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  • #16
    One of the beautiful things about the fire service
    is the combination of tradition AND innovation. The "experts" like to think that the fire service is loaded with "dinosaurs" Any firefighter who has been around the last 15-20 years has seen some big changes in the way fire departments operate. It is a popular theory to think that the numbers of fires are dropping everywhere in the U.S. The unprecedented number of fires in the late 60's to late 70's will probably never occur again....but there are plenty of Departments that still get alot of fire duty. Training and specialized certifications have really taken off in positive way over the years. We have become specialized and this is good. Experience is still THE best teacher. From opening roofs to starting IV's the more you do it, the better you get. Young guys have always been the life blood of the fire service. They have energy and force the older members to think and stay challenged. Young guys...ask the questions,train hard and RESPECT your elders. Old guys...answer the questions, train hard and dont assume that every new guy is some smart *** punk. We all know the big talkers (young AND old) who arent worth a lick when YOU are crawling down that hallway. Young guys are the future, they keep the firehouse fresh and fun.."Seasoned" guys show them the way..Have a safe and Merry Christmas.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    • #17
      I haven't posted in awhile and will probably catch a lot of flack for what I'm about to state but here goes.

      The loss of experience in large numbers can and does effect the internal operations of a fire department. I have witnessed many comments in these forums on the dinosaur issue and the supposed lack of progressiveness with these individuals.

      My first thought is that after 29 years I found one thing I believe to be true. The promotional and political climate can have a more far reaching effect than the loss of experience in and of itself.

      Many individuals who have the knowledge and experience choose not to forward this knowledge for fear that they will be left behind. To a lot of these individuals, this knowledge and experience is their ace in the hole so to speak.

      I belief that a promotional system can directly effect the way veterens choose to pass on the knowledge they have gained. If they pass on too much, they sometimes tend to feel that the individuals they are teaching may become a threat to their upward movement in the ranks. Some that never become officers are not willing to pass their knowledge on for fear of the not being needed anymore syndrome.

      The system I came up in is one that I believe in and find it very conducive to teaching the younger individuals your knowledge and experience. When I first came on the department, my officers and senior men took me under their wing and began teaching me everything they knew from day one, without hesitation. As I progressed through the years, I gained more and more knowledge this way and felt quite comfortable with becoming an officer. Almost all the individuals in my department have continued this fine tradition throughout their careers, rather than the find out for yourself, back stabbing, I want mine approach I have seen in many departments.

      The system I work in is very effective to a large extent. No one feels threatened by others coming up behind them. They have absolutely no problem passing on the knowledge and experience they have gained over many years. Politics does not enter into the process and I find this a big plus. I will always believe that experience is the best teacher but unfortunately some departments choose to crap on the experienced individuals ( dinosaurs). Most I think begin to feel that thay will be less acceptable to the powers that be after they pass these things on.

      Some or maybe a lot of individuals will not agree with a seniority based system like the one I came up through but I have learned that it is a good solid and effective system. It does not mean that all individuals will be good officers or senior men. No system is perfect or flawless. Experience should be a large factor in any promotional system so that the experience and knowledge will be passed on to the younger generation without the damaged egos getting in the way. I have found the system I work in to be very effective and my department continues the tradition.

      Now for all you non-believers, take your shots now at a dinosaur who is coming to the end of his career but still passes on the knowledge and experience I have gained from a lot of great firefighters over many years. I want to thank all the individuals that helped bring me up in the department, I owe you big time. Those that I have helped bring up, carry on this tradition, never let it die.

      [ 12-23-2001: Message edited by: FireLt1951 ]

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      • #18
        I also worry about the "younger dept.", and losing our highly expirienced smoke eaters. In my mid sized career dept. we are currently losing a large number of the old timers. One thing to consider though: I am young (28), and have some very unique expiriences, and alot of training in alot of areas. But more than all of that(which is good to have), I feel I have the ability to learn from others(namely the old timers), and relate thier expirience to todays fire service. I call it thinking outside the box. It is just a matter of doing what needs to be done and doing it smart!!! The problem is that with these good qualities/excellent training/ambition/confidence, I am relegated to being just a f.f. I know there is no such thing as just a f.f., but that is what I feel like sometimes. I rarely get the chance drive, do the "paperwork", make any sort of decision on my own. We have Captains(who are in charge of stations), who are excellent and rotate their people through all of the different jobs in the station. Other Captains/LT's, tend to just say "boot"(because I have under 10 yrs on the job) just do as I say, watch me and learn, or go away I'm busy. How do we get these people in these management positions? Sorry to ramble, my whole point is, if you hire intelligent people who want to be here(in the fire service), bring them along(teach them everything possible), and treat them like they belong(if they actually do), the future would be much brighter!!!! I wonder when my dept. will catch up to the other good depts. and start promoting those who promote this dept. Just a thought of mine, sorry for the ranting! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL!!!!

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        • #19
          Amen, Loo. It always frustrates me when people dismiss the seniority system without carefully considering its many benefits. Critics focus on the sloth who gets the light blue shirt without deserving it just because he hung around long enough. Of course that happens, but it is such a rarity in our department (peer pressure is the most effective motivator).

          Every system has faults. Ours has the biggest plus of them all -- NO POLITICS. The Detroit Police Department and its promotional-test scandals is all the evidence I need of that system's drawbacks. As I go through the ranks, I consider myself lucky that I work with so many top-notch officers who are willing to share their experiences. I'll miss those "dinosaurs" when they're gone, but they'll have left the department in good shape by grooming quality replacements and not hoarding their knowledge.

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