Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Forum Member Theaxemancometh's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    129

    Default New Fire Stations, and some New Employees Pose New Problems

    With your participation, I would like to facilitate a discussion about company unity, new generation Firefighters and how those two elements fit into our modern day firehouses.

    First, some background: I'm a Fire Captain for a large west coast department, and have worked in that capacity for seven years. I work at a multi-company station where there are two Captains assigned, including myself. Last shift, while finishing up some paperwork before retiring for the evening, my partner (co-Captain) and I were talking about company unity and the importance of it. The discussion evolved into issues involving the newer generation of Firefighters, many of their habits, behaviors and their paradigms about the world around them. Additionally (and I'm sure many of you have experienced this) now that the newer fire stations have "dormettes" as opposed to common dorms like in the good ole' days, it seems newer Firefighters like to "hide" or retreat to their "dormettes". They are often in their dorms, on their lap tops during the day, surfing the web, playing games, and God knows what else! My partner and I have had to implement rules forbidding hanging out in the dorm during the day, and unfortunately, babysit. One of our Chiefs calls it "living in their apartments", and says if he ever has a chance to change it...he will!! (Good luck Chief...Let me know how that works out for ya!) To make matters worse, a new policy has emerged forbidding team sports on duty because of exploding workman's comp claims and costs.

    Soooo, my question is: What are your thoughts about company unity and the importance of it? Do you all do everything together, including watch TV after dinner? Do you think that the "new fire department" with it's ADA requirements for firehouses, separate dorms and bathrooms have influenced company unity negatively? What about team sports? How does it affect your station moral when a crew member doesn't want to participate in company physical activities, or "brownbags" for meals??

    Interested in your thoughts for a worthy discussion! Thanx!!

    "The Axeman"
    ____________
    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"


  2. #2
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Idaho
    Posts
    1,272

    Default Unity

    First of all with Firefighters today they do hide out in their dorms or computer. With the common mess...that's different. If you are the Captain you can set the rules on a common mess. If they take their meals off of their taxes then there should be a common mess. If they take the cost of their meals off of their taxes and "Brown Bag" then they are cheating on their tax form. You as the house Captain can't make them sit together but you can have them eat together.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
    Retired Fire
    Background Investigator
    IACOJ-Member
    Lifetime Member CSFA
    IAFF Alumni Member

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    470

    Default

    We have one station that has individual rooms and as nice as it is to not have to listen to everyone else fart and snore all night, it's just not the same. It's like when I was in the military and sleeping in a GP medium with 15 other people. You bond with them and it gives you stuff to laugh about. It's also our slowest stations (for now) so some of the older guys that don't want to do much bid that station. Those crews just don't seem as close as the other stations around town. Personally, I like the bays that are broken down into rooms by company, so that way you're not waking up for everyone else's runs all night.

    Our largest station has about 10 guys at it during a shift. Dinner is almost always with the entire station, around the table, giving everyone a hard time. Lunch is sometimes the whole house, but often it turns out to be just your apparatus. Eating is a social thing and it brings the group together. You can definitely tell the difference between stations that eat together and those that brown bag it.

    At my station, a bunch of us have laptops, but we generally don't get on them much during the day. I'll sit in a recliner and work on the laptop, but that's so I can be in the day room with the rest of the crew instead of being isolated in the office. And if I'm not working on something somewhat related to work, I'm only on it briefly during the day.

    Our dept has had to unofficially ban sports due to injuries and pubic complaints. But we'll still do some PT together. It's hilarious seeing the 50+ year old guy trying to do P90X Yoga. Or we'll set up a FF skills course and everyone will run through it on air competing for the best time. Or bunker drills are always fun. We take bets (a can of soda) on who can beat who.

    I think the officers need to lead the way and encourage company activities, but it's not really a place for policy letters (except something like no personal work until the duty day is complete IF that's interfering with operations). You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make them drink. Some people just don't want to be part of the group, or they just don't want to put in the effort.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    247

    Default

    An interesting question.

    Do you really need to be the physical presence of everyone for the entire shift for there to be good teamwork on the fireground? Is there a real difference in teamwork when instead of being together for 16 hours, a couple of the guys want to go read in their room and work on something and are only together with the rest for 14 hours in a day?

    I'm sort of a loner so would probably tend to let people do what they want during those times when some sort of work-related activity isn't going on.

    But, I get the point. Though not fire-related I recently returned to a place where I worked and lived full-time about 16-17 years ago and it was sort of spooky seeing a roomful of people playing on their laptops and not speaking to each other like they were in some sort of computer lab (do they even have those in schools anymore?). They did interact with each other every now and again, but the "togetherness" didn't seem to be there.

    But, on the other hand, how much of this is "good old days" thinking where we've added a haze of good-feeling to our memories and glossed over what it was really like?

  5. #5
    Forum Member FireEeyore's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    145

    Default

    Interesting thoughts.

    I am a newer firefighter. Our setup is very different. The main area where we sleep is separated by walls but has no doors. It technically is one big room.

    I always make it an effort to eat all meals and spend as much time with the crew as I can.

    Maybe we are just more old school.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    94

    Default

    Ironically enough, our shift with all the younger/newer guys are the ones that hang out together both on and off-shift. The 4 of us on our shift spend pretty much the whole shift in the day room, except when we're sleeping. It's the other two shifts, the more seasoned vets, that wander off and do their own thing.

  7. #7
    Forum Member Theaxemancometh's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by auxman View Post
    An interesting question.

    Do you really need to be the physical presence of everyone for the entire shift for there to be good teamwork on the fireground? Is there a real difference in teamwork when instead of being together for 16 hours, a couple of the guys want to go read in their room and work on something and are only together with the rest for 14 hours in a day?

    I'm sort of a loner so would probably tend to let people do what they want during those times when some sort of work-related activity isn't going on.

    But, I get the point. Though not fire-related I recently returned to a place where I worked and lived full-time about 16-17 years ago and it was sort of spooky seeing a roomful of people playing on their laptops and not speaking to each other like they were in some sort of computer lab (do they even have those in schools anymore?). They did interact with each other every now and again, but the "togetherness" didn't seem to be there.

    But, on the other hand, how much of this is "good old days" thinking where we've added a haze of good-feeling to our memories and glossed over what it was really like?
    Those are very valid points Auxman!! But that begs yet another good question. Was there anything wrong with the "good ole' day" thinking? You know as well as I do, the many successes of our past were by virtue of a quasi-military style of operation. It was and has been understood by military forces the world round for years that "individuality" causes divisive, and self centered thinking. This type of thinking has proven to cause indecisiveness, and a failure to act in the most austere conditions. This is because one is taking stock in their own mortality while NOT considering the safety of the whole team.

    Now this is quite the extreme scenario. And I realize the dynamics of a civilian fire service are quite different than the military. I DO understand not wanting to be constantly up underneathe nine other guys ALL shift. But what limits do you think should be placed on individuality and "having your own space"? SHOULD there be limits on individuality? Apparently what the military has done works well for a reason. Just playing the devil's advocate??

    "The Axeman"
    ____________
    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    247

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Theaxemancometh View Post
    Was there anything wrong with the "good ole' day" thinking?
    I doubt very much that the early firemen had everyone in the same sleeping room or all sitting in the same day room all the time for morale or teamwork reasons. That was probably just the circumstance forced upon them by the budget. They just didn't have the money to give every fireman (or two) individual rooms to sleep in.

    And to follow up on your military analogy, even they went away from open barracks a long time ago and if anything our military is much better than it was back then. Is it due to different sleeping arrangements? No, but the change in sleeping arrangements doesn't seem to have held them back.

    But, this is really something that can't be answered. There are probably some companies that would work great if they were forced together all shift while there are others where allowing some more "me" time would be absolutely necessary to have things run well. "Teamwork" and "morale" are pretty squishy terms in any case.

  9. #9
    Forum Member Theaxemancometh's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    129

    Default

    "Teamwork" and "morale" are pretty squishy terms in any case.

    Really? In what way are they squishy?

  10. #10
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    247

    Default

    In that they are intangibles that can't really be measured and linked back to the issues your raise very easily.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Theaxemancometh's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    129

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by auxman View Post
    In that they are intangibles that can't really be measured and linked back to the issues your raise very easily.
    Interesting! Intangible? Morale I'll give you...BUT Teamwork...I'm not sure that I'd agree with that! But you raise interesting points! Thanx for your feedback....love this stuff!

    "The Axeman"
    ____________
    "Purpose, Truth and Passion Yields Power and Dominion IN ACTION!!!"

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts