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    Default brotherhood/famliy problems

    I am from a small dept right at 20 people (town only allows for like 30 or so). Since i have been on the dept, since 04, there has always been a lack of family or brotherhood enviroment. not that anyone is unfriendly, or won't talk to you or anything, its just a hi let's do our job and go the heck home. I have entered our mutal aid dept's and get a warmer welcome. Now before anyone says its just me, i've check that, there are a number of us that feel this way. We use to have a pool talbe and work out equipment but it has gone by the wayside for whatever reason. You get your small group of us that do things outside the dept but thats it, and no there is no click we open it up to everyone, you know like kids birthdays and BBQ's. So have brought up that they feel it is due to some leadership issues but it stops there. Our city manager is sold on our chief and argues he was appointed and it doesn't matter that he got our lowest vote of confidence, cause he is in a appointed position not an elected. I guess i am just wondering if anyone else has dealt with these problems and how. thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by miethead View Post
    I am from a small dept right at 20 people (town only allows for like 30 or so). Since i have been on the dept, since 04, there has always been a lack of family or brotherhood enviroment. not that anyone is unfriendly, or won't talk to you or anything, its just a hi let's do our job and go the heck home. I have entered our mutal aid dept's and get a warmer welcome. Now before anyone says its just me, i've check that, there are a number of us that feel this way. We use to have a pool talbe and work out equipment but it has gone by the wayside for whatever reason. You get your small group of us that do things outside the dept but thats it, and no there is no click we open it up to everyone, you know like kids birthdays and BBQ's. So have brought up that they feel it is due to some leadership issues but it stops there. Our city manager is sold on our chief and argues he was appointed and it doesn't matter that he got our lowest vote of confidence, cause he is in a appointed position not an elected. I guess i am just wondering if anyone else has dealt with these problems and how. thanks
    Okay on my volunteer FD I am one of the old timers. The 5th oldest in fact. We have several members who are far younger and some half my age. While we work together great at the FD we have little in common outside of the FD and my Heart isn't broken when they don't invite me to go out drinking or to their kid's B-Day Parties. As long as the working relationship is good and the attempts have been made to be open to off time friendships there is little more you can do. Brotherhood either is or it isn't you can't force it and to blame it on the chief is a cop out of extreme proportion. What does he have to do with guys coming to your house for a BBQ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by miethead View Post
    I am from a small dept right at 20 people (town only allows for like 30 or so). Since i have been on the dept, since 04, there has always been a lack of family or brotherhood enviroment. not that anyone is unfriendly, or won't talk to you or anything, its just a hi let's do our job and go the heck home. I have entered our mutal aid dept's and get a warmer welcome. Now before anyone says its just me, i've check that, there are a number of us that feel this way. We use to have a pool talbe and work out equipment but it has gone by the wayside for whatever reason. You get your small group of us that do things outside the dept but thats it, and no there is no click we open it up to everyone, you know like kids birthdays and BBQ's. So have brought up that they feel it is due to some leadership issues but it stops there. Our city manager is sold on our chief and argues he was appointed and it doesn't matter that he got our lowest vote of confidence, cause he is in a appointed position not an elected. I guess i am just wondering if anyone else has dealt with these problems and how. thanks
    My dept used to be like this. When I first got on we had a select few that did everything around the hall, did all the fundraisers, parades, challenges as well did things outside of the dept. The rest just came around for calls, as soon as we got back they would vanish. I definitely blame things on our leadership at the time. Our Chief was more worried about who showed up for bingo on saturday's then who showed up at calls. If you showed up for bingo you were set. You could come to every call we got, but if you didn't go to bingo you were on the s**t list and treated like crap. Since he resigned things have turned around alllllllmost completely. Still hashing things out but that comes with any change. People have a better morale, more are showing up to calls etc, more people are finally joining.


    My advice is, if you can try and get a change of command. Hopefully that will help things turn around. Otherwise you're going to have to try and work things out amongst yourselves if that's possible.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

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    I am concerned about this train of thought towards desiring to change the leadership to correct a social situation that is not even necessarily a "problem".

    As a Fire Department, are you operating safely and effectively? Do you have the tools, resources, training, etc to get the job done, and does it get done professionally?

    If the answer to the above is "yes", the Chief is accomplishing the mission. I am sorry that you feel a lack of familial togetherness, but the solution is not changing out the leadership.

    If the answer is "no", then you should be worried more about correcting those operational issues than getting the family together for a BBQ.

    Just my $0.02, not wanting to discourage you from getting the brothers together, but also hoping you don't "fix" the wrong thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElectricHoser View Post
    I am concerned about this train of thought towards desiring to change the leadership to correct a social situation that is not even necessarily a "problem".

    As a Fire Department, are you operating safely and effectively? Do you have the tools, resources, training, etc to get the job done, and does it get done professionally?

    If the answer to the above is "yes", the Chief is accomplishing the mission. I am sorry that you feel a lack of familial togetherness, but the solution is not changing out the leadership.

    If the answer is "no", then you should be worried more about correcting those operational issues than getting the family together for a BBQ.

    Just my $0.02, not wanting to discourage you from getting the brothers together, but also hoping you don't "fix" the wrong thing.
    Well said.
    "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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ElectricHoser View Post
    I am concerned about this train of thought towards desiring to change the leadership to correct a social situation that is not even necessarily a "problem"....
    Right on target.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElectricHoser View Post
    As a Fire Department, are you operating safely and effectively? Do you have the tools, resources, training, etc to get the job done, and does it get done professionally?
    I'm with the others, this is the main thing in the end.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Quote Originally Posted by ndvfdff33 View Post
    I'm with the others, this is the main thing in the end.
    I agree ..................it is like that here too.........some of us go out after drill and some of us do things together outside of the pagers but, when the dinger goes off .................no matter what we do do a great job to serve our community.
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    Quote Originally Posted by miethead View Post
    I am from a small dept right at 20 people (town only allows for like 30 or so). Since i have been on the dept, since 04, there has always been a lack of family or brotherhood enviroment. not that anyone is unfriendly, or won't talk to you or anything, its just a hi let's do our job and go the heck home. I have entered our mutal aid dept's and get a warmer welcome. Now before anyone says its just me, i've check that, there are a number of us that feel this way. We use to have a pool talbe and work out equipment but it has gone by the wayside for whatever reason. You get your small group of us that do things outside the dept but thats it, and no there is no click we open it up to everyone, you know like kids birthdays and BBQ's. So have brought up that they feel it is due to some leadership issues but it stops there. Our city manager is sold on our chief and argues he was appointed and it doesn't matter that he got our lowest vote of confidence, cause he is in a appointed position not an elected. I guess i am just wondering if anyone else has dealt with these problems and how. thanks
    It sounds to me like you are wanting to combine the FD with the "Moose Lodge".

    The funny thing is that most complain that things are the other way around. Their dept. gets together and has a great time eating and mingling, but there is a complete lack of training and overall fire ground operations.

    Now I say that it is great when most of your members can get together and "hang out", but this is not the reason (for most of us) that we joined our departments. We joined to provide a service to our communities.

    So please come back in here and explain why you think that your department has a leadership problem. It very well might have one, but from what you posted, I don't see it. Anyway, take care and stay safe!!
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

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    alright i think i came off wrong. We (the members that have talked about this) are not upset about not getting invite to a BBQ. its more of a morale type thing.

    We operate safe, and the job gets done, to an extent. Calls get done. Maintence and things of that sort around the hall take forever to get done, which is a leadership issue. There are officers in charge of those items and get paid extra to get them done and don't. We talked about it some more this evening and see that some of those problems are a lack of accountabilty. Everyone is pushing accountability at the fire scene but there is absolutly none anywhere else. Many answers that come from above are "Because" or "thats how we have always do it"

    Tools and people yes and no. We have a 2 good trucks out of 8, and have been trying to get a replacement plan done and signed off on for over 3 years. But those in charge drag feet and it gets pushed off and off. None of them are willing to stand up and take a stand to the town saying we need this, even though the money is there. Not complaining of the equipment we have cause i know there are depts worse off then we are, just useing as an example.

    I wasn't trying to blame the chief for this problem, we use to have a vote of confidence every year on all of our officers. the last one 2 years ago he got the lowest rating we have ever had, the reason i brought it up was if people are trusting or confident in there leadership then something is wrong. There are feelings that we have a problem with leadership. There are 2 standards in the dept, one of the officers and one for the FFs. To an extent we agree that there should be. The officers should be held to a higher level then the firefighters, not the other way around. there are many incidents where this has occurred. I didn't start this thread to see if there was a leadership problem, we are aware of what that is and are working on it.

    i aplogize if anyone thought i was bringing this up to attack our officers or complain cause we don't hang out outside the hall. I was just looking to see if anyone else dealt with this before and to get some outside opinons.
    Last edited by miethead; 07-24-2007 at 04:20 AM.

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    How many of the 20 members are officers?

    Dang, 20 members and 8 trucks!
    "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?

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    4 officers, Chief, Asst. Chief, Capt., and 2 Lts. Trucks are Command truck (really nice 07 4 door Chevy 2500 HD) 2 engines 2nd due is and 84 Seagrave and 1st due is an 02 pierce. 1 Medium rescue 04 freightliner , 2500 gal tanker 88 GMC, 7000 gal tanker early 80's, 78 aerial don't remeber the make. and an 90 chevy brush truck

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    Quote Originally Posted by miethead View Post
    4 officers, Chief, Asst. Chief, Capt., and 2 Lts. Trucks are Command truck (really nice 07 4 door Chevy 2500 HD) 2 engines 2nd due is and 84 Seagrave and 1st due is an 02 pierce. 1 Medium rescue 04 freightliner , 2500 gal tanker 88 GMC, 7000 gal tanker early 80's, 78 aerial don't remeber the make. and an 90 chevy brush truck
    I think you might have miscounted there!!! that looks like 5 officers!

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    sorry its like 3am when i get on here

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    I reckon it is the chief's fault that you can not remember the makes of the units also. It would seem that if you are as interested in the department as you say you are, you would have at least known that one.


    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    One thing you might keep in mind that "brotherhood" is not necessarily getting together socially. Brotherhood is that the guys are there for you when you need them.

    Both my vollie and career departments are much like yours socially. We have small groups that do things together socially, but for the most part everyone has their own lives outside of the FD.

    However, one of our captains at my career department lost his 6 year old son in a swimming incident. This is where the brotherhood came in. There wasn't a guy on the department that wasn't there for him and his family in some way or another, just the way it should be. We've had similar situations on my vollie department.

    The thing is, you may not socialize with your brothers/sisters, but are they there when you need them? I have a feeling they are/will be.

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    hi guys,
    Im new to the forum, and I found this topic quite interesting in the way I can relate to it, even though I come from a department not like any of yours. I am a volunteer FF in Monterrey, Mexico. As you may expect things might be different. Please bear with me as I explain our differences. Monterrey is the second largest city in Mexico. It has a population of about 5 million. Most cities in the US, if Im not mistaken, have about 10 stations per million people, at least. In Monterrey, we have 12 in total. We have 8 good trucks, (the rest are old or malfunctioning) and 4 members at every station, including 2 firemen, the machinist and the lieutenant. The men work 24 hour shifts and rest 48 hours, meaning there are three shifts in every station, and in total around 150 members in the department (including the chief and captains). Believe it or not, we get the work done. (In Mexico fire departments are not responsible for EMS)

    As in the author of this thread's case, our fire chief is not very admired (and I wont get in to the reasons for that just yet). The rest of the department gets along really well. Most of the members get along well during work, but after work do not see each other at all. Everyone has different responsabilities and social lives. Some of them work other jobs, where they get along with other people. And at one time or another, I asked myself the same question. Would't it be nicer if we all got along outside of work? Now, after having served there for a while, I come to the same conclusion as most of you. If it aint broken dont fix it. Ive seen shifts that are really bad. They dont talk to each other, or they dont get along with the lieutenant, etc. Considering that, I find that the best scenario is where you have an efficient department, as you have said already, and where members are confortable at work. If you have that, you have it all. Even if the guys you work with dont chill with you after work, if you do get along well during the time there and get the job done, its excellent. Most social-outside-of-work relationships work themselves out naturally. Trying to make them work usually ruins it.

    So, even though our department doesn't have the most popular Chief, and people dont get along outside of work, it is very efficient. It is efficient in the way it gets the job done, and that people look out for each other and can go to work to a confortable enviroment.

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    I can tell you right now that what you are wanting to change in your dept. won't change.
    I've been on 3 different volunteer depts. over the years and they all have clicks.
    You are never going to get everyone to pull together and be best buds. There are too many different personalities and interests.
    You're always going to have those that do the majority of the fundraisers, social events, etc. and either pat themselves on the back for it or complain about it.
    You're always going to have a member or two that are kind of the outcasts. They don't get involved and/or don't always do their part.
    You are always going to have the people who have been on the dept. for 15 years complaining about the ones who have been on it for two and vice-versa.
    There is always some level of bickering.

    The dept. that I belong to now is no exception. We consider ourselves one big disfunctional family. We argue, we have our little groups, etc. but you put us out there on the scene and we get the job done and done well most of the time regardless of our differences. We always have each others backs and that is what is important.
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    Quote Originally Posted by IMABASICEMT View Post
    I can tell you right now that what you are wanting to change in your dept. won't change.
    I've been on 3 different volunteer depts. over the years and they all have clicks.
    You are never going to get everyone to pull together and be best buds. There are too many different personalities and interests.
    You're always going to have those that do the majority of the fundraisers, social events, etc. and either pat themselves on the back for it or complain about it.
    You're always going to have a member or two that are kind of the outcasts. They don't get involved and/or don't always do their part.
    You are always going to have the people who have been on the dept. for 15 years complaining about the ones who have been on it for two and vice-versa.
    There is always some level of bickering.

    The dept. that I belong to now is no exception. We consider ourselves one big disfunctional family. We argue, we have our little groups, etc. but you put us out there on the scene and we get the job done and done well most of the time regardless of our differences. We always have each others backs and that is what is important.

    Well said. True to life at my department as well.
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

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    [QUOTE=miethead;840453]I wasn't trying to blame the chief for this problem, we use to have a vote of confidence every year on all of our officers. the last one 2 years ago he got the lowest rating we have ever had, the reason i brought it up was if people are trusting or confident in there leadership then something is wrong.



    Tell me why do you think the chief gets a low confidence vote and did you vote that way and why. Just curious to know.

    Being a Fire Chief myself with a membership the same size 21 members.

    I would like to let you know a few things. Everytime I tell someone to do something they dont like I would lose a vote. If I reprimanded someone for not finishing a job assigned I would receive a no-confidense vote. If I tried to tell someone that they did something wrong on a fire they would go off mad and another vote lost.

    This list goes on and on and that is the problem with a voted in fire chief he has to play politics with the department and the city if he is working for one.
    This is why our disciplinary procedures are handled by a board. The person charged answers to the board of thier on peers and not me.

    I am not taking up for your chief but I am saying to you that its easy to set back and look at what he's not doing but try to look at what he has accomplished.

    The responsibilitys for being volunteer chief and paid are enormous. Anything that can and will go wrong is the chiefs responsibilty(for example).

    I had a truck drive into a station door. These members in this truck cost me 1200.00 dollars just for the door. You may or may not know anything about your budget. As far as mine my budgetary restriants are very tight. I now have to find a way to make up this money in my budget. If your city is like mine money is very limited.

    Along with all the things that I have listed does your department give him a no vote because he doesn't do exactly what you think he should and he doesn't have you come over to his house. If this is the situation you are wrong. If you have a large amount of operational issues and you cant get to the fire or you cant get the job done while onscene then I would side with you.

    You refered to trust and confidence.

    Trust: (Has he or any other officer gave any orders that have resulted in injury or loss of life of a firefighter)

    Confindence: (Has he failed to supply you with the equipment you need to complete the job.) Note: Old equipment works as good as some of the new stuff.

    Another thing you may not like me as a chief, but the only thing I expect out of my firefighters is respect for the position.

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    I did not make a no vote. The main things i have a problem with is lack of accountability both ways. We don't have a discipline board that is used (working on it) lots of things get ignored just told not to do it again multiple times. Which doesn't work if you know you can do what you want and just get told not to and thats as far as it goes then there are people that will just keep on doing it.

    There is a lack of progressive thinking and doing things the old way cause thats the way they know and it works so why change, doesn't matter if the new way works better. When you bring ideas up be it new better tactics or better ways to store equipment it shut down or put on the back burner for a long time. Buying trucks that fit the need now not what will be better for us in years to come.

    I understand about supervising, spent my time in the Navy in charge of 20 personnel and my fire team. I agree with you, Chief, you can't run the place worrying about if you do something will it get a vote against you or make someone mad at you. You do make alot of people mad when everytime you came to the hall he wants a reason why you have missed any calls, or questioning why you can't show up for fire conference or Fireman's weekend.

    He has accomplished things and moved somethings forward but backward on others. We have gotten two new trucks, half of use have new gear, new color coded hose to help ID lines, and saved money on the budget, but with that if you don't use it you lose it, so we have a smaller budget.

    Again I didn't start this to bash or attack my Dept's Chief. And i understand where people are coming from with the "moose lodge" and that. Not what we want just a better working and social relationship. As for there when you need them some yes others just say hey sorry to here about that or something along those lines. Trust is mostly there its hard to trust someone when they tell you to do something that either they wouldn't do or they don't know how.

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    I have to be honest; being a female firefighter has not been easy for me. I am 34 years old and have been on the dept for 1 year. The first week I joined I heard who was sleeping with who, who cheats, who hates who, don’t go in with this person or that person. I was completely overwhelmed and thought to myself, where is this “brotherhood” everyone seems to speak of??

    I had one firefighter (male) offer to help me with training; he would see me standing to the side completely confused and no one else offering to “teach” me. Well that was a huge mistake, the next thing I know rumors where flying left and right, we were sleeping with each other. I was completely crushed. Please keep in mind, Firefighting is completely “NEW” to me, I wasn’t raised around it nor did I have the first clue what really goes on at a fire scene. I didn’t really know what to expect, guess you can say I walked in to the dept completely blind.

    I am on a dept with 2 other females but both of them have spouses on as well. I was told I am an outsider. I was told I would never make it through the fire academy. I would ask why do you guys think this of me? I got a response that made no scene to me. “because you are beautiful” “your too girly” What the hell does that have to do with anything? Do you think a fire gives a **** about the way a person looks??

    I found myself not participating in as many things, not staying to eat after drills and chat, not really talking to anyone unless it was fireamatic related. I became very closed off. It was not a good feeling.

    I would show up at the meetings and drills and pretty much no one would talk to me, but I REFUSED to let it get to me any longer, I sat, I listened, I would always volunteer to “try” something new first. I showed up at as many calls as I could, I participated in every drill, I showed up for the **** jobs, I scrubbed the trucks, I did whatever was handed to me, and I never once complained and I won’t. I am here because I want to be ...not because I have to be.

    I came across a quote that helped me get through the rough times ....

    "Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a
    victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself."

    After 4 long months, I finished the fire academy June 9th, it was a 3 ½ hour written exam and then a 6 hour practical exam. I walked off that fire ground that day with my head held high because I knew I just proved everyone wrong. I waited 45 long days to find out if I had really passed. I was driving home from work and I received a phone call from the academy director. He said, you passed, I said YES!, He said, you scored a 98%. (The score is based on the written and practical combined). He said, you scored the highest in the class. I started crying like a baby at that point. He said don’t cry this is a good thing, I said yes it is a very good thing.

    I am sure people are saying right now, big deal… who cares… it’s just volunteer. But to me it is something I am very passionate about. I worked my *** off, I read everything I could get my hands on, I ask so many questions, I am sure the instructors wanted to kill me. It wasn’t that I wanted to “prove” everyone wrong, I guess I worked harder to prove “myself” wrong. You see when someone tells you something a number of times, sometimes we as humans start to believe these things. Maybe they are right, maybe I am not cut out to do this job and on and on.

    I kept my score to myself for as long as I could, why I don’t know.. Maybe it was because I really didn’t want to brag or shove it in anyone’s face. I didn’t want to be like that. A few weeks later, my chief asked me, have you heard if you passed the fire academy. I said yes a few weeks ago the chief called me. I passed. That was all I said. He said well how did we do?? I very softly said I scored a 98, he said a 98? He looked shocked, but looked right at me, smiled and said that’s awesome! I actually felt like he was proud of me. It was a nice feeling.

    Things have changed for me a bit now, it’s been a year, I have finished school, I am now packing up and getting to do much more. People are talking to me, they are helping me, they are answering my questions. I am finally starting to feel like I fit in. My story is not about getting a good score on a test, it's just about my experiances, my feelings and how things do change. I guess you just have to give it time. Does everyone new go through this?

    I know there is so much more for me to learn and I am learning something new everyday. I will not give up, I will continue to strive to be the best I can. I love being a firefighter, I love it so much.


    Sorry this is so "from the heart" .....just wanted to share....

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