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    Default Have we lost our way?

    Been out with a back injury for abit but still stuck doing military work. Have had some time to think about things and wanted to "vent" or "rant" for a few.

    Have we, the fire service, lost our way? What has become of the things we hold true? Honor, Brotherhood, Loyalty. Those things. Many of us come here and note how many of the younger firefighters in the service today are growing lazier, more IGM attitudes, what can the fire department do for ME? type attitudes. Where is this coming from? I am just a volunteer here in Virginia Beach but I listen to the others talk around the kitchen table. I see it in the Navy and the military in general everyday. I really think these problems are starting right at the very top and infecting the entire organization they lead.

    One of the first things I have noticed is, why are so many fire departments trying to be like that fire department. Or use that departments philosophy. Just because a practice works in Utah does not mean it will work in Alabama. I would like to think that most of the leadership in the fire service is smart enough to steer their department in the way that best serves their community and their firefighters. But I read, talk to others from across the country, see on here so many trying to be someone else's fire department. Each of us has a responsibility to our fellow firefighters in our department to make our department better and a great place to work and be.

    Which begs to ask, who is looking out for us? Did I miss a memo that stated that the chiefs above us were hand appointed by some supreme being and are better than the rest of us? They did ride the rigs at one point I hope. The first reactions to too many problems seem to be knee jerk punish the troops type of reactions. I have seen petty personal differences lead to the transfer of a good firefighter into an area of the city where his talents are basically wasted.

    Another memo I must have missed along the way. When did all the chief officers become management? Leadership just suddenly stops at the Captain or Lieut anent level? If the battalion chief is busy being a manager who is leading and more importantly mentoring/grooming the company officers to be battalion chiefs? And it goes on up the line. IGM.

    Where have all the great fire service leaders gone? Well I guess that is easy. They are growing older and retiring. Some unfortunately are passing on and taking their wealth of knowledge way before many of us feel they should go. Perhaps the better question is, Where are our leaders coming from? Also, how do we keep the leaders we have? Is it too late for some?

    The line firefighters have always made this job what it is, the greatest job on earth. How do we prevent so many poor leaders but good managers from leading us?
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocVBFDE14 View Post
    Been out with a back injury for abit but still stuck doing military work. Have had some time to think about things and wanted to "vent" or "rant" for a few.

    Have we, the fire service, lost our way? Entirely? No. Unfortunately what I see is many times old timers that have become disillusioned spread that poison right on to the new guys that haven't got wenough time on to become disillusioned. But they here it so much that they begin to become almost robotic in their acceptance of it. What has become of the things we hold true? Honor, Brotherhood, Loyalty. They still exist...unfortunately not as deeply and universally as was once common. It seems today that sometimes the term Brother is tossed around as easily as hello or goodbye. Yet I look into the eyes of some of the guys I work with and you see that Brotherhood is still strong, I see it in the eyes of some of the firefighters I teach in my part-time gig. These are those same guys that look you in the eye and say the cliches that to them have meaning...you go I go, I got your back, in together out together and everybody goes home. They stillexist and frankly if we tried harder maybe it would be strong again in everyone. Those things. Many of us come here and note how many of the younger firefighters in the service today are growing lazier, more IGM attitudes, what can the fire department do for ME? type attitudes. Where is this coming from? A generation that comes right from school with really no work experience or military and gets on the FD. They have lived a life where nothing was work to achieve and they have expectations planted in their head by society that they deserve everything they get. Not that they earned it, that they deserve it. I am just a volunteer here in Virginia Beach but I listen to the others talk around the kitchen table. I see it in the Navy and the military in general everyday. I really think these problems are starting right at the very top and infecting the entire organization they lead.

    One of the first things I have noticed is, why are so many fire departments trying to be like that fire department. Or use that departments philosophy. Just because a practice works in Utah does not mean it will work in Alabama. I would like to think that most of the leadership in the fire service is smart enough to steer their department in the way that best serves their community and their firefighters. But I read, talk to others from across the country, see on here so many trying to be someone else's fire department. Each of us has a responsibility to our fellow firefighters in our department to make our department better and a great place to work and be. I can honestly say that my volly FD has never tried to do this. We have experimented, and tried ideas and equipment and done what worked for us. this is not to say we haven't looked at what others do but we don't adopt something simply because the FDNY or Chicago or Boston or LA or Milwaukee or Phoenix or anyone else does it.

    Which begs to ask, who is looking out for us? We are. Plain and simple. I count on the guys next to me to be there for me. Did I miss a memo that stated that the chiefs above us were hand appointed by some supreme being and are better than the rest of us? Nope. But when education completely replaces practical knowledge in some cases and because you have a degree or EFO or whatever that makes you a "better" chief than a guy who held every rank in the FD over 30 years the world is messed up. They did ride the rigs at one point I hope. The first reactions to too many problems seem to be knee jerk punish the troops type of reactions. I have seen petty personal differences lead to the transfer of a good firefighter into an area of the city where his talents are basically wasted. Vengence and pettiness are unfortunately human nature and getting a white shirt does not eliminate that and in fact that power can intensify it in many cases.

    Another memo I must have missed along the way. When did all the chief officers become management? When cost cutting became more important than actual effective fire service staffing and equipment and code enforcement. Leadership just suddenly stops at the Captain or Lieut anent level? In many cases yes, and sadly enough those officers in many cases are not properly prepared for their new job. If the battalion chief is busy being a manager who is leading and more importantly mentoring/grooming the company officers to be battalion chiefs? No one. Those new officers are told what courses they need or what other things they need to make a "good" officer. And it goes on up the line. IGM.

    Where have all the great fire service leaders gone? The same place that good leader always go...to a better place leaving a void that may or may not ever be properly filled by the next generation. We have some brilliant people in the fire service and they will move to national prominence if they choose to. That isn;t the real problem though is it? The real problem for most firefighters is who is THEIR Chief or Captain or Lieutenant and what qualified them to be in that position? Well I guess that is easy. They are growing older and retiring. Some unfortunately are passing on and taking their wealth of knowledge way before many of us feel they should go. Perhaps the better question is, Where are our leaders coming from? Also, how do we keep the leaders we have? Is it too late for some? Mentor the generation coming up. Listen to the good ones and make them feel valuable and they will stick around, crap on them and they will leave as soon as they can. Is it too late for some? I would suppose it might be, if you get your *** spanked enough by incompetents above you it can beat you down and make you wonder why you do it.

    The line firefighters have always made this job what it is, the greatest job on earth. How do we prevent so many poor leaders but good managers from leading us? Armed insurgency? I don't know because it seems a lot of city admins like the leaders that actually do the best job of screwing up the fire service.
    Interesting rants and I don't know if my posts offered any enlightenment or just added to your disillusionment.

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    FyredUp....Don't take this the wrong way. However, our fundamental beliefs really are the same. Good post.
    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

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    Quote Originally Posted by FDAIC485 View Post
    FyredUp....Don't take this the wrong way. However, our fundamental beliefs really are the same. Good post.
    Why would I take that the wrong way?

    Honestly, I have realized that there have been times I have been a real dickhead on these forums and while I am sure I will slip on occasion I am trying to be a more positive voice. Doesn't mean that I didn't mean what I said, what it means is I could have said it in a less confrontational way most times.

    Take care my Brother and stay safe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Why would I take that the wrong way?

    Honestly, I have realized that there have been times I have been a real dickhead on these forums and while I am sure I will slip on occasion I am trying to be a more positive voice. Doesn't mean that I didn't mean what I said, what it means is I could have said it in a less confrontational way most times.

    Take care my Brother and stay safe.
    HUH!!!!! Did I just read that!!!! However, sense we hav estarted the confessional There might have been one time when I was a wee bit out of line and a tad bit of a DH. And I believe there was at least once when I thought I was wrong, I later found out I was mistaken.

    However, I see the youth of america in general showing general laziness. Seems an entire generation thinks the world owes them something, I think that feelings comes from all the free social program give aways. No longer do you have to work to get what you want.

    I don't really see a problem with trying to be like someone else's department, as long as that department is doing the right things and is highly respected. It's kind of like striving to be the best. And it has something to do with the team work concept. We all know that a team of 10 people will always outperform 10 individuals. I guess the larger the team the better the performance. So when the NFPA or any other National organization sets a standard they have done so with the input of a very large team, we hope that this has provided the best solution.

    As for Chiefs being managers, they always have been. But so to are Captains and lieutenants, they are low level managers. Chiefs, are upper management, which is true in any organization. Part of being a manger is helping your subordinates to grow and to give them guidance. These chiefs that don't do that are being derelict in their duties. A good manager is a great leader.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    We all know that a team of 10 people will always outperform 10 individuals.
    Unless the team of ten is a committee.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Honestly, I have realized that there have been times I have been a real dickhead on these forums and while I am sure I will slip on occasion I am trying to be a more positive voice. Doesn't mean that I didn't mean what I said, what it means is I could have said it in a less confrontational way most times.
    Well said, and true for probably everybody at one time or another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nuthead View Post
    Unless the team of ten is a committee.
    Now that is funny.. Been there and done that. Heck, I even have the t-shirt someplace

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    Hey Trotter...

    **** off...you may be the one exception to my apology.

    FyredUp

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Hey Trotter...

    **** off...you may be the one exception to my apology.

    FyredUp
    I guess there needs to be an exception to every rule...

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    Don't clump the entire generatoin into one. There are still plenty of us young guys who work hard. I know a few guys in my dept that are under 30 who are some of the hardest workers you'll ever meet.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    However, I see the youth of america in general showing general laziness. Seems an entire generation thinks the world owes them something, I think that feelings comes from all the free social program give aways. No longer do you have to work to get what you want.
    Blow me. Don't lump us all together due to your limited observations of a few. There is nothing else in this world I want then to be a Career Firefighter, and there is nothing that will stand in my way to get there. Nothing. I have paid my own way through EMT, FF I/II, the career standard here in Fla, and now I am in Paramedic, all the meanwhile, I was working nights dispatching, getting maybe, maybe 6 hours of sleep, if I was lucky. All so I could afford school. Nobody owes me anything, and I will be Damned if I will take a handout. There is a reason that this is the best job in the world, and there is a reason it is so hard to get.
    Don't give me this load of sh*t that we don't work to get what we want, or we are lazy pieces of crap expecting Da Job to be handed to us on a silver platter.
    When I get my badge, it will have been earned with my blood, sweat, tears.
    Not whiling, bitching, and sitting on my *** for it to be handed to me.
    Now, you will backpedal, and say I am one of the few, an exception. Do not make generalizations about generations, when you observe a few. Brother.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    Blow me. Don't lump us all together due to your limited observations of a few. There is nothing else in this world I want then to be a Career Firefighter, and there is nothing that will stand in my way to get there. Nothing. I have paid my own way through EMT, FF I/II, the career standard here in Fla, and now I am in Paramedic, all the meanwhile, I was working nights dispatching, getting maybe, maybe 6 hours of sleep, if I was lucky. All so I could afford school. Nobody owes me anything, and I will be Damned if I will take a handout. There is a reason that this is the best job in the world, and there is a reason it is so hard to get.
    Don't give me this load of sh*t that we don't work to get what we want, or we are lazy pieces of crap expecting Da Job to be handed to us on a silver platter.
    When I get my badge, it will have been earned with my blood, sweat, tears.
    Not whiling, bitching, and sitting on my *** for it to be handed to me.
    Now, you will backpedal, and say I am one of the few, an exception. Do not make generalizations about generations, when you observe a few. Brother.
    Blow Me??? Talk like that gets the interest of the WT. best be careful ohh wise one. But it would sound as if you are outside of the norm. I'll bet if you look around you will find a larger and larger majority just looking for hand outs. You will also find a bunch who do nothing more than sit back and play video games all day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    Blow Me??? Talk like that gets the interest of the WT. best be careful ohh wise one. But it would sound as if you are outside of the norm. I'll bet if you look around you will find a larger and larger majority just looking for hand outs. You will also find a bunch who do nothing more than sit back and play video games all day.
    Gonna tattle on me?
    Your right, I am outside of the norm. I attend conferences, I read up on the latest tactics, tools, and tricks. I want to live to see my grandkids, and my retirement party after 30 years of service.
    Go down to your local firehouse. How many of the old guys got dickey doos, and refuse to get in shape, or sit around on the recliners, the most excersize they get is flipping channels? They are just waiting for their 25 years, or 30 years, or whatever. I could catagorize that whole generation based on what I saw in a few firehouses. But you know what, I know they came in like that, they worked like that, and they will leave like that.
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    I am 18 and not afraid of hard work; however, most people want a hand out. Most kids that I went to school with wanted grades without work. If people didn't want handouts taxes wouldn't take so much for welfare. My view is very warped because I live outside of Memphis. I have never seen so many lazy people in my life. It is infected with the what can you do for me attitude. I personally feel that parents should create a work ethic in their kids. I think the reason more young people want hand outs is because the have grown up watching their elders recieve hand outs. These kids then think why work when the government will pay for everything.

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    I think I am being misunderstood.

    I am not blaming the younger folks. I realize and understand that the problems and attitudes some posses and exhibit are part of a greater problem with society.

    It is the current crop of, and I use this loosely, leaders we currently have that should be fixing these issues. Those are the ones that my post is referencing. My first captain on Staten Island came from the mid 70's. I would walk through walls for him because of his leadership.

    To me a true leader is someone who can take a younger person and mold them into a responsible firefighter or person. A true leader is someone makes everyone want to work together and enjoy coming to work.

    I firmly believe we need less managers in positions of authority and more leaders.

    Fyred, you have not disillusioned me. I love this job for what it is and who I work with. Nor do I have problems with departments trying to model themselves like another. I do have problems with them copying right down to the uniform tee shirt and discounting any further suggestions because that department does not do it or because that department does do it.

    And I do second you on the training issue. Is it only a matter of time before the promotion path to officer is conducted in the same way the Navy now conducts a vast majority of its training? Self paced on line knowledge? Rather scary thought knowing that there are individuals out there qualified to carry weapons, who's only introduction to a weapon was clicking next on a computer screen then taking a test till they got a perfect 100. Is that our future too?
    Last edited by DocVBFDE14; 09-16-2007 at 10:06 PM. Reason: add a reply
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    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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    Trotter....

    Man you are quite possibly the world's hugest hypocrit. Bar none. Do you ever wonder why people call you on your constant barrage of BS? You adamantly defended the youth of America in your junior firefighter posts claiming you believe they should be given the benefit of the doubt and touting the maturity of today's youth and then you post this little gem:

    However, I see the youth of america in general showing general laziness. Seems an entire generation thinks the world owes them something, I think that feelings comes from all the free social program give aways. No longer do you have to work to get what you want.
    So which is it? You believe in them? Or they are lazy, believing the world owes them and they no longer want to work? Which is it?

    I can't wait to see your spin on this one...because no matter what you say you are either a fool, an idiot or a hypocrit. There can be no other answer...well yes there can be...dementia.

    Spin away...while I laugh at yet another of your double standard hypocritical postings.

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    Thumbs down Knows It All

    FyredUp- Do you KNOW IT ALL !!! My Vollie Friend

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnboycan View Post
    FyredUp- Do you KNOW IT ALL !!! My Vollie Friend
    Nope, don't know it all. Never claimed to. Just know a hypocrit and a pot stirrer when I see one.

    Have a nice life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy View Post
    Gonna tattle on me?
    Your right, I am outside of the norm. I attend conferences, I read up on the latest tactics, tools, and tricks. I want to live to see my grandkids, and my retirement party after 30 years of service.
    Go down to your local firehouse. How many of the old guys got dickey doos, and refuse to get in shape, or sit around on the recliners, the most excersize they get is flipping channels? They are just waiting for their 25 years, or 30 years, or whatever. I could catagorize that whole generation based on what I saw in a few firehouses. But you know what, I know they came in like that, they worked like that, and they will leave like that.
    Nope. I'm not going to tell. I personally could care less what anyone says. I'm not one of those sissy cry babies who runs off to the WT every time someone says something I don't like. Myself, I'm an American and believe in your right to free speech. As far as I'm concerned, say what you will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Trotter....

    Man you are quite possibly the world's hugest hypocrit. Bar none. Do you ever wonder why people call you on your constant barrage of BS? You adamantly defended the youth of America in your junior firefighter posts claiming you believe they should be given the benefit of the doubt and touting the maturity of today's youth and then you post this little gem:



    So which is it? You believe in them? Or they are lazy, believing the world owes them and they no longer want to work? Which is it?

    I can't wait to see your spin on this one...because no matter what you say you are either a fool, an idiot or a hypocrit. There can be no other answer...well yes there can be...dementia.

    Spin away...while I laugh at yet another of your double standard hypocritical postings.
    I guess I shouldn't use generalizations. And perhaps other parts of the country are different. Of course I will support and help and youngster or old timer that wants to help themselves. I guess those few Jr.s are the ones who actually want to get out and do something. When I said in the youth in general, I didn't mean all. I just think there is a larger percentage now than ever before. My friend has a son who is 24. He runs a gas station where they actually pump the gas. They pay $8 per hour, and he can't get anyone to work for him. That in itself makes me laugh. We have to raise the minimum wage, yet he can't get anyone to work for him. I've seen a lot of these young guys show up at jobs and expect to be making $20 an hour right out of the gate. So let me say it this way. 100 years ago nobody expected any handouts. Then we started welfare and more and more people are looking for the handouts. And yes, there are even older guys who are just coasting to retirement. I used to work at a government facility where there were a few doing that. You would identify a way to do something better and get the response (which I absolutely hate) "If it isn't broke don't fix it". Now that is what I would call lazy. I actually had one manager tell me "Why would I want to create work for myself?" So yes, it is all through our society, people expecting handouts from the government in one form or another.

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    I think there is a mix of everything you are saying. There are rookies (very young and in their 30's), who will work their asses off, I have seen it, I am one of them. Willing to do or learn anything and willing to be the one to step up and support the department and support the ideals of where the department/service is going. On the other hand, there are other rookies who would rather sleep than train, would rather stand with a mop than use one, would rather ride the back of the pump, than learn to drive and operate it and would rather the experienced guys do all the work and turn their heads so they do not have to learn (actively and politically). The unfortunate thing is they stand out much more than those of us who work. **** always smells stronger than roses, right?

    As for the older generation. I've seen the same mix in the men who have been on the job for 20-30 years. I have to say that most of the men I work with in their 50's are in shape, are learning, are teaching and very passionate about where the job is and where it's going. They are willing to pass on their passion and knowledge so the job can continue to progress. Maybe I have just been lucky with the people I have worked with (it is a large department), but I can see the "older generation's" (I hate saying that, I'm not that far behind age wise, but I am experience wise) issues with the new "young" guys when they are still working their asses off and some rookies are sitting back watching. Know what I'm saying? (definitely not lumping all of either group together)

    As for Chiefs being managers. Well, what can I say about that? Again, the Chiefs I deal with are for the most part, are experienced, knowledgeable, on our side, etc, but our top management... err Chiefs... are definitely more worried about cost cutting than safety and proper manning. It's sad to see and issues have arisen because of this.

    For the most part, all I can say is to continue to be passionate, continue to work with the department and the fire service in general to help it move forward. Be active in the Union, know where things are going, know where it wants to take your department and have a say. Pass on this passion to others, light a fire under their asses and get them interested in their career; their futures. There is nothing worse in life than apathy, don't let it rub off on you!
    Vita brevis; terra larga.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Higby916 View Post
    I think there is a mix of everything you are saying. There are rookies (very young and in their 30's), who will work their asses off, I have seen it, I am one of them. Willing to do or learn anything and willing to be the one to step up and support the department and support the ideals of where the department/service is going. On the other hand, there are other rookies who would rather sleep than train, would rather stand with a mop than use one, would rather ride the back of the pump, than learn to drive and operate it and would rather the experienced guys do all the work and turn their heads so they do not have to learn (actively and politically). The unfortunate thing is they stand out much more than those of us who work. **** always smells stronger than roses, right?

    As for the older generation. I've seen the same mix in the men who have been on the job for 20-30 years. I have to say that most of the men I work with in their 50's are in shape, are learning, are teaching and very passionate about where the job is and where it's going. They are willing to pass on their passion and knowledge so the job can continue to progress. Maybe I have just been lucky with the people I have worked with (it is a large department), but I can see the "older generation's" (I hate saying that, I'm not that far behind age wise, but I am experience wise) issues with the new "young" guys when they are still working their asses off and some rookies are sitting back watching. Know what I'm saying? (definitely not lumping all of either group together)

    As for Chiefs being managers. Well, what can I say about that? Again, the Chiefs I deal with are for the most part, are experienced, knowledgeable, on our side, etc, but our top management... err Chiefs... are definitely more worried about cost cutting than safety and proper manning. It's sad to see and issues have arisen because of this.

    For the most part, all I can say is to continue to be passionate, continue to work with the department and the fire service in general to help it move forward. Be active in the Union, know where things are going, know where it wants to take your department and have a say. Pass on this passion to others, light a fire under their asses and get them interested in their career; their futures. There is nothing worse in life than apathy, don't let it rub off on you!
    You are right, the slackers come in all ages. I love fighting a fire and coming out totally exhausted, dirty, wet, and seeing about 20 guys standing around all nice and clean joking and laughing. Then it comes time to pick up the hose and the pond and clean everything up. That same group of guys is nowhere to be found. However, you get back te the station and there they are. You are usually greeted with, we got pizza, want some, help yourself. And you go over and look at the two pieces of shriveled up cheese pizza and pass. The good news is, they can't possibly screw up the cold beer in the clubhouse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HotTrotter View Post
    You are right, the slackers come in all ages. I love fighting a fire and coming out totally exhausted, dirty, wet, and seeing about 20 guys standing around all nice and clean joking and laughing. Then it comes time to pick up the hose and the pond and clean everything up. That same group of guys is nowhere to be found. However, you get back te the station and there they are. You are usually greeted with, we got pizza, want some, help yourself. And you go over and look at the two pieces of shriveled up cheese pizza and pass. The good news is, they can't possibly screw up the cold beer in the clubhouse.
    A good Chief handing out assignments could fix that in a hurry. As for beer in the clubhouse, when we get back from a fire in the evening, we hang hose, hydrate, clean up, shower, and try to grab a couple of winks before the next one.
    Vita brevis; terra larga.

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