Flashover Friday

The topic for Flashover Friday is: Marginal Firefighter

1 . How do you deal with them

2. Tips for improvement

3. How to handle the rest of the crew tired of the marginal firefighter

We want to hear from the Senior Man all the way up to the Officer’s


  • drillmaster2 says:

    Make me a Chief and one month!

  • Jason says:

    Hey, we all started off as marginal firefighters. Luckily for us we either had the drive on our own or we had someone who influenced and taught us the right way to go about the job.

    We have to take time with these folks individually and as a crew. We all have a vested interest in making this person great.

    It takes time, patience and persistence, and sometimes, the job just is not for them. But, don’t give up easily.

    Train, train and train some more and lead by example.

  • anchorpoint1 says:

    You know what firestudent? This is just too much. I told you about this crap already. I’ll handle next Friday for you. Until then:
    Marginal is adequate. I’ll take marginal. It’s the POS that thinks he’s awesome with his 1.5 years on the slowest company in the city that pisses me off. Come on over buddy and show me how to be awesome like you. I’ll drill the $hit out of your a$$ and if you talk any crap to me we can start the paperwork that will get you to Wal-Mart where you may or may not belong. Sorry, I’ll save it for next Friday.

  • drillmaster2 says:

    Sometimes working with these folks goes nowhere! To me average is average, marginal is one that a stift wind may mean you get no water, in a well off basement. While by no means I’m not saying I know it all by any means, but frankly backing is a big thing. Some folks have 20+ on the department and have never been held accountable and when they are you’re picking on them. Marginal to me as boss is a step below average! That’s as PC as I can be.

  • Marginal employees can be the most difficult employees for a company officer to deal with. This employee isn’t performing adequately; however, the employee isn’t failing. The primary job for the company officer is to help move this employee from the “marginal” to the “peforming” status, or higher. Many years ago, while a company officer, I was assigned an employee in this category. The outcome wasn’t optimal and I the guy stayed on my mind for many years.

    First, you need to identify the tasks/areas this employee isn’t meeting. Let the training folks and admin know you have a problem and what your solution to this problem will be. After developing this list, you’ll need to develop a corrective action plan to help the employee meet the requirements. If you’re really good, you’ll have a checklist you can use to track the requirements and the employees compliance.

    Second, discuss the shortcomings with the employee. Let him/her know what shortcomings you’ve identified, that you want to help them succesfully achieve the goals, and how you will evaluate him/her. Definitely let him/her know the results will be provided (positive or negative) to administration.

    Thirdly, work these evaluation items into the daily training routine. I’d like to incorporate the evaluation items into the daily routine before the employee has to perform them in an emergency situation. Keep notes for later use describing the employee’s abilities and whether the objectives were met.

    Lastly, provide a written description of the problems, objectives, and outcomes to administration. Either than employee makes it, or doesn’t. The decision isn’t all yours.

    I had a similar employee tasked to my station and shift. I did all of the above. The guy was awesome with EMS and patient care, but scared the living hell out of me on fire calls (my dept. had 2 man stations). I did all of the above, but the guy wasn’t able to meet the fire tasks. I submitted a report to administration and he was reassigned to HQ under the watchful eyes of our training division (where he’d recently graduated). He didn’t meet the tasks admin developed and was discharged.

    Often, I thought about him. I hoped he’d found something he was more suited to and didn’t hold grudges. A few years later, I ran into him in a local hospital ED. He was a shift supervisor for an EMS agency and was on a fast track. Hospital ED nurses thought him to be the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    I guess you need to find your niche.

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Marques Bush

Firefighter Basics launched in February 2009 after Founder/Editor Marques Bush was looking for a way to express himself and share his experiences with brother and sister firefighters. Shortly after founding the site Marques spoke with several trusted friends and ask them to come on board and contribute also. Firefighter Basics is a dedicated group of firefighters who strive everyday to practice what they preach about Training, Safety, and Tradition.  We can be reached at firefighterbasics@gmail.com

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