I hear what you all are saying and i agree with all of it except 2 things. I have been a firefighter 1 since 2010 since then I have Hazmat ops, EMT ,fire 2 (that order)
We hold training every Monday night just about yeah I know how to do the skills, lead off, ladder,pipe,back up ,search and rescue, overhaul ,cut cars etc etc... but I am not a full firefighter I am a blackstripe (which in my company is at minimum a fire 1 and is getting field experience) the problem with me is I the Company officers don't feel i am ready and confident to run a fire ground because regular firefighters can get up front i am a little frustrated about it but same time I am not because i want to be fully capable in doing it and not injure any1 at best (i don't think i need to worse...)
The book every1 uses in MD still is 5th edition I didnt even know there was 6th.
The classes don't teach tactics due to liability.
If your CO's think you dont have enough experience how do they think you will get any more if they dont let you have the chance? Sounds to me like you need to have a good sit down and work things out. let them know how you feel and what your plans are. If you dont tell them any different they might think you are just happy being a blackstripe.
the problem with me is I the Company officers don't feel i am ready and confident to run a fire ground because regular firefighters can get up front
I disagree with Jason here. Sitting down and pleading a case to be allowed to get more experience to me isn't the right way to go. It makes you look like a whiner and selfish as opposed to looking out for the best for the company/dept.
Let's look mathematically from the info you just provided. Let's say your 2010 quals/experience started Jan. 1, 2010. Let's say you made every single Monday training from that day til now. Let's just say there are no disparities in weeks, so a given year is 52 weeks. That is 52 weeks in 2010, 2011, 2012 and til now almost 42 weeks for a total of 198 weeks. Now what is the training time frame, usually we tend to see a drill night of avg of 4 hours would give us 792 hours.
Now I know this doesn't account for everything, but realistically 792 "experience" hours is very low. On my dept with 3 years on, you are not even at top FF pay because you are considered an apprentice FF and pay reflects as you gain years. For us we start at 58% of top FF pay, at 3 years you would be at 86% of top pay. With 3 years on, you are lucky if everyone knows your name and we are not a large dept (just over 200 FFs).
My point is here that there may be some merit in your dept's hesitation to move you up. Complaining that you can't get the experience you want or percieve you should have, doesn't bode well to make a case. Showing you are ready for the next level is to show you can do your current job and show that you have a strong grasp of your role. Just because you may know how to do all the stuff you mentioned, doesn't mean you are showing a strong grasp. Furthermore, if the dept staff feels they want to give regular FFs some more experience, then that is their right.
Frankly I could care less about what those who may be given a nod above you may or may not have and so forth, I'm going off what little info I see here. IMO, you are still very green in the fire service, you appear eager and wanting to learn, which is good, but be patient. Hone your skills, step up when the opportunity presents, but don't expect to be coddled and given more experience because you want it, show that you earn it, not by begging, but by example.
John I understand what you are saying. But as far as talking with them I dont mean going in a start throwing a hissy fit like a little girl but maybe find out why they are keeping where you are at. I guess my question is what type of dept. is it. Full time or volunteer? Also size does play a small role in it too. On a full time dept where you are assigned to a truck every shift yes what you say makes perfect sense. Know your role on the truck and perfect it. Now on a volunteer dept you have to be able to do a bit of everything so if you are stuck doing the same thing on every single call just because they have nothing else for you to do I can understand that too. Also with your weekly training are they teaching you new things or just going over the same stuff every week? But hey maybe im looking at this all wrong just because on our dept if we want to move up and all we gotta do is ask and they will adapt the training and start giving us more on scene experience.
Appears to be a couple of issues here:
1. "...the problem with me is I the Company officers don't feel i am ready and confident to run a fire ground because ...
2. "I am not a full firefighter I am a blackstripe (which in my company is at minimum a fire 1 and is getting field experience)"
Point #1 suggests that your company officers aren't confident in you. Why is that? I think to really understand your complaint you need to explain why that is the case? Are you freelancing? Constantly questioning assignments and tactics?
Point #2 raises another issue; you state you have FF2 yet your company designates you a 'black stripe', apparently equal to FF1 and that you are gaining field experience. So it appears (at least to me) that despite your FF2 your company limits you to a training designation comparable to FF1 and in need of more field experience.
Am I reading this all wrong?
I know what you are getting at, but I disagree. From the OP's last post it doesn't sound like a small volly dept and there appears to be more at the issue of trusting the OP with more responsibility. Going and talking with the leadership because one wants to get more tactical level experience isn't the best option, especially if there are more underlying issues, which we now do see.
Also size does play a small role in it too. On a full time dept where you are assigned to a truck every shift yes what you say makes perfect sense. Know your role on the truck and perfect it. Now on a volunteer dept you have to be able to do a bit of everything
Sure, understandable, but it also depends upon the dept make up of that full time dept. In fact many of them are just as multi-purpose and diverse as any volly dept. There are those depts that have the same people on the same rig all the time, but not as much as one would think. In smaller and mid size depts, those fulltimers can be assigned to any rig, any station, and have to have an understanding of all. On my dept it is not uncommon to assign an engine company to truck work, nor is it uncommon to work a truck one day, and engine the next , and an ambulance the next. So when it comes to honing skills and performing the tasks, it can be done on any level, career or volly.
I know how to do the skills, its the fact that when I become a firefighter I will have a high chance of ending up riding front seat Constantly. That's what they are worried about me acting officer mostly and not having confidence to run the scene with out njuring/killing someone(because back to the problem I don't know tactics)
Why would you be constantly riding the seat if you are a full fledged FF? Riding the seat would/should be an officer position or at least a senior FF spot. Why would a newly designated (non-blackstripe) FF be riding the seat? How is your dept staffing rigs to roll, if a new FF is riding the seat constantly? Do you not have officer positions on your dept? Do you not have the opportunity to decline riding the seat if you are a FF? This is confusing.
If the dept is worried about you because you lack confidence running a scene without injuring or killing someone, then I definately side with your dept here. They may know you better and are seeing things where they are concerned. I'm sure your past (free lancing, tunnel vision) has much to do with it, but again, reaffirms my previous advice of concentrating on the task aspects etc and working up. It seems to me, you broke some trust along the way and perhaps doesn't have to deal with tactics and you have to build the trust back up.
As for running a scene, I get leery of a dept that wants a FF to run a scene and not an officer, yet you state confidence issues. So how is not focusing on doing the tasks assigned, doing them well, not start to build confidence, both for you and the dept. What I mean here is say, you are assigned to ladder the building as a crew, you do so, task accomplished, report in and get another assignment. You then get assigned to vent, the officer calls for a hole in the roof, you do so. The next fire same assignments, but this time when you get assigned vent, the officer calls for horizontal vent.....do you have trouble understanding the different reasons for a different tactic? Or simpler, you are assigned fire attack, do you have difficulty determing what size of line to pull? Do you wait for an officer to tell you?
That is my point here, if you want to show that you can handle more responsibility you have to know the roles of those below you that you are assigning. If you don't know why or how to do something at the task level, then why should you be trusted to move up to the company officer (tactical) level, let alone running a scene (strategic) level?
Quite frankly, tactics are the "how to" assignments of the overall strategy. Say the IC calls for an offensive attack, the tactics are pulling the right size line (IE, at least an 1 3/4 over a booster line), decide on a pattern (straight stream or fog), going to the fire location and put it out. Another company is assigned fire floor search, the tactic then is right or left hand search, from the door in or from the fire location out. IC asks for vent, the tactic is horizontal or vertical, natural or power fan, coordinate wih the fire attack. Are you sure it is the tactics aspect you are stuck on and not the strategy??
my past is a hinderance freelancing was an issue with me(that has changed since)I have tended to get tunnel-visioned at times
I guess I don't really question tactics and positions cause I don't know them.
Much I what I mentioned before does apply here. Freelancing is a significant issue IMO, and yeah if that was an issue with someone I worked with, it would take me some time to start trusting them more and more and it would have nothing to do with looking at websites, or classes on tactics or what have you. It would come down to just plain trust and the only way to show that trust is you listen to officers, you show you can grasp the tasks assigned, you show you are ready for the next step. Yes, it can definately take some time, even the little things show up. Cleaning rigs, equipment firehouse without complaints, volunteering to help out, being at dept functions, not being asked to do things, like take out trash, etc, step up in training, be willing to take the officer spot at training for small things and work your way up and so forth.
It seems to me you are focusing too much on moving to the next level as opposed to concentrating at what you can do at your current level. You need to build/rebuild trust given the tunnel vision and freelancing aspects alone and that will take some time. At this point humility is your friend, show you are ready for the next level by proving yourself in the current level.
the tasks that John Crabbe mentioned I kinda place that under strategies
And that may be part of your issue, because the tasks are mentioned are tasks, nothing more, nothing less. Laddering is a task, force entry is a task, hose advance is a task, utility control is a task.
Strategies is the overall way to accomplish the goal....for a structure fire, the strategy is the decision to go offensive or defensive. The tactics would be how to accomplish the strategy. The IC should be able to assign a company to a role, The IC can say this will be an offensive attack, Engine 1 you are fire attack. Engine 1's officer would decide the tactic, what line to pull, where to go in, what is thefire doing, wait for vent before going in or keep fire in check until vent is done, and so forth.
Placing tasks under strategy can be part of your problem. You should know the differences between what defines a strategy, a tactic, and a task. Placing things into you own definitions is akin to freelancing if you don't truly understand the differences involved.
The department is leery about you riding as officer? I'm leery about your department's policies. I just don't understand this idea that so many departments seem to have that lets the first guy to the rig ride as an officer. Or the senior guy. Or the chief's favorite guy. Or the guy whose name came up on the rotation chart. Or whatever other so called system is used.
IT"S NOT JUST A RIDING POSITION!!! There is more to it than sitting up front and blowing the horn. The firefighter riding as officer needs to know fire behavior, building construction, fire tactics, risk vs reward calculations and so much more. He needs to be able to think on his feet and give productive guidance. He needs to make people buy into whatever plan he comes up with. He needs to be able to exert authority. In short, he needs to have been around the block a few times AND know the books. Because there will eventually be life and death decisions to be made with little time and insufficient data. When it really matters, it is as difficult a job as you can find. I don't know why anyone would pretend to be ready for this task?
The freelancing thing may very well be what holds you back. My department has a policy that if you freelance consider yourself a gopher, you can go for a pike pole or go for a tool but you will not have much responsibility other than that. Freelancing kills firefighters and that may have brought up a concern. I don't know you personaly but from what you are telling us here I get the idea that you may have done something on a scene that has caused this concern from the admins of your dept.
John I think we are both going in the right direction. While you disagree with having a chat with the officers or chief about trying to get more hands on but what about sitting down and asking what he can improve on? He already knows freelancing was an issue but what other things do they see that he might not be aware of. Kind of like a regular 9-5 job you get a performance review. This would be kind of the same thing. Just something to let him know what they think he is doing well and where he needs to improve. That way he will at least have an idea on what needs attention
Good point, Jason. Fire officers do more than function as IC's at an emergency scene. That is their most visible role, but there is so much more to it than that. And it's the behind-the-scenes duties that really make a difference. One of their most important duties is not on the scene of an emergency, but back in the station between calls. And that is to TEACH those under their command about all of the different aspects of the fire/rescue service, and to listen to concerns and answer questions. And to identify the strengths and weaknesses of their personnel. Fire officers also have a duty to provide counsel to new members, such as giving encouragement when something is done correctly, and to provide constructive criticism when a problem is identified, and come up with solutions on how to prevent future occurrences. Everybody learns from a post-run critique and debriefing.