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  • Probationary firefighter classification

    All,
    I've got a quick question: What do you call your probationary firefighters, and what's your description for that title?

    In my department we consider them probationary from the time they enter the department, through taking FF1, and then for the first year after completing the class.
    The problem is this classification includes guys who are, and who are not, pack qualified. This creates confusion on a fireground when you have guys 'dressed' the same with different capabilities.

    We're looking to separate the two categories into something like:
    probie 1 -- New guys that just entered the department and not yet finished FF1.
    Probie 2 -- Guys who are within the 1-year period after completing FF1.

    The real question is what to call these two categories and how to differentiate them. One idea was to call P1's "Cadets", but I have a problem calling a 30 year old man who just joined a 'cadet'.. I'd prefer something a little less condescending. For PP2 the current suggestion is to give P1's different colored frontace pieces and tetrahedrons for the helmet. P2's would just get a different colored frontace.

    Any thoughts?
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

  • #2
    For us a "Probie" holds that title until they have passed their required 9months of probation. At which time, a vote is held to determine if the member shall remain part of the team.

    We are lucky (in a way) to have only 25 members so it is rather easy to recall who is pack qualified and who is following (or has already) FF1. I could see how larger companies could have trouble keeping track.

    I have always found that color codes work best. You cant always make out a name or number from a distance.

    Comment


    • #3
      Here, a probie is anyone who hasn't been level 1 trained (not certified) and hasn't completed one year with the station. Both of these must be attained (and a vote to be a full-time member succeeding...) before the person is no longer a probie. Probies also have a green line on their id tags to show that they are stilla probie...

      As for pack certified - anyone who is SCBA and interior-attack certified wears a yellow helmet, regardless whether they're a probie or full time member. Anyone not certified wears a black helmet.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by 105 View Post
        Here, a probie is anyone who hasn't been level 1 trained (not certified) and hasn't completed one year with the station. Both of these must be attained (and a vote to be a full-time member succeeding...) before the person is no longer a probie. Probies also have a green line on their id tags to show that they are stilla probie...

        As for pack certified - anyone who is SCBA and interior-attack certified wears a yellow helmet, regardless whether they're a probie or full time member. Anyone not certified wears a black helmet.
        We are trying to split the probie classification into those that are, and those who are not interior-certified. Having them all called, and dressed the same way has caused confusion on a fire scene. Not so much with the crew their assigned to, but with the other stations/crews that may not as up to date on the capabilities of new members.
        So you call this your free country
        Tell me why it costs so much to live
        -3dd

        Comment


        • #5
          New hires are just that. Recruit Firefighter.


          After 20-24 weeks, if they graduate and most do, they now are assigned to an very active fire company. They have FF-1 & FF-2 EVOC Haz-Mat Awareness and Operation plus all the other required certifications as prescribed by the fire department and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

          http://www.vafire.com/training/become_a_firefighter.htm


          They are now called Probationary Firefighter. This hangs on them for 12 months and they must pass the final 12 probationary exam to be able to stay hired and earn the title of FIREFIGHTER.
          Stay Safe and Well Out There....

          Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by voyager9 View Post
            We are trying to split the probie classification into those that are, and those who are not interior-certified. Having them all called, and dressed the same way has caused confusion on a fire scene. Not so much with the crew their assigned to, but with the other stations/crews that may not as up to date on the capabilities of new members.
            Indeed - that's why we went with yelllow helmet for interior attack, black for no interior attack, regardless of membership status. There are some guys at the station who still wear black hats after numerous years being a full member.

            The issue still remains of experience level... but at least a quick glance at the helmet will give you the basics of what the individual is and is not trained for.

            Comment


            • #7
              Why not use different colored shields?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by DarkStarr View Post
                Why not use different colored shields?
                What is the easiest way to tell rank in this picture?



                Bunker gear is generally the same, shields may not be visible... but you can always spot a difference in helmet colour. Assuming this department follows the generally accepted standard, the individual with the red helmet is an officer. Even if it didn't follow the general standard of red==officer, by knowing what rank/skill is assigned to that helmet you'd know instantly what their capabilities are.

                That's why we use different helmet colours to denote different training.
                Black - not certified for SCBA/Interior Attack
                Yellow - certified for interior attack
                Red - officer
                White - Chief

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by 105 View Post
                  What is the easiest way to tell rank in this picture?
                  The one shunned as an outcast by the rest of the crew?


                  Originally posted by 105 View Post
                  That's why we use different helmet colours to denote different training.
                  Black - not certified for SCBA/Interior Attack
                  Yellow - certified for interior attack
                  Red - officer
                  White - Chief
                  While Chief's get white helmets. We mostly use tell the difference between officers and FF's by the color of the frontace piece and tetrahedrons. I like the idea of different helmet colors, but not something we do right now.

                  The advantage to frontace and tetrahedrons is it's fairly cheap and easy.. new ones can be swapped out much faster then trying to get a new helmet. They're visible 360, though not as good as helmets. As I said, I like the idea of using different helmet colors, but there is more cost for maintaining a set of each color, or the cost and delay of ordering a new helmet each time.
                  So you call this your free country
                  Tell me why it costs so much to live
                  -3dd

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    White - Chief Officer

                    Yellow - Captain and or Lieutenant

                    Black - Firefighter Quint Co.

                    Red - Firefighter Rescue Co.

                    Orange - Probationary Member
                    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

                    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by 105 View Post
                      What is the easiest way to tell rank in this picture?


                      Thats in Canada - it does not count here.... LOL

                      The guy taking a nap in the front seat?

                      White - Chief
                      Red - Safety
                      Yellow - FF
                      Blue - EMS only
                      Black - clean your helmet by next training.
                      Last edited by LVFD301; 04-05-2011, 04:37 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by voyager9 View Post
                        As I said, I like the idea of using different helmet colors, but there is more cost for maintaining a set of each color, or the cost and delay of ordering a new helmet each time.
                        There is indeed a cost associated with it - helmets aren't necessarily cheap when you have to order a crapload of them.

                        Oftentimes around here (NS) firefighters have several different coloured helmets which they can wear depending upon whether they want to be tasked with interior attack or not (being a volunteer organization, there is always voluntold... but generally, if someone doesn't want to do something they're not forced). This led to a volunteer firefighter who was committing arson to be caught a while back. He was a yellow helmet and cleared for interior attack, and he'd wear that helmet to every fire... except the ones he started. Then he'd wear a black helmet to the call because he knew accelerants were used and had no desire to go into a fire he knew to be extremely dangerous given he was the one who started it.

                        Another firefighter on the same station (in the Annapolis valley) noticed this odd trend of him wearing yellow for most fires, but always black ones to arson fires... after a while put two and two together, had the police put him under surveillance, and he was eventually caught lighting up another structure.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Riddle me this:

                          If identifying officers from rank and file is so much harder if the helmets are all black and only the shield differentiates, then how in the world do big cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, Charlotte, Atlanta, Raleigh, Knoxville, and so on ever get by without using different helmet colors?

                          I really don't think it's as big of a deal as some make it out to be.

                          Anyway, to answer the O.P. Perhaps your new guys should be labeled firefighter recruits until such time that they have completed their training to go interior. That means they don't get to pack up or even go anywhere near to going into a fire while still in recruit status. Once they've graduated/completed their training they can go on their probationary period for one year and do everything that your department allows a newly graduated firefighter do. That's how Dalton does it, works good for them. Though, what works for one department doesn't always work for another.
                          Last edited by firefightinirish217; 04-05-2011, 06:51 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by firefightinirish217 View Post
                            Riddle me this:

                            If identifying officers from rank and file is so much harder if the helmets are all black and only the shield differentiates, then how in the world do big cities such as New York, Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, Charlotte, Atlanta, Raleigh, Knoxville, and so on ever get by without using different helmet colors?
                            Though, what works for one department doesn't always work for another.
                            This is pretty much it. For us, helmet colours are easy to see, easy to note, and since we're a vollie organization, almost foolproof. For large departments or career stations (or even other vollie stations for that matter) crests might work, as might hand signals, accents, or wearing coonskin caps. Whatever works - I just like that I can see a helmet from 200 feet away and know where the captain is.

                            I really don't think it's as big of a deal as some make it out to be.
                            Agreed Whatever works for your organization, within your budget, and is straightforward enough not to cause confusion.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by voyager9 View Post
                              The advantage to frontace and tetrahedrons is it's fairly cheap and easy.. new ones can be swapped out much faster then trying to get a new helmet.
                              Same thing we do at the VFD...probationary members get bright yellow shields, junior members have orange shields, members who've not yet taken get "engine" on their shield, interior FF's get "firefighter" on theirs, officers wear white shields (with chief's in white as well).

                              Our tet's are easy:
                              Lime: Interior FF
                              Silver: Non-interior
                              Orange: Junior

                              As for the original question, our members are probationary and wear the appropriate shield for their first six months of membership.
                              Career Fire Captain
                              Volunteer Chief Officer


                              Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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