Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

Pride, Honor, Respect, Tradition, Duty. Is it still taught to our people?

Do we still preach the meaning of the above words? I know I am preaching to the choir here, but lets be truthful, do we do our best to cover these topics? I see a lot of 'younger' firefighters, both career and not, wearing the FDNY shirts, the FOOLS stickers and such on the helmets, but do they really know what Pride, Duty, Honor, Respect and Tradition really mean? They all know that we lost 343 Brothers in FDNY, but do they know the history and traditions of their own job? Now I am by no means downplaying Sept. 11, please do not think that. I was there one month after with 3 friends attending services for 13 fallen Brothers and had an article puplished in the December 2001 edition of Firehouse mag. The point I am making is do some of our people really know what the stickers, shirts and hats really mean. And most of all, do they know their own history? I am asking because I have this problem on my job in a small way and me being the Training Officer, I feel responseable in a way that our in house traditions are not as well known as should be. We found old newspaper articles and publications of our department dating back to the very late 1800's to the early 60's. Then the history gathering stopped. In our station one, on the wall next to the door in to the offices, we have a typed letter from Chief Isenmonger from the Chicago Fire Department thanking our department for the response and assistance to the Stockyards fire!!!! Now that is something to be proud of. I have had people ask me, "what was the stockyards fire"?

So I am asking your opinion. What do you see around you in in your own house? Am I the only one who is seeing this situation?

Thanks and all be safe.

Views: 2342

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Jason, I understand exactly what ur saying, I have the same issues, more at my volly house. I walk thru those doors 4 or 5 times a week. At least 80% of the time i try and drill or teach or learn, and the slugs make it almost impossible. But I can always find 1 guy who wants and wants more! We'll go back n forth on different skills etc. GOOD STUFF! Those damn slugs turn all the speakers down, the scanners down, but make sure the pillows on the couch are perfect and the surround sound for latest movie sounds good, forget the fact the scba (scott 4500) are only filled to 3000 or 3500, the pump hasnt been checked in a week, only fueled 1/2 way! And then I become the bad guy! Dont even get me started when the bells go off! "SLOW DOWN"...."NO RUNNING"...."ITS NOT YOUR HOUSE ON FIRE"
Joe, my wife also loves the history and wants everybody to know it, she has put together a history class and is still working on it but I'm sure she wouldn't mind for you using it. She has put it on here in the tradition group see if you can down load it if not give me a yell and i will have her send it to you.It's on the teaching Tradition.
Stay Safe


Thanks Doug, I will for sure look it up right now. My wife was the charge nurse in the busiest Level 1 trauma center ER in Illinois for 8 years. Thank your wife for me brother.

I believe the biggest problem teaching Pride, Honor, Repect, Tradition, and Duty is that we have a generation of people working for us that have little of any of them. Many of these things have never been instilled in them about anything because 'its all about the $'. There are good people, but when you have a difficult time getting a guy(paid career) to actually come to work rather than go to his real job, its all about the money. We attempt to teach these things about the Fire Service and have good results with many, but too many that just don't care. Just keep plugging away, as will I, and know that some will catch on and hopefully spread it to others.

Know more today than yesterday
Share today about yesterday
Look forward to tomorrow to learn something new
I really am glad to be part of the super great world of FireFighting. People who take the job as a way of life not just another job

We are currently going through this at my career department. We have had 8 new firefighters come in within the last 3 years. Morale one the department sucked up until approximately a week ago, a few of us decided to call a shift meeting with everyone and get things out in the open. The first thing that I had said is we need to get back to learning where we came from in this department and the fire service in general. We are starting to go back and teach and instill in our members the Pride, Duty, and Honor for this GREAT PROFESSION. We have started out by watching the Pride and Ownership video and then watching the History Channel's Into the Fire video. This has been a great help but we still have a long way to go. I am like you; I often get accused of taking the job to seriously but I live, eat and breathe this job. I get off shift as the training officer and go home volunteer as the chief of my hometown department not to mention collect anything that says fire department on it.

Hope this helped and Keep the Faith Brother!!!
As a second generation FF i have seen the service go from everyone on the job is like family to we are just co-workers. It seems that so many younger guys, and im only 26 but still, are only here for the paycheck and benefits. I see so much of the pride and tradition being lost despite the hard efforts of a few. One thing we now do in our department is a class on tradition and pride in the fire service durring orientation of all new recruits. This way they at least go to in with a base knowledge of the significance of people like Ben Franklin, and where our terms come from, our history, and our roots. I praise all who fight to keep the tradition alive and the pride instilled in the fire service.
I expect nothing short of pride, honor, respect, integrity, and compassion out of the people I lead. Of course I can't change people but I can certainly influence them to change should they not meet the latter mentioned. I have an awesome quote on my page it states: "Leading by example" may be a cliche`, but if you don't exemplify what you want people to do, they won't do it. (Michael Abrashoff "It's Our Ship"). This is the key ingredient for those of us who are leaders and believe in those key words. We must "exemplify". This sence of History, Tradition, Pride, Honor, and Respect however are fading away from our system because the very core values that our great country was founded on is erroding away right before our eyes. Each new generation that comes now loses the very moral fibers needed to up-hold our traditions. Unless we fight for the true moral values founded upon our country, these words we use Pride, Honor, Respect, will amount to mere dust in the wind. The question should be; "What are we doing to protect the values that our founding fathers brought into this great nation"? It isn't only the militaries responsibility to protect our nation. It is our job as public servants to fight the fight here at home to maintain the true value of our service and our country.
Remeber our first assigment on the fire ground, "Our safety before others" If you are being held back by others don't just sit there. Get up and train, learn, and lead yourself into the next phase of your existance.
Todd Trudeau said:
Art, I will agree with you in that the more senior members SHOULD be instilling the job and the "Art" (pun intended) of it. Unfortunately, in my place, that's just not happening. Admittedly, some of the middle of the road guys are attempting (myself included) but if they (we) don't get the support from the "leaders" and decision makers (Batt. Chiefs and Chief), what should we really expect to happen?

Let's face it, a probie shows up to work and hears his bosses say comments like "we're just here for a paycheck and a pension" or "don't listen to so and so or that officer because he don't know what he's talking about" followed up with "we never do it that way", he probably won't go above and beyond when the middle of the road guys are trying to make the difference and improve the operation as a whole. I believe everyone must contribute more than their share, however it ultimately starts at the top. The top sets the tone for the entire dept., much the same as the initial IAP, apparatus placement and stretch sets the tone for the entire operation.

Sorry for venting but I've been dealing with this type of mentality for a number of years and it's very frustrating. All you guys posting the positives of this job are very inspiring to me and I am continuing the fight in my little world. The tide is ever so slowly turning in the right direction but I'm a little to impatient I guess :). Thank you to years and years of not thinking "it" will happen here!

OK, I'm done. Whew!
I will definately keep on doing my part as best as possible and drag as many along (that are willing to come) that I can. I know that everything moves at a snail's pace in the fire service, I just need to work on my patience. Easier said than done though.
KTF and bring everybody home!
Joe, I agree with what your concerns are. I think to know where you want to go you need to know where you have been. All new members should get a class on firefighting history as well as what history and traditions are alive in their own department.

There are so many major incidents where a lot of good men lost their lives that most firefighters do not know about. I think most of this is just ignorance because they do not even know they happened. Thats where education comes in. You could say I am in the "ME" generation, but I take pride in my job and prefer the "old school" approach. When it all comes down to it you can not teach Pride. Either you have it or you don't. The ones that are eager will learn will. There will always be mutts in the service.

Great thread Joe.
To all,

I used to beat the "those kids don't..." bandwagon then I read a few things and thought a lot. It's not them-it's us. We need to impart our values and give them a vision of what they need to look like in 5, 10, 15, etc. years.

Not that ours is "right" but we have a mission statement with a long list of vision and values we truley believe in. It is posted prominently in the kitchen of both our stations and is poster sized with about 15-20 photos surrounding it showing us over the year training, handling incidents and having fun. I bring up these points on a regular basis during training and discussion.
Our mission, vision and values (I know some of you will think this is crap but if I had more sexy, non-corporate america word to use I would) are also on our website along with the istory of our FD from 1944-2007. I just completed and update which we hope to add to the site soon and this update will also be in our new Career Development Guide which is being proofread currently.
In our updated history I have a roster of every vehicle th FD has owned, what roles it has served, the capcity of the pump, etc. I also have photos.

We need to find one or two guys for starters who can ebrace our passion. Those guys will spread the word. This is mentoring and you don't need a written plan to make it happen. These things also take time, like years-not weeks and months. As I write this I recall many of the periods in our last 30 years when morale was high and low, sometimes at the same time for different reasons. Don't become discouraged.

Reply to Discussion


Policy Page


The login above DOES NOT provide access to Fire Engineering magazine archives. Please go here for our archives.


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our community policy page.  

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2024   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service