Jump to content
missfirefighteremt

Just a little respect?

Recommended Posts

I'm new (since July `11) to my local fire department. I'm a woman and I feel as I don't get respected as much being a woman as a man would be in our fire department. I'm newest first responder and second newest to firefighting. I've been on the department since July of `11. I can do just as much as a man can do but pee standing up. I show up for those late calls and it's only me and one other responder, and no body else will get up and go on a call. I have been up for 48 hours one week and just laid down and the pager went off, no matter how bad I wanted to just sleep, I went because I knew I was gonna be depended on to show up. No one else was gonna do it, so I put it upon myself to go. I guess I'll cut to the chase.

There's a man, I'll call him "Superior" since he is superior to me in EMS on the department. I don't know if he just plain hates women (as I've been told by a few in the department) or what. He likes to call the 'big shots'. He's yelled at me because my paperwork wasn't 'correctly' filled out when we went to a call where I was supposed to get the EMS bag, suction, defib and the paperwork (he walked in without grabbing something to take in with him). I had my hands full so I rushed the stuff in and came back out for the paperwork to fill out. He got mad at me for not bringing it with me and when I came back in, he yelled at me for not filling it out when he was reading off the vitals. He waited til he got in the rig to do this. I should mention the call we went on, brought back memories of the first call I ever went on. I tried apologizing but he wouldn't have a word of it.

Another time would be when we had a vehicle fire, our department policy is the responder rig rolls out with the fire trucks. I was the only one that was going as a responder and I rolled up the rig and went to park out of the way of traffic and such. He came up to me, told me to get my "butt" (putting that nicely) back in the truck and go back because I wasn't needed. I tried apologizing, but he wouldn't hear of it.

I can't be super-hero, but when I try my best, I'm always being put down.

I went through quite a bit when I was through EMT school and when I first started here.

My first call was a friend of mine, I had to go declare my friend dead, in the aftermath of his suicide. It took me a couple weeks to get back in order and ready to go back out again but my teacher wouldn't allow me to. I also had quite a few other calls that shook me but not as bad as my friend's did.

I'm asking for advice of how to handle 'Superior'. What do I say or do to make him understand that all I want is a little respect?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bluntly, he sounds like an asshole... and after fifteen years, well, seven days shy of it; there's a lot of assholes in the fire service and EMS. There's respect, and there's being civil. I can respect someone, but if they piss me off, I let them know. If they're disrespectful, we %#@!in settle that shit quick. Stand up for yourself.

Edited by 2c4
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If all you want is a little respect from this guy you need to stop rolling over every time he gives you grief over something.

Stop apologizing to this guy. Stop apologizing now.

Stand up for yourself. If he gives you a hard time over something and you know you're right then hold your ground. The hard part is learning and knowing which battles to fight and when. That's entirely on you.

You use the term "superior" to describe him. Is he your boss? Is there anyone in the organization more senior than him? This is important and here's why:

What you're describing, if true, could potentially constitute a hostile work environment. You need to start keeping notes of every negative interaction with this guy. Notes should include time, date, location, reason for the interaction (on a call etc...), what he said and how it was said. Include also your reaction and what you said to him in response. Record his reaction to you. Get other people who've witnessed this (better if it's people you trust) to make similar notes of their version of events. Then, when you have a record of multiple incidents (the exact number is up to you), take it to your boss and explain that there's a problem. Your notes will outline the problem, how you've tried to address the problem with this person and his reaction. If this guy is your boss, go to the next higher up.

Also, you need to define some limits with your organization. You've responded to calls on no sleep in the previous 48 hours? Do you have any idea how stupid/dangerous that is? Don't respond to that question with "but they depend on me" or any similar nonsense. You will do no good if you fall asleep while driving or taking care of a patient. You are not a one woman rescue squad. You cannot run every call. There are other members who they also depend on. Don't do their work for them. Don't do their work for them *especially* if you're exhausted. There are times when it's acceptable to turn off the pager and get some sleep.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It sounds like this is a redneck, knuckle dragger volly service, and if that's the case then it can just be a mess. You have people in positions of authority that don't even belong near a rescue vehicle, so logic often won't mean anything...

But as was mentioned in different ways above, the issue isn't the respect that you aren't getting from others, but the respect that you don't have for yourself. You need to figure out why you are doing this job and why you are willing to be treated in such a manner. Then you need to fix it and make it stop. If you are willing to beg to be allowed to be a part of something that makes you feel like shit for no pay..well, you're lost Girl...

Just the fact that shithead is walking into calls without equipment tells me that he's an idiot and a poser. I'm guessing that he's an EMTB? You know what they call a paramedic at an emergency without a jump bag? A spectator. An EMT or a first responder are even worse as they usually don't have the self control to stay out of the way. He's an idiot and you need to spend little to no time trying to earn the respect of people that aren't respectable to begin with.

And as Herbie said, if you're running calls when exhausted then you're part of the problem, not part of the solution. It takes maturity to be a productive, important part of an EMS call, and it sounds as if no one there is showing that they've got any.

Step back from this Babe, figure out why you do it and if you truly want to be a professional or simply another wanker driving fast. If you choose professional, and begin to act in that manner, you won't have to ask for anyone's respect ever again.

Dwayne

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As a woman who has been in EMS for nearly 20 yrs....heres some advice. STOP apologizing. Period! There has been some excellent advice given already and some important points.

1. You cant run every call. Being tired, falling asleep at the wheel will lead to a disaster that will ruin you and your service.

2. Stand up for yourself. As soon as you let this guy know that you dont HAVE to be there and you arent going to put up with his BS anymore, the quicker it will stop.

3. Being professional, whether its a volly service or paid, is a MUST. The patient and thier family dont usually remember the good you do. But they ALWAYS remember any dissent in the ranks.

I started in a volly service in NC. Then came home to NY and joined the local volly service there. There will always be someone in the company that doesnt like new people and will make thier life miserable if you let them. And you are letting him. Stop it. Now. Give him a little resistance, show him that you arent a scared, tired, little girl that is looking for respect. Earn it by refusing to bow down to him...in other words "grow a set".

From someone who has been there to someone up and coming....I promise you, once you take the advice given in all the above posts...life will get much easier for you. Good luck!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I totally agree with the above posts. Don't apologize. If he knows he can rattle your cage, he will continue to do so. If he is berating you in front of patients and families, ignore him, it is never the time and place to have that discussion. I had that problem once and once only. I flat told him after all was said and done that he has no right to talk to me in the way that he did and I was not going to put up with it. End of discussion. Never happened again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All good advice, especially from the ladies who have been in your position. You call this guy "superior", but is he actually someone who has authority over you, as in a chain of command, or is he simply a more seasoned provider? If he is a boss, you need to temper your response, but as was said, you still need to stand up for yourself in no uncertain terms. I assume you have no issues with other peers in your job?

Often times- especially in the fire service and EMS, this is a form of "hazing". Not saying it's right or wrong, it just IS. The old timers-essentially anyone who has a bit of seniority- like to bust the chops of the newbies- just to see if they can handle it and how they respond. That said, this guy may simply be an asshole, but either way, do not allow yourself to be treated like a doormat. Make certain you fulfill your job responsibilities, be eager to learn, provide good patient care, and follow the rules, so that way there will be no question of your competency. If that does not earn you his respect, then you may simply agree to disagree- he won't be one of your allies at the company. You will still need to have a sit-down with him and lay out the ground rules about your working relationship. Ask him exactly what his problem is with you- maybe he's be honest about it, but most likely he will not. Ask him exactly how you are not fulfilling your obligations or living up to expectations.

Look- you cannot mandate how someone feels about you. Sometimes we just have personality clashes. It happens, but regardless you still need to have a working/professional relationship, so either you stop this mistreatment, or find another job. This guy sounds like he won't let up any time soon, so you need to be proactive about this- it's YOUR career.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Often times- especially in the fire service and EMS, this is a form of "hazing". Not saying it's right or wrong, it just IS.

I'll say it, then.

Hazing is wrong. It has no place in any professional setting. There are other ways to build an esprit de corps than to belittle, humiliate and demean up and coming members within any organization.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hazing, hell, I'd kiss peoples ass to get them to become active. You couldn't imagine the amount of money put into recruitment and retention over the past twenty years. If it is a volunteer agency, this dude has to go. I've spent about 60 hours in a classroom, learning how to be an effective EMS leader, and I'm not even in charge. I just do the paperwork, but I'm the PR guy. I try to convey the "join our family" message to people, not join our kick ass fraternity. There's no room for an attitude like this in modern EMS. Just sayin'

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
This thread is quite old. Please consider starting a new thread rather than reviving this one.

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...