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Thread: Judges gone wild...

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    Default Judges gone wild...

    How is this judge qualified to make this decision???

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/t...sRcgwEbM.email

    Since when does a judge know anything about the fitness of a piece of apparatus?? Age is not the determining factor of a truck. And who can afford to only keep a piece of fire apparatus for ten years and then get rid of it, not even using it in reserve status?? Are they going to have to replace their fireboats every ten years as well??


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    Agreement?


    The association, which represents 2,500 high-ranking members, sued the city in March, saying it was violating a union agreement about a 10-year replacement policy for all first-line firefighting vehicles.

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    There is an agreement in place that says rigs will be replaced every 10 years. The city violated the agreement and officers' union sued. It's a safety issue for members. Many of these rigs do 4000-5000 responses per year (some more than that). By the end of the 10 year period a lot of them spend more time in the shop than they do in the firehouse. You really wouldn't want to go much past 10 years if you didn't have to.

    It's not a good feeling to be operating on the fire ground and have the Tower Ladder bucket stop working halfway to it's destination. Or have pumps that stop pumping water.
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    40 to 50 thousand responses in a rig's ten year life span sounds like plenty to me. Some people don't tolerate having a car for more than five years.
    The fire service is about service to our fellow man.
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    Frankly nothing matters other than it was a negotiated part of the contract that both the Union and city management AGREED to. The city violated the contract. END OF STORY.
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    Additionally, this decision applies only to NYC/FDNY as related to their contractual agreement. It does not have any implications for other departments at this time. The ruling may at some point be used as precedent for legal proceedings in other departments with a similar apparatus replacement provision that isn't being followed.
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    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Frankly nothing matters other than it was a negotiated part of the contract that both the Union and city management AGREED to. The city violated the contract. END OF STORY.
    Agreed. I am just curious how they got it heard in a Federal court to begin with.
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    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Not sure it was fed



    Hon. Kathryn E. Freed

    Supreme Court, New York County, Civil Branch
    80 Centre Street
    New York, NY 10013
    (646) 386-3374

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    In NY, "Supreme Court" is a county-level court. Top court in the state is the Court of Appeals.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    How is this judge qualified to make this decision???

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/t...sRcgwEbM.email

    Since when does a judge know anything about the fitness of a piece of apparatus?? Age is not the determining factor of a truck. And who can afford to only keep a piece of fire apparatus for ten years and then get rid of it, not even using it in reserve status?? Are they going to have to replace their fireboats every ten years as well??
    This only applies to front line apparatus. (ie. Engines, ladders, rescue) The spares in the fleet are older and can be used. So after 10 years it is removed from service and if it is still in decent condition it will be put into the spare fleet and used until it falls apart.

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    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    40 to 50 thousand responses in a rig's ten year life span sounds like plenty to me. Some people don't tolerate having a car for more than five years.
    I'm pretty sure not every rig will take that many runs. 10 years on average is a lot, but some trucks may be worn out in 5. It doesn't make sense to just have a number based on years if a truck is servicable. In this econonmy, logic and reason should be employed. Why is it okay to have a piece of junk truck that's only 6-8 years old, but not a truck that's reliable and well maintained that's 12-14 years old??

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    I'm pretty sure not every rig will take that many runs. 10 years on average is a lot, but some trucks may be worn out in 5. It doesn't make sense to just have a number based on years if a truck is servicable. In this econonmy, logic and reason should be employed. Why is it okay to have a piece of junk truck that's only 6-8 years old, but not a truck that's reliable and well maintained that's 12-14 years old??
    What really doesn't make sense is for people outside of the FDNY to question the rationale for the selection of 10 years as the cut off.

    I would think that the fire officers of the FDNY collectively have a very good handle on how their rigs hold up over time and when they should be removed from front-line service. I would think that the selection of 10 years is based on this collective knowledge and negotiation with the city on the matter.

    "Logic and reason" also says that there comes a point where it makes more sense to replace a rig rather than to keep spending more money repairing it. Additionally, we're talking about front-line fire suppression apparatus. Sometimes it makes more sense to replace critical components before they fail/break down in order to avoid "critical failures" like having the hydraulics on you tower ladder crap out while your trying to pluck victims from a burning apartment building. The airline industry does PM like that. They know how long components are supposed to last and replace them before that point in attempt to avoid them failing while the plane is in the air.

    Additionally, the 10 years mark is a maximum. If a rig is junk after 6-8 years, the city/FDNY have the ability to remove it from front-line service at any point. They are not obligated to leave it in front-line service until the 10 year mark. The "reliable and well maintained" rig that's 12-14 years old is likely the ones that move into the spare and reserve pool after 10 years of front line service. I would imagine that they have done both of these things with some degree of regularity.
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    The "executive summary" of this thread is:

    1) A "contract" (and it's associated terms and conditions) was agreed to by a group (or groups) of people. Those conditions are specific to the groups that negotiated and agreed to them. They likely established the terms of their contract (i.e. the "10-Year Rule") based on local needs and conditions.

    2) Those terms and conditions (i.e. the "10-Year Rule") was/were broken by one of the involved groups.

    3) One of the affected groups litigated the breach of contract.

    4) A judge made a ruling, likely based on past precedent.

    I don't think the judge did anything out of the ordinary. He/she merely made a ruling. As long as laws are not being broken, the content of the contract isn't the judge's focus - enforcing a legally-bound document (regardless of content) is.

    Instead of specifying an amount of time as a "hard" rule, perhaps specifying apparatus conditions would be a better benchmark (i.e. failing a pump test, failing a ladder test, and etc.)
    Last edited by dfwfirefighter; 08-24-2013 at 09:06 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfwfirefighter View Post
    The "executive summary" of this thread is:

    1) A "contract" (and it's associated terms and conditions) was agreed to by a group (or groups) of people. Those conditions are specific to the groups that negotiated and agreed to them. They likely established the terms of their contract (i.e. the "10-Year Rule") based on local needs and conditions.

    2) Those terms and conditions (i.e. the "10-Year Rule") was/were broken by one of the involved groups.

    3) One of the affected groups litigated the breach of contract.

    4) A judge made a ruling, likely based on past precedent.

    I don't think the judge did anything out of the ordinary. He/she merely made a ruling. As long as laws are not being broken, the content of the contract isn't the judge's focus - enforcing a legally-bound document (regardless of content) is.

    Instead of specifying an amount of time as a "hard" rule, perhaps specifying apparatus conditions would be a better benchmark (i.e. failing a pump test, failing a ladder test, and etc.)
    I think your last sentence would be the logical benchmark for apparatus replacement, with ten years as a goal. Some things like an air supply or utility could be even longer since you can replace the equipment on the truck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    What really doesn't make sense is for people outside of the FDNY to question the rationale for the selection of 10 years as the cut off.
    By that logic, none of us should ever comment on any other dept. ever...

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    In my state every section of land that is number 36 is a school section and proceeds off of the lease of that land is used to fund the school system. We have a LOT of section 36's. Each section is leased at a different rate and the amount of people employed to work the system almost makes the system useless. The money needed to be spent to collect the money generated is outrageous. Talk about overhead costs.
    With a gazillion apparatus like the FDNY has, I have to think the ten year system makes sense. From a safety standpoint and a monetary one.
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    Just a question, how often does FDNY test the apparatus? I read somewhere that the top five ladder companies get four thousand runs a year and the top five engine companies get upwards of five thousand runs a year. I am aware that the ladder does not get raised every time and the pumps don't turn every time, but after a decade how often would you need to test these things to feel comfortable with them?
    Heck, I don't let the wife take the kids to town in winter on tires that are "probably" fine.
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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    By that logic, none of us should ever comment on any other dept. ever...
    Yes, if you only consider the sentence you quoted and not the rest of my post and the post I was responding to that was representative of most posts I've seen regarding this matter on several sites.

    Most people commenting on this topic who's posts I've read either don't understand the ruling/involvement of the courts or are ignoring it and posting opinions that really aren't relevant to this specific topic.

    The ruling itself is a matter of enforcing a contractual matter between two parties in which one party is violating the terms of the agreement - specifically NYC/FDNY not replacing apparatus covered by the agreement within the required time frame.

    The topic of when apparatus should be/needs to be replaced is a separate issue and worthy of informed debate. The issue I see in the comments on this FDNY matter is that most don't seem to recognize that NYC/FDNY is a much different animal than what their individual experiences have been. It may be true that most apparatus has serviceable life past the 10 year mark, but that doesn't mean it is more cost-effective (in every case) and safe to continue using the vehicle front-line.

    Additionally, there appears to be the assumption that the 10-year limit was arbitrarily selected. Anybody that knows anything about FDNY knows that when it comes to operational matters (apparatus, equipment, tactics), arbitrary decisions are highly unlikely.

    As I stated, the selection of 10 years as the replacement threshold was likely a compromise position derived from actual experience with how long front-line units typically remain serviceable to accepted FDNY standards for such.

    I don't see any problem with asking why the replacement threshold is 10 years. If there is a reasonable explanation provided, like the department has studied the matter and determined that on average, apparatus no longer meets that department's expectations for front-line apparatus at the 10 year mark, then there's really no reason for anybody outside the organization to comment on it. If a poor response is given or it's clear that the number was picked out of a hat, then comments on the appropriateness of that threshold would be reasonable.

    The problem though with many comments is that oftentimes it seems like people are making comments based on their own department and experiences that aren't necessarily comparable/relevant to another department and doing so with little to no real knowledge of that department. For example, my department's coverage area is urban and 100% hydrant. As such we carry 800' and 1000' of supply line and no hard suction on our 2 front-line apparatus and this suits us just fine. I would be wrong to criticize another department's decision to equip their apparatus with 2000' of supply line and hard suction with or without knowing that they serve a more rural area in which they have to make lays up long driveways and draft, thus needing that much supply hose and non-hydrant water supply equipment.




    Additionally, the use of an "apparatus condition" based replacement standard as suggested above isn't necessarily any better because it can be very difficult to identify reliable, objective criteria for the need for replacement. For example, failing a pump test was listed above as a possible criteria. Should an 5 year old pumper be replaced because it failed a pump test even though the rest of the pumper is in good condition and the pump can be fixed for $1,000? Obviously, the answer is no because it doesn't make sense to spend $300,000+ to get a new pumper when the current one can be fixed for a small fraction of that cost. That means that you probably need to base the decision on multiple criteria and define a threshold for how many criterion are necessary to trigger replacement. Which means there's still can be a good bit of subjectivity to the matter vs the clarity of an "age limit".

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    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    Just a question, how often does FDNY test the apparatus? I read somewhere that the top five ladder companies get four thousand runs a year and the top five engine companies get upwards of five thousand runs a year. I am aware that the ladder does not get raised every time and the pumps don't turn every time, but after a decade how often would you need to test these things to feel comfortable with them?
    Heck, I don't let the wife take the kids to town in winter on tires that are "probably" fine.
    If they are following "industry standards", then the pumps and ladders would be tested on an annual basis. The apparatus itself is probably subject to an annual inspection per the motor vehicle code like other motor vehicles are. There's also a good chance that the apparatus gets at minimum, a "visual inspection" for obvious issues anytime it gets serviced.

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    FDNY has a preventive maintenance program in which rigs go to shops for servicing and testing. I'm drawing a blank on how often they go. It was quarterly at one point but they couldn't really keep up with that schedule. Standard practice is to raise ladders during responses even if they're known not to be needed. Pumps and ladders are always engaged at weekly drills at a minimum, along with all power tools.

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