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  • attention: all veteran firefighters

    I'm a career firefighter who has been on the line a little over a year. I was wondering if you could share any valuable lessons that you learned through-out your career. Also, what advice, tips, and suggestions did your mentors give you that rang true?(for example-"keep your ears open and your mouth shut")

    Thanks in advance ss/tc,

    PaddyMeBoy
    Engine 6 Company
    WFD

    [This message has been edited by paddymeboy (edited 01-19-2001).]

  • #2
    Welcome to the family. I think some of the best advice you can get has already been given to you. The most I can tell you is learned as much as you can and never stop. Attend every class, seminar always strive to further your knowledge. Learn from every mistake, some my most valuable lessons came from things I did wrong. And listen to the people who know on your own department and elsewhere. Best of luck to you. None of us will ever know it all, and knowing that is what keeps sharp.

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    • #3
      You have basically taken the first step to learning what you can in the Fire Service by asking this question. The best thing I can say to you is: Listen to everything. Listen to the good and the bad. Just keep your mouth shut. Develop your own opinions and do what works for you. Everyone has thier own style. You will develop your own traits. Just take everything in you can and use what you need. What you don't need, keep in the back of your mind at all times so that you can draw on that knowledge when you need it.

      ------------------
      If in doubt - Call us out

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      • #4
        well i have to agree with all the above but still have one thing to offer. any call you make no matter how bad it appears when you first arrive allways remember when you come off the truck take just 10 seconds and stop look and listen to the whole scene and get the big picture you may catch something before it is to late.

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        • #5
          Excellent thoughts from all so far, add mine "Never ever think you know it all, try at every incident, every training class, every drill to learn at least one new think you did not know before" After 20 years some of them have gotten into the gray matter and are not lost bits of nothing.

          Don Zimmerman

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          • #6
            Welcome to the family. Probably the best piece of advice I have ever gotten about the job is this: Remember that no matter what, you are not the person with the emergency. Just think of yourself as a relief pitcher in baseball....they don't call you in till the wheels are falling of the wagon.

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            • #7
              excellent advise from all above. read and learn as much as you can. if your station house's don't have subscritions to some of the more recognized publications, subscribe yourself. only time and experiences will get you through your career. being a rookie or a veteran, your still learning every day. with the advancements in technology and tactics, we learn something new on the job every day no matter how many years we have. hook up with some of the vets who are not afraid to change with the times and let them lead your way. believe me, the time will fly by so fast. before you know it, you'll be answering the exact questions to a rookie, as your asking now. stay safe and good luck with your career.

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              • #8
                Thumbs up to all the advice you've been given!! (I've copied this page for our new Vol. ff. and thank all of you for the excellent advice you've offered on this topic!!) One of the things we were first taught is to remember that it takes TWO people to replace you - one has to be taking care of you and another to take over your job - so BE CAREFUL!! Good luck!!

                ------------------
                God is our Fire Chief;
                Jesus is our Incident Commander.

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                • #9
                  Let me go at this from a different angle than the rest, although I do agree with them.

                  Be careful not to get caught up in the cynicism of some of the old timers. It is an easy trap to fall into and believe me it will not be viewed the same when you show that as when they do. Change has been a big part of this business in the last 20 or so years and some people resist that, even when it benefits us.

                  The other thing is just a little anecdote for you...I carry a gerber tool, a 4 in 1 screwdriver, a knife, window punch and a seatbelt cutter in my pockets of my gear. This is in addition to the required wedges, rescue strap, and door markers. I take a lot of kidding about the tools, but I have used them a lot at calls and it seems the guys who laugh at me always take advantage of them too. I guess my point is listen to the guys and take the ribbing...but if you feel better carry what I carry or 2 flashlights or whatever...Do it!

                  Good luck and may you make the ultimate career goal, Retirement in good health.

                  Take care and stay safe,

                  FyredUp

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                  • #10
                    ALWAYS HAVE A CHANGE OR TWO OF CLOTHING AND EXTRA BEDDING IN YOUR TRUCK.

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                    • #11
                      The best piece of advice that I can think of that hasn't been mentioned yet. Whatever you do follow the chain of command. Also, take your time think things through and listen to the senior guys.

                      ------------------
                      Fishers Fire Dept.
                      FF/Medic
                      Local 416

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                      • #12
                        Great words of wisdom..the only thing I will add is if you see something that isn't right..it isn't...safety is the hallmark of a long rewarding healthy career...We take the risks that not many will, but within reasonable judgement that come with training and experience. Godspeed and Welcome, 18 years and counting.

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                        • #13
                          The tag line in my signature was something I started sharing a long time ago. It might provoke a laugh, but it is also the truth. I first used it on adolescents who thought it was amusing to jaywalk and force cars to stop or go around them, but it sure applies to us, too.

                          ------------------
                          Frank Billington
                          - - - - -
                          "You only have to be stupid once to be dead permanently."
                          - - - - -
                          I am not presently a member of the Plymouth (MN) Fire Dept, and my statements are not to be construed as related in any way with the PFD.

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                          • #14
                            Now that you are "on" the Job. GET INTO IT!!!!!

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                            • #15
                              I've been in for nine years, not really long, but I've learned a few things. Those who talk big usually can't walk the walk. Take the time to get to know everyone around you, and let them become your second family. Be there for those who need it- whether it be loading hose, doing dishes, or a shoulder to cry on. Others will do it for you. and these things will bring your team closer together. I saw this quote in a magazine the other day, it goes something like "you have to deal with 90% of this job to get to the 10% you really like." One day you'll run the call that'll make you or break you- if you need to go, go... if you want to stay, stay. The day you know it all, or have "been there, done that" you need to QUIT! That's the day you present the most danger to yourself, your brothers, and the public. And always remeber the proud tradition that you have joined... and never do anything to dishonor it. Not trying to preach, but I've learned many things the hard way. Don't go that route yourself... and don't forget to compliment the firehouse cook! Take care, new brother...

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