As a fire service instructor over the years I have met a lot of fellow firefighters and not until recently did I realize the stories from these firefighters were always the same from rookies and veterans. The rookies always say “we don’t fit in” and the veterans always say “ the rookies just don’t get it”. I guess the reason it didn’t hit me sooner was as a fire service instructor and as a company officer it is my responsibility to teach the rookies and the veterans on safety and the job. Each year we loose brothers and sisters in the line of duty some heroic and some because of lack of training, lack of safety and lack of personal responsibility. I know with tradition as a rookie you’re the janitor, cook, dish washer, etc, and etc. We all had to pay our dues but I remember when I was a rookie that I did whatever needed done around the station but my captains and veterans also taught me to be safe and what my job is as a firefighter. It just seems that we are missing the mentors within our firehouses. Veterans instead of pushing the younger generation a side lets step up to the plate and teach them the job like your mentors did. The fire service is changing and to keep up with the changes we need the fire house mentors back. Make sure they do the job safely and understand what it is to be a firefighter. Remember these young firefighters are the future and I know I want the young firefighters at my house to be able to do the job safely and make the right choices when they are officers and veterans. Now for the Rookies, you are the future of the fire service and you say you feel like you don’t fit in because the veterans push you a side. The next time the veterans at your house push you a side challenge them to be mentors, ask them how to use a peace of equipment or what does firefighter safety mean to them. Remember the only dumb question is the one not asked so teach them to be mentors so that they can teach you to be firefighters. I don’t buy the saying that “we don’t fit in” you became a firefighter for a reason and we all know its not because of the money. This job is dangerous enough to be well trained and safe but its worse when your not trained right and safety is lacking. Rookies and Veterans it is your personal responsibility to learn and teach each other what it truly is to be a firefighter. The tools are there , 16 Life Safety Initiatives, Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives Resource Kits, and much more so use them to teach and learn to be firefighters and mentors. Our main goal as Firefighters , Veterans, and Rookies are to be well trained, do the right thing , make safety a priority, and most importantly insure that Everyone Goes Home.
By Captain Vincent Curry
Everyone Goes Home PA State Advocate