1. #1
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    Default What can you do as a probie to go above and beyond expectations?

    Okay, like the post says, what can you do to make that first year set you up for a rock solid career? Now, i'm NOT looking for show up early, stay late, be the first in the sink, last to sit to eat, first to get up. I know all of that and have been applying it. I'm looking for more, like something a new guy did in your firehouse that almost no one ever did. For instance, paint the tools, or wax the floors, or build a tool shed. Stuff like that, if anyone can remember or give any advice i'd appreciate it. My department has really made my life better and i want to give more back to them.

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    Gabriel,
    You answered your question with your question bro. Go above and beyond. You mentioned the above, now what's the beyond? What that is in your department is going to be different from others. If you truly want to do it to do it and not just to get some kiss points, then you will find plenty of things. Good luck.

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    Default Rookie life

    The following article will answer all of your questions and then some. Good luck to you.

    Rookie Life
    The probationary period is usually the first year of employment. Although 1 year is customary, the time may be as long as 18 months or as short as 6 months. The time spent in the academy may or may not count toward the probationary period. At the end of the probationary period the department has the option to pass or terminate the recruit firefighter.
    By the onset of the probationary period, the department has invested a lot of time, energy and money in the employee in the form of a medical exam, polygraph test, psychological exam and thorough background check. They have also provided the employee with training, either on-the-job or in the form of a formal fire academy. During the course of the probationary period, each recruit is expected to complete a series of written and practical exams. The written exams are based on reading volumes of the department’s policies and procedures, as well as the operational manuals. The practical exams are based on the fundamentals he or she learned in the academy, combined with real life experience gained while working as recruit firefighter.
    While the department has invested a lot of time and money in each recruit, this in no way means there is a guarantee of success. At the end of the probationary period, the department will determine if the recruit is worthy of being promoted to full-time permanent status. Although the vast majority of recruits do make the final step, it is not unheard of to be terminated on the last day of probation.
    The best analogy for the probationary period is that of the department loaning you a temporary badge. At the end of the specified time frame your captains (with input from the crew) will decide if you get to keep it. If you have proven yourself “worthy” and have gotten along with your crew, the decision is easy. If not, the decision may not go in your favor.

    The following was written by an anonymous rookie firefighter who recently completed a fire academy at a large, extremely traditional fire department in Southern California.

    My typical day as a rookie firefighter starts off at 4:30 a.m., waking before the sun comes up. I rehearse my drill for the day prior to leaving for work.

    5:10 a.m. I arrive at the station and open the gate.

    5:15 a.m. I enter the station and put up the first pot of coffee. I proceed to the bathroom and change into my fire department uniform. I return to the kitchen and make the second pot of coffee. I continue to the apparatus floor to get my turnouts in order on the engine or truck. I progress to the captain’s office where I check the journal to see yesterday’s activities as well as check the roster to see who I will be working with for the day. Lastly, I check the “new material” for any pertinent information pertaining to the department or today’s activities.

    5:35 a.m. I put up the American flag and gather the newspaper and return to the kitchen and spread it out, section by section, on the table. I then empty the dishwasher.

    6:15 a.m. My crewmembers begin to arrive as the off-going crew begins to wake up. I make it a point to say “good morning” to each and every member. If I haven’t met someone, I make it a point to introduce myself and not wait to be asked who I am.

    6:25 a.m. I find the other rookie so we can practice throwing every single ladder as well as practice donning our self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for time. Periodically, between ladders and SCBA practice, I will return to the kitchen to make more coffee.

    7:15 a.m. I practice my daily drill with one of the senior firefighters. He or she will help me make sure my drill is prepared and ready for the rest of the crew.

    7:45 a.m. I proceed to the kitchen to prepare for the shift’s official line-up and make more coffee. I also clean up the mess made by the senior firefighters while making breakfast.

    8:00 a.m. I line up in the kitchen with all of the members of my shift. We go over the itinerary for the day and discuss any new material and departmental happenings.

    8:30 a.m. I begin the housework details. I always make it a point to be the first one cleaning the bathrooms with my scrubber and bleach/Comet mixture. I have learned that instead of flushing the toilet once clean, leave the soapy water in the bowl. This shows your crewmembers that the toilet has been cleaned.

    9:30 a.m. My crewmembers begin their physical fitness routine. The other rookie and I are busy throwing ladders, doing our daily/weekly maintenance checks and practicing our daily drill.

    10:30 a.m. We are en route to the store to shop for lunch and dinner. While at the market I will throw ladders, give on-the-spot drills on equipment, walking on roofs or doing something practical.

    11:30 a.m. I help the cook and set the table for lunch.

    12:00 p.m. Lunchtime! I am always the last to gather my plate unless otherwise ordered. I usually take the smallest portion to make sure there is enough for everyone. Even though I am usually the last to sit down, I am always the first one to get up and get into the dishes. I eat so quickly that most of the time I don’t even taste the food. I jump into the dishes until the cook calls for a “game” to decide who will officially be stuck in the dishes. This usually entails some type of dice or card game. I intentionally lose because it would not be correct to have the rookie at the table while the captain is in the suds.

    1 p.m. I will help the engineer or other senior firefighter with projects that need to be completed around the station or apparatus.

    2 p.m. I will give my drill in front of the 12 members of my crew. I have presented it at least three times before, but now the pressure is on. As you can imagine, each one of the firefighters has a tremendous amount of knowledge about the subject that I could never have learned in a book. It can be a bloodbath if I am not prepared. I find that if I take the time to do my research, I usually can come out of it alive. If not, it can be very difficult.

    3 p.m. I pull out the tool that I have been assigned for my drill on the following shift, and begin reacquainting myself with it. I research the tool in the technical journals and begin to gather my notes. When I get home, I will research on the internet for more information.

    4:30 p.m. I clean the kitchen from the afternoon’s snacking. I help the cook prepare for the dinner meal.

    5:30 p.m. I take down the flag and double check that the gate for the parking lot is locked to maintain security for the firefighters’ private vehicles.

    6 p.m. Same routine as lunch. I am the last to sit down and the first to be in the suds.

    7 p.m. I help the engineers wash and chamois down the apparatus.

    8 p.m. I will pull out another tool and begin to learn it. I will pull a ladder off the engine or truck and throw it, read the policies and procedures, or prepare for my drill next shift.

    10 p.m. I do a final cleanup around the station, picking up any residual trash, doing the dishes again, and doing a final inventory of the engine or truck.

    1:30a.m. I finally go to sleep when the last member of my crew has gone to bed.

    5:30 a.m. I wake up before the rest of my crew, put on my uniform and make coffee. I open the gate, get the newspaper and make sure the kitchen is clean.

    8:00 a.m. I change out of my uniform and leave the station after the last member of my crew leaves.

    This is just a rough baseline of what to expect as a rookie firefighter. It is important to note that this does not include running emergency responses and all of the on-the-spot questions that barrage you during the course of the day.


    Paul Lepore
    Battlaion Chief
    www.aspiringfirefighters.com

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    Krispy Kream doughnuts don't hurt eaither. lol

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    Doughnuts help, I always look forward to probies for that reason, They bring in free food. Seriously tho, just make sure you are there for everybody in the house. If someone needs a hand with anything, make sure your the one to give it to them. I would not go as far as to build a shed because that will make you look like a kiss *** to the administration. If someone is studiing, offer to help em, if someone is fixing a truck, make sure your there to give them any tools they need, sometimes helping each individual with something small is better than doing a big grand thing for the whole department. The guys will have the memory of you helping them individually and that is sometimes not as easy to forget. Stay safe and good luck.
    Gary
    Firefighter/EMT-B
    -------------------
    Stay Safe
    Leather Forever......F.O.O.L.S.

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    Alot of the probies on my job don't get involved enough. By that I mean, they don't go to events outside of working hours. I suggest you try and make it to every FD function you possibly can when you're a probie. March in the parades, attend union meetings, go to the retirement dinners, work the fill the boot campaigns, etc. You would be very surprised how much the older brothers appreciate it when the new guys show an interest in really becoming a part of the job, not just while on the clock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by callaway75 View Post
    Alot of the probies on my job don't get involved enough. By that I mean, they don't go to events outside of working hours. I suggest you try and make it to every FD function you possibly can when you're a probie. March in the parades, attend union meetings, go to the retirement dinners, work the fill the boot campaigns, etc. You would be very surprised how much the older brothers appreciate it when the new guys show an interest in really becoming a part of the job, not just while on the clock.
    Ditto.

    Just be there when needed, both on and off the job.

    RELIABLE is the best tag you can have.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

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    Wow. I dig what the last guys have been saying! I think a great mentality is that when youre around the station and something crosses your mind like 'should I do this..' or 'does it need to get done...' just do it. Just get the job done..step up and be the one thats doesnt just walk on by.

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    Bring lots of hot chicks with you who dig firemen. You do that... you can be a screw up and still be somewhat liked....

    or


    own high dollar video game equipment.... lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by BCLepore View Post
    The following article will answer all of your questions and then some. Good luck to you.

    Rookie Life
    The probationary period is usually the first year of employment.
    Please tell me this is a joke. Rookies are firefighters, not slaves.

    Gabriel. Do your job. Be inquisitive when you don't know. Contribute when you do.

    Do your job around the station and you'll be just fine.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    We eat out almost EVERY meal. Whitecastle is a fav.

    Its so nice

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    I am going to respectfully disagree with the rookie from So Cal (keeping in mind that things are VERY different department to department). Yes, as a rookie you are there to learn, and to take responsibility for tasks that are rightfully yours as a rookie (making sure you are not letting your captain do dishes. answering the phone, etc.) But, you are not a slave, you are there to learn. In exchange for your learning, you will pick up the slack on day to day tasks. Yes make the coffee. But instead of making 15 pots, make sure your equipment works and is ready to go for the day. Don't walk past work, but do sit down and study your streets, hydraulics and whatever else you need to study.

    Show you have a little confidence and make sure you have the knowledge and ability to back up that confidence. (Without being an obnoxious know it all).

    Most of all though, don't sit there and mindlessly do every single chore while the rest of your crew plays solitare on the station computers. Study or practice instead, and you'll be surprised how everyone else jumps in. If you spend your entire day being a Molly Maid, priding yourself on the amazing job you're doing cleaning the crapper....just make sure you're equally focusing on learning YOUR JOB of being a firefighter too.

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    What can you do as a probie to go above and beyond expectations?

    1) Do your job.

    2) Listen and Learn.

    3) Don't try to find a shortcut "to go above and beyond expectations"

    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    What can you do as a probie to go above and beyond expectations?

    1) Do your job.

    2) Listen and Learn.

    3) Don't try to find a shortcut "to go above and beyond expectations"


    that is some good advice. #3 is prolly the best one up there.

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    I can say, being a probie in my vollie house was a little different than being a career probie, but a lot of the same stuff applies. A good probationary firefighter doesn't really need to do anything to be extraordinary. If you do your job, that's about the best you'll end up getting. If there is something going on, offer to help. Things need cleaned, clean them. Truck inspection needs done, help do it. Like was said though, don't forget to be learning and studying what you need to know. If you are doing the proper studying, and helping out, in addition to answering your calls, you probably won't have much time to do something extraordinary that makes you stand out. You'll stand out by the respect you show your crew, and the quality of work you do.

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    Hey sounds like you got some great advise...

    I've been lucky enough to go through probation 3 times with 3 different fire departments, what I've learned is shut your mouth, be seen not heard, and when you are seen you better be studying/ cleaning something.

    Probation is a time where you get to know the guys, not the other way around so when the guys talk LISTEN! I've learned that no matter what the book says and how much you're in it, it doesn't know half of what the guys know so learn from them everything that you can. Even if your academy taught you a good way to ventilate, I bet someone on your crew has a better, safer, and easier way

    Be enthusiastic, you sound excited to be there, make sure they know that!

    On calls you can make or break yourself, always do the hardest/ worse jobs. On fires you stick to what your supposed to but after is where you can shine. Have bottles for your crew and see to it that your truck/ engine is the first one back in service. If you don't have bottled water on the rig bring a couple bottles with you and hand em out to your crew after the fire. If your doing overhaul do the job that sucks the most, they've done it, it's your turn. On medical calls (if you run with ambulances like we do) be the first to dig into BP's always be the guy to lift the PRAM/ Cot and be the guy at the foot of the patient too.

    In and out of the station be observant of what your crew typically does (ie; if someone always uses salt and pepper make sure its there and in front of him for every meal).

    Whatever you do, do not show attitude! You (although you may not agree) are always wrong! Suck it up and take it. My "bootmaster" told me I could get through probation by simply saying, "You're right, I'm wrong and I will try harder next time!"

    A couple small things you can do is put out coffee cups next to the coffee maker in the morning, separate the newspaper sections, don't forget to clean and dust the TV!, check TP all the time, replace burnt out light bulbs, top off soap dispensers, give a solid confident hand off to your oncoming replacement, get a hand broom and dust down the cab before your replacment shows up, have your stuff off the truck before the next crew gets there.... remember when I said listen, well remember what your guys family members names are and ask them how they are, be legit though

    Enough rambling, good luck and let us know how it goes, remember you only have on first impression to make


    Steve
    -"Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere." - Ronald Reagan

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