11-07-2000, 08:44 AM #1Ladder ManFirehouse.com Guest
Opinions and Comments on the Detroit Fire Department Crisis.
If you have read the articles about the problems with The Detroit Fire Department, what do you think? What are some solutions? Remember OPINIONS are like ********! You know what I mean!
11-07-2000, 09:03 AM #2LadderCo13Firehouse.com Guest
It sounds like the first thing they need to do is change the way they promote people. Everyone is not officer material. At least everyone on my department isn't.
11-07-2000, 09:27 AM #3resqbFirehouse.com Guest
The worst thing about the problems in Detroit, is that it's not only Detroit. Departments throughout the U.S. (mine included) are shorthanded, working with outdated or broken equipment, and fill out reports only to find out they aren't getting to the people that need to see them.
Let's see, broken A/C in the rigs, yep got that. Broken hydrants, yep, just replaced 20% of ours because of that problem. Lack of maintenance, yep, can't afford to buy filters till next year. Vehicles OOS more than in service. No four man engines, lucky to get more than 2 guys on half of our rigs. People dying because of closed companies...sadly yes. Fortunately our contract calls for open companies, so we got those closed companies reopened, although not 4 man staffing. This isn't just a Detroit problem, it's nationwide, and standards aren't the way to go anymore, laws are. Because the beancounters don't know anything about how a fire dept works. You can plead standards, standards, standards, but until something unfortunate happens nothing will change!
11-07-2000, 09:50 AM #4FDJJFFFirehouse.com Guest
Detroit is a disaster. As a longtime firefighter who has always been a keen observer of the fire service this ranks up with the worst departmental screwups in the last 50 years. I will start off by telling everyone that the heads of Detroit city government are among the most inept in the country. Thye elected leaders there have allowed a once thriving city to fall among the trashheaps of America. It has been a citywide problem.
Detroits fire department shares a tremendous load of blame fro the poor overall management of the department. From the Commissioner, to the Chief, to the Union, all the way down to the mechanics, things have been allowed to go to hell. The IAFF is a proud org of which I have been a member for a number of years, but the union in this case has to accept the fact that they were part of the problem. If you look at the leadership of the department they are all political flunkies, drug up from the dregs of inner city Detroit to serve in the administrations of crooked mayors. The dregs have now allowed things to deteriorate to an unacceptable situation. The way that they promote people is absurd and insures that the best will leave because they will be stuck in a position until they outlive the next guy. Equipment is by far the worst I have seen from an urban department. Chicago, Philly, FDNY, Las Vegas, Houston, etc. seem to be able to provide services. The firefighters there, and I know a number of them, have tried but have failed in the past to rectify items. Keep Trying. Here's hoping that no one else loses a life because of Detorits inadequate staffing, equipment, training and poor advancement policies.
Stay Safe Brothers!
11-07-2000, 10:47 AM #5hagerff/emtiFirehouse.com Guest
Is the city looking at a lack of funds or is it just a major screw up on the cities part?? I dont know for sure. If it is just the staffing they should try to put more students through the fire school. I dont really see how staffing could be that big a deal. There are alot of us that want to get hired to work in the cities. I think that I read that there were 600 people who applied for jobs in the city with only 40 of them making the cut for the fire school. I am not saying lower the standers, there are so many qualified students just admit a few more. I dont know if its the answer but its a start-right??
West Trail Amb. Svc
REAL HEROES WEAR SCBA'S NOT CAPES
We will eat smoke and pull out bodies as long as they continue to build them. Just once I would like them to ask one of us how to build it!!
11-07-2000, 10:48 AM #6FDMichiganManFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with FDJFF. The leaders in Detroit are the most inept I have ever seen. Detroit is a failed city and it angers me to say that because I am from the Detroit area. There are no positives to living in the city of Detroit. You pay high taxes and recieve substandard city services form them. The public schools are among the worst in the country, the DPW is a mess (I think the DPW at one time owned fewer pieces of snow removal equipment than Atlanta), the police department has had an outbreak of questioanble shootings, ambulances are scarce, and now the fire department is under fire.
Am I blaming the FF that work for DFD? NO. To me, it is amazing that they can do the job and live with themselves. I personally don't believe that i could work in the DFD. Just imagine how the crew of Ladder 7 felt as they pulled up to that appartment fire with a ladder that hey have been pleading to get fixed. I would not want to be in their shoes. And the training they recieve seems horrbile. Thank god that the FF have been able to not get thenselves killed.
Reading these Detroit News articles make me sick. All I can hope is that this series will shake up the DFD. Something drastic needs to be done and it starts with the top officials.
11-07-2000, 10:49 AM #7Capt68Firehouse.com Guest
I agree wholeheartedly with fdjjff, the union although all powerfull still must take some of the blame here. Detroit for years has been a disaster and needs cooperation from all sides to rectify this situation.
62 Engine 67 Truck ... The Pride of the West Side
11-07-2000, 11:12 AM #8mongofire_99Firehouse.com Guest
You guys are skating on thin ice. This was discussed in a previous thread and when someone suggested the union may share some of the blame... well the threads been closed.
But having said that, let me say this. There is plenty of blame go around.
And I believe there's plenty of good firefighters in the motor city FD that are willing to and can solve these problems.
Get the beauracracy (in the city and the FD and the union administration) out of their way and let them do it.
11-07-2000, 02:04 PM #9INDY FIREFirehouse.com Guest
What type of apparatus does Detroit use?
11-07-2000, 02:27 PM #10BucksEng91Firehouse.com Guest
mongofire, if the previous thread was closed because someone suggested that the Detroit union might be partially to blame, well then that's a damn shame. It's only an opinion, after all.
Anyway, it seems to me that the whole system, from the apparent disregard for officers' written complaints by the administration, down to improperly trained or oriented mechanics and vehicle operators, to the frankly stupid promotion-by-seniority system...this department needs a major, and I mean MAJOR overhaul.
Maybe the citizens of Detroit, now that this is in the press, will step up to the plate and demand the fire protection that they deserve as American citizens and taxpayers.
11-07-2000, 02:53 PM #11LHS*Firehouse.com Guest
So how do we help these guys a call to Dateline NBC...worked for KC and Houston, 60 Minutes, send them our old trucks that work, do weekends at the shops, volunteer to cover shifts, buy them smoke detectors, bake sale, name it?
11-07-2000, 03:39 PM #121stResponderFirehouse.com Guest
Some people better be getting fired. Anyone who doesn't care enough to keep their firefighters and community safe, doesn't need to be working in the fire business.
By reading the story here at firehouse, my departments 2 pumper, 1 tanker, 1 grass/medical unit has better working equipment then Detroit. Shame on the officials involved.
11-07-2000, 04:11 PM #13
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Just to clarify, the earlier thread was closed because people went off-topic and began attacking each other harshly.
11-07-2000, 04:17 PM #14newtonbFirehouse.com Guest
any time you get the media involved, the issue gets a larger audience. If this type of problem occurs at some level in many departments accross the US, then I think it should be brought to everyone's attention. Only then will the general public begin to wonder if they too could be impacted by similar situations. I would be very interested in seeing a program done on this by Dateline, 60 minutes or whoever is well watched and nationally broadcast.
[This message has been edited by newtonb (edited November 07, 2000).]
11-07-2000, 04:51 PM #15FDJJFFFirehouse.com Guest
If people get so upset on a thread to resort to namecalling then the thread should be closed. However this thread and this situation with Detroit is a well documented issue that should be discussed openly with everyone having their say.
Stay Safe Brothers!
11-07-2000, 06:43 PM #16Capt68Firehouse.com Guest
Indy, I believe Detroit uses a lot of different appartus. From what I know they are ... ALF, Sutphen, and Ford bread type vans for Squads. Their new engines are ALF Metropolitan.
62 Engine 67 Truck ... The Pride of the West Side
11-07-2000, 07:16 PM #17ffnbsFirehouse.com Guest
Everyone agrees that this is a pretty sad situation. Being from metro Detroit I've heard my share of stories and I believe there is blame to be placed at all levels of that department. But I also believe that the City of Detroit is slowly climbing out of it's hole that past city administrations have stuck them in. Mayor Dennis Archer and his administration have really begun to turn things around (believe it or not). There are alot of major corperations moving back into the city that left 2 decades ago, which is only going to make things better. Maybe this bad press is the best thing that can happen at this point so that the fire dept. can get the attention they deserve. hopefully 5 years down the road, with much needed changes, this dept. will be seen in a much brighter light.
11-07-2000, 10:35 PM #18OSU MattFirehouse.com Guest
I take exception to the comment that the Commissioner made blaming the firefighters in the city for abuse of sick leave and injury time. He is a military man, and an officer. As such, it is inexcusable and extremely poor leadership to blame the troops. He, as the leader, is responsible for the problems within the department, not the troops. He requires them to work with unsafe trucks and equipment, in addition to risking their lives on a daily basis, and then blames them for the problems that he is not competant enough to fix. His actions reflect poorly upon himself, the department, and the Army, and are undoubtedly demotivating to his personnel. It is definately not the responsibility of the firefighters. I commend them for continuing to serve their community under these conditions; they are an admirable breed, and a tribute to the profession.
11-08-2000, 02:16 AM #19FF McDonaldFirehouse.com Guest
Yes I can agree that these problems are not only faced by the Detroit FD, but by Fire departments across the country. I do hope that the press that the Detroit Fire Department recieves from this newspaper report allows them to correct the situation.
That having been said, I do agree with several other postings that have been made- that there is more than enough blame to go around, and while the majority of the blame should fall on the Administration -- I don't feel that the Department is blameless here. How long have hings been this bad? This situation didn't occur overnight. These problems have been festering for some time.
I hope that they do get things turned around. The citizens of Detroit deserve better.
OSU Matt -- Yes- the Commissioner is a military man, and yes he should probably apply some of the leadership principles and traits that he learned in the Army, and apply them to his current position-- but don't make sweeping generalities. Have you served? Do you know all the facts? Do you know-- other than from what has been reported in the newspaper articles, specific situations -- PROBABLY NOT. And guess what - neither do I.
There is a time and a place for the pot to call the kettle black. Maybe this was the time--??
I wouldn't pass judgement on someone, unless I knew all the facts.
"In Omnia Paratus"
-- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.
11-08-2000, 07:48 AM #20Lieutenant25Firehouse.com Guest
If you look at Detroits History, these results are inevitable.
A minority mayor elected by minorities on the promise of easy welfare, free this, free that, low income this, low income that, financial subsidies for all this laziness...what does one expect.
A major Detroit City newspaper continually reports how the "Hard working", "Tax paying" citizens fed up with being squeezed to death by taxes, left Detroit in droves.
The laziness of the many was being subsidized by the taxes of the working few, and they were fed up and left.
When any society panders to the lazy, the welfare queens, etc., and overspends tax money on pork barrel social programs, then all basic quality of life services suffer.
The well does run dry. The cow runs out of milk, etc.,etc.
Perhaps Detroit should indict the current and former Mayor(s) for starters, and all the inept political appointees and hacks. Then recoup some of the money these folks used to line their pockets instead of providing the money to ensure the safety of their citizens and firefighters.
If the Fire Department is in this bad of shape, I can only shudder and imagine what other city services are like.
I don't feel you can blame the Union for the decline either. Most unions these days are impotent in regards to negotiations with management.
Yes, the union folks can thump their chests, talk big to the media, raise concerns through scare tactics, but the bottom line is there is NO positive long term effect.
Lets sit back, take a deep breath and say a prayer for those dedicated and brave men and women who despite a plethora of daily obstacles, still go and get the job done!
My hat is off to them!!!!!
11-08-2000, 09:58 AM #2121TFDFirehouse.com Guest
I have been following the Detroit Fire Dept. for almost 26 years. This city and all its services have been in a steady decline since that time. Don't underestimate the power of their union, it has successfully fought off
every effort to change the promotional system. I attended the National Fire Academy with a member of their dept. who became Chief soon after. I later ran into him at the FDIC with then Fire Commissioner Melvin Jefferson. The bottom line was, neither of them got it. Neither seemed to understand the workings of a modern fire protection system. Corrupt govt., bad hiring & promotional practices, lack of adequate training,no management or leadership, no one being held accountable for anything, has led the DFD to the point where it is now. What was once a great and beautiful city has been ruined, prbably beyond repair.
11-08-2000, 10:37 AM #22Hamy91Firehouse.com Guest
I am glad that I do not work, or live for that matter, in Detroit.
FIrefighters are the chosen people.
My views do not reflect that of my department or the United States Air Force
11-08-2000, 09:04 PM #23Mic13Firehouse.com Guest
Unfortunately, Lieutenant 25 said a LOT in his first paragraph, and it's all true! Systems such as this cannot provide even the minimal level of service that they need to. The people themselves have brought this on themselves by electing a gov't that panders to their own laziness. If no one is working, who is paying the taxes to buy better equipment, hire sufficient personnel, and just maintain the equipment they have?!? (I know this is over-stating the situation, and over-simplification, but work with me on the concept, ok? ) I do not feel sorry for the citizenry. I feel sorry for the firefighters who put their lives on the line in this situation.
In terms of the media/press coverage: in my experience, media/press coverage is a flash in the pan with little or no follow-up, and therefore, it's embarassing to the officials in the short term, but little gets done.
Although nothing is said, there is a strong implication that at least part of the problem has to do with the city's mechanics and maintenance. Training mechanics and paying for upkeep and maintenance is far cheaper than buying just one new truck every year, and in return, you get your entire fleet working, at least adequately, I would hope. Wonder why no one in Detroit has figured this out, yet???
We definitely don't know many of the aspects of the situation, but it is clearly obvious to anyone, even one who isn't knowledgeable about the fire service at all, that there are major, glaring mistakes there in Detroit.
[This message has been edited by Mic13 (edited November 08, 2000).]
11-08-2000, 11:29 PM #24Texasff62Firehouse.com Guest
In my honest opinion the problems with the DFD is,
A: The City Management
B: The Maintence Dept
C: The FD for allowing such backward promotions, times change so do policies
D: The firefighters who just sat around and let the department fall down around them, they let it, they should have put their respective feet down and said enough is enough they have known the longest and let it slide
Oklahoma State University School Of Fire Protection
Ponderosa FD, Houston Texas
11-09-2000, 08:52 AM #25LadderCo13Firehouse.com Guest
Why does the local union stand by and allow its members work under these conditions without raising hell? Or are they raising hell?
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