Thread: Probies

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    Default Probies

    Hey everyone, our weekly meeting was tonight and the question was brought up of whether or not a probationary fire fighter is an actual fire fighter. The people on our department were pretty much torn half and half on the issue. So, are probies fire fighters?

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    I just fot off probation and here is my take on it. I think that the first 6 months they should be a extra person on a crew and not count as staffing. This way they can learn the job's requirements and have a senior firefighter mentor them. The last 6 months they should be counted as staffing so that they then gain experience and can be evaluated in the role they will provide after they are off probation. just my half a cents worth since I just got off probation.
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    Well put fire slayer. My biggest question here is whether or not you (and others) would consider them an actual fire fighter.

    Thanks for the reply brother.

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    I guess I dont quite get the question then. Why wouldn't they be a firefighter isn't the title Probationary Firefighter. I am a little confused. elaborate for me please.
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    Sorry buddy, good point. I agree that a probationary fire fighter IS an a "real" fire fighter (unlike juniors and such). We had 5 members on our department state that they don't believe they are "Real" fire fighters yet.

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    I think probies are real firefighters. They are certified to fight fires, can actually go in, and extinguish the blaze. Therefore, they are firefighters. (Whereas Juniors/Explorers can only stay outside and help with exterior ops).

    The 'probationary' in front of their title just signifies they are new. They are still learning the ropes in real life scenarios. However, they've completed their training and if need be, do whatever is required by themselves.

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    i would have to say definitely yes. im only a cadet right now (finishishing my cadet course in less than 2 weeks and hopefully becoming a probationary blackhat soon after). the way i figure it, the first call i made after joining the department, i didnt make it as a helpful citizen, i made it as a firefighter. It might be different because im a volunteer, but i think most of the guys at my station consider everyone there a firefighter once they start running calls, regardless of their title(cadet or probationary). if you ride the truck there, and are helping out, you are a firefighter. just my $0.02
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    RedFox,

    I think this discussion is based on many factors that must be considered. In my estimation a firefighter is someone who has been trained to the state certified level and has shown competancy in the basic areas of fire suppression. Many people factor into whether or not you are a real firefighter based on your experience, so guys that have been on the job for many years and have participated in many fires feel they are the real firefighters. So I agree that as long as you have the basic training (i.e FF1) you are considered to be a firefighter.

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    Training is the key. Firefighters are trained to perform the necessary tasks on the fireground. Departments differ in what a probationary firefighter is to them. In some places, you aren't a probie until you've gotten FF1, FF2, EMT, and a list of other certs like rope rescue, vehicle rescue, etc. In other departments, you are a probie the minute you get voted in, and get your gear.

    A firefighter however, needs to be able to funtion on the fireground in any given task, not just learn what those given tasks are. A probie who has his certs and is under the eye of a senior firefighter or officer, is performing the job, not learning the basics of it.

    So is a probie a firefighter? It depends on if they are trained to a minimum level of competency, and not just extra hands, with no clue what those hands should be doing.

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    It all depends on how you classify them within your local system.

    Up here, we call our probies FF Candidates until they succesffully complete thier basic training course, and the required 2 months of weekly drills with thier peers. This takes about 4-6 months. During this time they have worker's compensation benefits under the dept for training only, but no POC wages or other training compensation. They do not have a pager, and do not go on runs. We do not consider them a Firefighter yet.


    After that period ends, they are voted-in by the membership, and begin recieving full benefits, POC compensation, and they carry a pager and make runs. They are now called a "Rookie", and are considered a FF. A rookie can still be terminated in the first year if they fail to keep up the attendance or performance standards, but that rarely happens.
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    I'm on a combination dept right now as a POC firefighter. I'm on probation for a year. I can be fired and all that. However, my helmet shield says firefighter. There were a couple in the group hired with me that have probationary firefighter on it because they were still completing FF1. When I'm on shift, I'm usually the nozzleman on the engine. So if there's a fire, I'm the one putting it out. Don't see how that makes me less of a firefighter than the guy driving the engine.

    Also, there could be a probationary firefighter on a large dept that gets 12 fires in the first few months. Then there's the senior firefighter on a very small dept(don't want to start a volly vs paid debate) that gets one big fire a year after being there for 6 years. Would it make sense for this senior guy to consider the probie with twice as many fires not a real firefighter?

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    It's about your training, not the number of fires you have.

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    On my vollie department, we consider a person a "firefighter" once they've proven themselves. It doesn't matter whether they are a cadet, probie, or even a "regular" firefighter. They have to prove themselves before we accept them and consider them one of our fellow firefighters.

    For instance we have a guy on our dept. who is in a wheelchair. He is an organizational member and is our secretary, but we consider him as much of a firefighter as any of our entry team. He fulfills his duties and our paperwork has never been in such good order. Whether or not he can make entry into a burning building or do anything on a scene doesn't matter. The fact that he has proven himself to the dept. and been accepted does.

    On the other hand we have a female that just recently joined back in Feb. and she won't make it. She hasn't proven herself and has been nothing but trouble. Our next meeting, when her probation is up, she is going to be dismissed.

    It's all about proving yourself. You'll know when they've accepted you.

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    Yea, but if you were to have that many fires, I'm sure you would be trained fairly well. The experience that you gain would be great. That wasn't really what I was getting at though. I just mean that if you are out doing all that work, you are a real firefighter. If you are able to go into a burning building, you should be considered one. You ARE doing the job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HVFD65LRS372 View Post
    On my vollie department, we consider a person a "firefighter" once they've proven themselves. It doesn't matter whether they are a cadet, probie, or even a "regular" firefighter. They have to prove themselves before we accept them and consider them one of our fellow firefighters.

    It's all about proving yourself. You'll know when they've accepted you.
    I totally agree. It's all about becoming a member of the particular team you end up with. If you have a bunch of people in one house they will all want to know that you can be trusted to do the job.
    Greater love has no man than to lay his life down for a friend.

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    it depends really. If your on a department where they run an ambulance, that new guy doesnt really count till he is released to act a a medic on that ambulance. He might ride the engine but he is not fully functional yet.

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    Probationary firefighters leave drill school as fully accredited firefighters. They then enter the halls and ride as a member of the crew, not an extra body. Of course probies are not as experienced as others who have been on the job for 20 years, but neither are firefighters who have been on the job for 5. That doesn't make them any less a firefighter, just less experienced.
    That's the way it is here anyhow.

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    Default they are

    they are all firefighters they have the same training just not the experience and if you say they arent firefighters than thats bull we are all brothers no matter 2 days or 40 years

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    Career guy here, My take:

    In my world, if your getting paid to put fires out... your a firefighter. period.

    Can't comment on the volly stuff as I don't know that world.

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    I'm willing to bet probies have had better training throughout there persuit for this career than the seasoned guys have ever received. Just my thoughts.

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