01-14-2000, 01:42 PM #1JAY FROM OHIOFirehouse.com Guest
Are we the excpetion or the rule????
Our township trustees will not allow us to go to the store anymore to buy food for meals. We normally have 4 personel on duty days and 3 on evenings. If we have the full crew , one individual is sent in the grass truck. If we have less we usually take the medic so we can remain inservice with the full crew. We have a small, expensive carryout in town and a pizza shop. The closest store is in the neighboring departments jurisdiction, approx. 6 miles/ 10 minutes away from our station. Our trustees contend there is too much wear and tear on the apparatus. They also feel that the community suffers because of our response time if we have to respond from town. (We've proven that one wrong already, but they find that irrelavent.)
Please share your thoughts on this as well as how your department (and your neighboring departments) handles this situation. Any input will be helpful. I plan to print the responses and share them with the trustees, who feel our grocery practices are the exception and not the rule.
01-14-2000, 02:12 PM #2SteamerFirehouse.com Guest
We aren't allowed to pick-up anything in any of our emergeency vehicles. However, our main station allows someone in one of our staff cars to pick stuff up. Our "out stations" are pretty well stuck though. Our administration's attitude is that it doesn't look good for our people to be "group shopping". I always thought it was a pretty rinky-dink reason, but it's worked for them for a long time now (I think it started because it was unsafe to carry food on a horse). After all, everyone realizes we have to eat. They say we also realize we have to eat, so we should shop on our days off for food on our workdays.
Sorry I couldn't give you something to argue with, but good luck anyway.
Chillicothe (Ohio) Fire Department
01-14-2000, 02:36 PM #3JAY FROM OHIOFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks Steamer for the reply. I failed to mention that most of our part-timers are full-timers elsewhere and don't have the opportunity to go home and pack lunch or go grocery shopping before coming here.
01-31-2000, 01:31 PM #4SkidzFirehouse.com Guest
I think you need to find a better way to make your organization realize that you can still provide a service while getting dinner. If you are a volunteer organization i would have to say find incentives to bring more vollies into the house to maintain a full crew. If you are fully career then i would have to say that a you would need to decide what is for dinner early in the day so at a point when you had full crew you could get dinner at that point. It is just to hard for a person to decide what everyone wants for dinner before they come to work, and if you have proven them wrong with the reponse time issue, then just keep working on them . If anything else get out on the streets and ask the community for their support, because the customers are who pays the bills.
The Best In The MidWest
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01-31-2000, 02:02 PM #5ugleeFirehouse.com Guest
Jay, it appears that you have a backward thinking Board of Trustees. If you can send 1 person for food, that person is actually out in the street and may be able to respond quicker that you can from the station.We had an incident when we were in a mall and had a medical aid happen right in front of us. Now that doesn't happen everyday, but it isn't that unusual, either. We've also come upon MVCs when out for food. When shopping, whether done or not, when the call comes in we drop what were're doing and respond, just like if we were doing something in the station. granted, you may be shopping on the other side of town, but then again, you may be on the right side of town too.
Hope you can persuade them.
01-31-2000, 02:49 PM #6mfgentiliFirehouse.com Guest
Does your township allow apparatus to be used for community sevices such as parades, fund raising activities, delivering Santa Clause, changing flagpole halyards, hanging banners, giving fire engine rides at town functions, etc? If so, it can be said that all these activities put the apparatus out of service or on a delayed response much longer than the couple of minutes it takes to go to the store. I'm always amazed that firefighters are called upon to perform a myriad of community activities, which most of us gladly do, but it is frowned upon when we want to take a few minutes to purchase food. We are often treated as the enemy and the bad guys when it comes to taking care of ourselves. We had a similar situation to yours in my city. It was resolved through the union filing a grievance with the city. The result is that apparatus may now stop at stores or restaurants for the sole purpose of picking up food. This usually happens in conjunction with a street drill or returning to quarters from an alarm. We try to use discretion and common sense. Usually 2 members go in with a portable radio and the others remain outside on the apparatus. If a call comes, everyone gets back on the truck and off we go. Many meals have been delayed due to alarms but we haven't missed a call yet because of picking up food. Good luck and I hope this gives you some ammunition, however little, in your quest for fair treatment.
02-01-2000, 02:06 PM #7JAY FROM OHIOFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for all the input- We are a combination department with paid firefighters on M-F 0700-2300 and weekends 0800-1700 usually.
I think it should be noted that myself and one other firefighter (normally we have 4 on day shift but we were short)we on duty one particular day after a night of steady rains. Our trustees asked if we could take the engine out to help blow out a ditch. We went to the edge of our township line and didn't "blow" out a ditch. I was told by the trustees to flow water through a blocked ditch. 20 minutes later I am knee high in murky, cold, muddy ditch water because their field tile was broken by the phone company.
Instead of hiring someone to snake the ditch (or using the road crew), we took the only available crew, tied up the first out engine/medic crew on the out reaches of our township to do road work. We would have been unable to respond to ANY emergency with hose laid, 1/2 tank of water, and mud up to our knees.
These are the people we are fighting against. Two of the trustees are farmers who have scanners in their PMV. One in particular shows up on most fires and is constantly pulling hoses or getting in the way. He has NO fire training. Any time you attempt to persuade or discuss anything it's the community who is hurt. They've postponed purchase of a new medic yet again because of this grocery store issue. We are all gagged about speaking out.
Thank you for the input and please keep it coming no matter what your view is.
02-01-2000, 10:49 PM #8Dave GriceFirehouse.com Guest
Boy, it seems you are in a real bind. Do you belong to the union? If so, a grievance would definitely be in order. To have a trustee who is a pain in the neck like it sounds in yur town, I don't know what you could do, but by the way it sounds, he's gonna kill somebody if keeps getting in the way at scenes. Don't you have a service or water dept? It sure sounds like your doing way too many things for your job title (like we firefighters don't have enough dumped on us already!). I wish you the best of luck and hope you can work something out with your town's political geniuses.
02-03-2000, 10:53 AM #9JAY FROM OHIOFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for the ideas Dave. Unfortunately my department is very small- no union- almost like volunteer it seems like sometimes. Our township/village area has no water department, sporadic police protection and is in all senses a small town operation. We have one stoplight and maybe a dozen small businesses. We are mainly a farming community. We wouldn't mind giving a little extra if our township would. Most ofthe paid people on the department have stayed not because of money or lack of jobs elsewhere but because we all get along so well, our community is so small you know everyone, and they are truly good people who care about the wellbeing of others. (Not uncommon I know). I'll stop whining now. Thanks for the suggestions Dave.
Take care and be safe everyone.
02-04-2000, 10:15 AM #10ugleeFirehouse.com Guest
Jay, I don't know if your trustees are elected or appointed, but it is important, not only for the fire dept., but also for the safety of the community that some of these people be replaced. If trustees are appointed, then throw out the knuckleheads that make that appointment. And where is your chief on this issue? Sounds like you definitely have a political problem. Maybe some help in the form of pressure could come from surrounding township fire depts. We all need to work together when a sister dept. has a problem.
Best to you folks out there.
02-04-2000, 04:26 PM #11StretchFirehouse.com Guest
Well we're in the same boat. We just got a new administration. It has been in the rules forever, but never enforced, that is taking the apparatus to go get groceries. Now with the new administration, it has been put out, "No more trips to the store for anything". All of our stations have a store in their first in territory, so it's not like we have to leave our territory to go. We have a 1,600 member department with 52 engines. Sounds kind of petty. Someone give me a holler if you feel my pain lol.
02-05-2000, 10:22 PM #12JAY FROM OHIOFirehouse.com Guest
Administration stinks- Now we're not allowed to take to the apparatus out of the station for ANYTHING but an emergency run. No inspections, no footwork for investigations, no service runs, prevention education,etc. I do feel this policy will bite them in the but before too long.
In respone to your question about the chief, he's not even been in office a month and he's not been able to address the problem- not that it will do any good- the previous chief ignored the trustees and allowed us to continue and took the heat. He left because a trustee advised an individual in a current aggrevated arson investigation that he personally would not submit to a polygraph. That was the straw that broke the camels back and has really clouded my faith in the system, but that's a whole different gripe.
Take care and God Bless.
02-05-2000, 11:44 PM #13Lieutenant GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
Jay...I beleive that this town trustee can and should be arrested and charged with obstruction of justice. It's time to make your voice heard and tell the people of your community just what the clowns in charge have been doing to THEM... when you get the community involved, things happen quicker. As far as the farmer who insists on showing up at fires, you can have him arrested for interference with fire department operations.
Good luck in your battle with the morons in charge!
Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo
02-09-2000, 04:23 AM #14aussie georgeFirehouse.com Guest
we in sydney australia have the same silly rule.but its never inforced.it would be to hard to anyway with over 150 fire trucks working from 93 stations the rulemakers would never now if that fire truck stopped at the shops was there for shopping or attending a alarm of drill etc.
02-09-2000, 10:02 AM #15slimmer88Firehouse.com Guest
Jay, Sounds like you guys need some help. I used to work for a combination dept. such as yours. The villiage allowed us to go to the store and else were in the area to train and familiarize the guys with the roads. The road training was due to over turn of new ff's. I would suggest that you ask you board of trustees to look at other depts. that have the same type of area. You also need to stress to them that most of our job anymore is customer service. If we aren't seen then most people think we don't exsit. As for the one that comes to the scene and gets in the way I would suggest the sherrif's dept. might be able to keep him out of your way as the do to the public. Do you use an accountibility system? If so your dept. has no way to account for him on the scene. Try to use that along with legal aspects of him hindering you operations. Hope that this helps you in some way. Stay safe and good luck. Jeff
02-11-2000, 09:36 AM #1621TFDFirehouse.com Guest
Jay-I am relatively new to the forums and I read yours with interest. I have not seen any recent postings and I was curious how things were going. Being from Ohio myself I sometimes think that Township government is a general waste of money and effort. I would suggest that your Chief become involved in your county chief's assn. and maybe even the ohio Chief's. These groups might help. There were lots of good suggestions in the other replys you received, but I am sure it is hard to know where to start. Become involved politically if you must but tread lightly. Education of your tormentors should be your first objective. Get the media involved(carefully) through local papers or TV. I'll be looking at my Ohio map in a minute to see where you are in relationship to Troy. Good Luck & Stay Safe.
02-12-2000, 10:12 AM #17JAY FROM OHIOFirehouse.com Guest
Just wanted to update everyone and let them know that at the last township trustees meeting the trustees regained some common sense. It is my understanding that we are now permitted to use the apparatus for fire department AND "township" business in addition to emergency runs. We'll see what exactly township business involves. As for the chief's association, I'm not too familiar with our countys' my impression is that they don't do a lot but disagree. Oh well. I'll keep you posted on the soap opera, "As the Firehouse Turns."
Take care and stay safe.
02-17-2000, 11:39 AM #18ugleeFirehouse.com Guest
If your trustees and chief can't see the need for driver training, inspections, public education, etc., then they better be prepared for liability lawsuits. These actions are needed, as is any training and they must be documented. Why can't the driver training take you by the store? Or the inspection be in the neighborhood of the store? I think you know what I mean. Granted, you can't keep going to inspect the same store everyday, but with some planning on your part, you probably can come up with a way around this situation. When in these public places, make a point of talking to the shop owners and explain the importance of familiarizing yourselves with that store, restaurant, or general area. The more you talk up your case with the public, the more support you will likely have if push comes to shove with the trustees (why are they called that if they can't be trusted?). If they are so adamant about you bringing your food before hand, are they also adamant about you getting a full lunch time that is uninterrupted by an emergency call? I doubt it. Fairness works both ways. Sounds to me like these small town politicians just want someone to push around.
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