Thread: Needing a outside view..
07-30-2002, 10:29 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jul 2002
Needing a outside view..
I am looking for some views that are from outside our dept. I have belonged to the local rural fire dept for about 7 years now. Within the last year to two I have had alot of heart burn with the dept over managment issues. We had a good chief (which is elected by the board) for some time but he got tired of it and with our small dept it is hard to find someone willing to take it on. So a younger member told the board he was willing to take it on. I had VERY serious doubts about this fellow taking over but to my suprise he gained his composure and actually was doing a fair job. He was pro-active with training programs, getting the dept back up to par and so on. A little back tracking here for a second. When the issue came around about needing take bridge classes to get FF1 to meet the new requirments our board and in particular one member (who by the way is also a firefighter) said "we do not need that crap, we are all volunteer here and it is just a waste of time". So needless to say we missed the bridge classes and now have to take the whole FF1 class from scratch... Anyway this young chief was trying to get us caught up on much lost training becuase the "old" group, mainly board members, have made the decision that by gosh we took this training 15 years ago and nothing has changed so we are not going to waste the time and money on more of it.
The new guy was going great guns when the board gave him so much flak over his ideas and training that he eventually just quit. Now one of the board members who is up there in age is now the chief. Of course he resigned from the board (once we raised the question about it) several months after taking the chief position. Get this now his Wife is the board president! Ask about getting wildland training and we get the "We are not wildland fire fireighters we are structual protection" BS. Never mind the whole district is in the "wildland" and 90 % of the fires we have are wildfires and we have 4 brush trucks. Nope we are for structure protection.
The new chief is not managment material at all, he gets frustrated even at simple fires, cannot manage people and to top it all off is not even a FF1, not taken basic ICS and the list goes on.
To say the least I am extremly frustrated. We are totally stagnant with training (especially in house training, I mean how many time can we go over the trucks) morale is very low, I and most of the firefighters are not at all confident with our managment and we feel that with current board/chief we cannot get anything to change.
When I first started we had a great training officer, the chief was OK, the crew and morale were high and we were proactive.
Let me know what some of you think about this, I am almost ready to quit at times but am hanging on for a while longer.
Sorry for being so long winded, I could go on but you get the idea.
07-30-2002, 10:57 PM #2
It really, really sucks when the dinosaurs take over....
"we do not need that crap, we are all volunteer here and it is just a waste of time".
You are not alone...this happens all over the country. All you can do is keep current, train on your own if you have to and hang in there!"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
07-30-2002, 11:25 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jul 2002
- League City Texas
How does your board get appointed? Sounds like that is the target zone since they are the ones holding you back. Plus are your opinions the majority or minority through out the department?
I feel for you sounds like not matter what it's long haul to make the changes. Hope yourself and those that share you views are up to the task. It's as Gonzon stated Dinosaurs like these that will kill a volunteer department.Stevejd
07-31-2002, 06:23 AM #4
- Join Date
- Jun 1999
There are several things you've mentioned that disturb me.
Having people say "we do not need that crap, we are all volunteer here and it is just a waste of time". That mentallity is inexcusable. Even though it may be a volunteer dept, that doesn't mean there is less of a chance of getting hurt. Volunteer of career, training is essential.
"We are not wildland fire fireighters we are structual protection". This is another doosie of a statement. If the conditions even remotely exist that this time of incident might take place, then get the training. What happens when you get a call for a brush fire, stay home? Or does the chief tell them "I'm sorry, we don't fight brush fires. Once your house starts burning call us back". I think the town might have something to say if that happened.
My final concern is the chief not having any ICS or even FF1. That is nothing but a recipe for disaster. Im my dept chiefs are required to take an extensive list of training courses. Everything from operational courses to comand courses. Yes, my dept is "just a bunch of volunteers". At least with the training, everyone knows that the IC will have to knowledge to do the right thing (hopefully). After all the community you serve depends on you to protect life and property. Being a good ole boy is doing neither.
07-31-2002, 09:02 AM #5
Gotta go with Stevejd, start working on the board. If they are elected, get the message out to the public. Make sure you have a core group of members that believe in changing things, you can't go at this all alone as you will most likely lose that battle. Do some searching on these forums for the Lairdsville incident and print that for the board members. Ask them if they want that kind of situation where you are. Fires have changed, they are not the same as they were 20 years ago when I joined. Training is essential.
07-31-2002, 09:29 AM #6
- Join Date
- Apr 2002
- Happy Valley, South Australia
I don't know your situation but if its possible introduce minimum standards for your chiefs position.
If this isn't possible and you and all the others have exhausted all other angles then you may have to go public with these problems eg to a council meeting or news papers.
Once the public knows whats happening then those people that are your troubles may get embarresed into changing or you may find you get an ultimatum from the chief( which I have experienced before but not in the same situation)what it will be I don't know.
This situation is hard I have felt like quiting after being in a bind like you are now but you need to hang in there, for the community and for yourself, after all you joined to help out and enjoy yourself so don't let this ruin it for you, it will get better !These are my personal views and not those of my service.
07-31-2002, 06:43 PM #7
- Join Date
- Jul 2002
A little more
Thanks for the replies, makes me feel a little better knowing that we are not the only ones that are going/ have gone through this.
To answer/reply to some of you. Yes the board is elected by the people in the district. And working from that angle might be a appoach to take! Its funny that dunj should bring up minimum standards, the young chief tried this approach and was shot down with prejuduce. He was also trying to inact some fire codes for our district (which we have not had) and again ran into the "what do you need those for" attitude.
All the firefighter I have talked to share my views except for perhaps two of the older group who like things to never change. We have even talked about passing around a petition for a vote of no confidence but I think that many are afraid of hurting the feelings of these older guys who have been there since the department was started 20 some years ago.
On the wildland issue- yes we have MUCH potential for wildfires, all the district is in either sage or timber.
I read some on the Incident in NY. Sounds like something we could have happen for sure.
Here is a little story about some of our wildland fires- We get a call about a fire, the same croud that said we do not need training on wildland is the first to run to the head of the fire with a brush truck that carries 200 gal of water with a 20 mph wind driving the fire through very dry grass/brush, flame length of around 20-30ft and no backup engine behind them! Then get upset at me when I tell them at the critigue at the next meeting that things should not be done that way, ever heard of flanking? I have seen this happen at LEAST 4 times in the last 2 years. Makes my hair stand on end when I see a truck go out in front of a fire like that...
I will get off my soapbox, It does feel good to vent though!
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