Real Advice to Probies

I’ve been spending some time training the probie lately.  What a good time.  Where does that motivation go?  What should I teach him?  At what point does my “teaching” become “storytelling”? How long before he becomes the next whining lump on the couch?

My goal: Prevent him from becoming a couch creature, ever.

Here’s what I’m telling him;

  1. Until you prove yourself and/or you are off probation your priorities are as follows; get here early, check your personal gear, check/wash the truck, then house duties, finally you will be the last one to leave at the end of shift, sorry.
  2. Wear your equipment.  Let the “salty dogs” get caught with their pants down, they will have some excuse that makes it someone else’s fault that they weren’t ready, you have none.
  3. Stay away from the coffee table until you know the first and last names of everyone there, and then sit there quietly until invited into discussion.
  4. No naps, don’t park/wash your car in the firehouse, keep your butt in the radio room.
  5. When we do drills ask questions after the evolutions, not during.  Then ask for clarification if needed,we will get it done right during training.  Also, during training is when we have time for mistakes and redo’s, not during incidents.
  6. Listen to the war stories, but try to find the truth in them.  Try to figure out what was done incorrectly to end up in that situation.  Ask you officer if you have questions, don’t ask the storyteller.
  7. If someone doesn’t answer your questions adequately go to your officer or me.  I’ll have time for you; I’ll get you the best answer according to our SOP’s.
  8. You are going to hear a lot of different things from different people.  Don’t argue, just agree with them and do it their way for that day.  You will find your own methods, you just aren’t allowed to right now.
  9. Make your own opinion about other people and other companies.  And put that off as long as possible, worry about doing YOUR job correctly first.
  10. I know you want to learn tech rescue, we’ll get there.  Learn the pump and medical protocols first.  We will get to the rest later.
  11. These guys are not going to be around when you are 80 years old sitting in a rest home.  Hopefully your family will.  Be Safe, always remember your family when you are at work.
  12. Always have promotion in the back of your mind.  Find an officer to emulate.  Study, study, study there is a lot to this job and plenty of nationwide opportunities for knowledgeable and motivated personnel.

I’m not a mean guy and there are exceptions to everything, but I think if he follows this general outline he’ll be just fine.  Even if he does make some mistakes I think he’ll be better off then the probie on another group who asked the officer to move his car out of the firehouse so the probie could wash his own car.

Good luck all you new guys.  This is the greatest job.

Be Safe.

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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

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