was gone. We all piled into our respective vehicles as quickly as we could and got off the ice pronto! It was just like we all said "uh oh" in our heads and dashed for the truck to get the hell out of there. Back at the station, I wasn't even out of my gear yet when the Chief paged me to his office. Long story short, I was in his office for about 20 minutes getting my ***** chewed. His statement was "How would you expect me to explain to the Mayor and City Council you sank my new brush truck??!!"

    Two days later, I see the Mayor in the Chief's office when I went to pick up my check. I said hi, and carried on. The Mayor stopped me and said "hey, by the way...." and I heard another 20 minutes of why not to drive City vehicles onto the ice.

    Sooo......it has been a big joke ever since then. There was no danger of the truck falling in. There was almost 2 feet of ice when that happened. It was just a stress crack in the ice that formed from it heaving, expanding and contracting. Sure scared the Beejesus out of all of us though. I was almost slipping on my own poo trying to get away!

    Just to show the Chief I learned my lesson, I went to a marine store and bought a floatie keychain for the truck. You know, the ones for boat keys, just to make sure I didn't forget!!

    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

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