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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb to respond or not to respond: that is the question!

    to respond or not to respond: that is the question!

    So, we the volunteers run about with our Minitor IIs, but when it makes us fall of our chair with its piercing alert do we rush out the door? How far away is too far? 2 miles? 5? 10? To get to the station after the rigs have left! Oh what a pity! But what if its "the one"? Then they'll need you! Certainly a dilemma.


  2. #2
    Senior Member BFD196's Avatar
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    This isn`t that big a deal, if the dispatcher reports a structure fire, with multiple calls, start hauling to the firehouse. If it`s a fire alarm or something small like wires down, might as well go back to what you were doing, or just take a slow ride down to the firehouse in case something else comes in.

    [ 01-02-2002: Message edited by: BFD45 ]


  3. #3
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    well i actually live in Lakeview Fire District(the south end)(but Maplewood fire district picks up about 2 roads down) so i live about 10 miles from station(it's actually 9 point something). so usually i'm last to station unless it's a day weekday fire(almost all the guys work days) so then i'm 1st or 2nd to the station. but if i get to the station and the rig(s) have you 2 choices #1 grab another rig(if it's okay with your chief) to take it to the scene(we've had a couple times i've went to house fires in the grass truck)(matter of fact with us getting a new pumper/tanker we'll be down to 3 trucks (1 pump,1 pumper/tanker,and the grass truck)(so on a house fire they'll probably take the 2 pumps) so i'll be stuck with grass truck.
    #2 option is follow in personal car/truck. (i do this a lot) only thing is watch out at intercetions. make sure people don't think just cause your not a fire truck they don't go ahead and go. almost all fire calls we have 1 firefighter in his car/truck following the fire trucks.
    The only time i didn't respond on purpose was cause i was about a hour to a hour and 15 mins from station. and they had 2 depts already there with mutal aid. Russ(which is on our dept) had made a run about 2 hours away(which is kinda of stupid if you ask me)

  4. #4
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    It's a no-brainer for me. I live one mile from the station and have NEVER made a first truck because too many other members either live closer or drive faster than I care to. So, if it is a car fire, trash fire or some other one engine call, I seldom run "hot" to the station (it is amusing to watch everyone else running hot just to sit in the meeting room). If it is something more than that, I will respond "hot" from within my response district.

    I do have some concern for those who respond to calls from outside of their own response area. If the call is so serious that you would need to respond from that far away, mutual aid should be responding. If you were to create an accident while outside of the area you "work" for, I would be concerned with how I would defend my actions in civil court.

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

    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

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    [quote]If you were to create an accident while outside of the area you "work" for, I would be concerned with how I would defend my actions in civil court.



    I would be concerned if I was coming from two blocks away.
    _________DILLIGAF

  6. #6
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    if the tones go out and i hear them and can go. I head that way no matter what it is. I may not kill myself to get there but i still go

  7. #7
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    We have a dept SOP , if you are available for any call then show up, unless there is a good reason you cant get away. we expect to see everyone at all calls, if its a structure fire in town, we roll all three pumpers , the service truck/tanker and our rescue unit. if it is a structure out of town, we roll our first out pumper , the service truck/tanker and our rescue unit, leaving the other two pumpers to cover town. if someone arrives on scene and sees that it isnt neccesary for all rigs to respond, they get on the radio or cell phone and let whoever is at the station know so it can be broadcast to everyone, if its something that will need more work, we go to standby, which means, still respond but at a normal speed(yeah right) or 10-22, which means cancel the call, everyone is still expected to go to the station , if possible,if any rigs have rolled to make sure they all get back into service.
    we have 16 all volunteer members and have an average of 13 at all calls.
    we would rather have too many people show up as not enough, and if it is seen that we have more than enough, the surplus is sent back to the station to standby until the rigs make it back.
    We had a problem a few years back of a small handfull not going to the station after we left a scene . even when it meant reloading hose on the truck, washing dirty hose, whatever, so now it is mandatory to go back to the station unless dismissed at the scene by the officer in charge.
    we shoot for a 70 percent attendance average for the whole dept and have always been higher than that.
    Tyler

  8. #8
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    [quote]Originally posted by Ten8_Ten19:


    I would be concerned if I was coming from two blocks away.



    And rightfully so. But in Ohio at least, if you are placed in "on-duty" status by a governmental agency (as in my fire department), you are acting as an agent of that agency and therefore you have additional legal angles to cover you for any potential civil actions that may be taken against you. But if you are outside of that "jurisdiction", I doubt these would apply.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  9. #9
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    Honestly, I will say nothing past this, all I am going to say on this topic, and you can quote me on it is:

    This is one scary topic.
    Doc DC3<br />ex FDNY (E74)

  10. #10
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    I respond on everything, for two good reasons:

    1) I don't know who else is available and responding, so while I might be sitting at the station because all the trucks are gone, I may also catch the first truck out.

    2) I get credit for responding to the station whether or not I make a truck. Plus, as mentioned above, I like help getting the trucks back in order after a run when I've been out, so the least I can do is stick around and help out.

  11. #11
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    To go or not to go....how is this a dillema??? If the tones go off, answer the call! A fire department can not pick and choose the calls it wants to take. I'd hate to be living in an area where fire fighters only respond to the "good" calls. And you wonder why some people don't take volunteer fire departments seriously, this topic should not even exist. I am a volunteer firefighter. Sure I hate getting up at 3:00am for an alarm that has 99.9% chance of being false. But I'll respond because I was called. That's what being a fire fighter is all about.

  12. #12
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    Exclamation

    This isn't a "dilemma". I respond to all calls dispatched when I am available to respond and close enough to do some good, regardless of what they are, whether they are probably false, etc. Period. Each and every time I respond, I head to the station as long as there is apparatus due that hasn't gone responding, and I divert to the scene if all apparatus that are due are out before I get there.

    The way in which I respond may differ, depending on type of call, where I am at the time, etc. We treat things like trees down and washdowns from non-entrapment, non-injury MVCs as "normal flow" calls for the apparatus, so they're "normal flow" calls in POVs. Since blue lights in PA give the responder no additional rights whatsoever, I only use them in areas where drivers who choose to yield are actually helping to get me there faster(not in extremely congested areas or on limited access highways, where blue lights cause more confusion than anything else, for example), no matter what the call is.

    I really don't understand why anyone in a similar situation to me (on-call volunteer with moderate call volume) would do things any other way. I do understand why it would be different in places where there are duty crews at stations and other such environments.

  13. #13
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    I'm not as active as I should be...here's why.

    1. -- I live 4 Miles from the Station and the drive can be frustrating depending on the time of day - Yes I do use a Light on my car but I don't turn it on until I'm about 2 1/2 miles out so for the first part of my run I don't go "Hot" on any call -- working fire or not.

    2. I'm home everyday but I have my Two Year Old to look after while my wife works. I go to work when she gets home at 330 so I re-set the pager on those except on Fridays --- the wife is off !

    3. When I'm working I don't go {Only 3 MIles from the Station} But work is work and I got to stay unless we're not real busy

    4. When I'm Off and have the pager on I limit my responses to comming from home or a distance of 5 miles {depending on the call}...Unless it's a working fire than I'll start back to town at a reduced speed and report to the station, get my gear, go to the scene, and report to the OIC {This rarley happens though}

    I have a tendancy to blow off calls even when I'm home because of where I live as opposed to the other guys that live 5 blocks, 2 miles and so forth...Sometimes I make a truck and Sometimes I don't and I blow off the ones where I know my chances of making it are slim because of the time of day/traffic{mainly dinner time to early evening}
    ***The Opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect those of the Department to which I am a Member ! ***

    Stratford Fire Co. # 1.."Any Job ~ Any Place ~ Any Time"

    Check us Out www.stratfordfire.com

  14. #14
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    Very well said retrotex!

    I agree with you 100%

    I can't believe what I am reading here concerning the "firefighters" that are picking and choosing runs...

    My opinion is if you don't want to be "bothered" with the simple stuff, then you should find something else to do with your "spare" time, and let someone who is a bit more dedicated have your spot.

    Retrotex is right on the money when he says this is why volunteers are not taken seriously.

    Actually only one of the reasons.

    I have noticed a change in volunteers around my community in the last 10 years or so... And I don't think its for the better, but I'll save that for another time.

    Now before all you vollies blast off on me, yes I am a "Union" guy, but I was a vollie for 5 years, and my home is protected by volunteers, so I feel I have a voice on this matter.

    If I was in the area, I responded to the firehouse.

    I lived 2.6 miles from the firehouse when I volunteered and alot of times we would only send one piece, or maybe nothing at all, depending on the location.

    Everyone didn't have radios to yak on, and staff cars to show off in. Everyone responded to their assigned firehouse, and if you made the rig great, if not well then next time.

    Point is I still responded because that is why I joined and that was what was expected of me.

    This is your "job" and your obligation to your department, and your community.

    I took alot of pride in being involved in the volunteer dept. as did most everyone.

    We did our job well and very professionaly.

    That dept. just celebrated its 40th anniversary. A number of the members have moved on to paid departments. But we all were invited to the celebration and most attended, and had alot of fun sharing and remembering.

    I know what would happen to me now if I said "sit down boys, we aren't going to make that, its just a dumpster..."

    A few weeks ago, one of our engine companies was "disturbed" in the middle of the night, and sent on a dumpster fire.

    That dumpster fire went to a second alarm, and called back 2 crews to man auxillary equipment, after the first engine arrived and noticed that this "no big deal" fire had communicated to a 3 story building full of carpeting material.

    If this would have been a volunteer run, and the guys that pick and choose runs didn't go on the initial alarm of a trash fire, I bet you guys would be "runnin hot" when the box was struck, huh?

    Just my 2 cents worth...

  15. #15
    Forum Member MetalMedic's Avatar
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    Define my "spare time?" My full time job is that of a police officer. That means that I am one of the few people in this nation who has the legal authority to take away constitutional rights (i.e. physically arresting someone) and I am also charged with the potential to be judge, jury and executioner (through the use of deadly force). If I am hearing some of you correctly here, I should not concern myself with being at my best when I am at my "job" because I was out at 4AM the night before on a false alarm or a trash dumpster fire. I have a "responsibility" to the volunteer department, and therefore I should go on EVERY single call they have while I am at home and available. I am afraid I cannot agree with that in my postion.

    Does it matter than being crossed trained can be a benefit to the volunteer fire department? One of the hidden strengths of a volunteer department is the diversity in skills all of its members have. Those who work as mechanics tend to be given apparatus repair duties, those who work in construction tend to work with heavy equipment and advise on fire building construction concerns. And around here, those who are in law enforcement tend to get involved in fire investigations and writing detailed reports.

    I wish I could make 100% of the calls like some do. It is a slap in my face when they set the standard and I am criticized for not being around. Would I be doing ANYONE a service by showing up at my regualar job physically exhausted and then have to make a split second decision that could take someone's life and potentially put me into legal question? Absolutely not! If a volunteer department could count on 100% response from its members, it would not need more than enough members to staff the apparatus it has. The reason you strive to have 2, 3 or 4 times that number is to allow for the flexibility of its members to live their lives and do their regular jobs.
    Richard Nester
    Orrville (OH) Fire Dept.

    "People don't care what you know... until they know that you care." - Scott Bolleter

  16. #16
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    Cool

    To go or not to go? turn in your pager now and save the rest of us volunteers the headache! I can understand... Childcare, Work, Illness Etc... but to willingly sit home and not answer a "dub call" is horrible. We have guys who love 1 or more miles from the station who never even stand a chance of making the second or third truck who come to every call they can becuse you know what? You just can't tell. I live 4/10 mile from the station and if I even blink I'll miss the truck because our out the door time is 2-3 minutes.


    -Nick

  17. #17
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    I'll pick and choose at times and feel no guilt whatsoever. Wires down, 2 quart fuel spill, traffic control...if a crew is enroute what's the point in responding if you've got other things to do? A little common sense goes a long way.
    _________DILLIGAF

  18. #18
    Senior Member huff317's Avatar
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    I didn't sign on for convenience. I didn't sign on for calls that suited my interests. I serve my community because if I don't, there isn't anyone else. I would expect the same out of anyone else that does this, volunteer or paid. The structure/accident/AFA/brush isn't given to being capricious, it just happens. So, go if you can, stay home if you can't. Duh.
    Oklahoma Bound!

  19. #19
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    While not actual firefighter, but a member of a Emergency Services Agency (We're the ones who show up in the big massive truck with all the expensive toys...), I can safely say for myself if the tones drop on the pager, then I'm going. Why wouldn't you go? Didn't you become a to answer calls? To put fires out? To save lives? To get cats out of trees?

    If the tones drop, I go flying out the door. I will admit to being one of the chair-flops-over-fly-out-the-door types. I live at the very edge of my response district, and only use my dashlight when crossing through intersections or passing vehicles. What's the point of having this bright revolving thing on my dash is no one is around to see it but me?

    Unless your working, taking care of a child, or otherwise tied up with signifigant problems (jail, sex, out of country, and other excuses given at meetings...), then you should respond. That's why you carry the pager in the first place anyways, right?

  20. #20
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    [quote]Originally posted by Ten8_Ten19:
    I'll pick and choose at times and feel no guilt whatsoever. Wires down, 2 quart fuel spill, traffic control...if a crew is enroute what's the point in responding if you've got other things to do? A little common sense goes a long way.


    Absolutely a classic. I love this post.

    Two questions:
    1. Do you pick and choose what jobs you do on a fireground too?
    2. Why don't you open your mouth alittle wider and insert your foot just alittle deeper.

    You just provided anyone here with enough ammo to ridicule your fellow Volunteers for the next year.
    Notice- I said Volunteer, not vollie

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