Soon the recruits will be graduating and coming to the field. Once they are assigned a shift and station, they will start training and learning the craft for their year of probation. There is a resounding complaint throughout the fire service that the new generation of firefighters do not possess the work ethic needed to be in the fire service, or the new firefighters are only here for a pay check. How can we change this perceived observation? For starters we must keep in mind that the new firefighters received basic firefighter training in the academy. They received very little information of what it is like in the station. For the year that they are assigned to a shift, it is the responsibility of all shift members to train and educate the new rookies about station life, pride and camaraderie. Make sure they know the history of the fire service, the County and the station they are currently assigned to.
Everyday there must be some sort of practical training session rain or shine and yes even in the snow. Ensure they master the skills to succeed. Explain to them why it is important to master each skill and how it will have an impact on an emergency incident. As for station life show them how to mop a floor correctly you would be surprised how many have never held a mop. Teach them how to properly clean a bathroom and explain why it is important to have a clean house. Show them the proper way to wash a fire engine and how to dry it off and clean windows. You may be thinking “ are you kidding me I need to show them how to do that stuff”? Absolutely. Some of these new rookies may be 18 years and just graduated high school and may have never used a washing machine or dust furniture.
Bottom line, do you want productive firefighters with a great work ethic? That has to be taught. The first year of a rookies career will define them for their career and will reflect on you and your shift. It is your choice, do the hard work and produce good firefighters or sit on the couch and perpetuate the problem.