In your dealings with new firefighters, what seems to be the biggest challenge?
What have you found to be the reason for the probies not getting the job done. Do these newbies decide to become career firefighters just because it looks cool?
Do they want the job because it's in their blood?
Or do they take on the position because they believe it's an easy job?
Lets here your thoughts on the topic

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Coming from a Probie here....

1. The lack of proper instruction from the real department.

You want me to do my job, do it right, and go home safe???? Then freaking teach me, cause I am only as good as what I am taught.

Of course there needs to be a good base level of basic training to build on. It all starts with the first instructor. If recruit schools or classes fail the student then we as a fire service fail the student. It is our job to train those below us no matter career or volunteer. The real department needs to be any department they are a member of. No matter what type.
"In my dept. the probies have to learn there place."

We treat our probationary firefighters with respect. Yes I realize their place is to learn, but treating them like second class citizens does nothing to build unit cohesion.

"They have 6 months to a yr to comlete this book. But its up to the chief in the end if this probie is ready to become a firefighter."

We've got a 2 year probationary period, during which our probies have to obtain the required certifications and licenses; (FFII, EMT-B/P, HAZMAT Ops, FAE, Confined Space/Trench Awareness, TRS Awareness) Most of our probies come tous from Volunteer F.D's and already have some of these certs, so it's a little easier for them. We run our own academy in conjunction with some ajoining F.D's, so it's not too difficult for them to meet the 2 year requirement.

"If there is a structure fire and a probie is on the rig and a ff comes to the rig, that probie has to give up his seat to that ff. Same basiclly goes for any an all calls, they have to earn the right to be called a firefighter."

How do you expect your probies to get any experience and become better at the job of firefighting if they've got to surrender their seat to a senior firefighter? On the other hand, you can't havr a rig full of probationary firefighters either. But that senior FF, might want to think about all the fires he's seen and allow the probie to go get a little experience. Just my thoughts, stay safe!
We have an IKE in my F.D. They even call him IKE to his face, like a nickname. I don't think he has any idea what IKE really stands for! Anything you tell him, he responds with, "I know"!
"It is our job to train those below us no matter career or volunteer."

So true!
"the "shut up and speak when you're spoken to" attitude?"

I don't allow that when I'm working. It's our job as Officers or Senior Firefighters to ensure that the Probationary Firefighters know what they need to know and are not afraid to ask a question or speak up when they feel necessary.
First it isn't all of the new FF's, there are still some that come to the industry for the right reasons. Then there are those that come for the benefits and the day night schedule that allows them to work perdiem at several other Departments or at their own business. This isn’t new to have an outside business but to work for the next town over and not just one is. When I call overtime and the answer is “Oh I can’t I have to work for _____ fire Department” it has an affect on the whole department.
Another issue is the new employee that has just received his/her Fire Science Associate Degree and they now know it all. Then when you need them to do the job you find out that they know more about management’s job than their own position.
I take a probationary firefighter through a full year of training. They go through drills every unit that they work and they are evaluated at the end of each month. It’s a lot of work for them, for me their Captain and the rest of the shift as well. At the end of the year they know the job as our department wants it done and the way I expect it to be done. They know how to relieve a person at shift change and they know they can’t leave until they have. They know how to fill out deficiencies and that it is their responsibility to pass it on and to follow up on it.
And at the end of it all they know and appreciate that they have been prepared for the job ahead.

Capt. Gary H. Cushing
Sanford Fire Dept.
Sanford, Maine
Sorry..... Bone of contention..... I would also like to add that it is the Probies responsability to let their mates know if they feel they need to work on something or learn something because how will the seasoned guys know unless someone says something......

Probies/Newbies/Seasoned need to communicate with each other. I am sure if you have that then you have the grounds to shape any newbie into a damn fine fire fighter.

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