1. #1
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    Thumbs down Half -staffing flag for low staffing!What @*****????

    Half of South Carolina Town's Firefighters Quit

    PUMPKINTOWN, S.C. --

    A Pickens County fire department is relying on outside help because more than half of its volunteer staff just quit.

    The Pumpkintown Volunteer Fire Department had 33 firefighters Monday, but after the Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 not to re-appoint Acting Fire Chief David James, only 12 remained on the job.

    Former firefighter Tim Cooper said, "It's fluid situation. There's approximately 12 left of which only about six are certified to fight interior firefighting."

    The flag flying half-staff at the Pumpkintown Fire Department conveys the loss of available firefighters.
    Cooper said, "In essence, if there were tones to go out for a structure fire, there could be a response from none to very few."

    He said, "We have to shuttle water. We have to haul our water to the fires. It takes a lot more manpower to set up a shuttle-water system and relay water than it would if you had a hydrant nearby."

    Fire Department Commissioner Rhonda Billingsley said, "Apparently their loyalty is with the fire chief, which it should be. But their loyalty should also be to the community."

    Billingsley said, "Our main problem with the chief was his blatant defiance of the board. He lied to the firefighters. He was just not the leader that we felt he should be."

    Board member Liz Meyers said that the department answered fewer than 100 calls in the year from Nov. 1, 2006 to Oct. 31, 2007. Of those calls, 35 were fires, 27 were medical emergencies and 20 were other incidents, like trees falling because of weather, Meyers said.

    The firefighters who quit said that they're at odds with the board on how to best serve the community.

    It's an ongoing battle about staffing levels, equipment and training for the volunteers. The department has a $96,000 annual budget.

    Cooper said, "It's not good for the community to slowly decimate our ranks so that there's nobody qualified to respond to fires."

    Billingsley said, "We want our firemen to be community-oriented and they should be staying here for our community. No matter who we have as chief."

    Neighboring fire districts have agreed to help out in the event of an emergency. Meanwhile, neighbors such as Ann Soenen say it's sad to see the fire station empty like this.

    "I'm grateful for them," Soenen said. "I will never take them for granted again."

    Soenen said, "I've seen firemen risk their lives and save families that lost everything, that had nothing to start with."

    "They do far more than the public realizes than just putting out fires," she said.

    Copyright 2008 by WYFF4.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Someone needs to educate pumpkintown,sc when to lower the stars and stripes. !!!!!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Last edited by coldfront; 04-24-2008 at 10:55 AM.
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    Thumbs down

    I was wondering the same thing. It seems kind of disrespectful. Why would you do that?
    Last edited by Futureemt73193; 04-24-2008 at 11:02 AM.
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    I'm guessing because it has become passe to lower the flag for any and all reasons when ever someone feels the occasion warrants it, without regaurd for the U.S. Flag Code. They're not the first and won't be the last.

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    Firefighter for Vestal 32-2

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    As a lot here will know, I (and Malahat VFD) went through similar events only a few years ago. We don't know any more about what's happening here, than what has been reported. Without further information it would be wrong to make judgements for either side, suffice to say that they have a long hard road ahead of them.

    No matter the reasons behind or actions that have taken place, both the town and the firefighters are going to have to come to grips with what has happened and collectively try to find an equitable solution, and quickly.

    I applaud the guys for standing up for their Chief, and their beliefs, because that is important, but they also have to remember for whom they have offered to serve and protect. I know it's a tough decision, but its got to be done.

    I wish them the best of luck, becuase they are going to need that and more.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    As a lot here will know, I (and Malahat VFD) went through similar events only a few years ago. We don't know any more about what's happening here, than what has been reported. Without further information it would be wrong to make judgements for either side, suffice to say that they have a long hard road ahead of them.

    No matter the reasons behind or actions that have taken place, both the town and the firefighters are going to have to come to grips with what has happened and collectively try to find an equitable solution, and quickly.

    I applaud the guys for standing up for their Chief, and their beliefs, because that is important, but they also have to remember for whom they have offered to serve and protect. I know it's a tough decision, but its got to be done.

    I wish them the best of luck, becuase they are going to need that and more.

    Although I agree with you about not making any preconceived judgements...I have real issues with personnel using threat tactics because they are afraid of what might be on the other side of the hill. So you walk out and abandon your community in hopes that commissioners will change their mind? How about trying to hold your breath until you get your way!

    Again, we do not know the full story here, but the next incoming Chief should look at the actions of the personnel as threat to the community. They walked out this time over a personnel decision. What's next...safety improvements?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    We don't know any more about what's happening here, than what has been reported. Without further information it would be wrong to make judgements for either side, suffice to say that they have a long hard road ahead of them.

    No matter the reasons behind or actions that have taken place, both the town and the firefighters are going to have to come to grips with what has happened and collectively try to find an equitable solution, and quickly.
    But we do know that they decided to fly the flag at half staff which is whether they intended it to be or not, disrespectful to every person that has ever dies and had the flag lowered in their honor.

    A more fitting point would have been to fly the flag upside down anyway, that signifies that something is wrong or that there is an emergency.
    Last edited by MemphisE34a; 04-25-2008 at 02:31 PM.
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    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Memphis, you hit the nail on the head. It is an emergency for the community and the personnel who decided to walk need to think long and hard about the risk they have placed upon the community and themselves.

    Don't get me wrong, I am all for launching a protest when needed but I believe that there are other ways to do it. The personnel may have been justified in some form of protest but walking out? A department in my area did this exact same thing and they are still paying the price. Those folks had some very valid points for a protest but nothing that justified walking out.

    The only issue that I would back a walk out by anyone would be for safety. For example...a huge safety issue in which personnel were at immediate risk if no action was taken.

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    a huge safety issue in which personnel were at immediate risk if no action was taken.


    {In my best attempt at W.C. Fields} DING DING DING!! Give the Man a Prize.

    Also, Frosty and Memphis, I agree with you wholeheartedly on your points. I was only choosing to address one specific part, but your overall comments are also correct.

    As a member of an Regular Army, I take flag display etiquette very seriously, but sometimes .... well you know. Sometimes silence has more power than noise itself.
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    and here I thought this was a free country...
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    www.sconfire.com

    Firefighters & Chief back in, Council Out.
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

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    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"
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    Quote Originally Posted by sconfire View Post
    www.sconfire.com

    Firefighters & Chief back in, Council Out.
    Something seems strange. The council voted not to keep the INTERIM chief, the firefighters got mad and quit. So then the whole entire council resigns?

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    I thought you were suppose to be loyal to your department and those you protect?

    The chief can constantly change, but everyone should still be dedicated to the DEPARTMENT.
    BE A BACKBONE - NOT A JAWBONE

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    I agree that quitting was not the best idea. I only posted the news link.
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

    Captain Grant Mishoe, Curator of History
    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"
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