Station Pride Articles

Know YOUR Role!

I’ve heard it more times than I have ever cared to hear it. It all started when I was new and sounded like, “yea, great kid, but shut up and know your role.” Nowadays it sounds like, “he/she needs to shut up and know his/her role!”

Are you seriously that insecure about your ability or inability to do your job that you are threatened by a rookie who knows more about what’s in a book than you do? Or just because he’s opened it more recently than you?


Get the freaking chip off your shoulder, “Bro”. They will work circles around some guys/gals, and you’re going to bad-mouth him/her in front of other members in your own department because he/she “doesn’t know his role”?

Screw that man. Be better than that. Build somebody up instead of knock people down, just because you’re scared.


There is literally years and years of experience between your ears that you could teach this guy/gal, but you’d rather make them feel bad for speaking up because your lack of book knowledge is embarrassing. Get off your self-built pedestal because nobody owes you a damn thing! Get your hands dirty training on things that you may think are below you, when in fact, they are still your job too!image If you’d shut your mouth and watch this rookie work, you might be a little impressed. Instead, you would rather point out how much you got screwed when you were new, so by God, he/she needs to, “Shut up!”, and “Know his role around here!”

Educating younger members of the fire service starts with older experienced mentors. Period. It’s the front line fire imageofficers that theoretically have the experience and knowledge to pass on to the younger members. Not the book knowledge. Trust me, the new guys just pulled their heads out of their Probationary book while yours is holding a desk fan up, so it’s quieter while you nap.

Physical, “hands-on” tool training teaches new and old firefighters more than anything out there. It creates bonds, builds trust, and strengthens confidence while mentoring a young, moldable mind. Better morale can be found on a firefighter, shift, and department level just by training more frequently.

Repetitive, hands-on, purposeful education is satisfying to the type of personality that makes a imagefirefighter what they have always wanted to be. Not to mention, it makes “Little Jeffery”, the rookie, happy to know he has a new “tool in the toolbox”.

Take your helmet off. Leave the speaking horns on your shirt in your locker and go outside. Get your hands dirty with YOUR BROTHERS/SISTERS and stop having so much animosity towards anybody younger and newer than you.

You have the potential to make your department great! You’re not hurting anybody but yourself when you treat people like trash.


About James Cook (32 Articles)
James's great grandfather was a career Firefighter, his grandfather was a firefighter, making his way to fire chief in his home town and taught at Texas A&M fire school for 50 + years. James’s grandfather on his dad’s side was a naval firefighter in the Navy Seabees, James’s father has been a paramedic since 1979, and his mother’s a nurse also. James himself is a career Captain / EMT-I in northwest Texas, and has been in the fire service since Aug/2005. James loves teaching as much as learning the craft.

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