1. #1
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    Default Discipline/respect issues

    How do you guys handle discipline or disrespect issues within your respective departments?

    I've noticed numerous times where FFs who aren't officers disrespect officers
    i.e. get into a verbal argument during training..or having an outburst at a monthly meeting when the president of the company is speaking..

    People vandalizing property(drawing on stuff) to people's PPE being messed with, shields being stolen/gone missing and such..

    FFs getting direction from an officer, and questioning the order..while the fire is still burning..

    I'm not an officer, and I'm still on probation so I feel my place is not to speak out, or to state my opinion, my role is to keep my mouth shut..but this is turning out to be a circus, and in all reality, the number of people that I trust enough to go on an interior attack with is dwindling more and more each time we conduct a live fire training event..

    I've spent 8 years in the Army, so my idea of respect might be a little different then the 18 or 19 year old who runs his mouth around the firehouse..I understand that..but isn't the point of having officers, is to provide mentor ship/leadership to other firefighters? I mean everyone should respect/listen/follow the orders of the officer that issues them..or else it all turns into a circus..right?

    It really makes my heart ache that these men who have put in years and years on the fire ground, hours and hours of training, countless amounts of fundraisers..who have been put into a leadership role for those reasons..are being disrespected by a 19 year old clown who thinks he can walk on water but can't vent a window properly..or because his parents are also members...

    I want to do something, but I want to stand firm in my probationary "mouth shut eyes and ears open" but at the same time..something needs to be done..

  2. #2
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    It's been going on for years, although the current "entitlement" generation of youngsters seem to be a little worse.

    Sometimes it's not the kids at all - it's a member (or members) who want to be "big man on campus" but don't want the responsibility that goes along with it. They, and their followers (they usually have some) will do what they can to undermine the true leadership. After all, if you can't elevate yourself, run the other guy down...

    As for yourself, be the better man. Don't play their games, and don't feed them. Learn to be the best, try to set a good example. You'll know you're succeeding when they start to run you down, too.

    The BMOC types run on fear - leadership's fear that if they offend the BMOC, he will leave and take his minions with him. Oftimes these are useful contributors to the cause, but with that attitude. Their loss probably would hurt the operation.

    Unfortunately, beyond that, I can't help you. We're dealing with a similar situation, but I think we may be starting to dig our way out.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    See, mine is still going downhill, literally every time we get together theres some other nonsense that is "talked about"...I mean would you rather have 10 guys who follow rules and act professionally, and give 100% in all aspects from the training to showing up when they can to doing fundraisers, to being at drill night, to cleaning the station..or have 50 who walk all over 1 another and who ultimately may put someone's life in jepordy? I don't think anyone else sees it like that..

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    First of all, anyone caught vandalizing anything of mine would have the police in their face right damn now. I couldn't begin to care less who their mommy or daddy is. They have no right to mess with my stuff.

    Secondly, if I EVER caught anyone messing with my turnout gear they better be able to run faster than me because I am going to beat their *** right then and there.

    Thirdly, if the officers don't have the stones to shut these people down it is time for new officers. Because frankly, they haven't got a single clue about how to manage people or a fire department if they believe that disrespect, arguing on scene with officers, vandalism, and messing with people's turnouts are okay.

    You are in a tough spot and the people you talk about are not firefighters, they are not Brothers, they are immature thugs that need to be weeded out before they destroy the fire department or worse get someone hurt or killed.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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    well if they are stealing stuff you can make buddies with a cop and have him scare the **** out of them. Otherwise you have to discipline them.....and if all else fails, remove the problem.

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    We have the same problem where I am from, and it is that same age, I am only a few years older(21) but I know respect and give it to everyone as everyone gives it to me. We have the same problem that nothing is really being done about it either. I honestly think it is the difference in generations.

    The new generations come in thinking the are the best person there right once they get a helmet, and the older officers see that there is youth, and want to keep them on no matter what they do. I think some have the mentality if it's not bothering me its not my problem.

    I myself don't know how to correct this problem, and it is something that needs to be fixed ASAP!
    Sincerely,

    JuniorAFPD
    juniorafpd@gmail.com

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    ORDERS ARE NOT OPTIONAL AND THEY CERTAINLY ARE NOT NEGOTIABLE. ME BOSS, YOU BOOT. YOU DO AS ME SAY, PERIOD.

    Everyone, on every department, from the smallest of podunk Departments in Pigs Knuckle, Iowa to the FDNY must learn from their first day that there are two things you dont violate:

    -The unified chain of command,

    -and the fact that you never, ever violate, argue, disobey, or otherwise intentionally conflict with an order whether it be a verbal one or a written one such as in a Standard Operating Procedure or Guideline unless if you feel the order will further endanger yourself or others. That being said, just how much eperience do you have to come to the conclusion that what your Lieutenant with 20+ years on the job is telling you to do could be bad? If you have a concern on the fireground, you voice it to your Company Officer. Let him or her determine if there is a valid concern. Following orders in the firehouse and on the fireground should be as natural as breathing. You don't do it, you could die. You don't follow an order on the fireground, you or someone else could die.

    All this being said, I find today that the vast majority of young'uns coming into the rolls of the volunteers and career departments have no Military experience. The ones that do, you rarely hear a peep out of. They know how to follow orders, and they understand that there will be dire consequences for failing to do so. The trick is to teach those who have never been in the Military how important it is to never question or disobey an order, no matter how silly they may think it is.

    In my opinion, every organization, again from Podunk Volunteers to the Big City needs a set of written progressive discipline guidelines in order to combat those who feel that orders are optional. There shall be no warnings, no time outs, and no forgiveness. You want to argue about or fail to follow an order on the fireground the first time, thats 15 days off for you to think about your sins; absolutely no questions asked.. You fail to do so a second time, you may think about it for 45 days. Third time?? You may have the rest of your life to think about it- no iffs, ands or buts.

    Oh, and as for getting caught messing with personal protective gear (especially mine)- that strange sensation you feel in the seat of your pants is my size 13 connecting with your azz and ejecting you into orbit.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 09-15-2011 at 10:50 AM.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    In my opinion, every organization, again from Podunk Volunteers to the Big City needs a set of written progressive discipline guidelines in order to combat those who feel that orders are optional. There shall be no warnings, no time outs, and no forgiveness. You want to argue about or fail to follow an order on the fireground the first time, thats 15 days off for you to think about your sins; absolutely no questions asked.. You fail to do so a second time, you may think about it for 45 days. Third time?? You may have the rest of your life to think about it- no iffs, ands or buts.
    Unfortunately in the volunteer world, if you do not have this, your hands are tied as to what you can do. We have had issues with following orders and other nonsense, but we did not have any discipline guidelines. As such, anything that we wanted to do was immediately challenged as unfair because there was nothing showing we could discipline.

    Short of them doing something illegal (the theft comes to mind) where you can involve law enforcement, the only thing that your department can do is formulate the rules of discipline. We found that when we started this, some of the trouble makers realized that we were serious and mysteriously quit coming around.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    We found that when we started this, some of the trouble makers realized that we were serious and mysteriously quit coming around.
    The light at the end of the rainbow. The only ones who need to fear dicipline guidelines are the ones who intend to require the use of them.

    Any VFD who does not currently have anything in writing needs to begin the process of doing so.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    The problems begin and end with your Chief. It sound like you need your chief to start acting like a Chief.
    ?

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    I am not sure that you can blame the chief. In our situation, the chief tried to adress the situation, was repeatedly told that there was nothing giving him the power / right to do anything, he did it anyways, and then he had a grievance filed against him. This just showed that the chief is toothless and emboldened the others that felt they could get away with things.

    Without discipline guidelines, the only thing letting anyone discipline for anything is past precedent, and that is not solid footing.
    Last edited by HuntPA; 09-16-2011 at 10:41 AM. Reason: spelling bad. . . . fingers too big

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    Step one for the Chief - get legal guidelines for attendance/ disipline/ etc. in place. Get it in writing , go from there. Should have been done years ago.
    ?

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    I have had these issues on a few occaisions, and it has all been either the younger overnight sensations or the older (untrained) know-it-alls...either one could be dangerous.
    I am Captain of a department I just transfered to last summer, I have over 22 years experience in the fire service, 17 in EMS and 10 in Haz-Mat. I gained the position of Captain while in my probationary period for this department and this made another member angry.
    At a pump-out one night we had two houses side by side that had about 2 feet of water in the basement. I told the crew of the engine what to do and they started to carry out the orders...until...the angry middle aged (untrained) know-it-all showed up. Unknown to myself while I was at one house around back, he shows up and starts to tell the crew "your doing it wrong, just bring the pump here and do this..."
    I come around to see him in the basement with things all screwed up and the original 2 people staring at me waiting to get yelled at...
    I told him calmly what to do and he argued with me, in front of the home owner and actually raised his voice. Another older, experienced member of the dept stepped in and pointed his finger in this guys face and told him "Look, we have a ranking officer giving us orders, we follow them without argument"

    I dealt with this member at the next meeting and talked to him and explained that if he disobeyed my orders again he would be suspended from active duties for a month, than expelled if he did it a third time.

    We are now writing up SOP's on fireground ops and Incident Command, which our dept never had. Its a small dept, and it always used By-Laws for everything and never realy had any SOP's, so we are writing them now. I am on the committee as I have had experience writing them for my past department when we overhauled the old set of SOP's they had when they were originally formed. (OLD procedures!!)

    Every department needs a clearly written and understandable set of SOP's for everything from membership, voting, responding in POV, responding in department vehicles, fireground ops, incident command, radio procedures, Mayday procedures, and much more. If its not written down it doesnt exist and members who know this can do a lot of damage.
    "Amatuers train until they get it right, professionals train until they cant get it wrong."

    Brian Jones, aka "Moose"
    Captain, Carlisle Fire Department

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    Cattle prods. Solve issues quickly.

    Not really, but it gets the "disgarce" thread off the top so I don't have to look at it whenever I check the forums.

  15. #15
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    Thumbs up Hmmm...........

    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    Cattle prods. Solve issues quickly.

    Not really, but it gets the "disgarce" thread off the top so I don't have to look at it whenever I check the forums.

    I wouldn't be too sure.................
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