Don’t Be That Firefighter

Are you this kind of firefighter? We hope not.

I have been working a few days a month as a monitor and EMT for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Human Resources Division (HRD) doing the Entry Level Physical Agility Test (ELPAT) for those people who are taking the firefighter entrance examination. HRD uses the National Guard Armory in Hudson, MA as its testing facility.

The Guard has these mini posters put up on the bulletin boards and in other various locations from thatguy.com, which is a website about alcohol abuse and the social faux pas one can into as a result of binge drinking. These posters were the inspiration for this blog post.

Don’t be that firefighter who…

• freelances.

• feels that SOPSs and SOGs do not apply to them.

• feels that sucking up to the brass compensates for not doing the job.

• feels that seniority exempts them from doing housework and other committee work in the station.

• doesn’t get in on the meal or the firehouses’ coffee fund, yet feels entitled to help themselves to coffee and leftovers.

• thinks that hazing probies is more important than mentoring them.

• feels that turnout gear is “highly overrated”.

• feels that drilling on basic operations is boring… more firefighters are killed in basic ops than the once in a career operations.

• bangs in a vacation or personal tour on a scheduled training day.

• thinks that calling a MAYDAY is “only for wimps and pussies”.

• feels that filthy, dirty ,rotten stinking gear should be worn as a badge of honor.

• doesn’t know how much hose or where the equipment is on a rig, but can tell you who leading in wins in every professional sports league.

• finds fault with everything and everyone in the firehouse, yet offers no input to finding a solution or recognizing they are part of the problem.

• expects their fellow firefighters to perform when they can’t do , won’t do or refuse to do the task themselves

• talks about past incidents as if they were the hero of the day when in fact they played a minor role if any.

• always manages to have some kind of problem with their PPE or SCBA and ends up being a “yard breather” at a fire.

• takes out every window at a fire when venting one or two may suffice.

• feels that they have forgotten more about the job of firefighting than their Brothers and Sisters will ever learn, for they are the ones who “know nothing”.

 

Ron Ayotte is a Deputy Chief of the Marlborough (MA) Fire Department and employee to the Support Services division of the Massachusetts Department of Fire Service/Massachusetts Firefighting Academy.

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“To provide a point of critical thought about certain acts and events in the fire service while incorporating behavioral education and commentary in a referenced format.”

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Comments
Ron Ayotte
“FEAR” by Ric Jorge
Ric, excellent article. Your FD is not the only one that suffers from TAS (Training Anxiety Syndrome). Same circus, different community. As far as seeking help from an EAP, I did take advantage of my community's EAP 8 years into my career. I was heading down the road to a separation/divorce after I got promoted…
2014-12-04 16:04:47
Mike McAdams
Who Looks After The Victims?
Captain LeBlanc, Great point in the blog debating the new and old techniques and how to blend them into that first minutes on the fire ground. One of the first points stated was “Unless they know your manpower, resources and abilities, and are standing in that front lawn at 2:00 a.m., all they can do…
2014-12-02 14:45:23
Ruel Douvillier
Who Looks After The Victims?
I suspect these new tactics are all related to the NFPA standard that came out a few years ago recommending higher manpower on apparatus than the authorities having jurisdiction were prepared to implement. For the 30+ years that I've been fighting fires, UL and NIST have been using the data that they gained by setting…
2014-12-02 11:48:44
Joseph carroll
Who Looks After The Victims?
I work in a dept with 2 man Engine cos, man powers is an issue with our first due assignment. (3 engs,2 Trks , Batt Chief). Usually 13 Firefighters on the assignment. At times the exterior attack has no option, heavy fire too include exposures etc. some new leaders feel that this exterior attack is…
2014-12-01 19:05:51
Brian
Who Looks After The Victims?
Am I missing the old SSLEEVES-OCD pneumonic??? seems that one. It addressed alot of the things we have to think of, and the new Slicers is something that I think in right circumstances and construction would make sense, but at other times might be completely useless. I have watched and read alot of the NIST…
2014-12-01 02:10:06
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