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The fire service has a long-standing tradition of indoctrinating new recruits. In

past years it did not take much to get hired into a fire department. Many times all that

was needed was a family member who was already in the fire service or a good word

from a friend or a neighbor who knew the fire chief. Simple communication was enough

to land a job. To keep the job was even easier than getting in! All the training was O.T.J

(on the job); in fact, if you knew the fire truck was red you were ok to work, just learn as

you go.

Today’s fire service is much different. Recruits are coming into the service with

college education and training. A number of highly competitive tests are given in order

to get into a department. No longer can a person get hired with just a “good word” from

a friend. The recruit must be trained, qualified and ready for the job. Even though a new

recruit has the college and practical academic training, there are still many other skills

and tasks they need to learn in order to make them a valuable employee to their


Fire departments have learned that there is a high dollar cost in finding and

keeping good employees. We cannot afford to invest department time, man-hours and

effort into a new employee and come out with nothing in return. Nothing in return can

either be the recruit is let go for failing probation or they pass probation, but are a low

motivated employee who needs constant supervision. The low motivated employee is a

definite long-term problem that the fire department cannot afford. Therefore, it is


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