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  • 1st due

    I'm a gung ho rookie who is taking all the classes that I can, senior member and officers alike have brought it to my attention that education is good but in no way supplants "real world experience".

    So with this in mind myself and other rookies have made it a point to move into homes very close to our stations to be able to be first due on all calls, (major and minor). We are averaging about a seventy to eighty percent response rate for the last two years and basically bumping all the senior ff's and officers off with the exception of a couple of close apparatus operators. They are sitting while we go to fires, medicals, and rescues. Our response matrix is first come, first due! It gets messy sometimes, very competitive!

    On the rare occasion that they get to go on a call, they seem very apprehensive about doing things, seems as if their "real world skills" are rusty. And no it is not them being more cautioned, sometimes they have a hard time remembering operational guidelines and where certain appliances and tools are on the apparatus.


    I guess I would be more apt to share the apparatus with others but if they are going to preach to me that the only way you become a good firefighter is through "real world experience" and the time and money I spend on my fire science degree does not mean much.

    Well then, guess who is going to make sure that they are on the truck every call to get that "real world knowledge", even if it means waiting at the station for a call.

    Does anyone else treat education like this at their department?

    Does anyone else put the rookies and probies in their place, when that rookie or probie gets an associates degree in fire science, by letting them know that; "The degree is good, but it pales in comparison to real world experience."

    I think it's sad that we downgrade education so much in the fire service.

  • #2
    I've been around the site for awhile, and haven't posted, but this caught my eye.

    I'm in no way saying you are a bad firefighter, but no matter how many classes you take, it WON'T replace real world experience.

    Your fire science degree, pretty much does amount to jack on the fire scene. Your degree won't replace real world fire experience on a call. No degree can prep you for what the real world is like. That piece of paper, doesn't mean you know it all. It's just that, a piece of paper.

    It's not downgrading education to tell you a degree isn't real world experience. It simply isn't. How many structure fires did you have to go to get that degree? How many technical resuces? How many cardiac arrests did you work? My guess here, is none, because most colleges, don't require them. Real world experience is where you really learn to fight fire. Classrooms, and controlled burns are good, and they give you a good working knowledge of what to do, and when, but they aren't the real world. Things change, and the perfect scenario of class, becomes a thousand times harder with adrenaline pumping, and all of that. So really, they aren't knocking your education, it's a good thing. It just isn't a replacement for actually doing the job. A piece of paper doesn't make someone a good firefighter.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by trizahler26
      I'm a gung ho rookie who is taking all the classes that I can, senior member and officers alike have brought it to my attention that education is good but in no way supplants "real world experience".

      So with this in mind myself and other rookies have made it a point to move into homes very close to our stations to be able to be first due on all calls, (major and minor). We are averaging about a seventy to eighty percent response rate for the last two years and basically bumping all the senior ff's and officers off with the exception of a couple of close apparatus operators. They are sitting while we go to fires, medicals, and rescues. Our response matrix is first come, first due! It gets messy sometimes, very competitive!

      On the rare occasion that they get to go on a call, they seem very apprehensive about doing things, seems as if their "real world skills" are rusty. And no it is not them being more cautioned, sometimes they have a hard time remembering operational guidelines and where certain appliances and tools are on the apparatus.


      I guess I would be more apt to share the apparatus with others but if they are going to preach to me that the only way you become a good firefighter is through "real world experience" and the time and money I spend on my fire science degree does not mean much.

      Well then, guess who is going to make sure that they are on the truck every call to get that "real world knowledge", even if it means waiting at the station for a call.

      Does anyone else treat education like this at their department?

      Does anyone else put the rookies and probies in their place, when that rookie or probie gets an associates degree in fire science, by letting them know that; "The degree is good, but it pales in comparison to real world experience."

      I think it's sad that we downgrade education so much in the fire service.
      Throw a few books at a fire and see how fast it goes out!

      You've got a lot of learning to do kid, and it isn't going to come from a book!
      You could have a PhD in fire science and be an absolute waste of skin on the fire ground.

      There is only one way to effectively learn this trade, and that's by doing it! Until you have experience, and I mean LOTS of experience, all of your classes, certs and degrees are basically useless on the fire ground.

      There is so much more to this job than just classroom learning. Nothing can replace experience! NOTHING!

      Don't get me wrong. Schooling is very important. Education is a great tool and can be a valuable asset both to you and your dept. in many different ways, but the correct application of that information is what is critical to the safety and survival of you, your brothers and the public you serve. That application is learned through watching and listening to others who have already been there and done it.

      You being all full of **** and vinegar is not necessarily a bad thing, so long as you loose the cocky attitude that you are better than the seasoned fireman, simply because you have had more classes than the guy who has only a GED and yet may have 20 years on the job.

      You had better be careful! From the "I'm better than the veterans, 'cause I'm smarter than them" attitude you present in your post, you are going to be in for a very rude awakening. I only hope that it is not at the expense of someone's life or property when it comes.

      In my department, it would only take you a shift, or two for the vets to take you down a few (actually, more than a few!) notches.
      Your post actually shows how little "real world" experience you really do have.

      Grow up kid! Shut your mouth and open your eyes and ears. You might actually learn what firefighting is all about in the "real world" from those have been dealing with it since you were in diapers.




      Kevin
      Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
      IAFF Local 2339
      K of C 4th Degree
      "LEATHER FOREVER"
      Member I.A.C.O.J.
      http://www.tfdfire.com/
      "Fir na tine"

      Comment


      • #4
        Mouth Shut, Eyes Open.

        Not a problem, I don't step out of line. I always make it a point to keep my mouth shut and eyes open, but I do it at the scene.

        I make ninety percent of all our calls for the last two years, and so have many of my fellow rookies, are getting all the routine calls and all the working fire/rescue calls.

        Point is I am gaining on what is and has been a minimum twenty-five percent call answer department. I am going to the calls getting the real world experience, keeping the mouth shut and eyes open.

        M<y point here was not for anyone to take me down a few notches, don't worry, I'm really nice and respectful.

        I just wanted to know if any other departments maybe value education?

        I am curious because I would like to take a look at their systems of education and experience that determines officer candidates and proficient ff's.

        Myself and other rookies are actually feeling bad that we are leaving all the senior ff and officers behind except for a rare few because we bought homes so close.

        I want them to go on more calls, but for the last two years they have kind of been non-existent on calls. Due to the simply fact that our departments mantra is "real world, nothing comes close."

        I agree with you guys and so do the other rookies, that is why we are so aggressive about living close to the station and making all the calls. “Real world experience is what is all about” I agree, truly!

        We just don't want to be labeled inexperienced rookies any longer than we have to be. And “What is the best way to get rid of that label, go to a few car wrecks with decapitations, partially fall through a floor on an aggressive fire attack, slip and catch yourself on an icy roof, while you’re trying to vent it” Actually go out and do it!

        I am doing it.

        No need to get personal. Just curious if education will ever be given a fair share of the credit for making a good ff, instead of preaching "only real world experience" which I think tends to make people selfish about riding apparatus and not sharing with other ff's who may not be able to respond as quickly.

        I am not here for an argument.

        Comment


        • #5
          Mouth Shut, Eyes Open.

          Not a problem, I don't step out of line. I always make it a point to keep my mouth shut and eyes open, but I do it at the scene.

          I make ninety percent of all our calls for the last two years, and so have many of my fellow rookies, are getting all the routine calls and all the working fire/rescue calls.

          Point is I am gaining on what is and has been a minimum twenty-five percent call answer department. I am going to the calls getting the real world experience, keeping the mouth shut and eyes open.

          M<y point here was not for anyone to take me down a few notches, don't worry, I'm really nice and respectful.

          I just wanted to know if any other departments maybe value education?

          I am curious because I would like to take a look at their systems of education and experience that determines officer candidates and proficient ff's.

          Myself and other rookies are actually feeling bad that we are leaving all the senior ff and officers behind except for a rare few because we bought homes so close.

          I want them to go on more calls, but for the last two years they have kind of been non-existent on calls. Due to the simply fact that our departments mantra is "real world, nothing comes close."

          I agree with you guys and so do the other rookies, that is why we are so aggressive about living close to the station and making all the calls. “Real world experience is what is all about” I agree, truly!

          We just don't want to be labeled inexperienced rookies any longer than we have to be. And “What is the best way to get rid of that label, go to a few car wrecks with decapitations, partially fall through a floor on an aggressive fire attack, slip and catch yourself on an icy roof, while you’re trying to vent it” Actually go out and do it!

          I am doing it.

          No need to get personal. Just curious if education will ever be given a fair share of the credit for making a good ff, instead of preaching "only real world experience" which I think tends to make people selfish about riding apparatus and not sharing with other ff's who may not be able to respond as quickly.

          I am not here for an argument.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mouth Shut, Eyes Open.

            Not a problem, I don't step out of line. I always make it a point to keep my mouth shut and eyes open, but I do it at the scene.

            I make ninety percent of all our calls for the last two years, and so have many of my fellow rookies, are getting all the routine calls and all the working fire/rescue calls.

            Point is I am gaining on what is and has been a minimum twenty-five percent call answer department. I am going to the calls getting the real world experience, keeping the mouth shut and eyes open.

            M<y point here was not for anyone to take me down a few notches, don't worry, I'm really nice and respectful.

            I just wanted to know if any other departments maybe value education?

            I am curious because I would like to take a look at their systems of education and experience that determines officer candidates and proficient ff's.

            Myself and other rookies are actually feeling bad that we are leaving all the senior ff and officers behind except for a rare few because we bought homes so close.

            I want them to go on more calls, but for the last two years they have kind of been non-existent on calls. Due to the simply fact that our departments mantra is "real world, nothing comes close."

            I agree with you guys and so do the other rookies, that is why we are so aggressive about living close to the station and making all the calls. “Real world experience is what is all about” I agree, truly!

            We just don't want to be labeled inexperienced rookies any longer than we have to be. And “What is the best way to get rid of that label, go to a few car wrecks with decapitations, partially fall through a floor on an aggressive fire attack, slip and catch yourself on an icy roof, while you’re trying to vent it” Actually go out and do it!

            I am doing it.

            No need to get personal. Just curious if education will ever be given a fair share of the credit for making a good ff, instead of preaching "only real world experience" which I think tends to make people selfish about riding apparatus and not sharing with other ff's who may not be able to respond as quickly.

            I am not here for an argument.

            Comment


            • #7
              One problem i seem to have, is going by what you've said, you're getting real world experience, without a veteran hand to guide you. By your own admission, the senior guys are left back at teh firehouse. So who is there telling you what to be careful of, or watching you guys to make sure it's all getting done right?

              Also, education is never going to have like a fifty percent share as far as training goes. That degree, and all the book learning in the world, doesn't necessarily make you a good firefighter. Some classes can help, but they don't make you experienced. Experience is what matters in this business. I don't care if you've got fifteen PhD's, and a list of certs as long as i am tall, if you get to a call, and have never actually put the wet stuff on the red stuff, you aren't telling me what to do. Most book learning anyway, tells us we're all dumb for doing what we do to start with, as it's totally against common sense, and standard safety and human reasoning. LOL!

              But really, some classes are good. Take them, and go with it. However, don't think your classes are automatically making you a better firefighter. I'll take a guy that's been through ten thousand burners, over a guy, that's been through five, but has more certs. That first guy has the most important thing when it comes to the fireground, the experience, and PROVEN know how, to get my arse, and his out alive.

              As far as officership goes, in my department at least, there is a list of minimum certifications like EMT, vertified pump operator, ariel operations, trucks, engine ops, and all that, but the big one, is more than three years experience on the fire ground. Right now, none of our officers are even close to that minimum. Our youngest officers right now, are working on twenty, to twenty five years in FIRE/EMS.

              Comment


              • #8
                I'm glad your a nice guy and that you are respectful. I'm in no way trying to imply that you are not. I simply don't want you to feel that you are tactically superior to a more "experienced" member, simply because you read it in a book. That is the kind of attitude that can potentially get youself, or someone else hurt, or killed.

                As I stated earlier, education is important...Very important. It is not however, a substitute for sound tactical judgement, which comes primarily from having gained sound tactical experience.

                I am glad to hear that you are pursuing your education. It will only benefit you in the fire service. Hopefully your dept. will take education seriously and will recognize and encourage the need for ALL of its members to continue to learn.

                I work in a career only department where education is VERY important for career development and advancement. We even receive compensation for certain specialized certifications, as well as for related college degrees.
                It is required for those of us who wish to be on special teams (Haz-Mat, USAR, TRT, etc.) to have the specialized training necessary to be able to be a part of that particular team.

                I still take classes to further my education. I take full advantage of any additional training that I possibly can, and I will continue to do so until the day I retire.

                Please clarify for me, if you will, the policies and procedures of your department...For example, if you take the seat in a unit first, before a more senior member may have time to get to the station, cannot the other member(s), regardless of seniority, still go directly to the scene and perform their assigned functions on the fire ground? Granted you may be among the first crew on the scene, but isn't there still a command structure that dictates duties and responsibilities based upon rank, training and experience within your department?




                Kevin
                Last edited by fireman4949; 11-12-2006, 03:34 PM.
                Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
                IAFF Local 2339
                K of C 4th Degree
                "LEATHER FOREVER"
                Member I.A.C.O.J.
                http://www.tfdfire.com/
                "Fir na tine"

                Comment


                • #9
                  I went out and earned my fire science degree right after I got out of high school. Then when I finished my degree I joined a POC dept that runs about 750 calls a year. I've been on the department for about a year now and I feel I've learned more from being on the dept for a year then I learned from my degree. The point of the story, is that experience is more beneficial then education in the fire service.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Kevin-

                    We have a response matrix that is very disciplined for a paid on call department. We have a chief or two respond in their chief’s vehicle, and the rest of us respond to the station. All of us, no exceptions!

                    Very rarely will a FF, Lt., or Capt. respond to the scene in their pov. They are usually reprimanded for this. We believe in making sure that there are enough people to pull apparatus each and every call.

                    We have a one or two very knowledgeable and experienced ff's that live as close as the rest of us rookies. They guide us and teach, as for the rest of the senior people and LT.'s they usually miss the apparatus, even on large calls when our response matrix dictates the pulling of multiple apparatus, they still don't make the trucks and light rescues.

                    I agree with you all completely, about "real world experience" that is why myself and all the other rookies are fighting like dogs to get on the apparatus, we don't want the title inexperienced any longer than we have to.

                    The chiefs love having the quick response and getting us trained up the right way. So I guess this is a good thing, I just can't help but feel bad after two years of us completely owning the calls and leaving the experienced FF's and LT's at the station.

                    Our Chiefs and Capts. all say "You snooze, you lose, so get on the truck as fast as you can!"

                    My point here is I would be more willing to slow down my response on some calls and give my seat up if the senior people wouldn't trash my education as much as they do.

                    Thanks for replying, I understand your viewpoints, there is no substitute for "real world experience" "so I guess that means the people who live farther away are going to sit at the station, writing the reports.

                    While we go get the knowledge which they, myself, and all of you perceive as the most valuable part of being a firefighter.

                    When the tones go off, it is game on to make the truck!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here the only way you can boot another guy off a truck is if you have higher certs such as FFII or III or are a medic compared to an EMT.
                      ------------------------------------
                      These opinions are mine and do not reflect the opinions of any organizations I am affiliated with.
                      ------------------------------------

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        An A.S. Degree in Fire Service Technology is a huge assest and gives you a great base upon which to work from.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          trizahler26, I think you are asking a very good question and one I think about from time to time. The guys are talking about us behind our back, with our book knowledge and all.

                          I will be the first to say that practical real world experience, there is no substitute for it. But this is the 21st century and we use lots of very expensive and technical equipment. I know that there are guys in my dept that are very good FFs but couldn't sit through a 16 hour class or pass the FF1 written test if their life depended on it. Then along comes some new guy that rips through it like nothing (at least to them it seems like nothing, they don't know how much prep work it really takes) and suddenly the cert is no big deal, beneath them to even consider getting. In this state if you don't have essentials class, there are lots of classes you cannot take so instead of lowering themselves and take essentials-getting it over with, they put down the probies who do.

                          Part of my real world training has been to learn how to get to station fast. This means living my life expecting the call at any moment. When I first started I had problems making any truck, now I'm making 1st due on a regular basis. So I'm starting to get some of that real life experience but even after I have enough time in to brag, I hope I don't sour on schooling, I really do. And I've said it before, guys that told me 2 years ago that I may never see flames up close are the ones that I notice now can't make up their minds which line to pull.

                          If you run a big city paid dept then of course you will get lots of real world experience. But for us in rural areas, where if we are lucky get to see flames once a month, training and schooling is the way to stay sharp and I don't know how anyone can argue otherwise. I mean can you get real experience when there is no opportunity? The answer is of course no, so you do the next best thing.
                          Last edited by thomas15; 11-14-2006, 12:06 AM.
                          FF/EMT

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Agree

                            thomas15-

                            I couldn't agree more, well said.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              trizahler26, to add some more. I run with a very good volunteer company. They guys are great and disclipline is high. But, all I need to do to get national pro board FF2 is take basic vehicle rescue operations, a 16 hour class and then send in the application (and study).

                              When I get FF2 next spring, I will be the first in my companies history to do so. So actually I feel sorry for some of the guys with more real life experience than me. I'm talking about those who feel the need to constantly bust chops and remind me that they have years of experience because as time goes on I will get the experience but they will never get the certs. And even if they decide to go for it, I will have the satisfaction of knowing that one of the reasons that I worked like a dog preparing for this was because if I had failed on my first attempt, then they would have had a field day busting my chops about being teachers pet and still couldn't get it. But if they try it and fail they have to live with the knowledge that little old Tom got it first time and they didn't and that's real pressure for ya baby.
                              FF/EMT

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