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The hardest thing to do in the fire service is administrative work. Let’s face it, we would all like to be running calls. The reality is paper work fills up our days. Of all the admin work we do the hardest is discipline. We have had employees that are not performing at a level that is the standard. As an officer you can’t tell your chief that FF Doe can’t do the job. There must be paper work documenting their sub-par performance. Their IPPA (annual evaluation) must reflect poor performance. There will need to be a work improvement plan to aid this FF to meet the standard. Once all that has been done and he/she is still not operating on par then and only then can you forward your paper work, documentation, IPPA’s and the work improvement plan outlining their deficiencies to the next level. Once you have done your part it is in the hands of the Ops. Chief and the Fire Chief to determine the best course of action. All this work could take up to 6 months to a year. As an officer it is your responsibility to ensure all your people are doing the job and all go home.


I have done 3 work improvement plans as a Capt. and the outcomes was favorable, but make no mistake it took a lot of my time away from the company. Having good MFF and Lieutenants (if you have them) assisting with running the shift during the time you are taking care of the Admin part of the job will assist you immensely.


I have talked to officers in my travels and they tell me it is easier to make the employee transfer to another shift or station, than to do the documentation to prove poor performance. The overall feeling is nothing will happen and all that work will be for no reason. I challenge them and ask them how do they know that will happen, if they have never initiated the process?  I tell officers that sometimes our job is hard and sometimes we have to take care of problems and not just pass the buck. Being an officer is not just running fire calls. Most of the time the  job is administrative.  Be a leader. Your shift will thank you for looking out for their best interests and safety.

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