Volunteer Officers Commanding Career Personnel #2
I have been reading this topic for a few days now and would like to add some items for consideration. First off let me explain my fire service background. I started as a volunteer for an all volunteer department within an all volunteer county. I was hired as a career firefighter in an all career department that was a 100% union firehouse. I was an IAFF member for several years until I applied for a management position and was promoted out of my local. I currently serve as Fire Chief of my all career Department and also serve as Fire Chief in my all Volunteer Department. Enough of my background, I did not want to be told to get out of the Career Forum. In regards to the original question, has anyone considered the term " Authority having jurisdiction"? In my opinion whoever is the AHJ of the incident would therefore be considered the person responsible for the decision making on the fireground. If a jurisdiction responds to an incident that would cause them to take orders from an officer (volunteer or career) from another jurisdiction then a Mutual Aid Agreement should be in place that outlines the questions of authority on this type of response. I know this because I have several Mutual Aid Agreements in place at my career department with both career and volunteer departments. There is no question on the chain of command due to the term Authority Having Jurisdiction is outlined in the agreement as well as several other regulatory documents such as OSHA and NFPA. If you are the officer of a career unit that is responding to an incident in a volunteer district you are in a bad spot. As the officer you are also acting as management to your firefighters, which means you have the responsibility as the employer to protect your employees. This means if you are told to accomplish a task that is given by someone in another jurisdiction (career or volunteer) that will place your employees under your command in an unsafe situation, you have the right to question this command. If you do not and something happens you can bet you and the incident commander will have some very tough questions to answer. The only advice I can give is please protect your troops. I have seen several near misses caused by the leadership of both career and volunteer departments. Again, If you feel that an officer of another jurisdiction is not qualified to render safe and prudent judgment during an incident you better make sure this is addressed in a Mutual Aid Agreement. The fireground is not a place to hash this out.
Blue Grass Army Depot