The Test

The recruits have graduated, they will be moving into their first assignments.† They have a lot of things left to learn but they have the basics of fire behavior and attack to build from.

Towards the end they started asking questions about firehouse life.† Some of the questions had to do with when exactly will they be expected to drive and operate the pump.† That is not a set answer.


We still have a patrol desk and a member on “watch” 24hrs a day.† So naturally the Probies are expected to learn that first.† They are supposed to use the pit as their base of operations, whenever they are done with a task they return to the pit. I personally believe the apparatus has priority over everything else.† So my Probie will help check the piece and also their personal equipment first.† Other officers think they should do housework first, I think that is a narrow minded view as I believe that teaches the most important thing in the firehouse if mopping the floor. It’s not.

After they learn the pit and get themselves in the watch rotation it’s time for them to start driving back from runs and also practice driving around the district.† We do not have a driver or operator position so everybody takes turns driving.† From the time they are in the watch rotation and driving back from runs map tests will start in earnest.† When they show competency in the district and a few special responses we have then it is time for “The Test”.

Most of the apparatus in our city run a 500 gallon tank.† Not a lot.

We Nose into a hydrant and when the probie says go this is what happens:

1: Open up the deck gun

2: Charge a 100′ section of 2 1/2 so we can play water.

3: Hook up the hydrant and get water into the tank before you run out.

It usually takes a couple of attempts, but after they get it they feel confident in their abilities, and we do too.

Questions? Comments?

1 Comment

  • Russ Randolph says:

    As an engineer I was often tasked to take care of new guys and gals on their first days and the first thing I used to say was “welcome aboard and congrats on passing the academy”. Then…for the next 3 years, you will be getting to know just how much you don’t know about the job BUT that’s why I’m here and I want you to know that I know I have to earn your personal trust but I hope I do it fast so I want you to know that starting today, this is your second probie school but with one difference, this is the real world, I’m responsible for what you do, you are responsible for what you say and you should be saying NOTHING! Listen and learn and you will stay alive which is my number 1 goal. If you god forbid get so much as a paper cut, its my ass so I will be on you like a shadow. As far as I am concerned, “we” are doing this together and when “I” think you are trained, “I” will go to the company officer and tell them. I don’t care how many in house tests you pass, you move on when I say you do BECAUSE if you move on and fail… that means that I FAILED YOU and I don’t want that. (the way my dept is structured)-driving is something you pick up after mastering firefighting but I like your system of driving the truck back from calls for training purposes…driver/engineers don’t fight fire per-se all the time so most of my probies didn’t want to learn driving for a long time.

    The care and feeding of probies has changed a lot and being “old school” I have had to absorbe a lot of change BUT every so often i’ll hook up with a guy or gal I trained who is now an engineer or officer and get told. “I train my probies just like you trained me…and I thank you for that”…that’s how I know I did “something” right, times 2 or more

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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

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Jim P.
The World is not on fire.
BRAVO. Very good observations. Thanks for writing this. Decisions/leadership based upon fear or lack of training is unacceptable. These things need to be said, to counteract the attitudes that are trying to influence future generations of firefighters.
2015-03-18 14:39:28
Ret. Capt.
The next big thing…or just another acronym?
I'm not sure how the Portsmouth, VA FD normally operates but that is an embarrassment. I am not understanding any part of why the hose team did not make entry while one other member broke out the window with an extension ladder to provide quick ventilation. From what is seen, and the conditions present, in…
2015-01-16 17:21:54
Met Fan
The next big thing…or just another acronym?
Actually it does not seem to raise the temperatures at the floor in most cases. Do you feel feel different after attack begins? Of course you do. Steam is produced when water hits the fire and you feel the humidity through your gear. This is going to happen regardless of whether the stream entered a…
2014-12-29 02:43:23
Ryan McGovern (Ladder Jack)
Ideology vs Philosophy: Are you Slicing or Dicing in the fire service trends
Marques, As I have been following this debate for the past few weeks, and looking for the best way to respond, I could find no "correct" way to join the conversation without maybe coming off as narrow-minded. The response you have here says exactly what I believe is the best way to approach the SLICER/…
2014-12-03 00:41:24
The next big thing…or just another acronym?
Though hitting a fire from the outside lowers the temperature in the room, it raises it closer to the floor. I've been a firefighter for 14 years and work for an inner city department. You'd better be damn sure there are no victims in the structure anywhere near where those heated gasses are going to…
2014-11-24 17:54:49

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