1. #1
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    Default Parades or fire protection..which is higher concern for your dept?

    I have been a member of a few different departments in my time as a firefighter. I have noticed that a few of those departments, and their neighboring FD's, are sometimes more concerned about how nice their trucks look for parades and such. Some of them, especially in NJ, take many hours to clean and detail them to drive who knows how far out of their districts, to get a little 8" trophy to add to their collection. What troubles me is that while they are making their truck(s) perfect, they may take it out of service and run a different truck, or the night before...have someone else run their boxes. And you know thats what they do the day and day after competition.. (IE Wildwood, NJ)
    Do the taxpayers know about this FUN some of our countries vol. are having with their life and property? Not to mention $200+thousand dollar apparatus.

    what do you all think? is it necessary to risk our public for a plastic and wood trophy?
    FFJBARRIE<br />MY BROTHERS CALL ME "BOOBARRIE"

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    We always took our newest apparatus (whichever that was) to the annual 4th of July parade. But the parade was in the district, we didn't go out of service, and every other truck was still in quarters.

    When we went to out of district parades, we used our 1936 Ford LaFrance hose wagon (restored), which was not even a reserve piece. It was owned by the FF association (not the FPD).

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    I have to agree, The company I currently run with is more concerned with a trophy then firefighting. This seems to be the trend around here.I know of companys that take trucks out service a few weeks before the parade and a few also have parade hose that they pack on the truck, only for going to childwood. Now thats a waste of tax dollars.

    stay safe,
    Dave
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    It seems that the trend for parades is to send a truck instead of guys that marched.
    I have seen aerials that were 30 minutes or farther from their district in parades. The question is the prize you might get for that truck worth having it out of service. In my FD our policy is our trucks do not leave our district for parades. How would you like to explain to one of the public that lost everything to a fire why one of your trucks was out of service. Its a dangerous roll of the dice.
    FDNY never will we forget

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    It's all about reasonableness.

    I'm sure there is excesses. I have a hard time believing, though I guess it could happen, you'd have another department cover for you just to keep the truck shiny.

    One could also wonder if all that work, pride that goes into to keeping a trucking in top "parade" form spills over to careful and thorough maintenance of the mechanicals, sheet metal, etc. It doesn't take much more than a 90 day trip to be refurbed after 15 years because of neglect and a don't give a sh*t attitude to equal a bunch of individual parade days. Maybe there is a hidden benefit.

    I know there is organizations that sacrifice firefighting efficiency for trophies. There is probably more departments that build teamwork & pride in keeping their trucks in "parade form."
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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    My dept. does parades in other areas one rig only. In our area all of our rigs will be in the parade with one designated run truck depending on the call. Oh yeah and marching? That's too much like work.


    [ 08-17-2001: Message edited by: MFF ]
    Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

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    Wow, I didn't know there was that much hatred and disdain for other departments who had pride in their apparatus, fire department, members and even taxpayers.

    Never been to a parade in your OWN town where your taxpayers see your trucks shiny and clean???? I have. Ever hear your towns taxpayers remark in amazement at how well the firefighters take care of their apparatus and applaud "the trucks look great guys!!!!" I have.

    I guess alot can be said about taking apparatus out of service for certain things. My company has never taken a piece of apparatus out of service completely before a parade. If it had to roll to a call, it did. Many times we have laid hose for a fire which took a week to pack perfectly for a parade. Yes, we have taken our apparatus out of town for parades. I don't know too many associations that have the annual parade in the same town every year.

    When we take apparatus out of service to parades, we make sure we have coverage for the taxpayers. I haven't heard a complaint from my mutual aid companies yet. Actually, some of them look forward to covering us. Most of the time the apparatus is out of service to a parade for a shorter time than it is out of service for routine maintenance, but we don't complain about that do we????? Many times I have been to parades where departments have left the line of march or staging to respond to emergencies. Guess they didn't think much about winning did they???

    Yes, some departments do go a little overboard when it comes to competition. Oh no, I said the C-word......However as said previously, there is some benefit to the C-word and all of that "FUN." There is the pride of the members for their apparatus, department and town (taxpayers). There is the maintenance benefit also to some extent. A little wash, polish and paint keeps the truck and it's equipment clean at the very least it gets a complete sprucing up once or twice a year.

    Is this all for a little 8-inch plastic trophy??? I don't think so. I couldn't care less about the trophy. It's a little break from the stress of the environment of the job and a little healthy competition.

    Just my opinion.

    Engine/Rescue Lt. Kevin C. (aka Pokey)

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    hmmmm....what about those companies that take their $700,000 tillers 300 miles from home, and then roll and total them??? Hmmmmmmmmm........???!!!!!!
    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

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    I would have to agree with the mutial aide for filling boxes, thats stupid!!

    Although some departments take it to the extreme, I do agree with putting pieces in parades out of district, at least in my county. We have twice as much eqiupment than the county could possibly use at one time. For example there are a few company's that have three or for engines plus a truck or two, won't hurt to take one 20 minutes away for a few hours, what happens when the trucks down for service- you do without it! Besides it's good to be in the public eye and throw candy to the little kids.

    Don't take this the wrong way I do not agree with taking eqiupment far away or more than what can be spared in the event its needed, but does it hurt anything, not if you use moderation!!
    Firefighter/NREMT-P/Public Safety Diver
    May we ride into the darkness only to return as safe as we started!!

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    When we go to a parade, we take one truck out of service to go, and it goes out of service right before we leave. As soo as we hit back into the area, we put it back into service. We like to get the truck read to compete against other trucks.

    Also, as a benifit, you can see what other companies have who you wouldn't normally see. There might be some good ideas to "borrow" to make your trucks better, and it is a chance to make some new friends. All and all, I think it is a good thing to do. Just as long as it is not taken to the extreame with special parade hose on the trucks, and the truck taken out of service to be washed and cleaned and then not used for a week.
    Kyle
    www.chalfontfireco.com

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    We go to 3 parades a year(well 2 now that the one isnt around anymore ) No we dont get a trophy we get a ribbon saying "yup you was here"We send one truck to the parade with maybe 3 guys on it at most.Its 15 minutes away from the station where our other 4 rigs are waiting.Now taking this truck(a telesqurt) to a parade camein handy.A chief form another town saw it asked a lot of questions and 6 months later rememberd us for mutual aid(we are almost 25 miles away!!)He needed a tower and said"If it wasnt for seeing it in the parade I would have never thought of it."
    Some people posting need to lighten up sheesh.And army,who in their right mind would take a tiller 300 miles away?Just curious.

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    Originally posted by ArmyTruckCompany:
    hmmmm....what about those companies that take their $700,000 tillers 300 miles from home, and then roll and total them??? Hmmmmmmmmm........???!!!!!!
    (Before you read this, this is not a dig at ARMYTRUCKCOMPANY but a general disagreement with some of the other opinions here against taking trucks to parades)

    Is this a problem? I have not heard of many departments pulling that stunt, much less one department doing that.

    Pride in the department is a good enough reason to show off some of the equipment.

    Oh sure, there could be a call while the truck is at the parade in another town. There could be lots of things happening, or there could be nothing happening. If you worry about all the 'what if's' constantly you can worry yourself into an early grave.

    As far as the feelings of the taxpayers, I have found that very few actually know what their tax dollars went to purchase. Letting them see the equipment all neat and clean lets them at least know - if the person actually thinks about tax dollars at that moment - that your department IS taking care of the equipment. And I think I can practially guarantee that no one during a parade will be wondering if the oil was changed per schedule when they see the trucks roll by.

    As a matter of fact, our department is sending a truck to a parade tomorrow in a town about 16 miles away. They sent one to our 4th of July Parade, and we were happy to have them with us. It is the least we can do to show our support of their community and our mutual aid to send a truck of ours. We might even send TWO trucks! And guess what? The forecast for tomorrow is thunderstorms. We might get a tornado!

    Then again, we might not get a tornado! But at least we will have had some fun, shown our support for a neighboring community, and shown our pride in our department by being there.

    Sorry if I sound a little ticked about this, but this is such a tiny thing to be quibbling about, whether or not something might happen, or whether or not the taxpayers might care, or whether or not the trucks are being maintained on the inside as well as the outside. It's just too much assuming going on here.

    And you know what happens when you assume, and nobody is going to make an *** of me!

    The Doc is out now!
    General McAuliffe said it best, "Nuts".

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    Our dept. does quite a few parades, probably a couple of them a month. No, they are NOT always "local", they may be an hour or two drive.

    There is a LOT of "iron" (that's firetrucks for the uninformed) in our area and we all do parades. When one company is out we will send an engine or ladder to cover for them, and they do the same for us.

    Nobody in our area takes anything out of service to "get ready for the parade". We ALL have had the 0200 Sat. working structure fire or even the 1100 Sat. worker "just before we leave" job.

    Most of the depts. in our area take pride in our ability to fight fires AND to look good, it CAN be done. In fact, we all attend the "local" parades, those that are in our township or the townships that adjoin them, and we are always in service for them. We LOVE the competetion that we have with one another and we get along GREAT with one each other.

    As for...what about those companies that take their $700,000 tillers 300 miles from home, and then roll and total them??? that Army asked about... I don't recall the dept, BUT, last year a P.G. Md. company took their new tiller to Williamsport, PA for a parade and rolled it!

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    It was Hyattsville



    Ouch!

    btw, cost was $610,000 which is still quite a bit of change, but I suppose that's what we have insurance for!

    And I suppose if putting in a claim for $600,000 every so often is the price of having a very pride filled organization -- and one that could raise the funds to buy that ladder with no tax dollars -- that may be a cheap price.
    http://www.hyattsvillevfd.org/truck_accident.html
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    Parades: I can't even get a guy to take a piece of apparatus to a parade but when the alarm rings everyone shows up. I guess we take fire protection more serious than parades. The only parades my F.D went to this year were the ones that the Rescue Lt. and myself drove a piece to. As a matter of fact there was a parade that our Asst. Chief accepted the invite to for tonight 8/18/2001
    and nobody went.
    LEATHER FOREVER

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    CAPTAINKAOS... Consider yourself lucky... VERY lucky!! My department seems to get a better response for a parade or a softball game than we do for a call.

    I will say this about "organizational pride" etcetera: as far as I'm concerned if you want a parade piece, BUY A PARADE PIECE, with your own damn money, not with tax money. If you're going to take a crew with you on the piece, have a standby crew AT THE STATION. People don't pay taxes so you can have a toy to "pretty-up" and drag it all over hell's half acre in search of a $20 trophy, while denying the taxpayers of the service that you're there to provide.

    At a recent parade in a neighboring town, my company agreed to provide an ambulance to do standby coverage. We were informed when we got there that our rig and 2 others doing the standby would be covering for a total of 7 different areas! Each of those areas has their own rig BUT, it was out-of service in the parade! During this parade (and the after party) my rig and crew responded to 9 calls! How would you feel if your mother, father, son, or daughter needed an ambulance and you had to wait for one to respond from 3 towns away?? I dunno about you but, I'd be FUMED! This is nothing short of dereliction of duty on the part of the officers that allow apparatus to be taken out of service for a parade. I don't know about your companies or departments but, my town's by-laws mention nothing about a "duty to respond to parades" while neglecting 9-1-1 emergencies.

    I would like to add one of my "pet peeves" to this ... softball games. As I mentioned before, my dept is more likely to get a full softball team than a full engine crew and you can forget getting a crew during or after a game. Unless, of course, it's a confirmed worker, then you'll get every glory hound within a 30 mile radius dusting off his bunkers and running for a truck. In my opinion the "best" people we have are the ones that continuously respond to the calls that you KNOW are nothing but BS.

    Also, I've seen quite a few parades and I've seen the pride of those that have spent their time prepping the trucks and came back with a trophy BUT, these are the guys that haven't responded to a call since long before I joined. Parades, from what I've seen, do Jack-$hit for pride and morale. You wanna wear a uniform and march in a parade?? Join a marching band NOT a fire department!!

    Before somebody jumps in and calls me a probie or a know-it-all kid, let me shut them up, I've been doing this for almost a decade and I have yet to march in a parade or take a piece out-of-service for a parade.

    Ahhh, I feel much better now that I've vented... lol.

    FFJBarrie... my compliments on an EXCELLENT topic!

    [ 08-20-2001: Message edited by: Eng522ine ]
    Stay safe all.

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    If you've read any on my posts on this topic, you know my position...and you know why I probably couldn't get a drink of water in half the stations in New Jersey...

    Anyway,

    The first, and only, priority must be COVERAGE. I state it as a fact, because it is a fact.

    Having said that, we will occasionally take a rig out of service to a parade. More often, it's a block party, or something more than just a parade. When we do, the rig that goes is our 1972 CF Mack engine. Within our current mutual aid setup, it basically fills the spot of a second line supply/reserve piece, so it's not really missed when it's gone (we all have our specialized assignments within the MA setup, and ours is to provide the aerial support). Before we go, I confirm that (1) we have enough personnel at home to staff the remaining rigs, (2) we have no other rigs OOS, and (3) other companies in the mutual aid area are not understaffed or missing rigs that we would need to cover for with ours. If we can't meet these criteria, I'll cancel the trip. Period. If the whole company goes to a parade, it must be in our mutual aid area, where everything is in service and able to respond within a reasonable time.

    Back to the typical case...

    The engine gets a bath and general cleanup right before it leaves. As far as detailing rigs goes, I have never detailed, and never will detail, a rig for a parade. If your apparatus doesn't have a few dings, gashes & scars and doesn't have a few spots of crud that just never go away, then you're probably not using it hard enough. I like to think that, if we ever had enough money to think about keeping a brand-spakin' new parade piece in our station, we'd have the good fiscal sense not to bother. As for "white glove" inspections, I won't sit still for that nonsense. An aside...One of our mutual aid companies went to a parade a year or two ago where a judge ran a glove along the underside of the tailboard. The Chief packed up his rig, told the judge to f--- off, and went to the line of march. I'd do the same thing. And I'd enjoy it. The right way to judge apparatus is on "most functional" criteria (focused on what the rig can do), not on "best appearing" criteria (focused on how many juniors with toothbrushes had to waste their time on it the night before, when they could have been reading their IFSTA Essentials book, or something more constructive).

    Go ahead & fire away now, I can take it.

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    Thanks for your input Eng522ine, Bob Snyder, and thanks to everyone else... (also nice pic dalmation90..thankz)

    There are a lot of members, in most FD's, that are the social members...ie, softball, parades, other get togethers. They are the ones who make things difficult for other members to get things done...the best. They want something fun and easy...nothing too strenuous. In my opinion, they need to go somewhere else, because they are not there when you need them at 0200 on a BS call. I've been to many "wires, alarm systems, wash downs, etc" in the middle of the am where I get up the next day at 530am...and its always the same people...some officers, some juniors/probies, and a few select people who just plain enjoy being there.

    I thank all of the members who get up for those BS call with me at 0200. You all should be happy that you care enough, or that you love the job enough.

    Just my opinions
    FFJBARRIE<br />MY BROTHERS CALL ME "BOOBARRIE"

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    I'm against taking any taxpayer owned apparatus out of the area for a parade. I understand guys saying its pride and builts a bound working on the trucks to get them ready for a parade. One thing companys can look into is restoring an old antique fire truck, gives you something to work on as a company and no frontline pieces will be out of service. One thing to remember is always look and act professional when at a parade, you never know who's there. I've seen companys that act and dress 100% professional and I've seen others with any t-shirt they could find in the hamper on and a cold beer in there hand.
    Now who would I rather see get my tax dollars ?

    Stay safe,
    Dave
    FTM-PTB

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    For Dr Law and Ladderco_147:

    Thanks to Dalmatian 90 for making his post; I wasn't going to say it, because I figured Hyattsville was embarrassed enough. But it did happen, and most likely will happen again, especially here in the Pa/NJ/De/NY area- It is nothing for an ENTIRE DEPARTMENT to go out of service (leaving the protection to the next due) and taking everything and everyone to Wildwood NJ (Childwood) It's also nothing for these same departments to use taxpayer monies to rent entire floors of hotel rooms for their members to party in. It's nothing for a department from Pa. to take a truck (or trucks) to Long Island, NY for a parade. I remember one time when my own volunteer department took our Squad to Erie for the Pa. State convention (way the hell over on the other side of the state, a 450+ mile and eight hour ride) It does happen guys!! It will continue to happen!!

    Thanx for the Mutual Aid, Dalmatian!
    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

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    Parades, To do or not to do, that is the question. I believe departments that can afford to use a piece for a parade(s) should do so because it helps bring pride to the dept. and gets the members invovled and restores morale. It also helps keep one or several pieces cleaned. On the other hand you should never leave your district uncovered for a lenght of time. This will always be a hot topic of discussion, so as I started this blurp with
    "Parades, to do or not to do, that is the question"

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    Quote Originally Posted by motorola1225
    This will always be a hot topic of discussion, "
    With no one discussing this since 2001, I don't really see it as a hot topic.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    That's how we do it here,too.Getting out and showing the flag as it were at parades is all well and good,but since Murphy is a firefighter,the time when you most need a piece of equipment will come when you can most slowly get it there and the only two guys that know how to operate a new set of gear will not be able to respond to the tones when they go.
    Any department that does parades needs to have some folks standing by just in case the fit hits the shan while the P-rade is going on.



    Quote Originally Posted by MikeF25
    My dept. does parades in other areas one rig only. In our area all of our rigs will be in the parade with one designated run truck depending on the call. Oh yeah and marching? That's too much like work.


    [ 08-17-2001: Message edited by: MFF ]

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    We have had our rigs out of service for parades and for less fun jobs like cover for a neighboring dept while they attended funeral services for a county sheriff's deputy killed LOD.
    We also stood by the main road as the funeral procession rode by us and rendered salutes as the hearse,and family were passing by us.
    There's all sorts of reasons to go for a parade and if the resonse area is covered,there is no reason not to participate in one.

  25. #25
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    Our Department shows all of our equipment in our own Memorial Day Parade and then lets one Company go to the other local parades. This gives each Company a chance to show there stuff but does not effect our fire protection.
    When opening up the roof remember plywood comes in 4' X 8' sheets.

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