1. #1
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    Default FD Response Fears

    I have concern right now for the Fire Service. Something that I've been struggling with a whole lot. Why doesn't the closest fire department respond to an emergency call? This is really starting to bother me a whole lot. My experience with the fire service is that I'm came from the western suburbs of Chicago. We have mutual aid plus MABAS. When ever we have a call we have the closest department responds with the closest equipment. How this works is if we have a car wreck in our district, on a border, we respond & the station that is a mile away responds we work together to get the patient taken care of and the incident mitigated as quickly as possible. When I relocated out to Pennsylvania it has been a different story. We are in the fire service to save lives of the people that live in our communities. We as fire departments should be working together and training together all the time. We shouldn't be concerned about borders. Too many departments race to be the first one's on a scene and beat the other department. What is this race for? What if a house is on fire and we wreck? What about the person that if we get an accident and kill them? What are we going to tell there family? Fire department response is one of the top reasons for fire fighter's deaths. Plus it is the NUMBER ONE way to ruin your departments reputation and loose the citizen's trust from your community. I just pray that this doesn't happen every night. I don't meet to vent it's just a concern that I have and a fear...

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    The answer to your question lies within your location: PENNSYLVANIA.

    The act of not sending the closest companies seems to be especially rampant here. This is due to the fact that Pa. is a commonwealth. I do not know the particularities and specifics of the laws involved, but it was explained to me one time in laymans terms that "The state allows each community to have oversight" over their municipal operations.

    That being said, there is no oversight at a state or county level to regulate the fire service. Two of my pet peeves arise from this- there are no minimum standards (state or county-wide) to be a firefighter (although most organizations themselves regulate training and dictate minumum standards....) and yes, the fact that Fire Chiefs may dictate who and who my not play in their sandboxes.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Just because there are companys closer means nothing in Pa, I wish I had a dollar for everytime my dept has been first at an incident in an area that we are 2nd due dept. Some places don't have the manpower and take awhile to get out if they get out at all...remember in the volunteer world closest is not always the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by htfdc102 View Post
    ..remember in the volunteer world closest is not always the best.
    Tell that to the Prosecuting Attorney at a Civil trial where you are the defendant.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Ok and I will also tell him that when the closet company isn't the first on scene

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    Quote Originally Posted by htfdc102 View Post
    Ok and I will also tell him that when the closet company isn't the first on scene
    He won't allow you the opportunity to say that, and if you do, he will have it stricken from the record, and the Judge will instruct the Jury to ignore the last statement.

    This is the Fire Service. We are here to provide emergent life saving services to the communities which we are sworn to serve. If you don't like the next door neighbors and don't want them to play in your sandbox because they took you off their boxes on the east end of their town, or wont let you drink in their bar, or they removed your ladder truck from their boxes in favor of the guys on the other side of their local who bought a brand new one, or they have more training than you, or whatever whatever whatever (I have heard all of the above. Believe me....) You better prepare for the consequences if you ever get called onto the legal carpet.

    If the guys next town over have trouble getting out, why not alter your box cards so that they get dispatched, along with whoever else you want, that way all ends are covered?

    Either way, this selective dispatching crap by fire chiefs in their Kingdoms in Pennsylvania (and anywhere else it exists) has to come to an end. Period. All dispatching can and SHOULD be done by GIS- Closest available companies go to the call, regardless of township/borough borders. If Company A is closer even though it's technically Company B's local, A should be dispatched.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post

    If the guys next town over have trouble getting out, why not alter your box cards so that they get dispatched, along with whoever else you want, that way all ends are covered?
    This is what alot of depts do here and I was pointing out that just because a company is closer doesn't mean they will be there first. You could dispatch them till the batterys die in the pagers but if they have few or no people what good are they? I speak from the experience I have in my area where as I said before I have gone past the first due depts firehouse and there door wasn't even up yet and some places this was a 5-10 mile run for us.

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    I thought I heard something about Montgomery County going to a system like this: Chief decides what he wants on his boxes, not who he wants. The county will dispatch the closest available unit for those boxes. Also, for any regular call, the closest unit responds as well as the company who is "first in" by territory lines.

    Again, I could be wrong on this and it seems like it could cause some battles but who knows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by charlie82 View Post
    I thought I heard something about Montgomery County going to a system like this
    You are not wrong, yes it is causing battles. The kings are fighting it tooth an nail.....Even to the point where I heard threats of TRO's being filed to stop it....
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Default FD Response

    Fire protection policy is determined by local government. The governing authority that determines this policy may be the board of directors of a fire district, city council of a city, township board of a township or county councilmen of a county.

    Of course, there may be some statutes that govern how these AHJ's may operate fire protection services, too.

    Some AHJ's leave the deicision making to the fire chief. Most fire chiefs operate professionally and determine the response, mutual aid and automatic aid based on fire protection principles.

    Of course, the humans we are, there is the politics that shows its face in some decisions.
    Its too bad some AHJ's run some policy matters on politics.

    In the area that I reside in, politics shows its head quite often. "Educating" the idiots that make these decisions help them to reconsider their policies. Sometimes the mules are stubborn and buildings burn down.

    Fire protection is based on fire protection principles, not on a political agenda.

    Fire protection policy based on a political agenda is failed fire protection policy.

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    On multi-comapny runs will the assignments compensate for differences in staffing? I.E. district A has 2 on the trucks and district B has 4. A fire gets 3 engines and 2 trucks. Will the assignment be bumped up for any resources sent by district A?

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    Happens all the time here. Call 911 from the East side of the street about a house on fire on the West side of the street, and the department that covers the East side will respond, even though it's in the East side's town- and the East side is closer to BOTH sides of the street.

    But the East side department won't send the West side department to calls on "their" side of the street, because the East side is union and the West side is volunteer. So instead of a 5 minute response from the West, you get a 10 minute response from the East (15-20 for the second due).

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