Thread: Local Officials Attitudes
03-04-2001, 02:23 AM #1Ten8_Ten19Firehouse.com Guest
Local Officials Attitudes
Newspaper quote from a small town official:
"It's the OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) standards that they've got to come up to. For a small town to keep up with that, it's ridiculous," said *******.
***** said the money would go to buy new turnout gear, additional training for the town's volunteer firefighters and to have the pumps tested periodically. ---------
Yeah, absolutely ridiculous standards. We all know fires are different here in East Podunk than in the big cities.
How prevalent is this attitude among town administrators or, God forbid, chiefs?
03-04-2001, 05:48 PM #2Captain GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
Most city and town officials have absolutely no clue to how a fire department runs, and if you try to explain it to them, they cannot comprehend what is going on.
Firefighters: rising under adverse conditions to accept the challenge!
03-04-2001, 06:07 PM #3comwhiteFirehouse.com Guest
>>Most city and town officials have absolutely no clue to how a fire department runs, and if you try to explain it to them, they cannot comprehend what is going on.<<
That's exactly what I've been trying to preach forever. And most won't volunteer to learn it, they have to be forced into acknowledging any problems with the department. How often have you seen me write something to the effect that if you're interested in your department, select someone to run?
When I became a Commissioner, I had no idea what the difference in a pumper and a tanker was. The first time I heard about OSHA, I assumed it had something to do with the fire hydrant suppliers. The first thing I did was request a pager, the next thing was I attended all meetings at the station, business and training. I went to calls, and stood out of the way. I subscribed to magazines, and this forum (where all of you have taught me), and if I had questions I ask. Within two years, I was able to negotiate our contract with the county, and I was able to intelligently argue for our department.
I took some criticism from fire fighters, who thought I was only there to keep an eye on them, and I took criticism from other commissioners who felt I was trying to micro-manage. Today, I feel that I've earned the respect of all the fire fighters in our department, and I really don't care how the other Commissioners feel. It's their loss for not following the example.
The loudest voice any department will have is the one that knows what they're talking about, and can convey it in an intelligent way. Who better to do that, than one of your own.
03-08-2001, 08:11 AM #4troll911Firehouse.com Guest
"Today, I feel that I've earned the respect of all the fire fighters in our department, and I really don't care how the other Commissioners feel. It's their loss for not following the example."
Comwhite, would you consider moving to San Angelo? We would love you forever!! Bravo on your accomplishments.
03-08-2001, 09:36 AM #59C7Firehouse.com Guest
Have to agree with the others. What frustrates me is that not only do town officials not know anything about the FD, THEY DON'T CARE TO LEARN.
The attitude is...if someone calls 911, a truck shows up and no one complains to town hall, then everything's ok.
You asked for my opinion, now you have it. Any similarity to another opinion, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
03-08-2001, 09:58 AM #6LtStickFirehouse.com Guest
Comwhite I would have to agree with troll911 would you consider moving to Osceola Mills PA. We would love to have someone like you in our area. Our borough council seems to table everything. They don't seem to care much about us unless they need our help with something heaven forbid we ask them for something. The Fire Service needs more people like you.
03-08-2001, 10:05 AM #7Dalmatian90Firehouse.com Guest
Getting them to care, I suppose, could be the challenge.
Going back, oh, about 10 years ago we had a State Rep (Marie Herbst)from Vernon, CT who was very supportive of the fire service. She even had photos from a few years before-- of her in a white helmet lettered with "MAYOR" on the sides. She kept the turnout gear in the trunk of her car, and like Comwhite, she'd attend training and fires every so often and just hang out and observe to know what was going on.
03-08-2001, 10:36 AM #8CHIEF500Firehouse.com Guest
Is this attitude prevalent in elected officials? It can be unless you educate them. They easily can assume the "it will never happen here" theory. You need to become involved in your municipality.
I'm pretty lucky. I am a Fire Chief of a small Borough. I am also a volunteer chief of one of the volunteer stations there.
We have a Mayor and eight council persons that serve community. Of the eight council people, 1 is the president and a past Assistant Chief of my volunteer department. Another is a past Deputy Chief of my Department. Another is a past Assistant Chief of my Department. One other is a past active firefighter in his earlier days. One more became a member because he liked the people there. So we have pretty good representation in the local government. I don't just get want I want when I ask for it, I need to present the ideas and they want me to show the reason for what's being asked for. We have a good working relationship. I feel I have their respect and they have mine.
03-08-2001, 07:52 PM #9JAMESBENNETTFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with you chief500. It is your job to educate the people with the "Purse Strings" and make them understand. The State of Texas is not an OSHA plan state, so the laws don't restrict them to compliance. However that dosen't relieve them from the liability of injury. Even in places that OSHA is not a law, their reg's. are still are considered to be a minimum standard and employer's have paid big liable for their lack of compliance. One court even said, " None compliance with minimum standards is willfully placing your employee's into unnecessary danger." If you here the money hardship or the complaint of lack of support here is some "ammo" to use to help. In Texas a municipality paid a 22 million dollar liability for a "Confine Space" fatality. They were not in compliance with the OSHA standards and this is not an OSHA plan state! Employee's that have been given all the standard equipment and training that fall to use it are being denied salary payments, because they are viewing it as if it were a suicide attempt! A small town could support safety and equipment for a lot of years with 22 million dollars. The day someone gets hurt, its to late to try and catch-up. Sometime this can be expensive, so work a plan to do this over time and give them a chance to help you. Most Government are willing to help with the right kind of encouragement. Give them the facts, then tell them how they can comply and try not to use strong-arming until it is necessary to say, "It's the law."
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