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  • Young line officers

    How old is the youngest line officer in your department? What age do you feel is to young to be a line officer?

  • #2
    I don't think it is an age thing as much as it should be a quality thing. I wouldn't want anyone that has been in a department for less than 5-6 years, as an active, continuing education firefighter, not a good buddy of the next guy who always buys the beer and shares his can of Skoal. This is a big responsibility, to be a line officer!It should not be left to kids to do. And that's the bottom line!

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    • #3
      Under our current system you would need about 18 yrs in to make the top of the Lt's list. 23-24 to make Capt.

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      • #4
        I'm an 21 year old Lt. In an upstate NY. The previous reply was right its not a matter of age as a matter of professionalism and dedication to the fire service. It may seem wrong to the older members and lifetime members that a person is too young, but if he/she is doing their job and doing it well whats the difference?

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        • #5
          The difference is, if it is your responsibility to take a crew into a building on fire, you better know what the heck you are doing, what they are doing, what the building is doing, what the hee-haws on the outside are doing! How can one be an effective fire officer with only a few years in a department? How many fires could one be in in this day & age? Anyone can run an auto alarm or an accident, but when the brown gooey stuff hits the fan, can that same person effectivly lead his crew into war, and return them safely? Betcha it is the "older"member that pulls the 19 y/o Lt. out!

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          • #6
            We have one Captain who is in his early twenties. He isn't a bad guy, however there is a maturity factor that we haven't addressed yet. True, an officer must be a leader and looked up to, yet that officer must also be able to handle him/herself around their charges.

            I believe that there must be an experience level involved also. I don't feel that a couple of years (overall) is suffucient for a person to be promoted to any officers position. Unfortunately, we have no testing instrument to weed out those who are not best suited for the job. It's "who you know & who you blow here."

            ------------------
            AAD
            Eng. Co. 9
            RFD

            "In all of us there are heroes... speak to them and they will come forth."

            "In order for us to achieve all that is demanded of us, we must regard ourselves as greater than we are."

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            • #7
              The problem with young officers (line or staff) is that if they haven't seen much fire, they want to be where the action is. They're so busy tryin' to prove they can do the job (which they should've done before they became an officer) that they aren't DOIN' their job (BEING an officer). If a young officer has been on a busy rig and has matured, no problem. If a young officer is the chief's buddy and he's green as grass, watch your back.

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              • #8
                my two cents. Which officer would you rather have leading you, someone who can keep his/her cool under pressure and knows what needs to get done, or the person who loses his/her temper and who knows what needs to be done, but is stubborn and can't adapt? Age, in my opinion is not too much of a factor.

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                • #9
                  Another topic that must be addressed is the fact that "older" members tend to have the attitude that they have put in their time and are leaving it for someone else to do. Now that someone else is a younger guy that doesnt exactly have the experience for the job but does have the motivation. Many VFDs now dont have the luxury of people competing to join up. We ofter have to go and do some serious recruiting to get people, and often those people are younger.

                  My solution to the issue is that those companies that fit the above description encourage the "older" members to take a more active role in the FD and provide assistance to the young officers when they think they need it. If the officer is smart they will gladly accept the help.

                  B.T.W I am one of those young line officers. I have 5 years in the dept and just started my second term as Capt.



                  ------------------
                  Shawn M. Cecula
                  Captain
                  Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

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                  • #10
                    I'm the youngest line officer in my department @ 21 years old. We have 5 line officer positions, Cheif, Asst. Chief, Capt, and 2 Lt.'s. I'm one of the Lt. starting my 1st term. The other Lt is 22, and is beginning his 2nd. Our Asst. Chief is 26. We are a small rural all volunteer dept. Officers here do more that be the person in charge on a hose team. Responsibility is of course divided between us, but we are responsible for maintainance, supplies, paperwork, etc. in addition to command duties on a scene. Officer seclection occurs yearly. The top three positions are chosen by the membership, so, the members must be comfortable with the knowledege, experience and decision making skills of the officers they select. Those three officers appoint the two Lt's. Again the dept must have faith that the elected officers will make wise decisions based on leadership ability, training, experience, attitude,ability and willingness to get the job done. In our dept. officers are usually chosen based upon those criteria, and of course maturity, more so than age.

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                    • #11
                      I don't want to cause a ****ing contest here, but I'm seeing some pretty narrow minded opinions. I know quite a few "seasoned" officers that couldn't lead a fart to fresh air, and quite a few young officers that would make you think twice. I am one of three Lt's in my department, all of which are in our 20's. 29, 27, and 22, in that order. I am number two in line. The problem with our society today is, everyone is too quick to generalize, and it's a damn shame. I'm not saying that ALL young officers are good, cause even I know that's not true. I'm just saying don't be too quick to jump, some of us "young" guys have seen and dealt with quite a bit.


                      ------------------
                      Take care, stay safe, & stay low!

                      Lt. Spinney

                      [This message has been edited by smokeeater51 (edited 02-28-2001).]

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                      • #12
                        Age is not really a factor. Maturity, responsibility, sensability, skill and experience are all terms that come to mind when I think of an officer. I must agree that our dept. has 30+ yr. members that could not lead if their life depended on it(literally) as well as 5-10 yr. members the same. I myself am 29 and a captain. This is my seventh year as a FF. I attend 95-100% of our calls yearly which gives me the upper hand experience wise. I have also attended every course offered since I started which so far makes me the fattest(ooh, that hurts!) paper weight for diplomas in my dept.
                        But paper aside, you cannot do the job unless your FF's repect you. And I can honestly say that mine do. This is because before I was an officer, I was constantly asked for my opinion, or was the one to take the initiative with others following behind. My age was not a factor, they just trusted me and my judgement. This is not to say that I don't respect the senior members or never ask them for their opinion sometimes. They are valuable learning resources that should be tapped.
                        Now there will always be members that are jealous that they were overlooked for promotion. Us "young pups" are too green. Hey, whatever! Jealousy is not a good leadership skill. I have confidence that when the chips are down, I have, can, and will perform my duties. One of those important "skills" is people skills. Without them, you can't get anything accomplished.
                        BTW, I am the youngest officer in the dept. but not the youngest ever.

                        Stay safe.

                        [This message has been edited by TDFDCaptain#5 (edited 02-28-2001).]

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                        • #13
                          Small combination department...career staff includes one Chief, a Deputy Chief, three Lieutenants, and two (soon three) FFs. I am the youngest of the officers (LT) at 37. 11 years in the fire service.

                          Some days it seems like 137.



                          ------------------
                          Stay Safe.
                          You asked for my opinion, now you have it. Any similarity to another opinion, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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                          • #14
                            I am our youngest at 19 yrs old. I am 2nd ems lt. I have been through many classes and real scenes. I hate when people look at the kids and run their mouth off about hoe bad they are. I have been in the dept. for 4 yrs and EMT for 3. Some kids take the responsibility and learn and that makes them good officers.

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                            • #15
                              I am a 22 year old captain with my dept. Before I turned in my resume for the position I confronted all members of my station and asked them what they thought of me, how my performance was, what I needed to improve on,and if I had their backing. I also confronted several members from our 2 other stations on the same topics. If no one believed in me or was going to back me then there was no reason to apply for the position. I let the members know what my goals where if I where to receive the position. Needless to say I was the top choice out of all to apply. This is the best way for a young member to go about trying to obtain a command position. Let others be your evaluator. If they have nothing good to say about you or will not back you then there is no need to apply if your members have no faith in you. This also helped bridge the gap between the members who had been on for years and had the attitude of "I don't have to take orders from some kid." They saw that I was very serious about the position and was not doing it for an ego booster. This is just my "2 cents".

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