The Lexington County Fire Service has been fined $3,240 for violating state safety regulations after an investigation into last month's death of firefighter Jeff Chavis.
Am I not the only one that finds it appalling and a slap in the face to every brother and sister on the job, with the low SC OSHA fines?
Come on, seven serous violations here. Serious violation being described as violations that may lead to death. Why even fine them at all !
Until we start holding Fire Chiefs and their administration accountable for there actions or lack there of, things will never change.
Still wondering why NFPA 1710 and 1720 are needed?
God Bless you Jeff….
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08-12-2001, 08:16 AM #1
- Join Date
- Apr 2001
Fire Service Fined After Investigation of Fatal Blaze
08-12-2001, 01:29 PM #2
- Join Date
- Oct 1999
- Louisville, KY
Why Higher Fines? All Higher fines would do is take more money away from the fire service and give it to the politicians. The level of fines is designed to raise the issue, not punish those involved. If the fine had been $1,000,000 where do you think it would come from? We all know it would come from within the fire service, thus probably reducing manning levels or equyipment replacement thus putting FF's at a still greater risk!
Yes actions need to be taken but higher fines certainly are not the answer.
08-12-2001, 03:53 PM #3
- Join Date
- May 2001
- Franklinton, LA
If you think that $3240 is all that the department in question will have to pay, then you do not know the legal system very well. If this family does not collect a million plus in civil court than thier lawyer must be a high school drop-out. Not only will they pay finicially but in general morale and effectiveness.
Secondly I take offense at your statement about chiefs. Do you know what it is like to struggle year in and year out trying to provide the best and safest equipment for your firefighters just to have some pea head politician tell you that you don't need it. Or have you ever tried to have a tax iniative passed and had to endure the nightly phone calls and cursings because you are over taxing the public. I assure you life was a lot more fun when all I had to do was ride the truck. I've walked a lot more than a mile in your shoes, why don't you try mine for a while.
I know these were safety violations but I've been there too. My department has had a 2 in-2 out rule for 18 years. It's not new to us. I have had an incident command system with a 10 minute personnel accountability system in place for 7 years.(thinking of changing it to 5) You know where I catch the grief from on this one? You guessed it FIREFIGHTERS. They constantly complain that it is to restictive, they will not admit it is to protect them, they would rather have the I.C. pulling hoses (I swear). I can not convince them that their life is more important than the building.
Bet your asking where I am going well simply put As hard as some chiefs try if they have a LODD sombody will be there to say they were wrong. I cannot judge Lexington County, I don't know what happened there, but it is also unfair to attack all chiefs and say we don't care."Don't be afraid to ask stupid questions, they are a lot easier to handle than dumb mistakes"
08-12-2001, 06:43 PM #4
- Join Date
- Feb 2001
No doubt chief I tell ya somedays.The young man died now we must fix what was wrong.Have you thought that maybe this department is a "poor"dept?Buying hand me down gear and trucks.Some depts have money to spend on new equipment others dont sorry but a fact of life.You know how many depts. have bake sales and the like to help buy new gear?Ours is one.We do it to help out and get specialized stuff that is not in the budget.We are lucky to be able to buy new stuff and not have to worry about getting an old truck and old hand me down gear.
We sold our 65 International at auction to a fire dept so happy to get it they sent cards of thanks!One local dept wanted it but couldnt fit it in their station,they were devastated.This rig couldnt hold water,leaked like a sieve,had an old cranky 5 speed with a two man cab.But there are dept.'s that would run over thier mother to get it.
I love these guys that can critisize everything.Walk a mile in your boss'es shoes pal.If you want to lay blame lay it at the feet of those that complained about high taxes or politicans that could care less about us.Not the officers of this young man.
08-12-2001, 10:11 PM #5
- Join Date
- Apr 2001
Point well taken.
I do not like fines myself; I believe them to be counter productive.
But it seems that the only way to get the, politicians, City/County Managers, Mayors, and Yes some Fire Chiefs,attention is by Money.
If you look at other fines across the nation, in comparison to this fine. What does it tell you? If you were to look at this fine, not knowing anything else about the case, what would it tell you? Haz/Mat fines alone are in millions of dollars per violation. Remember, this was seven serious violations. If you were a civilian out side the Fire Service looking in, what would you think after reading the story?
Is this fine really going to provoke change? We hope and pray so. Is that all we can do? I cannot help but to think that there someone behind closed doors saying, “I am glad that we dodged that bullet” and its business as usual.
Take NFPA 1710 and 1720. The biggest opponents are the City/County administrators (government). The cities/counties are paying big time money (your tax dollars) to lobbyist. That takes their cries to the politicians. If the fines were big enough, I assure you that someone would be answering for this young man’s life and changes would take place.
The job has many unforeseen danger without having to second-guess decision makers. Not knowing the facts of this case I am not trying to throw blame. The intent of this thread is to get people involved with the decisions that affect their department.
The life you save may be your own!!
IAFF has been instrumental in moving forward NFPA 1710 and 1720. As a Union Firefighter I pay for IAFF lobbyist in Washington DC to fight the firefighters fight. Our IAFF Local lobbies at the State Capital and City hall, again to fight the firefighters fight. Get involved!
I hear ya Chief. There was no disrespect intended. In fact I should have stated that they’re many Chief that have to fight for every nickel and dime they get. Chiefs that care about their troop. Chiefs that come to scenes to get the perspective of what the troops are going through. Many Chiefs have started from the bottom of the food chain and proceeded to their present rank. Most remember what we faced, when the alarm sounded, but to play devils advocate; many have forgotten. They sit in there in ivory tower passing judgment on the rank and file, making them self’s look good at the expense of the citizens, firefighters, and our families. You are right many Chief’s are not a fault. There are many others that can share the blame. Firefighters included. No Chief, I doubt that I could walk a mile in your shoes.
When we took the oath as officers we in turn took on the responsibility of are personnel (like or not). It is my responsibility as captain of a ladder company to bring all home from the alarm. To make sure we are prepared/trained and have equipment ready when needed. At times, to lay my life down for my crew and alike. Like wise Fire Chiefs have their own responsibilities. LODD are a fact of the job. A lot of times we have no control in the fact, but damm it, I am tired/frustrated of hearing my fellow brother’s and sister’s LODD due to bad decisions, tactics/ strategies, poor equipment, equipment failed, lack of manpower, no RIT team, lack of training, and so on. When will the Fire Service regain its support and respect from the decision makers? Let you voice be heard.
08-13-2001, 06:11 PM #6
- Join Date
- Feb 2001
Too true Towner.1710 and 1720 will be great for us all.I have 3 full time depts. where it is 2 man companies a total of 5 to 8 units per town(except for one with only 4)When they get a structure everyone but one company goes(ambulances go but are used as manpower companies if no injuries)So now you have almost all of your guys out at a major fire.They get back and wind up running 2 or 3 more strenuous calls(work related lifting etc)One guy goes down.Sound familiar?How many LODD have you seen where the cause of death is heartattack?Quite a few! We need more manpower at every level but not all small volly companies can acchive this.
This is where a good mutual aid program is essential to the meeting of manpower.During days at our station we are automaticly called or call other companies at the drop of the tones for a structure fire.night time is another matter seeings more of our force is home from work.
It is hard to find good people to do this job or volunteer for it.We have had our share of "cool I have a blue light and can go fast!!"people but they are never voted on after we find that out.
So good luck to all and you are right we need to be heard.I mean look at the cops! They get tons of cash from the feds.Maybe we should recruit some of them over to us
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