1. #1
    FF/RESC1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Regulation of Volunteer Fire Departments

    What are some regulations that affect your department concerning safety issues, such as Incident Command, use of Bunker Gear, accountability. Currently in the State of Texas there is legislation forcing Fire Departments to use IC, SCBA, and Accountability, however this does not apply to Volunteer Departments. I feel that this should also apply to Volunteer Departments because it is a safety related issue. Any response is appreciated

  2. #2
    EastKyFF
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    All those elements should be in place with any size department. I fully agree that volunteer vs. paid is irrelevant--as a vol., I am offended that the govt. isn't as worried about saving my hide as it is about saving others.

    I realize time & $$ constraints limit what can be done, but we have implemented a very adequate accountability system for $100 or less. Despite having only 8-15 people on an average structure fire, we need the system as people trickle to the scene in personal vehicles. In fact, with the amount of mutual aid flying around amongst the county's 11 departments, accountability is even more important. I might know how many my dept. brought, but I don't have a clue how many came as mutual aid.

    As for Incident Command, the very beauty of the system is that it can be employed without regard to the size of the incident. We can use it with those eight FF's just like FDNY can use it with 108.

    The SCBA thing bumfuzzles me. The only reason I can think of not to wear them when conditions indicate it, would be not having them. If you haven't got any, it's time to get some or go to the house.


  3. #3
    ThickSmoke3
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Accountablity first, if you don't know who's at a scene, then you don't know where to put the manpower where it's needed. As for SCBA our volunteer dept. only uses them when the incident calls for it. I all starts with the cheif and should be his responsiblity to see that his dept. has an incident comm. and a safety officer at the scene. Paid or vol. should have that.

  4. #4
    Fiyah
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by FF/RESC1:
    What are some regulations that affect your department concerning safety issues, such as Incident Command, use of Bunker Gear, accountability. Currently in the State of Texas there is legislation forcing Fire Departments to use IC, SCBA, and Accountability, however this does not apply to Volunteer Departments. I feel that this should also apply to Volunteer Departments because it is a safety related issue. Any response is appreciated

    You are incorrect about the legislature forcing dept to use IC, SCBA & accountability. Most of the dept in Texas use the guidelines submitted to the state from NFPA & OSHA. But you have to remember these are guidelines and not law. We use most of the guidelines that are handed done and we are a volunteer fire dept. We do use the IC system and SCBA's and we are getting a electronic accountability system. We do a manual PAR at this time. All volunteer fire depts in Tx come under the umbrella of the State Fire Marshalls office and that is where they get their certifications from.

  5. #5
    FF/RESC1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    In response to my original question the following legislation is listed.
    Government Code Sections 419.040, thru .047
    State of Texas.
    This act takes effect September 1, 2001

    I still feel that volunteer departments should also comply with these changes in order to increase safety.


  6. #6
    FPOfficer308
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    In Massachusetts, all firefighters receive the same benefits for injuries and death. From that standpoint, it makes sense that all firefighters abide by the same guidelines. Besides that aspect, with all the different hazards we encounter in this job, I can't believe ANY department would not require all personnel to follow the most strict guidelines to protect their crews, especially turn-out gear and SCBA's.
    Just my two cents.

    Stay safe,
    Glen

  7. #7
    Fiyah
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Originally posted by FF/RESC1:
    In response to my original question the following legislation is listed.
    Government Code Sections 419.040, thru .047
    State of Texas.
    This act takes effect September 1, 2001

    I still feel that volunteer departments should also comply with these changes in order to increase safety.

    Go read 419.021, this goes straight to the heart of the matter with regulating [b]Permanent/full time personel for local government entities that are staffed and organized to prevent or suppress fires.[b] Remember we have 2 different entities that certify firefighters in the state of Texas. One is for Career Firefighters and the other is for Volunteer Firefighters. If you really look at the certifications that both have, the one for volunteers actually has more hours required to obtain those certifications. Also, most volunteer depts around the state don't have the funding mechanisms in place like paid fire depts to have up to date front line equipment. Most do the best that they can do and train their folks appropriately. I started out in one of those extremely poor depts and know first hand how hard it is to get money to get equipment. We always had to depend on other depts hand-me-down equipment and was proud to get it and use it. The one thing that we did pride ourself on was the training that we did do on our own and what we learned at TEEX and other schools that were in our area. I'm now a member of a volunteer dept that happens to be in a pretty good emergency services district that receives funding to keep up with the big boys of the career depts. I even think we have equipment thats much better than most also. We have the mechanisms in place to stay up with the standards and the people in our area are extremely fortunate. Most of them don't even know we're volunteers until we tell them. But like I said we are one of the fortunate volunteer fire depts. Most of this all comes down to money and most VFD's don't have it compared to career depts.


  8. #8
    FF/RESC1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    In response to my original question I need to expand on the changes in the goverment code.

    The changes state that if you use SCBA's they must meet minimum NFPA standards and be inspected so that they comply with NFPA minimum standards. PASS devices are required if you are exposed to hazardous conditions. PASS devices must meet and be maintained IAW NFPA minimum standards. SOP's must be developed covering the use, selection, care, and maintenance of protective clothing. A fire department must develop, use, and maintain a IC system. A fire department must develop, use, and maintain an accountability system.

    I still beleive that there needs to be some regulation of Volunteer Fire Departments. If the department provides SCBA's for their firefighters to use then they should meet NFPA minimum standards. The use of the IC system and accountability cost next to nothing to use and maintain and do nothing but protect the firefighter.

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