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  1. #1
    mfgentili Guest

    Angry Fire Apparatus Billboards

    What are your thoughts about using fire apparatus as rolling billboards to display advertising as is being contemplated in Houston, TX?

    I don't mind placing a small plaque on any donated equipment or apparatus to acknowedge the donor. However, I am not in favor of selling private adverising space on our apparatus.
    Although it may be a way to get more funding, I personally am opposed to it for the following reasons:
    • Does posting ads on apparatus mean that the fire department endorses whatever the ad is saying? How will this work in union departments?
    • Will politicians be allowed to advertise their candidacy or campaigns on city owned apparatus?
    • If an engine is covered with billboards, will it still be readily recognized as an emergency vehicle and be given the proper right of way?
    • Finally, TRADITION - Most places are finally going back to traditional fire engine red and it would be a shame to cover them with advertising like on a city bus. In fact it would be a shame to cover any color fire apparatus with advertising.
    It sure is a sad state of affairs when we must resort to selling things in order to get the necessary funding to properly support our mission of saving lives. With all the wasted government spending, at all levels, you'd think the number one line of defense to local emergencies would be better served and equipped. Just my own personal opinion.

    Mike Gentili, Capt.
    New Bedford Fire Dept.

    [This message has been edited by mfgentili (edited 06-08-2001).]

  2. #2
    sconfire Guest

    Thumbs down

    I think that billboards on the firetrucks is a bad idea. I think that there is other ways in finding money for the budget. This is a VERY bad idea. Just my two cents.

    Captain Grant Mishoe
    North Charleston Fire Department
    North Charleston, SC

  3. #3
    DFC14 Guest

    Thumbs down

    I too, must agree that billboards on a fire truck are not a good idea. It seems to be a devaluing of a serious piece of equipment. The only way that I could see it being done tastefully would be by using billboards of companies that provide equipment, services, etc. to firefighters, but that would do absolutely no good because the target audience is the general public it would do no good.
    I must say that this is a quite disappointing proposal.

    Ryan Dennett
    Dixfield Fire CO

  4. #4
    FDNYfan Guest


    That is a horrible idea! It's bad enough to see those ugly billboards along highways, but on a firetruck, NO WAY!!!! I hope this is an idea quickly forgotten by everyone!

  5. #5
    Captain Gonzo Guest


    In a country where everything is for sale, it was just a matter of time before some "genius" came up with this lame brained idea.

    Advertising belongs on taxicabs and busses...not fire trucks!

    Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
    Captain Gonzo

  6. #6
    toddmcbr Guest

    Thumbs down

    Bad Idea Folks......Fire trucks already turn enough heads when they're running hot to a scene, now they want people to try and read a billboard on the side of them when they're running hot. I can see this causing a lot of accidents. There are many different way to generate revenue and this is definately not one of them. I think putting a billboard on the side of a fire truck is very distasteful, not to's just not right.

  7. #7
    WTFDFF10 Guest

    Thumbs down

    >If an engine is covered with billboards, >will it still be readily recognized as an >emergency vehicle and be given the proper >right of way?

    I can just see the dumbfounded looks when an engine with advertising signs all over it comes roaring up to an intersection: "Hey Maw, why does that bus have a red light and siren?"

    This is a bad, bad idea.

  8. #8
    ffguy083 Guest


    I wonder if anyone has even read the whole article, or just read the headlines and reacted. Come on folks, the Chief has indicated he isn't crazy about the idea, but if it was tastefully done, and the money went directly to the FD he could see it. More specifically to add a 4th FF to the Engines.

    We're not talking about huge billboards. We're not talking about signs all over the pretty new paint job, we're talking about various logos, etc. on the trucks. They've been doing it for years around here with Cell companies, etc. It's not an endorsement any more than it is an endorsement when a company advertises on the radio or TV.

    How is this so different than renaming the Hoosier Dome the RCA Dome, or for the new Basketball Arena being called Conseco Fieldhouse, or renaming the local concert site Verizon Wireless??? We all talk about 4 pp being minimum staffing, but yet when it makes our red trucks not all red, or when we over react and make it seem like there will be advertising all over the truck, 4 pp isn't as important???

    Sure there is waste in Gov't, but we can't change that. Here is something we can control. My vote is to move slow, open the lines of communication between LAbor and MAnagement to address the Traditioanlists concerns, but it seems like a good concept to me.

    Once again... I seem to be in the minority...

  9. #9
    paets Guest

    Thumbs down

    As a member of the illustrious fire department contemplating using the fire apparatus for advertising, I'd like to add my two cents worth.

    The Houston FD has a long history of being neglected by the city administration. This idea is just another example of the lack of respect the administration has for the men and women of the Houston Fire Department.

    There are a lot more "blue and white" billboards patrolling the streets of the city than red and white ones, but I don't hear the administration proposing to plaster the police vehicles with advertising. Our mayor, being a former police chief would never show such a lack of respect for them.

    I'm aware that this method of fund raising has been used in smaller towns and volunteer fire departments, and that's great for them if it's what works in that locale, but Houston taxpayers pay good money and should have adequate protection without fund raising gimmicks.

    The city administration owes it to the citizens and the firefighters to provide adequate manpower on all apparatus and should do it with the tax money it collects.

  10. #10
    mfgentili Guest


    Yes ffguy083 I did read the whole article and in my original post I used the words "rolling billboards", "advertising space", and "ads", because that's what the article said. Nowhere did it mention putting "various logos, etc. on the trucks" as you say here:

    We're not talking about huge billboards. We're not talking about signs all over the pretty new paint job, we're talking about various logos, etc. on the trucks. They've been doing it for years around here with Cell companies, etc. It's not an endorsement any more than it is an endorsement when a company advertises on the radio or TV.

    I really don't know what the size of these proposed signs are by the article because no dimensions are given. I am only going by the use of the words billboard, signs, and advertising space. If the chief could have the final say, and he only allows a small plaque or logo, then I have no problem with that. My concern is that the city council and mayor will end up deciding what will be allowed and we all know how easily swayed politicians can be. "Buy two $100.00 tickets to my next fund raising cocktail reception and I'll see to it you get a nice ad on compartment #3." Does that sound too far fetched?

    Finally, yes I am a traditionalist. Sorry, I can't help it but I feel the fire service was built on tradition. I also feel we are much different than the RCA Dome, Canseco Fieldhouse, or Verizon Wireless. They are private entities trying to make money, we are public servants trying to save lives.

    Mike Gentili, Capt.
    New Bedford Fire Dept.

  11. #11
    ffguy083 Guest


    Not to argue... but the RCA Dome and Conseco are Public Buildings.... built with public money.

    Besides... seems like from our Houston FF perspective, in this case it is probably not a good idea... I just think we should look at some of these ideas....

  12. #12
    Firelover Guest


    My thoughts are that it's a accident waiting to happen. People rubberneck and stare at fire trucks as is, and if you give them something to read, then your just fuelling the fire.


    If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!

    **And of course these are only my opinion and only mine. Don't take it out on anyone else but me.**

  13. #13
    mfgentili Guest


    Originally posted by ffguy083:
    Not to argue... but the RCA Dome and Conseco are Public Buildings.... built with public money.
    That's not arguing, it's discussing and that's what these forums are all about. We don't always have to agree as long as we are all allowed to say what we feel.

    Mike Gentili, Capt.
    New Bedford Fire Dept.

    [This message has been edited by mfgentili (edited 06-09-2001).]

  14. #14
    fpayne Guest


    I've got a great idea - why don't we take the fire truck billboard a few steps further? We could sell each piece of apparatus to different corporations, and during the time that they are not responding to calls, they could be really nice delivery trucks. This would be an even better way for the corporations to make money. Oh, and we could actually put the firefighters on the corporation's payroll so they could clean some offices while they're just sitting around. We could also put together a questionnaire for fire victims to fill out before firefighters proceed with their duties at a fire scene. This would enable corporations to profile potential customers before the corporate paid firefighters interrupt and actually do their job. We could even bring our kids into the fun. They could dress up in the corporation's logo wear, and dance around the fire scene cheering the corporationís cute jingles. I can see it now - multiple MVC with fatalities on I95; Oh, but everythingís OK, here comes the big red Ronald McDonald wagon with the happy meal kids who dance around. Isnít life great? Let's all hand it to the brilliant ones down in Houston for allowing us to realize what we really are. No, not exceptional Human Beings devoted to only helping one another, but faceless goons (with some really nice Budweiser firefighter Tshirts on).

  15. #15
    hfdfao Guest


    Hey fpayne,

    You better hope no one reads your post, or that will be the next great money making idea.

    What I don't understand is why we constantly have to justify our existance. We provide a valuable, and necessary service, and the tax rate is supposed to provide for us. In my town we also run the ambulance. We bill for this service cause they say, "we have to to keep the private ambulances from taking over." or some bs like that. I would have less of a problem with the billing, if we saw some of the money.......we don't. Yup thats right, we take in over 600K per year and it goes right into the Town's general fund. And when we ask for more OT money to maintain two, yup 2 men on a piece while the ambulance(key word)is transporting to the hospital, they act like we are asking for a raise.

    Unfortunately I see that this is a continuing trend...Houston, Detroit, DC, Boston......and I am sure hundreds of others.

    Remember one thing though, an informed public is the best ally you can have. We took our Board of Selectment to Town meeting floor over the hiring of 4 new personnel, we kicked their butt. How do you ask? Because we spent the time preparing our case, put letters in the newspaper, and convinced the people that we were right.........

    So brothers, I apologize for my ramblings.
    Keep the faith.


    May your vents be leeward, your searches be negative, and your overhaul complete......

  16. #16
    sloepoke1 Guest

    Thumbs down

    I am a volly and always looking for new fund raisers, but this BAD BAD BAD.

    ffguy I read the whole article and although I agree that a fourth person is very much needed I must disagree with you on this matter of how to fund it. If you ever noticed all the confusion that occurs when the big trucks comes barreling down the road with all those bright lights and that loud siren upsetting everyone. Now you want t put an advertisement on said truck and add to the confusion? This will only add to the engineers stress level of getting you and your crew to the scene safely.

    Another point of why this should not happen. While riding with others has anyone noticed what some people are doing while driving? As a trucker I can tell you a lot are doing more than just driving. Everyone has heard the big debate about cell phones and driving but what no one is talking about is that while that business man or woman is on the phone while driving he or she is also reading some report or even writing one . Yes folks I see it every day. And now the Houston Fire Chief wants to add another distraction out on the roads that all ready has to many. BAD IDEA !!!

  17. #17
    medtranz Guest


    This idea sux.We have donor names on them already.Now Bud Lite can put their name on a fire apparatus.That's gonna look ****ty and uncaring when we go to a school for PR work with a truck sporting a damn bud lite sign.What will kids think of it.They will think that the department is saying it is ok to drink beer.Who ever came up with this lame *** Idea is not a smart man.I would venture to say the other side of the truck should have an ad for thorazine.

    When the goin gets hot I go to work !!

  18. #18
    ALSfirefighter Guest

    Thumbs up

    Hey if it brings in money and increases the level of service to the community, more manning, more medics, so be it. To me there would have to be some limits on what would be allowed, like insurance companies, that could end up be taken as favortism. I could see more of a opportunity for not-for-profit agencies (ASPCA, Suicide prevention, etc.) type stuff very beneficial to us and them, maybe it would be a little more affordable and help programs stretched w/ funding already. And in my opinion, those not-for-profit guys are hand in hand w/ things we respond to also, the animals, suicide/crisis intervention, infectous disease, chile abuse, adult welfare stuff.

    As far as the it will cause accidents and rubbernecking from people trying to read them. I just find it funny, because some apparatus I see today already look like billboards with cartoon characters, and dept/company names, numbers, logos, mottos, sayings, dial 911 etc. And lights/sirens are lights/sirens, having a small sign on your rig shouldn't affect right of way privilidges. If I could get an extra ff/medic for each shift doing this, I'd drive around for 2 hours to get it.

    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

  19. #19
    firecat1524 Guest

    Thumbs down

    I can see the news reports now " Today the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Fire Department battled a 3 alarm blaze in an apartment complex at 123 Main St. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese FD public information officer Joe Blowhard released the following statement: " Kraft Macaroni & Cheese FD firefighters did a great job today on a stubborn apartment fire. The Fire Investigation Team..sponsored by Dr Pepper..determined the fire was started by faulty wiring. Units responding included Engine 1...sponsored by Gerber Baby food...Engine 3..sponsored by Kodak Film...Engine 4...sponsored by Quaker State Motor Oil...Truck 1..sponsored by Friskies Cat Food...Truck 8..sponsored by Matchlight Charcoal...Rescue 1..sponsored by Johnson & Johnson...Battalion Chief 1..sponsored by Viagra.....Battalion Chief 4...sponsored by Kotex...Chief 1..sponsored by Depends. No firefighters or sponsor ads were injured during the fighting of this blaze. We would also like to mention at this time that everyone needs to go check out the new billboards at our Campbells Soup Headquarters Station. Thanks..and remember...Kraft Macaroni & Cheese is the cheesiest."

    Yup..before long we are all gonna have to sound like NASCAR drivers....being sure to plug the sponsor anytime you are in public.

  20. #20
    Icerader Guest


    LOL....I can see it now....a beautiful new 100' LTI ladder with an ad for Trojan Magnum Condoms on its marquee!!!!!!!!

    Stay Low!
    Captain B

    [This message has been edited by Icerader (edited 06-09-2001).]

  21. #21
    Billy Mott Guest


    I remember that there was a Dept. out in the Midwest that had an engine donated to them by a Large well known Brewery. The truck was painted from front to back in Company colors and logo's. The stipulation was that the truck would be made available to particapate in local Parades and such when not involved in emergancy situations for 2 years, after which it could be repainted if the Dept. wanted to. Does anyone else remember this? I think I saw the photo of the truck in a copy of Firehouse Magazine in the New Apparatus deliveries. Is there anyone out there that may have knowledge of this and can maybe add their personnel thoughts on this? I GUESS THIS MAKES THE IDEA OF THE LOCAL STRIP CLUB COLLECTING DONATIONS LOOK PRETTY GOOD?

  22. #22
    Billy Mott Guest


    Just another thought. If we get ridiculus enough with the advertisers names,as firecat1594 suggest's, maybe just maybe our citizens might finally wake up to our funding shortages and ask WHY?

  23. #23
    NozzleHog Guest


    Originally posted by paets:
    ...The Houston FD has a long history of being neglected by the city administration. This idea is just another example of the lack of respect the administration has for the men and women of the Houston Fire Department...
    The city administration owes it to the citizens and the firefighters to provide adequate manpower on all apparatus and should do it with the tax money it collects.
    This is the crux of the issue and very well stated.

    What a stupid idea, for all the practical reasons that have been stated, and how insulting to the firefighters in Houston. Whoever came up with this brainstorm should be told in no uncertain terms to "Shove it, some things are not for sale."

    When are these so-called administrators going to realize that providing adequate fire protection is a responsibility of government, not some charity that they grudgingly dole out.

    That was hilarious, LMAO!

    [This message has been edited by NozzleHog (edited 06-09-2001).]

  24. #24
    firecat1524 Guest


    Ya'll thing ya know we'll have sponsor patches all over our turnouts. "Yeah...I'm the Church's Fried Chicken hydrant man"

    [This message has been edited by firecat1524 (edited 06-09-2001).]

  25. #25
    D Kelly Guest


    If chief Connealy doesn't want to "violate the dignity of the fire truck" as he states, then I suggest he become "...closed to the idea" pretty damn quick. Where does it stop? Do we cover our bunker gear and helmets with patches and stickers, ala nascar,(as our July special-of-the-month) for only a few dollars more? (Make sure you get that logo turned to the camera during that post-fire interview,Bill, or we'll lose revenue!) And what about all the folks out there who don't like the product you're advertizing, for whatever reason, and demand it be removed? Happens every day. What a nightmare this is going to turn into. I understand the desire for additional funding, and support it, but this seems like a very deep pit. And as for the idea of the ASPCA or some type of charitable organization...a very good idea, if I was forced to accept something like this, but I believe those groups are looking for donated or cut-rate space every chance they get in order to help their own budgets, so you probably won't make much there. Corporate America makes enough profit as it is, let's not degrade the dignity of our profession so they can make even more... much of that dignity was earned by many of our fellow firefighters who aren't comming home, and in my mind, that makes it a commodity that NO corporation can afford.

    [This message has been edited by D Kelly (edited 06-09-2001).]

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