So I've been on a department for about 6 months now. I work a lot of hours but dont get a whole lot of runs. I've ridden some places as well for medic school and had those preceptors that are just like wow that guy is good. My question is how do i become that guy. how do i show that im a "GOOD" firefighter? i want people to walk away thinking man i wish that kid would apply at my department or i hope he works next time i ride ? how do i become a good firefighter???

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thank you im gonna try and take everything youv've said to heart.  i really want this to be my career in life and just want to be a guy that ppl can count on and eventually look up to thank you gain

Prentice, I really appreciate you posting this question. I too find myself wanting to become a better fireman and someone that younger FFs look up to and one that officers depend on.

Micheal, the reply you gave is full of useful and intersting knowledge. I believe where you added the part about not being arrogant and cocky but to be polite and helpful will get you farther than anything. I greatly appreciate the knowledge you have shared with us at ffn and will ceratinly apply it.

If that is what you hope to be your goal, then don't strive for it......let it come.

 

Humility is your friend, don't strive, just do. What I mean here is firefighting is not rocket science, you don't need to be spending every waking moment working on learning the job. Pay attention when there is training, always be willing to learn and take constructive criticism, be willing to help others, don't wait to be asked to do things, and so forth.

 

If you are too eager and striving too hard for people to like you or that you are a "good" FF, it is easy to see through that. Being gung ho all the time about the job doesn't always bode well on the job, it is fine to show a passion and a willingness to learn and be better, but an important aspect is also spending time with the crew. This depends on the particular dept's culture, but if the crew is going to watch the game or a movie at night etc, join them. If sitting around the coffee table in the morning, sit in (after checking your gear etc). Basically don't feel as though you constantly have to be doing something fire related. A personality goes a long ways in conjunction with the job.

 

A sense of humor is probably the biggest bit of advice I could give anyone. Learn and know how to laugh at yourself and be comfortable with laughing at yourself. The fire service is filled with all sorts of banter, language, and busting chops......anyone who takes such stuff too seriously do not have a good time on the job.

 

 

You mention being in medic school and looking at those seasoned guys who've been around. There really is no secret other than experience and repitition. I recall being in your shoes once and how I wanted to be like some of the preceptors.....today I am a preceptor. It comes down to being on the job and seeing a repitition of calls. You learn from experience and others on many different calls and truthfully nobody expects a new medic to be some hotshit medic. Don't be shy with pt care, get in there and question the pt and talk to people, and don't be locked into getting vitals etc. When it comes to skills, don't be afraid to do something and don't let a partner talk you out of something. If you want to do an IV, do it. If you want to put them on the monitor, do it, repitition just makes you better.

 

To reach this goal it doesn't happen overnight, it takes time. You will never go wrong with coming in and checking your equipment and even looking through compartments everyday. If you are new, the doorbell and phone are for you. Bathrooms will be your friend until you are no longer the newest. Don't wait for someone to tell you to do chores. If you see someone doing something, like cleaning, etc, help out. If you work somewhere else like a volly dept etc and go to another dept or get hired as career....nobody really gives a damn how your "old" dept did things.

 

When you do get that emergency, listen to your officer.

thank you

i appreiciate you takin the time to right a long response. im doing my best to do most the things you've said as far as checking trucks and i try to be a part of as much as i can and mornings instead of coffee i do mt dew lol. and as far of the sense of humor that has been my best tool ha

Asking questions, like you just did, is the best way to learn and be good.  DO NOT become one of those guys who always says "I Know, I dont need you to tell me what to do" at fire scenes when a well intentioned seasoned and experienced firefighter tries to give you advice.  My opinion for you, after the other guys have already covered it well and gave you good info, is to learn who the seasoned, trained, experienced firefighters are in your department, write them down and remember who they are.  At fires, when they approach you and speak, shut up, listen well, do what they say and learn from them.  After a while when they see that you are becoming competent and well trained, they will start to ask you to help them or buddy up with them.

LISTEN TO OFFICERS!  Always!  No arguments, especially on scene, respect and support your officers in public, and ask questions of them at meetings behind closed doors.  Nothing is worse than a public argument between officer and firefighter, makes the department look incompetent and undisciplined.

Volunteer to do everything, always help fellow firefighters, take training often and refresh old training, keep an open mind and never act like your shit doesnt stink, we are all equal and shouldnt talk down to one another because we have more time in or more training, we should help each other and make sure our training and knowledge is passed on to others.

Get out in your community and learn your area, learn the roads, learn where high hazard areas are located, learn where special needs residents are such as nursing homes, assisted living and other special needs people live and their addresses so you know when multiple rescues might be made and extra help called for before you even arrive.  Pre-plan every chance you get; I dropped my wife off in front of a store the other day so she could "run in quick" and spent the next 45 minutes pre-planning the store, type of construction, hydrant locations, fire department access roads, exposures, type of flammable loads etc etc.  And this was in our mutual aid departments district, not mine!!  But I still want to know because we will be called for help if its on fire.

 

In short; never stop learning, if you didnt learn something new that day you did something wrong.  Keep asking these questions too brother!  Stay safe and keep learning.

Moose

getting good comes with time dont rush into it take the time to watch look listen to your officers they have been there learn your distric or community where u work or live there is a whole lot of good advice  being givin to you main thing is take your time and learn getting good comes with time and exp not all of us got good overnight and we still learn every day each scene has something in it to that u can learn from and one of the big things is dont get complaciant there is no such thing as a routine call.

 I know you're just starting your career and have alot to learn, but never get to the point where you quit learning. Make all the trainings, in-house and otherwise that you can; Out of town seminars, etc.. In other words network. The more firefigters you can befriend, the more traits of the competent ones you'll come to see and want to emulate.

Like others said- Listen to your company officers, even if you don't always agree with what they are asking you to do. There's a reason he/she is a Lt. or Capt. Do question them later if you don't know why they gave that order, but only at an appropriate time. (Not on fireground). This cannot be stressed enough. I've seen excellent FF's lose the respect of the house, because they in return do not respect their CO's. Be confident in yourself but stay humble, it will serve you well.

Always do the right thing, even when no one is watching, it will eventually be "seen".

Marshall, You are on the right track already. Asking questions is key. Like some had said if you have a question about what a line officer has ordered you to do. later off the scene don't be afraid to ask why. Being a line officer myself i really enjoy when our younger guys ask why i had them do something a certain way on a scene. It tells me they really want to learn and i always ask afterwards would you done it a different way? Believe it or not some times i get a yes and they explain the way they would have done it and i really like what they have to say and have to admit they are right and it would have been a better way and i learn something myself. So i have a lot of different FF ask my opinion on a lot of stuff and have a pretty vast knowledge of a lot of stuff and this is how i have done it.  Right after i joined the fire service i started going to the county fireman's association meeting's and after the meeting i would start talking to some of the old timers and ask a lot of questions about how things were when they joined and how they did things and i learned more from doing this one thing then any other and has president of this association now after  the meetings you will still find me talking to the older fireman there is a lot of information there in those guys that have been doing this for 30 - 50 + years. Always strife to learn and never think you have learned it all but most of all have fun and enjoy what you are doing. Good luck with your quest and stay safe.

In my opinion, why try to be something you're not? Let's just say, hypothetically of course, that your personality defines you as a dipshit. If you turn around and apply that to trying to be a "good" firefighter, guess what's going to happen. You're more than likely going to become an even bigger dipshit. If you are humble and confident from the beginning, then it will show through in your actions as you progress and become even more knowledgable. All I'm saying is, just be you and don't worry about being the guy who everyone looks up to. If it's who you already are, then it will happen. Time will tell.

Just be a good person. Abide by all the rules that "momma always said". Train hard and learn lots.

Best of luck.

KSHF

 Staying calm makes for good decisions. And remember you are providing a public service and when your customer calls 911 it's because they are having a really bad day and are depending on you to make it better.Watch some of us Old guys there are tricks to the trade you just can't learn in the classroom but most importantly STAY SAFE live to fight another day and keep in mind you won't win every battle.

Prentice,

like everyone has said before me...you are on the right path already.  i have been on the job for 25+ years and have watched and learned.   some of the best people i've ever seen in this job did these things 

listen more and talk less

ask questions (at the appropriate times)

attend as much training as you can and train on it more than once in your career

practice, practice, practice

don't develop the "i've been here long enough to know" attitude

if something needs doing...get up and do it!

stay in the books and keep up to date on new and improved techniques

stay out of bad situations on or off the fire ground

 

i hope some of this helps and i hope you have a long and happy career!

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