Had something happen in our county that raised a few eyebrows and figured I would throw it out and see what the emotions are. Recently, a company in the area elected a 21-year-old chief. I had heard (nothing factual, just strictly hear-say) that some of the members had issues with this. Many of them, of course, being the older and more experienced members. I am not sure if they are upset about being outranked by a younger, less experienced individual or reasonably feel that he is incapable. Just curious to see what everyones opinion is on the situation.

I am a young officer myself. I was 21 when I was appointed to the fire sergeant position. I am confident in my abilities, both on scene and in station, as are the members under me. Our system is designed so the fire chief is elected in December and takes office in January (one year term). The chief then chooses his officers and presents them for approval of the company at the January meeting. The chief of course has his own opinions and courses that he feels an individual should have before being placed in the position. Of course, no chief would place anyone in an officer position if he/she were not comfortable being represented by this individual or having this individual making decisions be it on the fireground or in the station. I would hope that the general membership electing a chief, no matter how that particular stations system is designed, would abide by the same guidelines. I feel that as long as the individual has the knowledge (station workings, incident stabilization, personnel issues, etc.)and maturity and has demonstrated such, then age should not be an issue.

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Included in your list was EMS continued mdical Education and level this and level that but seriously how many fires has a 19 yr old been in. Id rather have an expirienced guy with me than a well read guy. No offence but you need to grow up a little before you repost about someone bitching.
[Quote]These are my classes: Basic Firefighting For Jr's., Electrical Hazard Awareness, Hazardous Materials Awareness, WV Firefighter Lv. 1, Auto Extrication Awareness, Auto Extrication Operations, WV Firefighter Lv. 2, Arson Detection for the First Responder, NREMT First Responder, WV First Responder, WV Delmar Firefighter Lv. 1, WV Delmar Firefighter Lv. 2, Incident Command Systems, Pipeline Safety Training, NREMT EMT-B, West Virginia EMT-B, OHIO EMT-B, PENNSLYVANIA EMT-B, Emergency Vehicle Driving, Advanced Airway, Combitube Course, WV Fire Officer 1, ISO Fire Suppression Rating Schedule, EMS Continued Education, Glucometer Course, Aggressive Search Tactics, Basic Life Support Instructor, RIT operations[End of Quote]
All that I see here is a PAPER TIGER!
If you have all of the confidence of the men that you currently work with, then STAY THERE.
There are departments out there that would skin, skewer and eat you for your attitude towards your peers.
If you cannot take advice OR criticism, you WILL NOT succeed as a leader. I don't care WHAT daddy says.
You need a reality check and hopefully, it won't be from a tragic event.
We took a 21 year old chief under our wings and into our mentoring program for one reason and one reason only; he demonstrated extraordinary maturity for his age, respect for those giving the advice and an insatiable willingness to LISTEN and LEARN.
You have not shown any of those qualities.
At least not here.
Art
all i know is what up with everyone putting down the younger generation of firefighters... its really starting to upset me... and bout the whole how many fires has a 19 year old been in... well i guess you dont know my dept to well then... we got 18 year olds on our list thats been inside of id say atleast 20-25 working fires in our 1st due area... this year... we respond on approx 60-80 working fires a year... i myself am a young officer, at the age of 21 im a LT, i have gained alot of respect of the older members at my dept along with my mutual aid depts... like dont get me wrong, but how can u use what 2 officers did, use that against all the younger officer's, ive been the oic on calls were a few of my members have called may-day, and trust me- i know they were alive when i got there and i will try my best and hardest to get a crew or crews to them, and i wouldnt do anything to hurt, or possibly lose a member, bc i know i couldnt deal with myself... thats just my opinion, and i think that u shouldnt let what a few officer's did, give u a impression of all the younger officer's, bc were not all alike, and if im in a building with a member, and it gets crazy im not leaving them, bc i came in with them, if he doesnt come out i dont, im not going to leave anyone in a fire, or building....
No way shape or form should a 21 year be elected as a chief, on needs to have time under is belt and to direct accordingly... seasoning and knowhow should be looked at... the station or fireline should not be for the "good ole boy" come into place
mck306john:
I wasn't using the trial testimony AGAINST anyone. I wanted Ron Williams to understand what consequences may be faced if all of his training didn't translate well.
We have had 18 - 21 year olds join our fire department and we have a probationary period to bring them along at an appropriate pace.
The point that I am making is that you cannot accelerate the maturation process. This can only be achieved through interaction with experienced firefighters and call volume. That should be a major portion of the equation along with a little luck. And not the other way around.
And had Firefighter Williams not come on the boards with so much bravado, then he wouldn't be faced with so many "trips to the woodshed", so to speak.
Is it too much to ask that we at least listen before we engage our mouths?
And his name-calling DOES reflect upon the younger ones, as long as it is condoned by same group.
Being a confident, well trained firefighter who articulates it well is one thing. Being a smart ass is another.
You be the judge.
I don't broad brush ANY of the fire service, but we all know from the headlines that the ENTIRE fire service takes the hit for cavalier and careless behavior.
So, maybe, just maybe, he should take a course in communications and top it off with public relations if he wants to get his points across in an intelligent and respectful manner.
Art
I would see wher alot of ppl would have a problem with this but lets be honest here that fire company must have alot of problems if they elected someone that young to be an officer but if the 21 year old has enuff experence to do it then i see no problem with that at all if he does hes job and does it good then why should it matter if he is young old male female black white orange brotherhood means brother hood come on
Ron...there are a lot of 21 year old firefighters I would go into a fire with. I was going into fires at 16, but at 21 I was in no way ready to be a line officer...period.
My uncle was the Fire Chief and while my training gave me some useful insight at times, I was and I repeat not ready to be an officer.

This is in no way young firefighter bashing, I came on at 16 was paid at 19 and an officer at 26. And looking back, I wasnt ready at 26 for the leadership aspect of the job. I knew how to do the job, knew my job, and was a good firefighter. I had certificates and years under my belt and a lot of fires, accidents, ems calls, etc.
I was even arrogant at times. But, leadership is something that comes with experience, not a a few fires, but years of calls and even more discussion with the guys who had been there, done that. Calls I had yet to make were discussed in great length, why they did the things they did and why those were or were not the right calls. taking away bits and pieces of information that would in the future save my mife and the lives of MY firefighters. You cant beging to know enough at 21 to even know when to get the hell out before everything goes to hell. Not knowing oh crap the room is flashing over we have to go now. But, knowing hey this looks bad, know the feel of an inversion as it is beginning, not after its too late. Being the OIC outside and noticing that the smoke is changing, or a wall is lagging and about to fail.

Its too much for a young firefighter to handle. And that can be a 35 year old guy with 1-5 years on the job. This is not a job where strategy is sinply to pinch off the head of the enemy. Its chemistry, fuel load, water supply, manpower, equipment and exposures. Experience is the only substitute for experience. It isnt something you can fake.

Now...there is a reason you arent a Fire Protection Specialist yet...YEARS. You will learn that as you get older.

Close your mouth and listen to what the guys who came before you have to say, it may just save your life.
look im 25 and have been around the fire service since i was 18 I am a TN EMT-IV and have worked with alot of people and i have noticed the ones that are cocky young or old are the ones that freak out on a scene the most and make the biggest mistake. No one is putting you down on here they are just saying knowledge is great but expirience is just as good, and expirience comes with age and time. I think im a good firefighter and a good emt but i dont go around telling everyone how much better i am then them. I know where im from in a career department you will get run out the firehouse for that ive seen it. Well im not tryin to piss you off my brother but you do have alot to learn about life and people, and if you slow down and listen instead of talk in 10-15 yrs you will make a great chief.
I was elected as a captain at our fire dept at 21 and had been on the dept since i was 15. I have been through fire school and am also an emt-b. All of the other members on the dept both young and old look to me for guidence and it isnt always fun you have to be very mature and also having to remember that it is not only your life your responsible for but also the rest of your members and any other depts that are at your scene. Like i said it is not all fun and games the members of the fire dept must be able to look up to the person and trust his life with him.
And you strike me as one of those individuals that possess ALL of the qualities; both tangible and intangible that your men and women embrace as leadership.
Clearly you GET it.
Most of the hub bub came about because someone felt that certifications and training seminars automatically anointed you as the second coming of Edward F. Stoker.
And thank you for your thoughtful reply. Someone else likes to call us "rum dums"; check that. He likes to call us "f***ing rum dums". I mean; did you see all of the awareness classes in his profile?
Doesn't he realize that with awareness level training that it means " I am aware that there is a call; I went, I saw, I called someone qualified to deal with the incident"?
And have you ever noticed how many "certificates" say that you attended the class?
In between the donut breaks, inane chatter, pagers and phones going off...yeah; those awareness classes are really building our leaders of tomorrow.
And don't even get me started on text messaging while taking a class.
Art
Ron knowing your profession is great but getting up here and telling all of us who have done this job for years on end how we are doing the job wrong or that you are the best there is to this job is just retarded. Your 19 years old take it from someone who has been thru your shoes learn when to keep mouth shut and listen, you will learn more and be more a man for it.
Nothing replaces experience. I know nothing about being "voted in". Where I come from you test against others for the position and provided you meet the minumum score the best person for the job is appointed. Being voted sounds pretty flimsy to me. Nobody really knows what others think of their performance. In a large department you know because engineers and firefighters will not bid into your house unless you know what is going on and prove it. Both of you seem to think your stuff doesn't stink.
Troy

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