Probationary firefighters must learn how to perform their duties in emergency situations and work safely alongside co-workers. Learning proper firefighting techniques is just part of the process. There are other things required such as working in teams, understanding firefighting operations, responding quickly to emergencies, and keeping calm during stressful situations. These 12 tips can help teach probationary firefighters the skills they need to be successful throughout their employment.
It doesn’t matter what happens; you always need to have your emergency gear packed: helmet, mask and coat, boots and gloves, etc. Being prepared to fight will save many lives when an emergency occurs. You’ll feel more confident and more efficient if you are carrying everything you could possibly need.
Know where your firehouse is
Make sure you know where it is located and where all of the doors are leading. If you are unable to remember this information in a hurry, take a moment to look at the map or use GPS before entering the building.
Always do the right thing
This means being professional within your environment, showing respect for others, following all workplace policies, including those that might not affect you personally. In case your firehouse is destroyed in a fire, there are some items employees should grab, especially before starting down stairs:
• Your cell phone, laptop computer, and wallet (containing your insurance information)
• Your car keys, house key with spare batteries
• Important paperwork
Firefighters who are fit tend to be physically and emotionally stronger. Regular physical exercise is important because it helps reduce stress and increase energy levels. If your job involves lifting heavy objects, you probably want to stay in shape beforehand.
You may be asked questions about what happened on a previous shift or about an incident that occurred during an event you attended. Being truthful about your actions and abilities can make you seem humble as well as making you more helpful during incidents.
Have a good attitude
You can make yourself happier by finding something positive to think about every day. It’s helpful to develop daily habits that boost your confidence. For example, practice laughing often.
Look after others
You never know when someone will be sick, hurt, or even die, so try to remain alert and watchful for any sign of distress. As a firefighter, you’re trained to recognize symptoms and act accordingly.
If colleagues, supervisors, or managers give instructions or guidance, listen carefully and follow whatever is said to ensure you understand the full meaning of the message. Firefighters should pay attention to detail during tasks and avoid distractions that might cause mistakes.
Learn safety rules
Most of these are covered in a basic training course, but there are many more safety rules that go beyond what you learned during class.
Follow these guidelines while on the job:
• Wear proper identification that clearly identifies which department you belong to
• When approaching a building or vehicle, always face away from traffic
• Never lean or place equipment against another object
• Always keep clear of moving vehicles, particularly those that may have fluids or materials inside
• Leave all equipment in its original or unlocked position
• When carrying radio equipment, wear it correctly
• Keep equipment in good repair to reduce wear and tear
• Keep communications devices charged
Get along with people
Working with co-workers requires communication and cooperation. The best way to get along with people is to get to know them and find out what makes them tick. You probably already know that people respond better to a friendly approach than to one made coldly. Getting to know people also teaches you their strengths and weaknesses and helps you understand why they behave the way they do.
To get the best results, firefighters must plan ahead and think clearly before taking action in a given situation. They should identify their options, weigh the pros and cons of each one, then choose the best course of action.
Focus on the job at hand
When faced with a life or death emergency, time seems like no longer a factor. However, you still need to act quickly to protect yourself, your team members, and potential victims from harm. A few simple steps you can take to become more productive in case of emergency:
- Calm down – Don’t let adrenaline rush through your body. Take deep breaths and focus on your surroundings.
- Breathe properly.
- Plan what you’re going to do next.
- Decide what is most important for the next step.
- Determine your next action based on the goal.