View Poll Results: Give me your Opinions

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  • Give it up and move on!

    5 55.56%
  • Never give up!

    0 0%
  • Matt you are wrong.

    5 55.56%
  • The Chief should be relieved of her duties

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  1. #1
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    Angry Wrongful Termination of a Fire Inspector

    I need some advice from anyone that has gone through anything similar.
    This is complicated long story, longer than I care to post here, but here goes.

    I am a volunteer Fire LT. Inspector/Investigator for the city in which I live with 15 years on this dept. and an additional 4 years on two others. 12 of these years I have spent in the capacity noted before. Our Fire chief is voted in by the Firefighters Association and approved by the city council.

    My problems began last june when I gave a pt. an Albuterol treatment "out of Scope" I am an EMT-B and I was finishing up my Paramedic so I was in the "groove" as a Paramedic. When I got back to the station I immediatly called the Chief and advised her what I had done and that no harm was done to the PT. She told the other members on the squad to keep silent about it and that she would handle it. In october 07 I decided to run against the chief and sent out a letter to all members of the FD stating my intentions. Immediatly she became hostile towrds me, essentially blackballing me.
    She has done this to others as well.
    She won the vote for chief and I was fine with this (December) In January we had an officers meeting and she advised the group that she now felt that the fire Inspector should not be a LT and that it constituted a "conflict of interest" I argued several points with her but failed to convince her.

    Feb 08 I recieved notice from the IDPH (Iowa Dept. Public Health)that I was going to be put on probation for the Albuterol Incident. At the time I was busy with my day job and out of town often so I forgot to notify the Chief of said IDPH action (14 days) late.
    March 08, I heard throught grapevine that the Chief had just made a newly appointed Lt in charge of Inspections!!! I called this person and asked him about it and he confirmend this info and he was angry becasue the Chief had lied to him, as she told him I was OK with her decision (I knew nothing about it) This new LT was going to confront the Chief the next day.
    The next day at about noon I recieved and e-mail from the Chief stating that I was being removed from all officers duties, I was being demoted and put on probation for failing to notify her of the IDPH action, and that I failed to let her know and I must "I must be hiding something else".
    I called the Lt and asked if he had confronted the Chief about her Lying and he in fact had about 2 hours before, and that she was angry for being confronted.

    I have since found out that she waited until October to notify the IDPH that I did the albuterol thing. She waited until she found out that I was running for her position and that is when she notified the IDPH.....140 days after the fact.

    I have had meetings with the City Attorney, City Administrator, the Chief and 2 council members. The Council members know what this Chief is like and they are the only ones attempting to support me.
    I have spoken to attorney's and they feel I have a case but it may be a difficult one because Iowa is an "at will" state.
    I have just recently accepted her offer of being a Firefigher/EMT so I could get back in the Game, but I am very disgruntled. Why should I give up everything I have worked for during the last 15 years just to lay down and let her walk all over me.
    By the way, the city has adopted the IFC 2003 which has specific language in it protecting the Fire Inspector from being terminated "without cause" and Not "without proper hearings" Neither of these I have recieved.

    I apologize for this mind- dumbingly long post, but I am looking for any other people that may have had similar situations.

    STAY SAFE
    Last edited by matthewpreston; 07-11-2008 at 03:49 PM.

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    I read your post and I am shaking my head...

    You were operating out of the scope of your training. Being "in the groove" doesn't make you a paramedic. You are damn lucky that nothing happened to your patient.

    If your patient had died.. you would be up on criminal charges!

    As far as the notification of the IDPH probation.... being "out of town" is a **** poor excuse. Ther's this wonderful invention called the telephone and an even newer one... it's called email.

    It's painfully obvious that she knew about it...

    She is voted in by the firefighters of the association... if she was doing such a crappy job, then why would be re-elected to the Chief's position.

    Face it... you fracked up.. and are here looking for sympathy.

    It's in the dictionary, between s**t and syphillis.

    Consider it a lesson learned the hard way.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 07-12-2008 at 08:12 AM.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewpreston View Post
    I need some advice from anyone that has gone through anything similar.
    This is complicated long story, longer than I care to post here, but here goes.

    I am a volunteer Fire LT. Inspector/Investigator for the city in which I live with 15 years on this dept. and an additional 4 years on two others. 12 of these years I have spent in the capacity noted before. Our Fire chief is voted in by the Firefighters Association and approved by the city council.

    My problems began last june when I gave a pt. an Albuterol treatment "out of Scope" I am an EMT-B and I was finishing up my Paramedic so I was in the "groove" as a Paramedic. When I got back to the station I immediatly called the Chief and advised her what I had done and that no harm was done to the PT. She told the other members on the squad to keep silent about it and that she would handle it. In october 07 I decided to run against the chief and sent out a letter to all members of the FD stating my intentions. Immediatly she became hostile towrds me, essentially blackballing me.
    She has done this to others as well.
    She won the vote for chief and I was fine with this (December) In January we had an officers meeting and she advised the group that she now felt that the fire Inspector should not be a LT and that it constituted a "conflict of interest" I argued several points with her but failed to convince her.

    Feb 08 I recieved notice from the IDPH (Iowa Dept. Public Health)that I was going to be put on probation for the Albuterol Incident. At the time I was busy with my day job and out of town often so I forgot to notify the Chief of said IDPH action (14 days) late.
    March 08, I heard throught grapevine that the Chief had just made a newly appointed Lt in charge of Inspections!!! I called this person and asked him about it and he confirmend this info and he was angry becasue the Chief had lied to him, as she told him I was OK with her decision (I knew nothing about it) This new LT was going to confront the Chief the next day.
    The next day at about noon I recieved and e-mail from the Chief stating that I was being removed from all officers duties, I was being demoted and put on probation for failing to notify her of the IDPH action, and that I failed to let her know and I must "I must be hiding something else".
    I called the Lt and asked if he had confronted the Chief about her Lying and he in fact had about 2 hours before, and that she was angry for being confronted.

    I have since found out that she waited until October to notify the IDPH that I did the albuterol thing. She waited until she found out that I was running for her position and that is when she notified the IDPH.....140 days after the fact.

    I have had meetings with the City Attorney, City Administrator, the Chief and 2 council members. The Council members know what this Chief is like and they are the only ones attempting to support me.
    I have spoken to attorney's and they feel I have a case but it may be a difficult one because Iowa is an "at will" state.
    I have just recently accepted her offer of being a Firefigher/EMT so I could get back in the Game, but I am very disgruntled. Why should I give up everything I have worked for during the last 15 years just to lay down and let her walk all over me.
    By the way, the city has adopted the IFC 2003 which has specific language in it protecting the Fire Inspector from being terminated "without cause" and Not "without proper hearings" Neither of these I have recieved.

    I apologize for this mind- dumbingly long post, but I am looking for any other people that may have had similar situations.

    STAY SAFE
    Having seen similar posts vanish into thin air when they spiral in a direction that the poster didn't anticipate, let's just do a quote for posterity's sake.

    Being "in the groove" does not a paramedic make, so that'll get you nowhere. Knowingly acting outside of your scope of practice would in all likelihood get you fired here, and knowing our Medical Director as I do, he would must likely refuse to cover your certification for practice anywhere under his venue. What you did, while not directly related to your job as an officer or inspector, does reflect quite brightly on your critical decision making ability as well, and not favorably.

    Outside of that, I'm not about to make any judgement since in my experience, it's always good to at least have the other person's side with which to temper one's opinion. Without getting into the whole who's right/ who's wrong issue, at a minimum, you gave the Chief all that was needed to have the perception of righteousness to the action taken.
    Last edited by Steamer; 07-11-2008 at 09:58 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Default Let me clarify some things!

    Like I said this whole issue is broader then I can write here, but Being in the groove is not an excuse, I agree. It was one of those Oh Sh-- moments what am I doing. It is highly unlikely that the PT would have had any adverse reactions to my treatment as the pT was perscribed the treatment anyway. Plus the PT benefited from the treatment

    Secondly, when I say I was out of town... I was but I was still in contact with her via e-mails etc. I have broad shoulders and I can take the heat from anyones comments, and maybe I am looking for some sympathy, but I believe the two issue's to be seperate in nature. Hell yes she knew and held this info for later use, you must understand before I ran against her we were close friends, inviting her to dinner at my house, etc. I think she just took me running against her too personally

    Hey, bring on any comments I can take it.

  5. #5
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    So, you were put on probation and you "forgot" to notify your chief for 2 weeks but you were still in contact, how can you e-mail back and forth and forget something as serious as that?
    If you are taking/taken medic classes you are most likely serious about EMS so an encounter with your licensing agency such as this would ruin your mood for a very long time, at least it would me.
    How did you even have access to the albuterol? The only way I can think of is running in an ALS bus, why isn't an ALS provider present then?
    Was the patient that critical that s/he needed albuterol immediately?
    Would assisted ventilation with the BVM and high concentrated o2 not do if conscious or if unconscious a combi with high o2?
    Would those options not have worked until an intercept arrived or your arrival at the hospital?
    By your own admission you knew it was wrong it wasn't an accident, it's no excuse that it benefited the pt. Just because you learned it doesn't mean you are good at it, you haven't taken that test that determines if your skills are adequate. What if there was a complication what kind of court time would you and your crew be seeing? Judgement/settlement costs? Insurance cover you? Doubt it.
    Get over it and thank the gods nothing happened to the pt and nothing worse happened to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewpreston View Post
    Like I said this whole issue is broader then I can write here, but Being in the groove is not an excuse, I agree. It was one of those Oh Sh-- moments what am I doing. It is highly unlikely that the PT would have had any adverse reactions to my treatment as the pT was perscribed the treatment anyway. Plus the PT benefited from the treatment
    Let me ask this: did you give the pt. their own albuterol or yours out of the bag?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Let me ask this: did you give the pt. their own albuterol or yours out of the bag?
    I was thinking the same lines but then I thought if it was assisting with patient owned albuterol why would he be in trouble with dept. of public health? Still could be the situation don't know his states protocols.

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    Quote Originally Posted by edge1317 View Post
    I was thinking the same lines but then I thought if it was assisting with patient owned albuterol why would he be in trouble with dept. of public health? Still could be the situation don't know his states protocols.
    It could depend on how IDPH got the story and what story they got. That's why I was asking, just to get a little insight. I've seen guys in Missouri that have intubated a pt. and only got "probation," which meant of they screwed up royally they might get their license pulled.

    As far as acting outside of his training, he didn't. He acted outside of his licensure. Not an excuse, but there is a difference between someone giving a treatment because they saw a medic do it one time and someone who knows what they're looking at and that the pt. needs a treatment, but doesn't have his license just yet. To be honest, I'm surprised it went past the agency's medical director and to the state level.

    Another thing that's bother me: Why the hell does your chief have to know you're on probation with IDPH? Did they pull your license during your probation? If not, I don't see what it's any of her business.

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    Default Thanks for the comments

    I used the squads Albuterol......but that is another issue, which never got addressed.
    The Chief claimed she had to report it to the IDPH, which like I said waited until she found out I ran against her, then she used it against me. She waited 140 days to report it to them, but yet she is hammering me for waiting 14 days to tell he about the Probation. The letter from IDPH required me to notify her and any training I attend.

    I know this is a screwed up mess, and I have recently accepted her proposal to be reduced to a FF & EMT-B.

    Hey I screwed up and I take all responsibility, and I owned up to what I did and I did it immediatly. But she is now telling people I will never work in the city as a paid employee. I have served on this Dept. for 15 years and dedicated my life to public safety, all the training and education I have gone through just to be trampeled on by a an overzelous, crybaby Chief.

    But my contention is this, She cannot demote me due to the section of IFC that protects me for political reasons... and this is exactly what she has done.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewpreston View Post
    But my contention is this, She cannot demote me due to the section of IFC that protects me for political reasons... and this is exactly what she has done.
    I'm confused. You say that you are a Volunteer, yet you speak of being an Inspector. You also speak of your state's right-to-work regulations. Which is it? Are you a volunteer or are you a paid employee? Were you fired from your paid position, or were you a victim of "vollytics?"

    If you were fired from your paid position as an inspector, you may have some ground to stand on. But you need to give us more background. As an inspector, do you work under the Fire Marshal's office, Code Enforcement, or under the Fire Chief (being the "AHJ?") If you are working in another office as an inspector, my first question is why is her nose in their business and why hasn't someone told her to butt out? Second question is, if you are indeed working under her, is she a certifed Fire Code Official, as required by the IFC which you recently adopted? If she is not, you may have ground to stand on.

    If you are volunteer, get over it all. Vollytics has been going on since the inception of volunteer departments. Sometimes I swear that Ben Franklin should have been kicked in his balls. When you speak of your situation, it is one of those times. I am in Pennsylvania, who has more volunteer departments than any other state in the country. In 20 years I have heard and seen it all. I have experienced many forms of vollytics, and believe me when I say, that if it is as truly bad as you claim it is, you only have two courses of action- 1. To get her out of office once and for all, or 2. To stop letting it run your life as you appear to have let it. C'mon dude....You went to city council members? The City Solicitor? You are a VOLLY (I think) for christs sake! Arent there more important things to do with your time than whine about the "he said she said" bull$hit of vollytics? Take the demotion to FF/EMT. Go on runs, drills and do your time. Keep low, stay out of the radar, and out of this filthy tramp's sight. Pay more attention to your hobbies- ride your motorcycle, play with your corvette, play with your kids, play softball, put on womens clothing, or do whatever it is that you do to decompress, but for god's sake stop letting the VFD run your life to the point where it has.

    And yes, you screwed up by practicing out of the scope of your certification. If I was your chief, I would have suspended you with the intent to dismiss right there on the spot. I would have immediately reported you to the state, as you are a liability, and I for one would not want you working under my command.

    One last parting thought- mostly for everyone else here.....I have said it before, I'll say it again.....Me thinks we arent getting the full story!
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    Another thing that's bother me: Why the hell does your chief have to know you're on probation with IDPH? Did they pull your license during your probation? If not, I don't see what it's any of her business.
    It is ABSOLUTELY her business. If he is working as an EMT-B or an EMT-P under her command structure, she is administratively responsible for his actions, as is the liability insurance carrier of the municipality. As I said above, if he were working for me, wearing my badge, his *** would have been outside looking into the bay windows going "what happened?"

    Example- If you, as a Fire Chief, found out he was driving your apparatus with a suspended license, wouldnt you be a bit irritated?
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Vollytics-- I like that! LOL

    This situation gives me another reason to be dead-set against voting in chiefs instead of hiring them based on qualifications.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    It is ABSOLUTELY her business. If he is working as an EMT-B or an EMT-P under her command structure, she is administratively responsible for his actions, as is the liability insurance carrier of the municipality. As I said above, if he were working for me, wearing my badge, his *** would have been outside looking into the bay windows going "what happened?"

    Example- If you, as a Fire Chief, found out he was driving your apparatus with a suspended license, wouldnt you be a bit irritated?
    I understand where you're coming from and won't argue with you one bit, but she already knew what he did wrong. As the chief, she can do whatever in her power she wishes to do, as she is aware of it. It's just my opinion.

    However, I don't personnally think the action of a state agency, with the exception of suspending or revoking his license, is particularly of any interest to the department.

    As far as I'm concerned, if one of my EMT's screwed up on my watch and I knew about it, I'd take whatever action I deemed appropriate. Once the state becomes involved, it's between them and the person in question, barring suspension or revocation of their license.

    If they're on "probation" by a state agency, I take that as "we're keeping an eye on you, if we get another complaint you're license is gone." As far as I'm concerned, that person has a valid license still yet and is able to practice, and that's all I should be concerned with. The fact that they're on probation is really none of my concern and would just tempt me to watch their every move and report them for incidental BS (particularly if I didn't like them or had something against them, which appears to be the issue) or try to hide it if the good ol' boy system in in effect, just to make sure he can keep his license.

    But, that's just my opinion.

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    Okay first piece of advice, come up with a better screen name especially if you are going to describe a "negative" situation at work.

    Second, you didn't get put on probation for one event:

    http://www.idph.state.ia.us/ems/comm...discipline.pdf

    So your probably right, there is more to the story, but resolving it on these boards is not going to happen.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22 View Post
    As far as acting outside of his training, he didn't. He acted outside of his licensure. Not an excuse, but there is a difference between someone giving a treatment because they saw a medic do it one time and someone who knows what they're looking at and that the pt. needs a treatment, but doesn't have his license just yet. To be honest, I'm surprised it went past the agency's medical director and to the state level.
    It is quite possible he acted out of his training. He could have been trained to the point of understanding which patients to give albuterol but haven't gone over effects or contraindictions. Just because albuterol is a less dangerous drug doesn't lessen the actions. If adenosine was used while he was still in medic class but not licensed would you still have this opinion?

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    Default Yes I am playing into the "volleytics"

    But it is because I love what I do and I am serious about it, and as I said why should I let this ruin my career. Remember I am dealing with smaller town politics.
    She has not had any training in fire inspection principles, etc.
    The notice from the state is from one incident, it appears to be multiples but is is not, just the same code reference, "treating outside the scope of practice"
    Maybe Ben Fraklin should have been kicked in the balls, but something like 78% of the nations depts. are volunteers.
    Trust me I am not hiding anything. And as a volunteer I could just walk away from it all, but like I said I love this community and with all the blood, sweat and tears I have given to it I just can't. That is why I have accepted the offer to remain and a FF, EMT waiting low, doing my job and ready to pounce.
    When I say "volunteers" we are considered employee's of the city. We are given a "stipend" for the training, calls and events we partake in. We are within 3 or so years from becoming and actual combination dept.

    I love the discussion though. And remember it was during my administration of the drug I realized what I was doing was out of the "scope" not that it really makes a difference. It is not like I knowingly and intentionally with forethought set out to break the rules..... again no excuse.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewpreston View Post
    But it is because I love what I do and I am serious about it, and as I said why should I let this ruin my career. Remember I am dealing with smaller town politics.
    She has not had any training in fire inspection principles, etc.
    The notice from the state is from one incident, it appears to be multiples but is is not, just the same code reference, "treating outside the scope of practice"
    Maybe Ben Fraklin should have been kicked in the balls, but something like 78% of the nations depts. are volunteers.
    Trust me I am not hiding anything. And as a volunteer I could just walk away from it all, but like I said I love this community and with all the blood, sweat and tears I have given to it I just can't. That is why I have accepted the offer to remain and a FF, EMT waiting low, doing my job and ready to pounce.
    When I say "volunteers" we are considered employee's of the city. We are given a "stipend" for the training, calls and events we partake in. We are within 3 or so years from becoming and actual combination dept.

    I love the discussion though. And remember it was during my administration of the drug I realized what I was doing was out of the "scope" not that it really makes a difference. It is not like I knowingly and intentionally with forethought set out to break the rules..... again no excuse.
    If you got all the way to the administration of a drug without recognizing that you were outside the scope of practice, maybe paramedicine is not something that you should pursue.

    Here are the things tghat would have to happen:

    1) Decide that the patient needs an ALS intervention and that you were going to administer it yourself instead of requesting a paramedic or an intercept from another agency.
    2) Open the drug box or drug storage device. (Alarm Bells)
    3) Put together an albuterol delivery mechanism
    4) Ask the patient if they are allergic to any medications (Alarm Bell sounds)
    5) Give the patient the treatment and warn them of any adverse reaction


    You are acting like this is not a big deal. I probably agree that albuterol should be a BLS intervention - it has worked well in field trials administered this way.

    However, this action is so far over-board that it would lead me to question your ability to function independently. That is a pretty big concern for paramedics and fire code inspectors. Frankly I am glad that you will not be in the running for the fire chiefs position. It is important to know right from wrong, and how to follow rules. If you can't recognize that you are going way out of bounds on a simple medical, I think it is unlikely you will be able to make important decisions in the hazard zone.

    If it is important to you, I would take your lumps and enjoy the opportunity to volunteer as an EMT-B and firefighter on the department. I think the chief may have screwed up priorities, but I also think you are quite lucky to be continuing in any capacity on the fire department or as an EMT.

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    Trust me I am not hiding anything. And as a volunteer I could just walk away from it all, but like I said I love this community and with all the blood, sweat and tears I have given to it I just can't. That is why I have accepted the offer to remain and a FF, EMT waiting low, doing my job and ready to pounce.
    The last three words of this sentence are disturbing. If revenge against the Chief is one of your motives to remain... get the hell out now.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewpreston View Post
    Maybe Ben Fraklin should have been kicked in the balls, but something like 78% of the nations depts. are volunteers.
    Well since you brought it up, yes 78% of the country's Fire Departments are volunteer, but 78% of the population is protected by career firefighters. But we're not here to debate that.

    Dude, after reading your reply, I have come to the conclusion that you are definetly wound up too tight. I agree with Gonzo. You need to back away before you stroke out and wind up as a patient in the back of an ambulance being cared for by an EMT who is doing ALS care out of his scope of certification, and eventually a vegetable in a nursing home.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    He must have stroked out!
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    Talking Far from it

    It is obvious to me you guys are more into attempting to be Mr. Perfect, but somehow I bet all of you are far from it. All I wanted was some comments on the big picture and all you can do is repeat that I screwed up (I already admitted this in my orginal posting) I guess this goes far beyond what can be posted on a blog such as this. You guys have no idea of what goes on around my Dept on a daily basis, and I wouldn't expect you to. But for you to sit there and hammer me on what I already know shows your one sided ignorance.... but thanks for your replies anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewpreston View Post
    It is obvious to me you guys are more into attempting to be Mr. Perfect, but somehow I bet all of you are far from it. All I wanted was some comments on the big picture and all you can do is repeat that I screwed up (I already admitted this in my orginal posting) I guess this goes far beyond what can be posted on a blog such as this. You guys have no idea of what goes on around my Dept on a daily basis, and I wouldn't expect you to. But for you to sit there and hammer me on what I already know shows your one sided ignorance.... but thanks for your replies anyway.
    You're welcome.. I think...

    Speaking of ignorance, take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    [QUOTE=matthewpreston;973591]It is obvious to me you guys are more into attempting to be Mr. Perfect, but somehow I bet all of you are far from it. QUOTE]

    I can honestly say I have never done anything that would put my EMS status on the line. Don't turn this on us. Coming out here airing out your dirty laundry. If you wouldn't have done this you probably wouldn't have this problem...

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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewpreston View Post
    I need some advice from anyone that has gone through anything similar.
    This is complicated long story, longer than I care to post here, but here goes.

    STAY SAFE
    A similar thing occurred to me and it was painful.

    I then realized that i had to be my own BOSS.

    I also realized what the human animal is all about

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    Question Are you serious or what ?

    Quote Originally Posted by matthewpreston View Post
    It is obvious to me .

    Lets see , a Jewish guy walks into a Temple full of Muslims and asks why he doesn't fit in ! ? !



    Good Luck !
    Last edited by bfdhoser1; 10-20-2008 at 11:10 PM.
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