First Responder Profile:
Chicago Fire Department
Deputy District Chief, Coordinator of Special Events,
Department Liaison Curtis Hudson
How do you teach camaraderie to a new firefighter/paramedic candidate?
“In the academy, we try to teach that. It starts off when we train. When the candidates first get there, they all think of themselves as an individual. But we have to teach them how to become one. One team. We have a lot of different training aids, training techniques that we use for getting them to work together to become a team. Like in the beginning, we’ll have them in the drill hall and we’ll give them a minute for everybody to get out of the drill hall and into the cafeteria. It can be done. It can be 150 candidates in that room and they can all be out of there in a minute. IF they all work together. And we just tell them, “You got 1 minute to get out of the drill hall and into the cafeteria. Begin.” And then we count them down, 10…9…. If they didn’t make it, we put them in an exercise position, like a push up, talk to them and tell them to get back in there and we keep doing it until they get it done.”
Why is something so simple like that difficult?
“Because everyone is just thinking about themselves to get out of the room. If they all just took their time and came together, lined up, it’s easy.”
Is that the key then, to line up?
“Yup. To come together, look out for each other. No pushing, no shoving. Just you all work together and get out of there.”