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  1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    We do not. I'm lucky to work for a department with a FD budget of $50M, and a county budget of $1B. We don't want for much.

    Good for you.


    I'm lucky enough to volunteer in a county where our fundraising is used only for things to benefit the members (uniforms, company meals, etc). However, there are so many departments out there that simply don't have that luxury.

    And maybe if we stopped fundraising to buy what the governmental agency should be supplying what you call a luxury would be what I consider normal funding.


    Not everyone is comfortable with staying exterior just to prove a point.

    Tough. For once I may have to agree with LA. If the community won't fundproper PPE, SCBA that is up to date, fire apparatus that is reliable, and enough equipment to do the job properly then the fire department needs to go on a PR blitz and say very clearly, with no doubt in the message, that we are not properly equipped to do interior firefighting and until funding increases to buy proper equipment we will not enter a burning building. Is that harsh? Absolutely. Is dieing because the community won't fund the FD properly and I attempt a rescue, or attempt to extinguish a fire, harsh too? Worse for me and my family.
    Honest to God, 37 years as a volunteer firefighter and the thing I hate the most is fundraising. Not actually doing it, but the fact that it has come to be expected that we will do it. On POC FD #1 I was talking to the village clerk about fund raising one day. I asked why the VFD in town had to fund raise and she said to buy stuff. I said isn't that the duty of the board to fund a proper budget? She said well...I asked why doesn't any other department, including you and the board, fund raise to support your needs? She had no answer and turned back to the work on her desk. Yepper, we are suckers, pure and simple. We have made ourselves a victim of our own generosity and community spirit.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Survivor lights, helmets, webbing with carabiners, an officer's tool for work, radio straps, and upgraded hoods.
    In the past I have purchased Survivor Lights, traditional helmets, both leather and plastic, webbing, carabiners, and the only tool I have ever purchased was a Fubar.

    Now because enough of a push was made all 3 of the FDs I was and am on supply Survivor lights, webbing, and well, they always supplied helmets, but you could buy a traditional if you wanted to.
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  3. #28
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    Obviously your experiences with fundraising are far different than mine. I don't like doing it either, but I do see the long term benefits of it for OUR department. I can't claim to know the funding intricacies of either of your POC departments and the challenges that you all may face.

    That being said, I see where you're coming from. However, I don't think that either of us, no matter how much you and I travel and instruct at different departments, can necessairly relate the fiscal situation that different rural departments across the US face. I understand that it's a philosophical matter to you, as it is with me - I just would hate to see a department get judged because they make the decision to fight fire (exterior, transitional, or interior) even if they don't have "everything they need" because the local elected officials don't provide the funding that we (on the outside) feel that they should be.

    As passionate as you are about fighting for what we deserve with local elected officials, I firmly believe that there are some political subdivisions that will never give the FD what we deserve, no matter what kind of arguement we make. Once their mind is made up that the local VFD is just a "nice to have" agency, it's sometimes takes acts of God (figuratively or literally) to change their minds.
    Last edited by BoxAlarm187; 01-11-2014 at 05:42 PM.
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    It's funny, really. The taxpayers would scream if their fire levy was raised a few dollars a year, but they'll gladly buy a chicken dinner, or attend a dance, or whatever fundraiser a department holds.

    Then, again, fundraising can bring in money from folks who wouldn't otherwise be involved in paying for fire protection in a given community. There's one department in Maryland that holds one or two major concerts every year - name bands and all. They can draw from most of the DC metro area, and undoubtedly bring in a substantial part of their operating budget by doing so. Since I don't know any details of their operation, I can't say what part of their annual budget the fundraisers makes up, but I suspect it's significant.

    Most departments here have quit doing bingo, but once again, it was a method of bringing in outside dollars and relieving some of the load on the local taxpayers. Some bingo players did so seven nights a week, rotating among the many games held in the area.

    We're fortunate to have a substantial amount of seasonal residences in our fire district - and they pay for the privilege. It's been estimated that upwards of of 90% of our assessed value is within a few hundred yards of the river. Donations from such residents funds half the cost of operating the fireboat.

    Should we have to fundraise? Heck no. But in many areas such fundraisers also serve as a method of community outreach, keeping the fire department in the public eye. And in many areas, the tax base is simply not there to support the needs of the fire department.

    As for cops and highway crews? We have no local cops - it's the sheriff and state police. Several villages fund part-time police operations. And a nearby town recently laid off all but two of it's highway department, leaving snowplowing and other maintenance of county roads to the county. If they need a town road paved, they'll contract it out. And you'd be amazed how many years you can get out of a specialized piece of equipment - while we're faced with the planned obsolescence of our equipment by people in ivory towers. If the cops had to replace their pistols every 10 years by fiat, we'd be hearing about it.
    Last edited by tree68; 01-11-2014 at 05:07 PM.
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  5. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    It's funny, really. The taxpayers would scream if their fire levy was raised a few dollars a year, but they'll gladly buy a chicken dinner, or attend a dance, or whatever fundraiser a department holds.

    The problem with your thought process here is that same cheapskate, curmudgeon, a z z wipe, that doesn't want to pay taxes for services isn't buying a chicken dinner, attending a dance, or supporting any fundraiser you are running.

    Then, again, fundraising can bring in money from folks who wouldn't otherwise be involved in paying for fire protection in a given community. There's one department in Maryland that holds one or two major concerts every year - name bands and all. They can draw from most of the DC metro area, and undoubtedly bring in a substantial part of their operating budget by doing so. Since I don't know any details of their operation, I can't say what part of their annual budget the fundraisers makes up, but I suspect it's significant.

    It still doesn't make fundraising for the necessities to operate a fire department right. Both of my POC FDs run fundraisers that depend on people from outside the community to come and spend their money, along with the locals. Both of my POC FDs are funded okay for necessities, nothing exotic, but necessities are met. I find it ironic that outsiders are spending money to fund local fire service needs.

    Most departments here have quit doing bingo, but once again, it was a method of bringing in outside dollars and relieving some of the load on the local taxpayers. Some bingo players did so seven nights a week, rotating among the many games held in the area.

    WHY are we concerned with relieving the burden on local taxpayers? Again, when the cops, dpw, city clerk, and so on run fundraisers to "relieve the burden on local taxpayers" then will I agree with your point. What is my job as a POC FF? To protect life and property. NOT spend countless additional hours away from my family and my leisure time raising money that should be supplied to us.

    We're fortunate to have a substantial amount of seasonal residences in our fire district - and they pay for the privilege. It's been estimated that upwards of of 90% of our assessed value is within a few hundred yards of the river. Donations from such residents funds half the cost of operating the fireboat.

    Donations are a different animal than running fundraisers. If the citizens wish to donate of their own free will i would not turn them away.

    Should we have to fundraise? Heck no. But in many areas such fundraisers also serve as a method of community outreach, keeping the fire department in the public eye. And in many areas, the tax base is simply not there to support the needs of the fire department.

    Seriously, if you need to hold a pancake breakfast to stay in the public eye I can only shake my head in amazement. How does the tax base support police, dpw, and the town clerk?

    As for cops and highway crews? We have no local cops - it's the sheriff and state police. Several villages fund part-time police operations. And a nearby town recently laid off all but two of it's highway department, leaving snowplowing and other maintenance of county roads to the county. If they need a town road paved, they'll contract it out. And you'd be amazed how many years you can get out of a specialized piece of equipment - while we're faced with the planned obsolescence of our equipment by people in ivory towers. If the cops had to replace their pistols every 10 years by fiat, we'd be hearing about it.

    YOU ARE STILL PAYING FOR POLICE PROTECTION, AND TO GET THE STREETS PLOWED. The difference is that is being paid to the county and you suffer the inconvenience of not having your town streets plowed until the contractor is brought in. Heck why don't you volunteer to plow the streets? Maybe you could put a can out at the general store to pay for the fuel!

    As for comparing pistols to PPE subjected to heat and chemicals, come on get real. A firearm is not subjected to the same environment our equipment is and there are firearms over 200 years old that still work. Have you seen a cop using one? Of course not. If your implication is we could be using 20 year old PPE and scba, or driving around in 2 door cabs with guys hanging off the back end because the stuff all still works...We are so far apart as to be inconceivable.
    Sorry, the truth is we let the community decide how important we are and if we go away, or stop risking our lives with substandard equipment maybe things will change.
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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Not everyone is comfortable with staying exterior just to prove a point.
    We are blessed and fortunate enough to have a great budget and a surplus of money and outstanding equipment- but believe me I would have no problem having my guys staying on the outside and lobbing water through the windows. When the Politicians and Insurance Companies come knocking and asking "Hey, whats with the high dollar losses here?" I'm going to say "You wont give me the basics I need to remain relatively safe while operating offensively and until then, defensive it is."

    One could argue that firefighting is inherently dangerous no matter how many bells and whistles you have. Of course it is. But good gear, good radios, good training and good equipment will get you all that much farther, more efficiently, and best of all- (hopefully) SAFER.

    I do know of an organization not far from us- about 15 years ago they had a newly elected Board of Supervisors who, for some unknown reason turned into a bunch of cheap bean counters. They slashed way back on training, equipment and morale. When most of the guys needed new bunker gear (purchased a while back under the previous regime) and the new guys said "No" they said "ok, fine." They all turned off their pagers. When the local fishwrap found out about it, the new guys had no choice of course but to but the new gear. But I do admit that wasnt a situation of not having it, just one of them refusing to spend it.
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  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    We are blessed and fortunate enough to have a great budget and a surplus of money and outstanding equipment- but believe me I would have no problem having my guys staying on the outside and lobbing water through the windows. When the Politicians and Insurance Companies come knocking and asking "Hey, whats with the high dollar losses here?" I'm going to say "You wont give me the basics I need to remain relatively safe while operating offensively and until then, defensive it is."

    One could argue that firefighting is inherently dangerous no matter how many bells and whistles you have. Of course it is. But good gear, good radios, good training and good equipment will get you all that much farther, more efficiently, and best of all- (hopefully) SAFER.

    I do know of an organization not far from us- about 15 years ago they had a newly elected Board of Supervisors who, for some unknown reason turned into a bunch of cheap bean counters. They slashed way back on training, equipment and morale. When most of the guys needed new bunker gear (purchased a while back under the previous regime) and the new guys said "No" they said "ok, fine." They all turned off their pagers. When the local fishwrap found out about it, the new guys had no choice of course but to but the new gear. But I do admit that wasnt a situation of not having it, just one of them refusing to spend it.
    Testify Brother!!

    I know there are dirt poor communities that have trouble funding municipal services. But don't give me the BS that my #1 POC FD should fundraise to buy necessities when the village has no trouble buying a used street sweeper, new contractor grade rider lawn mowers, and a $37K truck with a V plow for the DPW, or a new squad car for our part-time police force every 5 years or less, and better radar than the county sheriff's squads have. We needed to replace our 1974 Mack CF (big mistake in my mind, I think we would have been miles ahead refurbing this rig) and the chief found a used engine for $26K. The village would only fund half of the cost, we had to pony up $13K from our fundraiser money to complete the deal. WHY? It is obvious they have no problem spending money on other areas of the village. WHY is because we are stupid and fundraise so they think they don't have to fund us properly.
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  8. #33
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    doing fund raisers to basically support the day to day operations of a fire department is akin to feeding a stray dog.
    ?

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    How many of you guys that are doing fundraisers are doing so as the fire department and how many are doing them as the fire association? Both VFD's that I have been on have department associations. While the members are the same, they are technically 2 separate entities. The associations are there to support the department in whatever form they see fit.

    I know it's not a huge difference when the money is ultimately getting spent on the members in some way shape or form, but there is a difference.

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    We have been through this before (several times).

    When the local government can afford to fully fund streets, dpw, police, parks, etc., then there is no excuse to fully fund fire.

    When the situation is like ours (there is no dpw, sewer district is funded through user fees and the only employee is also a township roads employee, local police, or any other services other than basic roads) and even the roads department has to do fundraising and has an average fleet age as old if not older than ours, fundraising is a fact of life. There is not enough tax base to support what you are stating should be.

    My township fundraises through garbage collection and clean up days. These fundraisers are used to help maintain the equipment they have. On the average winter day, the 2 employees are driving a 1997 and 1999 F800's to plow snow. The grader is an 87. The loader, roller, and other dump truck were all bought used. The backhoe and F550 were purchased new. This was done through increased taxes (simultaneous as an increase in fire tax) to a point where everyone realizes that to go higher would be counter-productive.

    In your circumstances, yes, fundraising should be for luxuries (new leather recliners, etc). If I want my house to be protected by a local department, I volunteer my time and pay a higher tax rate for it than most, but I still have to do fundraisers to be able to operate. You are more than welcome to come and visit and see why what I am saying is true. We always welcome visitors. We can also take you to another 20 to 30 departments that are in the same boat as us within an hour drive.
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    Fortunate enough to have portable radios issued to each member. Definitely not affordable since we've changed over to 700.

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    We are issued WT's, I have a mobile in my truck i bought, since I respond to many calls POV and my WT will not reach the repeater on the edges of the district. To purchase your own radio you must have written permission and not be a probationary member.

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    I work for 2 differnt Departments... One of the departments I work at All of the Officers are supplied with a radio, otherwise the Radios are housed in the station/trucks for use on scene. At the other department I work for most people have a radio that was supplied to them via the dearptment; however the cost of their radios were much less since they are on VHF rather than the 800s.

    Though, I generally agree with much posted above, if it is essential to the job function, you shouldn't have to "fundraise" you should be supplied it via the dept./twp/city budget.

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by dfelix22000us View Post
    How many of you guys that are doing fundraisers are doing so as the fire department and how many are doing them as the fire association? Both VFD's that I have been on have department associations. While the members are the same, they are technically 2 separate entities. The associations are there to support the department in whatever form they see fit.

    I know it's not a huge difference when the money is ultimately getting spent on the members in some way shape or form, but there is a difference.
    Whether it is directly the fire department or a fire association is irrelevant if the end result is the same. The idea of fundraising being done to fund everyday normal operations and equipment needs is wrong and needs to stop immediately.
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    I bought my own radio before i joined the fire department. I have my own brush truck and the dept. wanted me to be able to communicate with them on an incident. Once i joined i did not need my own radio anymore but i still use it. I bought the same one that the dept. uses as it was the one that our comms guy recommended-a cp200 xls. The dept. issued me a pager but I live a ways out of town and the handheld radio keeps me in touch better, especially now that we have "upgraded" dispatch and the pager does not work so well anymore.
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    Isn't the failure to have comunication equipment an OSHA issue?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianB35 View Post
    Isn't the failure to have comunication equipment an OSHA issue?
    I believe you only have to have a radio per operating crew. Not each member of the crew having a radio.

    Is it safer for each member to have a radio? Of course it is. Will I ever buy my own portable radio? Not a chance.
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