Thread: Questions about officers.
12-27-2012, 10:37 AM #1
Questions about officers.
Ok first not sure if this is the right area to post so please move if necessary (I'm never sure were to post anything)
Ok s at my station we have our Chief, 2 Asst. Chiefs (1 Administrative and 1 Operational), 1 Fire Capt, 2 Fire Lts, 1 EMS Capt, and 2 EMS Lts
All of the above mentioned officers have the same basic powers and are all issued white 1010's with shields for their respective rank, EXCEPT the EMS officers. EMS officers have the same authority and handle their assigned tasks however they are A) not issued a white helmet (unless the person in the position is just EMS then they get a white 360 Rescue) and B) are basically treated like a joke and get 0 respect from anyone.
This has been an ongoing problem and I'd like to change that (I hopefully will be becoming one of the EMS Lts soon).
My Questions are:
How can I go about changing this without massively irking everyone?
Do you feel that EMS officers who are fire trained be issued a white 1010 with EMS officer's shield just like the other officers?
Any kind of feedback is helpful. Thank you.
12-27-2012, 12:12 PM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2009
sounds like you are top heavy white hat wise
are all ems, firefighters also?? do people rotate or are they always ems??
If so should be getting respect fot the postion
12-27-2012, 02:26 PM #3
White lids should only be worn by chief officers... with your system, it is too confusing to find out who is in charge on the fireground."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."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
12-27-2012, 03:18 PM #4
I agree with DCG - White hats for chiefs only. What's the practice in neighboring departments? Does it get a little confusing at mutual aid calls?
Some departments use a different color than line firefighters for Capt's and Lt's, (ie, red or yellow if FF's wear black), some simply use a different colored frontpiece on helmets that are the same color as the FF's.
Many places use blue helmets for EMS, or blue frontpieces.
I'm troubled by your statement that "All of the above mentioned officers have the same basic powers." Is there no chain of command? While I agree that each has the same "powers" in appropriate situations, it sounds to me like a command free-for-all.
I'm almost certain that you'll get significant pushback from the capt's and lt's when you try to take their white hats away.
I'm not sure that changing helmets will change the culture in your department regarding EMS. A clearly defined command structure, and the support of your command officers will do a lot more.
Last edited by tree68; 12-27-2012 at 03:24 PM.Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.
Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.
12-27-2012, 04:42 PM #5
For those asking about the white helmets for line officers, that's a standard in the Metro Washington Council of Governments (COG) ... virtually every department and locality that his station will run with on a routine basis uses a similar helmet color scheme. It's been that way for years.
As for the EMS Officers getting zero respect, I'd like to find out what the root of that is. Also, is there a NEED for a set of line officers that mirror the fire side as well? I understand that ambulance service at 508 is busy, but are there some fireground officers that could easily handle both fire & EMS responsibilities - essentially reducing the number of officers while making things more efficient?
In some departments, it's a purely cultural environment where EMS doesn't get the respect it deserves. A lot of times, that starts at the top. If the chief doesn't give clear expectations of his officers, as well as clear expectations to his members of respect for the company officers and chain of command, it can be very, very difficult for one member to make a change. Even if he is able to make that change, it can take many years for it to occur.Career Fire Captain
Volunteer Chief Officer
Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!
12-27-2012, 07:40 PM #6
12-27-2012, 10:53 PM #7
I'm not sure if I am "hearing" (or reading) the question in the original post.
I first thought that is was possibly about issues with the command structure (or lack thereof). A second review of the original post reads as if someone is upset over the "type" of white helmet the officers are issued to wear.
I hope my second impression is entirely off-base due to my misinterpretation of the post but, IF the issue(s) involve what type of white helmet certain ranks of officers get to wear, I assure you that the problem here is ALOT deeper than that.
Food for thought:
1) Are all of the officers trained to the same standards? Said another way, are the EMS Officers "EMS only" or are they firefighters as well?
2) Does your department have established job descriptions for each rank? This would be from the tail-board Private all the way to the Fire Chief.
3) From your original post, it appears that an clear chain-of-command does not exist in your department. Piggy-backing on the first two "food for thought" comments, does your department, as part of it's training program for tenured personnel (and introductory training for new people), teach and stress the importance of the chain-of-command? If it does and personnel are not adhering to it, that is an issue for your department's leadership to address.DFW
"There's no such thing as a free lunch."
12-28-2012, 04:02 AM #8
I know it's a DC metro thing to give all officers white helmets. I agree it makes things confusing, but its how they do it, so whatever.
couple of questions:
1) are the EMS officers fire trained, and are they able to function as the officers of apparatus in the absence of fire officers?
2) what are their roles, when compared to fire officers? and what authority do the fire officers have on ems calls?
a line officer, is a line officer, is a line officer. every line officer should get a white helmet, with the appropriate shield. If you get a crew of 4, and the EMS Lt is the ranking firefighter, they should be riding as officer.
Change starts at the top: if the EMS Lt says something, the Chief of the Dept should back what they say, just like they should for a fire officer. Your departments leadership as a whole need to address how firefighters respect their EMS officers.If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!
12-28-2012, 08:07 AM #9
sounds like the kids in your house need to have the senior man break his foot off on several azzes. I have no time for lack of respect for any officers; whether they fall within your chain of command or not. They are OFFICERS, you and the other children do not get to choose whether you respect them or not. Yes repect is earned as a person, and you dont have to respect the person, but YOU HAVE TO RESPECT THE RANK whether you like the person or not. Anyone disrepecting an officer in my house is going to be in the office with me having a one-way conversation with me doing the talking. That pretty much handles the disrespect issue.
As for the other issues- do they fall within your chain of command? Do your SOP's, guidelines or policies allow them to operate as firefighters and issue orders as company officers (or higher) on firegrounds? If so, then once again the children are wrong and do not get to choose what orders they get to follow or not. Orders are orders whether they come from a lowly EMS Loot or from the King Fire Commissioner of the High Court of all thigs Fire for your jurisdiction- if it comes from someone within your chain of commmand that is giving a lawfully issued order, you carry it out to the best of your abilities as quickly and efficiently as you can- no iffs, ands or buts about it. To do otherwise can and may result in an another one of those one-ways in the office with the door closed.
As for the helmets- get the fook over it. Most departments in suburban Philly also do the same thing- white helmets for everyone from a lowly Loot to the Boss himself. It doesnt matter- if you see a white helmet, it's an officer and you know to respect and obey. Its that simple."Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
12-28-2012, 12:22 PM #10
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
So let me get this straight...you are 20something year old volunteer who is maybe becoming a EMS Lt and wants to become a paid f/f sometime but you don't like the helmet they will issue to you if you become an EMS Lt. Do you thinks it's a wise idea to come on here and and cry about it ?
12-28-2012, 01:15 PM #11
Furthermore, if you involve them in the process (to the greatest extent possible), that'll go a long way in facilitating a change. When people perceive a change as "disruptive" (and not "constructive), they will be unhappy and many folks will go out of their way to ensure you know it.
Being a boss is easy if you take care of your folks. Most just want to be led by capable, fair, and consistent leaders. Still there are those who do not want their apple cart turned over under any circumstances (even if their apple cart is full of rotten apples).DFW
"There's no such thing as a free lunch."
12-28-2012, 01:56 PM #12
12-29-2012, 02:58 PM #13
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
12-31-2012, 05:51 PM #14
12-31-2012, 05:58 PM #15
01-01-2013, 12:59 PM #16
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
Secondly, you should be having this conversation with some of those white hats on your department. They just might have some valid reasons for the system you aren't aware of. The system didn't just appear on its own.
Lastly, do you guys walk around with your helmets on all day? If not, how do you know who to respect? Actually, every member should be showing every other member some respect regardless of the color of their gear.
As for chain of command, anybody not properly responding to legitimate instructions from their designated superior is not showing disrespect, they are being insubordinate and should be canned if they continue the practice.
01-01-2013, 06:04 PM #17
Respect cannot be demanded... it has to be earned. I am reminded of a scene from the movie "Down periscope" where the Captain of the USS Stingray, (Kelsey Grammer) gets into a discussion with Rear Admiral Yancy Graham (Bruce Dern)...
Rear Admiral Yancy Graham: You watch yourself, Dodge. You are addressing a superior officer!
Lt. Comd. Dodge: No, merely a higher ranking one. Catch us if you can!"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."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
01-01-2013, 06:13 PM #18
- Join Date
- May 2012
- Northern California
Agree with FWD too. If the officers are not being given respect as officers, there is probably a problem higher up. I've seen EMS used as a way to give people seeking a title a place, and take care of admin that others don't want to do. That rarely results in repect for the position from the tailboard firefighters.
The type of helmet issued is probably the least of the problems you are dealing with.
Last edited by Here and there; 01-01-2013 at 06:16 PM.
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