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NVFC instructors provide guidance for new fire service members

June 25, 2024

Instructors highlight key advice for new fire service members

As reported by the National Volunteer Fire Council, the 2024 NVFC Training Summit provided a platform for seasoned fire service professionals to share their insights with new recruits.

The guidance offered was aimed at helping newcomers establish a solid foundation in their fire service careers.

Joe Maruca, retired chief of the West Barnstable Fire Department in Massachusetts, emphasized the importance of service orientation: “You must like people and like helping people. It’s not about you.”

Bill Hopson, a captain with the Beachwood Fire Department in New Jersey, advised recruits to stay focused on their initial motivations: “It is important to never lose sight of why you applied in the first place. This is a calling that not everyone can answer.”

Experienced leaders stress the importance of continuous learning

Brian McQueen, past chief of the Whitesboro Fire Department in New York, highlighted the need to leverage the potential within the ranks: “Your future leader search within your department starts when that new recruit walks in the door. Don’t waste an opportunity.”

Timothy Cowan, deputy fire chief with the Dewitt Fire District in New York, underscored the necessity of ongoing education: “Never stop learning. The day you think you have learned everything is the time to retire and move on from the fire service.”

John Oates, president and CEO of the International Public Safety Data Institute, reiterated the value of mastering one’s role and mentoring others: “Learn your position and become proficient in that role.

“Teach your role to the person below you; learn the position of the person above you.”

Building relationships and confidence in the fire service

Jan Spence, an international speaker, author, and consultant, encouraged new recruits to build personal connections with their colleagues: “To ensure a successful start to your new role, I encourage you to ‘lean in’ to get to know your fellow station members on a personal level.”

Alisa Arnoff, founding member of Scalambrino & Arnoff, stressed personal accountability: “It all starts with YOU – make me proud that I am in the community you serve.”

The summit’s diverse range of speakers provided a comprehensive set of guidelines for new members of the fire service, emphasizing the importance of continuous learning, building strong relationships, and maintaining a service-oriented mindset.

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