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  1. #1
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    Feb 2001
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    Nevada, Missouri
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    Question Good-old-boy volunteer departments...

    What do you do? I have been a member of this department for about a year. Most of the active firefighters will not attend training (they think they know it all). The only thing the department has ever owned have been brush trucks. Finally built up a tanker this year though. The membership will not vote to spend any money on new bunker gear (the current set of gear are 12 years old). We are facing growing challenges of structure fires (25% of our fire calls this year), MVA's, car fires, HAZMAT incidents, and all the other "big city" problems rarely faced in this rural area before. I am in need of advice on how to get people to come to training, and how to get them to invest in the eqipment that is needed. Thanks!
    Gabriel
    FF/EMT
    Nevada, Missouri
    1*


  2. #2
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Feb 2001
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    Dauphin County, PA
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    Post

    Approach the city council with ISO as an idea to lower fire insurance rates for homeowners in the town. If they are willing to get the ISO rating up (down), then training and new equipment will be required. I hate worrying about ISO, but it can be helpful.

    Stay Safe

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber NCRSQ751's Avatar
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    Aug 1999
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    Clemmons, NC
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    I would love to see your current ISO rating!

    Are you self insured? If not and if you are insured through VFIS you have another option. They will do a voluntary audit where they come in, explore your safety practices, SOP's building, trucks etc. and tell you where you have safety and liability issues. This covers everything from bald tires on the trucks, old PPE, lack of training programs, SOP's to electrical hazards in the building.

    It sounds scary but it's not punative. I did it with my department and it gave me the backing I needed to get money from our board to make some badly needed changes. They saw potential liabilities ($$) etc. that were cheaper to fix than have around. They are also not going to come in and tell you what's wrong and leave. They give you the tools and assistance to do so from example documents to helping you find sources for what you need.
    Susan Lounsbury
    Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
    Griffith Volunteer FD

  4. #4
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    Post

    Thanks for the help. I forgot to mention we are in an unincorporated town and have an ISO 10 rating that has to be loewred by september. Our insurance is split between forest service and someone else.
    Gabriel
    FF/EMT
    Nevada, Missouri
    1*

  5. #5
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    Jun 2001
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    Illinois
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    Post

    Here is one word for ya.


    OSHA
    Proud to be IACOJ Illinois Chapter--Deemed "Crustworthy" Jan, 2003

  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Mar 2000
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    Stratford, N.J.
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    Sounds like you're in a bad situation ~ This issue needs to be brought up to someone with in city or town management and quick....before somebody gets hurt or worse.....and I won't mention that word...We lost enough Firefighters in 2001
    ***The Opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect those of the Department to which I am a Member ! ***

    Stratford Fire Co. # 1.."Any Job ~ Any Place ~ Any Time"

    Check us Out www.stratfordfire.com

  7. #7
    Junior Member fire266's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
    Location
    Central KY
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    9

    Post

    Smoke, you have to burn stuff in training, no one wants to be the one that stands around the Fire house listening to others talk about the last training(ie "how big the fire was, who did what...the mishaps that happen, who was toughest blah blah blah...etc...") Active fire fighters will think they know everything until they hear the others that attended training talking about the fire. Your only considered the leader (or best) at something if people see you doing it, this will get the "active" fire fighters to participate, they want to be leaders in what they consider "real situations", so give it to them.
    Now how do you burn stuff??? Obviously finding an old house to burn is great, but there are more ways, we contacted a local junk yard and they gave us a car to burn (the local wrecker service even hauled it to a site for us, and hauled it back when we were through), you can obtain lumber and dry wall from local places (ie Lowes, local hardware places)usually for free or reduced prices. We built a "set" that had three walls, a floor, and a roof, put in an old couch, mattress and table and burnt this in our parking lot, anything to let them see fire. (they rode in on the trucks with SCBA and pulled hose to extinguish the fire). We also got the local garbage hauler to donate a dumpster to do burns(good for hose pulling exercises--and pump operators--ie quick fire attack).
    Finally people started showing up at trainings for us.
    As for the purchasing of gear, the more they participate in 'live fire" training the more they will see the need for protective equipment.
    Just my thoughts, Good luck!!
    Michael W. Gorley C.F.P.S.
    SAFETY FIRST! / Certified Fire Protection Specialist (NFPA) /Fire Fighter

  8. #8
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    Feb 2001
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    Nevada, Missouri
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    Red face

    Thanks for the advice guys. A few more problems are our budget, which is very little. We have no incorporated city. Im working with the training officer to get some stuff going. Im also trying to get our SOP updated.
    Gabriel
    FF/EMT
    Nevada, Missouri
    1*

  9. #9
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    Dec 1998
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    Black Hawk VFD, South Dakota
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    Two other sources for free stuff to burn. Check with local businesses for used wood pallets. You can make some pretty good fires with them.

    Household moving companies sometimes have "overseas or storage crates" that are used to pack household goods. They are typically about six feet long three to four feet wide and five to six feet high. They will normally donate them when they are no longer suitable for their use.

    You can use either to make "structures" to burn.

    These should be used only for exterior operations and no interior ops allowed. They are all wood and burn fairly rapidly.

    They do allow size up, attack decisions, water supply to the engine (hydrant or tender-tanker) supply, use of turnouts and scba.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    Dec 2000
    Location
    Little Hocking, Ohio
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    17

    Post

    Smoke,

    I to am from a department that is not in a "city". We work with what is called a Township, This is a part of a county that has been broken down into smaller sections. Eack township recieves money from the county goverment who get it from the state. Townships of counties are required to set aside a certian percent of incoming money for fire protection along with roads and bridges and a generial fund. I suggest you find where your money is coming from and find how much is avaible. At your next business meeting make motions to purchas new equiptment ( not all at once - a little at a time). If this don't work then you can present to the owners of the dept, being township trustees or the county commisioners and state your case that your department officers are unwilling to upgrade your department and that you think that it is unsafe. Gather all the info you can for your presentation. All the above info from the other replys will also be useable.
    On the subject of non-attendance, we have in our by-laws that you must attend at least 2 meetings a month (we have meetings every Wednsday). If a 3 month period occurs that these rules have not been met then actions are taken, verbial first, written second and upon 3rd offence dissimisial from the department. Certian allowances are made for things like sickness, work and things like that, you'll have to be the judge of those. You will weed out the ones that are only there for the sirens and in the long run increase your respect with the community as a serious fire dept and not a good old boys club. We currently replace our gear at a rate of 5 sets a year. We issue the new gear to the most active members of the last year, sort of incentive for the slackers. Yes we have slackers, but they don't usually hang around for long. We have a rooster fo 37 members at this time.
    You need to create interesting training to keep intrest. Go to local fire schools, require of those who go to return to the station and do a training on the class that they took. Do live burns, mock auto accidents with patients, anything that your dept will possiably face, get everyone involved. Have speakers come in and give lectures. Area hospitals, Lifeflight, Department of Natural Resources local law inforcment and others. The National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg MD. has state weekends avaible, they provide transportation to and from. The weekend is cheap - ckeck into it for your state.
    The above mentioned OSHA and ISO are probally your 2 best sources for help. Good luck.

    If your interested we have a web site at
    www.frognet.net/~chev/lhvfd/home.htm
    We also just went through an ISO audit and with a little fine tuning and an reapprasial from ISO we should be able to achieve a ration of 4
    Lt. Homer

  11. #11
    Senior Member
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    Oct 2001
    Location
    tilltonsville ohio
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    Post

    Smoke, I see in your last reply that your trainig officer and yourself are discussing items. Well, at least you are going through the system correctly.
    Start with the training officer if you have one. Basically, always - always follow the chain of command structure within your department. If not, chances of that old boy fire department ridding themselves of you is obvious. It happens, and no matter if the powers that be are correct or not, they will have ya removed one way or another.
    So it also says, you have a little more than a year in the fire service. Glad to have ya aboard! But remember this. In an unincorporated area as yours, the fire department generally is the center focus of the community, and chances are that most of the powers that be have been in the fire department since they were young. They all could probably tell you about the big ones and who has done what in the town and community, and they also can tell you that nothing happens in small towns compared to the big cities.
    They can also pretty much convince the rest of the folks in the department that there is not a need to do things like our big brothers,or to purchase equipment like them either, because those rules and regulations from NFPA, ISO, OSHA, and the like are only for the departments that are big.
    It makes it tough when you do not have a council or government administration that you could talk with over the concerns you have for the well being of yourself, the members, and the department as a whole. What we did long ago, when I was a member of a department that resembles yours was to discuss the problems through with the powers that be, and to prove to them that Fires BURN Just As Hot Here as they do in Chicago, New York, or wherever. We agreed that we do not have the size of buildings as they do, but that the interior gets as hot here as it does there. We actually burned buidlings as was mentioned before and we monitored the temps to prove it.
    We had a company come in with demo gear and we utilized our older gear and the newer gear and we tested it also. ANything we could get our hands on to test against the old school of thought we did. The other things we did was to train using older tactics and then we went and used newer strategies and tactics.
    Through all of our trainings we kept the classes fun and we made sure we hade involvement from those powers that be. The key being fun.
    Once we completd these trainings scenerios we all got together and discussed them amongst the entire membership openly. That department still is in the process of advancing, but they at least now have the attention of those powers that be, and they even have them attending off site trainings, and even expo's. In fact the whole department has gotten more involved and they are still seeking ways to fund all the needed changes.
    This part does not come overnight. Beg and Borrow all that you can. Implement a Fire district within your area that enables you to recieve money. Charging for calls, and fund raisiers help, as does seeking and applying for grants.
    The other thing to remember is that the word "no" shouldn't be in your vocabulary. Keep trying and keep doing it for the right reasons.

  12. #12
    Member
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    May 2001
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    45

    Thumbs up

    Hey Smoke,reference the good ole boys,I wish we could get some good ole boys.We are getting old and broke down due to illness,work ,ect.In our small department we talk about passed fires.We teach others what we did wrong 30 years ago.2 of us are level 2 instructors.Our young folks find it hard to belive that we would go into a house with a long bunker coat,pull up boots and no BA.That may be why we are broke down.We do train.We don't do that any more.We are a small department in a farming community with subdivision's taking over prime farm land.Over 50 percent of runs are wildland fires.We train more on structure fires than grass fires.But you can get kill on a grass & woods fire just as easy as a structure fire.Smoke I wish I knew the answer to your problem.Sure is hard to get people to attend training due to all of the other things going on.We have had to stand at the crossroads(ROADBLOCKS) and beg money to pay bills.Thank goodness we don't have to do that now.Don't kick us oldtimers very hard.When you have put in 25 to 30 years in then you can look back and see what I mean.By the way I wish I got new gear ever 12 years.We try to rotate our pagers out at least 3 a year and buy new bunker gear as needed.DON'T YOU ever think that you know it all in 1 year.Take old timer's advise.Go by the chain of command.If you don't you will find out you will ALWAYS be on the bottom of the roster and for sure don't go behind the Chief's back as the old timer said you just may get voted out of the department.

  13. #13
    Junior Member capt flaps's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
    Location
    south jersey
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    11

    Cool

    Lately we have been doing alot of pre-planning type drills. they can be quite boring at times and can get old real quick.Starting now my second year as captain,i have been scheduling more working drills.The older guys never have problems,ithink if they respect your rank,most of them will follow your lead.I was always told to listen to the old timers,and it has paid off.

    We have a sign in the house that reads this.

    "The old timers never get hurt,i'ts the new guys you gotta watch."

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