1. #1
    District Chief
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    Question Should I....or Should I Not??? Let me hear what you think.

    Ok....The old man needs a bit of input here. Figured this would be as good a place as any to get it.

    Background
    I run with a small volunteer department down here and am currently serving as a District Chief. We run about 90-100 calls a month and that number may drop a bit when a new county station is opened on our border. We are merging and becoming a part of the County Career System (surrounded by about 18 career stations) as well as 4 sitys within the County that have their own departments. AS part of the merger we will become part of the County system and therefore receive funding and training for our personnel. There are about 28 members on the roll now. The current Chief has been associated with the volunteer department for years and is also a career medic in the County we are merging with. The Assistant Chief is a firefighter with the County and has also been a member for a while. They were appointed to be in charge of the department until the merger is complete. Their job was to instill some discipline, leadership and organization and accountability to the Department. When I joined it in August of last year it was in a shambles. There was no management, leadership or control and certainly no discipline. We chose to merge with the County because they could have surrounded us and choked us out by building stations all around us and cutting off what little support we have from donations. It is definitely to our benefit to merge. The Equipment and station belongs to us and will stay. The county will pay our operating expenses and upkeep as well as remodel the building to make it more up to code. All we have to do is run the calls.

    What is the problem you ask???? (well keep reading)

    The Chief and A/C must leave when the merger is done. County rules and I chose not to get into that debate here.

    The Chief asked me the other day if he could recommend to the Career Chief that I be made the Chief of the Department(would carry an Assistant Chief Rank and report to the Chief of the other two volunteer districts). If I do not take it then the Career Chief has the right to appoint someone from another Volunteer District to the position. If we recommend someone, then the Career Chief has to give it to them unless he has good reason to pass over.

    FACTS:
    >I live 28 miles from the station (in another county even) but it is a straight shot to my district.
    >I would get to appoint my drivers and Lt.'s and possibly an District Chief. Problem is there is not much experience. There are young people there with not much experience and decent training and then there are older people there who will tell you they have "all" the training. There is no happy medium.
    >In order to be effective I would have to have good officers and I am not sure there is a good pick out of the litter
    >My job schedule is such that I travel over 8-10 counties during the day (not all the time) and sometimes out of town to conferences or meetings on business.
    >I have a family life that I won't sacrifice (even thought she is a career firefighter and although she don't quite get all that "volunteer stuff" she is ok with me being there and supportive.
    >I am starting EMT School tonight that runs 3 nights a week until November
    >Once I get my EMT there is a chance that I may get back in as a career firefighter (yes..call me stupid) at least as a part time/reserve firefighter.
    >If I do not take it, I fear that they will put in someone that will run off the folks there and the department will crumble. I do feel that a great deal of the members there have potential, they have just had no leadership and incentive not to mention no good examples to follow.

    OK>>>>>So...most of you know my background from following the forums and reading my application to the IACOJ. What do I do? Be honest...I got broad shoulders and can take it....
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  2. #2
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    Default GO FOR IT!!!!!!

    I think I know you well enough.(if that is possible thru the forums) to say that there is no freakin' way you will be satisfied with whomever they appoint. Take the challenge, call your shots, and see how it goes. As the saying goes Capt, ...uh DC......Time to put your money where your mouth is. I'd come down and work for you in a second Cap........no sweat.

    Dave

  3. #3
    IACOJ BOD
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    Default

    Agree with hfd, Cap its a long swim, but if you need a hand....

    Go for it.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

  4. #4
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    You've got my vote! What better chance to bring up those inexperienced members...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Should I....or Should I Not??? Let me hear what you think.

    Originally posted by captstanm1
    I would get to appoint my drivers and Lt.'s and possibly an District Chief. Problem is there is not much experience. There are young people there with not much experience and decent training and then there are older people there who will tell you they have "all" the training. There is no happy medium.
    1 - Take the job. If you don't then you never know what kind of YayHoo will get it.

    2 - Make the "young people" your Lt's - based on you're description these are the ones most apt to learn from you and do things the right way.

    3 - Make drivers from the "older people". There probably more experienced handling the rigs anyway and less likely to do "dammage" in the command structure here.

    If any of the "older people" question these actions just tell them it's so the young people can get more experience while you're looking after them.

    And as was said before - I'm always open to a career change if you need a hand.
    Take Care - Stay Safe - God Bless
    Stephen
    FF/Paramedic
    Instructor

  6. #6
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    Default

    >I live 28 miles from the station (in another county even) but it is >a straight shot to my district.

    I live 28 miles from my work, too. So do lots of people. It's no big deal.

    >I would get to appoint my drivers and Lt.'s and possibly an District >Chief. Problem is there is not much experience.

    The thing with experience is that it doesn't last. In a couple of years, your inexperienced officers will be experienced ones.

    >In order to be effective I would have to have good officers and I am >not sure there is a good pick out of the litter
    this is a tough issue. Pick the best ones, and make sure they train alot.

    >I am starting EMT School tonight that runs 3 nights a week until >November
    So you'll have three busy nights a week for a few months. You can handle it, and in the long run, it is well worth it to have an EMT liscense.

    >If I do not take it, I fear that they will put in someone that will >run off the folks there and the department will crumble.

    yet another reason to take it. How would you feel taking orders from some idiot, when you know you could do his job better than he can (and when you know the community would be better off with you in charge)?

    Take the job. If you don't like it, leave it. If you do like it, everyone (you, the firefighters, and the community) is better off.

    Better you take the job, hate it, and leave, than wonder what it would have been like ten years from now when it's too late.

    good luck! let us know how it goes.

  7. #7
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    Remember all those times you have thought or said, "If I'm ever in charge..."?

    Now's your chance.

    If you don't take the opportunity now, you may never get another chance.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  8. #8
    iceman4442
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    Thumbs up

    Far be it from me to break the so far unanimous support!

    You're likely to be far more effective at "bringing up" the younger personnel into effective leaders by choosing them and making sure they get properly trained than anyone else that may be appointed if you don't take it.

    I wouldn't know you if I met you on the street, but from what I've seen in these forums, I think you've got a lot more on the ball than most - use it to help the department!

    I also get the impression that I'd come out and work for you in a heartbeat, and I bet most of the people in your department (at least the ones that don't keep their heads in a certain orifice) will also give you their best.

    Just my humble opinion.

    Good luck!

  9. #9
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    Default We interrupt this thread for a message from the President of the IACOJ....

    Go for it!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  10. #10
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    GO FOR IT !!!!!!!
    You bring years of experience and knowledge to the table. Make time for it, surround yourself with knowledgable people, and get a person that you can trust completely to be your right hand man to do when you aren't there. Also use the oppurtunity of county funding to get the future stars of the dept. up to par with training and knowledge so they will blossom. No better choice in my opinion!!!
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

    Edward F. Croker
    Chief 1899-1911
    Fire Dept. City of New York

    HOOK N' CAN of the I.A.C.O.J.

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up

    CaptStanm

    I am not sure if my opinion matters Cap, but since I have been reading these forums, I have learned a lot just from reading your posts. Since I only know you through what I read here, I see a very knowledgeable, experienced man with his heart in the right place and someone who is very committed to the Fire Service.


    Go for it CaptStan! They could not ask for a better man. If I could jump on a plane and come work for you I would!



  12. #12
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    Thumbs up Go for it!!!!!!

    I think Asst Chief Stan has a nice ring to it. Kinda rolls of the tongue.......
    Guinness....a meal in a can!
    IACOJ, Flatlander Division

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up

    Stan...hmmm Let me sleep on this one, my friend. I've been doing interior redecorating for the last 16 hours...so, when I have a clear mind...I'll post or E-mail you! Sounds like a challenge...and if I know you, there's white leather in your future.

    See ya Tuesday...figuratively speaking!

    Ed
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  14. #14
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    Default

    Based on reading your other posts, it sounds like you'd really like the challenge of the new position.

    If you chose to let someone else take the postion, would you remain with your volunteer department ? If so, could you support the new AC and all their decisions ?

    Personally, I think you'd rather sing Frank Sinatra's song "I did it my way" rather than "What might have been."

    Good Luck
    BE SAFE
    Before Everything, Stop And First Evaluate

  15. #15
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    Thumbs up The Brightest Stars...

    The old saying goes that "the brigtest stars emerge in the darkest of nights."

    I added on, "and they shine solidly until the dawn of the new day."

    Go for it... I, as many others who have posted before me, have faith in your character as much as I can have through the forums.
    I.A.C.O.J. Postman

    "This parcel is in clear violation of article 11 of the US postal code..."

    "For the most loving care, mark your packages with the word... Guinness."

  16. #16
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    Default Chief CaptStanm

    Your posts are thoughtful and show a love and KNOWLEDGE of the fire service. That is sorely needed in a VFD with young willing firefighters. Train them and pick those with the potential for your officers, most older folks would not mind the driver/enginer position--keeps them in but not such a strain on them. As you know being the chief will put more demands on you but I'll bet if you don't take the position you will always look back and wonder should I have. As others have said--GO FOR IT.

  17. #17
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    Default Go For It - if you think you can suceed

    Stan,
    On the face of it, this is an ideal challenge: the opportunity to take a department and shape it into a quality organization. I'd love to have this kind of opportunity, so I'd say go for it. However, I'm old enough and have had enough experiences where enthusiasm wasn't sufficient, so there are several things I'd recommend pondering:
    • How will the membership respond? You clearly have the support of the current Chief & A/C, which is a very strong positive. But, they'll be out of the picture. If you can have the support of at least half, or better yet, most of the membership, things will be OK. They'll be some folks who will be troublesome. You just need to have enough backing you that you have a chance to succeed.
    • Who will run scenes when you're not there? Is there someone competent? You'll be at least 30 minutes out if you're coming from home. Those 1st 30 minutes will make/break the incident. If there's no one, it won't be worth cleaning up the messes, and mutual aid companies will spread the word that your department is bad.
    • Is there any compensation for the time you'll be putting in? If you're going to be that far from home that much, there should be. It's not like many volunteers who are under 5 min from the station.
    • Can you delay the cut-over until EMT class is done? Or, can you negotiate some delay in the chief & A/C moving out? That will lessen the burden on you and increase the chances of starting off on the right foot. November is that far off, maybe the higher-ups will go for that.
    • How supportive will your girlfriend remain if being chief doesn't contribute to your relationship: money for the family, personal satisfaction making you more fun to be around, etc?
    • How will neighboring juridictions react to you responding hot from home through their territories? Will you have a marked vehicle to help with this?
    If you get good answers to these questions, especially the support of the membership, I'd say go for it. It's a rare opportunity and your heart & head are in the right place to do it well.
    Proud to be honored with IACOJ membership. Blessed by TWO meals cooked by Cheffie - a true culinary goddess. Expressing my own views, not my organization's.

  18. #18
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    Default Crunch time

    Cap, there are some serios things to consider here, and I would leave my heart out of it, were I you.
    Answer these questions:
    In the last two months -
    1. How many incidents have you been able to attend compared to how many the department has made?
    One fourth, give yourself 1 point.
    One half, 2 points.
    Three quaters, 3 points.
    All, 4 points.

    2. How often were you at the station or in the district when an incident arose?
    Less than one fourth, 0 points.
    One fourth, 1 point.
    One half, 2 points.
    Three quaters, 3 points.
    All, 4 points.

    3. Have many members have always arrived onscene before you?
    One fourth, 2 points.
    One half, 1 point.
    Three quaters, -1 points.
    All, -2 points.

    4. How many training sessions have you managed to attend?
    One fourth, 1 point.
    One half, 2 points.
    Three quaters, 3 points.
    All, 4 points.


    The total possible score is 14. If you scored less than 6, I think you know the answer.
    See You At The Big One

  19. #19
    District Chief
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    Default

    hmmmmmmm....I am humbled by the support and the comments. But as a good friend once said...."I aint all that!" I am just a guy who finally woke up and learned some lessons from my mistakes and those of others.

    To answer a few questions....

    I am not sure the availability of a marked car...and really is not an issue for me. I can probably get there as quick by going stealth...LOL

    There is no compensation except that of self satisfaction

    I imagine my girlfriend would support me because she is a firefighter and knows my love for the "job"

    Fireman George.....The incidents we mostly run are EMS...a few fires here and there. Perhaps one actual stucture fire in a month...sometimes less. A few MVAs and auto fires. In the 12 months I have been there there is not one fire that has been more than what I consider a "bread and butter" fire. Nothing major at all. Unless you consider a fully involved double wide or a fully involved motor home in a nudist colony to be major. Area is predominantly residential with perhaps 15% commercial. No industry... So...give me between 7-9 points. But...keep in mind....I keep my distance (intentionally) from the Chief because he is the king of micro management and is also a paragod in some folks eyes.

    No..the merger can not be delayed... It will take final effect on Oct 1 (+/-) and once that happens....by county rules and regs the Chief and current A/C are gone.

    If I do not take it there are potentially one or two "undesirables" who are "wanting it." One of the may be qualified, but he has not run a call in over 6 months and has even been to less training and I question his health.... The other...well...let's just say not enough print space to describe that one...

    Thanks again for all the input...Reading and digesting it... Have to have an answer for Chief by 8/11.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  20. #20
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    GO FOR IT, CAP!!!

    You can add me to the list of those who'd be happy to work for ya...
    Remember the brothers... FDNY 9/11/01

    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB-KTF

    I.A.C.O.J. for LIFE!

  21. #21
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    If you don't do it. You will never, ever know what it would have been like.
    United Kingdom branch, IACOJ.

  22. #22
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    Default TAKE IT

    TAKE IT! YOU THE DADDY!...LOL
    YOU THE DADDY!!....
    Musta been some other blonde...

  23. #23
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    Thumbs up Take it!

    Take the job, Cap.
    You will regret it if you don't.
    You Still The Man!

    Be Safe, All

    Jim Mc RN-C FF/EMT

  24. #24
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    Capt

    I have learned a tremendous amount from you both from emails from your posts here. It is your love and dedication to the FD that makes you a great asset to it. I'm sure at some point all of us will look back and wonder if we REALLY made a difference. You have the opportunity here to do that. Experience can NEVER be replaced, but you have the chance to mold and shape a great many people, to instill in them the same love and dedication to the FD that you have, to give them things that are no longer taught, to pass on the traditions of the Brotherhood. If only one of those 'young' ones is hungry and wants to learn, wouldn't that make it worth it? If the life experience you can pass on, keeps one of them from being hurt or killed, wouldn't that make it worth it?

    I'm sure it must be a difficult decision for you, but from where I sit. It would be a well deserved honour to call you Assistant Chief. Good luck

  25. #25
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    Cap,

    Reading what you have said on here, I would venture a guess that the current leadership of your department knows that you are the man to lead the dept in this new era. From what I have seen of your posts...I would tend to agree with the majority here and think that you are the man for the job ahead. Anytime there is major organizational change within a fire department..there is some sort of turmoil...and I would venture a guess that the current chief knows that you are a man that the members of the department respect, and that they would follow you no matter what. As far as your officers...not knowing the situation as a whole...I would suggest thatyou chose them based on what your gut tells you about who would step up and lead the troops. Training and years of service are good indicators....but we have all dealt with people who had all the right training, years of experience...but couldn't lead a bulldog into a meat market. God bless you no matter what you choose!

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