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Hey everyone, was wondering what advice you would have for someone who is up and coming to an officer position and frequently finds themselves riding the front seat as the "senior" member in a volunteer company.

I've been involved with a decently active volunteer department (1,800 calls avg.) for a little over 2 years now. Several of my stations Officer's have made it apparent that they will be stepping down in the next election year and that they think I should run for Lt. Unfortunatly our department is suffering from a lot of young eager members without enough senior guys/gals around as mentors. More often than not I'm finding myself riding up front as the member with the most time and experience excluding the driver. I whole heartedly acknowledge that I have next to no time whatsoever or experience, that I know just enough to get myself into trouble, but its more than most in the back. I attend what training sessions I can put on by state and federal instructors (when work schedule complies which is rare), read every magazine and online article I can get my hands, become a sponge when stories start flying around the table from reliable guys. What more would you recommend to better myself and what would you prefer your forward facing guys to know?

Thanks Ya'll

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Sit down and talk to current officers; they will be more than willing to share some tips.  Ask each of them if they have 30 min-hour to talk about mistakes they have made so you don't do the same.  I hate to admit it, but you learn the most once you are just thrown into that position; it is like that in a lot of departments.  Understand that you will make mistakes, but you will also learn something on every call.  As long as you bring everybody home at the end of a run and learn from  mistakes you made is all that matters
Continue to take all the training you can, trust your gut feelings, if it doesn't feel right it probably isn't.  Like Dave said talk with the senior guys and get information from them, they won't steer you in the wrong direction.  Learn from every call, talk about it either at the tailboard of the truck or when you get back to the fire house.  Be honest with yourself and other members of your department and don't be afraid to network and ask questions of other firefighters around the country and the world.  Hope this helped, Stay Safe Brother!!
Ron, not easy spot to be in but you are already on the right path. As already mentioned by yourself, Joe and Dave you must read, study, ask LOTS of questions, and turn everyday, every call, every drive, walk into any area of your town into a training session. You need to learn everything you can about your district, buildings and history. The key is looking at everything during times of no emergency and mentally plan for an emergency. Yes, preplan! But, play out different scenarios for that building and walk through your IAP and look for after pitfalls. Put yourself in a front seat position being first due, and walk through the steps you will take of establishing command and your tactics.

When you study and read remember to read the fire service history books. Read and learn from LODD's. Be careful when reading on line blogs and forums. Make sure you are reading from a trusted proven source. Like FIre Engineering!

Critique every call you do regardless of the call. Ask you members to do the same. Learn to accept feedback even negative feedback. You can't improve if you don't know how you are doing. Look for ways to improve your response from a personal and professional level. Make those personal changes to make yourself better and lead by example! Don't every ask or tell a member to do something you aren't willing to do. That doesn't mean you have to do it but it means if you wouldn't do you shouldn't expect someone else to. Remember go slow! Don't try to make change too fast you wont get buy in by making hasty changes. 

Learn as much as as you can about as much as you can. Not just firefighting! Learn about building construction, leadership, technology, your apparatus etc. Everything that goes into our jobs you need to learn about. 

One of the most important things to learn now is you will make mistakes. Your crews will make mistakes. There is no FF or Officer who doesn't make mistakes. Good Officers admit their mistake, learn from them, and share them so others don't make the same mistakes. We must all learn from each.  Lastly, commit to getting each of your members back to their families after every call.

Feel free to reach out to me and the other members of this community any question you may have. You can also e-mail me anytime. Go make it safe!
Thank you all for your time and advice, it is much needed and appreciated. Stay safe

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