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  1. #1
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    Default We fight 'em, they watch

    Ok, this might make the forum interesting for a couple of days...

    Anyone else tired of Chief Officers who have lost sight of what the Fire Service is all about. I have seen many of them around on this forum, and they seem to be a breed who are multiplying. They have become so engrossed in their 9-5 office job, that they no longer realize what it is like to come to work for 24 hrs straight.

    This is the Chiefs with rules about TV during the day, standardizing uniforms, and really care if you don't get dressed by shift change, those that watch their watch when you get a run, and berate the crew for not meeting their determined respond by time.

    Seems to me they have lost sight of where they came from.

    Let's hear some stories on this one, might be fun. We have one who used to come to work in the morning, go to bed, and get up at shift change the next day, taking runs in between. Now as a Chief Officer he has the nerve to point fingers at the current Officers trying to tell them how to do their job.

    Amazing also how true my subject has become. We get a simple residence (ok nothing is simple, but I think many understand the terminology), and 5 Chiefs respond as support cars. Authorized Gawkers is a term we like to use.

    The public are simply Gawkers, but those on the scene not working become authorized Gawkers.

    And then they go on the news trying to tell the public what it was like inside...

    Oh well... done ranting for now...

    For the record, I have spent time in the Office as a Chief, and have been told since coming back to the Co's I was not like I describe.

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    But you seem to forget, THEY go to all the conventions(beer parties) THEY have their own magazine (Fire Chief) THEY don't even have to wash their own vehicle. THEY came out of the Stations back when it wasn't unusual to have a 6 man engine company compared to today's 3 or 4 if your real lucky. THEY didn't go out on Rescue calls like WE do today, THEY never installed a Car Safety Seat. THEY never heard of a Smoke Alarm, much less installed one. THEY never went to a Haz Mat class, let alone a Weapons of Mass Destruction class. THEY never held regular CPR training. THEY think cause WE just replaced your 26 year old truck with a new AirConditioned one, WE just gave you T shirts to wear, WE let you go to the store in the apparatus, We buy you your own Magazine (firehouse), WE only make you go out on 40x the call volume that WE ever went on, and oh yeah did WE mention that WE just replaced your 26 year old truck? I know where your coming from man.

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    Counterpoint:

    The chief in charge at a recent fire pulled an entire engine company and truck company back because he didn't like the fact the entry door wasn't opened wide enough.
    Moments later, the explosion, the two teams of men he pulled back were spared. Nobody was happy with his initial orders.

    Was he being over bearing? A lawn jockey? Or did he do his job?

    It's a lot easier to keep us out of trouble than to get us out of trouble.

    [ 07-08-2001: Message edited by: E229lt ]

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    E229Lt, at least your chiefs have seen something they call a "FIRE."

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    Forget it .......

    [ 07-07-2001: Message edited by: eCappy ]

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    Everybodys got a job to do, and somebodys got to be in charge, you cant run a large fireground command from inside. Keep in mind these guys have had their turn first through the door. I like to know the guy out there on the street has 25-30 years in, hes seen it all before

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    I'm not putting all Chiefs together, I'm just pointing out the many that have no idea what fire is anymore. There are some really good ones for sure. Just seems the bad are out numbering the good these days. The statement... "those are the ones who can't make it out on the street", sometimes rings true, sometimes not.....

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    OK, ffguy, first off let me tell you that I've never been a chief, nor do I have a desire to be a chief. So there's no axe to grind here with non-chiefs when I comment.

    Your generalization, "...many...have no idea what fire is anymore" is childish and simplistic. If you have a particular chief in your department, or even one of the chiefs that post here, that you have a problem with, then handle it. Throwing around generalizations about guys who for the most part have seen more fire than you've seen in your career is unbecoming. There will always be a good-natured tension between the leaders and those led, but in the end the chiefs are there mainly because they are knowledgable, trusted, and have demonstrated that they can lead. I don't see where you're in a position to lump "most" (your words, not mine) chiefs into some negative characterization based on your own personal perceptions, or lack thereof.

    I doubt that you could even name "most" chiefs, either on this forum or nationwide. So why the rush to judgement? Why the obvious need to make hasty and not very well thought out generalizations?

    This whole thread is simply another example of sh*t-stirring. Pick a convenient target group, say a few disparaging words, and then sit back and watch the sparks fly. Personally, I'm a bit sick and tired of seeing this kind of waste of time and energy. You're absolutely entitled to your opinion, ff, but I'm just as entitled to give you my opinion of your opinion. And I think it sucks.
    "Let's roll." - Todd Beamer, one of a group of American soldiers who handed the terrorists their first defeat.

    Joe Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone (but you can borrow them )and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated (but then again, they just may not be thinking clearly).

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    hey we are a vol. dept. so we the members choose our cheif, and i trust him completely.
    i don't have any real experience with a 9-5 cheif but im sure not all are bad.
    ...fire fetish???......
    ...damn right!!!!

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    Ok heres one, how about a career chief that has certifications coming from his ears, with 20 yrs in the fire service, but has never REALLY seen fire, let alone been in more than a training burn. I just left a combination department (because of that chief) whereas he thinks that his years of service and all the paper hanging on his walls gives him the street sense! When he responds to fires, he won't let others help him out with anything, cause he's been around forever. I watched him try to catch a draft for 20 min while a barn burned. He claims the primer was broken, but wht about not using a primer to draft, it can be done, or better yet, the primer didn't work, so he insisted wasting time trying to fix it while there was another engine parked 10 ft away not in use!! But no, we can't help, we don't know nothing cause we haven't been around for ever. Then in the office, he procrastinates, and talks down the the paid staff and the volunteers like his kids. I know the feelings of frustration well, that's why I decided to go elsewhere for a career. My question is if you give me a certificate that says I'm a welder, can I actually do the job?? A classic case of certs vs. experience.............. I'll take experience anyday! I have known many chiefs, both volunteer and career that will always have my respect, young and old. Although times have changed since many started doesn't mean they're ignorant. My suggestion would be to sit down with them and see if there's something you're not aware of causing this behavior. In my case the cause of the behavior was POWER TRIP!!!
    THIS TOPIC CAN GO BOTH WAYS, IT CAN BE A LEARNING EXPERIENCE FOR US ALL, LETS NOT START FIGHTING AND GET THE THREAD CLOSED!
    COFire
    PROTECTING THOSE WHO DEFEND AMERICA ============================== =====

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    Nothing changes a firefighter faster than the color of his helmet.

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    Mr. Black,

    I do appreciate your opinion actually, and my post was not just to stir stuff up. Although certainly that wasn't out of my mind when I asked the question, I think that is obvious from my tone of voice.

    Obviously in your neck of the woods this isn't a problem. In my area it is, and I can name most of the Chiefs around here, know many personally. They haven't seen much fire, and get all their experience from paper on the walls (which isn't al bad if you take the right course).

    Unfortunately I have received email from Chiefs on this forum, and felt it appropriate to lump them in the generalities I made. I have also clarified I didn't mean all, I mean some/many....

    If you were so tired of expelling the energy, then why did you bother to post your remarks. If what you said was true... (me sitting back to watch the sparks fly, and my post as stirring stuff), then why did you do more than read the topic and move on. Also, if I was trying to just stir stuff up I wouldn't take the time to try to clarify my original comments.

    So, thanks for your input, and it is nice there are still some Chiefs around deserving of the rank.

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    What a surprise!

    When I first saw this topic I thought it was going to be about firefighters doing the watching while Chiefs and officers did the fighting.

    Geez! What could ever make me think that?

    Well, maybe it's all the bitching Chiefs and officers hear all day and night about the personal disputes and other nonsense problems that firefighters can't seem to straighten out themselves.

    Maybe it's all the 'send this out' or 'you gotta order' or 'I'm tired of using' complaints that Chiefs and officers field all day and night.

    Maybe it's all the Monday morning quarterbacking that the Chiefs and officers hear after each and every run.

    Maybe it's all those screw-ups at scenes, or all that diarrhea of the mouth firefighters get whenever they get a radio - or have a tv news crew nearby.

    Maybe it's all the 'behind the back' crap we DO hear being said.

    Maybe it's the lack of understanding and appreciation that firefighters show to Chiefs and officers that are constantly fighting mayors, commissioners, councils, or fire marshalls for better conditions, newer equipment, better staffing, etc etc etc.

    Maybe it's the lack of understanding that firefighters have about all the higher-ups that Chiefs and officers have to answer to. (If you are a former Chief you must know that a whole lot of the crap you are compelled to implement comes from someone more powerful than you).

    Maybe it's all the crap Chiefs and officers have to do to try to save your *** after you screwed up (again!).

    Look: I know that there are some bad, BAD, B-A-D fire chiefs out there (I've known a few - and I've spent beaucoup time in my Chiefs' doghouses) and I understand that the original message in this thread did not mean ALL chiefs - but it's much too easy to point (usually when the guy's back is turned) at the top and criticize .... that's the easy way.

    Why not forget the easy way for once, and try the RIGHT way for a change by looking at yourself and getting all YOUR ducks in a row and etc, etc.

    I doubt that you, ME, or any other firefighter is the 'total package' and that there's plenty of room for improvement in all of us.

    THAT'S what you should be concerned about - being the best YOU can be, not how many chiefs show up. Who cares how many anyway?

    Do YOUR job - screw counting and watching them.

    I don't like getting advice - so I'm reluctant to give it - but you had best make sure you're doing your job right before you start pointing fingers.

    Just keep this in mind: I'm not, NOT, N-O-T saying that ALL firefighters are like those that I've described above. Very, very few are. Thank God most firefighters know their job and do it well, but it just takes a few knuckleheads, sometimes just one knucklehead, to make it bad for everybody.

    You have an obligation to leave the fire service better than you found it. Think about it - how will things get better counting chiefs and complaining?

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    My 2 cents:

    For someone that has "spent time in the Office as a Chief" you should know that firefighter safety is job #1 and that your "authorized Gawkers" are actually the firefighters' safety net and life line when things (God forbid) go bad.

    What happens when your "routine job" or what you call a simple residence suffers a catastrophic event like a collapse or gas explosion?

    Aren't your "authorized Gawkers" immediatley available to you or the IC to perform duties (RIT, rehab, stagging, ALS, calling for resources like mutual aid, etc, etc) that are critical to you and your firefighters' safety?

    I've stepped up to "acting Chief" many times because of illness, injury, attrition, retirement, resignation, and suspension and have been IC at "routine jobs" that went bad fast - and I'd trade anything to have had some "authorized Gawkers" immediatley available to me for the safety of my firefighters.

    I think that ONLY a passive, untrained, unskilled, chronic complaining anti-authority individual would moan about "being watched" and not realize that those "authorized Gawkers" are there for his safety and the safety of all the firefighters working the job.

    Wise up.

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    ffguy -

    What do you mean when you say "most"? Are you talking about most chiefs in the fire service, or most chiefs in your general area? Big difference there, boss.

    How can you presume to know what every chief is like? Do you have some amazing, all-knowing ability to see and know all things at all times? Or do you rely, like most generalizers, on hearsay and presumption?

    Also, in your original post, I noticed that you felt a need to mention that you had been a chief before, and that you've "...been told since coming back to the Co's I was not like I describe." Well, how convenient.

    The reason that I think you're just sh*t stirring was your first sentence - "Ok, this might make the forum interesting for a couple of days..." What did you *think* was going to happen? Did you really believe that the ignorant crap you posted was going to incite meaningful dialogue? That you calling chiefs as a group "authorized gawkers" was some kind of incisive insight, some stroke of revelation that you really felt a need to share with your fellow firefighters? Tell me you're not that naive.

    Tell us, ffguy, if "most" of the chiefs in your area learned from "paper on the walls", then how did you become such an enlightened fire god?
    "Let's roll." - Todd Beamer, one of a group of American soldiers who handed the terrorists their first defeat.

    Joe Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone (but you can borrow them )and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated (but then again, they just may not be thinking clearly).

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    My opinion is nobody likes the person who is in charge. And of course, the most common fire service mentality is my way is better. While I have sympathy for some of the types of situations you describe, there are some that I have to say I think your nick picking at. Like the uniform thing, should we all run around looking like a bunch of vagrants. Look professional, act professional. Or how would you like it if you walked into a fire station as a taxpayer, with your kids, with 6 guys sprawled out sleeping on couches, or with potato chips stuck to their shirts, scratching themselves. And its not just the chief that should be up on these things, but the lieut.'s also. All I ask for is that my crew be ready for work when the shift starts, and do what they are supposed to do. The TV, I have no problem until it takes 3 times to ask for everyone to get going for training/inspections etc. I'm sure they remember what working a 24 was like. They served their time. Just as I'm sure "some," "most," "many," just to cover myself that have some similiar opinions, stress how their seniority carries certain weights over junior personnel.

    Also finally, for my last opinion, as someone who was once a chief, I just can't understand where you came up with the "we fight em, they watch," Your suppose to be a supervisor as a chief. In fact I'd be a little more aggravated at a chief that won't get out of the way. The fact is their are more to just fighting fires today. Budgets, politics etc., we all know it.

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    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.

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    I don't think the lumping of all chiefs and officers in one group is valid. I have been on both sides of the fence. I have come from a dept where the chief and officer are very progressive and aggressive. Everything is out in the open and for the most part thing go well. Now there is the occasional BS that goes on but, everyplace has that.

    I also have seen/been a member/assisted departments where the chief has not been on the up and up. They sometimes do have the traits people have voiced their concerns about.

    All I can say is in a department you have to work together. Do it for the better of the company, for the better the people you are there for. Bring these concerns up to the people in question. You have a 50/50 chance of something good coming out of it. That is the risk you must take. If you keep you mouth shut and gripe behind the back then what good are you doing?
    Keep Safe!

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    Lucky me..I guess I am spoiled. My Chief is an excellent incident commander, gives 200% to the department, readies the incident command vehicle for parades, cleans it weekly, and never asks for help. He also donated a large tv and VCR to the firehouse, picks up supplies, is always there if we need to talk, etc. Our Asst. Chief is also awesome. Not only is he a great guy, but he is one hell of an fire ground commander....I remember one call at a structure fire where he had 100 ft. of hose pulled and laid into the house before any of us even got off the truck to go inside. He knows his stuff, and always always educates the rest of us. Our Captain and Safety Officer are very smart about fire, they both do alot around the firehouse, and they both make themselves available to everyone after calls if they need to talk about things. Our two LTs are a different story. But I guess overall our officers do a great job. I can only imagine how hard their jobs are, and I do what I can to help them out. I am not an officer, I have never been an officer, but in my 9-5 job I am a Manager so I know what it is like to be boss. Some days I am sure they wish they weren't officers but while they are in those positions they do their jobs. I appreciate all they do and always try to learn from them.
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

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    I think a lot of you guys are missing the point. I'll give you an example of the type of people I think ffguy is talking about.
    My dept (career) runs it's own dispatch. FFs are detailed for a swing (24 on/24 off, three working days) about once every 3 months. It's a one man dispatch handling approx. 7000 runs a year. A lot of the guys were complaining that they couldn't get enough sleep to be any use the 2nd and 3rd day (avg 6-10 runs dept. wide between midnite and 7 am.)Many were calling in sick at least one of their assigned three days.
    Due to the complaints the Chiefs asked for proposals from the FFs on how they would like it, since only FFs man it. They received five proposals, one of which was supported by a whole shift. They then discussed it with the BCs and Captains (none of whom have pulled a watch since we averaged 1500 runs a year.)
    The end result is that we have a new schedule that not a single FF agrees with, because none of ours were easy enough for the BCs who do the scheduling!
    Hint to Chiefs: don't ask your people for input if you're just going to whatever you want anyway.

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    My 2 cents is that no matter who does what there is always going to be one person that does'nt like what is being done!!

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    My 2 cents is that no matter who does what there is always going to be one person that does'nt like what is being done!! Break-n-entry has a point on the helmet color, I know a chief that was a good firefighter but after he made chief it went to his head and now no one can stand him

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    Wow... tough crowd. I guess I hit a nerve for some of you. As I look betond the mean spirited words, I do see some sense in what everyone is saying. I also see a few of you living with Rose colored glasses. 50/50 chance of a proposal making it? It's all dictated by Politics?

    I suppose Politics in the Fire Service could be whole discussion here. So I'll let that one go.

    It is certainly easy for me to see my point living in it every third day. I was trying to keep my remarks brief in some of my earlier posts, and have created more confusion. I apologize for firing some up uneeded....

    My uniform comment was directed to the Chief who wants to make a big deal about someone not being in uniform right @ shift change. Rather than run in and change, he has been conversing with the other shift to get info about yesterday/last night, so they can get out to whatever their days off entail. I was not saying sloppiness is ok all day, just about some being nit picky about our rules, while they ignore the ones pertaining to them. The same Chiefs never in uniform, creating incidents with the local police, etc.

    I am also talking about fires in which we end up with around 18 firefighters, and 9 staff officers.

    I am talking about Chief Officers who went from Private, 2yrs later Bat Chief, and another year to Ops Chief.

    I am talking about Chiefs who have never been Line Officers

    I am talking about Administrative Lieutenants being proposed to be given Fireground Authority over Merit Lieutenants.

    Sure, it's bitching and complaining. I was truly trying to get some direction/help/ advice, and after reading through the attacks most have made, I can see some. It kinda saddens me to see my "brothers" attacking rather than helping. Maybe I came too soon after HMS, or whatever his name was.

    oh well....

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    ffguy, I could always see your point throughout your posts. I was just more or less playing devils advocate. I also understand what you mean by nickpicking the uniform thing, but if it was something major, or something had to be done for him, it wouldn't be such a big deal. I've been there brother, big time. In fact one of my old chiefs actually would try to deny training at the academy because it wasn't "job related." Go figure a tech rescue class at a fire academy wasn't job related. As far as my uniform statement and the scratching themselves, I know you see that every night when the yankees are playing. lol. But my tax dollars don't pay for that. Unless they get the new stadium they've talked about for 4 years now.

    GunnyV, easy you could give ammo to us newer generations of FF's and officers who have to have college credit or military service.

    Management is management, and with the fire service today its well beyond just the put the wet stuff on the red stuff we all know that, I'm sure. But no one is perfect, except for the individual firefighter himself. Even me. lol.

    ---------------------------------------------
    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.

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    ffguy -

    Look, not to pick on you, but you really need to be more precise with your wording. And you need to be a little less sensitive. Just because you're a brother firefighter doesn't mean that I'll automatically take your side in any debate. It's just opinion, ffguy. Lighten up, it's not a personal attack.

    When someone starts throwing around words like "most", it makes much of what they say immediately suspect, unless it can be backed up with some facts or statistics. When you follow up the generalization with a purposefully inflammatory statement like "authorized gawkers", red flags immediately go up. You've backpedaled nicely here, but the original intent of your posting comes through - you have an axe to grind with a few of your chiefs (and apparently many people in any authority - you're going down to lieutenant level now). Does that make it appropriate or correct to extend your negative opinion to "most" chiefs or officers? Of course not.

    Again, just my opinion, but I think you need to look more at yourself. Worry about you and your immediate crew. Don't generalize and stereotype because someone has authority. Like I said before, there will always be a tension between leaders and those led. Be a good follower and a good firefighter. Leave the politicking and political maneuvering for people who have the stomach for it. Personally, I don't engage in any of that crap if I can possibly avoid it.
    "Let's roll." - Todd Beamer, one of a group of American soldiers who handed the terrorists their first defeat.

    Joe Black

    The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone (but you can borrow them )and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated (but then again, they just may not be thinking clearly).

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    Originally posted by ffguy083:
    Ok, this might make the forum interesting for a couple of days...

    Oh well... done ranting for now...

    For the record, I have spent time in the Office as a Chief, and have been told since coming back to the Co's I was not like I describe.
    I notice from your profile that you're a "Lieutenant." I'm curious how you could have spent time in the office as a Chief...????

    I share your opinion of those individuals that weren't worth a darn as firefighters, suddenly expecting top notch performance from others when they're promoted to officer. I've had a few run-ins with that type throughout the years.

    I'm not a Chief, just a lowly Captain currently assigned as a staff officer (Safety Officer). I've tried very hard not to lose sight of what its like "on the streets." And, I'm probably one of those "official gawkers" that show up, but only at second alarm or greater fires, hazmat incidents that require an entry, or heavy/tactical rescue situations. I do so, though, as the incident safety officer...not as a gawker. Authorized gawkers without a specific assigned job (assigned by the incident commander) need to stay out of the operation completely....this can really wreak havoc at a fire scene.

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