Here's a bit of advice for anybody new to the Fire/EMS world: Always get better. Do it for yourself, do it for the people you serve, and do it because there is no reason not to. Everybody has something to learn. Everybody benefits from other people who put some effort into whatever it is they do, and take classes, and get a degree, and certifications, and expand their knowledge.
We cannot be experts at all things, but we certainly have the ability to excell at what we have chosen to do. And make no mistake, if you are responding to emergency calls, or wear an EMT/Paramedic patch you have made a conscious descision to be an integral part of the emergency services world, and we need people who excell at what they do.
Please, do not do what I did. I mistakenly believed that because I worked on one of the busiest rescue trucks anywhere, and because I was a Captain with one of the best fire departments anywhere, people would be knocking down my door looking to hire me and use my expertise to improve whatever company I decided I wanted to grace with my presence.
Instead of studying, and learning, and getting a degree I wrote about my experiences, and am truly fortunate to have attracted a readership, and eventually published a book or two, and write articles for EMS World, Fire Engineering and EMS 1. But that is not enough. I am sorely lacking in the education department, and while I was busy deluding myself into believing I was The Man, others were quietly building their resume.
I investigated post Fire Department employment opportunities and found that my resume was pathetic. There are some very smart, and very educated people competing for very few jobs. And I am not even in the running for consideration. Education is the key, without it you will be standing on the wrong side of a locked door.
So, get off your butts, and sign up for some courses. And in the meantime, read about what I was doing when I should have been studying!