I just wanted to share a recent event in my department that strenghthend my belief that the brotherhood does still exist out there in some parts of the world. For a while now, I will admit, I was getting pretty convinced that the fire service has changed a lot in the past decades, and today's fire service and firefighters are just not what it used to be in some aspects. Due to loosing and gaining many jobs in these turbulent economic times, I have had to move my family a few times now, and I have had the chance to experience 4 different fire departments and Rescue squads. My faith in the brotherhood was starting to diminish very rapidly after seeing too many self centered arrogant young guys with chiefs helmets on and all of the "Cliques" in the departments. Cliques...Thats another whole topic! For a while I thought that "Companies" (engine, ladder, rescue) were being replaced with "Cliques" (arrogant, stuck up, 3rd generation overnight wonders).
Recently, our two engines were undergoing their annual pump tests. Our engine/tanker, a 2001 KME 1250/2000 commercial cab, passed. But...Our engine, a 1986 Ford front mount 1000/1000 commercial cab failed. We were down an engine in a rural setting with no hydrants and very few static water sources with dry-hydrant access. For structure fires we needed our engine/tanker to play the part of "Tanker" and go get more precious water until mutual aid arrived, but now, its our attack engine/tanker and will be forced to set up and use only the 2000 gallons it has, and place us at the mercy of how fast our mutual aid can respond with their tankers.
Than, recently, I put the word out on various web sites like this one that we were in the market for a CHEAP, used engine. Within minutes I had so many replies I could not keep up with them, and spent my evenings at home replying to the querries and information about used engines for sale. Until I came across a particular email that simply stated "Respond to me soon, we have a truck you can have but we need to know now before we start stripping it down" Intrigued, I replied with simple questions like what year make and model it is, what pump size and tank capacity, etc. Within 24 hours that particular department voted to GIVE us the truck as a donation, AND include some hose, generator, and various other tools and equipment that came with the truck including the lights, sirens, on-spot tire chains...completely outfitted and ready to put in service!!!!! I couldnt believe my eyes, after rubbing them furiously and splashing water on my face I re-read the email in shock while dialing my chiefs number.
Its amazing, and wonderful to know that the brotherhood still exists, and that there are departments that will drop what they are doing to help out a fellow fire dept or firefighter in need. Its reassuring to say the least and a great feeling, knowing that we have an engine waiting for us to pick up and put in service and we do not have to rely on a broken rig or mutual aid.
Anyone else have any stories or anecdotes about brotherhood or the fire service tradition?
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Thread: Brotherhood Does Still Exist.
08-18-2011, 11:22 AM #1
Brotherhood Does Still Exist."Amatuers train until they get it right, professionals train until they cant get it wrong."
Brian Jones, aka "Moose"
Captain, Carlisle Fire Department
08-18-2011, 11:52 AM #2
I had to give a friend a ride to Newark airport on a saturday afternoon one time. Being I was a huge FDNY buff, I decided to use it as an excuse to get to the City after dropping friend at NIAP. I called another friend, also an FDNY buff and he tagged along also.
So we dropped first friend off at NIAP, and headed up I95 and across the GW Bridge into the Bronx. We tooled around from the late afternoon hours into the evening, stopping here and there for apparatus pictures, caught a box here and there (nothing to brag about) until finally around 8pm we decided to head back home to Philly. But we needed to make one last **** stop and get a soda for the ride. We were pretty close to Engine 88/Ladder 38 in the Belmont Section, and I heard they were pretty friendly, so we headed over there.
We knocked on the front door, and the guy on watch had this look of "wtf do these guys want?" on his face as he opened the door. We explained we were buffs/vollies from the Philly area and wanted to stop in and say hello, use the bathroom, and get a soda from the soda machine and also buy a t-shirt if they had any available. He says "HEY! WELCOME! And swings the door wide open for us. We chit chat for a few mins, he asks where are we from, about our volly depts, etc. He told us about his volly house, and then a few mins later he says "hey wait here a minute." He comes back and says "Fellas, the guys in the back said to invite you to dinner. We have leftovers from a retirement party we had last night, but there is plenty and you are welcome to eat with us." So we accepted of course. We went in the back to the kitchen, and everyone acted like we were long lost relatives and welcomed us with open arms. Everyone came over and shook our hands and introduced themselves, and asked where we were from.
A little glitch with the dinner, but worth mentioning- they did have plenty of everything (ham, roast beef, vegetables, etc.) except for the boiled potatoes. They had already set out the plates for everyone, and the cooks were spooning food onto the plates. When they set out two plates for us, the cooks announced "everyone cough up a potato or two for the guests." And each and every man took some of their pototoes and placed them on our plates.
So as we ate, everyone made small talk with us. About halfway through the meal, the bee-boops went off for the Engine only. The Engine Lieutenant pushes back his chair, wipes his mouth and says "well I can take one of you guys with us...." So I told my buddy to go as I had ridden with FDNY before a bunch of times. So it's just me and the truck company left finishing our dinner. About 10 mins later the bee boops went off for the Truck. The Truck Skipper pushes back his chair and looks at me and says "c'mon kid! lets go!"
That wound up being a bunch of BS runs back-to-back, we didnt make it back to the firehouse for 2 hours. When we did get back it was getting close to 11:30pm. We started to say farewell to everyone, until the Engine Loot says "What, aren't you guys going to stay the night?"
Friend and I didn't have anything to do the next morning, so we stayed. They gave us bunks, and stay we did. Caught a bunch of runs, nothing to speak of until about 4am when both companies were sent on the second alarm into Engine 82's local for heavy fire in the cockloft of a 4 story OMD. We stayed on the scene for about 2 hours until companies were relieved and we headed back.
I stayed close friends with the members of Engine 88/Ladder 38 for many years until I lost contact with them. Then, on 9/11/01, FF Joseph Spor (L38, detailed to Rescue Company 3) was killed. I was devistated. Myself and my father attended Joe's memorial service, and each and every member of E88/L38 that knew me/recognized me approached me and shook my hand and gave me a hug, thanking me.
Brotherhood."Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
08-18-2011, 07:10 PM #3
Kinda like FWD's story, but two different departments -
Had some time to kill in Lexington, KY after a conference, so I wandered downtown to the central fire station, where I was treated to a tour of dispatch and instructions on how to get to the oldest active station in the city. After a short walk (no car), I arrived at the station where I got a nice tour and sat out front for a bit shooting the breeze - until the phone rang with a car fire in another engine's first due.
I probably would have left, but the officer invited me for a ride on their Seagrave 70th anniversary rig. The fire was out when we got there, but I got a ride at any rate.
The next day I got to the airport early and was able to finagle a visit to the CFR station, including a runway sweep with the LT. Try that today.... I almost think that if they'd have gotten a call, they would have given me a rig... (probably not)
Fast forward a few years and move to Augusta, GA. Again killing time after some courses there, I visited a station just before lunch. The engine company was in, but the truck company was out, and lunch was ready. So I sat in. Delicious meal.Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.
Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.
08-18-2011, 08:41 PM #4
08-19-2011, 10:02 AM #5
See, brotherhood does exist afterall.
One of the main examples of why I felt it was not, was when my father-in-law, a paid firefighter in NY, went to a lot of trouble to get an engine donated to a department who had nothing...only a tanker and a brush truck. He got them an engine outfitted with hose and tools, a few air packs, and another trailer load of turnouts and hose, THAN, these guys drive 4 hours with truck and trailers, to DELIVER the stuff to this department in Upstate NY, when they got there no one was there first of all. They had to call them to remind them. Then 45 minutes later one guy shows up, unlocks the firehouse, backs the truck into the bay and puts the trailer out back and says "Thanks guys" and goes home...WTF!!!...No officers show up to personnally thank them, no food or offer to stay the night after the 4 hour ride, no offer to fuel up their POV's for the ride back...NOTHING!!! This dept is close to me and it ruined it for the rest of us that need equipment as well. I asked my father-in-law to see if he could help us and rightfully so he was skeptical at first, but we ended up getting a rig and these guys are going to get THANKED!!
Thanks for sharing the stories, and I am sorry to hear about the brother from FDNY passing, my thoughts and prayers. Must have been tough."Amatuers train until they get it right, professionals train until they cant get it wrong."
Brian Jones, aka "Moose"
Captain, Carlisle Fire Department
08-19-2011, 02:20 PM #6
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
My volunteer department just recieved a donated engine from a department next to my career job.
While it's a 1993, and it's a pretty basic commercial job, it's still represents a big improvement for us as it replaces a 1966 Mack, and it has a 35 gallon Class B foam cell, which will make it the only engine in the parish with that type of capabilitity.
We have let them know that we greatly appreciatte it and plan to write on the engine that it was donated to us by this department.
The same department also donated a rescue truck to a department on the north end of my volunteer parish a couple of years ago. It was the first full-size rescue truck they have ever owned.
I also beleive they have donated a couple of trucks to the parish south of them as well.
While they probably could have gotten 10 or 15k for this truck, the district that donated it has come into a significant increase in funding (5-6x) in the past few years due to gas drilling, and the Chief, as well as the Board, recognized the fact that they could assist less well off departments by donating rather than selling apparatus that are still in very good shape.
Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-19-2011 at 03:37 PM.Train to fight the fires you fight.
08-19-2011, 02:25 PM #7"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
--General James Mattis, USMC
08-19-2011, 02:34 PM #8
Now, as for myself, I have a long history of being on the receiving end of kindness from other departments.
Nearly 20 years ago when I started, my department was struggling on a pretty thin budget. Fortunately, we were blessed to be next door to Jefferson County, KY, and got some much-needed help from those guys. Specifically, we got bargain-basement prices on used apparatus from Okolona, Lake Dreamland, Jeffersontown, St. Matthews, and Middletown. J-town also gave us a mountain of turnout gear, and it was in that mountain that I found the first set of gear that fit my 6'4" carcass properly. I still prefer black gear to this day.
Fast forward to 15 years ago, when I left Spencer County to move here. My new department and its neighbors had a good list of needs too, and my buddies back home were now much better-heeled due to population growth. Soon Johnson County was getting turnout gear, hose, air packs, a cascade system, and much more, all for either nothing or darn near it.
Final stop: 2000, when the Rockhouse Fire Department began to organize here. A plea for assistance went out on the internet, and before long the Ballardsville Fire Department in Oldham County, KY had hooked them up with a 1973 Ford pumper that remains in second-due service today. Rockhouse was also given pagers, turnout gear, and much more than I can remember from elsewhere in the state. Today they are in a new station and sporting a 2006 pumper from an AFG grant.
Bad experiences pop up here and there, but for the most part we act like family."Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
--General James Mattis, USMC
08-20-2011, 02:26 AM #9
- Join Date
- Oct 2010
My Volunteer dept has been on the recieving end of loaner apparatus several times. The most recent was a ladder truck that was loaned to us for nearly a year when our 81 Seagrave's hydraulics finally gave it up. Another neighbor helped us out by adding their quint to the run cards for our target hazards for a while. ( 3 large schools, a retirement/assisted living community, and some industrial buildings)
We've also passed on a couple of retired pumpers to needy rural depts when we replaced them for next to nothing.
We're pretty fortunate in our area, A) with a village board that allows us to get what we NEED, and makes sure it's taken care of, and B) to have a lot of great neighbors who are always willing to help. ( even though we love to bust each other's stones, I've seen m/a crews with so many guys they had to have been sitting on each other's laps, or hiding in compartments!)
08-20-2011, 12:53 PM #10
That is great to hear Moose - remember to invite me when you get the rig - I'm only 15 minutes from you!
Back in the ealy 1990's I was heading back from Randalls' Island after a seminar and going through the Bronx on Halloween Eve.....car got egged (go figure!)...so I decided to stop at Jerome/183rd (?)...at 33 Truck/85 Eng (Animal House) where my Dad's cousin worked. He wasn't on, but the guys there welcomed me with open arms- I ended up having dinner and going on a couple ride-alongs - nothing major.
Of course, the next day my Dad is asking what the heck I was doing down there, as his cousin had called him.....gee- what is wrong with a 20-something GIRL riding with FDNY on Halloween Eve? lol.....
08-21-2011, 08:11 AM #11
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