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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm1524 View Post
    Are those adults having an adult beverage allowed to run a call or do they have to wait a certain amount of time before they can respond?
    Given our call volume, odds are they'll be sober before next time the tones drop. That said, we've never found it necessary to write a definitive policy. Aside from the few cases cited later in this post, it hasn't been a problem.
    If a trauma physician was on-call and socializing with some friends, would it be acceptable for him to have a few beers?
    No - unless he has someone covering for him. That's kind of an apples and oranges thing, though. In the case of a volunteer/POC FD that doesn't have a duty roster, it's up to the individual and policies and procedures to ensure they don't respond if they have imbibed.

    To put your question into context, though - if a vollie/POC firefighter is on the designated crew that shift, no, it's not all right for them to have a cold one. They have a reasonable expectation that they will be called on to respond, and they have, by taking duty for that shift, acknowledged that they have a duty to respond.
    You know something? Unless you are going to breathalizer everyone responding to a call you have no idea if Billy Bob just had 3 beers with dinner sitting at home with his family, or 3 beers at the local watering hole.
    And Fyred sums it up perfectly. We have encountered a few times when a responding member clearly shouldn't have been anywhere near the station - and they got drunk in the comfort of their own home. Others noted the member's condition and prevented them from leaving the station on apparatus.

    Every day thousands of volunteers and POC's respond thousands of times without incident. Cases such as this are the outliers, not the norm, which speaks to the success of policies and procedures and personal restraint of those involved.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    If a trauma physician was on-call and socializing with some friends, would it be acceptable for him to have a few beers?
    Unless a volunteer is on scheduled duty shift, as Tree points out, he is not on call.

    Unlike that physican, even if a volunteer is in the hall, he has no obligation to respond. There have been many times that I have been in the station when a call came in and I choose not to respond for any number of reasons.
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    Like I said on one of the other countless booze-in-the-barn threads, my issue is this:

    It's true that if there is alcohol in the firehouse, it is the drinker's bad judgment to RUI (respond under the influence) that is the problem, not the presence of the alcohol in and of itself. BUT, as a volunteer, I think it would be tough to sit at the station drinking beer when a significant call comes in. I can't imagine who wouldn't mind to sit there and nurse a cold one while his/her fellow firefighters are busting it out to a house fire with entrapment. Clearly the driver in this case couldn't resist the temptation to roll. His fault.

    And yes, I realize that in a way, it's no different if that volunteer is drinking at home or at a bar or restaurant. But in a way, it's very different, because if I were planning to drink, I could turn off the pager and never know the call happened. If I'm drinking at the station, I would feel really rotten about not being able to respond.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    Like I said on one of the other countless booze-in-the-barn threads, my issue is this:

    It's true that if there is alcohol in the firehouse, it is the drinker's bad judgment to RUI (respond under the influence) that is the problem, not the presence of the alcohol in and of itself. BUT, as a volunteer, I think it would be tough to sit at the station drinking beer when a significant call comes in. I can't imagine who wouldn't mind to sit there and nurse a cold one while his/her fellow firefighters are busting it out to a house fire with entrapment. Clearly the driver in this case couldn't resist the temptation to roll. His fault.

    And yes, I realize that in a way, it's no different if that volunteer is drinking at home or at a bar or restaurant. But in a way, it's very different, because if I were planning to drink, I could turn off the pager and never know the call happened. If I'm drinking at the station, I would feel really rotten about not being able to respond.
    And again, policies, procedures and enforcement.

    In the one department that I was on which allowed and had beer in the station (only after drills and work details), almost 20 years ago, if you choose to drink after drill, a notation was made on a large membership availability board that you were unable to respond if a call came in. In addition, when you finished your last beer, a notation was made that you were unavailable to respond until 8 hours later by the ranking officer in the station.

    It was also noted on paper to prevent the information from being erased.

    If there was a social function, and you drank, the same procedure was followed.

    You made a choice, and that choice was noted and enforced.

    I know of several departments in my hometown area that has a similar electronic procedure. If you buy a drink the bar tender is required to enter the members ID into the cash register, which is linked the same computer that tracks run attendance system. The computer will document what they bought and at what time, and if a member responds who purchased alcohol within a specific time window, it will flag it, and he/she will have a problem.

    The other issue what simply what was the culture in that department, as well as in the area, regarding drinking and responding. Was it accepted and overlooked? Was it reported? Was it disciplined?

    Clear expectations set by the department regarding drinking and responding as well as clear expectations regarding reporting members who are suspected and drinking and responding will make all the difference.

    If members know they will be disciplined or dismissed for drinking and responding, the likelihood of an incident decreases significantly. Same thing applies if member's know that they are responsible for reporting members who respond after drinking.

    The simple fact is that the leaders in a department can set a culture where this is simply not tolerated, and will be dealt with in a significant manner. It all comes down to the culture and the leadership.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 04-25-2014 at 03:13 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    Like I said on one of the other countless booze-in-the-barn threads, my issue is this:

    It's true that if there is alcohol in the firehouse, it is the drinker's bad judgment to RUI (respond under the influence) that is the problem, not the presence of the alcohol in and of itself. BUT, as a volunteer, I think it would be tough to sit at the station drinking beer when a significant call comes in. I can't imagine who wouldn't mind to sit there and nurse a cold one while his/her fellow firefighters are busting it out to a house fire with entrapment. Clearly the driver in this case couldn't resist the temptation to roll. His fault.

    And yes, I realize that in a way, it's no different if that volunteer is drinking at home or at a bar or restaurant. But in a way, it's very different, because if I were planning to drink, I could turn off the pager and never know the call happened. If I'm drinking at the station, I would feel really rotten about not being able to respond.

    Here in lies the problem with your entire premise. YOU are stating what YOU would do, but the truth is the same guy who would respond from the station after a few beers wuld respond from home or the bar after a few beers because they still don't want to miss the big one.
    Again, unless someone is obvious under the influence, the only way to tell whether they have been drinking or not is to breathalizer every one as they come through the door responding to a call.
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    "Here in lies the problem with your entire premise. YOU are stating what YOU would do, but the truth is the same guy who would respond from the station after a few beers wuld respond from home or the bar after a few beers because they still don't want to miss the big one."

    That's not a problem with my premise. That's a problem with a guy who has no self-control. When you pop a top, you turn off the pager.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    "Here in lies the problem with your entire premise. YOU are stating what YOU would do, but the truth is the same guy who would respond from the station after a few beers wuld respond from home or the bar after a few beers because they still don't want to miss the big one."

    That's not a problem with my premise. That's a problem with a guy who has no self-control. When you pop a top, you turn off the pager.
    NO, once again you are impressing on others what YOU would do under the incorrect assumption that everyone else would or should do the same. Obviously that premise has been proven wrong dozens if not thousands of times over the past few years.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    The bar in our banquet hall is there to entice the public to rent the hall for their receptions, parties, etc. It's a fundraising tool. And the banquet hall is not physically attached to the fire station - it's about a half block away. I should add that a good many local residents refer to our banquet hall as the "community building."

    Several of the volunteer and combo departments around me have a similar set up. A detached building on the compound available to the public for many uses. The community takes advantage of the fire department for general maintenance, security etc. The fire department in return gets a large room available to them for events, training etc. While it is a thin line it helps maintain the image of no booze in the fire house while still allowing for those fund raising events many make mention of.

    In every department I've been a member of, if the boys want to go get a beer after training they strip off any fire department identifying paraphernalia and head down to road to a local pub or other location that serves their needs. Maybe go and grab a pizza and beer.

    Maybe it's because my fire service career is post MADD, but I can't wrap my head around having a beer at the station after training even being an option.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF View Post
    ...I could turn off the pager and never know the call happened...
    and the phone, and not hear the exterior siren, etc. It used to be that simple, nowadays, way to much notification methods and way too many people know whats going on to simply not know about a call.

    But your point is understood.
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    I think this thread has some good posts in it, but I am still thinking about the actual story that started it. A CAPTAIN was visibly swaying and blew over twice the legal limit returning from the call.

    While most of us are contemplating the occasional drinker that has had one or two, this guy was well beyond the legal limit and had guys ride along with him. It is easy to condemn him, as we all should, but what about the other members that not only allowed him to respond, but they rode along? It doesn't say what the call was, but if the ladder went, I would assume there was other apparatus there and subsequently other officers. How was this guy even allowed behind the wheel?

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    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    I think this thread has some good posts in it, but I am still thinking about the actual story that started it. A CAPTAIN was visibly swaying and blew over twice the legal limit returning from the call.

    While most of us are contemplating the occasional drinker that has had one or two, this guy was well beyond the legal limit and had guys ride along with him. It is easy to condemn him, as we all should, but what about the other members that not only allowed him to respond, but they rode along? It doesn't say what the call was, but if the ladder went, I would assume there was other apparatus there and subsequently other officers. How was this guy even allowed behind the wheel?
    Based on this, it would seem that the department culture and leadership accepts this.

    That's the problem, not the bar in the station.
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    While a I agree with a lot of the posts here, I also believe that there are probably a lot of impaired members responding. Not on this forum, of course, but let's face it,.....

    It's hard to let the responsibility of the VFD control you're every decision, and, as has been said, it's hard to sit back and listen to your brothers getting their ***** kicked, when additional alarms are being ordered. No doubt the guy who just finished his second beer with a steak is going to respond.

    Another thing that needs to be understood; there are a lot of functioning alcoholics out there. They are not always easy to spot. They are seldom the stumbling drunk, and when one enters our life it is always a surprise when they get in trouble and enter rehab, and the entire scope of the problem is revealed. While the captain in the article was said to be swaying, he may well have driven, and responded, well above the legal limit many times before, and appeared perfectly normal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The52nd View Post
    It's hard to let the responsibility of the VFD control you're every decision, and, as has been said, it's hard to sit back and listen to your brothers getting their ***** kicked, when additional alarms are being ordered. No doubt the guy who just finished his second beer with a steak is going to respond.
    A true professional wouldn't care if it's a car fire or a block of buildings on fire- a true professional turns off his/her pager the moment a drop of alcohol passes their lips, period. You let me find out you're on the same fire ground that I am on whether you have had one or ten beers- I'll kick your azz to Mars and back. I depend on you to get my azz out of a sling and I damn well sure am going to do my everything to get you out if you get jammed up. And that means being of clear mind and thought, unimpaired.

    You drink alcohol, don't come. Thanks!
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    A true professional wouldn't care if it's a car fire or a block of buildings on fire- a true professional turns off his/her pager the moment a drop of alcohol passes their lips, period.

    You drink alcohol, don't come. Thanks!
    In a perfect little internet world this would be the case. Unfortunately I highly doubt that is what is actually happening.

    There are a lot of really small volly departments, in some pretty damned rural locations. Seen some of the towns in Pennsyltucky? Think the 10 members of the department aren't having a beer and a shot after dinner? Who's going to respond when they don't? I'd say the chances are better that you'll have all of the members with some alcohol on board, than ever having them all completely sober.

    Not making excuses for this behavior, just saying.

    Fortunately I don't have to worry about such a thing. I work 24 hour shifts 8 times a month. That gives me plenty of other nights when I can wet my whistle if I choose to. Takes the guess work out of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The52nd View Post
    In a perfect little internet world this would be the case. Unfortunately I highly doubt that is what is actually happening.

    There are a lot of really small volly departments, in some pretty damned rural locations. Seen some of the towns in Pennsyltucky? Think the 10 members of the department aren't having a beer and a shot after dinner? Who's going to respond when they don't? I'd say the chances are better that you'll have all of the members with some alcohol on board, than ever having them all completely sober.

    Not making excuses for this behavior, just saying.

    Fortunately I don't have to worry about such a thing. I work 24 hour shifts 8 times a month. That gives me plenty of other nights when I can wet my whistle if I choose to. Takes the guess work out of it.
    And if you think that no career FD has ever had a firefighter drinking on the job you are delusional. There are probably far more than a handful of functioning alcoholics on career FDs that are tipping a drink during the shift to be able to function.
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    Lets go on the premise that the average adult can metabolize two drinks/beers per hour.
    This ***** clown was at twice the legal limit after returning from their call. How long was the call???
    not in evidence that I've seen .


    This would be a guesstimate that he had drunk at least 6-8 + drinks in the previous two/three hours to have a BAC at that level.
    That is not social drinking.

    Now the town is down an apparatus & will be on the hook for a quarter million to repair or a
    million $$$$$$$$ plus to replace it.

    How do you think the taxpayers of this small town are feeling about their volunteer fire department right about now?

    How do you think this shines a bright spotlight on ALL departments??
    Career or Volunteer.
    Last edited by islandfire03; 04-25-2014 at 10:12 PM.

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    Not disagreeing with any of what islandfire03 is saying.

    But how about adding in the fact of addressing the real issue? Drinking and responding. That is the issue.

    Not where the drinking occurs.

    Drinking and responding is the issue.

    Not pretending that it only affects one segment of the fire service. Not hiding behind the "professional" image. No B.S.

    Drinking and responding. THE problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Not disagreeing with any of what islandfire03 is saying.

    But how about adding in the fact of addressing the real issue? Drinking and responding. That is the issue.

    Not where the drinking occurs.

    Drinking and responding is the issue.

    Not pretending that it only affects one segment of the fire service. Not hiding behind the "professional" image. No B.S.

    Drinking and responding. THE problem.
    Clear, concise, and directly to the point. Excellent work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    And if you think that no career FD has ever had a firefighter drinking on the job you are delusional. There are probably far more than a handful of functioning alcoholics on career FDs that are tipping a drink during the shift to be able to function.
    No delusions here.

    I was keeping my comments to the volly side of the service because it's been my experience that the career guys save it up for one of their many days off. Days off not being as well defined in the vollly service.

    It doesn't matter where you are, or what you do, "they" are everywhere.

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    Interestingly, my first set of turn out gear was previously assigned to a member that had been thrown off the department for responding drunk.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The52nd View Post

    It doesn't matter where you are, or what you do, "they" are everywhere.
    Had one in my immediate family and several in my extended family. All functoning alcoholics that managed to go to work and do whatever, but alcohol was their master and we all knew it.

    Probably the big reason I rarely drink at all myself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FF-Andy View Post
    Interestingly, my first set of turn out gear was previously assigned to a member that had been thrown off the department for responding drunk.
    did you check all the pockets ?
    ?

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    It still just amazes me that FD's would still be stupid enough to allow alcohol in the station. It's a no brainer. If you want to drink, go home or to a local bar. And as for the "8 hour rule", it pretty arbitrary and pointless. A guy who drinks a single Bud Light will be good to go in 2 hours. But someone who's really tied one on may still be dragging his butt 24 hours later.
    Someone once said, "A man's gotta know his limitations"... It's up to firefighters to do the right thing, and fire depts to enforce the right thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by johnsb View Post
    It still just amazes me that FD's would still be stupid enough to allow alcohol in the station. It's a no brainer. If you want to drink, go home or to a local bar. And as for the "8 hour rule", it pretty arbitrary and pointless. A guy who drinks a single Bud Light will be good to go in 2 hours. But someone who's really tied one on may still be dragging his butt 24 hours later.
    Someone once said, "A man's gotta know his limitations"... It's up to firefighters to do the right thing, and fire depts to enforce the right thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    John, can I introduce you to LAFE? He's okay with it. Yup, he's stupid enough to believe it should be permitted.
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