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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.

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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 had the same problem when I went from paid-per-call to part time at a near by department, I felt like many of the guys were there for the paycheck and forgot about how much they used to love the job. I was very confused by this b/c I grew up in a dept. where we do it for little to nothing and felt good about it b/c we all just loved the job.

I walked into to a bigger town and it shed a much larger light on me. I was like a deer in the head lights... I found myself falling into that dangerous category of " not giving a *****" and I didn't like it. Unfortunately, I have since left that dept. after only one year of being there. I left b/c I was having a hard time finding someone to mentor me into the dept. additionally, I was being confused as the "GUY" that doesn't care or the "GUY" who "CANNOT" be taught anything. I tried my hardest to be the best I could there. Always first to step and do house duties, washn towels and even clear the Lt's dinner plate.

Instead, I found it hard to break habits from my other department. I was so used to doing things "another" way and getting a great big thanks from the chief and officers, but when I did something I was PROUD of there I didn't get that "atta boy" that helped fuel my love for the job.Instead, I would get a "beat the dead horse" talk about how things are done HERE, but with no REAL remediation to follow.

I made my mistakes there and awknowledge this. I have since attended some seminars, attended training, listen to the podcasts from Chief Lasky, Chief Goldfeder (among others), but most of all.... When I read the book "Pride and Ownership" it all made sense to me... Maybe I didn't fit in with that department.

I love EVERYTHING about the fire service, which has fuel my goal of getting my masters in Public Safety Admin/Fire Science. I joined this community soo I could connect with those experienced and veteran firefighters/officers who LOVE the job with same PASSION as I do. I am honored to be a member if this FireEngineering community!

With Respect,

Todd, Rob and gang,

Vent away..... I have been there as well. The only choice that I had and the you have is to do the right thing and show personal leadership. Seek continuous improvement and work with the other members of a similar mind (quietly if you must) to raise the level of expectations and performance. The day will come when you will promote and have the ability to influence a larger group. The bugles or bars that you will pin on your collar every day only give you the opportunity to do good work and have a positive influence on your members. The burden is on you to get the job done. These mutts you speak of are the enemy of the fire service. Make no mistake, these are the same mutts that seek to create an atmosphere of complacency and laziness. They do their work either actively or behind the scenes to lower the standards, downplay and diminish our performance and ultimately, destroy our respect and credibility in the public's eyes....and worst of all....we are left unable to perform our core mission in an efficient and effective manner.

The future is in your hands and the hands of brothers and sisters like you. Don’t give in and don’t give up. This service has been built through the effort, drive and blood of too many good and great firefighters to allow anyone to tarnish, diminish or damage in any way. Seek the company of other firefighters who feel the way you do, join a FOOLS chapter and KEEP THE FAITH.

Joe, Like Everyone has talked about, for those of us that have been on the job for years, we owe it to the kids regardless of the generation, to pass on our knowledge. We learn everyday, they need to know we never stop learning. We are the mentors, so it's our job to find a way to teach, just like that officer we never liked taught us. Keep looking and Teaching Brother! Things will get better.

Stay Safe
I work with a group of guys, who all buck for the senior man position. We have like 15 "senior men" on the job, just ask them and they can tell you how they fit in the mix. "senior to the shift, senior to the crew, senior to the contract, senior in civil service, senior to guys who were hired on a wednesday" all to do less. thats right, the senior man can cruise around on easy street.

I asked, why isn't a senior man teaching the new guys? Why do you guys Bi%^h about things, when you are supposed to be the ones keeping things in line? Where is the fire service that was passed down to you? Where did that enthusiasm go? Why are we stuck in an unfixable situation? Becuase we say things like "those kids are F@#$ up," and whatever other diatribe you guys here.

I reenforce my point, fix it from the ground up, show the love, show em up, and show em how easy it can be. Speak your mind, you're in good company here!!

You may be right with some of the younger FF's, but for many of us (like me) that went through an excellant fire academy did spend an entire classroom session on history and tradition.

Yes, we should be discussing the past fires. I can recall a few times where I asked about past fires and I was told "You wouldn't understand".
We've been buds for a while now I consider you a seasoned FF, being on for 14 yrs. I respect your ability to maintain an open minded view. You show pride, ownership and all the above!

I have 3 Lieutenants here that are in thier position with no formal officer training, minimal leadership ability. I my area that could have disasterous consequences. It scares me when I have to suggest to MY lieutenant to call for a chopper on an MVA, upgrade to a box on a commercial fire and most of all... on weekend duty I have to round up the troops to clean floors, rigs and train. It's not always the case though... I have a Captain and a Lieutenant that I would trust with my life anyday. When it comes down to it, to many I am too rambuncious or "FISTY" FF; why? Because I like to train and train our cadets.

I have another thing to vent. about when I find the words to vent. it without showing ignorance. Thanks to all the veteran men/women on here that have embraced my passion. I look up to all of you to giude me into the future.

Keep doing what you are doing Rob. Just be carefull. A bonehead Lt. or Capt. are still a Lt. and Capt. Do not get into trouble because they are ignorant. Keep a low profile and still keep the faith. Don't mouth off to them or question them, get your chores and checks done, ask them if they have anything else for you to do, if not,, then tell them you will be on the drill floor with the cadets training, would they like to join you? After a few times, they may get the message. Maybe not, but put it in their laps to get out there and show what They know. Odds are they do not train because they are unsure of themselves.

Just keep on keepin' on Brother. Don't get in trouble and train the kids.
Good job Rob.
I can totally see the generation gap in members. When i Joined the department in 2000, I was taught to respect the guys who had put the time in. I loved every stupid and often times the same tasks that i was given because i wanted to be a member. Being an officer was the farthest thing from my mind and i just wanted to be the guy that could drive the truck. Now the younger generation ( Just some not everyone, we have some great younger members who want to learn and be a part as i'm sure everyone does), hates these same functions, the love to fight the fire but they hide when it comes time to clean-up. They never want to drill with the 5-inch hose because they hate re-racking it, i racked 5-inch at least once a month when i was 16 and 17 and i loved it.Training is something that they put little to no effort in and i dont know how many times I personally have heard a member tell me in drills "I can't do it!". I don't look for perfection, that is the catalyst for learning the desire to better our efforts but the key is effort, and if they try it shows they want to learn and be better. They have no pride for what the fire service is, and when you do try to tell them or teach them they think i'm being a d@#k. And i love when they just flip out and get mouthie and tell me or the other officers to $%^& off, that just makes me wanna help them even more!

Stay safe
hope i made some sense this one struck a huge nerve reading it!
I was vary fotunate at my dept when I was hired. On my first day I was given a book called "A Transition in Red" written by Leo Duliba it told the history of our dept from its early volunteer days, historic fires and when and why we became a paid fire dept. I was also told to read this in my free time. Im happy I did! Its to bad more depts dont have a book written for them of their history. I do wish however that we had more photos of the "old days" but we dont,maybee we can start our history now for the unborn. I here your problem, unfortunetly I think some people would rather think their a big bad fire fighter with out knowing who we are and were we came from and what we stand for. Maybee if every one was educated from the get go maybe we wouldnt have a few bad apples start fires just to be the first on scene and be the so called "hero" but thats another topic all on its own.hmmmm that being said yes tradition good! education good! I need a beer! its been a long day...
I have thought and cussed about these same issues. It seems that the people on this forum are preaching to the choir. Throughout my career I have battled this and for about a two year period my career department actually got to me and I stopped applying myself. I let certifications go and did nothing extra except to try new things not related to the fire service; which was a waste of time and money and not very productive. Luckily, I had good people around me who I grew up with and volunteered with that helped me out of my funk.

I still deal with the frustrations at my career department, but I finally decided that the initiative that I was willing to put out could cause a positive ripple for a younger guy. It also helps me to read other people having the same issues. The basic attitude that I carry with me now is that if I can get at least one new guy on the right track and in the right direction, putting up with all of th slugs is well worth it. That keeps me going and happy.

Take care and stay safe.

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