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    Default Dispute with my Departments Old school firefighters

    Now before I get into this, I must first state the the veteran firefighters on my Dept. have my uttermost respect, I know they'v been in alot longer than I have but the Old school, New school gap still exists


    Ther other night a higher ranking officer in my dept. was showing some of the rookies how to use the nozzle. I noticed he was tucking the nozzle in his armpit so I went over to examine closer when I realized he was teaching the rookies putting the nozzle in you armpit as proper technique. He let the rookies loose to play with the nozzles and stepped off to the side by himself to observe, So I walked over to him, I said you can move the nozzle quicker and with less effort if you hold the nozzle out in front of you. He just stared at me blankly. I also stated that "when you tuck the nozzle in your armpit you have to use your whole body to manuver the nozzle". He says "Well I'd rather use my whole body, more muscle". To which I replied, "It'll wear you out quicker".
    then I recieved a very stern "Well you've just got it all figured out don't you!"

    Now keep in ind I was very civil and polite in my discussion with him.

    What to do, what to do.
    Last edited by Paul343; 11-30-2007 at 08:36 PM.
    "You choose to go voluntarily into the fire. The blaze might well destroy you. But if you survive, every blow of the hammer will serve to shape your being. Every drop of water wrung from you will temper and strengthen your soul." Margaret Weis


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    STFU.

    Did you ever THINK it might have been better to approach him one on one AFTER the training and politely talk to him?

    Might have got you a lot further eh. Now you have screwed any chance of him bothering to listen to you.

    Start thinking about human dynamics a bit before opening the mouth.

    Have you ever been reamed out by an Officer in front of the rest of the crew? If the answer is yes then your station needs a shake up and wake up.
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    Paul, I'm not sure I would make too big a thing of this. I have had a similar discussion with one of my instructors. He was ex London England Fire Brigade. There, they keep about a foot to foot and a half hose and nozzle in front of them and control with wrist and hands. I like keeping the nozzle tucked into my hip and moving it with body movement. We both agreed nothing wrong with either method, just different. Definitely not worth getting heated up about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    STFU.

    Did you ever THINK it might have been better to approach him one on one AFTER the training and politely talk to him?

    Might have got you a lot further eh. Now you have screwed any chance of him bothering to listen to you.

    Start thinking about human dynamics a bit before opening the mouth.

    Have you ever been reamed out by an Officer in front of the rest of the crew? If the answer is yes then your station needs a shake up and wake up.

    It wouldn't have mattered it's gotten to the point our old shcool firefighters won't give any of the younger guys time of the day to hear their suggestions.
    They insist on doing things the way the have always done it which I understand and respect to a degree, but they ignor other new tactics methods, and technology. This same guy suggested removing our PASS alarms from our air pack because they were irritating, but we pointed out that becasue they were intigrated into the pack they couldn't be removed. We didn't bother trying to expalin the importance of having them.
    "You choose to go voluntarily into the fire. The blaze might well destroy you. But if you survive, every blow of the hammer will serve to shape your being. Every drop of water wrung from you will temper and strengthen your soul." Margaret Weis


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    OVFD unit# 343/SLVFD unit# 610

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    Paul,
    i know exactly what you are going through....there are some older guys on my dept. that are they same way...the only thing you can do is let them do their thing and later on throw your ideas at the new guys and then let them pick which way they like best.

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    Cool

    It doesn't sound like you were part of the class, so why would you interrupt??? ...and you don't mention your experience or training.

    What was in the lesson plan??? What do the department SOP's say??? Do you even know why they used to teach the "armpit method" as the only method???

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    Is there only one way to work a nozzle? I realize the last 11 years of my career have all been on a truck company, but I did manage to catch a fire or two on engines along the way.
    I don't know what the approach was that you took. The worst thing you can do, because I have had this done to me, is to correct someone in front of the class or group of people instructing. Especially when it doesn't matter, and even more so when you jumped in the middle of what he was doing. That does come off as a know it all attitude.

    The only way to control a nozzle is the way that you hold it and keep it from controlling you. I've had it in close to my body, and I've also had it out in front of me by several feet. Whatever works for a person is the right way.

    Try to reverse the situation, and put yourself in the other guys position. Imagine him coming up and telling you that your way is wrong in the middle of your talk.

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    Lightbulb

    I wouldn't have said a word during the class. You basically called him out in front of everyone leaving the rest of the class questioning his credibility. Not only is it rude but extremeley disrespectful being that he is an officer.

    Next time bring it up after the class is over or during a break. When you do bring it up word it as a question. For example, "Hey Captain what do you think of holding the nozzle more out in front of you instead of in your armpit? I have found that it requires less effort and you do not become as fatigued."

    I would approach this officer as soon as possible. Apologize for what occured and that you did not mean any disrespect.
    Last edited by BKDRAFT; 11-28-2007 at 04:14 PM.

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    I'm sorry to the rest of you, but Paul, I can't fault you for bringing it up in front of the class. If you had waited until afterward, the group that was learning from this guy would not have been able to hear your perspective on this, thus missing out on a learning opportunity. It sounds as though you were respectful in what you said, and I see nothing wrong with that.

    PS...its funny how when an older FF gives a new FF a scolding about something and the new FF gets cheesed off about it...they get told to "grow thicker skin". However, if a newer FF tries to introduce a new tactic to an old FF, the whining and bitching commences with comments about disrespect and cockiness swarming about.

    Interesting....
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    you wont win this in any firehouse. You questioned a senior officer that was instructing new guys. There is definately a time and a place for discussing practical execution of a hoseline. Will it kill them to use it that way? nope. will they get worn out faster? probably. will they find this out for themselves? yes. regardless if your right or not. It is not your place to say anything or usurp a senior officer unless you firmly believe in your heart that it will get someone hurt or killed.

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    Paul343... you were wrong to correct the "old school" guy in the middle of a trraining session, period.

    Medicmaster.. let's turn the table a bit. Let's say you were giving a class on starting IV's. You have years of experience on the streets as a medic. A snot nosed, just out of medic school "paragod" interrupts you as you are demontsrtating the way to insert an IV line and says in front of the class "that's not the protocol I was taught"...

    How would you feel?
    Would you put this upstart in his place?
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 11-28-2007 at 06:00 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by medicmaster View Post

    PS...its funny how when an older FF gives a new FF a scolding about something and the new FF gets cheesed off about it...they get told to "grow thicker skin". However, if a newer FF tries to introduce a new tactic to an old FF, the whining and bitching commences with comments about disrespect and cockiness swarming about.

    Interesting....
    How long have you been in the fire service? I can tell you from personal experience that that the older guys know what they're talking about. They're the ones who have been taking in 2, 3, or more fires per day for the last twenty years they've been on the job.
    It's called seniority, and it's the gold standard here. It's gold, because it's the measuring stick, and everyone gets it eventually, IF they stick around.

    There is nothing better than a 1 year wonder who thinks they are the sh*t who has all the answers.


    Get a clue. They were talking about how to hold a nozzle. He didn't have to stick his nose into whatever they were doing. There's a time and a place for everything, including just minding your own business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Paul343... you were wrong to correct the "old school" guy in the middle of a trraining session, period.

    Medicmaster.. let's turn the table a bit. Let's say you were giving a class on starting IV's. You have years of experience on the streets as a medic. A snot nosed, just out of medic school "paragod" interrupts you as you are demontsrtating the way to insert an IV line and says in front of the class "that's not the protocol I was taught"...

    How would you feel?
    Would you put this upstart in his place?
    To be completely honest...if he had a way that made starting IVs easier, I'd applaud him for speaking up. Believe me...more than once I have a had an EMS student riding with me teach ME a thing or two that I didn't know.

    I view my career in EMS as something that requires me to continually learn new ways of doing things. In the 7 years I have been running the streets, ACLS guidelines have changed multiple times. End-Tidal CO2 monitoring was a new technology that has become a standard of care. These are just a few examples.

    My wife just graduated from Medical School last May and began her residency in family practice. While she is supposed to be learning from her attending physicians, there have been a couple of times where she has taught them something they didn't know. And guess what...no one got their panties in a bunch over it.

    So, sorry...no I do not see any fault or disrepect in attempting to show a "crusty" a new way of doing things.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasper45 View Post
    How long have you been in the fire service? I can tell you from personal experience that that the older guys know what they're talking about. They're the ones who have been taking in 2, 3, or more fires per day for the last twenty years they've been on the job.
    It's called seniority, and it's the gold standard here. It's gold, because it's the measuring stick, and everyone gets it eventually, IF they stick around.

    There is nothing better than a 1 year wonder who thinks they are the sh*t who has all the answers.


    Get a clue. They were talking about how to hold a nozzle. He didn't have to stick his nose into whatever they were doing. There's a time and a place for everything, including just minding your own business.

    So, seniority explains why a 35 year member of my former department wanted to replace the amber warning lights on the rear of the new engine because they made the truck "look like a goddamed snowplow". Or it explains the person who was appointed to the position of Captain (even though they never had any formal officer training or outside of the department training) simply because they had been on for 20 years...who proceded to order the arriving engine to break every window in a house "for ventilation" and then wondered why it didn't work.

    Okay...that makes sense.
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    I don't know if it would be a matter of "new school" or "old school." It sounds more like personal preference. I would consider me to be new school but i hold the nozzle in my armpit. Its more comfortable for me and i can hold it like that longer than extending my arms out.
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    Quote Originally Posted by medicmaster View Post
    Or it explains the person who was appointed to the position of Captain (even though they never had any formal officer training or outside of the department training) simply because they had been on for 20 years...who proceded to order the arriving engine to break every window in a house "for ventilation" and then wondered why it didn't work.

    Okay...that makes sense.

    No, that makes no sense at all. We don't APPOINT our officers, all are hired by a competitive exam process.
    I guess you're just not going to get it. When I first was placed in the field, the senior pipe on my engine had 17 years on the job. 15 of which on my engine, which was taking in about 400 fires a year. I listened to him when he spoke as he knew what we was talking about. The senior truckman on my shift had 23 years on the job, the last 7 of which had been spent in house, where the truck took in more work than the engine did. He had more experience than the boss on my shift, who had 8 years on the job; guess what, the boss was smart enough to learn from him.

    Now, are you going to tell either of them how to hold a nozzle? Are you going to tell either that you have a better way of starting the saw on a roof? Sorry, they had been there and done that more than just a few times.

    That makes a whole lot of sense to me.
    Last edited by jasper45; 11-28-2007 at 06:29 PM.

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    From the way you've described the incident it doesn't sound like just old school vs. new, it sounds more like a communication problem. How you say something is every bit as important as what you're saying. Your approach could use improvement as others have suggested.

    There is far more to it than who is right and who is wrong.
    Last edited by e46rick; 11-28-2007 at 08:01 PM. Reason: typo

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    Default The way I see it

    I'm a relatively new guy in the fire service, but I can tell you one thing that I've learned, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO UPSTAGE OR OTHERWISE DISCREDIT THE INFORMATION GIVEN BY A SENIOR FF. Medic, you can pretend to be all about being "progressive," but we all know you'd be upset if the new kid tries to show you up with "the book method" in the middle of your presentation. Capt. Gonzo is right. Paul, just apologize and try to listen more than you talk.

    For the rest of us new guys: STFU, you might learn something. I am not pretending to know everything here, but I have, to my everlasting shame, made this same mistake in my career and regret it. With just a little more time under your belt it is easy to see the kid fresh out of academy in a wholly different light when he says, "I think it would just be a lot easier if you just told me where to get each tool when we were on scene" or "I don't see why we should have to be able to do everything blindfolded and in gloves." (I've never said these, but they were easy examples from a new guy I've helped out).

    Also, new school vs. old school is BS. We are all on the same team, find common ground and use the safest methods you know how to. Safety doesn't exist just because no one got hurt, we have to make a concerted effort to protect every one of us. This requires communication. A company that cannot communicate is a company that should not be on a fireground, Period.

    Be Safe

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    To the OP of this topic..

    Your timing chain needs some work. Were you wrong for questioning the manner in which the senior member was teaching something? No. However your decision to question it right then and there was where you went wrong.

    You should only speak up like that in a training session if the actions that are being taught are going to cause serious injury or death at that moment. That is the responsibility of every firefighter who is in a uniform at any time. Be it a training session or a fire.

    It would have served you best to discuss your method with this member either behind closed doors or around the kitchen table. This is no guarantee that things would have gone different or even things would change. But it would have been the more proper time, place, and manner. You might even have suggested trying the new method at the next training session and get feedback from all members on which manner they prefer. Again, it is not assured that this would change anything.

    As for the Thick skin vs Snot nosed aspect....

    There is a major difference between a senior firefighter or officer telling a newer member they need to grow "thicker skin" vs being called snot nosed.

    A probie or younger member who is always whining about normal firehouse sarcasm or practical jokes DOES need to grow thicker skin. If you make a horrible pot of coffee and the guys rib you on it for two months, and you cry about it, GROW UP and get thicker skin. You messed up. Learn from it. If you whine and cry to bosses about the senior guys sending you for a left handed spanner wrench, you need thicker skin.

    However to earn the title snot nosed punk requires an attitude. Many newer members of the fire service DO fall under this title. They have been handed everything to them from day one in school. Being taught what they needed to know to pass and not get left behind. They carry this "entitled" attitude into our firehouses and expect senior firefighters to accept it.

    A newer member who has nothing to do by noon time of the shift and sighs and mopes when a senior person has them get up and do busy work, is a snot nosed probie. A newer member who's first words are always "Well we did this way at XYZ Dept....." is a snot nosed punk. You need to learn the way something works at your current dept first. If you think there is a better way, see above about going about bringing it up. I knew of ONE probie who said that to a DI while we were in the Academy. The DI's words to him were and I quote, "If XYZ did it so well, turn in your gear and go back to them. If you don't want to do that, STFU and do as you are told. Rest of the platoon, drop!"

    Can one be snot nosed and need thicker skin? Sure. Is it likely? I don't know, I am not an expert nor do I claim to be. However I can see a difference between the two.
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    Okay you guys have kinda misinterpreted how I explained this happened.

    We oftenly take our engines to one of our local factories on our meeting night and do pump , water supply, and hose and nozzle training all at once.

    My group had just finished water supply and the newbies were on the nozzle. I over hear the said officer teaching them the armpit thing as proper.

    He stepped away while the rookies were spraying. That's when I approached him.

    The discussion was between me and him.

    Sorry for the confusion

    Oh and as for the thick skin, trust me my skin is thick enough I've endured plenty of *** tearings in my career, and i've learned from everyone of them.
    Last edited by Paul343; 11-28-2007 at 09:39 PM.
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    First, being old school probably means he has lived long enough in this career to have been through several new schools. That has to stand for something.

    Second, there is no crying in baseball and no whining in the fire department.

    Third, if you think you've got a legitimate issue bring it up later. Even if you waited until you were one-on-one, you should've waited.

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    You were wrong..period. You never, ever call out a senior person in front of a class. I made that mistake ONCE and only ONCE..I learned the hard way. Had it been me you called out. I would have put you on the spot and said..fine, you're so smart..teach the F'ing class...then we will talk about where YOU screwed up. You are always better off saying, hey..can I ask you about this quickly..discuss it and move on. Perhaps that instructor was always taught to do it that way, or maybe he finds it easier. There are a million ways to do things in this job..what works for you may not work for someone else.
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    I agree with most here that timing is everything.

    We should not be so closed minded that we have the "we've done it this way for 50 years and will do so the next 50 years" type attitude. A good officer or instructor will be open to suggestions or ideas. However, it should be done after class or during a break away from everyone so there is no embarassment for either party and should be delivered gently with respect.

    I disagree with doing it in front of everyone. Now that creates uncertainty between the instructor and the students so they do not know what the proper way is. It also embarasses the instructor and depending on your delivery, makes you look like a know it all.

    It's not wrong to question it, just when and where you did it.
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    I agree you can learn so much from the senior men on your dept. There is nothing I like more than to sit back and listen to some old war stories from them and my dad who is retiring in 40 days after 37 years on the job. And as far as questioning them, the only way I would ever do that is if I thought my life or his life were in danger. In my seven years I have learned just as much from veteran firefighters as I did in fire school. Now on the other hand I think the veteran guys can learn some things from the new guys too. And when it comes to EMS a lot of things change on what seems to be a monthly basis. My brother has been a paramedic for 10 years and I just finished paramedic school and I teach him new stuff all the time. Next time I would wait to ask the senior guy about where to hold the nozzle or why he feels that is the better way until he was not in front of the class. And I do agree it is important to teach the new guys as well. So then maybe the senior man would let you teach the new guys your way and let them decide what way works best for them. Personally I think there is a time and place for both techniques.

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    Wink

    Real smart crusty's use FNG's to their advantage. case in point
    Last drill night our station was asked who had done the last aircraft incidents trng wknds. 2 x new guys and our Capt had. Guess who got quizzed on what we thought was important from those wknds.

    About 4 topics were brought up and discussed. As wide varying as ICS to issues with pumping foam. niether of the newbies were pump operators yet they still had learnt the problem solving process for when you can't get good foam.......them bringing it up was a great refresher for the whole station and no one felt called out during the discussion.

    Sometimes it pays to pick the new guys brains......

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