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I want to preface this by saying that I am still a farely young guy and an even younger in regards to my experience in the fire service, but this is something that I'm picking up on...please excuse the rant at first but I need to put this into context:

There are a lot of guys running around talking about pride, ownership, brotherhood, etc. But I am noticing (a lot in my new FD specifically) that these very terms that we hold so near and dear to our hearts and base not only our careers off of but our lives..are being thrown around with absolutely no regard for the meaning and more importantly the history or them. Guys want the end before the means.

What I mean is guys want the House T-Shirts, name their stations, and talk about "this is the way we do things". Now, I don't necessarily think these things are bad, but I believe these things do have to be earned. If you want a House Shirt that says how good you are, then you better be good, or if you want to give your station a mascot... i.e. Bulldog, Eagle, Tazmanian Devil etc..then you better live up to it. And you better not talk about "Brotherhood" or "Family" if you stab your "brothers" in the back the second they leave the room and start trash talking and bashing them.

So what I am looking for is some advise on how a new guy in a dept can start to make some small changes in the mentality and thought process of a dept that feel that they have pride and tradition but they don't live that out or show it.

I for one believe that a lot of this could be solved with the teaching of traditions within the fire service as a whole and how those things have carried over to views, beliefs and traditions we do today. The other thing is training: training is a great way to build pride in your team, house, and rig..while at the same time earning the shirts, mascots and ego's.

So please let me know if you guys or girls have any advise or experience that could help me out. I really want to see change in this dept, not only for the safety of the guys, but because the guys deserve to know and see the truth about the service we are in.

Stay Aggressive

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Replies to This Discussion

Well it is hard to make changes as the new guy. There are somethings that you may want to try. First, learn the history of your department or company. It may be that the members do not even know their own history. If you can help them learn the history, pride, and traditions of the department it may help them focus on what was done for them and not by them. It may also help to get some of the retired members to help you out with this, I am sure that they would love to have a chance to tell their story to the younger guys on the job. Just remember that this is a slow process, and whatever happens do not give up hope. If you start a grass roots effort it will pick up steam and then one day before you know it, the changes will happen.

Take care and good luck.

I agree with Matthew. This is one of those things that is deffinatly going to take some time and a lot of patience. First and foremost the hardest thing to do as "the new guy" is to use the tools God gave you. TWO EARS AND ONE MOUTH. Listen twice as much as you talk. As the new guy you need to start with yourself. Learn as much as YOU can about your deptartment and your company. Start small, a good attitude is contageous! You don't want to go in guns blazing. Start with the listening and learning then discuss some of your views with your own company first (after the new guy thing wears off). Like Matt said "grass roots". I've been the new guy and trust me you will get discouraged but keep on truckin. Do what you know is the right thing and you will most often come out on top.

Your brother in service,
Engineer Jordan A. Guilliams
You can only be responsible for you. Keep your attitude right. When the day comes and your the senior guy remember what your saying today. My advice, keep your mouth shut, mind your business, do your job to the letter, and worry about change through your actions. I like what Jordan said a lot about learning your history, if no one is teaching it learn everything you can about it and pass it on.
In your situation as the new members, the best way to begin to turn things around is to lead by example no matter what your job title or duty is. Leaders come from every rank and experience level. Ask the dumb questions (that only a newbie can) to find out why your department does things the way they do. Start a new catch phrase to identify people that are harming what they say they hold dear... "Brothers don't hack brothers" or something like that and state it everytime you hear someone do it.
Good Luck
I have to agree with Mr. Cox and Mr. Wilde. I am also a new Firefighter on a volunteer department. If you want to see a change, just do the job your there to do, and do it without complaining or arguing. I know it's an old cliche, but "actions speak louder than words." Take care and stay safe. Matt


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