Thread: Making a Change
03-09-2000, 03:50 PM #1Kelly ToolFirehouse.com Guest
Making a Change
If any one has read "Your Opinion-Alcohol" this is along the same lines. My question is has any one been through a change in there department where the got rid of the alcohol/bar and what happened because of it? My department currently has a bar and yes it has caused problems. Do you think departments that have a bar should get rid of them, and what do you think the effects of this would be?
Put the wet stuff on the red stuff!
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03-10-2000, 12:58 PM #2Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
I'm currently with a fire company that has both firefighting operations (engine crew) and a bar/banquet hall operation (social quarters). They operate on adjacent properties, but in completely seperate buildings with seperate access, seperate bank accounts, etc. Around us, there are other "combined" companies like us, a few that never had a bar operation of any kind, and some that have seperated from their social quarters (split the corporation entirely).
In the combined companies, including ours, there is always some kind of tension. Ideally, the social quarters provides a social diversion and makes money for the fire fighting operation along the way and social members realize that that's their role. In reality, social members and fire fighters just simply have different priorities for the organization, and they are going to come into conflict periodically. By keeping the two operations as seperate as possible, particularly in terms of buildings and bank accounts, we've managed to minimize our problems compared to other companies I know of that share everything. We also restricted the election of fire officers to the realm of the engine crew some years ago, making fire ops an isolated group that only has contact with the social quarters when it wants to. Some of us cross over and are active on "both sides of the street", and that's both good and bad, too. Some social members appreciate that we take an interest in helping out with the social operation, others resent those of us that have positions of authority on that side. It's a delicate balance that can be mutually beneficial, both financially and in recruiting, if it's carefully managed.
As for the companies that have seperated, there have been mixed results. Some are thrilled that they no longer have the headaches of the social operation, some really miss the income but not the relationship, and some wish they had their social quarters back again. It has alot to do with why they break up. Those that break up for purely financial reasons (the social quarters isn't making money) often regret it after someone turns the social operation around. Those that break up over feuding between the constituencies involved usually are happy it's all over.
Our social quarters is currently holding its own, but just barely. There are those that want to kill it, those that want to undertake a renovation and find alternate uses (rentals) for parts of the building, and those that want the status quo. We'll keep trying to make it go and make it a money-maker, but if the checkbook on the social quarters side gets to zero, it'll close. The jury's still out on what happens next, but in my opinion, there's no reason to close it if it's not hurting fire ops and every reason to close it if it were (or would soon be) hurting fire ops. Think it over first, though. Don't let your long-run organizational decision be driven by temporary conflicts with a few drunken fools...we've always found that a few strategic terminations of memberships can clear up problems with trouble-makers in both social and fire operations really quick.
03-10-2000, 08:42 PM #3SNOWMANFirehouse.com Guest
Our FD removed all alcohol from the stations about 4 years ago. We couldn't be happier! Now, I'm not a tee-totaler.....I enjoy a cold beer at the end of a long hot day, but alcohol has NO place in the Fire Station. We don't tell our guys that they can't drink...they just can't drink at the stations. We made a little deal with the local taverns ----- they don't buy fire trucks and we won't serve alcohol!! So far the arrangement has worked out very well. Stay safe (and get rid of the alcohol!)
03-10-2000, 09:55 PM #4J.B.GoffFirehouse.com Guest
Well, I cant believe this is even an issue! Why should we, the people who protect other people, even be near the stuff. Alcohol and firefighters dont mix and as corny as that sounds its true!
Furthermore, why? Whats the purpose of even having it there? And whose gonna tell me that if they've had a couple a drinks and the tones drop that they wont try to talk themselves out of not going? Thats crap!
Get rid of it! Make it a "boys" night out instead. Its not only professional, it takes the liability out of the possibilities!
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