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How to prove that you know nothing.

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  • How to prove that you know nothing.

    Odd title I know.
    Bare with me, I am a few weeks into being a probie in my local VFD. Do you have any tips for a probie to walk the fine line between showing initiative and just being in the way or standing around? I hope that makes sense.
    Pulling up to a MVA, I don't want to be in the way or needing to ask where to stand and twiddle my thumbs, but I also don't want to be in the way or making things worse. Is it as simple as let the vets take their initial assessment and then ask what I can do to help? Is this a normal fear for probies?
    To be clear, I have yet to be toned out and as a probie our policy is report to the station and wait for one of the vets.

  • #2
    What have you been doing the last few weeks working?

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    • #3
      Probie to probie, train and train hard. You learn what to do in training, not on scene. Run every call you can and be the gofer.

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      • #4
        Oh, and if you dont know, ASK!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by alann View Post
          What have you been doing the last few weeks working?
          Lately we have been having most of our calls during morning rush hour. I'm already at work 90 minutes away. Training is being setup as we speak, but takes time.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by JSJJ388 View Post
            Probie to probie, train and train hard. You learn what to do in training, not on scene. Run every call you can and be the gofer.
            I'm looking forward to the training. I dislike feeling unprepared, even more so when someone else's life is relying on me to know my stuff. I'm in good physical shape (though I am stepping it up a little). Nothing much more to do than wait for training and getting familiar with the gear.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by OutOfOffice View Post

              Lately we have been having most of our calls during morning rush hour. I'm already at work 90 minutes away. Training is being setup as we speak, but takes time.
              As 5555 said, there will be somebody on the dept that will enjoy helping you learn the ropes so that you can be an asset even before you get much training. You didn't mention your location, but you did mention you are waiting for training. From the above quote, it sounds like most of your dept.'s calls are MVA's. Some states have Rescue Squad Associations that offer pretty cheap training. In TN you pay a few bucks to be an associate (not a full blown local member) and you can enroll in extrication classes that are pretty affordable, usually at night and over weekends. TARS has a "rescue college" with big long trailers full of tools and equipment. They go from region to region offering training. If there is anything like that close enough for you to attend, it will help you gain valuable knowledge and skills while you are waiting for fire training with your dept. Check with that mentor to make sure it's ok to go outside the dept for extra training.

              There are also regional and state fire conventions with the usual vendors, food, advertising, etc. Most of them have a few seminars or actual training. TN has an annual state Rescue Squad wing ding with seminars, training, competition, etc. Ron Moore (Moderator of this site's "University of Extrication" and contributor to the magazine) has presented/trained at the one in TN and probably others. It's not firefighting training, but extrication is one of the many things that fire depts do these days now that working fires are not as common as they once were. Same goes for 1st aid, EMR, First Responder classes that you may be able to take outside your FD. TEMA (TN version of FEMA) has various levels of search and rescue, hazmat, NIMS, PIO, and radiation courses that meet various OSHA and NFPA standards. I don't remember if they were free or if my FD paid for them. I am lucky that both my fire depts recognize that the more training we can get, the better off we are, even if it is with another FD or organization. I probably have certificates from 5 or 6 agencies in addition to my state fire school, local FD training, etc. Once again, make sure your dept. is ok with it. If they are, maybe they can help you with tuition.

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              • #8
                The best thing you can do is familiarize yourself with what's on the apparatus, both what it is and where it is. Like has been said, ask if you don't know. It's pretty obvious what some tools are, so start with the ones you know.

                If you are responding to a scene on the apparatus, take the time to ask who you are with what they are likely to need and where it is on the truck. Find out before you open the door what they want you to do, whether it's traffic control, holding C-spine or simply staying put in the seat.

                Get the training, ask the questions you need to ask, but don't assume anything, and, most of all- stay humble. There's a lot you don't know, and you don't know what you don't know. Those of us that have been doing this a while don't know it all either, but we know what it is that we don't know (if that makes sense...). There's nothing worse than a 2-20; 2 months on the job with 20 years of stories/experience.

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