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  1. #1
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    Question Tx Firefighters Reprimanded

    I just read that five Texas firefighters were reprimanded for helping a fellow off-duty firefighter propose to his girlfriend. Seems the firefighters positioned an ladder truck so that the future fiance could climb to his girlfriend's balconey.

    Apparently the on-duty crew did not ask permission first and some citizens complained, resulting in the disciplinary action. I just wanted to get some feed-back on this. I think that while the crew should have asked first, the chief is over-reacting.

    Have a Happy and Safe New Year, may we all come home after the call.
    Bless all of our Fallen Brothers and Sisters. You will not be forgotten

  2. #2
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    I do not think the Chief is over reacting at all.

    Consider the possible scenario ( with apologies to the Bard of Avon, William Shakespeare)...

    Ladder Company 1 in the community of Stratford on Avon is helping a fellow firefighter play "Romeo" and propose to his "Juliet". They pull up to her home on Montague Street, position the aerial, raise the stick, and "Romeo" goes to yonder window to propose to his betrothed. Just as he asks the question and produces the ring, Fire Alarm tones out a 1st alarm response for a working fire on Capulet Street...clear across the district! Now there is a delayed response by the truck. The OIC reports people trapped on the upper floors of an occupied multiple dwelling.

    "Oh Ladder 1, Ladder 1, where for art thou Ladder 1? I haveth multiple occupants hanging off the balcony!!!"

    Sorry...this was an unauthorized and inappropriate use of a piece of fire apparatus that put the citizens of Longview in jeopardy. I feel that the reprimands given were justified.

    [ 12-31-2001: Message edited by: Captain Gonzo ]

    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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  3. #3
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    Angry

    It depends on the current mood of the local citizenry. The Chief may have said "don't ask don't tell and if anyone has a complaint I'll have to take action." Not all taxpayers, when they see a ladder truck extended to a second floor window, with a guy holding flowers on the end of the stick, think " huh, must be training." The bottom line is, what if someone had been injured while doing this? The paper work and behind rash not to mention law suits, could have been enough to end up on Dateline. It sounds like a neat thing to do and I hate it they were spotted by the local, self appointed watch-dog, but thats the risk. What was the punishment? Sorry if I overlooked it.
    Excellent post Gonzo!


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    [ 12-31-2001: Message edited by: JOEL KIMBALL ]


  4. #4
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    This Post is not going to be taken to kindly.
    Ok! Let not play the what if game. If we have a fire we go! and fight it! with or with out a truck. If someone is afraid of getting hurt stay in bed. What happened was a great idea. And someone in the public didn't like it. Oh well we can't please everyone all the time. But what we can do is live life, as it is meant to live. Weather your at work or not. How many time are we out of district for training. Or to run to the office for something. We are all accountable for our actions, so the choise I may make is not the same as yours. But thats what make this life soooooo much fun. For the one reprimanded so sorry. But tell me I bet if they had a chance they would do it again in a heart beat.
    All take care and be safe life is short Just look at 9-11

    dennis

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    Wow, I'm impressed with your post, Cap't. Have you considered a second career in the arts?

    Seriously, I can see your point about the liability (gasp) involved. Guess I got swept up by the romance of it all. Upon further consideration, the firefighter in question probably should have just hired a skywriter if he wanted to make an impression.

    Stay safe all..
    Bless all of our Fallen Brothers and Sisters. You will not be forgotten

  6. #6
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    Hi guys:


    The department in question is about 25 miles north of my town. The Chief reprimanded the firefighters but nothing is going in their personnel files.

    It wasn't just the ladder truck, there were 2 engines in the apartment complex as well looking on at the proposal. The now engaged firefighter did not receive any discipline at all since he was off duty. The main concerns of the chief according to news reports was the use of city equipment without permission, and the fact that a laddder and 2 engines at an apartment complex would hamper response time if something real had occurred.

    When the chief was asked if he would of allowed the use of the truck if the crew asked permission, he stated "probably not".

    Seeeeeeezure later, and A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!

    Ed Brando



    [ 12-31-2001: Message edited by: emsbrando ]


  7. #7
    OLE
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    Gee, let me think........Uh.....Yep...need to be punished......Lets take a $300,000 to $500,000 tool and use it with out telling the top ranked official on unofficial business.....not good at all!

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    Oh come on guys, lighten up! That was a fantastic idea. A friend of mine did the same thing in Seattle.
    What's the big deal? Youre right, a 3rd alarm blaze could errupt any minute but come on- how do you guys train, with spare trucks and hose? No, sometimes you just gotta roll up as fast as you can and go on the call. I dont think putting a stick up for 5 minutes really put the city of Longview in serious peril ... some people need to loosen their suspenders. This job is supposed to be fun, isn't it?

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    Thumbs up

    ....sounds like a training exercise to me. Any opportunity we have to work on apparatus placement and ladder tip placement I think we should take advantage of. I think the right chief could have spun that one to sound worthwhile instead of hanging his troops (and his department) out to dry.

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    Thumbs up

    You hit it right on the head. What a great way to train put the ladder up as fast as you can, and take it down as fast as you can. It will happen one day. Maybe protecting the guys below you would have been in the chief's best interest, so where is the brotherhood. Just a thought.
    Stay Safe/Stay Low Go 8 Car Go

  11. #11
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    Yes don't you guys train?Don't you go to the far end of your district and put up the ladderpipe?or repel off a bridge or into a gorge?Go cut roofs on a vacant?

    What if you catch a hit then??

    If your out in your district you can't put up the stick??

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    All right, let's play "what if" and turn the tables....

    WHAT IF the CHIEF and his buddies took the ladder and 2 engines out on personnal business? A large fire erupts and firefighters are hampered and in danger because their equipment is missing? WHO would be hung out to dry then? The union would have the chiefs head on a platter. I back the chiefs decision.

    Isn't the fire service considered "para military"? We need the discipline to function efficiently and safely.

    The chief didn't have a choice.

  13. #13
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    nonsense...the chief had a choice and he made one I didn't agree with. That's okay though. He's the chief not me. He may be the best thing since Brunacini.

    I don't know the details, but I don't think these pieces of apparatus were out-of-service like your scenario suggests. They were available and no more delayed than had they been doing the exact same thing as a "training exercise." And you have the right to disagree, but in reality it probably was a good exercise. I get a lot of opportunities to drive a quint at the station I work at and we ladder every vacant grocery store and strip center in our district...I would jump at the chance to go in one of our apartment complexes w/ virtually no room to manuver and put the stick up to a window. I don't think any of us can be overpracticed at that skill.

    Perhaps a response like the following would be more appropriate and not compromise the publics trust in his own FD...(I'm doing this on the fly so pardon the rough edges)

    "While I understand the publics concern. I would like to say that we have one of the best fire departments around....and I can assure you that at no time was the public left vulnerable to decreased fire protection. The officers on duty took advantage of this opportunity to train on aerial ladder placement, which is an essential skill in our mission of protecting lives and property...at the same time we rewarded one of our own, by allowing him to ascend the ladder and propose. As some of you may have noticed following the events of September 11th, the fire service is a close knit and innovative group of individuals who are always ready to respond to emergencies effecting their community. These officers, whom I trust completely with day-to-day operations, found a great way to train and improve morale and fellowship and I support them 100%. Our department response structure is designed to allow for pieces of equipment to be out of service for varies reasons throughout the day - be it for training, repair, other emergency calls, etc...and these units were in fact available to make runs, so while I understand the public's concern about less fire protection, I can assure you that this is not the case...blah, blah, blah..."

    Kinda cheesy being right off the top of my head, but you get the picture.

    [ 01-02-2002: Message edited by: gah74 ]


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    OK, gah74, I'll agree to the extent that the chief could have rallied around the firefighters, turned a negative into a positive, and regained or reassured public trust.

    I'll also agree that this incident was probably excellent training experience.

    But what about the next freelancer? What about the next guy who wants to demo the engine at his kid's birthday party? Insert whatever scenerio you want that MAY be good training, MAY be good public relations, and MAY be all that other good stuff, but in the long run jeapordizes the functions of the FD.

    Sorry to relate it to my kids' discipline, but if I give an inch, they take a mile. I reaffirm the chief did the right thing and nipped it at the bud.

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    Well, if we have time between our adopt-a-school program, pre-fire planning, business inspections, fire prevention speeches, parade and block party appearances, HAZMAT, trench, building collapse, high-angle, paramedic, fire, extrication training, and there is something else.....oh yeah, making emergency runs...I'll see if we can squeeze your kids birthday party in....

    ...yeah, it can go too far....and I'm not necessarily saying that we should allow this to happen (because where do we draw the line), but in this specific case, the deed was done. I think the chief should have put a positive spin on it publicly and made any internal decisions private. Still not sure it's worth a written reprimand, but I understand your point.

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    Tow words... Lighten Up. True a fire could have started somewhere, but then again it could anytime we are training or inspecting or doing whatever. Are we to stop everything until we check to see if a citizen thinks it is inappropriate? If a fire would have erupted at that apartment complex while they were there, they would be applauded for helping out a brother and being in the right place at the right time, saying that them letting their brother propose that way is what saved any additional damage. Go ahead say that it is unlikely. It is... just as unlikely as a fire on the other side of their district.

  17. #17
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    gah74
    "I think the chief should have put a positive spin on it publicly and made any internal decisions private"

    You know what, I'll agree with you here. By handling it internally (quietly), the FD would have known not to try similiar stunts (without the chief's consent, of course). Also, any public "watch-dog" would have found out it the firefighters were reprimanded.

    I'm sure glad we can tackle the world's problems here and find solutions!! It's too bad people don't come to us FIRST before making these decisions.

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    gah74 - As a chief I find it hard to understand your double standard concerning your opinion that the chief was leaving his personnel and department hung out to dry because he disciplined the personnel involved but you do not feel the chief was left hung out to dry because he was not involved in the decision to allow this to happen in advance. I don't mean to be argumentative, just really curious as to why the chief is the bad guy in this? I liked the story you made up, sounded real good. The chief may have used a similar story had he been given the opportunity in advance and not caught off guard as to what was going on with department personnel and equipment.

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    double post...sorry...

    [ 01-02-2002: Message edited by: gah74 ]


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    Chief79...I don't agree that it is a double standard. I'll borrow a line from my little story...

    "These officers, whom I trust completely with day-to-day operations, found a great way to train and improve morale and fellowship and I support them 100%."

    Why pay for BC's, Capt's, or Lt's if they can not make a decision without the Fire Chief's permission? All we would need then is private's, driver's, and the Fire Chief. The Chief promoted these firefighter's to officer positions. Does he really need to have everything run by him?

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    gah - Can't totally disagree with that. However, this particular event would not fall into what I would consider "normal" day to day operations therefore I feel the chief should have been informed in advance. I am not saying allowing the event to happen was a bad decision, leaving the chief out of the loop was the mistake. It is much easier to defend the actions of the department personnel when you know what is happening ahead of time. Being caught off guard to explain the actions of others is very difficult. Maybe both parties could have handled this better.

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    It definitely couldn't have hurt to have the chief's permission....of course, he might have said no...I guess it's the old "easier to ask for forgiveness" cliche at work.

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    Wink

    . . . gah74, you ever thought of a carerre as a P.I.O.??? Dude, you could sell ice to Escamo's! Only you didn't play up the proposong f.f enough,. . . "this fine young man who risks his life daily in protecting the citizines of this fine community from the perrils of loss of life and property. . . " blablabla...

    Wish more guys like YOU wore white helmets!

  24. #24
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    Blame the officer in charge he gets the big moeny for some of the lame decesion
    IACOJ Membership 2002
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    The beatings will continue until the morale improves

  25. #25
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    I have to agree with Chief79. Someday maybe we'll have T-79 to ladder builings with in the city.

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