I've got members on my department who also are on EMS at a recent fatal fire I had a probationary member who was operating as an ETT for a body recovery and took it upon himself to take two SCBA's off another Engine at the station to deal with the smell neither are trained on using SCBA's and one  isn't even on the department


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I am not sure what an ETT is but I got the jist of the scenario.  As a Company Officer, I would immediately but privately talk to that Probie about what the proper procedures are and why he/she needs to be trained in any particular piece of equipment before using it.  I would also explain the possibles of danger to him/herself and/or the equipment without proper training.  I would also explain that if he/she is ever in doubt or question about what to do, just ask.  We have to understand that as Company Officers we are responsible for everything that the Probie does not know and it is our duty to teach them.

Personally, I try to take the time to teach my members the difference between "Freelancing" and "Freethinking." I want my members to be "freethinking" because we are a team and I take all of their input under advisement, but I will not allow "freelancing" because I am responsible for the safety of each and every one of them.

  Thank you Shareef for your input I have talked with my Asst. Chief and we have decided to

taylor our training to address this issue. Also in Alaska an ETT is an Emergengy Trauma Tech.

or a basic first responder. As he was responding to the scene in that capacity I have made the

director of EMS aware of the incident and will let him handle that part of it. As we had already

collected most of our evidence and the remains of the victim I don't think our investigation had

been compromised.

  Well I did just that and it blew up in my face and turned into a rather heated shouting match with a person who has only been on two fires and suddenly knows everything there is to know about firefighting and his best argument was we are only a volunteer fire department ! How does one respond to that ? With a total disregaurd to chain of command.As a former military man I had hoped he at least understood that.

Russ there is easy solutions to that problem.  My old chief when freelancing or acting a fool (insert own word if choose) we became his personal gopher.  You were the chiefs gopher until he saw fit and if that didn't work he went to the next level and that was suspension.  Talking to a firefighter especially a new one they get that 2/20 attitude.  2months on with 20 years experience.  Training is wonderful but the pupil has to be able to retain that information.  Heated discussions only lead to high blood pressure and a very pissed off chief and member.  

How does one respond to that ? With a total disregaurd to chain of command.


Easy....bye, bye

However, that may not be the direction you want. I can agree with Aric...but even moreso than that is not allowing them to respond. Just like the military, you can't follow orders, you see the old man....I would say this is warning number one (document it....especially if there are personal membership files). If they can't adjust....they don't respond for a time period. Still don't get the point....bye, bye.


Really, who gives a damn if you are volunteer or not? Sure they don't "have" to volunteer, but then again they don't "have" to be a member either. Set the rules and abide by them. There is a chain of command for a reason, it doesn't matter if you are career or volunteer, if rules can't be followed, then give em the boot.....just like the military.

If you guys were already on scene of this fire, how did a probationary member get access to that equipment? Do they have keys to the building as a probie?

Russ, I understand your plight.  Unfortunately, our departments are structured differently and have different expectations of our members at their respective stages of development.  Your probie has sacrificed his right to the "nice" conversation.  He now needs to be taught his place in the "pecking" order along with just how much he doesn't know and even more importantly, how much his opinion does not matter. He must learn how to unquestionably respect the chain of command and if he can't or won't do this, then unfortunately he is to "great" for your organization and he needs to be dismissed.

In our department we match our newbies with three senior fighters. They must report to the station and can only respond if one of the three guys is there and tells them to come along. They must stay with him or a line officer at all times. When they finish there firefighter one. Then they can respond but still can not do any interior attacks on a working fire. When doing mop up a line officer may put them in a pack and work with them. We make this know before we even vote them in. Then once on the department they are reminded. We do not may any excuse's for a slip up. They are called in the Chiefs office and dealt with right after the event. Needless to say we have not had a issue in 9 years that this policy has been in place.

For starters, does your department comply with the OSHA rules that specify medical clearance and respirator fit testing before using SCBA?  If not, that's a good place to start.


It also helps to have a written policy that bans anyone who doesn't have CURRENT medical clearance, a CURRENT respirator fit test, and who has not been certified to use the SCBA carried by your department from using SCBA under any cirecumstances.


As for freelancing, have written policies that prohibit functioning outside the chain of command, using/taking department property without authorization/direction from the chain of command, and that defines and prohibits freelancing.


Written policies defining and banning insubordination are a must, too.


These policies should also specify progressive discipline for infractions of these rules.  The OSHA violation infractions should start with a suspension for the first offense.  Freelancing, ditto.


Insubordination - terminate association with the department for the first offense, especially if it's tied up with OSHA violations and and freelancing, not to mention stupid decisions.

Review progressive discipline guidelines...

1. Verbal warning

2. Written warning

3. Meeting with supervisor and Fire Chief

4. Demotion or termination


Written reprimand for first offense. Second offense, is a vacation. Third offense (if any), there's the door, and don't let it hit you in the butt.

disrespecting a senior officer with regards to anything should involve disciplinary actions,if further actions happen then dismissal is warented

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