Advice to all Probies

The latest crop of future leaders emerged from the physically and mentally demanding fire academy 1 week ago.  First off; Congratulations, and great job. Welcome to the best job on Earth.

Now that we got past that “LET ME TELL YOU SOMETHING KID…“:

1.Forget EVERYTHING you learned in the academy.  Those book smart idiots don’t know shit about how real firefighters work.

2. Top priority everyday is to make sure the coffee is made.  Get your equipment ready after that.

3. Learning your streets is your second priority after the coffee.  I know you aren’t allowed behind the wheel for a year but you need to know all the streets right now.  Where’s Action Court?  Ha, Wrong!  It’s a street off Action Road that doesn’t have any buildings on it, actually it’s just a named driveway, learn your streets kid.

4. Never leave the truck without a tool.  if it’s a minor car accident bring the pick head axe.  The ambulance drivers can do the medical crap, that’s beneath us.

5. Always carry the pick head axe when investigating alarms.  It looks cool as hell and you can hit things with it.

6.If you wear your tank while investigating an alarm you are a punk and/or scared.

7. Take that suspension and ear flap crap out of your helmet.  You look stupid.  As a matter of fact we could put in the oven for a couple of minutes and take that shine off.

8.In order to be a more streamlined and effective firefighter you have to control your weight.  Dump the search rope, pliers, cable cutters.  Take the liner out of your Bunker pants.  You already have an integrated pass so get rid of that stand alone nonsense.  Now let’s get some cake and watch Wheel of Fortune.

9.Those guys down the street on the west side are so caught up following the book that they forgot they are supposed to be aggressive firefighters.  If you see them stop to catch a hydrant drive around them and we’ll run a line off the tank.  We’ll be alright but if we run out they can fill us.

10. I’ve been on this job so long that I don’t need to check my equipment or the truck.  Besides, the guy yesterday should have done it all.

11. I don’t care if you are a grown man who did 3 deployments to Afganistan as a combat medic.  You don’t know what you’re talking about, I’m a better medic than you’ll every be.

12.  “There I was at that 4 alarm fire……Just me….against the Red Devil…..”

This is advice I’ve heard people tell Probies.  Most of these are direct quotes.  The caliber of leadership can sometimes be astounding.

Stay Safe


  • CBEMT says:

    You actually had me until #5. >.<

  • Wow. I think I’ve either heard or witnessed nearly every single thing on this list. Where do you start with this? At first, I was wanting to kick the company officer in the butt for not making needed corrections to these items. After some thinking, I came to the conclusion the company officer can’t be everywhere at every moment and cannot take 100% of the responsibility for correcting these errors. Maybe the seasoned veterans should step up and help fill the “correction” void when the company officer isn’t present.

    Some thought leads me to believe correcting these common errors in our stations can be corrected using a multi-pronged approach. Why do I think it takes a station to raise a probie? Here’s why a station is needed to make a probie into a talented, experienced firefighter:

    a) the company officer is responsible for his crew. If the officer hears these statements, he/she should make corrections to these incorrect or misleading statements. Corrections don’t necessarily mean throwing the bugle(s) or position around; corrections can be subtle. Maybe a low key correction can get the point across to the newbie that some items are more important to others; this correction may also clue the more exprerienced member into watching how certain statements are made and how the statements may be interpreted.

    b)firefighters with a reputation of being “knowledgeable” and unofficial leaders should step in and let the probie know what the TRUE expectations are. Coffee in the pot is great; however, a thoroughly checked truck that is ready to respond is more valuable. Unofficial leaders can help the probie learn a ready to respond vehicle and associated equipment is much more important as a perfect pot of coffee.

    c)every firefighter on the shift should make an effort to help the probie learn the ropes (correctly) and progress along the way to becoming a good firefighter. This will help establish the station as high on the list to “be a damn good FF”.

    d)probies can’t escape this list. If you think what you’re being told isn’t correct or there is a problem, talk these things over with the firefighters; if the FF’s don’t give you adequate answers (in your opinion), then ask the company officer for guidance. If you ask the FF’s before moving up, this will allow them to correct any misunderstandings and assist the probie with building a rapport.

    Great firefighters are developed because of helpful guidance in his/her early interactions and during times where he/she is passing on tips of the trade; unofficil leaders are an important resource fo making probies into useful, knowledgeable, and effective firefighters.

    Are you ready to raise a firefighter? Is your station ready to raise a firefighter? Sounds like a very good discussion topic for the kitchen table.

  • Ladder Jack says:

    Anchorpoint, You sound like a pretty smart and caring guy. Keep up the good work watching over your probie! Stay Safe!

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