Why just the Probie?

Why is it whenever we find out we will be receiving a probationary firefighter we get all excited and say we are going Back to the Basics. When truth be told you have enough equipment and topics to stay on the basics all year-long and then some. What I have found is that when you are getting back to the basics, seasoned firefighters have high anxiety for this also because they have not always kept up their skills. I have also found that seasoned and veteran firefighters love to teach for the fear that they too may have to do the skill and look like a blundering mess. Ensure the Veteran (Seasoned) firefighter demonstrates the skill so that it is known that he or she can still perform the Basics Skills also. It is high time to quite chomping at the bit when a probationary firefighter comes through the door and start asking the question Why just the probie. Recent events are showing that it’s not just probationer dying in fires and a great majority of deaths you can most likely attribute the lack of continuous basics skills training to a death. Don’t believe me review reports and tell me I’ m wrong then.

4 Comments

  • "Marty" says:

    I like having a probie because it requires me to train on the basics! I know that is wrong and I say all the right things when asked, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I really love ‘Holiday Routine’.
    I’ve heard firefighters talking trash about other firefighters not knowing something on the truck as I realize that I have no idea what they’re talking about either. There are so many excuses for not training: heat, not your regular crew, the smoke machine takes too long to clean after using it, don’t want to get your gear all sweaty, we should really start cooking in an hour or so, we’re covering two districts b/c they’re off the floor, etc. I know that all of these are B/S excuses, but they are easy to use when you don’t have a Probie.
    I know I will get attacked for this, and I deserve it. And if you think these excuses are bad, you should hear my reasons for not working out!
    I’m so ashamed of myself that I’m using a different name for this comment.

    PS: I really love to train… but only after I get myself out of the door. Once I’m training, I’m willing to stay ’til dark. But for some reason getting motivated is a B%#&@!

  • Nate Q. says:

    Marty,

    No shame in providing a needed wake-up call. It’s so easy these days to get complacent and say “we’ll do it later, it’s too hot, etc.”. Then, while we’re sitting around avoiding training, we start talking bad about our brothers/sisters…especially in these times and with many departments facing morale problems. Just yesterday, we caught ourselves doing the exact same stuff you mention. And to be perfectly honest, even though I have a VERY motivated crew, it happens way too often. I was spitballing some remedies after reading your post with another officer, and we’re going to try the following.

    Our goal will be that each time we find ourselves making an excuse or trash-talking another member, we should take that as a cue to train and invite that member’s crew to train with us, as we’ll all probably learn something about our own level of proficiency.

    Thanks for having the stones to stand up and help the rest of us take responsibility.

  • anchorpoint1 says:

    Marty, Nate Q; at least you know it’s a problem, and you are identifying it. I’m sure most firefighters feel the same way. The fact that you admit it makes you a better firefighter. I feel the same way, and having a probie is the best way to sneak in some training of your own. I do it, why not?
    Stay safe.

  • Damn Yankee says:

    Wow, this is a deep issue. To me, it’s one of human nature, and a little acknowledgement of unhealthy tradition. I believe we tend to avoid the things we are weak in, as humans.
    Sure once you care enough you’ll do something about it (like a diet,smoking). But then comes the tradition part. Senior folks get treated better in my department. No, theres no law that says so… It’s just one of those unwritten rules. That fosters an atmosphere where you could potentially not ever have to deal with things you are weaker at doing.

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