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.
( I will also be posting this on Meet and Greet, if you see it again.)
[This message has been edited by JAY FROM OHIO (edited January 14, 2000).]
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01-14-2000, 02:40 PM #1JAY FROM OHIOFirehouse.com Guest
Are we the exception or the rule????
01-14-2000, 03:14 PM #2Truck 2Firehouse.com Guest
We pick up our stuff before coming to work, we have stores in our city to pick stuff up, but we try to get it before coming in. We work 10 hour days and 14 hour nights so we don't cook a whole lot in station besides breakfast on week ends. We get discount at some of the pizza and sanwich shops in our area, some deliver. I don't think you should be going out of your responce area to shop!
01-14-2000, 03:36 PM #3Lieutenant GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
We can go shopping for the groceries for meals, as long as we stay within our district. Many times, what we want for lunch is a "spur of the moment" decision; we go will make a list and go out in the support vehicle, If we are out on a call and haven't picked up the groceries yet we will take the Engine (and do a little PR while we are there). Sometimes we will plan for our meal in advance and will pick up what we need on the way into work. We're fortunate that there is a large supermarket just a mile or so down the road from us. Each group has its own pantry cabinet and we stock up on things like soups, canned tuna, peanut butter, pasta, sauce, etc. for those days that we can't make it out to the store.
I have to agree with Lt. Chuck of Truck 2 about going out of town to go shopping. Ten minutes away plus your normal response time to an incident = Problems. What would happen if you got into an accident while responding to an incident and you were on the other side of the town line? This is a question of liability, and you could end up getting screwed royally.
Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo
01-14-2000, 03:40 PM #4benson911Firehouse.com Guest
I think it's wrong to deny your on-duty crew access to a store for shopping. BUT, and that's a big BUT, I understand with not allowing you to leave your response district just to shop.
We send the rookie to the store if we have the manning, otherwise we send a medic unit to the store. The outlying station's engine also gets their own food. But, we have a grocery store in town and it's available to both stations.
01-15-2000, 08:48 PM #5pompanofdFirehouse.com Guest
SOUNDS LIKE IT'S TIME TO GET INVOLVED WITH POLITICS!!! IF YOU ARE IN SERVICE & IN ZONE WHAT IS THE PROBLEM! IT'S O.K TO GO ACROSS TOWN TO GET FUEL OR SUPPLIES , BUT NOT FOOD!
WE ARE ALOUD TO GO SHOPPING ON DUTY , THE CHIEF REQUEST THAT WE PARK RIGS IN BACK OF STORE. WE HAVE 13 UNITS & RUN 17,000 CALLS. WE TRY TO GO SHOPPING EARLY BEFORE IT GETS BUSY......JUST REMEMBER YOU ONLY NEED 3 OUT OF 5 VOTES ON COMMISSION,CITY COUNCIL ETC.
01-16-2000, 01:39 AM #6rocketboy192Firehouse.com Guest
We can go shopping as long as we remain in our first-in area. Like the above post mentioned, we use the pump to go to the store for groceries but we usually combine our errands into one "outing" usually early in the shift to avoid getting stuck in long lines at the store. If manpower permits, we send the cook in his personal vehicle but if we are out preplanning, testing hydrants, etc., we just stop while we're out. Sometimes, whoever is cooking will pickup the meal on the way to work. We also have closets for each shift to store food (A, B, and C - thats me).
As far as you guys (the original post) are concerned, I can see where an issue might arise due to being so far away (provided your engine house is centrally located). If not, then why not. I think that ANYTIME we can get out into public where we can be seen and interact with the community is definately GOOD P.R. We chat with people while we are standing in the check-out line and often people ask us questions about the FD and about FF's in general. Remember this - making yourself visible to the public will pay back dividends exponentially when it is tax renewal time! Good luck in solving your dining blues.
Ronald J. Tocci, II
Engine 1 C
IAFF Local 3704
***My statements are purely MY opinion and do not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, position, or opinions of my employer or IAFF Local***
01-16-2000, 03:30 PM #7JERRY SULLIVANFirehouse.com Guest
I THINK THIS TOPIC IS PRETTY EASY, I AGREE WITH THE OTHER GUYS, JUST SHOP ON YOUR WAY IN TO THE FIRE HOUSE,ITS BETTER TO BE SAFE / THEN SORRY , FIRE DOES'NT HAVE A WATCH SO THE TIME OF THE DAY DOES'NT MATTER THE ALARM CAN SOUND AT ANY TIME.
01-16-2000, 10:29 PM #8JAY FROM OHIOFirehouse.com Guest
I thank you for your honest response, but I feel the need to clarify a few things. Our department covers approx. 25 sq.miles, we are ten minutes from station but 4 from our primary coverage area. We average under 10 runs in a week and provide service for approximately 4000. We run into problems because the majority of our part-timers come from there full-time job and would be late for duty to stop at the store. We have limited staples at the station. We have to go to the same shopping area to but hardware and station supplies (or at least we used to be able to.)We pass by a number of grocery stores on the way back from the hospitals, is it acceptable to stop then? We are not permitted to take the trucks out for anything but an emergency now. In a rural area, we now will not be able to do preplanning, inspections, non-symptomatic CO checks, service runs, etc. Our trustees do not seem to feel there will be a problem with response time when we have a 2 man engine crew (our SOG's require 3 for an emergency response) and they need someone to flush out plugged drainage ditches on the opposite side of the township. Let me tell you when you have leather boots full of muddy water and your bunkers are packed with mud that compromises response time back to station (for a third man) far more than a trip to the grocery store. We're in a catch-22. I do appreciate the continued input. Thank you Jay
01-16-2000, 10:52 PM #9Ed ShanksFirehouse.com Guest
From over here in northeast Ohio (we're a suburb of Youngstown) Boardman Township is also about 25 Sq Mi. We have 3 stations to cover over 50,000 people.
Our rule used to be that if we were on our way back to quarters from a call we could stop and pick up food or whatever. This has been softened now to where as long as the OIC knows where we are, we can take the truck (the whole company goes) and go shopping.
There is good PR to be gained by taking the trucks out on the streets - kids want you to stop, and when you do you can talk to the parents. People like to see their tax dollars at work, so they don't mind seeing the truck on their street. Plus, you get to know the territory, and keep up with changes, by driving around.
If your administration is using the FD to clear ditches, but won't let you guys leave the station otherwise except for an emergency, maybe someone needs to point out to them that a clogged ditch isn't an emergency. If you can go for that (saving them some money, no doubt!) you can go for other things.
Remember, the odds are 50/50 that if you're out of quarters you're going to be CLOSER to that call! Think about it.
01-17-2000, 10:24 AM #10Lieutenant GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
Jay, now that you have clarified your situation, it's apparent that your town trustees have no clue about the operations of the fire department. By only allowing you out of quarters on emergency runs, they are compromising the health and safety of every town resident, as well as the members of the FD. You have to know the hazards that are out there in your community by preplanning, checking on the type of construction of a new building by seeing it go up, learning the area through inspections and district familiarization. Who is doing all the inspections and service calls? What we consider a routine service call, like a house lockout is an emergency to the person who is locked out! Cleaning drainage ditches is a job for the Department of Public Works, not the Fire Department. It's time to review your job descriptions to see if the functions of the DPW has been added.
If you are going out of town for EMS calls, by all means stop at the store on the way back. It doesn't take long to pick up a few things. Your Chief should be supporting you in this effort, if he doesn't, it's definitely causing a major morale problem.
Good luck....keep us informed!
Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo
01-17-2000, 05:36 PM #11Dave GriceFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with Lt. Gonzo. You should invite your politicians to ride with your personnel for a couple nights and see if they change their minds. There should be no way that you shouldn't be able to stop and get food if you go out on a run. You should at least be able to go to the places within your jurisdiction. We are fortunate enough to have different restaurants and a couple of stores within our city limits. It makes it hard when things are spaced out like you say they are. Good luck and hopefully your town's politicians will open their eyes!
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