(above photo is from Châtenois, Bas-Rhin)
First off, I’ve only been around EMS/FIRE for about four years now. In those short years, I’ve noticed something. There’s a lot of disrespect shown, but not on purpose…I don’t mean to offend anyone with this, but more shed some light to all of us new in this field. If we all want to work together, we all have to be easy going and earn our way.
Everyone has to work hard..but since we’re new, we have to work x10 as hard. That doesn’t mean run around on a scene until you pass out. It means answer the phone, do the dishes, clean the rig, study the books and offer to do the chores without being told/asked. It’s not sucking up, It’s showing the respect that your station/home, along with co-workers, deserve.
Sleep is important, but so is the rest of your crew members life. Be early, like 15-20 minutes early. These men/women have put in their time. They deserve to go home, without catching a late call, and enjoy their time off. I get it, getting up early sucks but just do it. I was a bricklayer and a wrestler in school. I hated those early mornings, but If you aren’t 15 minutes early you’re late (like everyone else says)
Take the jokes. Usually if no one gives you a hard time, it’s because they know you can’t handle it. No one wants to worry if they’ll be getting reported for some harmless joke. It’s about earning your way. Take the jokes like Tyson or like a fairy. You make the decision on what offends you. These men/women are suppose to be the ones you trust with your life. How are they suppose to trust you with theirs, If you feel the need to report a joke that hurt some feelings….My grandfather once told me, “If we weren’t joking around with you, we probably didn’t like you”. The truth to that is, they didn’t mind having the “new guy” around if they saw he could work hard and was willing to learn.
Now that I mentioned being willing to learn, be willing to learn..always! Don’t be the young new guy that has a war story because you don’t. Sure, you may have been in this hardcore fire or intubated a dude while pulling him from the fire, but it doesn’t matter. Back to another saying, a firefighter from near Colorado once told me “even if you know more than someone, let them talk. Your knowledge will come up at some point. Never make them feel disrespected for showing you something because next time, they won’t”. I think a lot of us, that are new to this field, are so used to expressing our voice because society has allowed it. We forget that this is the real world. Experience means more than knowledge in all types of situations. Let the experience guys speak. We have one mouth and two ears for a reason.
I could cover a lot more, but there’s so much to say. This wasn’t meant to hurt someones feelings (but I’m sure it will). It was meant to maybe give someone new in this field that mental spark of realization. Before someone says, “you’re young what do you know”. Ill be the first to say I don’t know a lot. What I can say though, is I’ve already had the chance to experience a lot of life in a short time. This ranges from meeting an assistant chief of New York Fire in a rural firehouse somewhere in France, up to doing ride time on a rig for two days in Germany. No one owes us anything, we owe our elders in this field (and out of it) everything. Never forget that..
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