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.”

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Comments
Bill Carey
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Thank you Ed.
2014-10-22 14:26:50
Ed Hartin
Wanted: Honest Discernment in Our Fire Service Discussions
Excellent article Bill!
2014-10-14 12:47:14
Ron Ayotte
Complacency and Awareness: History Lessons from the Mog and Rangers
Bill.. I agree with Tony C. The situations we respond to sometimes reuire that we tune and tweak SOPs and SOGs "on the fly" in order to complete the tasks given. Fire doesn't care what is stated in our SOPs/SOGs.
2014-10-11 22:14:29
Bill Carey
Complacency and Awareness: History Lessons from the Mog and Rangers
Thanks Tony.
2014-10-06 11:06:34
Tony C.
Complacency and Awareness: History Lessons from the Mog and Rangers
A great read, Bill. I see so much of this in the fire service. I forgot to pull up my hood on the last fire and I didn't get burned. I didn't buckle my waist strap on the last fire and I didn't get tangled up. I didn't check my bottle before my last fire…
2014-10-05 15:37:05
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