Thread: D.C.F.D. - "What is going on" ?
02-23-2001, 05:23 PM #1FDDC4327Firehouse.com Guest
D.C.F.D. - "What is going on" ?
Interested in hearing any questions/comments regarding the District of Columbia Fire Department. Including status of Dept., Relations with New Fire Chief, Concerns from members, New gossip, etc..........
I think we as members should post our views and concerns, and hear what the rest of the world has to say. We have all carried on our long standing tradition with our heads held high. I think the rest of the world should know about the crap that we have to put up with "Behind the scenes". New "Outside" leadership (if thats what you call it) with no clue of how things are done. Maybe some brothers in Georgia can offer some insight on how to deal with the idiot that they got rid of.
This man is taking a Top Notch Fire Dept. and turning it into a joke. There has'nt been a positive news story aired since Ronnie Few has taken (Stolen) office. Pajamas, Helmet colors, "Nozzles not fitting hoses" ?????? What is this guy talking about???
Well let's just see..............
02-23-2001, 08:14 PM #2FireLt1951Firehouse.com Guest
I feel deeply for all the firefighters in D.C. We here in Detroit know what your going through.We have a cop running this department.We have also had nothing but political hacks as commissioners for over 20 years.We've lost 21 companies,no supplies,no hose,no leadership and I can go on and on.Start working politically before it's to late.We did not do it fast enough and we have paid the ultimate price.Inoperable apparatus,hydrants and poor management from the commissioner and his cohorts.We have also suffered low staffing levels(3 on an engine and 3 on a truck).A higher than average number of fires and a serious arson problem.I wish all of you the best but get busy politically before you are destroyed.Start engaging the churchs and development groups.Go before city council and set them straight. If you need some statistics let me know and I can supply you with some.The statistics cover 42 of the top 68 populated cities.Take care and I wish you all the luck the world can give you.
[This message has been edited by FireLt1951 (edited 02-23-2001).]
02-23-2001, 11:41 PM #3WRFD818Firehouse.com Guest
FDDC 4327, could you explain the pajamas and the helmet colors? I read some posts that talked about DCFD getting issued pajamas but I never saw anything else on the issue.
The department I'm on is a combination which uses a coloring system. Where the Capt. wear yellow gear, Firefighters wear red gear, and the Paid on Call Firefighters wear black gear.
02-23-2001, 11:42 PM #4sefiremanFirehouse.com Guest
Just remeber big brother will be watching these posts too. CYA
02-24-2001, 04:16 AM #5feelin down uptownFirehouse.com Guest
i wished we worried more about getting all ambulances in service for 24 hours and staffing them before we worry about changing dress uniforms,helmets,pj's etc.the chief seems to have a problem with tradition tradition is what has kept DC FIRE a very agressive and strong department.
02-24-2001, 01:24 PM #6sidney251Firehouse.com Guest
Speaking from the layout position (thats where they put us truck guys from T17), I hope everyone else that was involved along with myself gets back to work soon. Thanks for the e-mails from all of you. I should be back to full duty on Thursday (the PFC said no to Sunday). Stay safe.
02-24-2001, 02:50 PM #7DisgruntledFiremanFirehouse.com Guest
This brings up MANY issues. The biggest is the fact that our "fire chief" has done nothing at all to help our department, but EVERYTHING to hinder its development and our tradition. It baffles me as to why or how an outsider can come to this department and create so much turmoil. The issues that the "fire chief" has been working on were not issues at all. They are nothing but ploys to bring morale down, and it is working. After years of bad fire chiefs, and then an outsider (Uncle Otis), it was a breath of fresh air to have 2 fire chiefs (Fire Chief Donald Edwards and Fire Chief Thomas Tippett) promoted from within OUR ranks. And now???? What the hell were these politicians thinking when they brought in the current "fire chief" (yeah, right) from Geogia? And why has hardly anyone in this department met the "fire chief"? He does not care about the men. He is here for himself.
Pajamas??????? We are the laughing stock of not only all fire departments, but to our friends and families as well. Personally, I have been asked, and laughed at, by numerous acquaintances as to the status of our pajamas. They cannot believe that our pajamas were top story news segments.
Raises. Why hasn't the "fire chief" been knocking down the doors to the city council and the mayor's office to get us some much needed raises. We are supposed to maintain pay-parity with the cops. That hasn't happened since the '80's?
Overtime. Why are we STILL making "straight-time for overtime? The last I checked, overtime meant time-and-a-half.
Pay-parity with medics on paramedic engine companies. Why are the medics on these companies getting night and weekend differential? As far as I know they are working the same shifts and running the same calls as the firemen. But, we are the ones doing double duty, we go into the fires, in addition to attending to patients right beside the medics.
Helmets. Why is the "fire chief" sooooo concerned about the color of our helmets? For years, it has been yellow-privates, and white-officers. Now we are going to have black-privates, sergeants, lieutenants, and white-captains and chiefs? I heard this was because the "fire chief" couldn't distinguish between his chief officers and others. Well, excuse me, what color running coats do chief officers wear? WHITE. What color for everybody else in the firefighting division? YELLOW. That is how you distinguish between chiefs and lower ranking members.
It is a real shame that someone in my position can only air these feelings in this manner, for fear of reprecussions. Because what has happened in the past, anyone who has said anything negative has been reprimanded--sent to less desirable positions.
I have been around the DCFD all my life. I LOVE this job, and the city of DC. And have a great respect for tradition and the men who carry it out. But, when someone tries to screw with that, it upsets me greatly. I still have some years to go before I am eligible for retirement. As a whole, I don't want that day to come, but when this type of crap surfaces in our department, I think to myself, "GOD, I can't wait 'til I retire!!"
To all the brothers and sisters in this line of work, I hope no one else has to go through what we are going through.
God Bless you all, and stay safe!!
02-24-2001, 02:54 PM #8Detroit FireFirehouse.com Guest
Fight it till the end like my fellow brother from Detroit said you guys need any help we are experts at fighting the administration good luck and stay safe
02-25-2001, 08:35 PM #9FIREMANPPBFirehouse.com Guest
22 yrs in DCFD still proud to be a fireman
02-26-2001, 03:52 PM #10Trk6DCFDFirehouse.com Guest
I havent been to the Trya Hunter class yet but I hear the Chosen Few wants to do away with tradition. But noboby seems to know what that "tradition" is. Lets get this straight, we were the FIRST big city to hire and promote minorities. We started that long before it was the fashion. We have the BEST racial make up of any FD that is just as big or bigger then us in the USA. Is that "tradition" being done away with?
We have only closed 1 ladder co. and 1 heavy rescue in our 125 year "traditional" FD. We still use water to fight fire and ladders to rescue people, the most "traditional" thing that we do.We still have a strong "traditional" brother/sisterhood that is better then most and rivals but a few. So I dont think the Chosen Few will do anything to our long "Traditional" DCFD. Just remeber we will all be here long after he's gone.
02-27-2001, 04:05 PM #11Snoopy00013Firehouse.com Guest
Yes~ Truck6 Well you all will be there long after he's gone but the question is how many lives will be lost before then? You work on Truck 6, well my dad used to work on that very same truck. Money that could be used to buy chain saws and other much needed equipment is being spent on Pajamas! ha! Hope those Pajamas are worth it. Yea there is still tradition. Tradition of having Chiefs that don't have their priorities straight and don't have a clue what it really means to be a front line firefighter.
[This message has been edited by Snoopy00013 (edited 02-27-2001).]
02-27-2001, 10:01 PM #12huntere6Firehouse.com Guest
What you have heard in regard to the demoralizing sufferings of the D.C.F.D. are true. As a line officer and firefighter for 15 years, I have seen what I thought were the low moments of the job. The days of 4 man truck companies, company closures, companies rotating out of service, deplorable living quarters, and dilapidated equipment. However the theme this time around seems to be the systematic dismantling of company tradition. Recently Chief Few has commented that he believes the D.C.F.D. practices too much tradition. Because Chief Few did not go into detail as to exactly what he was implying, one can only surmise that his comment was made without too much mental deliberation. However in lieu of some of Chief Fews command decisions one can pretty much understand where the Chief is going with regard to his comment.
Recently Chief Few decided to acquisition pajamas for the firefighters. Why this was an issue is another mystery. The local media had a field day with this. The result was the Fire Chief of the D.C.F.D. was made a mockery of along with the membership. I canít go anywhere with out an acquaintance asking, ď Did you get your PJís yetĒ?
The color of helmets. Another non-issue.
This Chief claims heís on the cutting edge. The cutting edge of what, another mystery.
We had a Fire Chief recently that stood for something. A Chief that had a clear and defined mission and that was to deliver the best Fire and EMS service to the citizens and visitors of the Nations Capital, which subsequently meant giving the fire department the resources and training it needed to accomplish this mission. Chief Tippetts tenure as Fire Chief was cut short due to his unwillingness to compromise his principles in the name of budget cuts. However he made good use of his short time while occupying the position. He accomplished things that are unprecedented in the fire service today. He was able to re-open a fire station on Capital Hill that was closed by a previous administration. How many Fire Chiefs out there have accomplished that? He was able to acquire new apparatus and eliminated the bureaucracy involved in purchasing such apparatus. And most importantly he raised the morale of the Department to a level that I hadnít seen since I was appointed.
Chief Few have you ever heard the statement, ďThe Fire Service has sustained 130 years of tradition uninterrupted by progressĒ? Placing out of service company morale and tradition will not be an easy task. Yeah, we may sit around the kitchen table complaining about our leadership or lack there of, however when the bell rings were all business. The complaining stops, the job gets done.City administrators know this and thatís why, Iím convinced, that the Fire Department is always the first agency that takes the biggest and hardest hit. They know that no matter how bad they make it for us, we will always put it on the line. I invite you Chief Few, to flip through the pages of ď100 Years of GloryĒ and read about a department that is rich in tradition and how and why this tradition has come to be. Moreover look at the recently published history book of the D.C.F.D. and pay particular notice to the names that seemed to be quit common over the past 130 years of the D.C.F.D. The Mayhews, Capps, Mullikins, Reilleys, Turners, Rinkers, Sneeds, Lancasters, Tippetts, Kefauvers, I could go on and on.
What part of tradition do you not like Chief Few? The tradition of selfless service, the tradition of sonís emulating their fatherís noble firefighting careers or the tradition of brotherhood?
Tradition is a sacred creed and condition, that of which is the essential glue that holds together this organization we call a Fire Department. Itís what keeps a man going when the odds are against him. Itís what keeps his spirits up when he feels his leadership has forsaken him, itís what keeps him on the pipe that extra 10 seconds, the 10 seconds that defines the deference between a box and 2nd alarm or a row house to losing a whole block, itís what bonds our brotherhood of firefighters together.
Chief Few, when considering past events that have plagued the D.C. fire department, tradition is the only thing keeping this Fire Department going.
You better embrace it.
02-28-2001, 12:16 AM #13GHETTOGHOSTFirehouse.com Guest
I was just wondering if anyone knew how many more classes are being planned off of the current test list and when another test might be given
02-28-2001, 07:55 AM #14dcfirefighterFirehouse.com Guest
For you firstname.lastname@example.org---
You hit it on the head with that view.I believe this dept needs to get involved with its future instead of complaining about it.Get the union involved and keep pressing the issue, get the mayor involved and keep pressing the issue.The media is also a good and stron tool. The chief needs to be stopped. The chiefs priorities need to be either changed or stopped. And one of the ways of accomplishing this is educating key people and the public about this crazyness. As the local always says"In unity there is strength" Lets work on making DCFD the best .
02-28-2001, 10:24 AM #15FireLt1951Firehouse.com Guest
Again,I wish you all the best.Have your union start a public relations campaign now,don't wait any longer.My union Board of Directors has not done very well in this area and because of this our situation is horrible to say the least.Lt. Roelans and myself have put forth a continuing battle against the administration and we have won a few(stopped some company closings)and we have lost a few(lack of equipment and supplies).We will continue our fight and hope for better results in the long run.It seems that a lot of traditional departments are being destroyed by the politicians that are only concerned about themselves and not the fire service in general.Go get em and make them pay for their asinine positions that effect us all as firefighters.
02-28-2001, 02:01 PM #16FDDC4327Firehouse.com Guest
To all my brothers/sisters who have replied I THANK YOU. Keep the questions/comments coming. I believe that this is a good forum for us all to share. Unfortunately by doing this, we have learned that this is not only a problem that effects us as DC Firefighters, but the WHOLE Fire Service. There are politicians putting "PUPPETS" in Chief's positions all over the country. I agree with the post that mentioned the fire dept. is the easiest govt. organization to cut. Because whenever that bell rings, the games stop, and we go to work.
To all my brothers and sisters in the DCFD, and across the U.S. - STAY SAFE !!
03-01-2001, 09:14 PM #17DC Bad BoyFirehouse.com Guest
The DCFD has for many years been a divided service between the fire side and the ems division. Right or wrong this has been an issue among the members for many years. Back in the mid eighties it became a requirment for new hires to become EMT's and fire trucks to run medical calls. This has become a standard of the changing times and most members have excepted the practice as a part of the job. That is not the real issue. What is becoming an issue is some of the moves our new "chief" (ha ha) has made.
In order to become a Uniformed Fire Officer in the DCFD you must take a competitive written exam based on fire department manuals, directives, NFPA standards, building codes, medical procedures and sop's etc. followed by an assesment center process that results in a register of qualified members in rank order. The list is good for two years before another exam is given and spots are filled as vacancies occur through attrition. This like most promotional exams is not without some controversy, but for the most part the most qualified members become officers and move up within the ranks.
In the civilian based ems service within the fire department the promotional process has been based on merit system and who happened to be in power at the time. With the exception of a very few who do there jobs and have the respect of there co workers the remainder are a joke. It has become more like who ya know and who ya b--w.
Chief Few has just announced the re-organization of the upper management in the DCFD. Replacing the retired 25 year veteran Assistant Fire Chief Joe Herr, who just took on the Fire Chief's job in Howard County, MD, is former Agusta, GA fire department Lieutenant Gary Garland. Thats not a bad little deal... Replacing retired Assistant Fire Chief Bill Mould, a thirty plus year veteran that was respected by all, is Danny Mott, a former ambulance supervisor who was stuffed in a closet by former Fire Chief Tom Tippet because he could not be fired under the old rules governing civilans. It is obvious to those who have a clue that Chief Few wants nothing to do with anybody that has the word tradition in there vocabulary. He is making it a practice to listen to the wrong people who have nothing in mind but to add some dollars to there pocket.
Until late there has always been a distinction between a fire officer and an ems officer. Collar brass worn by fire officers consists of bugle horns and collar brass worn by civilians has been bars. In one of Chief Fews latest orders all officers now wear the same bugle horns. This is a slap in the face to all fire officers who dedicated there lives to hours of study to better there careers in the fire service. The other day I witnessed an ambulance supervisor demand a rookie firefighter to salute him because "he was a lieutenant". Just another example of power gone to the head of an idiot.
The new chief has put his priority's in reverse and is affraid to address the real issues. He has made it clear that firefighter deaths are not all that important and that maintaining manning, making the Firefighter Intervention Search Team (F.I.S.T.) training a top priorty is not all that important. What is number one on his list is whats been told to him by the high dollar consultants. Customer service training, learning to answer the phone properly, wearing pajama's and the right color helmet so he wont get confused on the fireground. The man can do what he wants because he is the fire chief but he better start listening to those who know and not the people standing in line with there wallets open. It has been said we will all be here after he is gone, and we will, but how long will it take to pick up the pieces this time?
03-01-2001, 10:20 PM #18sefiremanFirehouse.com Guest
This latest rounds isn't only significant because it appears to undermine the current chain of command. What is really upsetting, is that we have not heard from the Chief about what the plan is. Are these promotions/reassignments/retitling permenant or temporary. Are we developing a system that will incorporate both fire and ems rank structures? Eventually we have to face that demon and make it work, but it will never work if the Chief doesn't tell us his plan. Maybe he doesn't have one.
Where's the 414 money?
I am writing to this post mostly because I hope Chief Few sees this and gets an idea what is going on in the field. Our people are good, bashing the Deputy Chiefs to Battalion Chiefs, The Battalion Chiefs to the Captains, and so on isn't productive. Our system is broke. We have good personel that have learned not to say anything, or be noticed in order to survive. Before bashing everyone he needs to work on the system.
03-01-2001, 11:04 PM #19DCFDFiremanFirehouse.com Guest
Didn't anyone see this coming from the confirmation hearings? I blame the city council and the mayor, weren't they paying attention during the hearings? Were they really duped by the dog and pony show?
For those of you who didn't see the hearings one example is that he was making up his own words!! Isn't he supposed to be educated? Does he not know the english language well enough that he finds the need to create words? After hearing him speak I would not have hired him for any job where he had to have interaction with people, let alone the public, ESPECIALLY not to represent the NATIONS CAPITOL Fire Dept.!
Maybe this is just a big joke brought to us by the City Council, maybe they thought this would be funny, I hope they are getting thier laughs. Forgive US for not laughing, we got the joke (in a big way) it is just not funny...........it is sad!
[This message has been edited by DCFDFireman (edited 03-01-2001).]
03-05-2001, 11:39 AM #20NozzleHogFirehouse.com Guest
I seem to recall another department in the DC area having a similar problem a few years back, PG County, maybe? Didn't they have an outsider Fire Chief from Georgia who was totally clueless and pretty much a public embarrassment? Didn't they gave him the boot?
If this guy is a big loser, get the word out. The best thing to have on your side is public opinion. Use the media, they love this stuff anyway, and keep the pressure on until he either gets invited to leave or just gets tired of being unwanted and quits.
Anyway brothers, stay strong, don't let the b*st*rds grind you down, or take away your tradition. This too shall pass. From everything I've heard you guys still have a well deserved rep as top-notch firemen.
03-05-2001, 08:26 PM #21feelin down uptownFirehouse.com Guest
hey nozzle hog if you can believe it the guy in pg was sitting behind few in his confirmation hearings DID EVERYONE ON THE JOB FILL OUT THE SIZE FORM FOR YOUR SLEEP WEAR????? I HAD A LOT OF FUN FILLING MINE OUT
03-05-2001, 10:54 PM #22TruckCapnFirehouse.com Guest
It's a shame to see such a traditional fire department like the DC department having these problems. Most of the surrounding juristictions around the district are having the same problems.(Staffing, Pay Raises, Promotional Problems, and hiring problems) Maybe the answer to some of the man-power issues,the staffing problems, and the overtime issues would be for the District of Columbia to start a volunteer fire department. Trained persons, like so many of Local 36's members, would be more than willing to spend some of there spare time to ride fire apparatus for free. The experience would be great. Doing this would cut down on overtime expenditures, relieve staffing shortfalls, and even solve some promotional problems as some of the equally trained VOLUNTEERS would be able to ride in the officers position, and the Chiefs position. Many of the surrounding juristictions are extremely lucky to have an abundance of Local 36 (DC Fire Department Local) members to fill similiar roles. Career Firefighters from DC have no trouble being line officers, wagon drivers, and chief officers on there days off. Some are even so dedicated that they live in local fire houses. I applaude the dedication of these Union Brothers, and look forward to the time when I can spend some of my free time to assist them in there time of need. I will be looking forward to being a DCFD VOLUNTEER!!!!!!
03-05-2001, 11:21 PM #23sefiremanFirehouse.com Guest
Remeber Chief Few is taking calls live on the air tommorrow at 1000 on WTOP. Everyone tune in and listen to the spin.
03-06-2001, 11:23 AM #24DisgruntledFiremanFirehouse.com Guest
Ok, I am currently listening to the "fire chief" on WTOP. One word.....EMBARRASSING!!!
03-06-2001, 02:21 PM #25dcfirefighterFirehouse.com Guest
What did Chief few try to say?
dont give Chief Few any ideas, He may try something else that will never work.All he needs to do is look at other FDs and see how messed up it could be. There are to many problems associated with Carrer & Vols that we dont need. Just look at PG county
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