An Overview of a Discourse Community of Firefighters

Every career, club, and organization has its own type of community that defines it. A discourse community is defined as, “the focus of texts and languages, genres and lexis that enable members throughout the world to maintain their goals, regulate their membership, and communicate efficiently with one another(Ann M.Johns. 500)”. In discourse communities there are 6 characteristics that can be used. These 6 characteristics are, common public goals(where each person in the community strives to achieve the same thing), methods of communicating among members( which is when each person in the community communicates in their own unique way) , participatory communication methods(types of communication that empowers a community discover solutions to their development), genres that define the group( this articulates the operation of the community) , lexis( that is specific terminology based on the type of community), and a standard of knowledge needed for membership(Swales, 471-473). These characteristics are also known as the core qualities of a discourse community. Many of these characteristics or qualities are found in each person’s individual community.

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Many careers have their own type of discourse community. Firefighters are one community that together accomplish quite a lot. As a community firefighters are set out to accomplish four main goals. First being personal safety, second would be saving victims lives, third is saving property, and protecting the environment. Based on the definition of a discourse community, a firefighters community has meet all requirements set out by Swales.

Firefighters all share a common goal for protecting the community. Communication is also a big part of the job. Without communication firefighters would not be able to perform their tasks correctly and there would also be conflict among firemen/women. Public safety and Public service go hand in hand with a firefighters genre. This genre is not only used for firefighters, but for law enforcement and other first responders as well. Firefighters also have an abundance of lexis that is used throughout the field. There are over 300 abbreviations that firefighters must know while on the job. Some of them would be, AA(Affirmative Action or Alcoholics Anonymous or Automatic Aid), ABC(Airway, Breathing, Circulation), AFFF (Aqueous Film Forming Foam), AMS (Altered Mental Status), and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support). A big part of this community is being able to have standard knowledge for membership. Some of this knowledge includes, Mechanical aptitude, ability to understand and carry out complex oral and written instructions, ability to operate an automobile or other vehicles as required, working knowledge of first aid methods and the ability to apply them, and knowledge of how to operate portable radio and/or other communication equipment found in fire/emergency apparatus and fire stations.

I am one person that at the start of my life has not enjoyed school. If I had to describe school as one thing it would be a prison. Not only did I feel it was a prison in the physical sense but mentally as well. Since my mental state was so different from my classmates, I was always the one struggling. Not only was it a struggle for me but for my parents as well.

Even though my hatred for school was strong I knew that in the end I had to do it. It was mostly due to my parents forcing me that I was able to complete most of the work my school gave which allowed me to continue on with the rest of my classmates. It wasn’t until my years of highschool that I started to understand why my parents pushed me so hard to complete my school work. I realized that school is just one step in preparing you for your career. It wasn’t until my junior year of highschool where I started thinking about what career path I would be interested in.

As junior and senior year came I began to think of jobs I would potentially be good at. I knew that using my body and strength to complete tasks was something I was good at. One thing I have always been interested aside from physically demanding work is helping those in need and being able to protect the environment. As as continuing researching I found a career as a Firefighter fits everything I wanted and enjoyed to do. Now that I have graduated highschool I am currently attending Pasadena City College with a major in Fire Science. After my two years at PCC I plan on transferring to CAL State LA where I will continue to increase my knowledge in the field of Fire Fighting.

Within the Firefighter community there are 6 main qualities each fireman needs to have. Commitment to diversity and integrity, openness to change, Confidence and Resilience, Working with others, Effective communication, and Situational awareness. These 6 qualities are what makes a top quality firefighter. When applying to become a fire firefighter senior members of the community not only look for the correct physical attributes, but they look for these qualities in all cadets. A fireman’s qualities shows of his/her work ethic, and a good work ethic is needed to get the job done.

Commitment to diversity and integrity is one quality that go hand in hand. This means that you must understand and respect other people’s opinions and treat people fairly and ethically. Essentially people in this community must maintain an open approach with others, taking account of, and accepting, individual differences such as age, ethnicity, gender, religious beliefs, social background, disability, sexual orientation and physical appearance This also means that firefighters must recognise the importance of an awareness of the community and understands its needs. People of this community must be aware of everything that is going on. Always being aware and alert means that tasks will get done quickly and more efficiently.

Openness to change is something every firefighter needs to have. This means that firefighters must be able to accept change both within the Fire and Rescue Service and in their own role and adapts effectively. They must be able to both in the Fire Rescue Service and the local community, support change and takes action where possible. A very important skill that firefighters must have is to be able to be proactive in learning new tasks or ways of working. Once they can incorporate different ways of working that will dramatically increase the proficiency of their work.

Confidence and Resilience is another quality that is very important to have in this community. This is to maintain a confident and resilient attitude in highly challenging situations, For this community confidence and resilience is an essential thing to have while out in the field. If a firefighter is not confident in his/her abilities, it can affect them metaly while trying to save lives or even protect the environment. They must have the ability to remain in control of their own emotions during emergency situations (for example, does not panic and considers risk). Another thing they must do is challenges or questions others constructively to achieve more effective outcomes.

Working with others is something that firefighters do on a daily basis. Not only do they have to work together with their own community, but with other rescue services as well. Working with others in this field creates positive working relationships and better rapport for people both internally and externally. They also must be Sensitive to the feelings and well-being of others and takes action to support them. This means that they must be able to calm down surrounding members of the public during an emergency.

Effective communication is one thing that is always needed in an emergency situation and in training. This community needs to be able to Communicates verbal messages clearly, concisely and at a level appropriate to the audience so that message is understood regardless of individual differences. They need to always be alert for new and upcoming information and alway listen carefully for accurate information. Almost all firefighters need to be able to present messages such as fire safety information, in a way that promotes understanding. Presenting these messages is also very important for training new cadets.

Situational awareness is a very important key factor that not only firefighters but other emergency services must have. Every emergency service must have active awareness at all times of their environment to promote safe and effective working. Firefighter must be able to provide accurate information to make sure progress has been made against other outcomes. People in this community need to be able to judge space and distance within three dimensions and time to complete tasks safely and effectively. Sice firefighter work with ladders they have to judge the surrounding space and judge the distance when using the ladder. Checking the surrounding environment to promote safe working is also something firefighters do on a daily basis.

Firefighters exist for the main purpose of fighting hazardous fires that can be a threat to people’s lives and the environment. Not only are they trained in fighting fire but they also have their skills to rescue people and animals from dangerous situations. The Roman emperor Agustus takes the credit for creating the first group of fire-fighting watchmen in 24BC. WIthin this community there are two different types of fire fighters. Volunteer firefighter, who are mainly found in smaller communities and Career firefighter who fight fires in cities.

Firefighter have an abundance of duties that they need to perform. They must, Drive firetrucks and other emergency vehicles, Put out fires using water hoses, fire extinguishers, and water pumps, Find and rescue victims in burning buildings or in other emergency situations, Prepare written reports on emergency incidents, Treat sick or injured people, and Conduct drills and physical fitness training. Firefighter top priority is to serve people of the public as well as the environment to make sure it is safe. Without the proper training, firefighters will not be able to get the job done with accuracy. Working as a team is also another important factor for getting the job done.

Many tools and gadgets are used while on the job. One of the most important tools that a firefighter uses everyday is a Fire truck. A fire truck is a firefighters main source of transportation when called into action. Fire trucks are able to carry a whole squad of firefighters which would give more assistance while rescuing people. Firetrucks are also very important because not only is it a main source of transpiration, but they also hold many of the tools firefighters use everyday. Another important tool that is connected to the firetruck is the fire hose.

A fire hose aside from the firetruck is very important. It main use is to put out hazardous fires that could be a danger to people and the surrounding environment. Outdoors, a fire hose is usually attached to a fire engine or a fire hydrant. Indoors, a fire hose can be attached to a buildings standpipe or plumbing system. Without this tool mainly fires in L.A and around the world would spread with no efficient way to stop them.

Every major city has their own type of firefighters manual that is used while cadets are in the fire academy. In the city of Los Angeles within the fire academy they use the Candidate Advancement Program Fitness manual. This manual goes through all the fitness and health requirements for completing the Fire academy. While reading this manual cadets can learn about all things like foam roll and muscle recovery, movement prep-dynamic stretches, and strength and conditioning. Through this manual cadets also learn about the four different phases they have to go through during the week.

A very important document that senior firefighters use to evaluate statistics in the fire academy is the LAFD Recruit Training Academy Overview. For each page of the document different parameters are thoroughly explained in detail. The data parameters for one page talks about the number of brand new recruits to the academy, Recruits who successfully completed the Academy, and Probationary Firefighters who have successfully completed 365 days of probation and their field internship. It is then divided into 3 sections, End status of Academy classes, ongoing recruit status of academy classes on probation, and current recruit academy class status. Another important statistic that this document takes into account is race and ethnicity.

Ranking inside the fire department is very important. Different ranks of firefighters hold certain responsibilities and are also shown different respects. Ranks are listed as a Volunteer firefighter, Probationary firefighter, Firefighter/EMT, Firefighter/Paramedic, Driver Engineer, Lieutenant, Captain, Battalion Chief, Assistant Chief,Fire Chief. This is an example of what a normal ranking system is within a fire station. Major cities however have a very different ranking system. Inside a major city like New York or Los Angeles the ranks would be, 1st Deputy Fire Commissioner, Assistant Deputy Chief, Paramedic, Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner, Deputy Chief Paramedic, Deputy District Chief, Deputy Fire Commissioner, District Chief, Fire Commissioner

In the fire service conflict is one thing that can always arise. It can either be internal or external, individuals or groups related, it can even become personal. One conflict that arises on occasions is the decision of governing administration to reduce the budget, the number of fire stations, and staffing or services. They say that with good leadership, resolving the conflict begins before the struggle happens.When a serious problem arises, the administration, the chiefs, union and officer corps representatives need to meet to discuss the issues from all perspectives. Collaboration and compromise that meets the majority of the needs of all parties can help avoid the conflict altogether.

As of right now I am currently enrolled in Pasadena City College. My major at PCC is fire sciences. In order to help me enter this community I have been lucky enough to talk to a firefighter that goes to my town gym. As we continued talking he said I am on the right track with my education and I need to finish taking my GE classes for this year. After taking my general education for this year I went into detail for next year. My second year at PCC I plan on focusing on my major and also get enrolled into an EMT class.

After my second year at PCC I plan to traser to a secondary school to further my knowledge in Fire Science. I thoroughly researched CAL State L.A and it seems that there fire science program is truly exceptional. While I am at CAL State L.A I will continue with my Track and Field training which will help during the physical part of training as a firefighter. While I am at the CAL State I will be enrolled in the fire academy. Once my fire academy training is complete I hope to finally be able to become a firefighter.

In order to become a successful firefighter the one thing I need over all cadets is education. With more education I have a better chance of becoming a firefighter to get a higher ranking. Higher ranks mean more money and advancement opportunities. Another thing I will need to do as a newcomer is build a good rapport with senior firefighters. Senior Firefighters are not going to remember every face that comes into the academy. So introducing myself and building a rapport will help keep my name in their heads. Once I have a good rapport I have a higher chance of being selected as a new recruit.

Through extensive research I have learned a lot about this community. I have learned about their high standing qualities as well as their ranking system and different tasks they accomplish while on duty. There are some things however that I still need to learn. For example, how long does training last in the fire academy, and how many years does it take to become a higher rank as a FireFighter. By researching for this essay I have concluded that my passion for wanting to pursue this job has dramatically increased. I hope that one day I can not only become a firefighter but a top ranking fire chief.

Bibliography

  1. Administrator. “Fire Careers.” FireCareerscom FCBlog RSS, 2012, firecareers.com/blog/personal-qualities-needed-to-become-a-firefighter/.
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An Overview Of A Discourse Community Of Firefighters. (2021, Dec 30). Retrieved June 26, 2022 , from
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