Treating Toxic Teammates (4 of 5)

4.Lack of professionalism . AKA not knowing equipment on the truck. Not knowing how much hose we carry or what our nozzles are rated at.etc

uh oh….

I have a confession to make.

When I first promoted to Engineer. I thought I was good. I knew where all the equipment was and could get the lines charges quickly.

However, looking back now, I was not as professional as I should have been. I pumped everything at 100 psi, I had no idea what GPMs I was giving people. I could start all the equipment but knew little on maintaining or troubleshooting the equipment. I would find problems and create work orders instead of trying to fix it myself first.

Was I professional? At the time, I thought I was. I did not realize how much I was lacking until I was assigned to a Senior Captain.

You see the term “Senior” Captain has two meaning to me. The first one means that he had time on as a Captain. The second meaning, which is the most important, is that he took ownership to develop those on his crew.

This Captain would do morning trainings on hydraulic calculations. He made sure every Engineer and Acting Engineer knew how much gpm every nozzle was rated at and what pressure to pump it at to maximize its efficiency.

It did not take long, but I started to have a better understanding of nozzles, gpm, and pump pressures. Soon after I started doing the same type of deeper understanding of all the equipment on the engine.

So how much emphasis is being put on being professional in your firehouse?

When I first got my station as a Captain. We did similar pump operator trainings in the morning. The crew also went on and developed a cheat sheet that was laminated and mounted it to the pump panel for quick reference.

Most people do not realize their lack of knowledge or proficiency until they are educated on the area. Repetition is key for things like this to stick.

Too often, we just expect people to have a certain level of knowledge instead of helping them acquire this knowledge.