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A Message for the "Rookie"

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  • A Message for the "Rookie"

    First things first, this job isn't for everyone and that's not going to be determined before you walk in your first day. What will determine that is your first few really "bad" runs. Whether it's a bad trauma or a house fire that's so dark you can't see your own light in front of your mask. Now that, that's said, this was written to try to help the rookie get a kick start. I'm not from the busiest city station but we are a fairly busy and respected firehouse, just on the outskirts of Columbus, Ohio. I'll break it down on how to survive and strive as a rookie. As the new member, here's some of the things you should be doing. The house chores should be done by you, without being asked to. The older seasoned guys aren't being mean or disrespectful if they're not helping but here's the thing. If you can't manage cleaning the restrooms and running a mop, how can you be trusted on a structure fire with entrapment at 2 am. Next thing, know your trucks inside and out. I don't mean just knowing the location of things and whatnot. I mean know absolutely everything, from location, to how to operate and when to operate. Every morning, find a radio, keep it all day, every run. I once read "a radio is worth more than 30,000 gallons of water". That always stuck. Communication is important, when stuff hits the fan and your officer looks at you to radio for back up or assistance, you better have a radio. When the floor caves on division 2, and 3 other guys are crawling right into it blind and you need to warn them, you better have a radio. Next, train, and I mean train until you sleep. You better be the last to sit down and the first to get up. Whether it's dinner, or relaxing. Try not to sit down until you know every truck compartment, tool, protocol, GOG, maps, etc. If the door rings, or the phone does, it's for you. Find a senior guy, that knows his stuff. Have him review and go over your objectives with you. The officer has more important things to do then train the rookie, know your chain. Know your department. I mean your address, phone number, history and more. If someone calls asking for your address or how to get somewhere, don't be the guy to turn and ask someone else. When a 3 year old kid isn't breathing, and you need to drive him to the hospital because the most experience is needed in the back, you better know how to get there. Take classes, read books, learn your craft and learn it well. When you arrive in the morning, be the first there, introduce yourself. Ask the LT. what seat is yours and what's expected of it. Learn the guys family life, hobbies, likes and dislikes. This is a brotherhood and 2nd family. This job isn't the same as others. You're not asking to borrow a pen or desk utensil from a co-worker, You're protecting these guys lives, it's a little deeper. Next thing, you're a rookie, know that. You don't deserve anything yet until you've proven it, so work like it. This is the greatest job and tradition in the entire world, don't abuse it. Someone's waiting for the opportunity to fill your boots. It doesn't take much to lose that. Learn terminology and what your officer uses. If fires blowing from both division 1 windows and he says grab a line, this is a transitional attack, you better know what that means. Know tools, if you're the first arriving engine on a working structure fire and you grab a new york hook with the assignment of making entry, well that's not going to workout well. Help out with an IC job at the station. Most stations have jobs, such as, the map guy, ems, maintenace, ordering, truck guys, training etc. Do something along those lines. The guys will notice your commitment. I love this job, more than anything in the world. I love the smell of the cab after a fresh working structure fire, the smell of coffee on in the morning with the guys at the table and small talk, the brotherhood, the passion, the love and respect people have. I hope you find love in the same. This is just a snipit of the fire service and some tips. There's a lifetime more. I hope this helped. Stay safe, Good Luck


  • #2
    Thank you!

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    • #3
      You're very welcome brother. Stay safe

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      • #4
        Originally posted by zp351551 View Post
        I hope this helped. Stay safe, Good Luck
        It sure did! I believe you covered almost everything that there is to look forward to and I like the fact that you pointed out it's not necessarily going to be easy - but it is going to be worth it. Thanks for sharing, I will keep the quote about the radio in the back of my mind for sure.

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        • #5
          Great article! Thank you for the advice. It did not fall on deaf eyes, I will use it and pass it along!

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