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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

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Comment by Brad Hoff on March 8, 2010 at 5:33pm
Great post! Mentoring seems to be dying and should not be considered a lost art but brought back with an importance as if it were the "Holy Grail" of firefighting!

Rookie's! You should be asking peers about everything we do in the fire service. If no one wants to mentor you then the internet is an unlimited supply of knowledge you should use but more importantly you should have your nose in a fire service/firefighting related book or trade magazine all the time! This is especially true if you are on probation and have less than a few years of service under you. So you can be prepared for when a senior member asks you something pertaining to the job, you can provide an answer and prove to them you are willing to learn and not just there for a paycheck!

Veteran's: These days when we try to explain or give our younger folks/PBFF's or rookies a task, you know generation "Y" always ask "Why" So it's your opportunity and responsibility to tell them then if they don't get it, expalin to them why we do what we do in a productive and safe learning environment when they ask. Also keep our nose in the books and stay proficient so when a younger firefighter asks you something you will know what to tell them and not look dumb like you lost your love for the job and just here to collect a pension!

It's a two way street brothers and sisters, we all learn from each other and protect one another!

Do what's right!

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