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Thursday, November 3, 2011

The New Guy

As I arrived in Tanker 54 as the second piece on scene, the smoke was rolling pretty good. The fire had self-vented in back and was starting to really roll. Engine 54 was just getting set at the front door, their officer awaiting my passenger to pack up so they could have their two outside and go in.

Engine 54's engineer, Trev, was one of our newer part-time guys, but he had advanced well enough through the academy sessions and had passed his engineer stuff. We're not a huge department, so it is possible to get up to engineer within a year or two if you apply yourself, and he was one of these guys. Still, Trev didn't always come off as especially confident.

I set my pump into gear, and pulled the short section of 3" out of the far side pump panel's sideboard tray, laying it down at E54's panel. By the time I was ready to give Trev water and went back to verify he was ready, he had hooked up my supply line to one of his discharge ports. Nothing to make a scene over, I just told him where to move it. It was not the time for a learning discussion. Trev swore at himself and moved it. Guess we might need some more training for familiarity with the equipment, right?

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Trev was at the live fire and pump ops drill, with a handful of new guys and recent volunteer recruits also in attendance. For several of them, this would be their first live-fire exercise.

I was standing next to the instructor as he barked at the fresh faces. He wasn't being mean, he was just being true. I was sure my BS meter was broken, because when I turned it on, the needle didn't budge. Is this thing on? That's what kind of instructor was in charge that day. He told them that this was practice time, and not learning time. If you think you know what you're doing, do it and be evaluated. If not, stand back... watch... learn, and we'll get to you later. All business.

You see, Trev is in his fifth year with us now, and was hired full-time a year ago. He has turned out to be an excellent beginner instructor, and a fairly proficient engineer. I love watching him with the recruits because he takes ownership of them, and I like seeing how he has changed. He barks, but with passion and love. I wanted to give him a big hug and smooch because he turned out so well, but it would have ruined the mood.


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