06-01-1999, 05:32 PM #1D.ShermanFirehouse.com Guest
I've got a friend in Massachusetts who drinks a lot... if you know what I mean. This concerns me a lot. Anyone else worried about this happening so much?
06-01-1999, 09:17 PM #2nsfirechapFirehouse.com Guest
Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org - I've got First hand experience with this topic and would be willing to help.
06-02-1999, 10:30 AM #3ltvfdemtFirehouse.com Guest
I'll tell ya what bothers me. I visited a neighboring volunteer fire department a few month ago and we were getting confortable in their rec room. I went over to their pop machine and when I put my money in and pushed a button for a DP, a Bud Light came out. I asked what's up and they told me they stock their pop machine with beer. If I wanted a pop I had to get one out of the fridge. Now a fire station doesn't seem like a good place to drink to me. It scares me to think about calling them for a mutual aid response wondering how many of them will show up with a six pack in them and one in their cooler. Any thoughts?
06-02-1999, 01:24 PM #4BURNSEMSFirehouse.com Guest
Those folks need a serious Wakeup Call Historicly we as volunteers have always had to overcome a bad steriotype by our paid counterparts and that is one reason why, if we as NON PAID PROFFESSIONALS dont stop that kind of mentality we are only condeming our selves and Volunteers across this nation to being concidered Wantabe Fire Fighters and heaven forbid one of the F/F on that Dept become Injured or kill someone responding to a accident or fire while intoxicated we will all suffer from the Negative press.
06-02-1999, 07:00 PM #5HiTecVFDFirehouse.com Guest
Drinking should never be done at the fire station or at calls. I believe that members that are engaging in drinking need to consider themselves out of service until they sober up. It seems like these people would be convinced not to drink and drive, especially if they have ever responded to an MVA where drinking was a factor. It really does make us look bad, and all It takes is one person to ruin all that we have worked for..
06-02-1999, 07:45 PM #6Ed ShanksFirehouse.com Guest
You guys must all be pretty young - I can remember when beer at the volunteer fire station was the rule, and a good many career stations had some stashed away, too.
But I'm glad to read the comments I've read about responding to calls after having drank. Not that I'm a teetotaller or anything. But if I've had more than one beer I won't go. We call our off-duty career guys as well as our part-paid guys for big fires.
I agree that it makes us all look bad when one firefighter shows up slurring and stumbling around. With our society becoming ever-more-litiginous (I mean lawsuit-happy, in case my $10 word isn't spelled right!), no department in its right mind would tolerate having someone show up stewed. No firefighter who values his or her own hide would tolerate having a lush on the fireground.
If your department doesn't have a drug and alcohol abuse policy, consider implementing one, before you need it. Make it fair and impartial. And use it.
My $.00015 (two cents after taxes)
06-13-1999, 08:21 AM #7BobaffFirehouse.com Guest
I'm not sure how ya all's volunteer companies work but I came from a coal crackin' town in Pennsylvania. Just about every fire company that is volunteer in Pennsylvania (that I know of and have been to) has a bar. Now this bar is made to support the fire company mostly and basically it is a place for the brothers and friends to have a few beers. However it is an unspoken rule, that as soon as you drink your beer you are now not an asset for response. In other words you can't go on any calls at all, not even to ride along and watch. I have never in my 6 years of being a volunteer at 2 companies seen a person who has been drinking make it to a call. I have seen them make it to the station but no further. It is just the way it is, it's like knowing how to walk, you learn and you don't forget. There is nothing wrong with it as long as you are not on call volunteers meaning that you have actual shifts. Responsibility is the key and if your people cant drink responsible how do you depend on these irresponsible people to watch your back? Just letting you know how it is where I am from. This doesn't mean it is good for everyone, everywhere. Bottom line is if it doesn't work for you then get rid of it and if need be THEM.
Everyone out there be safe.
06-13-1999, 10:37 AM #8JAY FROM OHIOFirehouse.com Guest
If his drinking worries you, then you need to let him know. If he has to have a beer in his hand or he's not happy, I'd probably be worried. See if there is a period when he hasn't been drinking, if he has a massive mood swing. Don't let him continue without telling him how you feel. ( I know that this is easier said than done.) Don't be an enabler by letting him think that what you do is okay. Take care and feel free to email me at email@example.com.
06-18-1999, 12:19 AM #9NikFirehouse.com Guest
above is all good advice on how to help your friend, hope that helps.
As for our department, we have an unwritten (or it might actually be written, I'm not sure) bylaw that no one will go to a call after drinking, *period.* Even if I'd only had one beer, I wouldn't go to a call, just because someone might smell it on my breath. I've heard the old "Bud Light" in the pop machine stories, but I think it doesn't do any good for a fire department's rep these days.
06-18-1999, 06:59 PM #10KNOBMANFirehouse.com Guest
Drinking, though it is, should no way be associated with the fire dept. You have peoples lives and property in your hands. If you want a few beverages wait until your off or on vacation. Many firefighters have undercover drinking problems, if that is the case help that person by getting him or her counseling or someone to talk thier problems out with. LATER
UNION AND PROUD OF IT!
[This message has been edited by KNOBMAN (edited June 18, 1999).]
06-18-1999, 08:52 PM #11stone35Firehouse.com Guest
Our department has a written alcohol/drug policy and it is enforced. No alcohol or drugs are allowed on any department property, nor are any persons under the influence of any intoxicating drugs/alcohol allowed to be on scene or ride on the trucks. I applaud our rule, and I would be furious if anyone showed up to a fire scene 'smashed.' For a long time the stereotype of "rednecks in firetrucks" has haunted many a volunteer station, and it is not fair to the ones who care. If a person has a drinking problem then they can get help, or get out, PERIOD. My life is too precious to be snuffed out because somebody has a problem. You have to watch YOUR back.
As for Beer in the drink machine, major state and federal law breaking. Check out your local and state laws on that one.
06-26-1999, 12:58 PM #12Andy HenneFirehouse.com Guest
Before I was a firefighter in the Air Force, I was a Vermont certified ALS EMT running on an all volunteer ambulance squad. The department ran with the understanding that we were all in a "fishbowl." That meant that no matter if we were off duty or on, everyone around us was "looking in" and judging us by what they saw in the fishbowl. Every time our rigs rolled, we knew we were being watched by John Q. Public (and Jane too), and that we had to act as professionals at all times. When we partied, we did so far away from the "house." We also never wore our "colors" into bars for the same reasons. No t-shirts to associate us with the squad, no squad coats, etc. True, it was perhaps only cosmetic, but it helped to keep our image and reputation above reproach.
I was appointed as Captain with a local volunteer dept. here and ran into the same thing as far as alcohol in the station. As a fire officer, I felt it was not condusive to a good image to drink beer in the station. I ran into stiff opposition with this, but stood fast in my convictions that we had to portray a positive and professional image even though we were "just volunteers." Truth is, these volunteers, as many of you out there know, have a tough job with manning and response coverage, and I didn't want drinking in the station to be added to the difficulty of fire responses. There were stories of other local dept.'s arriving on scene at a fire and having beer cans fall out of apparatus when they opened the doors. I was not about to have my name, or that of the department, associated with a dept. of that caliber. Imagine the chagrin of the person who's house was on fire watching Bud cans roll along the ground as fire crews got out of their trucks! Not a pretty picture.
Don't get me wrong. I do drink beer and am not preaching that it be banned. I came here from Germany and acquired a taste for GOOD beer. And Montana has wonderful micro-brewed beers. I just don't think it has a place in the firehouse and on firegrounds. There is simply too much at stake.
To D. Sherman... Your concern is apparent. Don't give up on your friend. Getting him or her help may just save not only their life, but those of our sisters and brothers out there... And it was big of you to bring it up here in the forum. Be safe out there.
Malmstrom AFB Fire/Rescue
07-11-1999, 11:43 PM #13firejinx104Firehouse.com Guest
My Fire Department has the same unwritten laws about drinking. What we have done is to try to hold a party at least once a month for all our Emergency Services (Police,Rescue,
Fire,and Water Rescue). On these nights we have volunteers to answer calls, and to be DD's that way the island is still covered. So far we have not had any problems. We do however try to keep the locations quiet to the public, even if it means holding it off the island.
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