The Future Firefighter Podcast
The stage is set. Family members, friends and mentors are in the audience, patiently watching you on stage for your pinning ceremony. Few milestones in life are held in such high regard. The moment when you find the one you want to spend the rest of your life with and marry to become your significant other. The birth of a child is also a moment that you will truly treasure and never ever forget. And this day, when your dream career profession came true, and you were pinned with the badge of a public servant.
The oath of a public servant is an oath of dedication to a lifetime of customer service. Remember this moment when you committed to serving your community. The work of a public servant is never-ending in the pursuit of service. At the end of every call is an opportunity to engage members of our community positively. There is no greater reward than a lifetime of service.
My challenge is for you to find an inspiring mentor in this profession. Allow yourself the opportunity to become his or her mentee. Develop into the Firefighter and leader that you desire to become. Accept constructive criticism in stride and strive to become a better person daily. Respect their wisdom with grace and listen to their feedback with enthusiasm. Leaders lead by effectively developing future leaders from within their ranks.
The role of every Firefighter should be to help the future Firefighter receive their dream career position. Pay it forward and give back daily to the future of the fire service. Find those golden opportunities to inspire the members of your community also to become future public servants. The future of our profession requires all of us to actively engage these future members in a positive and meaningful way.
Your experiences throughout your career are yours and yours alone to mold. Be sure to make the most out of each experience to elevate your future success. As a public servant, it is up to you to continue this lifetime commitment of service beyond self. The future of the fire service rests firmly on your shoulders.
From our first day in the fire service, we have the opportunity to be a leader and lead throughout probation and well beyond, until long after our retirement. This article is not the perfect recipe or golden ticket to pass probation. It takes more than a list of rules to be successful in passing probation. Ultimately, the responsibility of passing the probationary period rests firmly on the probationary Firefighter's shoulders.
On our first day, as we embark upon this prized career in the fire service, it is necessary to show up and arrive early at the fire station. Early is comprised of at least 60 minutes before the start of our shift. Several tasks are essential and required to be completed before officially starting the day on "Big Red" in the Jumpseat. Don't be late in this profession! You will be left behind at the station if you are late and more importantly, you don't get a 2nd chance for a 1st impression!
Someone has to raise the American flag. This is an opportunity for the probationary Firefighter to take responsibility for raising Old Glory for the community we have the honor to serve. It takes leadership from the probationary Firefighter to raise the flag. No one is going to issue this order because this is our responsibility. It is also our responsibility to lower the flag and properly fold the flag in the evening. Learn proper flag etiquette and take leadership in learning how to honor the American flag.
The probationary Firefighter must perform the next task of thoroughly checking their department-issued personal protective equipment (PPE). No one is going to check our gear for us in this profession. This is our responsibility to make sure our gear is in order and that we have all the required important pieces of our safety gear ensemble. Preparation is just one of the key ingredients to the recipe required for successfully passing probation. Thoroughly check all the components of our SCBA, including an air cylinder, mask and the batteries needed for operation. Also, check the flashlights and make sure the batteries are in proper working order. Make sure to have at least two working flashlights at all times. Thoroughly checking our safety gear and equipment on "Big Red" demonstrates leadership from the probationary firefighter level. As probationary Firefighters, it is our responsibility to ensure all Firefighter-related tools are accounted for and in working order on the apparatus.
Every fire station in the fire service needs fuel and that fuel is coffee. The task of making coffee falls on the probationary Firefighter. The probationary Firefighter is the barista of the fire station and this is an opportunity to take pride in making the best coffee for your co-workers. Learn where all the coffee-making supplies are located in the fire station. It is our responsibility to make sure these items are accounted for and never run out of stock. As a probationary firefighter, it is necessary to know the difference between coffee and tea. Learn the recipe for coffee; make sure it is always hot and in constant supply. Also, realize that not everyone may drink coffee; don't insult someone who doesn't drink coffee by asking him or her if they would like a cup. More importantly, if you want to really get to know your co-workers, learn their preferences, so you can be the best teammate you can be.