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8 things to do after you’ve been disciplined

FireRescue1 readers offer their advice on how to get past a disciplinary incident


As veteran firefighters understand, young firefighters need to learn from these mistakes and quickly put them in the past.

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

At some point, we’ve all messed up on the job. And some of the mess ups come with a trip to the chief’s or other ranking officer’s office – it may even come with a formal disciplinary write up.

As veteran firefighters understand, young firefighters need to learn from these mistakes and quickly put them in the past. Handled poorly, disciplinary actions can define or derail a firefighting career.

So we asked FireRescue1 readers for their best advice on overcoming disciplinary actions. Here are some of the top comments. And please, add your advice below.

1. Learn from it

“Own up to your mistakes; learn from them and listen to what your line officers tell you to do.” — Andrew Hartman

2. You’re not a maverick

“Realize that there’s nothing new under the sun. Whatever you did to screw up, at least one of the veterans has done the same thing at one point.” — Ken Jacobson

3. Take responsibility

“Do not act like you did nothing wrong. There are rules for a reason. They might be for the safety of personnel, victims, the image of the department, etc. Just because you do not see the direct impact of your actions does not make them acceptable. Take your disciplinary action and move on. Everyone makes mistakes, but few actually get caught. Accept it and don’t whine to everyone else about how unfair it is. You will be a better firefighter.” — Danny R. Miller

4. How does it reflect on your department

“Ask them to keep in mind how their actions will make them, their house, and their department look.” — Anthony Thiang

5. It’s not all about you

“This job has more implications than just their ego. A simple screw up today might lead to a death later.” Joe Moore

6. Check your ego

“Don’t ever go into any situation thinking you know it all. Firefighters who have been on the job 30 years don’t know it all. And always be safe. If you hurt or injure yourself, you can’t help anyone else.” — Gina Thompson

7. Listen

“God gave you two ears, two eyes, but only one mouth because your supposed to look and listen twice as much as you talk. Also, always cover your butt.” — Iron Hide

8. Build trust

“Be honest. When you lie, you aren’t trusted. And no one wants to go in with someone they can’t trust.” — Trevor Belovin

This article, originally published on June 4, 2013, has been updated