101 Rules for the New Firefighter April 10 2013, 80 Comments
1. When working at a new house for the first time, shut-up, work hard, and pay attention. I can promise you that everyone is paying attention to you.
2. The young firefighter knows the rules, but the old one knows the exceptions.
3. Let the tool do the work.
4. Be like a duck. Remain calm on the surface and paddle like hell underneath.
5. "Twenty-five years from now you will be more disappointed by the the things that you didn't do than the ones you did."
6. Don't make a scene and never disrespect your brother.
7. Never take the seat that faces the television when sitting at the dinner table.
8. When in doubt, take a halligan.
9. Two hands. Two tools.
10. Never claim to be what you're not. Time reveals all things.
11. If you don't know what you're doing, say so.
12. When approaching a fire scene, it is imperative to slow down three blocks before arrival.
13. Suck it up.
14. You shouldn't worry when the guys make fun of you. You should worry when they don't say anything at all.
15. Give Credit. Take the blame.
16. Never turn your back on the fire.
17. When things go wrong, don't go with them.
18. Always show up to work at least a half-hour early. There is no better gift you can give to guy or gal your relieving.
19. Never trust the hand lights on the truck. Buy your own.
20. Don't gloat. Don't brag. The guys will do it for you.
21. Take pictures often.
22. Seek out the busiest units and the best officers.
23. Drink coffee.
24. Don't tell war stories to non-firefighters. No one thinks its as exciting as you do.
25. Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.
26. Don't be so eager to get off probation. The time you spend riding backwards will be the most fun you have in your career.
27. Never be the last one to the truck, or the sink.
28. Be the last one to bed.
29. Don't be afraid to fail
30. Drill. Drill. Drill
31. Never respond to criticism in an e-mail.
32. Surround yourself with smart people.
33. Maintain a healthy fear of this job.
34. Stay committed to being a life-long student of the fire service
35. Share your ideas and observations. You never know it could save someones life.
"I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow."
36. Learn to cook at least two great meals.
37. Read John Norman's book, Fire Officers Handbook of Tactics
38. One fire sticker on your car is more than enough.
39. Don't complain about how many calls you had last night. No one cares. Least of all, the people that are working 9 to 5 jobs while you're napping.
40. Have pride in your department, but more for your station.
41. Be precise.
42. One of the best ways to learn is to teach--even if its teaching what you just learned.
43. Don't panic.
44. Befriend the driver. You won't get anywhere without him.
45. Go down fighting.
46. If you're carrying more than one knife, you're a moron.
47. Be careful what you put on paper or e-mails. You can't take it back.
48. Don't scribble in the logbook.
49. Learn how to swim. You don't want to be the guy that can't go near the water.
50. When you're a guest at a house (on overtime or just there for the day), follow their rules.
51. Offer to help before you are asked.
52. The phone and the doorbell are always for you.
53. Just because you have the uniform, that doesn't make you a firefighter. . .It just makes you a city, county, or government employee. Your peers will let you know if you're a firefighter or not.
54. When spending money, good quality leather boots are always worth the investment.
55. Never call out sick on a drill day.
56. If you don't have kids, Christmas is not as important to you. You should not be asking for the day off.
57. The one true measure of a successful shift is returning home safely.
58. Don't date a co-worker.
59. Carry two wedges and 20' of webbing.
60. You will find no better camaraderie than in a firehouse
61. Don't talk about the other department you worked for. No one cares.
62. Participate in a good practical joke.
63. Introduce yourself. Don't be offended when you're not remembered. You're not memorable--yet.
64. Treat your body well. You'll be glad you did.
65. Always have $20 in your wallet. No one wants to take you to the ATM.
66. Learn your territory. Know it like the back of your hand.
67. When you are out in public, never criticize your own department. You can make up for lost time on your next shift.
68. Take the stairs.
69. Don't show off. Impress.
70. When using a power saw, patience, form--not strength are needed to make the cut.
71. Choose the right blade.
72. Fire is always changing and you cannot be stationary in your attitude to something that is always changing.
73. Never criticize a fire or a call unless you were there yourself.
74. Don't wear your fire t-shirt to the gym unless you plan on giving mouth to mouth. Trust me, its never going to be the 18 year old co-ed with sweatpants that read, 'juicy' across her butt.
75. Be patient with the ER staff. They can't help that they chose such a miserable career.
76. Dorms are for sleeping. Turn the tv off and hang up the phone.
77. Don't go cheap on the ice cream and the coffee should be from Dunkin Donuts.
78. Courage is not the lack of fear, it is acting in spite of it.
79. You are what you do. Not what you say.
80. One of the most difficult and dangerous things to do on a fire scene is backing a truck up.
81. Pace yourself.
82. A fellow firefighter who is not willing to share their knowledge is suspect.
83. Avoid gossip
84. The common sense approach is usually the best way.
84. Stick to the plan. You haven't been at it as long as you think you have.
85. Follow instructions.
86. Read John Mittendorf's book Truck Company Operations.
87. Attend fire conferences. You'll see that your department is not the center of the universe and there are other guys that are already doing it smarter and better than you are.
88. Be the guy that everyone has to say, " take a break. You're making us look bad."
89. If your department allows it, invest in a leather helmet.
90. Always look up and around and read Brannigans book Building Construction For the Fire Service. If you can't make an educated guess as to how a building will perform under fire conditions, you are putting yourself in danger.
91. Demand more from your officer.
92. It is a good idea to carry a multi-tool.
93. Never defend the liar, the cheat, or the thief.
94. When your officer tells you to take a nap, it's not a joke or a trick. He wants you to be worth a damn at 3am.
95. You don't clean a seasoned cast iron skillet with soap and water.
96. Shaving your arms is not cool. It's a good way to contract MRSA.
97. I'll take the chubby firefighter that can work all day over Mr. February who has to eat six meals, drink three protein shakes, and is no good to me after one tank.
98. Always eat dinner with your crew. Your diet is not as important as family.
99. Never ask the guys to lie to your spouse when he or she calls the station.
100. When it's your time to drive, always remember that you're now responsible for all the lives in the truck.
101. The day you show up to work hungover, or sleep deprived is the day everyone is going to need you.
I've actually got more than 101, but I thought I'd like to see if anyone has anymore. That's all for now.