Be able to find it

A new firefighter’s duty

     Often as a new firefighter, members are curious as to where they will fit in. They joined because they wanted to help people and make a difference. They are anxious to participate in fire and rescue activities. It is often a surprise to them with the amount of training they will need. Explaining to them that they have become a part of a team is one of the first and most important lessons. I generally begin explaining the importance of responding safely when called. I then discuss how to select and don the proper personal protective equipment based on the emergency.

     After this we discuss what vehicle they will be responding in and the importance of wearing the seat belt. The next thing is what I consider the new firefighter’s duty on the scene. They must learn where everything is on the apparatus. They become the “gophers” on the scene. It is the new firefighter’s duty to learn what the tools are and where they are found. This doesn’t sound that exciting, but it is a crucial function. I explain if they are unable to locate the item requested by either the lack of knowing what it is or where it can be found will slow the department’s response.

     This month let’s take time to be certain all your new members clearly understand what is expected of them. Assign them to an experienced member as a mentor. Encourage the new members and the assigned mentors to meet at the station to go through the trucks together. You can take digital pictures and add labels to them for the new members to take with them to study.

Training Objectives

     Upon completion, the department should be able to….

     • Identify responsibilities of new members on your department.

     • Assign mentors to the new members.

     • Instruct the Mentors to explain equipment as they open the doors on the apparatus.

     • Ask the new firefighters to demonstrate the skill of retrieving the equipment.

     Scott Meinecke is a member of the Sheldon Volunteer Fire Department, an instructor for the Iowa Association of Electric Cooperatives, and field staff for the Fire Service Training Bureau. He can be contacted by email at




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