Am I My Brothers Keeper?

Iíve 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 ďteachingĒ become ďstorytellingĒ? How long before he becomes the next whining lump on the couch?

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

Hereís what Iím telling him;

  1. You are going to hear a lot of different things from different people.† Donít argue, just agree with them and do it their way for that day.† You will find your own methods, you just arenít allowed to right now.
  2. If someone doesnít answer your questions adequately go to your officer or me.† Iíll have time for you; Iíll get you the best answer according to our SOPís.
  3. Until you prove yourself and/or you are off probation your priorities are as follows; getting here early, checking your personal gear, checking/washing the truck, then house duties, finally you will be the last one to leave at the end of shift, sorry.
  4. When we do drills ask questions after the evolutions, not during.† Then ask for clarification if needed, get it done right during training.† Also during training is when we have time for mistakes and redoís, not during incidents.
  5. 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.
  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, donít ask the storyteller.
  7. I know you want to learn tech rescue, weíll get there.† Learn the pump and medical protocols first.† We will get to the rest later.
  8. Make your own opinion about other people and other companies.† Worry about doing YOUR job correctly first.
  9. No naps, donít park/wash your car in the firehouse, keep your butt in the radio room.

10. 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.

11. Wear your equipment.† Let the ďsalty dogsĒ get caught with their pants down, they will have some excuse that makes it someone elseís fault that they werenít ready, you have none.

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.

Iím not a mean guy and there are exceptions to everything, but I think if he follows this general outline heíll be just fine.† Even if he does make some mistakes I think heíll 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.

1 Comment

  • Glad to hear you’re doing your best to prevent the probie from becoming a recliner lizard and/or couch potato. Since first reading your thread a few days ago, I’ve wondered if other factors may influence the probie, such as if other station members are staying active around the station or bucking your system and remaining on the couch.

    Are the other shift folks helping with the message you’re attempting to instill in this impressionable probie? Are they staying off the couch and helping to set the example? If the shift is helping, how are you maintaining the momentum? If they’re not helping to set the example, what techniques are you using to motivate them?

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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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