I have been writing once and a while about communication in the fire service. This got me to thinking about my own house. I pondered about this and figured that I should write a book about what the expectations are for new members in our house and district. This is a work in progress and I wanted to share it with everyone here and get your opinions on the rough draft. I have it mostly done and will be putting it up here in sections. I am starting out with the introduction and the first section. I hope that you enjoy them. If it inspires others to do the same in their own house and departments, if you don't have something in place already. ENJOY.

New member-

Welcome to the “House of 31” or 1s. I am very happy to welcome you to the busiest house in the district. Because of our centralized location and apparatus in the house, we run to a lot of calls. You can expect to get many opportunities to be involved. Being involved though means more then just emergency responses. Serving with pride is more then just a motto; it is an expectation, in this house.

The following pages will address things that we do in this house particularly. There are agencies SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) that you need to know. I will provide you with a few in this packet. You need to know these ones but be familiar with them all. They are SOPs for a reason. Knowing the SOPs of the department can save you a lot of time and possibly heartache (even for me) in the future. These “rules” are implemented for a reason. The other things we will discuss on these pages are expectations.

Expectations can be why a team operates with excellence or crashes and burns. Here in 31s we like to play on the excellence side. If we communicate our expectations excellence can be achieved. If we don’t know what the expectations are, well we won’t think about that, we want success. I will always make every attempt to set you and us as a team, to succeed. If you feel that I am not, please let me know. That is my first expectation of you, speak up and help the TEAM succeed. Expectations need to be addressed both ways. You will know my expectations of you; I need to know your expectation of me, and the rest of your team, has your house leader.

So, now sit back enjoy a little reading material. The following pages are the beginning of you becoming a valuable member of the best house in the area, 31! Once again, thank you for becoming part of our family.

Captain Alex Arnold

Station Captain 31

Basically the Basics!

There are some expectations that you just have to bring to table from the start. I well address these but at no great length. These should be common sense and part of the reason of what brought you to the nation’s greatest service, Volunteer Fire/Rescue.

Respect- In this house this is one of the most important things we have. You get respect in this house when your app is accepted. There are many types of personalities in this house. You are not expected to get along with everyone all the time. When the tone goes so does the personal agendas and feelings though! We issue you respect from the start; it is your job to keep it and build it! The minute we lose respect amongst ourselves in this house is the day that someone gets hurt bad, or worse. Respect is the glue that keeps us together.

If you have a problem with the way someone is acting or talking, take it to them. Be an adult and tell them how you feel about the situation. Also be an adult and listen to them about why they do or doing what they do. Sometimes you aren’t going to agree with everyone. Find a way to deal with it and move on. It takes all kinds of personalities to do what we do, be part of the team.

Integrity-(as defined by Merriam-Webster), firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values. Integrity is what helps you maintain a high level of respect from your housemates, fellow district members, and the community. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, we all do. It is accepting them, learning from them, and teaching others so they don’t do the same that is important. If you live by that then integrity well be with you always. This is an important part of integrity. Even when we rely on our “moral compass” we can get into trouble. It may have been the right thing just the wrong time.

Honesty- I hope that I won’t have to talk at great lengths about this one. There is very few things that you can not tell me. I am not your parents, priest, or other person of authority to you in your past. If you want complete buy in to this family you need to be up front and honest. Don’t hide things that can come back and hurt you and/or the team. Nothing can tarnish a station or department quicker then dishonestly.

I could go on even longer about moral bearing and all that, I won’t though. You should already be squared away when it comes to your personal moral compass. It should be pretty close to what we have in this house already. Respect, integrity, and honesty these are the key three that must be in-place in order to be part of this family. If they are not it will be noticed quickly and addressed.

I will always have your back has long as you hold true to those three values. I believe that I speak for the whole house when I say that. Many traditions have been built in this service. Some have come and gone and others have been changed has needed. Being part of something bigger then you though is always a tradition in this service.

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Comment by Capt.Alex Arnold on May 21, 2010 at 11:33am
Thank you for the compliments. I am trying to keep it clear and not use to much jargon or unfamiliar phrases. I also wanted to make sure that they understand the basics of the expectations. They are going to learn all about hose and pumps, ladders and extrication. I want them to know that expectations are in place right in the begining. Many of these first expectations can be called simple everyday things. I want them to know that those are expected too. If you liked the opening then you'll some of the stuff to come.
Be safe and learn something new today.
Comment by Todd Seaney on May 21, 2010 at 12:28am
nice start I like the flat our common language no lawyer needed to decipher this to a new guy. keep the common sense flowing
Comment by Kayli Borell on May 20, 2010 at 9:10pm
WOW Captain Arnold, I like this a lot! Pretty Good, cant wait to read the rest!

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