Well, where do we start? The chances are that you’ve seen the famous “Congrats Kid” quote somewhere on social media. And while that has some weight to it here are some more things to consider.
1. The next year will be one of the most difficult but rewarding times for you. Be a sponge and soak up as much information that you can from the senior guys.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you aren’t sure or don’t know. Your probationary period is all about learning.
3. Check your feelings at the door. At some point, someone is going to say something that you don’t like. Everyone has different feelings and opinions. With that said don’t take things to heart.
5. Don’t expect to come into this career with a know it all attitude and a closed mindset. Every day is an opportunity for you to gain knowledge regardless of the topic.
6. Make sure you dress the part. No one likes a dirty uniform.
7. Hygiene is a big one. You wouldn’t want a slob taking care of your family on a medical or showing up to your fire.
8. This is your craft and profession, learn it! Own it! And be proud of it. An officer once told me “Don’t put 2 hours into learning something you need to know for the next 20 years”. Take time on your off days to study things you need to know (maps, address breaks, hydrant/FDC locations).
9. Don’t be the negative guy that no one wants to work with. Trust me it’s not a reputation you want. Have a positive attitude and outlook on things.
10. Don’t wait to be told to do something. If you see that it needs to be done take care of it.
11. Trust isn’t easily gained by your crew…, it’s earned throughout your probationary period as well as the rest of your career. It is however easily lost.
12. You’re going to make mistakes. If you do own up to it because chances are your officer already knows about it. Owing up to mistakes shows responsibility. It takes a strong person to admit when they’re wrong.
13. If you don’t already know, learn to household tasks, dishes/laundry/cleaning/washing the rigs.
14. Keep the coffee flowing. It’s much appreciated by everyone. Pro tip: bring the good stuff in.
15. Show up early (30mins) for your shift and check your equipment, so it’s ready to go when that call comes in during shift change.
16. Make sure before going to bed, the station is picked up and tidy. No one likes it when dishes are left dirty, or the trash is full.
17. Try to be the first one up in the mornings. Set an alarm if you need to.
18. Understand that everyone above you in seniority has been in your shoes at some point.
19. Have fun. They say to do a job you love, and you’ll never work day in your life.
20. If you aren’t already in good physical shape now is a perfect time to start. This job is labor intensive, and fitness is a huge aspect of it.
21. Understand that the fire service is one big family. There’s a lot of camaraderies, history, and tradition. It’s an honor to be considered part of this family.
Over the next year or so take the time to invest in yourself and the department you now represent. Do it with pride and honor. This is by far the best job in the world. Enjoy it and be safe.