1. #1
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    Default Leaving station for lunch

    If you are allowed to take Engine to lunch - What are some of the sog's you have in place? Anyone had issues with allowing Shift to take Engine to lunch ??

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    Companies are allowed to take the apparatus to the store to buy the meal and return back to the engine house.

    I don't think the department would take to kindly of a company's taking the apparatus out for lunch or dinner. Having said that, if they are detailed to the training school for all day training and for lunch they may take the apparatus up the road to a burger doodle or a buffet eatery place, that would not be frowned on.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    Companies are allowed to take the apparatus to the store to buy the meal and return back to the engine house.

    I don't think the department would take to kindly of a company's taking the apparatus out for lunch or dinner. Having said that, if they are detailed to the training school for all day training and for lunch they may take the apparatus up the road to a burger doodle or a buffet eatery place, that would not be frowned on.
    Had a chuckle over that verbage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbbbbbbbbbo View Post
    Had a chuckle over that verbage.
    Kinda sounded like something after the fact didn't it?
    Am I being effective in my efforts or am I merely showing up in my fireman costume to watch a house burn down? (Joe Brown, www.justlookingbusy.wordpress.com)

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    We're supposed to limit the unnecessary trips of FD vehicles at all times. Depending on manning, we may send the cook for the day to the store in a utility (pick-up truck or Tahoe). If that's not possible, the apparatus with the cook goes to the store and remains in-service. If it's getting late and we haven't had a chance to get to the store, the truck crews will usually stop by an in-district fast food place between runs, again staying in-service. Finally, once in a while, the entire station will load up and go to an in-district buffet.

    Some days we've run our tails off and missed meals completely. In general, we know that by limiting "joy rides" we're helping (although minimally) reduce expenses. If the sole purpose of the trip is for food, we try to let a new driver get some time behind the wheel for qualification.

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    Here the ladder goes for lunch - the engine's too busy.

    When they do go, there's no SOP to cover it. We have to give radio a legitimate reason for leaving the station; "on radio for lunch" isn't. But if you listen to a scanner around here, it's amazing how many companies go on radio for "fire prevention activities", "fuel", or "driver training" about 11 AM...

    Our ladder usually shops at a supermarket next to our division headquarters, which is also a fuel depot. So they have a legitimate reason to be there.

    One thing we do is if out of our local, answering a call "responding from (xxx St. and yyy St.)" This gives dispatch a chance to switch us up for a closer company or it gives other companies a heads-up that we're not coming from station; we'll be delayed, and while responding, our paths won't cross at the usual spots. This especially came about after apparatus vs. apparatus accident here last year, both responding from out of their locals.
    Opinions expressed are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of the Philadelphia Fire Department and/or IAFF Local 22.

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    Oh yeah, good point I forgot to mention. We code ourselves "off-station available" on the MDTs. If we're at a grocery store, we'll list the name (Marsh on Main St) but if we're at a restaurant, we'll usually just list an intersection. All the apparatus have GPS so the computers will still consider the closest unit, but that way it gives everyone an idea where everyone else is. In general, we seldom use the radio unless it's for response to a call.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bootsatcfd View Post
    If you are allowed to take Engine to lunch - What are some of the sog's you have in place? Anyone had issues with allowing Shift to take Engine to lunch ??
    ok, I gotta ask......Why does something so idiotically simply require an SOP??

    -You get on the rig.
    -You call "on the air, admin detail, driver training, whatever....You go to the store, supermarket, deli, roach coach, taco stand, McDonalds
    -You LEGALLY park the apparatus (not in a fire zone in front of the store, drawing attention to yourself.....)
    -Everyone who goes into the establishment carries a portable
    -Driver/Operator stays with the rig to monitor the radio, and to call personnel on a side channel on the portables to notify them that there is a run
    -Everyone gets on the woo woo and goes on the run

    Is an SOP really needed for something that is common sense?
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post

    Is an SOP really needed for something that is common sense?
    Of course, what world have you been living in?

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    Wouldn't it just be easier to pick up something for lunch before the shift and cook it at the station vice going out for lunch?

    I know sometimes cooking lunch is not always an option but just making a suggestion.

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    Who want's to always cook and clean?

    Most departments around here allow you to run to a close by, in-district restaurant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leeland View Post
    Wouldn't it just be easier to pick up something for lunch before the shift and cook it at the station vice going out for lunch?

    I know sometimes cooking lunch is not always an option but just making a suggestion.
    Easier? Maybe, maybe not.

    But the real question to address is whether or not it's unreasonable for a group of people to take the "company car" to pick up some food (in the response district), that they might very well not get to eat due to handling the public's "emergencies"?

    Some argue the "response time" thing by not being at the station, but this happens while out of the station on "official" business like training, inspections, etc.

    The only reasonable argument I can see against it is that technically it does cost a little bit of money in terms of fuel, wear & tear on the vehicle. But if this relatively minor sum is "breaking the bank", then maybe the fire apparatus should only leave the station for "true" emergencies. That would certainly save some money.

    If it's "bad" for the fire trucks to go to the store for food, then we better make sure that every other government employee isn't taking their "company car" to get their lunch.

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    Why have some type of policy/guideline ? The Engine is technically "in service" and common sense is not always common. Also it would offer some consistency and accountability.
    Just thinking it would be a good plus for the staff and good Public Relations for dept. It would also help promote relationships with restaurant owners so they see us more than just when we're doing code inspections.
    We are looking at all things - pros and cons - such as parking of Engine in parking lots (as not to take up to much space), having to leaving restaurant in a hurry, staff understanding there is a chance of leaving meal behind in case of call, time limits, promotion of healthy eating, etc.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bootsatcfd View Post
    Why have some type of policy/guideline ? The Engine is technically "in service" and common sense is not always common. Also it would offer some consistency and accountability.
    Just thinking it would be a good plus for the staff and good Public Relations for dept. It would also help promote relationships with restaurant owners so they see us more than just when we're doing code inspections.
    We are looking at all things - pros and cons - such as parking of Engine in parking lots (as not to take up to much space), having to leaving restaurant in a hurry, staff understanding there is a chance of leaving meal behind in case of call, time limits, promotion of healthy eating, etc.....

    You are trying to micro manage. If the company is on the street and decides to stop to pick up a few burgers, who is to say that they can't?

    As far as carrying food the engine house o have the same day is lame as well.

    We did that years back when the groceries were closed on Sundays. On Friday, we collect the money of the members who would be working on Sunday and the cook hit the store on Saturday afternoon, took the food home and brought it in on Sunday when he came to work.

    The Company makes up on the district and goes to the grocery. The driver stays with the ride and the other members goes in. Yes we have caught runs before and left the basket sit, but to tell one of the clerks that "we will be back". They take care of we have for us.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

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    We can use the engine at our discretion. Our SOG's require that we call in "on the air, available". Then, whether we go to the grocery store or a restaurant, it has to be in the district.

    We park in a normal spot, usually far away from the restaurant with minimal obstructions. We all carry portables, so if a run comes in, we all know it.

    Around here, shopping is a great PR activity. We get out and meet people at either the store or restaurant, and I (the rookie) usually get a chance to show the engine to any kids that ask. Or, sometimes, we just get to talk to employees or citizens who say hello.

    But yes, we do have an SOG for pretty much EVERYTHING department related.

    Take care,
    Pete

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    As long as you stay in your local, it doesn't really matter. Don't do it everyday, park out of the way, monitor the radio....pretty simple.

    This is one of the easiest forms of PR you can do. Say hi to everyone, ask kids (or adults) if they want to see the truck. When you make a positive impact, they'll be hoping you come around more often.

    There's nothing worse than working for someone that never wants to leave the firehouse. Get out and familiarize yourself with your territory!!

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    There's a flip side to the "PR" thing too, and that's negative PR. My department's daily (and I mean EVERY day) trip to the grocery store finally came to an end on order of the Mayor. We had been trying for years to get more staff added on the basis that we were way understaffed to handle the calls we were getting. As we started a big PR push on the staffing preparing to apply for the SAFER Grant, the Mayor started getting calls from people saying we couldn't be that busy because they see us in the grocery store every day. A few letters to the newspaper were also written. That was the end of that, at least taking the whole crew and a truck. He told us we could still do it, but to only use one guy and a service truck hidden out in the parking lot somewhere.

    In this case, I had to agree with him. We can't be complaining we're getting beat up with the calls on one hand, and then be seen strolling the aisles of the grocery store every day and lounging on the bench out front of the station (which also came to an end). It's all about perception, and in this economic atmosphere, that's sometimes the most important thing.

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    Default Go Eat

    Around here we are allowed to take the engine to lunch. Every city employee gets to eat lunch. However, not many employees have their lunch interrupted to go do their job. If we are expected to stop eating at any minute to respond to an emergency we need to be real close to that big truck. Since we are expected to respond our Chief allows us to go in the engine. Haven't ever heard any complaints around here. If there has been any the Chief took the heat and kept it to himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    ok, I gotta ask......Why does something so idiotically simply require an SOP??

    -You get on the rig.
    -You call "on the air, admin detail, driver training, whatever....You go to the store, supermarket, deli, roach coach, taco stand, McDonalds
    -You LEGALLY park the apparatus (not in a fire zone in front of the store, drawing attention to yourself.....)
    -Everyone who goes into the establishment carries a portable
    -Driver/Operator stays with the rig to monitor the radio, and to call personnel on a side channel on the portables to notify them that there is a run
    -Everyone gets on the woo woo and goes on the run

    Is an SOP really needed for something that is common sense?
    Seems simple enough... Everyone has a radio so if we get a run everyone hears it and we go. About 5-6 companies shop at the supermarket in my battalion every day for dinner. If they get a run they leave the cart with the check out gals until returning.

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    1. Must go "available on air"
    2. Must be in territory
    3. Must Be able to respond to apparatus within a minute
    4. Must not park to where it obstructs the traffic flow thru parking lot.
    5. Must be able to see apparatus from where we sit.
    6. Under no circumstances can we dine anywhere with live entertainment.

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    After reading these, maybe the grass really isn't greener. They only rule is to not leave your first-due for food. We are encouraged to get out in the public. Our district does not have a grocery store so as the LT, I have come up with a solution. We work 48/96 schedule. Each member (4) brings one meal and we switch off bringing breakfast. We also switch off bringing a lunch or a dinner. There are no rules other than try to keep it around $20. This keeps the "cheepies" from bringing in Top Ramen abd the other from complaining that they brought lobster the tour before.

    I really do like this since I really hate going to the store.

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    We can got out for lunch. The only real restriction is stay in your 1st Alarm area, and be readily available to respond to a run.

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    The one thing that always amazes me is when people say to us in the store "What am I buying you to eat today?" The misconception that the city pays for our meals is one I truly enjoy clearing up and it genereally leads to other topics that we can educate the public on.

    As long as we remain in our city we can go shopping for meals or run other errands. We must remain In Service and Available for calls of course.

    I guess if the citizens see firefighters eating while on duty as a problem perhaps we should bargain rotating 30 minute dinner breaks where companies are out of service and off the clock so we can eat our meals undisturbed. As if that would ever happen!!
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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    Your always gonna have that crabby Mrs. Smith who will call and complain about the slightest things, But getting out in your zone not only allows you to be more familiar with your district ( we come across little things all the time while out grabbing food that could have a potential impact on a fire or other emergency) You also get out to the people you serve and fight the other fires ,ignorance. Get to know your people, educate them one french fry order at a time. Let them know what you do besides sit around and play Xbox, invite them to come watch you train or to come by the station and take a tour, Let them know that you are at the station for 24 hours and have to cook all your own meals that sometimes you don't get a chance to eat at all that you have no scheduled lunch breaks. And when they see you leave the table after 2 bites of food..... Maybe just maybe you won a small battle.

    If you hold up in your fortress the entire shift and keep the draw bridge up (bay door closed) how are people suppose to know what you actually do? they are gonna continue to think that all you do is sit in the action ready chairs and sleep all day, and when the time comes to vote whether you get funding for a new truck or plant 200, $1200 palm trees in the medians maybe you'll get a new truck instead.

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    It is sad that we have to have an SOP/SOG for everything now, but if you give someone and inch, they invariably take a mile. Simple grocery store runs turn into half a day shopping jaunts at the mall. Abuse happens. Suddenly you start hearing - we did it because 46's
    can do it and they got the mall. 21's was at autozone. 5's was here.. 6's was there...

    And one other rule to add - albeit unofficially. Never, I mean NEVER let your engine get stolen. Even if it is just around to the back of the grocery store because YOU as Captain were too stupid to make the Engineer stay in the engine.....

    And don't say on the radio - "Firecom have you heard from my engine?"

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