11-11-1999, 07:40 AM #1rocketboy192Firehouse.com Guest
"Locking" the fire stations down during the day
Are you permitted to lock your stations down during the day (i.e. for nap time, controlling access, etc.)?
Being in a station that houses a chief can make for an interesting assignment. Our shift commander will not allow us to lock the building during the day because he wants "to let the public know we are open for business". I do not agree with that for many reasons. One reason is that it keeps people out of where they do not belong. Most apparatus room doors are labeled (Authorized Personnel Only). Another reason is the nap issue. We are not permitted to sleep during the day at our station because "someone may stop in and ask for directions and see a FF sleeping". Heaven forbid a citizen walking into our "house" and seeing a FF sleeping because it is 2 PM, he's been on his 6th run for the day, he just finished lunch (which was cold), and all he wants is a little nap so he is a bit rested for tonight when he makes 3 ambulance runs after midnight. I seem to have gotten off on a tangent but I think you get the point. To me, it makes complete sense to control access to the fire stations for safety, accountibility, and security reasons.
11-11-1999, 10:37 AM #2mfgentiliFirehouse.com Guest
I can only speak for the department I work for. We cannot lock our stations during normal city hall business hours (8-4 Mon-Fri) if the apparatus is in quarters. During these hours the front desk is manned and all visitors are greeted by the deskman. On Sat., Sun., and holidays the desk is unmanned and the station locked. This is all part of our collective bargaining agreement with the city so company officers have no say on when the station is locked or not and it doesn't matter if a chief officer is housed there. As far as sleeping goes, we cannot occupy beds between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM. We can catch naps in the recliners after all department duties are completed. This occurs in rooms not visible to the public such as private rooms, dorms, TV rooms, rec halls etc. In all but one of our stations, these rooms are on the second floor where access by the public is not allowed.
11-11-1999, 05:29 PM #3benson911Firehouse.com Guest
The doors are supposed to be closed and locked at all times unless we are actively working or outside the station. The Chief hates it when we leave the station on a run and a door is left open. All that thievery that's never occurred must be getting to him.
11-11-1999, 05:32 PM #4FFE3BFDFirehouse.com Guest
THIS IS GOING TO BE SHORT AND TO THE POINT. NO, ITS A PUBLIC BUILDING.
11-11-1999, 10:56 PM #5benson911Firehouse.com Guest
I disagree - I have personal items and valuable equipment in that building. Anyone who wants to come in can ring the bell and may enter. It may be public, but I don't think City Hall and the library are left open all day and night. The public does have access, but unlocked doors and crews out on a run = leaving millions of dollars of equipment available for the taking.
Keep the doors locked - try getting into a "public" school building these days. Only one door may be open and that one may have a guard posted. You can always get out - just not in.
11-12-1999, 03:44 PM #6BoothbyFirehouse.com Guest
No we don't lock down our stations during the day, although in our neighborhood it wouldn't hurt (we have bullet holes in the building). Each morning we assign a watchman who will be up all day to handle walkins, phone calls, etc. When all companies are out of the house then we lock it up before we go, and by SOP the station is to be secured at 10pm. Again the watchman is responsible to ensure that these things happen.
Truck 3 A-shift
11-12-1999, 04:30 PM #7LadderCo13Firehouse.com Guest
We have a doorbell that is wired through the entire PA system in the house. You cannot sleep through it. It is as loud as our alert tones. In the Summer our bay doors are usually open. We have a safe downtown area. Besides there are 12 guys in the house, someone is always up and around. At night, and in the cold winter months, the only access for the public is to press the doorbell.
11-12-1999, 05:45 PM #8FFE3BFDFirehouse.com Guest
Benson911, I didn't write the policy, I just follow it.
11-15-1999, 11:32 AM #9LedbellyFirehouse.com Guest
We were issued a memo within last year or two that made station officers responsible for "Fire Station Security", ie, the houses are locked up. This doesn't mean they are closed to the public... a knock at the door will get you in. As a second part to this answer however, our Central station, which houses Fire Admin offices also, is generally NOT locked down during daylight hours; most school tours, visiting 'dignitaries', etc come and go at Central.
This policy was instigated because of numerous thefts of City equipment (lawn mowers, edgers, etc) from the engine bays while crews were inside station. [One station has security-fenced 'compound' for personal vehicles that is unlocked/locked at shift change] Using keen discretionary powers, I will follow the intent of the memo but often leave bay doors open if we're up and about because I hate to seem totally isolated from neighborhood. I merely accept this as a sad fact of our society because we apparently have enough people who believe that if the building is public, then the stuff inside it is theirs to take, as needed.
11-15-1999, 11:43 AM #10benson911Firehouse.com Guest
Well, those policy makers are going to be changing policy when the new computer they just bought gets up and walks out one day. Good luck dealing with policy makers like that.
I don't mean to sound like we're a fortress, just that it takes someone opening a door or a key to get in. While crews are actively in the bays the doors are usually open, weather permitting. But, if you get a run, the place better be locked down tight when no one is there or you will have to explain yourself to the Chief.
11-17-1999, 12:15 PM #11jrj918Firehouse.com Guest
at my station and my shift, the station is usually left unlocked until around 10pm or until the last person goes to bed,but however we will lock up if we leave the station during the day and we know that we are going to be gone for awhile i.e training.
[This message has been edited by jrj918 (edited November 17, 1999).]
11-17-1999, 01:55 PM #12macatacFirehouse.com Guest
Well this is a subject that gets me going!
It is not safe to leave the doors open here at our House becuase our Asst. Chief is the Code Enforcement Officer. And trust me the freaks and ole timers Hate him for it. Ya see he leaves at 5pm and most people get home after 5pm. So when they read the Violation and read the Fire Dept. Card that he left with the Address on it who do you think gets to deal with these folks??? So be safe and Lock those doors Brothers We have to (at our doing) for Safety!
11-17-1999, 07:37 PM #13Jeff801Firehouse.com Guest
It is the "Public's Building". If nap time is that much of an issue, then leave one awake for the "watch". They can direct people from where you are. Garage door openers work great for runs. We wouldn't leave a station completely open in my city. I believe that common ground must be met. I have listened to irate citizens who can't get into a station, even after knocking, who had medical problems. Some just want a BP checked. What's so wrong with that?
The loiterers should be treated as such, all others pay your bills.
11-19-1999, 04:06 PM #14Capt LeeFirehouse.com Guest
Our Dept's policy is the Station is open unless we are out on a run, which we have garage door closers iiin the rigs but there are circumstances. Those would include bad weather, which here usually amounts to being windy. Work time is 0700-1700. We take an hour for lunch around 1200 with a break around 1000 and 1500. Nothing written in stone, just habit that has worked out well. Stations get locked down with perimeter gates and bay doors at dark or 2100, when the rookie at the station does it before going to bed as part of his duties. I will walk around sometimes too to check. As far as the naps, lunch time is your time, and if we are really busy in the morning or have something planned for the evening, we might slip in a little cat nap in the afternoon, but out of sight of the public. Yes it is a public building, but there are areas that we need to keep our 'house' to our self.
12-03-1999, 08:07 PM #15Lieutenant GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
We lock the doors when we have to go out for a run or when both companies in my firehouse have training, inspections and special details. Otherwise, our doors are open. They do get secured at night, if someone comes to us in the night they ring the buzzer, which is in the hall between the day room area and the dorm room.
Our biggest problem is that our station is one level and our front door opens into our dayroom/kitchen/dining area. John and Jane Q. Public comes in asking for directions and they see our big screen tv, the recliners and our aquarium (we have "finned dalmations") and they ask if their tax dollars pay for these luxuries. We use their questions to educate them about how we pay for our own stuff from the Coke fund and station assessments.
12-29-1999, 07:57 PM #16D. AndersonFirehouse.com Guest
Our doors are locked, but the doorbell is promptly answered by the watchman. We offer free blood pressure checks to the public until 8 pm. and this service is gladly used by the public. We have had occasions of people calling in false runs and then stealing helmets (fraternity initiations) and even one stations "house fund being stolen" so we're carefull. In some stations we summon another person before answering the door because of the neighborhood.
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