Passing “It” On: Part 1

I recently taught an Instructor 1 class and one of the things that I really like to make a point to emphasize is that we need to  pay attention to those firefighters and officer who are “salty” and who have been around a while.

We know that we have to attend classes and that we must get our noses in the trade journals and worth while web sites, but do we really listen when our more senior members are “telling stories?”  If not, we really need to start paying attention.

As a disclaimer, not all senior members will share or they just have never been engaged in the fire service. But, even some of those guys have something to offer even if they don’t realize it.  Each story has a lesson and we need to recognize this and absorb all we can while they are here.

Okay, so where I am going with this?  A few days after finishing this class, we were doing the dinner dishes and the discussion came up from a couple of the younger guys about fires and training.  Some how the conversation turned to commercial buildings, more specifically strip malls and fast food restaurants.

Out of curiosity I asked one of them what the first thing they would do if they responded to one of these buildings with a slight haze, odor of smoke or even an alarm sounding?  His first response was to go to the electric panel.

Well, as most of you may know where I am going with this, we advised him that he was wrong.  He had never been taught to take a pike pole and lift a ceiling tile as soon as you walk in the door.  This is critical information and I was shocked that his captain had  not covered this at some point.  Granted, he spends a large majority of his time on an LSV, but this is something he should have known.

What we did was have a very informative training lesson while doing dishes. I am pretty sure this will stick with him for the rest of his career as we discussed some case studies on this type of fire.  It didn’t take a lot of class preparation or Powerpoint slides, just an eager firefighter and some older ones willing to share.

Talk fire and rescue.  This has to be a normal activity in the fire house.  If we can instill this in the newer generation they will pass it on also.  We owe it to them to give them every little nugget of information that we can, sometimes whether they want it or not.

What was passed on to you by someone that you worked or trained with? How did it change what you did in the fire service? Let us know your story and keep on fighting the good fight.

Stay safe and train hard.

1 Comment

  • Robby O says:

    I totally agree….You can learn something from everyone…even if its something you dont want to do (for example seeing a guy not wear his air pack and getting overcome with smoke, I learned that was something I did not want to happen to me)

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Jason Hoevelmann

Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal with the Sullivan Fire Protection District, a combination department, and a career firefighter/paramedic with the Florissant Valley Fire Protection District in North St. Louis County.

FE Talk: Humpday Hangout

Bertie Shiver Johnson
Cleveland School Fire of 1923
I have read this story over and over. I do genealogy and think I have some relatives..doing more research. Thanks for putting this out there.
2015-09-29 21:40:23
Jim lang
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
Direct result of lowering the Standards also and giving everyone a chance! The Job is no longer a calling it's just a Job to many these days! No more Pride Tradition Brotherhood etc etc....
2015-09-20 18:21:25
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
Saya setuju dengan pendapat dan pengalaman anda. Pekerjan rutin seorang petugas pemadam kebakaran adalah berlatih dan terus berlatih. Dan apabila di antara teman petugas pemadam kebakaran disini yang mempunyai materi latihan boleh kah saya meminta materi latihan pemadam kebakaran itu ? Salam kenal dari saya Petugas pemadam kebakaran bandara kualanamu international Medan Sumatera Utara Indonesia.
2015-09-20 17:13:40
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
Two years ago I was being trained and tested on required performance. I was able to do all but a duties. I attended every training session, asked questions and researched matters related to fire fighting. I couldn't drag another fire fighter and I had trouble "throwing" a ladder from ground to roof. I was released…
2015-09-20 16:35:03
How Dare You!-We Can No Longer Tolerate Incompetence!
Excellent article, after 30 years on the job I agree. What has always bothered me was why do firefighters too often find themselves in trouble? Why are we on an ice covered roof when we could more easily and safely removed glass from the second story. Why open up a confined space of decades dried…
2015-09-20 14:10:34

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