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  1. #1
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    Default How do you deal with a Chief???

    I guess this post is to blow off some steam, but also I do need some advise. Now I am an experienced Fire fighter that has been affiliated with two awesome departments one being paid and the other volunteer. Well this past year I moved from the east coast to small town out west for my wife's Job and joined a volunteer department. Well the thing is that I have tried to better everyone in the department with training to only get resistance and bad mouthed by a few of the officers. I understand that every area is different and I'm not trying to change ways but when you are training members wrong then somebody needs to stand in and fix it. I had to stop extrication training one day because they was cutting the car and hadn't even taken the glass out. And then when I told them this they took Halligans and started baseball swings through the windows. Another time we had a practice vehicle burn, well they look at me and call me out and told me to do it, well since I love being a ff I have no problem doing my Job and so I pick up my nozzle and walk up about 30 ft at a 45 degree angle and started fighting it to only have the water shut off on me. So I turned around to see what was up and one of the officers said that I was too close... I was like how am I ?!? He said that you are suppose to start back as far as the stream will reach to get a knock down, I told him that he was wrong and he countered back with about what I was doing was to dangerous... So I debated with him and in his own words he says " I can show you youtube videos of car's blowing up" lol So I told him to. Well he pulls these videos up of water hitting magnesium and I tried to explain to him what was going on to only get told that I don't have a clue what I am doing. Now I was furious at this point and had to call him back out because he has ZERO certs or training, Well he points out that he has been at this dept. for 5 years that has just recently hit 100 calls for the whole year for the first time ( In my mind I'm like dude where I'm from we get that or more in a month) So anyways I was like whatever there was no point in arguing anymore because he only thinks he is right.

    Well moving on to the bigger picture, the Chief does not believe in S.O.P's at all. So you can imagine how things operate, Also he does not believe in accountability at all. I brought this up in a meeting saying we need this and his reply was " Well you know how to fix this! Don't get separated from your crew" I was like WTF!!! I told him that nobody goes in and try's to get lost and killed, But in the end he said that it was overrated. Now where I am at if you are a volunteer ff it is like being in a gang, you are looked down on for talking/ being around other departments or there members. Well I was wanting to change this so in a meeting I brought up that we should improve relationships with the other departments, My chief looked at me and said " Why would you want to do a thing like this" I was dumb founded by his remark! I told him that because we always use them for mutual aid that it is in the best interest for all of us. He then tells me to see what I can do then, So I set up a softball game with them and when that came around no one shows up... Come to find out later that my Chief told another Chief in the area that he saw no point in it and said some personal things about the other Chief and said that we are just going to go through the motions so it doesn't look like it is us.

    So anyways after all of this I decide to try to improve my relations with Him to maybe gain some influence and try to get him to see things another way, well we started going fishing and of course we started talking about the Fire service. The thing that got me when we talked was when he told me that he doesn't want us to go into a structure fire, for us to fight it from the window and if we couldn't knock it down from there then to open the front door to hit it, but if we couldn't hit it from there then we was going to watch it burn... Now I don't want anyone to think that I'm rebellious and don't listen to my officers but I feel like this is out of line. I told him that if I can save it then I am, Well he looks at me and says " If your water is shutoff then you can't and will come out" I was like who would do this to someone!!! Well it got quite for a minute and then he started talking about entrapments and how if we get one that we are not to go in and risk our life for someone that is going to be dead or will die within two days... I looked straight at him and told him that if there is an entrapment that I will use my judgment and go in and make the grab. But really who can sit back and says who is going to die and who isn't! Atleast give them a chance, We are fire fighters and our Job is going to be dangerous!

    But thanks for listening and sorry for the long rant, I don't believe in airing out a Fd's dirty laundry or anything so that is why I haven't talked about this to any of my other fire buddies from where I am from. But feel free to give advise or to rip it apart and if I'm wrong then let me know.


  2. #2
    Forum Member Miller337's Avatar
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    Ummm.... wow, do you feel better now?

  3. #3
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    Well, based on your conversations with the chief, I'd say run, don't walk from that department. I'm not sure how serious he was about cutting off the water when you are inside, but put together with your other stories, there is definitely cause for concern.

    If you decide to stay, you will need to be very patient. Don't try to change the whole department at once. Pick a small area that you want to improve and start working on that. Slowly identify a few who want to train and improve the department, and start working with them. You will have to slowly build up the trust of the membership and work with them. It will probably be a slow process, and given the number of calls they run, don't expect it to get to the level of proficiency and training that your old department had.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    About the worst thing you can do upon joining any organization is to try to change their culture in one fell swoop. Guaranteed way to make enemies that will last.

    As Eng34FF says, start small. If you get into a discussion on something like vehicle fire tactics, offer sensible explanations, and be open to what they have to say about how they've been doing it.

    Remember that while there are wrong ways to do things, there are also different ways to do things that aren't wrong, just different.

    As for relations between departments - sometimes they are far deeper-seated than you can imagine. Wrongs, real or imagined, going back years and years are often held on to very tightly. I've heard of departments skipping over a disliked department when calling for mutual aid, for that reason. You aren't going to cure that overnight, or possibly over many years.

    Many times they fight fire together just fine. But don't put them in the same room any other time...

    Sit back, learn their culture, and choose your battles wisely. Learn who the real leaders are - the chief may nominally be in charge, but it's possible someone else (or a small group) pulls the strings.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  5. #5
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Not for nothing, but if this post is an example of your communication skills...I wouldn't listen to you either.


    No, I'm not the spelling/grammar police...but some sentence/paragraph structure here would help.



    As some of the others stated....start small, work your way up. Do you know why they did things the way they do them?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  6. #6
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    @ tree68, yeah man I understand what your saying about staying open with what their doing. That is the way I approach things because I know everyone has a different way. I've straight out asked them to explain to me why they teach the things that they do, and had also stated that I would explain the way that I do things, but in the end their answer is " well I can show you a youtube video" I swear to you that these people have no training what so ever. And I try to push them to get as much as they can and have told them that I would help them with whatever they wanted, and if I didn't know that I would find someone that would teach them the right way. Earlier in my first post when I said that a few officers bad mouth me I should have clarified more as to what they are saying, But every time I offer to train someone I always hear " Ah he is just doing that to look good to make Capt." or " He is just trying to look good to get hired on at the city" also we have " He is just trying to feel out his competition" lol And I promise that none of these are true, Actually I don't want to do any of these things at all!

  7. #7
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    @Bones, Nah man the only thing that I can think of is that there level of training has to do with it. We do have two officers that have some legit training with one being DoD and the other also an out of stater. But also with that they have told me that I'm right with what I am trying to do and at one time they was in the same position as me until they gave up. They just got tired of the fight and how others think they are to good to do anything I guess...

  8. #8
    Forum Member CaptOldTimer's Avatar
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    I tried to read your rant but everything kept running together.

    Exactly how long have you been a firefighter? You can't change things over night. Besides, you are at the bottom of the heap or totem pole and have to fit in with them or move along elsewhere.

    Some older guys in some department are very resistive to change, especially by a new member, who just came from East Arm Pit, NY to their same little haven in Gum Drop FD.

    It takes time to change folks and you may never get this accomplished at all.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

  9. #9
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    My apologies on my rant, it was very hard to read. But I do appreciate all of you for trying to make sense of it!

    @CaptOldTimer, I was actually hoping that you would chime in on this. I have been a ff for 6 years and have been with this Department for a year now. In a normal department I would say yes that you are right and I am at the bottom of the totem pole. But this department is *** backwards!!!

    We take people straight from the street and will put them in gear and turn them loose to fight fire within a week, same for operating a truck. Hell we have people that have felony hit and run and they are driving!!! This is the crap that I am trying to change, Like I said before my Chief does not believe in S.O.P's at all. All's I want to do is get everyone on the same page and for them to be taught any form of the correct way to do things. As for myself in the department I do get the respect of a lot of the members and that is why I get flank from the officers (Which these officers appointed themselves to the ranks of officer to being with).

    But besides the training another issue that I tried to push was to put the truck back into service when you get back to the Fd. And like before I ended up getting resistance from one of the self-ordained Captains with him saying " So you mean to tell me that you would stay around to fill up the truck with water and fuel in the middle of the night"... Yes I would and I do! His words to me was F*** it I will do it tomorrow. But this is an example of what I want to change and thats what I'm looking for advise on. But again I appreciate your reply and everyone else.

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