Words From A Probationary Firefighter
Your First Days on The Job
As a new guy in my department myself, I am still navigating the complicated waters that surround the brotherhood of our fire department. Yes, I do believe it takes some navigating. This job isn’t so much of a normal full-time job as it is a family, like I said above, a brotherhood. With it being a family, imagine your parents adopting a new younger brother after you have been with the same family that you know and love for 5,10, even 20 years. You have a lot to live up to and a lot of opportunities to make a good name for yourself or really screw it up.
A few of my first lessons went like this - keep your controversial opinions to yourself, always be early, be the first one to start cleaning before shift change, always be ready in the truck before your Lieutenant, and always be working on something productive or you will be assigned a less favorable job. I will try to elaborate on each of these and shed some light on them. Again even as I write this, I am still working on all of these myself. Keep opinions to yourself isn’t so much as not talking at all, but if you are asked about something that may separate you from others, it's not a good idea. You don’t have to strictly be a yes man but staying in your lane and knowing that you are new and shouldn’t be making any big decisions yet is more of what that means. Now that doesn’t go for things like asking if you can try some new training methods you may have
come across, and that goes right into the point I made about staying busy or you will be put to work. If you can always come to work with enthusiasm and a want to train it will be noticed and marked down as a good thing. Even the older guys who may not want to train as much will respect you and your will to learn. I feel the other points I made about being early and being in the truck and ready quick should come as no surprise to anyone thinking about this profession. That all runs under the same umbrella as showing enthusiasm and initiative.
Those two words I used above in the last sentence enthusiasm and initiative will take you farther than anything else. A will to work hard may not show up on a resume, but it will on your first day. Be a positive addition, be willing to train, and get excited about work every day. Make the Officers and Chiefs feel confident that they made the right choice by bringing you into their tight knit family. Those are things that will make your first day, first year and the rest of your career an amazing time and it will help this new family take you in with open arms.
Written By: Angelo DiCicco