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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    When you have all exterior firefighters on scene with people trapped, do you tell them..
    a: they have to wait for interior qualified personnel to arrive.
    b: they're screwed.
    I am sorry but I do have to comment on this one....

    First - the background. Due to shrinking moneys pools and mismanagement of resources, you are losing a career force. This is the first negative and with few exceptions, it is a negative.

    Now, you are faced with a situation. You have more needs than your manpower allows. You can either try to make this up with volunteers, paid on call or some other derivitive or simply roll with less people.

    Now - back to your specific example. The answer is phrased like this:

    a) if I use people who cannot for some reason operate interior on a structure fire, then yes the people trapped have to wait. There may be things the people can do onscene to help but it is not the same as having people who can do interior firefighting on scene.

    b) If I require only 'fully' qualified people, the answer is they still wait, and what's worse, there is NO person on scene to render any kind of assistance, size up, information or what not. This is the 'We called and they didn't come' option (or 'We called and they didn't come in time')

    Is either good - no. I do see the arguement for having people who can provide assistance (think water shuttles/rehab/engineers) even if they cannot for some reason go interior. At this point the question is "Is it better to have someone with a limited skillset or to not have someone at all".

    Unfortuneately, this is a fiscal reality for many areas. The tax base simply is not there to support the larger career dept. You may ask the question then of whether its better to have a significantly understaffed career only dept or try a combo dept option or cut the entire dept and go to volunteer only?

    I believe the career side (or at least 24x7x365 staffed) FD's provide generally the best service, they also are only really feasible finanacially in the urban areas.


  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I'm sorry that your view of the world seems to be so narrow.

    My ďviewĒ of the world is not narrow at all. However, it still takes people in gear, with masks to stretch hose, force doors, place ladders and drag victims out. No matter where you are and who you are, if you are doing this job, those facts do not change.
    The only narrow mindedness in this topic is yours. That and you're too sold on your anti-career/union stance to even think with any semblance of logic.


    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I am in a rural community of 5K. Please tell me how I force personnel to all be interior qualified?
    Itís really simple, you make them. The department runs the show and is bigger than a single individual. Having under-qualified people on the rig, no matter the reason, sells everyone else short.



    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    The fact is everyone can bring a skill to the table, and any department, with the exception of an all-career department that allows that skill to walk away are idiots. it's really that simple.
    No argument. Then make them understand why it is important to wear a mask and teach them how to put up ladders, and search, etcÖ make them understand that people can become trapped in structures and everyone on that rig needs to be able work on a fire ground. This isnít a hobby; well, at least it isnít supposed to be. Guys are killed doing this job. If they donít want to worry about going into an incident, use their skills to rebuild your engine house, or do repair work around the station, etcÖ We donít let the ladies auxiliary show up at a fire scene on a rig, why would we let anyone else who isnít able to be a firefighter?




    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    As far as the guys inside, you call the next department over for RIT. It's honestly that simple. We do it all the time, especially in my volunteer department.
    Thatís great, but you again are showing your ignorance. Thinking like that is dangerous and shows you really just pay lip service to fire ground survival.

    So you are waiting for RIT from another county, or where ever; what happens when your initial attack line makes entry thru a door and those guys fall into the basement, which is on fire? You have fifty people there, but the only ones who are ďinteriorĒ are the ones who just went thru the floor and maybe a couple of others. What are you going to do with all of the guys who would rather wear a beard than a mask? And donít go giving me some song and dance about how it wonít happen here, we have enough people, because as long as you have volunteers and you have people who are exterior only, it could happen, and it will when you have almost no resources available.

    Sorry, youíre setting yourself up for a very bad scenario. Besides, if you have ever had to remove trapped or injured firefighters from a building, you yourself would realize just how labor intensive it is. You will never have enough people on scene. And weíre not even talking about the guys you will still need to maintain an attack on the fire, in order to help facilitate the removal.

    Sorry, if they canít perform all of the tasks on a fire ground, they donít really serve a purpose, other than to fill up space.




    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    As far as claiming to be an expert about going home, I'm not, and never claimed to be. But I do know a thing or two about using the people around you and accepting their limitations.
    Well, one things for certain; you surely do know how to limit your people around you.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    You are enticing people to perform a job through (meager) compensation. I stand by my earlier statement. Those volunteers are just a much cheaper paid staff, in union terms, scabs. It's like the difference between an escort and a street prostitute. They both do the same job, but one of them does it for a whole lot less!

    We are asking people to perform a community service and we are providing recognition and a slight reward for the time they put in.

    Amazing.

    This has nothing to do with a job. it is a hobby. yes, I used the dirty little word. Folks do this because they enjoy it. because they want a challenge. Because they enjoy the social aspect of the volunteer fire department. Because they have played on a team, and want to play on a team once again.

    And in most cases, they put in many hours and deserve something for their volunteer efforts.

    If you consider volunteers scabs, you must be drinking that union kool-aid by the gallon. And people wonder why have such disdain for the IAFF and career firefighters that walk the union line.

    My suggestion, especially in these tough economic times, is to stop financially compensating them. If they are doing it because they enjoy it and our deriving so many other less tangible benefits, then it would seem the compensation is unnecessary.
    Let me know how many you lose when you stop paying them? And let me know how many complain about losing their compensation?

    I don't consider volunteers scabs. I consider someone performing a service for far less compensation that others receive for providing that same service a scab. There is a clear distinction.

    Save the Parrish some money.

    BTW, ifirefighting is not a hobby. If they need a hobby, try stamp collecting.

  4. #64
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    So you are waiting for RIT from another county, or where ever; what happens when your initial attack line makes entry thru a door and those guys fall into the basement, which is on fire? You have fifty people there, but the only ones who are “interior” are the ones who just went thru the floor and maybe a couple of others. What are you going to do with all of the guys who would rather wear a beard than a mask? And don’t go giving me some song and dance about how it won’t happen here, we have enough people, because as long as you have volunteers and you have people who are exterior only, it could happen, and it will when you have almost no resources available

    Closest mutual aid is about 10 minutes out.

    Department after that is another 10 or so.

    Let's do the math: on average we have about 15 firefighters, 3 exterior members, 3 juniors and 2 support personnel respond. Does that vary somewhat based on time of day? Yes. But given that we have only 8 exterior and 6 support members out of a fireground roster of 70, the proportions remain the same.

    Sorta tough to tell the 55 year old truck driver he has to go interior. Same with the support people who have a collection of medical issues that would make the interior a bad place to be.

    Bottom line a VFD is a collection of people with a very wide range of capabilities. You simply cannot force someone to be interior if they don't want to or can't be. You use them as thier abilities permit and if you need to supplement interior you call mutual aid early or dispatch them as auto-aid.

    Well, one things for certain; you surely do know how to limit your people around you.

    I work within thier limits.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-10-2010 at 04:34 PM.

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by MBarnes View Post
    My suggestion, especially in these tough economic times, is to stop financially compensating them. If they are doing it because they enjoy it and our deriving so many other less tangible benefits, then it would seem the compensation is unnecessary.
    Let me know how many you lose when you stop paying them? And let me know how many complain about losing their compensation?

    I don't consider volunteers scabs. I consider someone performing a service for far less compensation that others receive for providing that same service a scab. There is a clear distinction.

    Save the Parrish some money.

    BTW, ifirefighting is not a hobby. If they need a hobby, try stamp collecting.

    Actually our budget has increased quite a bit in the last 5 years and continues to do so. The economy here is very good and our district is expanding with new home starts.

    We have replaced 5 vehicles in the past 2 years and are adding 3 positions this year, unfortunatly.

    There is nothing wrong with slightly compensating members for fuel, ruined clothes and time. Nothing wrong with the department sponsoring family social events. Nothing wrong with sending members to out of town fire deparment conferences and training as a reward for respose or training attendence. And yes, many would do it without compensation. I did for many of my 30 years, except when I was paid on call. But there is certainly nothing wrong with using it as a motivation, especially when you consider we spend less than 1K per year per member and compare it with a firefighter salery and benefit package.

  6. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by The nots so new FNG View Post
    I am sorry but I do have to comment on this one....

    First - the background. Due to shrinking moneys pools and mismanagement of resources, you are losing a career force. This is the first negative and with few exceptions, it is a negative.

    Now, you are faced with a situation. You have more needs than your manpower allows. You can either try to make this up with volunteers, paid on call or some other derivitive or simply roll with less people.

    Now - back to your specific example. The answer is phrased like this:

    a) if I use people who cannot for some reason operate interior on a structure fire, then yes the people trapped have to wait. There may be things the people can do onscene to help but it is not the same as having people who can do interior firefighting on scene.

    b) If I require only 'fully' qualified people, the answer is they still wait, and what's worse, there is NO person on scene to render any kind of assistance, size up, information or what not. This is the 'We called and they didn't come' option (or 'We called and they didn't come in time')

    Is either good - no. I do see the arguement for having people who can provide assistance (think water shuttles/rehab/engineers) even if they cannot for some reason go interior. At this point the question is "Is it better to have someone with a limited skillset or to not have someone at all".

    Unfortuneately, this is a fiscal reality for many areas. The tax base simply is not there to support the larger career dept. You may ask the question then of whether its better to have a significantly understaffed career only dept or try a combo dept option or cut the entire dept and go to volunteer only?

    I believe the career side (or at least 24x7x365 staffed) FD's provide generally the best service, they also are only really feasible finanacially in the urban areas.
    The solution to this problem is to train everyone to the firefighter 1-2 standard... no exceptions.

    Many volunteer FD's do this with no problem at all.
    ‎"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 Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    The solution to this problem is to train everyone to the firefighter 1-2 standard... no exceptions.

    Many volunteer FD's do this with no problem at all.
    Actually, the real solution would be to ban LaFireMoron.

  8. #68
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    I hate the term "interior" firefighter - you are either a fireman or you are not.
    If you cant perform all duties on the fireground - then you need to quit giving the citizens a false sense of security. I agree some people are better at some tasks than others , but you should be given your assingment on your ability to excell at that particular job , not your inability to do others. Nothing wrong with being the "go to guy" on the pumps, but you should be able to do a decent job on the nozzle or throw a ladder. Same goes for the roof squirrel, there may come a time when he has to pump the engine. He should be able to do an adequate job, not say ---"im a vent monkey -sorry"

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper 45 View Post
    Itís really simple, you make them. The department runs the show and is bigger than a single individual. Having under-qualified people on the rig, no matter the reason, sells everyone else short.
    That's easy to say if you have a ready pool of folks who can. Out of the 1500 accountability tags issued by our county fire coordinator's office (they handle it so we have consistency), about 400 carry the "interior" label. That works out to an average of about 10 fully qualified interior FF's per department. Some have many more, some have less.

    I figure that there are about 200 or so folks who are not interior qualified but are still very capable of providing a vital service - ie, apparatus driver/operator. That gives us around 600 of the 1500 who are truly front-line firefighters. The rest fall into a variety of roles, from fire police to scene support (rehab, etc) to why-do-they-even-have-a-tag-because-we-never-see-them-on-the-scene-anyhow.

    I'll be 60 in October. I probably shouldn't be doing any interior work. But I'm probably one of our best pump operators and I'm usually one of the first in the door when the tones drop. There are many others in a similar boat.

    Given the state of the volunteer fire service these days, if I can free up someone to fight fire while I concentrate on keeping them in water, I'm just as valuable as they are.

    That said - you're right. There shouldn't be anybody on the truck who isn't going to help do the job that needs to be done.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  10. #70
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    Trust me when I say that if we had enough people beating down the door to join that we could require Firefighter 1 & 2 to be a member, we'd do it tomorrow. It just isn't realistic in some of the rural areas, folks.

    Yes, I am sure that there are rural VFD's in some areas that have met this with success. I challenge you that they're the exception, not the rule.

    I'm not naive to the fact that we have members who serve primarily in support roles who might be outside, but if I get in trouble inside, they'd die trying to get me out. It's a chance I'm willing to take when I fight fire out here in the sticks.

    Yes, I know what I'm about to say has been hashed and re-hashed on here a million times, but it flat ****es me off when the guys on the job want to bash the VFD's who are doing the best they can with the personnel and resources they have.
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  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Yes, I know what I'm about to say has been hashed and re-hashed on here a million times, but it flat ****es me off when the guys on the job want to bash the VFD's who are doing the best they can with the personnel and resources they have.

    Here's a challenge for you, and I point your post out because I'm sure you are talking about me, at least somewhat. Go back in my posts and show me where I differentiated or mentioned anything remotely close to volunteer and career departments. Please, show me where I did that. I was under the impression I was talking about firefighters.

    You want to do the best you can, you make damn f*cking sure you are able to rescue your brothers if they become trapped, lost or otherwise injured while fighting a fire. Just don't try and tell me we can put people on a rig, who won't go inside a structure and tell me we're good.

    Whatever.

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    That said - you're right. There shouldn't be anybody on the truck who isn't going to help do the job that needs to be done.

    The difference is in your world jasper and Gonzo, you expect them to be able everything because they attended a 16 or 18-week academy on the taxpayers dime.

    Here, that's not the case and never will be. With the exception of the two cities, every career member in every combo department has taken every class they have on thier own time over a period of years.

    Some of the volunteers have done that, but most have not simply because they don't have the time - it's called working a job.

    We don't have the expectation that a firefighter in our world knows it all. We simply have the expectation that they will respond to do what they know how to do.

    And yes, they are still firefighters in every sense of the word.

    But back to the original topic - What do you recommend for this city if the idea of developing a call or volunteer force is so unworkable?
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-10-2010 at 10:00 PM.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    That said - you're right. There shouldn't be anybody on the truck who isn't going to help do the job that needs to be done.

    The difference is in your world jasper and Gonzo, you expect them to be able everything because they attended a 16 or 18-week academy on the taxpayers dime.

    Here, that's not the case and never will be. With the exception of the two cities, every career member in every combo department has taken every class they have on thier own time over a period of years.

    Some of the volunteers have done that, but most have not simply because they don't have the time - it's called working a job.

    We don't have the expectation that a firefighter in our world knows it all. We simply have the expectation that they will respond to do what they know how to do.

    And yes, they are still firefighters in every sense of the word.

    But back to the original topic - What do you recommend for this city if the idea of developing a call or volunteer force is so unworkable?

    You see, you continue to show why you can't be taken serious, virtually every time you post.
    You see, in my "world" as you oh, so delicately put it, yes, we have a recruit training facility in which we teach everyone how to do our job. But, also in my world, my brothers (family, actual blood) are firefighters for other jobs in the area. Smaller, in the metro area with no bonafide recruit training school. What that means is that for them to be hired with their respective departments, they started out as volunteers. Both of them had no option about what their training would be in order to be a firefighter. They did it on their "time", although the taxpayers paid for their training. GFY.
    Their respective departments, which are volunteer under your description, required quite the training regimen in order to ride their rigs, including EMT within one year.
    They can do it, whats the problem?

    So take your attitude and stick it. It's more than just a little tiring.

  14. #74
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post

    The difference is in your world jasper and Gonzo, you expect them to be able everything because they attended a 16 or 18-week academy on the taxpayers dime.
    Funny... my son, who recently got appointed to a combo department in a wealthy community west of Boston has been volunteering 40 hours a month. They have been training him in basic fire operations and he has been responding to calls on his tours... and will be attending a 6 month long call/volunteer program starting in September (2 nights a week and every Saturday) while holding down a full time job. That training is also financed on "the taxpayer's dime".

    They come out with firefighter 1-2 certifications.... and guess what.. some of the firefighters the call/vol program has trained come from the rural parts of the State, with no high rises, hydrants or sprinkler systems... but they know what to do if they get activated for a task force and go mutual aid into the "big city" or points elsewhere....

    By the way.. the class he is in will be the 33rd call/volunteer class that the Academy has put on... and they have been done all over the state.. from the Berkshires to the Cape and everywhere in between with the burn days being done at the Academy's facility in Stow.

    He can go on the payroll on his FD as a part timer working shifts when he graduates... and I plan on giving him my N6A leather lid as a graduation gift.

    Here, that's not the case and never will be. With the exception of the two cities, every career member in every combo department has taken every class they have on thier own time over a period of years.
    I have attended plenty of seminars and training on my own time too.. and I work an average of 70 hours a week between the firehouse, the Academy, the ambo service and my own business...last week was a 90 hour week ( don't worry, I'll sleep when I'm dead... )

    Many other career firefighters take part in fire training on their own time, with the only compensation being the knowledge that helps them do the job, the skills that can save their lives and the lives of those they swore to serve and protect.

    Some of the volunteers have done that, but most have not simply because they don't have the time - it's called working a job.
    See my post about my kid above. He works full time plus gets called in for emergencies when he is on call.

    We don't have the expectation that a firefighter in our world knows it all. We simply have the expectation that they will respond to do what they know how to do.
    You have very low expectations of your personnel...

    And yes, they are still firefighters in every sense of the word.
    Negatory. They are merely wearing gear playing firefighter.

    But back to the original topic - What do you recommend for this city if the idea of developing a call or volunteer force is so unworkable?
    The Brothers will continue to do the job on a smaller scale.. when the taxpayers start complaining about response times, fires and losses... they are to blame for not funding the FD.
    ‎"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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    Part of the training issue for us is that NY has gone through several iterations of basic firefighter training.

    When I joined up, "Essentials of Firefighting," all 39 hours of it, was all you needed to do your thing. There were other courses (I hesitate to call them "advanced"), but it was pretty well accepted that if you had Essentials, you were all set.

    Some years later the initial course became "Basic Firefighter," with "Intermediate" and "Advanced" if you chose to advance. Some did, some didn't. Sometimes they had trouble filling the secondary classes. Some of us "old guys" just weren't up to keeping up with the kids. Maybe we could have gone back and worked our way through, but as mentioned, there are priorities, too. And we'd had Essentials...

    Now they offer FF1 (over 100 hours - twice a week and a lot of Saturdays) and FF2. Still, for those folks who simply won't be going interior, they offer "Scene Support Operations," which is really just Essentials, minus the air packs...

    One oft-cited issue with recruitment is that 100+ hours. I don't question for a moment that a new FF needs every minute of it, but it is a huge time commitment that some people just can't surmount. So we get them with plenty of enthusiasm and lose them when they can't follow through.

    We also have a very limited outlet for trained FFs. Of the two career FD's in the immediate area, one is federal, and the other a small city. Neither sees a lot of turnover. So we get trained, enthusiastic youngsters who are in departments seeing maybe 100 calls a year, and zero other chances to use their skills (training/drill notwithstanding).
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper 45 View Post
    Here's a challenge for you, and I point your post out because I'm sure you are talking about me, at least somewhat.
    My post wasn't directed at any single member of the forum.
    Go back in my posts and show me where I differentiated or mentioned anything remotely close to volunteer and career departments. Please, show me where I did that. I was under the impression I was talking about firefighters.
    Why the guilty complex? I never accused you of that, nor did it enter my mind.

    You want to do the best you can, you make damn f*cking sure you are able to rescue your brothers if they become trapped, lost or otherwise injured while fighting a fire. Just don't try and tell me we can put people on a rig, who won't go inside a structure and tell me we're good.
    If your opinion is that we're not good, nothing I say is going to change that opinion. Many members of the forum obviously disagree with the way that Tree68, LaFireEducator, and I do it. That's fine. But, I put up this challenge. If I dismiss every member of the department who isn't an interior firefighter, where do I find the 20-or-so new interior guys to replace them?

    We don't have the option of career firefighters. We don't have the tax base. Currently, less than 15% of our jurisdiction's tax base is tied to commercial & retail development, leaving the rest of the burden on the homeowners.

    Many forum members want to remind us that what works where we are might not work for them. What we're doing works for us. When I can force all of my volunteers to become interior, I will. Until then, our "outside" folks will continue to support the work of the "inside" folks.

    And, to be clear, if my chief (at work) told me tomorrow that I had to replace half of my staff with volunteers, I wouldn't accept the interior/exterior difference. They'd all have to be interior, as that's how we have to operate with our 3-man engines, trucks, and heavy rescues.

    Whatever.
    Right on...
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  17. #77
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    Quote Originally Posted by slackjawedyokel View Post
    I hate the term "interior" firefighter - you are either a fireman or you are not.
    If you cant perform all duties on the fireground - then you need to quit giving the citizens a false sense of security. I agree some people are better at some tasks than others , but you should be given your assingment on your ability to excell at that particular job , not your inability to do others. Nothing wrong with being the "go to guy" on the pumps, but you should be able to do a decent job on the nozzle or throw a ladder. Same goes for the roof squirrel, there may come a time when he has to pump the engine. He should be able to do an adequate job, not say ---"im a vent monkey -sorry"
    Well, somebody has to drive and run the rig. Personally, in OUR situation,I could care less if that individual is "interior qualified",I want them to stay with the rig. So while in the Purists state you are right,the REALITY isn't necessisarily black in white. There is a little grey allowable. At least for US. T.C.

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    A city of 11.000 seems a little small to me to be fully staffed by a career staff and not have a volunteer component.

    I know of hundreds of all-volunteer departments in the northeast that protect communties of that size- and much larger - every day.

    I can't imagine that the number of serious fires and incidents are all that significant unless they have a major arson problem. I would be curious to see the run numbers.

    I know there are those who don't agree, but the tax burdent to staff a all-career department in a community that size simply seems unreasonable.

    A combination department in a community of 11,000 seems quite reasonable.

    Just as a reference point, we cover 17,000 with a full-time Deputy Chief, myself and 3 career members. We also utilize 1 part-time daytime position 7 days a week and another Saturday-Sunday position from our volunteer pool. That gives us a weekday paid staffing of 4 (2 of which are calssified as admin and run limited calls), a weekend daytime staffing of 3 and an overnight staffing (5PM-7AM) of 1.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-11-2010 at 11:55 AM.

  20. #80
    Forum Member L-Webb's Avatar
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    To me it seems that a county with only 11,000 people wouldn't have the tax base to pay for any paid firefighters.

    I was expecting a population of more like 50,000 or so.
    Bring enough hose.

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