A brand new class of recruits has graduated from the Division of Training and are now settling into the firehouses throughout the City. I applaud them for making it through and for giving it their all to be welcomed into their probie houses for the first 4 month rotation.
They will either spend those 4 months assigned to an engine or truck company, then another 4 months on the other prior to being retested and released into the wild known as “Unassigned.”
Having a probie in the house is both a blessing and a curse.
- First of all, no more toilets to clean when there’s a probie about. But chances are their last job didn’t have them doing janitorial skills for 2 hours a morning, so usually it has to be redone.
- They’re behind on the cooking charts, so we get a break from cooking for a bit. Again, unlikely they cooked for 9 at their last job, so the portions will be off for a few weeks.
- We won’t have to sit by the phone on the day watch anymore. Or will we? When the probie answers the phone, then sheepishly looks around the room of people they just introduced themselves to and asks “Is there a Justin here today?” we might as well just keep on answering it.
- Drills drills drills. And not the regular go grab a hydrant and flow some water drills, but the go through it 50 times in 50 different ways drills since we’ll be trusting the newbie with our lives as soon as 2 minutes from now if we catch a fire.
- Speaking of fire, no nozzle time for a bit, probie needs the experience. Fine by me, I’m a layout guy anyhow.
- One less person to trade with in house.
- More details to other houses since the probie needs to stay with a regular officer. Pack your bags.
But in the end, they need to fit in with the company they’re assigned to. Too often in recent years probie classes have hit the floor on day 1 with a sigh of relief that they finally “made it.” Wrong attitude McFly. Stepping foot into our house, our home, is not your destination. You are a guest. A regular guest, but a guest just the same.
That means full station uniform at all times, even in the morning before you get relieved. You will offer to take the nightwatch and not take no for an answer.
It means that wen you are cleared to dress down for PT, you allow time to get clean and back into uniform prior to the meal.
Being a guest also means not lounging on the couch, no matter what the senior members may be doing. Grab a manual or a couple fathoms of rope and make yourself busy.
This is your time to get up to speed, not downshift. You may think you’ve got it made and have crested the plateau, but fortunately in this business, one accomplishment simply leads to another opportunity to improve, excel and advance.
Welcome probies, now get upstairs and clean the Rescue Captain’s room!