In my combination dept you wonder. I have been around since the 70s and work with those that had been there before me and those that came in after me. One of our members who had been a career member in our station rejoined as a volunteer and complains about the new career people coming in and says they don't have the respect that we all had when we all worked together from the 70s and up. He says all he sees are people worrying about a paycheck.
I have said the same for new volunteers that they don't have the same ideas has we had about doing the job or helping or working with the public like we did years ago. Some of the leadership has some of them that don't have the old school ideas.
Want to do a open house for fire prevention and it gets turned into a kids Halloween Party and not something to teach the public what they need to know about fire service or safety. The party was a bust because no ads were put out and a few people came and alot of food and items wasted or went home with someone.
good question, personally i think we are our own worst enemy there, think back or even ask the old timers how one became to be in fire dept. you either were family or spoken for and did not dare waver from the traditions..now anyone walking along can be one no idea the real grit behind the ways
i have worked with many old school ff .lt .bc. that have not forgotten how to act. the old ways how do you teach people to respect the job
As with personal respect, respect still goes both ways, you can't demand respect without showing it.
As it is times have changed and many of the "old school" tactics don't apply in every situation. Fires burn hotter today, there are more plastics and synthetics today contributing to fuel load compounded with lightweight construction and energy efficiency. The "old school" days of the one company taking care of the fire themselves are gone, the days of every fire will be offensive have changed and so forth. Thing is there are many of the "old school" mentality who refuse to change with the times. A new tactic or training comes along and you have those that say "I don't care, I'm still doing it the old way", etc.
So what kind of image does that reflect upon the new guys coming in? The guys who are getting the latest training and information? That they should forget everything they were taught because this is how "we always done it" even if a new way may be better and safer? Then again, how is someone supposed to help contribute that info to those "stuck in their ways" when they are told that the new guy should be seen and not heard?
To me, the best way to bring back that "old school respect" is to understand both the past and present and to set the example. Instead of complaining about a new way of doing a report, try learning it and encourage others to do so before complaining. When there is a new guy, actions speak louder than words. Set the example by being active in trainings, checking equipment, etc. It shows that the stuff told to probies coming in goes on throughout the career. I have seen it where guys would come in, may put their gear by the rig and go to the coffee table, while telling the probie they need to check their equipment. How long will it be before that probie starts to fall into the same bad habits? Whereas if you come in and check the rig over everyday, despite if you know every detail of it, it shows that probie respect for the job. When you are an active participant in training, you show respect for the job. When you do your duties without whining and griping, you show respect for the job.
Part of the "old school" thinking involves the politicians having the respect for the FD and what they do for the community.. In today's climate.. we are looked at as "expendable".. they cut companies and staffing and try to make us look like "the bad guys" because gasp! We actually take our vacations during the school out period like normal people do...
In my opinion you can bring back the "respect" through example....By doing the very best that you can in every assignment that is given to you....even the mundane, boring "same old crap" jobs...and in expecting the same from ALL your subordinates....that includes leaving the bitch and griping in your POV and NOT in the firehouse....remember the chain is only as strong as the weakest link.. and your team is only as strong as the weakest member of your team...Lead by example...and show the public that your team deserves that respect that you are seeking...remember respect is earned...not given lightly...Train as if your life depends on it (it really does you know)...Do the extras...go to training, go to the work details, attend and participate at the extra functions, if you see something that needs to be attended to...then do it...respect will follow...Stay safe.....Paul
Having come up in the late 1950s, 60s and 70s in the northeast, I agree there were those "old school" firefighters who refused to change, much to the chagrin of myself and others. Unfortunately, they were in charge. During my career, I have been at incidents during which 43 firefighters were LODD. When my ladder began runnning 3500 calls alone during the war years, we were seeing building fires 2, 3, 4 or more times a shift. We tasked each person on the response with specific duties and, in most cases, it worked well. The more work we did, the better we got the job done. The civil disturbances required teamwork for safety sake due to booby traps, accelerants used to facilitate big fires and the threats to the brothers from rocks, bottles and bullets. You have to remember, cities like New York were losing a brother every six weeks or so at fires. It wasn't until the 1980s when the number of calls dropped that we first became complacent with our job because we weren't doing the work. We also began to see the fire loads changing with the advent of manufactured furnishings with artifical components. As an officer and Chief, I began requiring extensive preplanning, advanced suppression training, response of extra companies to institute RIT and beefed up safety during structural fires. My training Chief and Officers responded to working and multiple alarm fires so they could and would see any changes required in our training. In 2004 we were running 30,000 calls (10,000 fire calls) with 30 engines, 5 rescues, 4 ladders and 4 battalion chiefs. Things have changed and the old schoolers have had to change. We must remember that they do have a lot to contribute to the job and, they respect and love the job. Show them respect and, they'll teach you what they know and will respect you. If they don't, find one who will.