Our new Rookie …

I posted Sunday on the graduation of Recruit Class #14 from our Regional Training Center.  See that post  HERE  .

I mentioned that I was getting a “Rookie” but I didn’t have any idea I would be getting one as good as I got …. meet Randy Armbrister!

So far, Randy is working out very well.  He’s an easy going  “farm boy” type from a little place called Max Meadows, Va. 

Easy going is always good around a firehouse, the “farm boy” part means he has a good work ethic. 

There are several different terms used for “new hires” across the country. Typically, a firefighter goes through some form of training before being assigned to a company. “Rookie” school,  “Cadet” school or a Fire Academy. While there, they are considered “recruits” ,”cadets” or “candidates”. Once they graduate, they then become “Rookies”, “Probies”, “Boots” or “FNG’s”.

If they live through their probation period (usually 1 yr) and meet all of their requirements, they will be released from probation to become firemen but, the training and learning doesn’t stop there. I’ve been on the job for 20 years and I still learn or see something new everyday! That’s another good thing about Randy. Being a farm boy, he understands commitment.

I feel pretty good about Randy’s assignment but I’m not sure yet how he feels …LOL. I’ve kept him pretty busy. Rookies live at the bottom of the food chain in a fire house. They get to scrub toilets while the senior men sweep the living room. They usually get a ton of responsibility as far as station duties etc. and tey are all the ones nobody else likes or wants to do.

Randy is no exception…. he has a huge work load here at Lucky #13. On top of routine station chores and equipment familiarization / check offs, he has the requirements of his “Rookie Book” to complete and then ME to contend with.  I’m on him pretty much ALL DAY.

I have to be…. I’m now responsible for his life. I accept that knowing that I will place his life in danger … maybe even on the next run (if need be). I need to know that he’s ready for that and the only way I can find out is  through training and interacting with him on a daily basis.

That said, we have and will train a lot. A LOT LOT. He told someone today that he has learned more in his 2 days in company than he did in Recruit School.

I know that’s not true but it may seem that way to him. Out in the companies, the Rookies get a different perspective. They learn “street ways” vs. “by the book”.

Even though his first day out was Sunday, we spent much of it out in the streets training. Portable radios, policies, procedures and a bunch of hydrant work. Even the simple things like getting dressed (turned out) is different when you get out in company. Getting all the belts , buckles etc right sitting in a parked rig at the training center is one thing. Doing it while screamingdown the street, red lights and sirens on your way to a possible house fire is another. LOL … he damn near hung himself on his first fire call. He had the headset cord wrapped around him like a big boa constrictor.Poor fella … I didn’t know how to write the call up … a rubbish fire or hanging..LOL.

Well, the training continued today. It’s not Sunday but it was near 100 degrees. Normally, I would have kept the crew in the AC unless out on a call.  The good news is that we flowed some water today so it wasn’t too bad on him.

Another benefit to him being a farm boy …. if he was at home, he would have been out side working anyway … he’s used to working in hot weather.

We worked on making the stretch and handling the line. Even though today is just his 2nd on the job, he’s the nozzle man. Our Lieutenant (Georgie) is off so Boots is driving and Randy is backwards by himself. Of course, if we catch a job; I’ll be right there beside him but still, that’s a huge responsibility for a 2nd day man!

He hasn’t bitched or complained one bit…. hell he hasn’t stopped smiling. A great attitude and personality. There’s no doubt in my mind why he received the “Chris Brown Character Award”  at graduation (an award voted on by his peers). Like I said, you’ll be seeing a lot of Randy here on Ironfiremen.com as we continue to build our his knowledge and skills. I say “our” because I’m learning too. I had forgotten what it’s like to have a rookie assigned when on a run. I’m used to getting out of the truck and going to work. I haven’t had to think about or worry where my firemen were … they were right behind me. I had to stop the other night .. “oh wait … where’s Randy?” LOL … that’s when I found him hanging by his radio cord.

 So anyway, keep checking us …. this is gonna be fun! We’re back on Thursday. Until then, stay safe and in house!

Captain Wines