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Bernhard

How to deal with a whacker wanting into the team?

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As some of you know, by accident I'm responsible for a bunch of volunteers doing a great work here in my home village, not EMS (which is covered by countie's EMS where I happen to work as well) but non-transport first responding, disaster service, standby covering of events and such. Now I'm confronted with a situation I would like to discuss here - I may have my way to handle it based on my experience, but this time I will take the more scientific approach and ask you all. :)

Situation: we have a new apprentice volunteer since february 2012. He's 16 years old, already member of his hometowns (neighbouring town) fire department youth group, member in his school's medical first responder team and now willing to get into my squad. He already got the advanced first responder course (56hr training, basic level needed for our team) from his school engagement. So far, OK. But he tends to step on my nerves. Every occasion he sees me he wants to get his equipment/clothing ASAP to be ready for service. But until now he actually had no time for a real assignment, always some excuses. After I told him there is a discrepancy between his time/age/training ability to be in service and his eager will to get proper clothing (which he will get when he needs it, sure, no need to constantly push me), he wrote me a large email. In this he did a lot of excuses about how his engagement in fire service and some duties within his family prevented him from attending our team's assignments. However, best thing in the email was a pathetic section how I dare to question his commitment to our team. Oh yeah, and how I dare! Then he described himself as a totally whacker ("even those in fire department say this") to make a proof!

On the positive side: he still is young and maybe if he's a bit older he may get a clue.

So the big question is: Should I throw him out now or let him some time? Due to our regulations I can give him a probation time of 2 years (!) maximum, within that I can fire him without any reason. What will be your decision or how would you try to find out?

I would appreciate any input, especially from those young ones who still may see something from this in themselves. Thank you!

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Tough one Bernard, you sit him down and say " I so appreciate the fact that you want to do this. You have some very good qualities but there is an issue. With this volenteer job there is a certain amount of training and attendace required in able for me to feel safe of you doing this job. If you really dont think that you can give me at least the minumum amount of time I will have to ask you to step down. If you can right on and lets start again."

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How much time and effort do you want to devote to child raising? How do your crews feel about participating in the child rearing. The youngster appears to have opportunities to mature on someone else's turf (the neighboring fire department). I would gently explain to him that there is not room currently on the team for him, but to keep in touch and offer to assist from time to time.

edited because my thumbs hit the touch pad and posted before I was done

Edited by Kaisu
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Sit him down and get him to either commit to the team or to back off of it himself. It sounds like he's passionate about this work, which is rare and fleeting; everything else about him can be changed with guidance or he can be taught/trained to do. You can't teach anyone to have the drive to be a part of this profession, though.

The big issue is whether or not you can get him to commit to putting in the time required to be a part of the team.

Just my two cents.

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I give everyone a chance, just to see if their heart is in it. If it's not, or they're doing it for the wrong reasons. They lose my time and my respect.

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I think your vollie has the potential to go either way. The want or need for uniform, gear etc could either be his latent whackerisms, or, perhaps the dude just wants to be identified with your group, you know, be visually seen to part of the team.

Basically, this should be all about policy. Sit the kid down, explain whatever your groups policy is on attendence of training/assignements, probation and then the allocation of uniforms/gear. Then inform him of the units policy on codes of conduct etc and inform the squirt that penning abusive emails to the team leader is against your organisations policy. IF you stick to the policy argument and that this kid (if he is) outside the organisations policy then he will have to like it or lump it. It may be the kid doesn't realise that he is contra to the organisations policy so this should be a semi formal and light discussion that is directed to inform, but the fact that he is informed he is breaching policy measn in the future you can perform a formal intervantion if required, because the kid has been informed he is being an ass.

If you dont have written policy on these and other things then your organisation needs to develope some.

Also, at 16, you probably need another person in attendence as a witness for yourself and a guardian for them

And why are you letting yourself be pushed around by a 16 year old kid :D!

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I can almost relate here.. We don't give people uniforms or equipment, you just show up with whatever you have on.. Yanno, unless it's like a fire. But that kind of stuff is only issued to people who are trained to fight fires. A person comes in, we sit down and talk, I find out what their intentions are, what they want to do. One person can't do everything, I find that it's best to equip them with an important skill, and educate them to carry out that skill.

A young man came in, he wanted to volunteer. A thing in PA, dating back to the late 1930's, was a courtesy light. A rotating, solid, flashing or strobing light, blue in color, that historically identified a vehicle as being that of a firefighter who was reporting for a fire. It's not a license to drive fast, pass cars, etc.. People can pull over, they do a service to their community, if they do. But in this, the age of LED, since the Motor Vehicle Code only covers rotating lights. You can go beyond the two rotator rule. They come in all sizes and shapes, and yeah, some of them do look pretty cool. His objective? "What do I have to do to run a blue light?" I told him to go join somewhere else, and he left.

Now, I'm in charge. I am the leader. Who walks in, with a stack of paper that says this person is trained by the state fire academy. This older, but only in age, kid. Child. Drives like a maniac, in personal life, never responds to fires, because they told him "no way, you'll get killed" to the blue light. Says, I wanna be an EMT... so I can run my blue light. No. But we'll get you trained to help people. Class comes around, doesn't show up.

They weed themselves out, you just have to give them time.

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Bernhard,

Just a simple thought here:

This is why you have policies in place, to keep everything and everyone on a level playing field. I can appreciate the person's enthusiasm but he has to abide the same rules as everyone else.

Sit down with the lad and tell him how it is supposed to be and point out that he has to abide by policies regarding attendance, training, and other in house issues and tell him he has to make a decision (or stop wasting your time).

Chosing to send you desparaging email will not win him points with those that are in a position to vote him as a part of your team.

Hope all works out for you and the young lad!!

JMHO

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If all he wants to do is be a "joiner", then he's got to go. Wearing a uniform, alone, is not performing within the group. Pull the boy aside, explain that to belong requires certain obligations, such as, presumably, required hours per month (week?) needed of training or crew hours pulled. If needed, talk with the boy's family, see if they can help him make your requirements

We had a member of my VAC who never met the hours in 6 month requirement of the VAC, due to his job as a National Park Service Police Sargent, preventing him, for 2 years, from becoming a "full" member in good standing. We actually took a special vote to make him, in the specific wording, a "full and active member, just not in good standing."

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Our service prohibits anyone under the age of 18 and that does not hold an EMT cert from participating in rescue or prehospitalary operations.

This is not always followed to the letter but the rule exsist to fall back on if needed.

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