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  1. #1
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    Default East Coast Vs West Coast

    I was reading the article about the new SFFD chief. He made an interesting comment.

    Quote from article:
    Trevino characterized the throwback culture he encountered as "the only east coast fire department that happens to be on the west coast."

    Anyone have any comments regarding what exactly the differences are between east coast and west coast fire departments?

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    I've heard the same statement made about the SFFD before. I was only there once (make the trip if you can, a great town to visit)but in conversations there and with folks at FDIC over the years, here is what I think that statement means.

    Like many Northeastern U.S. towns, San Francisco is small in size, and very heavily congested. A fire in a single dwelling can easily become a fire in 2 or 3 buildings.

    The SFFD places greater emphasis on truck work and has a higher ratio of engine companies to truck companies than many towns and also staffed there ladder companies better than many departments. This is far more common in the Northeast and Midwest.

    I once had a conversation (late 80's) with a guy from the Los Angeles area. He said that SFFD ran rescue companies, which he believed weren't necessary. He felt that any heavy rescue work could be handled by the truck.

    Rescue companies were not popular on the west coast at that time, but on the Eastern Seaboard they were plentiful.

    These are just a couple of examples that come to mind. Maybe one of the SFFD firefighters can shed some more light, and maybe even let me know if I made any sense!

    Take care.

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    Why?
    1) Leather Helmets - not usually found on the west coast

    2) Tactics - other than LA and Oakland, California FD's are not known for being very agressive

    3) Tradition - We are VERY into the whole years of tradition/no progress thing ;-)

    4) Good Truck Work - Again, other than Oakland and LA, California FD's do not place very much emphasis on truck work.

    5) Our building construction is much older than most of California and is much closer to many of the rust belt cities than any where in California.

    We just have much more in common with FDNY etc than LA county or other such FD.

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    Interesting stuff. Good topic. I've heard similar references too over the years. Visually the SFFD reminds me alot of NE and midwest city FDs.

    Straight bore nozzles too, Tillerman?

    PRAY FOR OUR FALLEN.
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    I agree. It is very much like a east coast department. The construction is very similar to what we have here in the north east. Also like what you said with the leather helmets, rescue co's, and ladder work. I have always been a fan of SFFD.
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    Only Oakland and San Francisco are agreessive interior fire departmetns and do heavy truck work???

    [ 11-29-2001: Message edited by: the7tower ]


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    wait a sec. maybe I didnt make myself clear.
    I am not dogging LA City. I put up there that LAFD has more of a "east Coast way of doing things". They are well known for their truck tactics. However, they wear that damn wildland gear and phoenix helmets, not a real east coast thing to be doing. LA County only has 18 (or 20) trucks for their 200+ engines, not a very good ratio.

    As far as San Jose (Im not very familiar with San Diego)I know how bad their staffing is, which really limits your ability to be Aggressive. With 3 man companies, very few places can be a GOOD interior attack fire department. Now OF COURSE there are exceptions, so please don't take offense to what I am saying, I'm just a Fireman in "The City" with a few years under his belt.

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    I went to a class that was of firefighters LODD, there were people from the east coast and west coast. The way firefighters on the east coast dose bussiness is diffrent. I would like to try doing bussiness like that but being on the west coast I don't think it would be recieved that well. Oh well. Which brings me to my next point. the firefighter. I feel there are 2 types of firefighter in the world. One: that loves there job, and dose it well. Two: the one that loves the badge. You know the one !! They were a loser all there life, now they have a badge so they are someone now. I guess thats why we have a diffrents of opoinions here. We have the pride, to stand up for our job and the way we do it is the best. So east coast or west coast and all point in between. BE THE BEST FIREFIGHTER YOU CAN BE.

    thanks for letting me share my opionion.
    TAKE CARE AND BE SAFE.

    dz.

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    The rate of LODDs, tragically enough, can also be directly correllated to interior aggressiveness.

    You don't get many LODDs when you stand around outside.
    "Let's roll." - Todd Beamer, one of a group of American soldiers who handed the terrorists their first defeat.

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    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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    I was not knocking LA or LA county. I was born and raised there. Both are GREAT departments and I have the utmost respect for the both of them. That was out of line to bring up LODDs. That was a dumb comment. If you are going to bring up something like that why don't you look at statistics then. LA and the county are very large departments. Combined they STILL several thousands short of FDNY. 3rd largest in the US, yes, but it is a long jump from 1 to 2. You want the best truck co. opreation in the country, go visit Boston. Stone age? right sure what ever you say. The only thing old is the departments and the citys out here. Old with long histories.
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    the7tower -

    Nice commentary. I hope for your sake that you're a 15 year old fire explorer, because if you're an adult and made those comments about LODDs...wow, bro.

    That old adage about 'if people think you're a fool, don't open your mouth and remove all doubt' comes to mind.

    Also, why does your location say "Southeast", yet you talk about being "out here", i.e. the West Coast?

    Hmmm...troll alert...troll alert!



    [ 11-25-2001: Message edited by: BucksEng91 ]
    "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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    The LODD comment was way out of line, a truly ignorant comment.

    One man's "stone age" department is another man's "old school" department complete with centuries of proud tradition, a history of heavy fire duty, a high value placed on aggressive interior firefighting and balls to the wall attitude.

    Then there is the fire problem in east coast cities which has to do with generally older construction, declining economies, higher population density, and decaying downtown areas.

    On a lighter note, I wouldn't want to knock the left coast brothers but let's consider the cultural differences:

    We on the east coast don't get too many of those spectacular "urban/wildland interface" something or other fires. On the other hand, we don't burn down entire neighboorhoods without ever making an interior attack. Oh, and we don't consider flying over in an airplane and dumping that red stuff on the fire an aggressive tactic.

    We don't wear that bright yellow lightweight gear, or those funny looking plastic helmets. We would like to know your secret for keeping then so clean though.

    We tend to think of ourselves as firemen and resist having everyone be a paramedic but then again we never had Johnny and Roy.

    We probably have fewer Berkeley educated commie pinko liberal vegetarians.

    We know the west coast "invented" ICS but guess what? Some east coast cities depts had been doing that for decades before you gave it a name.

    Hollywood, wow! Do you think us east coast dinosaurs will ever be back in style?

    [ 11-25-2001: Message edited by: NozzleHog ]

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    They don;t wear wildland gear for structure firefighting unless it is during a wildland fire.

    [ 11-29-2001: Message edited by: the7tower ]


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    I agree on the differences of East coast vs West coast but I put LA City and County and the smaller Departments in the surrounding areas in that mind set. We in San Diego City still wear traditional helmets (after a short mistake about 15 years ago)Most of our city is urban with out-laying areas being rural. The medic thing we have no choice on and we run 4 man crews, pump and truck. About 50% of our guys have an East cost mentality on firefighting. I'm orig from Boston. Most of us would rather go back to "the stone age" than be like LA. We have about 1200 uniformed members. A note to my west coast brothers...don't throw out tradition because it's old school, maybe it's been around for so long because it works the best. Leather Forever on the West Coast and don't forget about the 2 1/2!

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    And Bucks, concerning your comment on "standing around outside". You are misinformed. Under that pretext I would deduce that all you guys go on would be barn fires and vehicle vs cow calls. And then I would jump to the conclusion of vollies being non-professional beer swilling wanna-bes. However those are not my opinions of your town, because I have never been there or see you work. So please, before you interject your opinion on a subject do a little research. And if you're ever out by San Diego I'd be happy to arange a ride-along so you could be better informed.

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    Just a minute guys.... since we are on this topic... when did FDNY EVER HELP SFFD during our largest quakes...... when did FDNY ever fight fires with the ground rapidly shaking beneath them..... WELL i dont KNOW 100% if they have our not but i do know SFFD has...where iin the world do your find 2 fire Training centers in one city I'll tell you San Francisco...granted we all depts have problems....but ill tell you SFFD LODD is low compared to so of the more major sized cities......hhhhhhmmmmmm guess it is all that trianing......did you alot of SFFD spends time training an nothing else.. i know station 48 close to where i live holds atleast 5 or 6 drills a week.... thats almost 1 a day......... this is training for the best FF you can get.... they dont mind.....some times the drills are two-dayers.....but no WE OUT HERE ARE STONE AGED.......

    JUST MY 2 cents............oh i am not a FF just a soon to be FF RESERVE.......

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    7Tower please do not mention San Diego City in any more of your posts, we would prefer not be assosciated with your rantings and ravings about stuff you have no clue about. If you feel so strongly about LA City/County move there or fix your profile if you are there allready. And if you are there, please stay, we don't want you down here. To my FDNY/East coast brothers, 7Tower is a lost bitter soul who is confused about where he lives, do any of you guys know where he lives? And 7Tower a little math lesson, 4 is more than 3, safer than 3, quicker than 3, therefore better than 3. So sayeth the NFPA and common sense.

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    All this chest-puffing and name calling reminds me of a retired Chicago Fire Dept. Lieut.(who worked in the days when they were REALLY hoppin). When a young firefighter from the suburbs told the Lt. "We only get a few fires" the good Lt. instead of giving a "yeah you guys dont know anything".."we are so great in the big city" etc. He said so purely and simply "smoke is smoke, it dosent care what neighborhood its in" If this experienced ghetto firefighter could see this, I do not understand why all you so-called "experts" cant figure it out. IT ONLY TAKES ONCE TO GET KILLED. I believe you are dishonoring our fallen brothers and sisters by playing armchair quarterbacks. As far as I can tell no one goes to work expecting or wanting to get killed. In our part of the world we are gearing up for that dreaded time of year,winter. The brothers in California have their own problems with brush fires etc. This East coast vs. West coast is starting to look the the infamous Rapper/Gang wars of the 90's...Lets remember folks..WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME TEAM.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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    [ 11-25-2001: Message edited by: Lionpride17 ]

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    Mike, well said.

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    Well said LocalPrezMike....I agree this thread has (and will continue to) displayed some unwanted statements and emotions and you people should be advised that you most certainly are dishonoring the fallen of every city or dept that has suffered LODDs.

    I had the opportunity to spend a three month detachment from the UK visiting and working alongside 11 of the USAs finest departments (and I KNOW there are more than 11 of the finest!). Here are my views - as an outsider who has fought fires alongside these people.........

    FDNY - Boston - Chicago - Los Angeles City - Las Vegas - San Francisco - Seattle - Phoenix - Dallas - Metro Dade (Fla) and Miami......

    East coast .v. West? Well firefighters all over the world are faced with their own set of problems in their own style of structures and each and every one of them adapt to suit their locality. It doesn't matter at the end of the day - Brick or timber; concrete or whatever....You guys are ALL fantastic! Take an FDNY firefighter and put him in the heart of Los Angeles and he has to start learning all over again - and vice versa! Of course there are major differences in organisation, IC, tactics, structural design, construction and fire protection arrangements etc etc but NOBODY is better than the next! Each has evolved to deal with their own set of problems. I can tell you EVERY department I worked with were highly professional.....they were the elite.......and I know there are more out there I have yet to work with.

    Stay safe brothers (n sisters)......be proud.......be professional.....but above all - respect that to be different makes us all so interesting to each other.

    [ 11-25-2001: Message edited by: Paul Grimwood ]

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    Amen Mike from a fellow midwester.I have been to the Windy and trained with some of their guys.There are non better than some of CFD's guys.I can relate that a member of CFD once stated the same thing in a little more Ghetto tone.
    Lets do a little check here.Washington D.C. Engine company 10 6,656 for last year.followed by LA City with 5,611 that was Engine 9.Now what is your point? LA is a big damn area!DC has its share of crime and fire.Boston does some of the best truck work PERIOD!If you want to debate this go ahead.Everyone does it different but the goal is the same.And 7 I think you are a 15 yo snot.Bring up the LODD go ahead if it makes you feel good I for one will just ignore your ramblings and rantings.How about St Louis using only Quints?Why didnt that get a response?Or the fact that Bruno is the best damn chief in the world!!(for those wondering I am talking about Alan Brunacini Phoenix Fire Dept.)Now that last one is an opinion of mine.But I am confused why the bickering?Cause everyone knows my dept is the best dept in the world.This is what every firefighter thinks.And that guys attitude makes his department the best in the world.Get over it guys and look at the real reasons why it was stated,as posted in the second and third posts.Plus how about those hand made wooden ladders and the red and white helmets truckies wear.Stay safe and Happy Hollidays

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    SDF -

    I hadn't directed my comments at you and your department...I made a general statement about the correlation between LODDs and aggressive interior firefighting. If you somehow feel guilty or ashamed enough to personalize and internalize what I said, and apply it to your department, then so be it. Not my problem, brother.

    But you are right about one thing you said - you don't know me, not at all. So why you feel this burning need to engage in personal attacks is a bit confusing. But hey, like I said, if you feel like making this personal, sounds like your problem, bud.

    All I said was that you don't get many LODDs when you're standing around outside.


    [ 11-25-2001: Message edited by: BucksEng91 ]
    "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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    I'd love to see the entire article that FP&LS quoted from in the orignal post. I just love that reference to "throwback culture".

    Oh, and SDF - I'd love to take you up on the ride-along. I'll show you how a stone age fireman does it. Then I'll buy you a beer.

    "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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    For a second I started to think 7Tower was 1000 alarm Larry.

    ...and another thing, where are you guys getting those graemlins from? Those are pretty funny.

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