Wow! Congratulations on completing the Fire Academy and being amongst the Fire Service where we take pride in saving lives and protecting property. Now I know you must be extremely nervous on your first day as a new fresh face inside your department, but I am here to successfully walk you through it and give you some terrific pointers. Please, read and take notes! It’s important that you do!
1. Show up early
“By showing up early you are showing the world they could depend on you”
Throughout the first couple of days this is a huge factor of your young fire fighter career, matter of fact it is a huge factor for your whole career. Showing up early and being prepared is showing the guys you are ready whenever the time presents itself. Being reliable is everything in the fire service. It shows self-discipline, courage, and honesty. On the other hand, if you show up late – it will show in your work ethic. Poor decisions leads to poor results. Poor results leads to death to your brothers and sisters that you must serve and protect and make sure they are able to go home and see their families at the end of the duty day. By showing up early ready to put in that ungodly grind you are showing your team you are determined to take on anything the day may bring.
Get in the habit of waking up earlier than usual and preparing for the work day. If shift starts at 0730, start waking up at 0500 to mentally prepare and kiss your spouse and kids bye, bye. Always show up to the station around 0650 so you could set up shop and get those kinks out of your early morning routine.
2. Have a Great Attitude
“A great attitude conquers the day any day”
Ah man, I can’t tell you enough how important it is to have a great attitude in the fire service. I can tell you one thing and that is a bad attitude will not get you far in this career field. By bringing a great attitude to work you are spreading nothing but positivity to every single soul around you. Here in the fire service we go through rigorous types of call from suicides to saving a baby from a burning a building. The last thing we need is a new Fire Fighter with a negative attitude.
3. Listen Closely, Don’t chit chat
“There is a reason we have two Ears and one Mouth for a Reason.”
This is a huge bullet right here as a new young Fire Fighter, I really need you to take notes. SHUT UP! Your job as a probationary fire fighter is to learn, learn, and learn. Learn the ins and outs of your department and never stop learning. There is no time trying to prove you are the best and be a show off with too much cockiness. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to have wisdom in this field because it leads to less mistakes; but let’s never get to complacent and act like we know it all; that’s when injuries and even death may occur. By staying humble and taking the good with the bad you are setting yourself up for a great future in the Fire Service. Talk when needed but always listen to those ahead of you because they are the same ones that will save you when time permits. Until then ride the back of the P-19, P-22, P-23, P-26, P-31, P-34, and Ambo with open ears and close mouth.
4. Don’t Procrastinate
As a new Fire Fighter you have no time to sit back and be a bum. Procrastination will lead your career into an early grave. When you are giving a task please manage your time wisely in get the job done effectively. Nothing irks your Fire Chief off any more than someone who is irresponsible. Being irresponsible leads to not taking the job serious. Not taking the job serious leads to stupid mistakes. Stupid mistakes like “procrastination” leads to injury or death on the scene. The lesson of the day is don’t procrastinate. Have your P’s and Q’s together as new Fire Fighter. Use your resources around you and try your best to become that reliable asset. Don’t become that “unreliable guy”. That gut will never make it here in the Fire Service.
5. Don’t Gossip about others
“Gossiping leads to problems, simply walk away”
I get it, we all need to talk to somebody. I mean, hey, we hang around the same team 24 hours a day and in some cases 48 hours straight. You will quick nothing stays in your bunker room. Events, marriages, and problems travel. I am here to tell you don’t entertain it. When you hear people within your department gossip about others don’t get caught in the cross fire. Leave the scene immediately and go do something productive. If you interact in those gossiping session you will naturally become a complainer and down – talker in your department. My best advice for any fresh fire fighter walking through those stall doors on the first day is to keep your name clean and unseen.
6. Be a Team Player
“Michael Jordan always had a Team”
Learning to work with others from all over your jurisdiction, state, or the world is something we all have to learn quickly here in the fire service. By becoming a great team player you are allowing yourself to learn and take care of others. You are learning the value of taking care of your fellow fire fighters and showing your team just how affective you are. By learning the ropes and building within your community you are developing better habits while making new connections. These connections builds character and add value to your life. These superior techniques will set you up for success real quick here in the Fire Department.
7. Early Morning, Clean Up
“Kindergarten wasn’t a waste, everybody has to clean up”
Congrats, you are now in the field of Janitorial Services! Here are you sponge, gloves, and robe. Get to cleaning! All jokes aside, cleaning up behind yourself is number 1. You will be living amongst others and being nasty is well “Nasty”. Always clean you bunker room before you leave, wash your dishes, sweep and mop the floors, and make it presentable for the next group of heroes coming on shift. What I like to do is wake up before morning wakeup call and knock out the kitchen. If you show your team you are willing to wake up early just to clean up by yourself you are displaying character, relations, and trustworthiness at the same damn time. By any mean, you don’t have to wake up so early, just make sure you are cleaning up behind yourself and your shift during early morning clean up time.
8. Millennial Technology
“Relationship with others last longer than technology”
Now, I am a millennial myself and I frequently use technology. I mean “A LOT”. The problem with technology is we may distant ourselves from our fellow team here in the fire station. We don’t interact and get out as must to get to understand others and talk amongst ourselves. I am here to say putting it down for a while is completely fine. Building relationships with your new family is more crucial than scrolling down Facebook, Instagram, or twitter. Social media platforms and games could wait until later that day.
9. Play your part
“At each level know your role and play your part”
You are a new Fire Fighter fresh out of the Academy. Like stated in bullet 3; your new job is to soak up as much information as you could in order to reach the next level. Playing your part and knowing it is important. As a new fire fighter, always know your job. In the morning check the board to find your duty for the day. Work with another hard working fire fighter you look up to and learn the game. Learn how communication works, radio channels, jargon, and who to talk too for certain issues/assistance works in your department.
Also, treat everybody in your department with respect. By giving proper custom and courtesies you are paying respect to others before you. Respect takes you a long way anywhere you may go in life and also in the Fire Service.
10. Do Not Burn London Bridges
“London Bridges Standing Up, Standing Up, Standing Up” – Correct Version of the Song
WOW! When I say always think before you react, this is real! Never in your young career or any part of your career burn bridges. Everybody knows somebody in the Fire Service. This goes back to bullet number 2: Keeping a Great attitude. It is vital you understand burning bridges could possibly stop you from getting job way before applying for it. Instead, you want to build bridges and keep them standing no matter if you dislike most people your work with throughout your career. Keep your bridges solid because you never know when you may cross paths or need someone again in the distant future.
Question: Are these tips helpful even in your line of work? Please, share below.