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.

We encourage and support constructive dialogue and debate. View our comment policy.



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Backstep Firefighter

“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.”
Comments
John Pignataro
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bravo sir ...This battle began in the early 1990's having been a career DC Fireman for 30 yrs and a still active volunteer fireman for 37 the mentality has changed since 1977. Your article is clear and to the point but I am afraid the fire service maybe lost to the folks who preach the…
2014-08-23 01:12:28
Ben Waller
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Actually, the "Women and children first" idea cane from the sinking if the HMS Birkenhead. Now known as "The Birkenhead Drill", this stemmed from the ship beginning to sink, an inadequate number of lifeboats, and the Royal Marines and soldiers on board being called to formation and standing in ranks while the ships crew put…
2014-08-21 11:25:14
Ron Ayotte
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Bing-freaking-o!
2014-08-21 02:49:30
Brian Gary
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Very well written. I couldn't agree more with your statements. The problems are many, but they perpetuate and increase with every new class of recruits that are poisoned with the idea that anyone who feels unsafe has a responsibility to act and stop whatever is going on. When I came on, my instructors told me…
2014-08-21 02:04:23
Ric Jorge
Women and Children First by Dave LeBlanc
Atta boy David, customer service or customer satisfaction? The line is fine, and more often than not we can accomplish both with action, and a kind demeanor.
2014-08-21 01:41:12
AFTDIMage
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