Firefighter Training, Firefighting

Is What We Are Teaching Our New Firefighters Contradictory?

Issue 8 and Volume 166.

BY MARK vonAPPEN What makes a good probationary firefighter? You might answer any of a number of things. Words like diligent, considerate, quiet, and obedient come to mind. Certainly, these are some desirable attributes for a new firefighter, but it begs the question. Are the traits that we romanticize in the ideal probationary firefighter stifling critical thinking and stunting the development of the individual and, in turn, the growth of the organization? Are these the traits of a survivor? New firefighters must be provided with psychological safety to exercise their ability to think for themselves and solve problems. If they are allowed this individual sanctuary from sharpshooters, they will become stronger contributors to the company, the organization, and the fire service as a whole. BE SEEN AND NOT HEARD Cultural mores in the fire service often dictate that new firefighters follow orders and established traditions without question. The (flawed) theory…

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