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    Default Santa on firetruck

    All,
    I wanted to get some ideas/opinions. Every year my department does a Santa run around town. The fleet of trucks drive around with Santa and spend the day making sure all the developments are hit.

    In the past we've had Santa up on the roof the engine sitting in the deck gun dry-well or in the bucket of the tower. He was only up there while we were in the development driving < 15mph and taken down when on the main roads.

    For the past two years we've been required to keep Santa in the truck at all times due to safety concerns. For now we're putting him in the officer's seat. The biggest problem we have is that Santa isn't all that visible from that location. He's really not that visible from the other side of the street, and even with the window down its just not the same.

    Do any of you do these Santa runs? Do you keep Santa inside? If so, how do you make him more visible to the kids?

    One thought was to have Santa get out and walk the developments, but that's not really realistic given the number of streets we have to hit, and Santa's physical dexterity.
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    All,
    I wanted to get some ideas/opinions. Every year my department does a Santa run around town. The fleet of trucks drive around with Santa and spend the day making sure all the developments are hit.

    In the past we've had Santa up on the roof the engine sitting in the deck gun dry-well or in the bucket of the tower. He was only up there while we were in the development driving < 15mph and taken down when on the main roads.

    For the past two years we've been required to keep Santa in the truck at all times due to safety concerns. For now we're putting him in the officer's seat. The biggest problem we have is that Santa isn't all that visible from that location. He's really not that visible from the other side of the street, and even with the window down its just not the same.

    Do any of you do these Santa runs? Do you keep Santa inside? If so, how do you make him more visible to the kids?

    One thought was to have Santa get out and walk the developments, but that's not really realistic given the number of streets we have to hit, and Santa's physical dexterity.
    We do a Santa run every year with 5 Santas on 5 of our engines.

    Sanata rides on the hosebed. In addition to Santa, we allow the children of our members to ride up there as well with at least 2 adults and 1 member as chaperones. They do not get off the truck in between developments, which in some of the routes, being a rural area, can be 2-3 miles.

    Each truck has 1-2 chase cars that will take the civilians off the rig if a run comes in. As a rule we have at least 2 command units with paramedics plus the parish ambulance take all EMS calls, and we have one engine fully staffed at our central station and a tanker to handle all single company fire calls - vehicle fires, trash fires, small brush fires, etc.

    There has been plenty of internal discussion about this over the past few years but all the Chief officers, as well as the Board, do not want to end this tradition.

    Two years ago, a Shreveport Fire department Chief officer, Tommy Adams, was killed (he died about 5 months later) when he fell off a ladder truck at the end of a Mardi Gras parade and suffered a head injury. He was deemed and LODD and there was also litiagation that followed brought by his wife, an ER nurse, primarily about some medical care issues involving both the SFD (engine company provided initial care) and the private ambulance company I still work part-time for, who did the transport, due to the unavailability of an SFD bus in the area. To the best of my knowledge the litigation is still on-going.

    This event prompted a lot of discussion in our station about how we run our Sanata Day and the liability that we potentially face not only with a member, but also with civilians on the top of the apparatus. The Chief is a very strong supporter of this tradition, and I don't see it changing.

    My previous VFD did the same thing, w/out the civilians. I beleive Santa still rides on the hosebed there.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 12-07-2011 at 01:30 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    This event prompted a lot of discussion in our station about how we run our Sanata Day and the liability that we potentially face not only with a member, but also with civilians on the top of the apparatus. The Chief is a very strong supporter of this tradition, and I don't see it changing.
    For better or worse the powers that be have dictated that Santa will not ride unsecured. While I think most members would prefer to have santa on the roof as you pointed out there is a non-zero chance of an accident.

    I was hoping other departments had some creative solutions to a similar problem.
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    What about having pre-determined locations for Santa to get out of the rig and meet kids?

    Drive through the development, but stop every so many street corners for him to get out - this would take giving notice to the community of when he is coming - and still let those who want to meet him do so. This wouldn't tax him either.....if you can't get the word out too far in advance - have someone in another vehicle with a bull horn announce that Santa is coming and the location to meet......

    I remember going on runs myself - we would have a whole bunch of people - and of course would stop at members' houses and decorate the trees with candy canes!...still have some pictures around here somewhere.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by pasobuff View Post
    What about having pre-determined locations for Santa to get out of the rig and meet kids?

    Drive through the development, but stop every so many street corners for him to get out - this would take giving notice to the community of when he is coming - and still let those who want to meet him do so. This wouldn't tax him either.....if you can't get the word out too far in advance - have someone in another vehicle with a bull horn announce that Santa is coming and the location to meet......

    I remember going on runs myself - we would have a whole bunch of people - and of course would stop at members' houses and decorate the trees with candy canes!...still have some pictures around here somewhere.....
    Or maybe partner with a few businesses where you can stop.
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    For better or worse the powers that be have dictated that Santa will not ride unsecured.
    Obviously, the powers that be are wiser than LaFE's chief. (But then we already knew his chief was an idiot; he employs LaFE in a non-janitorial role...)

    Unless you have access to an open cab rig or even a 3/4 cab rig, there's not much you can do for visibility aside from more stops when "Santa" can dismount.
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    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    Well if you have a ladder or ladder tower, Santa could be safety harnessed into the platform or inside the ladder sections. Would give visibility and be relatively safe. Would NOT ride civilians.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Santa rides on the hosebed. In addition to Santa, we allow the children of our members to ride up there as well with at least 2 adults and 1 member as chaperones. They do not get off the truck in between developments, which in some of the routes, being a rural area, can be 2-3 miles.


    Do WHAT??

    We used to take Santa on the road but quit. Too dangerous. We tried having him at the station and nobody came. Screw it.
    "Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.”
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    Talking Times have changed

    I remember when I was in grade school many, many, moons ago, during fire awareness week, the volunteers would bring a pumper to the school and give the kids a red plastic fire helmet and take each grade school class for a ride on the truck. There would be twenty five excited kids crammed into the hose bed with the volleys riding the tail board to keep us from falling out. Now that was fun. I can't image that happening today with the liability situation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by donethat View Post
    Well if you have a ladder or ladder tower, Santa could be safety harnessed into the platform or inside the ladder sections. Would give visibility and be relatively safe. Would NOT ride civilians.
    That's what we were doing. Santa was secured into the tower bucket. Still, it was deemed unsafe as this is not a manufacturer-approved riding position while the truck is in motion. The term "relatively safe" is, itself, relative.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    We used to take Santa on the road but quit. Too dangerous. We tried having him at the station and nobody came. Screw it.
    There has been talk about changing things up and having people come to the station (or other central places) for this. The problem we've hit is the number of developments we have to hit in a limited amount of time. Start too early, people complain about the sirens/horns. Start too late its dark before you hit some streets and "My little Suzy couldn't see Santa". As it is we have 5 Santas on the road from 0900-1700. A long day.. and god forbid you miss a street.. two years ago we had to cancel because of the heavy snow and you would have thought we were all the Grinch based on the calls we got.

    We also like doing the Santa run. It's good camaraderie, it's great driver training and mapbook/township familiarization..etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    There has been talk about changing things up and having people come to the station (or other central places) for this. The problem we've hit is the number of developments we have to hit in a limited amount of time. Start too early, people complain about the sirens/horns. Start too late its dark before you hit some streets and "My little Suzy couldn't see Santa". As it is we have 5 Santas on the road from 0900-1700. A long day.. and god forbid you miss a street.. two years ago we had to cancel because of the heavy snow and you would have thought we were all the Grinch based on the calls we got.

    We also like doing the Santa run. It's good camaraderie, it's great driver training and mapbook/township familiarization..etc.
    Ahh, we share so many of the same heartaches. While we're out, the station phone rings incessantly..."When you coming here? When you going there? You missed us! You went too fast!" And there was always some sob story about a kid up a long driveway who's handicapped and wants to see Santa, so you lug the rig up there to find he's got a sprained pinky toe.

    I enjoyed doing it for those who appreciated it--like my own kids!--but the pain-in-the-butt factor, the time & fuel consumed, and the danger involved pretty much buried it.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    Ahh, we share so many of the same heartaches. While we're out, the station phone rings incessantly..."When you coming here? When you going there? You missed us! You went too fast!" .
    I always thought it was funny that the loudest complainers didn't come from parents. Having Suzy come to the door in her PJ's waving madly at Santa is cute when she's 8.. not so much when she's 80. And god forbid you miss a street in the Senior housing..
    So you call this your free country
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    Having Suzy come to the door in her PJ's waving madly at Santa is cute when she's 8.. not so much when she's 80.
    And it never happens when she's 23.
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    We have done the Santa program for the last three years, The first year we had Santa on top on the hose bed but the last two years we have decorated a low boy trailer and pulled behind our brush truck. On the trailer along ith Sant we have our kids and several adults throwing out candy as well as collecting can goods for the local food bank. This does two things it gives the kids a better and closer look at Santa as well as make it easier for the ones donating food to b able to reach us.

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    Quote Originally Posted by leftout52 View Post
    We have done the Santa program for the last three years, The first year we had Santa on top on the hose bed but the last two years we have decorated a low boy trailer and pulled behind our brush truck. On the trailer along ith Sant we have our kids and several adults throwing out candy as well as collecting can goods for the local food bank. This does two things it gives the kids a better and closer look at Santa as well as make it easier for the ones donating food to b able to reach us.
    That's a good idea, except our district is so large we would easily need at least 3 trailers and Santa's, and with the number of dead end streets it would be alogistical problem as well.
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    Just put the Santa at a fire House and let the kids come to him.

    No worries about safety carrying him on the rigs.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

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    We used to take Santa out on the Rescue after he visited with the kids at the FD Banquet Hall - chiefly to visit with local senior citizens. Santa has always been one of our firefighters, so there was never an issue there. And he always rode inside the truck (for many years it was a "bread truck" style van).

    If we had helpers along, they also rode inside the truck. Generally speaking, they were children of members.

    After finding that more of the seniors citizens were gone than home a couple of years ago, we decided it wasn't worth the effort.

    We now do a breakfast fundraiser, during which Santa pays a visit. He may arrive in a fire truck, but he leaves by the "back door."

    I recall Santa arriving on the back step of an engine "back in the day" in my old hometown, but that was generally just an arrival at some fixed location where he visited with the kids.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    open cab antique
    ?

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    We have been doing this program for well over 50 years, I don't know your demographics but we are a densly populated 2 and a half square mile town in Central New Jersey. Like I said the program has been around for a long time and although we have changed a few things over the years the one thing remains is we have santa get off at all the fire hydrants in town. Like I said I don't know your demographics but for the most part our hydrants are no more than 500 or so feet apart. This allows the children to have a central place to congregate and get an up close personal time with santa. We currently run 3 santas on 3 trucks and they all ride in the cab of the vehicle. Thats the tricky part is not having the santas cross paths so as to not confuse the kids. We manage to do it every year with great success we are also partnered with our rec department who provides one of the 3 santas and about 5 helpers. What we do is have 3 announcement vehicles which go approximately 10 mins ahead of the engine and announce that santa will arrive shortly and to find your nearest fire hydrant. After this is complete the engine follows with santa and stops at any hydrant with a child at it almost like a bus stop. We are able to do our entire town with roughly 150 streets in about 5 hours give or take. If you have any questions feel free to ask like I said it works for us depending on your town make up it might not for you.

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