Thread: Your Opinion - Alcohol
01-18-2000, 03:22 PM #1mtnfireguyFirehouse.com Guest
Your Opinion - Alcohol
What is your opinion of alcohol being allowed in the fire station?
Does your agency allow it?
Did your agency allow it at one time and now it does not?
How do you think that allowing alcohol affects your image with the public?
I am not looking to start a major debate, but just to gather some opinions from around the country. Thanks
01-18-2000, 04:05 PM #2Capt. SkippyFirehouse.com Guest
Good topic -
1. Absolutely does not belong there! Keep it where it belongs, at home or in the bar.
2. We have never allowed it, at least as far back as the mid-sixties.
3. As for public image, children list firefighters as being the most trusted behind family and friends. Doesn't seem to be an action (drinking) that most people and children associate favorably with because almost everyone knows someone who abuses alcohol and they tend to dislike the action. Additionally it tends to project the image of a "good-o-boys" drinking/social club rather than a Professional Fire Department (paid or unpaid).
In my mind there is no question - it doesn't and didn't ever belong in the firehouse.
01-18-2000, 04:24 PM #3Jim M.Firehouse.com Guest
No alcohol or any other drug anywhere near the station or at any activity. If you've had any drinks in the last 8 hours, you DON'T respond to the call. Wait for the next one.
01-18-2000, 06:28 PM #4Lieutenant GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
Alcohol does not belong in the firehouse...imagine having a drill, then staying on for a couple of cold ones then being called in for a fire...if somebody was injured or killed and they found alcohol involved, the lawyers would have a field day!
I like an occasional cold beer just as much as the next firefighter, but I have my own rule...eight hours between the bottle and the the throttle!
Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo
01-18-2000, 10:13 PM #5craig7404Firehouse.com Guest
I agree with everyone so far NO ALCOHOL in or near the fire station.
Our department policy says that no one who has drank any form of alcohol in the past 8 hours shall be at any fire dept function, including fire or rescue calls or just cleaning the station.
At far as drugs go it is not allowed, and members must agree to a drug test if it is warrented.
Our dept. has never allowed alochol it in the station.
Yes, I believe that alcohol does effect your image with the public.
I personally don't drink, because being a Captain, the rest of the dept. counts on me to command the fire scenes and make the calls with a clear mind and body, just as I count on them to have a clear mind so that they can do their jobs and we can all go home safe to our families.
Good Luck And Be Safe
[This message has been edited by craig7404 (edited January 18, 2000).]
01-18-2000, 11:16 PM #6MFD37Firehouse.com Guest
Our department doesn't allow alcohol/drugs on the premises and requires its members to abstain from consuming for at least 8 hours before responding to a call or being at the station.
We probably have about a 50/50 split of people on the department who do occasionally drink versus those who don't touch the stuff so even during "party time" (New Year's, July 4th, etc) we can still fill the trucks.
8 hours, bottle to nozzle!
01-19-2000, 10:36 AM #7hfd55Firehouse.com Guest
I agree with everyone else, there is no room for alcohol at the firehouse. One good way to look at it is, how would you feel if a bunch of poeple that were drinking responded hot on a call to help somone in your family? Do you think they could possibly help you? And all that depends on if they could get the truck there with out wrecking it.
01-19-2000, 05:04 PM #8FyredUpFirehouse.com Guest
When I first joined the volly FD in 1977 I was at a drill and went to get a cold one out of the fridge....to my amazement the only cold ones in there were beer. I asked where's the soda? I got told quick we drink beer here kid.
Fortunately, that has changed. Now there is soda and sport drinks only. The only time beer is allowed in the station is for our annual holiday dinner. That night several guys are asked not to drink and be available for runs. It has worked out well for us this way.
I think beer or alcohol in the station on a normal day to day basis sets a terrible image for the public. If we are to be trusted we must be professional in behavior. Would the public allow the police to have beer in the station? Or the DPW? I think not, so why should we?
As far as alcohol impairment on runs...if you have been drinking our policy says stay home and if an officer feels you are impaired you are removed from the fire scene.
To be honest i would prefer not even having alcohol in the station the night of our dinner....perhaps someday.
01-20-2000, 10:10 PM #9Truck 2Firehouse.com Guest
I agree with everyone else, theres no room for it in the fire service! Here in Pa. some fire depts. earn part of their operating money by having bars in the fire stations,(social clubs) and when the town fathers look at membership rolls they see all these beer drinking card holders as real firefighters! Most of these beer drinking card carriers are not real firefighters, they just belong to these organizations to be able to purchase cheap beer! What is everyones thoughts on this method of funding a Volunteer Fire Dept.?
01-20-2000, 11:28 PM #10George Wendt, CFIFirehouse.com Guest
It is interesting that there are no posts from North Jersey on here. In North Jersey, you are hard-pressed to find a fire house that does not have a bar. Many of them have some of the nicest bars you have ever seen.
IMHO, their priorities are misplaced. There should be a zero tolerance for ETOH in the fire house. There are several reasons, some obvious, some not.
First and foremost are your spouse and kids. The Federal PSOB death benefit program will fight tooth and nail against paying a claim if there is alcohol or drugs on board. That is why they require blood toxicology for the claim.
Second, look at the stuff we use. 15+ ton trucks, high pressure/high volume hoses, powerful tools, etc. They do not belong in the hands of a person who has been drinking.
Third, we are in a crunch for volunteers. Our public image suffers when vollies are perceived as beer-guzzling boobs instead of the professionals that most are.
Have I had my share of beer in the fire house? In my younger days, absolutely. But having been in the unfortunate position of investigating fires where there have been drunk FF, even drunk Chiefs, my attitude has evolved 180 degrees. I agree, no alcohol in the fire house, or in the body of anyone on the rig.
01-21-2000, 02:11 AM #11ff emt-p bleveFirehouse.com Guest
drink up its a sure way for your death benfits to be void after your fire ground death or maybe you will be lucky and need medical attention the rest of your life all because the fireground got in the way of your social life.
01-21-2000, 02:40 AM #12Truckie from MissouriFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with the above posts. Impaired personnel on duty (paid or vollie... on a call or training is on duty) is nothing but a hazard. I agree that there is no use for alcohol and the job.
With one exception.
I feel that cooking with alcohol (beer bread, marinated stuff with wine, etc.) should be allowed. The alcohol cooks out, leaving only the flavoring. I was once sent out for a bottle of wine to marinate chicken with. Not knowing much about cooking, or wine for that matter, I got a cheap bottle of red wine. The outcome was purple chicken that tasted marvelous!
I feel that just bringing in enough for the recipie and pouring the remainder down the drain is ok. Let the supervisor in on it EARLY so he/she is not broadsided. Reasonable supervisors shouldn't have a problem. My supervisors don't have a problem with it, just the department policy forbids alcohol on property. Oh well, I won't sweat it.
Proud Member of IAFF Local 3133!
All postings I have &/or will post are strictly my opinions. I am representing only myself here, not the IAFF, Local 3133, or my employer. No animals were/will be harmed from the production of this disclaimer. Thank you.
***END OF DISCLAIMER***
[This message has been edited by Truckie from Missouri (edited January 21, 2000).]
01-21-2000, 11:28 AM #13JERRY SULLIVANFirehouse.com Guest
should not even be thought of, remember this is a place and job. paid, or volly that demands your every thought, in seconds .our pledge is save lives and property. my own thoughts are if you got to have a drink , you should stay home. the fire house is a social place but its not a bar room, in the public's eyes you are looked at and depended on 24/7 and they know that you have the gutts and brains to get them out of the mess there in, lets look at it this way, if you had a heart attack, a house fire or were trapped in a car wreck and the guy helping you smelled of beer ,what would you think???????????????????? its not good . people all over the world depend on us to have the answers, and i can asure you if your drinking at a firehouse or even before you go to the f/h. you won't get 100% on the test and thats what they expect all the time 24/7 100%
these are just my own thoughts, i raised my right hand and swore to god to serve and protect lives and property.
01-22-2000, 03:43 PM #14Fyrball105Firehouse.com Guest
I got to agree with all the others, We have never allowed it in station, but had some problem with it in the past. Like all volunteer fire dept. you got to weed out some people..
01-22-2000, 10:36 PM #15craig7404Firehouse.com Guest
A bar in the fire station? Never heard of such a thing here in Texas. In my opinion I don't think that is a good idea because how would the public be sure that no firefighters had just come from the bar to the call, sorry just don't sound to good to me.
Good Luck And Be Safe
01-23-2000, 02:06 AM #16DDFirehouse.com Guest
No Alcohol in station, don't attend runs if have neen drinking.
No Drugs Anywhere, Anytime
No Smoking in House
01-25-2000, 10:24 PM #17Kelly ToolFirehouse.com Guest
You won't like this! In our department we do have a bar. Now is the shocker, i Feel it has its place, but hear me out. I my self haven't touched a drop of achohol and i am under 21 my self and still on probation, I have also seen and heard stories of people that have gotten drunk and left the fire house(ours and others) and end up in the ditch because of having one two many, but never have i heard of some one being hurt from having a few cold ones and going out on a call. In our department it is an unwritten rule that if you have had a couple you don't go on a call. I have no problem with coming back from a call or after drill and the guys having a few cold ones, I trust that they know their limits. Our (in our department) problem comes in with the associate members that can't do fire fighting, so they sit around and drink giving us a bad image. Their purpose is to help at company functions like fundraisers but they end up abusing the bar because no one tells them they have to leave. So yes it gives us a bad image. We have put it on the floor in meetings to get rid of it but there just isn't quite enough support, It isn't like the whole bar would be gone, just the beer, we would still have soda. But again i think it would be ok if certain people didn't abuse, all of which that do aren't actual FFs, the alchohol and it was kept to a minimum. I think though in the future we too will end up getting rid of the beer. I just think in an idealized setting it would work but then again who has an idealized setting?
Put the wet stuff on the red stuff!
01-25-2000, 11:14 PM #18mtnfireguyFirehouse.com Guest
What happens when one of those guys who has had "one to many" leaves the station in their private vehicle and is picked up for DUI or worse yet, has a crash and kills someone. What does that do for your image?
Who supplied the alcohol?
01-26-2000, 12:12 AM #19Dalmation90Firehouse.com Guest
We are...seriously...still known in these parts as "a bunch of ice cream eaters."
Beer dispensing machines are rapidly disappearing from the few stations that have them...but they were common in the area through the 80s.
When we merged with another company in town, one of the stipulations was the beer machine had to be out before we took control of the station.
No Alchol, No Gambling in my department though since 1947. Chief Robert H. Field was in office for only two years, but that was one of the things he did. Cost us about half the membership in the ensuing rift. And he probably made his share of enemies in tearing down the old department (notice he was chief for ONLY two years!)-- but everyone also credits him with creating the solid foundation we built our current organization on.
The ice cream eaters part comes from that we serve ice cream after the monthly business meeting -- and in the old days, the farm boys would have no problem downing an average of half a gallon per member in an evening!
And we do allow alchol (and poker) one night a year for our annual Steak Supper for members & friends of the department. But all our calls are covered by mutual aid (plus two non-drinking EMS/Ambulance crews we maintain and a couple non-drinking officers) until the next A.M. and we drive people home who need it -- by the way, our lead bartender himself doesn't drink, so he's in a good position to know whose in what shape. And trust me...I've seen a past Chief nearly pop a blood vessel when all the left over booze wasn't cleaned out of the station by noon time of the following day! One day, and one day only. Otherwise, no booze at the station. Period. End of Discussion.
01-26-2000, 07:47 PM #20colfiremanFirehouse.com Guest
Well i guess this will start some more debate.Our Fire Association has a Licienced Bar area.we have had this for the past 10 years now.before that it was 30+ yrs of unlicienced bar.i agree there is a time and place to have "a cold one".Our dept has a policy that if you've been drinking stay off the rigs.to this date we have not had any problems.We all must remember that we are GROWN adults here and we should be able to make sound,proper decisions in our life.If your not able to play fair maybe you shouldn't play at all.......
[This message has been edited by colfireman (edited January 26, 2000).]
01-26-2000, 10:58 PM #21Kelly ToolFirehouse.com Guest
Yes you make a good point. You are right, I wouldn't be all that surprised if the senerio you talk about happens. That would be the end of the bar, not just in our fire house but a lot others across the country. So here is the real question, if we can trust, after training, a person can fight fire and handle all the equipment then shouldn't we be able to trust he knows his limits with alcohol? If not then we aren't safe when that guy is sober. It is all about knowing limitations, on the job and in life.
Put the wet stuff on the red stuff!
01-27-2000, 02:09 AM #22mtnfireguyFirehouse.com Guest
Yes, we should respect a persons judgement, within reason. You are also right that this could happen at a bar, but in our state there is a law that if a bartender serves a person who is intoxicated then they become liable also.
I have no problem with the guys "going" to have a cold one after a call - at a bar. Then should another call come in, do they respond? Not in my book. Once again there are two major issues here - Image and Liability/Safety (ok, maybe three)
We owe it to the citizens to respond safely, if a driver of a piece of fire apparatus has had a cold one or two, is he safe? I let some of the others speak up on that one.
And as George said, there is the matter of the PSOB and not paying a death benefit if alcohol is involved. We owe to our families to allow them to obtain that benefit, its the least we can do if we should sacrifice our live in the line of duty
OK OK off my soapbox
01-27-2000, 11:11 PM #23George Wendt, CFIFirehouse.com Guest
>>>Yes you make a good point. You are right, I wouldn't be all that surprised if the senerio you talk about happens. That would be the end of the bar, not just in our fire house but a lot others across the country. So here is the real question, if we can trust, after training, a person can fight fire and handle all the equipment then shouldn't we be able to trust he knows his limits with alcohol? If not then we aren't safe when that guy is sober. It is all about knowing limitations, on the job and in life.<<<
Are you kidding me? Does your FD run extrication calls? Have you noticed how many people you cut out of cars who have responsible jobs that can't be trusted to control their alcohol intake? Please don't insult our intelligence.
Like I said before, in my younger days I was certainly no angel. But this is 2000 and times change. Alcohol and the fire service don't mix.
02-03-2000, 07:41 AM #24DickeyFirehouse.com Guest
No it does not belong in the fire dept. We allowed it years ago but it has not been around for 10-15 years.
If you ask any average person on the street, the common misunderstanding is still that a volunteer dept. is a "club" for beer drinking "good ol'boys" and therefore not taken seriously. We have the rule of 8 hours between your last drink and the next call you go on. Alcohol or other drugs are not acceptable and should be a "no tollerance" policy enforced.
02-03-2000, 11:51 AM #25fridayFirehouse.com Guest
Alcohol is not allowed in MFD stations- even small amounts for cooking. There is no place for it there under any circumstances, in my opinion. It's all I can do not to spit in the face of the "reponsible adults" who stagger away drunk from an MVA where the other party is injured. Capt. Dan
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