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    Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 5

     

    Last week we discussed two fundamental character traits; those traits were maintaining a strong work ethic and taking the proper initiative.  This week we are going to cover two more equally essential character traits that will help you achieve success throughout your fire service career:

    1. You must maintain a positive attitude, and
    2. Have the mindset of sharing this with others while on duty. 

    The academy and the probationary period can be compared to a pressure cooker.  You will be pushed beyond your physical and mental limits.  However, having a positive attitude with the correct mindset will enable you to overcome this pressure.

    There will be bad days.  There will be days where you will be completely broken down.  You will find out what you are made of and what your limits are during this process.  It is essential to know what your pain threshold is and also what you are capable of achieving under pressure.  This is a profession where you will be under pressure your entire public safety career.  It is essential to learn how to improvise, adapt, and overcome in this stressful environment.  Remember, this is the best job in the world.  Every day we are on duty is an opportunity to help someone that needs us to mitigate his or her emergency. 

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    Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 4

     

    There are two-character traits that will help you stand out from the rest throughout the probationary period; those traits are maintaining a strong work ethic and taking the proper initiative. When it is time to go to work, you have to roll up your sleeves, because work is always the answer. Take the initiative when something needs attention around the firehouse. Don’t walk past any job that you can handle, especially the empty toilet paper rolls or the overflowing kitchen garbage can. The moment that you identify something that needs to be taken care of around the firehouse, nominate yourself to accomplish these simple tasks.

    While in the probationary period, you must maintain a sense of urgency when you are performing work around the firehouse.  When your officer or senior firefighter requests your presence, take the initiative, and move with a sense of purpose.  There is a term called fire-ground pace in the fire service.  A fire-ground pace is defined by moving with a sense of urgency.  Start off probation by maintaining this sense of purpose and urgency in your movement. It is up to you to keep this fire-ground pace throughout the completion of the probationary period and beyond in your fire service career.

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    Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 3

     

    This is a profession where you have to make the commitment of becoming a lifelong learner.  The fire academy is over, and now you have found yourself in the Jumpseat.  Congratulations, you have arrived; however, the learning doesn’t stop at the completion of the recruit academy!  The learning has just begun with the start of the probationary period.  The main difference between the academy and the job is that you now have to distance yourself from the textbooks.  The classroom is extremely important, and now you have to take what you learned within those four walls, and apply it to the street.

    You will be issued a stack of textbooks; a task book sign-off binder and a punch list of everything that you have to complete, by the end of the probationary period.  This is the time to lead throughout probation and learn time management, among many other things.  In this profession, it is impossible to learn too much.  Always keep the mindset of being a student of the fire service.  The moment that you think you have learned everything about this profession, you will be humbled with an important lesson on humility. 

    It takes a perfect balance of education, certifications, time-in-grade as well as experience, to become a seasoned firefighter.  The task book is the initial phase of the learning process in order to go from a recruit firefighter to an entry-level firefighter and beyond.  It takes many years to receive the experience needed to be successful in this profession.  The learning never ends if you want to be the best of the best. Be humble; keep your nose in the textbooks and your physical presence on the training grounds.  The only way to successfully pass the probationary period is to learn about the job.  This is the opportunity to ask questions from the instructor cadre.  Take the initiative, and train like your life depends on it because in this profession it does. 

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    Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part 2

     

    You have survived the first week as a probationary firefighter in the best career in the world. You might need to pinch yourself because you possibly feel like you just won the lottery. The first week undoubtedly went by so fast, that it feels like a blur and you are still in the process of trying to find out how you will “fit-in” to the firehouse culture. The last article covered the roles, responsibilities and the duties of being a probationary firefighter. This article is going to focus on the character traits that are necessary to pass the probationary period and these traits will also make a major contribution in building important relationships in the firehouse.

    It is very important to have your own unique morals, values, and ethics prior to gaining entry into the fire service. These traits are the reference point for anyone seeking a career in this field. It is those same traits that you will need to harness and rely upon while leading throughout probation. Always do the right thing. Do not participate in any activity that is illegal, immoral or unethical on or off duty in your fire service career - period. The impact of violating these values will be catastrophic for your fire service career.

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    Leading Throughout Probation and Beyond in the Fire Service: Part I

     

    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 to the fire station.  Early is comprised of at least 60 minutes prior to the start of our shift.  Several tasks are essential and required to be completed before we can officially start 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 of 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.

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