Veterans’ Firefighter Advice to Rookies
New firefighters (rookies) often have questions about the field when they first start. That’s normal. There are some things that veteran firefighters would like rookies to know.
Watch and Listen
One of the biggest mistakes that a rookie firefighter can make is not paying attention enough. Talking too much can lead to so many other mistakes, so it is much better to watch and listen. Save talking for asking important questions.
Part of a Team
Always remember that you are part of a team. You do not run the show, and it is not your place to take the lead. Don’t think that you know what the officer is going to tell you to do, either. Wait for instructions before doing anything because the wrong move can mess up the rest of your team.
This is not a career for anyone who prefers to be lazy. Firefighting is hard work and requires that firefighters give their best. Some of the things that firefighters are called to include driving the fire truck, carrying the fire hose, running into burning buildings, and rescuing people and animals from fires. Be ready and willing to work hard.
Not a Know-it-all
No one knows it all. The veteran firefighters know more than rookies know, but no one knows it all. Rookies who act as if they think they know it all will find out how much they do not know. Know-it-alls risk ruining their relationship with fellow firefighters as well.
Leave Chiefs and Captains Alone
New firefighters are bound to have tons of questions. While it can be tempting to ask the fire chief or captain, think twice about doing so. The fire chief and fire captain have other things to deal with. Asking them questions could be considered bothersome. Instead, ask the senior firefighters what you are not sure about or need clarification on.
Being Scared if Okay
Fires are scary. Remember that you have been trained to exterminate fires, and you have equipment that puts out fires. Even so, there is nothing wrong about being scared the first time you face a fire. It’s okay to be scared even when you face the hundredth fire. Just don’t freeze up and make sure to do your job. That’s all that matters.
Know the Way Out
In every building you enter, make sure that you know the way out if an entrance gets blocked by the fire. Sometimes this will require quick thinking. Be aware of your surroundings at all times.