Good evening all. I am the President of my local Fire Dept's Ladies Auxiliary and perhaps you could answer a question for me and for many other auxiliary members across the nation.
If your department has a Ladies Auxiliary why is it that most of them are not thought of as an essential part of your department? Why is that while there are thousands of Fire Department Links/Web sites and pages that only a handful even give fair mention to the fact that there is a Ladies Auxiliary within their department?
Why is it that some Ladies Auxiliary organizations are only thought as party planners and hostesses rather than a key asset to one's department?
If you have a Ladies Auxiliary and you treat them like the hard volunteers that they try to be than BRAVO!!! If you have included them in publicizing your web site or department advertisement than AWESOME! If you haven't...than I'd love to hear why. Perhaps we, as in we, Ladies Auxiliaries are doing something wrong. Not providing enough?
Let me know so I can share it with my group and community.
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11-14-1999, 10:22 PM #1TrapperBossFirehouse.com Guest
The Diss'ing of Ladies Auxiliaries..
11-24-1999, 02:39 AM #2dc45bFirehouse.com Guest
Hi Trapperboss, The department back in the beginning of the spring were forced to deal with our ladies. The problem was that some of the current of the ladies couldn't get alone with the dept. leadership. I started about this time with the ladies election of officer's. My wife was elected president of the group. Within a couple of weeks the out going president called my wife and asked for her to resign her office without evening being president for one day. The past president thought that her being a firefighter and being president was conflict of interest. There is alot of women that are members on both sides, even in our own area.
She got the membership to back her with a letter to the ladies organization. They even had another election that voted her out. These women were calling the house with awful comments. This was very hard on my wife. From both stations many men and women tried joining the ladies but would not accept our application. With sides meeting to solved the problem, all we heard was we were the problem. I will admit that we had problems and that we even gave in to some to correct the problem. This group is only 10 women in it. The past president was the president of the county. We were hoping with her high position that she would have outside group come in and help. But she never did. After the second election the department decide that the current officer's were bocus and against robert rules of order. We even met with the officer's but all it did was stirred it up so more.
We gave them a cooling off peroid to try work it upon themselves including my wife. The very next meeting they were blaming my wife for all their problems. As a husband this was enought, I talked to some of the ladies members who didn't like want was going on. They and I met with the department board members and get was voted to end the problem. The department voted to remove the ladies from the organzation and off the property. Now we have over a dozen women in the department working with us. We have more events and are having family get togethers once a month. The ladies have been with the department for over 50 years. It was a hard decision but it is alot quieter now. The only thing I can say from this is to have good communication from both president's to work out any problems. I hope this will help you. Mike
11-24-1999, 08:24 AM #3TrapperBossFirehouse.com Guest
I can both sympathize and understand what your wife and you went through within the department as my auxiliary went through a rather turbulent time themselves many years ago. Before I was an active member I did sit in on one or two of the meetings and immediately left thinking it was a 'clickish' organization that looked harshly at outsiders. However, through my husbands persistance that I give it another shot, I rejoined years later and this time the I didn't give in to the looks and snares. This time, I was there to make a statement and later on eventually did as now I am president. It was not an easy job as I said this organization was looked badly upon because of an issue over a large 'bell' that the ladies wanted to donate to the department. All this crap started over a damn bell that now sits collecting dust in the corner of the department somewhere. People were condemed, feelings were hurt, friendships were broken and the auxiliary was near disbanding. Very sad and so stupid in my opinion although I was not involved back then and only hear the stories now. The officers were different then also and they had a lot of 'family' power in the department which isn't to say is bad, but it's just harder I think. In either case, when I took the helm I realized that there was not a lot of communication between the president/chief and the auxiliary side and I thought that was strange and thus tried to promote a better form of communication. In our department it was typical to send memo's and letters back and forth between the two organizations, which some of the members thought was odd but since they were read on the floor to all the members, seems logical to me. To this date, I try and be as open and communicative as I can with both the President and the Chief so that they are aware of our willingness to help and volunteer our time. So far it has worked and I am proud to be a part of the department as are all the other auxiliary members. And, as far as female firefighters, we had one once, however is no longer on the department for whatever reason, I don't know. Thanks for your reply.
12-10-1999, 11:14 AM #4Chief2Firehouse.com Guest
Wow, I guess I didn't realize that this was such a "negative" thing.
We don't have an "organized" ladies aux. as such. First of all, it's an "AUXILARY" period. We have many ladies who are fire fighters (and darn good ones!), and their husbands are on the auxilary!!
We have one lady in charge. This is not decided by vote, but rather is the wife of the highest ranking officer who's wife is not on the department. IE: My chief's wife is an EMT on our department, I am the asst. chief, therefore my wife is "in charge".
It's automatic and saves arguments!
Secondly, our auxilary is involved in every function we have, they HELP plan and see that everything comes to fruition. They also run food and beverages to scenes, and care for our fire fighters in rehab.
We COULD NOT SURVIVE WITHOUT THEM!!!!!
BUT, be careful. The county next to ours (in one township) has an auxilary, on a recent (large) fire that we aided them at, members of their auxilary were seen manning hose lines (outside the structure). We had a warehouse for a hardware store on fire, and the front showroom was clear of smoke and not involved in the fire. The auxilary set up camp in the building, without IC's approval, and watched as we attacked the fire through the firewall door no 40 feet from them!!!
If the auxilary is careful not to overstep their bounds (as above) and understands the chain of command, it's a great thing, but if this doesn't happen, they'll be disolved!!
YES the auxilary is important, no it's not just for ladies, and YES we do appreciate them and publicly support and praise them.
12-29-1999, 06:37 PM #5Captain88Firehouse.com Guest
Our department has a ladies auxilary, and at this time I bet you could walk up to any of our firefighters(men and women both) and any of them would be willing to tell you that our department couldn't survive without our ladies auxilary. I can't count the number of times they have came through for us. Our Asst.Chief's wife is the ladies auxilary president, so she knows everything that's going on in the department all the time. I don't hear of many departments having a ladies auxilary that much anymore, but if they had the chance to have one even close to the one we have they would change their minds in a second. I hope you get your problems worked out in a friendly manner, and don't run into problems with the members.
12-29-1999, 07:12 PM #6TrapperBossFirehouse.com Guest
Thank you for that great post! I am so glad to hear that you appreciate your auxiliary so much. I hope the 'whole' department shows their appreciation as we all know how nice it is to get that "pat on the back" occasionally. It helps set the mood for even more of a helpful demeanor.
Our fire department is indeed turning with the tide towards respecting us Ladies Auxiliary members more. I think like everything else it depends on the the group of people you have on your staff and a general respect for one another.
At the moment I have no complaints other than having the department know and realize that we are truly there for the them at any time with any function that needs to be accomplished and not just the party planning end of it. Certainly women can understand more instructions that on a recipe!
Thanks for your message!
01-07-2000, 11:46 AM #7BChewFirehouse.com Guest
I think that my department's Ladies Auxillary is an essential part of our organization. Today, there primary focus is fundraising for the department, all the department's members assist by the fundrasining is organized by the Ladies Auxillary.
But to answer your question about Ladies Auxlliaries not be widely recognized by departments, I would have to say it is mainly because woman of intergrated into firefighting positions. When my departments Ladies Auxillary was founded, it was unheard of to have a female firefighter.
I truley believe that when the current members of the Ladies Auxillary die off (I mean that nicely) the organization will be disbanded, young ladies are joining as regular members.
In closing, I would also like to say that department's that do have Ladies Auxillaries need to promote them more, if your department has a web site, fight to get put on it if your not already. If people don't know your there, they will not look for you.
For many years our department's Ladies Auxillary went unnoticed simply because no one remmembered them and they did not try to be remmbered.
Bruce Chew, FF/EMT-P
01-23-2000, 11:38 PM #8ScooterFirehouse.com Guest
As a Chief officer of a small volunteer company I'm proud to say, that I have the BEST AUXILIARY IN MY STATE! Wouldn't trade a one of them. They are all considered members, although they can not respond on apparatus. They are allowed to drive non-emergency vehicles for food, fuel, etc. They provide support for ALL our activities, fire prevention, fund raising and a multitude of others. In the 6 years they have been re-organized they have provided the company with over $150,000.00. This has been used for new apparatus, station improvements, maintenance and basically any need we have. Sure, there are occasional personality clashes, where aren't there? With good management and a little understanding it works out. Occasionally, you have to make decisions that require people to go their seperate ways. The good of the company must be paramount! We all need to remember that we are there for the community, not for our own purposes. Good Luck with overcoming the trials and tribulations of working with the wild world of the fire service.
02-03-2000, 07:20 PM #9NFPD206Firehouse.com Guest
I know that in our department it is hard to keep the women involved as much as we would like. The reason is because we are volunteer/full time. And as such those of us with kids need someone to watch those kids. There fore it is hard to keep them active members and help us on scenes. I will say that we provide appreciation dinners for our women and we are having a firefighters ball for Valentines day. This is a formal ball in which we have rented tuxes and the women have gotten formal dresses. You are appreciated and we look forward to getting the women more involved in the fire service.
Captain Jeremy Whitehill
Nixa Fire Protection District
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