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  1. #1
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    Default Your Probie Year

    So Im 3 months deep into my first year and have found that there are no guidelines as to how to be a great probie. So, Im thinking about trying to start a tradition by making a handbook if you will, that we can hand down to the next new guy that gets picked up. We are a smaller department consisting of 2 stations and covering about 9 square miles. I've already gotten the go ahead from training (Im sure they will be looking over it when Im done..) and was just kinda curious if any of you could pass on some words of wisdom. Maybe the top few things you learned or wish you knew that couldve made you better. I understand that I will have to taylor this to my department, but if you could throw out some generalized ideas, maybe I could use them as cornerstones to this handbook. Any input is greatly appreciated! Thanks again!


  2. #2
    Forum Member KeithA8's Avatar
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    On the first day of your new career bring enough eggs, bacon, english muffins, potatoes, and ice cream to feed the whole crew working at that station. And most importantly the know how to prepare it.
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    Awesome, thanks! Keep em coming!

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    Excellent. Great words of advice. Thanks you!

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    Forum Member fireman4949's Avatar
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    Here's a few tips...

    Arrive at least 15 minutes early for duty...Every shift.

    Do the grunt work like cleaning, checking in the trucks, etc., without having to be told.

    Never complain about anything! Ever! There is nothing worse than a bitchin' probie (or firefighter, for that matter).

    Align yourself with those in the department that are motivated, knowledgeable and hard working. Those traits are contagious.
    Stay away from the slackers, whiners and complainers. Those traits are also contagious.

    Ask questions! You're not expected to know everything your first day, or your first month, but you should be learning all the time. If you don't know or understand something, ask the hows, wheres and whens BEFORE the bell rings.

    Always treat those you respond to with courtesy, respect and professionalism, just the same as you would treat a member of your own family. Don't ever loose compassion for those in need.

    Find one or two areas that you are most interested in (Haz-Mat, TRT, USAR, etc.) and learn all you can about them. No firefighter can do it all, nor should they, but every firefighter should have a few areas of expertise.

    Learn all of your departments policies and procedures and SOP's.

    Always be professional, both on and off duty. Present yourself to the public, and to your fellow firefighters as someone who is proud to be in the position. You represent your department, your brothers and the fire service 24/7/365, not just when your at the station.

    Respect the rich traditions of the fire service, while at the same time striving to make it even better for your having been a part of it. Respect those in authority over you as well. Hopefully you will one day be in their shoes and will have also earned the respect of all those around you.

    Stay out of trouble and stay clean. Nothing will ruin your reputation and your career faster than problems with the law.

    Always keep a good sense of humor, and don't take ribbing and practical jokes played on you, personally. It's all part of your initiation into the fire service. How you handle it speaks volumes about your character.

    If you have previous fire experience, for the most part, keep it to yourself. No one cares how you used to do it, only how you do it now.

    Never kiss *** to get ahead. Brown-nosers are hated by all in the fire service. The way to get ahead is by impressing people with your intelligence, your good moral character and your good work ethic.

    This is a tough job, and there will be many times when you'll be required to bust your butt to get the job done. Show everyone what your made of by going that extra yard, even when you don't think you can.

    Most importantly of all, have fun! This is, after all, the best damn job in the world!




    Kevin
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  6. #6

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    Tradition in the fire service is gone especially where probies are concerned. Today you have to handle them with kit gloves,heaven forbid if you offend them, we have had probies that complained about having to clean bathrooms,or putting more time on the ambulance than senior members on their shift.

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    KEV: 15 mins before shift? I must be getting old, I still arrive one hour before shift, grab some coffee and head out to the trucks. Many is the time an alarm comes in and I always take it for the offgoing brother. No one likes the late morning calls, except the structures. We just hired 15 and it amazes me that they roll in at 0745...ah well, pet peeve I guess. Anyway: excellent advice, our house has a new probie that kinda wanders in a daze, I've been imparting him my "wisdom", but I'll show him your post, perhaps he can memorize it..
    Last edited by wag11c; 05-25-2007 at 09:15 AM.

  8. #8
    Florida Boy!
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    I am with Fireman4949!

    Of course there is always..... Shut Up! Listen! and Get Your Head Out of Your ***!
    There is Life outside the Firehouse!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by NonConformist View Post
    Tradition in the fire service is gone especially where probies are concerned. Today you have to handle them with kit gloves,heaven forbid if you offend them, we have had probies that complained about having to clean bathrooms,or putting more time on the ambulance than senior members on their shift.
    Come on now, you cant say ALL tradition is gone! Did you do anything about the complaining? I swear to GOD I get a new nickname atleast every rotation. Do I like being called any of it?! Hell no! I just bite my tounge and keep in mind how many other people would DIE to be in my position! You should remind them of that!

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wag11c View Post
    KEV: 15 mins before shift? I must be getting old, I still arrive one hour before shift, grab some coffee and head out to the trucks. Many is the time an alarm comes in and I always take it for the offgoing brother. No one likes the late morning calls, except the structures. We just hired 15 and it amazes me that they roll in at 0745...ah well, pet peeve I guess. Anyway: excellent advice, our house has a new probie that kinda wanders in a daze, I've been imparting him my "wisdom", but I'll show him your post, perhaps he can memorize it..
    I dont agree with the 15 minute thing either (although I think the rest of your post was awesome, THANKS!) as I too like to get there an hour early. Actually, I mainly like to get there before the rest of my shift, and hopefully before the guys and gals that are on get up. I could care less if they know I arrive at 6 every morning, I just want them to drive in and ALWAYS see that my car is already there. Plus, I dont have to rush and get the coffee started, get the mail and paper, and unload the dishes in a rush. Gotta crack the whip on those guys getting there 15 minutes early...

    Thank you again for all the info guys! I really appreciate it!

  11. #11
    Forum Member fireman4949's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hydrant22 View Post
    I dont agree with the 15 minute thing either (although I think the rest of your post was awesome, THANKS!) as I too like to get there an hour early.
    It's all a matter of perspective, I guess.

    Our shift change is 1900 hrs., not 0700 like the normal world! Virtually everyone in my dept. though, relieves at 1800 hrs. as a courtesy. So from my point of view, 15 minutes early is actually an hour and 15 minutes early.

    Either way you look at it, you should never make the person your relieving wait to go home. Besides, there is always information that needs to be passed along from the off-going shift. Don't make your relief man stay late just to fill you in on the details and events of the day.
    Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
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    "Fir na tine"

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincyone View Post
    15 minutes is about right...I live right around the block from my house...I usually get there at 0655. Shift starts at 0700. Most of our guys LIKE the early morning run..Why? OVERTIME!!. I have NEVER got to the house before 0645. My first day on the job "night before" my Capt. called me at home. He said " Just be there by 10till and bring tennis shoes....BASKETBALL!!
    Hydrant22... if you want to make a good impression, ignore the bad advice quoted above!
    ‎"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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    Quote Originally Posted by wag11c View Post
    KEV: 15 mins before shift? I must be getting old, I still arrive one hour before shift, grab some coffee and head out to the trucks. Many is the time an alarm comes in and I always take it for the offgoing brother.
    one hour before? What a wuss!! I like to come in the night before and take the night calls.

    Gimme a break. I like my job. But half hour to 15 mins is adequate. I have a life outside the firehouse. They only people who come in earlier are those who live far away and do it to beat the traffic. But they don't take calls prior to half hour before shift change.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

  14. #14
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincyone View Post
    Actually, I have several friends from many dept's that all share the same "experience". This aint 1966 and NO you do not need to show up for work friggin 45-60 min. early. We have guys that get mighty mad when the rookie arrives early and wakes them up. Just get there before your shift starts.If you aint late you aint late. PERIOD.

    It's called common courtesy.

    You don't have to wake up the firefighter you are relieving to let them know you are in.

    If it were "1966" and you pulled the crap you advocate, you wouldn't make it past your rookie year.

    One thing I have noticed.. it's always the "show up right on the dot" people that want to be releived the moment someone from the other group walks into the firehouse...
    ‎"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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    thanks for all the advice posted here. I was a volunteer for 6 years prior to enlisting in the Navy. Upon completion of my service I am looking at going back into the FD as a Career so this advice definitely helps.

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    Some more words of wisdom....keep your mouth shut for the first couple years...especially as a probie...probies should be seen and not heard, unless you are asking if there is anything else that you can do to help out

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    Thanks Gonzo: I was gonna call it "pride". Don't know where this bird works, but if he was at the house and a call came in and he didn't take it, there would be some bad blood. I don't do it to be some kind of martyr but know from personal experience that if a BS call come in near shift change, it's great to see relief there.

  18. #18
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wag11c View Post
    Thanks Gonzo: I was gonna call it "pride". Don't know where this bird works, but if he was at the house and a call came in and he didn't take it, there would be some bad blood. I don't do it to be some kind of martyr but know from personal experience that if a BS call come in near shift change, it's great to see relief there.

    It is also pride.

    Just thank your lucky stars you don't have to work with "him"... I know the type well....

    Show up right at shift change, expect the guys you are relieving to hang around for 15 or so minutes to tell you what happened during thier tour of duty, then when the crap hits the fan, blame the offgoing shift for what happened...

    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 05-27-2007 at 11:33 AM.
    ‎"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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    In my dept no one likes the guy that shows up 5 min to shift change. And your right people do have lives outside of the dept thats why I always show up early so that they can go do what ever it is they need to do like go to the dr. appointment, drop there kid off at school what ever it may be. beside I LOVE running calls and If I get there early enough and someone wants relieved I am more than willing to take it for them. I also though stay late after shift shootin the S*** with the oncoming crew for about an hour.
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  20. #20
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincyone View Post
    Its NOT common courtesy to take someones O.T. from them. Whether we work 10 minutes over or 2 hours..You get paid for 2 hours. The boys like the last minute call, It pays the electric bill or another small bill for the month.
    Some of you can stop your "holy'er than thou attitude". I was a rookie along with 57 others. I had NO problems. I did exactly what i was told. The things i have spoken about are exactly as they happened. You just simply dont need to show up for duty more than 15 minutes. I would hope we all actually have a life outside the house.

    Funny how you defend the OT but show disdain for the Union that got it for you...

    Point of reference, Cincy.... On my FD, guys like it when their releif comes in easrly. Most guys show up a 20 to 30 minutes before the start of the tour, and yes, we have the right on the dot guys, too.

    If a call comes in before 08:00 or 16:00 (our day and night tour start times) we give the firefighter/officer going off duty the option whether he wants to take the call or not. Some will opt out, as they have plans for the day, have to take their kids to school, or due at a part time job ( many are self employed in their side jobs), some will take the run. That is common courtesy.

    Our holdover OT is in half hour increments,. and OT hours are not charged in the OT logbook unless they exceed 4. Call backs and such is a 4 hour minimum at OT rate for all ranks from Firefighter through Deputy Chief, FD details for blasting, EMS /public safety, cutting/welding and firewatch are also 4 hour minimum at $40 an hour detail rate.
    ‎"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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