Let's look back to that very moment you received your gear after being voted into your local volunteer station or your first day at your career job. From those moments on there was always that person that's been on the job for quite a while, with years of experience that just took every new guy under their wing or anyone willing to listen. We can probably all look back and think about who our on the job mentors were or still are. They taught us about what it meant to be apart of this great profession or trade as some may call it. Everything from taking pride in what you had or where you were at. Teaching you about the traditions the ones before you started and that have been upheld for many years. How to be a disciplined member of this great public service we call the "Fire Service." But most of all, in that time you learned about and were shown the various meanings that make up that famous word we've all heard many times in the fire service "Brotherhood."
Now let's take another step back for just a moment. The new guy on the job today. Some of you just pushed away from the computer or dropped your phones and mumbled under your breath these new firemen aren't worth the uniforms we spend on them for lack of better terms but let's look at their first day compared to our first day years ago. New probationary firefighter fresh out of recruit school or just completed their necessary requirements shows up for his or her first day on the job and we automatically have unrealistic expectations from the moment we first lay eyes on them. They come in with a bundle of classes under their belts, we expect them to hop on the trucks ready to go with the knowledge it took us years to learn. So, is it really the younger generation killing the fire service or is it the older generation forgetting where we came from and how we were brought up in our very beginning or are we just shying away from Mentorship all together?
We as senior men have the responsibility to take each new probie under our wings and teach them the ways of the job and how to grow in this job. We must bring ourselves back down to earth and start having realistic expectations, setting the standard, and leading by example. Someone mentored each and every one of us and that's why we can say we are who we are today because someone put down their coffee or tea cup and took the time to show us how to stay alive. So why not give the new guy or girl the same opportunities we had growing up. In order to get the fire service back to where it once was we have to start re-teaching the fire service. Back to the basics in every aspect of the fire service. Teaching them to take pride in themselves, the trucks and equipment and they ride on, and the department's name they wear on their uniform.
Instilling discipline, it’s easier to keep them out of trouble than trying to get them out of trouble. Showing them traditions, and the meaning behind each tradition set forth by the ones before us. Pulling hose off the trucks teaching them how to deploy and rack hose loads and why they are good for the situations we face. The art of reading smoke and how fire travels. Various cuts in vertical ventilation most importantly the time and place and why we vent. Even putting them to the test on apparatus placement and pump ops. Start with a foundation and build upwards. The measurement of a leader comes from how many people you have helped become successful. So from this day forward, with every new probie, with every brother or sister looking for advice let's turn our shoulders no more. Reignite that spark, that passion, you had your first day on the job. Show your love for the job, influence those who are willing to be influenced, and let's re-teach the fire service to the new and even the old that have lost that spark they once had!
Love Your Job, Live Your Job, and Teach Your Job!