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  1. #1
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    Default City lays off almost half of department.

    This hits pretty close to home for me. These guys are in my thoughts and prayers.

    http://www.joplinglobe.com/local/x19...police-firemen


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    Default

    God I hate to be hearing this. Where are the cuts in the parks and rec. department or city hall fat??
    Jason Knecht
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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  3. #3
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dickey View Post
    God I hate to be hearing this. Where are the cuts in the parks and rec. department or city hall fat??
    If you read the article, they did cut those departments as well. It sounds like they simply have no money and the VOTERS said no. I don't know what the solution to this is, the alternative is to not lay off staff and have 22 bounced paychecks every two weeks.

    I'm not advocating firing ourselves here, I'm just saying it's hard to come up with an alternative when the voters have spoken.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  4. #4
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs down Well.........

    Absolutely Incredible. I'm thinking that they work a 3 shift system for a 56 hour work week. WITHOUT any Cuts, they only had 8 People per shift, now they're down to Four??..... I have 5 at my Station, on a 8 hour day/5 days a week schedule, but I also have 46 Volunteers. With 2in/2out the entire Department will have to be on scene at every call. Crazy.......



    Edit to add: I went back and read the Story again, then hit the "Home" tab on the Newspaper's page. I then read another story in Today's edition which explained a lot more. This seems to be a problem where Former (Now Fired) Management misdirected City spending, using "Restricted" Funds that now have to be repaid, FROM THE ACCOUNTS WHERE THEY WERE SPENT FROM. Payroll was the Biggie, and it looks like it may get worse. I also "Commented" on the Story, but my Comments have not been published.

    Edit To Add: My comments have been added to the Pile. It won't be hard to figure out who I am......
    Last edited by hwoods; 08-07-2010 at 01:35 PM.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  5. #5
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Harve,

    They aren't worried about 2 in / 2 out. The politicians don't even care if there is 0 in.

    Everyone will go home so all will be good.....remember?

    Hopefully those laid off while find a way to make do.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  6. #6
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Default

    Until the politician's house is on fire....
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Itís a long story on how they got here, but the former city manager played a large part in getting them in a deep as they are today. The city has taken out a loan to get them through the rest of the year.

    At the first of the year the fire department took a pay cut to try and save jobs. About a month ago they eliminated the training officer and the deputy chief positions. The chief decided to retire and the deputy chief was promoted to chief. From what we are now being told is that there will be four on a shift with two guys floating to cover vacation and sick time. The guys are asking to take another pay cut to save at least one guy so they could have five a shift.

    The department also provides protection to about 80 (I think) square miles around the city. They also provide a lot of mutual aid to the surrounding volunteer departments. They also house and respond the county wide air unit to any structure fire in the county.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Harve,

    They aren't worried about 2 in / 2 out. The politicians don't even care if there is 0 in.

    Everyone will go home so all will be good.....remember?

    Hopefully those laid off while find a way to make do.
    One of the firefighters that will most likley be laid off was taking the physcial agility test today to be put back on the list to be hired by any of the area fire departments that are part of the testing alliance. It would put him on the list for nine departments in Missouri and two in Kansas. There was 14 that tested today and 20 some last week as well as any from the January test. He was the only one from Neosho that was there to test.

    I was his proctor today and he told me he just hoped that someone was hiring.

    I have been told that some of the guys that have good part-time jobs or own a small business have asked to be laided of so that some of the young guys can stay on the job.

  9. #9
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    I have been told that some of the guys that have good part-time jobs or own a small business have asked to be laided of so that some of the young guys can stay on the job.
    And people think firefighters are selfish lazy couch potatoes.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  10. #10
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    What are the demographics of the community?

    Is there enough population to draw a 20-25 man volunteer or reserve force. At a minimum, they could be fairly quickly trained to drive and pump the apparatus as well as perform exterior support operations such as laddering and exterior fire attack. They could also be trained very quickly to assist with rehab and clean-up operations.

    Again, the days are gone that a small community can reasonably support an all-career department without a volunteer component.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    What are the demographics of the community?

    Is there enough population to draw a 20-25 man volunteer or reserve force. At a minimum, they could be fairly quickly trained to drive and pump the apparatus as well as perform exterior support operations such as laddering and exterior fire attack. They could also be trained very quickly to assist with rehab and clean-up operations.

    Again, the days are gone that a small community can reasonably support an all-career department without a volunteer component.
    Years ago they was combo with a large volunteer base. As time has went on the volunteer base has gotten smaller and smaller. They have two volunteer/paid by call guys now. They as well as about everyone is this part of the country have a hard time getting and retaining volunteers.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    Years ago they was combo with a large volunteer base. As time has went on the volunteer base has gotten smaller and smaller. They have two volunteer/paid by call guys now. They as well as about everyone is this part of the country have a hard time getting and retaining volunteers.
    Sounds like what is happening here, where as more career members are hired, the roles of the volunteers are diminished, and because of that, fewer of them volunteer.

    There are several combo departments here where the career staff is openly rude, and in a couple of cases hostile, to their volunteer force, and management does nothing about it. In at least one case, the Chief openly states that he wants to get rid of all his volunteers even though he currently has only 5 men a shift covering almost 2 square miles from 8 stations.

    Bottom line, I still contend that if a volunteer is compensated, to a limited extent, given the same training opportunities as the career staff, respected, and utilized as a first-line member of the team, a combo department can flourish and retain a solid group of volunteers.

    For most small and medium sized communities a strong call force is no longer an option. The funds simply do not exist to operate a department without such a force.

  13. #13
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    LA-
    I think that they tried to keep the volunteer ranks it just that they could not get people to join because of the normal reasons.

  14. #14
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Again, the days are gone that a small community can reasonably support an all-career department without a volunteer component.
    Not in places where public safety is taken seriously.

    Do these cities you reference solicit volunteers for the road department, the City Attorney, office staff, etc.? Wonder why they don't? And these are all jobs where the chances of getting hurt or injured at work are nearly nill.
    RK
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post

    Bottom line, I still contend that if a volunteer is compensated, to a limited extent, given the same training opportunities as the career staff, respected, and utilized as a first-line member of the team, a combo department can flourish and retain a solid group of volunteers.
    If they are compensated then they are not volunteers, just cheap paid staff. That is a problem.

  16. #16
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Every local newspaper comment forum has the double I's (Internet Idiots) who have to make comments on every FD related story to use that forum to call for going to a volunteer FD...

    The problems with those who constantly call for career FDs to be disbanded and go to volunteer is the fact that the very people who advocate it will not step up to the plate to do it.. the usual excuses...

    "I have a business to run"
    "I work enough as it is"
    "It will take up too much of my time"
    "I can't take time away from my kids"
    "I'm too old/young/not strong enough/too smart to do that kind of work"
    "it's too dangerous..."
    "what... no beer?"
    ‎"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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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Not in places where public safety is taken seriously.

    Do these cities you reference solicit volunteers for the road department, the City Attorney, office staff, etc.? Wonder why they don't? And these are all jobs where the chances of getting hurt or injured at work are nearly nill.
    Disagree.

    The road department has projects every day. The city staff has a continual workload. So does the library and the parks department. Simply does not compare to the periodic elevated manpower needs of a fire department.

    The bread and butter call for the fire department in a small city does not require a staff generally beyond 3 or 4. EMS calls. Minor MVAs. Trash fires. Vehicle fires. Gas leaks. Gasoline spills. Minor structural incidents like alarm trips, smoke investigations and food on the stove fires.

    And while there are daily tasks that need to be done such as fire prevention, vehicle, tool and station maintainence, pre-plan updates as well as hydrant, pump and hose testing, they all can be easily handled by that 3-4 firefighter crew.

    How often does a small or medium sized community have a working structure fire? Once a month? Once very other month? How about a major MVA, a major brush fire or any other major incident?

    The fact is that a small career force backed up by a well trained call, volunteer or reserve force is more than adequate for a small or medium sized (under 30K), and is a cost effective way to deliver fire and rescue services.

    To compare the FD to most other city departments with a consistent workload, especially those requiring professional administrative and technical skills is simply silly.

    We cover about 17K plus the national Guard facility, which has a daytime population of additional 2K with 3 career personnel. We cover the same population with one paid member from 5PM-7AM, and it works pretty well for us because we keep our volunteers trained, motivated and responding.

    And by the way, just about all the communities that I have been in do use volunteers in the day to day operation of their libraries, parks departments and even some city/town administrative departments.

  18. #18
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    The difference is, if no volunteers show up to the library on Wednesday evening, people don't die.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by MBarnes View Post
    If they are compensated then they are not volunteers, just cheap paid staff. That is a problem.
    Negative.

    There is nothing wrong with compensating volunteers for thier time.

    The compensation can take the form of a point system for runs and training. As an example we use a points system where each point is worth $3.50 - A structure fire is 5 points, weekly training is 4, a multi-company fire is 3, a single company fire is 2 and EMS calls are worth 1. Special and out-of-department training is awarded based on length. It costs us about 35K per year, and it keeps the troops quite motivated.

    A certification like EMT, Firefighter I, Firefighter II and Driver/Operator are worth 20 points. Certiciations that tale less than 50 hours such as Instructor I/II, Officer I/II and the like are worth 10.

    We also have a LOSAP program which becomes active at the 10-year point. A firefighter receives $350 per year and an officer receives $500 per year. The initial cost was about $9K but the yearly cost id less than $4K.

    There are also many forms of non-cash compensation including shirts, mugs and other items for reaching certain goals. Participation is often used as a part of the decision making process when it comes to out of town training and conferences.

    Some departments provide a family trip once a year. many sponsor bowling and golf teams. Many, including ours, uses family social events such as picnics and holiday parties to keep members interested.

    It's call motivation, and it's a critical part of keeping the team rolling.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    The difference is, if no volunteers show up to the library on Wednesday evening, people don't die.
    And if no volunteers show up, you have an issue, and yes, you have a problem which requires paid staff.

    And in some cases, that is the solution required.

    However, many on these forums see paid staff as the only way and only answer to deliver fire services. I would suspect that they would oppose a volunteer or reserve program at their department, and honestly, be quite nasty to those who volunteer and would be very uncooperative when asked (or ordered) to participate in training them.

    That environment would certainly doom any program to failure even before it would have a chance to succeed.

    I have witnessed viable volunteer elements in a combo department driven out by such attitudes. I have then witnessed the career chiefs, officers and/or members that took great effort in driving out the volunteers complain about the lack of manpower and use that lack of manpower as reasons for justifying the hiring of additional paid staff. The fact is, in many more communities than you would suspect, there are a pool of volunteers that would volunteer if they were given not only the respect of the career element, but the same opportunities for training, participation, responsibility and promotion. I can say that because I know of combo departments where that is the case.

    The fact is, there are thousands of VFDs that show up with an adequate force on most calls, and thousands more who recognize that they need some level of assistance, and utilize automatic mutual aid, which is nothing more than a multi-station response within a career department, to obtain the proper staffing.

    There are also likely many more combo departments that operate every day with a minimal crew to handle daily operations, and rely on volunteers to provide staffing for larger and multiple incidents.

    Some of these departments provide no incentives. Some of them provide minimal incentives. And some of them may use a few more incentives. The fact is, incentives work when in comes to recruiting and retaining volunteers, and they provide fire protection in a cost-efficient manner.

    If you have VFDs in your area that don't get a response there is a reason. And while in some cases, there are legitimate demographic causes, in many, if not most others, the reasons are far deeper than that, and there are solutions that could be implemented.

    In some cases, we are the problem.

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