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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber fireslayer1237's Avatar
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    Default How to present new ideas to the senior guys

    So here is the deal I am 1 month from getting off probation I am 20 and have passed all my tests with good scores. I am looked at as the young guy that dont know jack by most of the senior guys which is true they have way more experience than me and compared to them i probably dont know jack. My question is how do I bring up ideas I have learned by reading the forums here and the countless hrs I spend studying this job on and off duty. I was hoping there were some senior guys that might have an idea how to approach this or if i am just better off keeping my mouth shut. my Lt. wants me to give a class each month and with my approval he is going to try and get it approved. what are your thoughts on this. Thanks for your help in advance.


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    Well as a crusty old....uh uh...Senior guy, my advice would be to keep it shut and learn their way first. Once you have mastered their way and gained some respect, then they will be more willing to listen to new ideas from you. I have been in situations over the years where "old ways" have saved me arse many a time, so I have come to trust them. I am always interested in the new stuff but change can come slowly because our lives can be on the line. Good luck and be patient. Most important though...Work hard!

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber fireslayer1237's Avatar
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    thanks for your advice and that is what i was leaning towards. my Lt. though, who has been on the job for 15 years, keeps insisting upon me doing this class. do you think i should turn him down.

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    Forum Member FDAIC485's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireslayer1237 View Post
    thanks for your advice and that is what i was leaning towards. my Lt. though, who has been on the job for 15 years, keeps insisting upon me doing this class. do you think i should turn him down.
    If he will be the supervisor completing your yearly evaluation I would have to say "No."
    I believe them bones are me. Some say we are born into the grave. I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol' pile a them bones

    -J. Cantrell

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    Oh yea, about teaching a class...

    Like I said, I'm always interested in the new stuff but slow to change. I think you could work with the Lt. and do the classes. I think it will be important to make it clear to everyone that the Lt. has asked you to do this because you are fresh out of the gates and so anyone not familiar with some of the new stuff can hear about it.

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    Forum Member johnny46's Avatar
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    You'll have to be forceful. The senior men will not respect you unless you are very convinced of your position. I recommend opening a class in which you will present a new idea with a serious wake-up phrase.

    "Attention Dinosaurs,"
    "Listen up, you fossils,"
    "Here's the new way, you luddite knuckle-draggers,"

    From there, you should vilify the former methods and attribute all success to pure luck or delusions. Imply that those unwilling to change are mentally deficient and likely incompetent, probably inbred and doomed to obscurity and rejection.

    This should endear you to your shift and all the senior guys.

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    Get ready for a bunch of "We tired that in 1997 and it did not work." What is new to you may not be new to a group of senior Jakes.

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    Forum Member FDAIC485's Avatar
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    Oh yeah! It doesn't sound like your situation. However, veterans like to hear "This is the way we did it in my old department."
    I believe them bones are me. Some say we are born into the grave. I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol' pile a them bones

    -J. Cantrell

  9. #9
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Good Luck with a class each month on new ideas....you'll need it.

    Easier, less "painful" way, how about just sitting around talking about some ideas. No forcing anything, just some open conversation on an idea.

    Go from 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?

  10. #10
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    Good luck with your classes...My suggestion would be stick with the nuts and bolts and stress safety..every operation is written/designed that way. If you do a good job on your presentation maybe introduce something new at the end and see what kind of response you get. My inclination is that you have been asked to do this for your benefit, not so much for the veterens...in preparing your lesson plan you will get a better understanding of the subject matter and better yourself in the process.

    As far as presenting new ideas department wide maybe you should present these to your training director and have something other than this forum to back it up.

    Just a thought. Have a good day!

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber plisken's Avatar
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    When you find your answer let me know! Ive been doing this for 15 yrs now. I came from st. marys county md to wisconsin where i've been for 5yrs. I feel I took a leap 20yrs into the past when it comes to tactics. 100 yrs of progress impeeded by tradition is the truth. It is a new fire service (not just fighting fires any more) change is their enemy (their comfortable)doing it as they have for years. Our old guys want nothing to do with New tatics or anything that will change their ways. you just have to keep trying, nothing changes overnight. present it well as if it will make things more safe, EASIER and more efficient. If they shoot you down just keep trying, DON'T get discurraged. Remember they will either retire someday or see that they are out numbered by the schooled and educated and have no choice but change. To most of them is just a job. For alot of us it is a job and a hobby lumped into one. Good luck and remember Keep Educating yourself and your crew and be safe. oh ya make sure you all go home when your shift is done.-

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    Whatever you say do not say their way is flat out wrong. Even though you think it is the dumbest idea since the steam engine. This not only will make you look like a pompus donkey but they might have already tried it your way. As you go through your career and learn more, one thing will become clear. Their are thousands of ways to complete a given task. Some ways are better than others. Try asking "hey old guy!! I was reading FH the other day and read about this. What are your thoughts on it? You have more experience at this I do; so I would like to hear your thoughts. This is what I think but i am not 100% sure, I have never heard about that before."
    Since you are the new guy you need to just sit back and absorb info like a sponge. Sometimes asking a question spark's the minds of others. As for teaching the classes. Don't flatter your self rookie!! The classes are for you to learn and the senior men to refreash on the information. The only way to completely master something is to teach it.
    You will learn alot of the "new" ways of doing something are just modified renamed old ideas, with a couple of new bells and whistles added. (ICS, NIMS, ummm)

  13. #13
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    First, understand why you do what you do now.

    Which is where the old sit down, shut up line comes from -- listen. Ask question if you don't understand how something is being explained, but don't pipe up with an opinion or war story.

    Earn respect by doing a good job, and unless something's unsafe by doing it the way it's expected. As you gain respect, it'll be easier to "What if..." and "Could we try..." from the backstep of the pumper when you're in quarters.

    The books and stuff you've been reading have for the most part been written by a committee to be generic across the nation. Doesn't mean they're the best way, just the best a committee could agree was good enough and generic enough.

    My guess is you have 20% of the departments out there that couldn't put water on a fire with a hose, and 20% who do a really good job consistently. And the other 60% of us usually don't screw up that badly.

    If you're in the lower 20%, it's not going to be reformed from within until somebody at the top kicks half the members out and starts rebuilding with what's left.

    If you're in the middle 60%, my guess is once you understand what and why your department does thing you'll be able to put new material in proper context. And you'll find a lot of the "new" fits nicely with "old" -- sometimes as simple as a name for something that's always been done that way.

    The top 20%, just smile and keep soaking in all the knowledge and traditions and history. You won't need to teach anything.

    If your LT wants you to teach classes as a young as...errr, buck then develop it in a way to turn it around. Officer gets to introduce it not as you're teaching a class, but in order to make sure you know the stuff inside and out you got assigned to make up a chalk talk or a short drill. And the older members are there to make sure the FNG didn't missed something -- so challenge him with questions.

    You do need to be very familiar with your existing operations to make it work, you better have your **** together and anticipate 90% of the questions and objections, and you have to be ready if someone asks you a question you don't know be straight, "You know John, I'm not sure the right answer to that question...does someone else know? (pause) Well I'll do some research and have an answer next week." And then get on the phone, dig into the manuals, come here...but find a good answer to the question. Start of the next drill, "Last week John asked about and since then I've done some checking and ..."

    And remember, it's impossible to give specific advice over the internet, only general stuff since each department has it's own specific issues.

  14. #14
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    Question Bait?

    Just a thought---Are you being "set up"?

    Just because you are paranoid, don't mean to say they ain't out to get you.

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    You could tell them old guys about the time you fixed the pump by using a "water hammer" and nails.

    You could start the meeting off by donning an airpack and saying "Luke, I am your father" and "May the force be with you" thru the mask.

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber fireslayer1237's Avatar
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    I appreciate everyones advice and think i know how to go about this now. again thanks lets hope i dont make to big of an idiot of myself.

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Plisken...

    Where in Wisconsin? I happen to feel that the part of the state I am in is very progressive and always looking for different and better ways to do things. I think you broad stroke all of Wisconsin and frankly I think you are wrong.

    FyredUp

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    fireslayer1237...

    I guess first of all I wonder why in the heck an LT would ask a guy just off probabtion to teach a class? Unless you have some specialized skill no one else has, including the LT, what would be the point in having you as the new rook teach a class to the old salties? I mean if you were teaching rope rescue and it is something totally new to your FD and you have the certs to allow you to be an instructor in that okay...I guess. But if we are talking about fire attack or something like that...man am I glad I am not in your shoes. I feel you may be met with strong resistance and perhaps even anger by these senior firefighters.

    So do tell what will you be teaching?

    FyredUp

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    I have a student in my FF 1 class that has been on the department for three years (Department had basically no training during that time frame) and is always questioning the way things are done. I am always willing to discuss any thing with any member. And if it something that can be tried we will work on it. Anyway this young man always scores well on his tests, on time and adds to the class. I was busy on some item at the station as class started and I asked this student to start the class. It was on Forceable Entry and he and some others had been to a class put on by the Wichita FD FOOLS, great bunch of FF's by the way. He started to step away from the front of the class when I was done but I had him continue because he was doing a very good job. I stepped in when he would have a question but I done this for his benefit. It was not the I know it this way or that way as he sometimes did. It was a complete transformation with his attitude, demeaner. It placed him in my shoes for a change and I told him that I was happy with his attitude. I asked the students about his teaching and they all said they liked it and also noticed the change.

    This young man will take my place one of these days and will do good. He was also one that said that all that us "OLD" guys do is clean the trucks.

    I am looking forward to the day that the young FF can take over and all I have to do is clean the trucks.

    Bottom line is this - Young man step up there and make your Lt. proud that he asked you.

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber fireslayer1237's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    fireslayer1237...


    So do tell what will you be teaching?

    FyredUp
    Each month we have a safety meeting. every time we do this we focus on a different subject of firefighter safety. I was asked if i would research what ever the topic maybe search, ventilation, extrication, ect. and come up with anything new that i could find on it. ways that may be easier, quicker, or safer. I dont plan on going at this like I think this way is better i hope that when i end up having to do this i present it in a way that it may be just another tool in the tool box.

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