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  1. #1
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    Default Beer ban...it's about time

    I just read the article on WI volunteer fire departments banning beer in the firehouse. I say bravo, and what took so long. I am a formber member of a VFD and dealt with this issue head on with the department trustees. One night after consuming more than a few beers a department officer decided to take in a MVC. The drunk driver who tried to park his car in the woods was combative and refused to let go of the steering wheel. The drunken captain decided that a 4 ft. pry bar might persuade him. I had to have another officer remove him from the area. When I addressed this issue to those in charge, what do you think they did. Yep....not a thing!

    It is about time people realize the responsibility they have when they join ANY fire department. I challenge anyone to justify having alcohol available in the firehouse.

    I have heard all of the excuses and so called justifications. None of them hold water.

  2. #2
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    I agree. I have been in the fire service 13 years and been around it all my life. Alcohol at parties was one thing but at the station... no way! There is no need for it. I have a great time socially with my crew and other members of my department WITHOUT drinking a drop! Alot of the "excuses" are antiquated from days gone by. I agree with the statement, "Should beer be allowed in the police station or city hall?!"

    To the chief that says it is a "NECESSITY" that his department drink beer for social gatherings... that is a bunch of crap! Just my 2 cents.
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

    Captain Grant Mishoe, Curator of History
    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"
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    While I agree with you Duffman, you do realize the true irony in your screen name!

    Last edited by Dalmatian90; 11-12-2002 at 10:16 PM.

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    I just realized what you where talking about Dal... DOH!!!
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

    Captain Grant Mishoe, Curator of History
    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"
    www.legacyofheroes.org
    www.firehistory.org
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    Default

    I was just having that conversation with my dog QUIMBY

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    Cool Oh yeah!

    "New feelings...brewing in Duff Man! What would...Jesus do?"

    Living the dream...

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    "Duffman is thrusting in the direction of the problem!"
    Last edited by CollegeBuff; 11-13-2002 at 03:08 AM.

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    Arrow Meanwhile...back in Iowa

    ELGIN, Iowa (AP) - Volunteer firefighters in this northeast Iowa
    town want the city councilwoman responsible for prompting the
    removal of beer from their firehouse refrigerator out of office but
    they're not getting much help.
    The firefighters are seeking an investigation of Jean Roach
    after she alerted the city's insurance carrier about the beer.
    They removed the beer but want Roach investigated for acting
    without council approval.
    The state ombudsman said an investigation would create a
    conflict of interest for him because Roach had earlier sought
    advice from him about the issue.
    The ombudsman offered the city money to hire an arbitrator but
    City Attorney David Katsumes said there's nothing to arbitrate.
    The fire department wants Roach to resign and she has refused.
    "There's no gray to shoot for," Katsumes said. "It's either
    black or white."
    Fayette County Attorney Wayne Saur declined to investigate
    saying the conflict is strictly city business.
    Katsumes declined a council request to launch his own
    investigation because he figures taxes for half of the firefighters
    and has represented all of the council members in some fashion.
    "No matter what I decided, I would have made somebody mad," he
    said.
    Katsumes said an independent investigator could be hired at a
    cost of as much as $10,000 but it may not produce any meaningful
    results.
    Roach's attorney, Dale Putnam of Decorah, said five people could
    file a petition in district court and put the case before a judge.
    Putnam said Roach would welcome an investigation.
    "It gets back to the bottom line that there is no merit in
    these claims," he said.
    The council will likely discuss the issue at the Nov. 18
    meeting.

    (Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  9. #9
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    A few years ago I was working as a paramedic for a rural EMS system in Kansas. It was common practice for us to go into "system status" management when another unit in the county had a call. We would routinely restation at a volunteer house many miles from the more "urban" station - and interestingly this firehouse had a refrigerator in which no food could be found. It housed one of the largest collections of beer and hard liquor you could imagine. I often thought these are just the guys I want showing up at my home should my wife or kids be trapped! I like a beer or sip of hooch as much as the next guy, but come on, keep it out of our firehouses!
    Brian Rowe
    Paramedic/Engineer
    Colleton County Fire/Rescue

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    Default

    They removed the beer but want Roach investigated for acting without council approval.
    Does anyone believe this? The only reason they want her investigated is because of their precious beer.

    Believe me, I love beer. There is however, a time and a place for it. Lots of times and places in fact. The firehouse just isn't one of them.

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    We don't have beer in our fire house, but we do have it in the club house across the street.

    It is impractical to say any responder who has had 1 beer cannot respond to a call. I have had times when I opened the beer, took a drink, and we had a call. Besides myself, only one other person showed up for the call. As volunteers we never know who will show up. Suppose there was a fire on a Saturday night and no one showed because they had a beer within the last 8 hours. I believe it is a bit unrealistic to ask for 365 X 24 X 7 response, yet that is what we do. Heck, even the paid guys don't do that.

    Next, after our weekly meetings many of us go to the Club House for a beer or 2. There is usually a card game. It serves as a bit of a bonding time. It is good in that we get to know our fellow fire fighters. It has served me well, I have gotten so I know who is capable of what. I know if I go in with certain guys I'm going to be more comfortable than if I go in with some of the others. As volunteers this is the only social setting where we see some members actually interact. Believe it or not, it is good to know when some one is having trouble in their life. Divorce, family problems, fianacial problems, etc. It is good to know if your partner is stressing. And since you don't know who your partner will be on any given call, it is best to know as much as you can about the people you work with.

    Where am I going with this you ask? There has to be some sort of middle of the road solution here. Fall down stumbling drunks are of no use. At the same time, the guy that has had 2, 3, 4 or even 6 beers might still be able to function in some capacity. This is dependent upon the persons size, physical activity, metabloism, and the period of time the beers were consumed. In reality, a few beers with your co-workers is a good thing.

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    Default

    "It has served me well, I have gotten so I know who is capable of what."

    Yeah...Bob can hold ten beers, Larry can handle 11, Marvin five, Big Harry about 17...

    "Divorce, family problems, fianacial problems, etc."

    Brought on by beer drinking and sitting on one's a-double-s at the club til one in the morning...

    "There has to be some sort of middle of the road solution here."

    Since your club is across the road from your station, the only "middle of the road solution" you are likely to find is that all the drunks will get run over in the middle of the road and you will no longer have to deal with them. That's your solution.

    "At the same time, the guy that has had 2, 3, 4 or even 6 beers might still be able to function in some capacity."

    The guy who has had 0 beers WILL be able to function in ANY capacity. How many beers are OK for your doctor before he delivers your baby?

    "In reality, a few beers with your co-workers is a good thing."

    Maybe...until you go to a fire.

    I've never seen beer solve so many problems while simultaneously creating none! FEMA, please put a section in the FIRE Act for next year for "Firefighter Intoxication and Substance Abuse"! "Our proposal is for the installation of a wet bar and hiring of eight cocktail waitresses."

    If you want to drink beer, don't expect to go to a fire. Turn your pager off.
    I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.
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  13. #13
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    Default

    I hate to say this but in this day and age of litigation it doesnt really matter how many beers you had.

    It is impractical to say any responder who has had 1 beer cannot respond to a call.
    and
    Where am I going with this you ask? There has to be some sort of middle of the road solution here. Fall down stumbling drunks are of no use. At the same time, the guy that has had 2, 3, 4 or even 6 beers might still be able to function in some capacity.
    I am sure that a lawyer would love this in the court room. I am a career firefighter and they do not allow even 1 beer for us. WHY?! Because I imagine 1st and foremost if something was to happen... the city would get their ***** handed to them in a bag at the trial and 2 there is no place for alcohol on an emergency scene! Period!

    also...
    I believe it is a bit unrealistic to ask for 365 X 24 X 7 response, yet that is what we do. Heck, even the paid guys don't do that.
    No, this is not unrealistic at all. Without getting into a paid/vollie dispute, you go into this job knowing that youhave a job to do. Just because YOU cannot make it to a call doesnt mean there is no protection. I am sure you have more than one person in the department. I would not expect 1 person to make every call, that is what is unrealistic.

    and yes, paid guys do the job 364x24x7, we just do it in shifts!

    I have great respect for volunteer firefighters. They do a great job... but with images of some "rescue rangers" running balls to the wall down the road with no regard for public safety and stories of volunteers setting fires to "make the alarm" to look like a hero... does the volunteer service need another thorn in the perverbial side like "beer or alcohol" in the firehouse.

    I am not speaking gossip or lies. All of these incidents have happened quite recently and in large numbers. I think it is easier to cut the losses and stop it all together. One thing is for a fact... let a FF have a beer (doesnt matter whether or not they were drunk, just the fact they have it in their system) and then get into a wreck going to a call. God forbid kill a civilian or other FF's on the rig. A lot of people get hurt for a long time because that FF needed a beer to socialize.

    "Well your honor, it was a necessity that we drink because we needed to socialize"

    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

    Captain Grant Mishoe, Curator of History
    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"
    www.legacyofheroes.org
    www.firehistory.org
    www.sconfire.com

  14. #14
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    I know what you mean, we are going thru the same thing here and I hope we don't get it back in the station it gets abused too much..
    Peace to our fallen brothers...

    9/11/01 NYC WTC

    7/4/02 Gloucester City, NJ

    -=IACOJ=- The proof is in the crust

    ......Work hard, play hard, and always have fun along the way......

  15. #15
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    Default So, what you're saying is......

    So, what you're saying is that you don't want alcohol at the fire station?
    I am going to play devil's advocate and pose some questions to you all.
    Here in Illinois, the LAW says that fire departments can hold six(6) fundraisers a year at which alcohol can be served. They recommend getting the proper insurance.
    Is it really an issue of beer at the station or one of self control?
    How many of you have firefighters who show up on meeting or training night after they have been drinking? How many have responded to a call after they have been drinking? How many of you have had a fundraiser where you didn't sell alcohol, but your people were drinking as they served up the chili or chicken or whatever you were cooking and selling?
    Why does it make any difference if they drink at home, the tavern or the fire station? That fact is that some cannot use self control and limit their intake.
    Having beer at the fire station is a public perception problem. It damages the image when someone in the community can blame a poor performance by their fire department on excessive drinking. And when it is kept at the station, it significantly magnifies the problem.
    Keeping the beer at the fire station is a matter of convenience. For departments who drink alot, it is also cheaper. In my early days, the old guys would tell me that nothing cuts through the taste of smoke like a cold beer. Well, they must have taken in alot of smoke and had a terrible taste, because normally, they would drink until there was no more to drink! Then the arguments would come; guys would get mad at each other; someone would throw their badge on the table, curse the department and then, after a sobering moment, they were back on.
    I am not a purist. I enjoy a brewski. I am also keenly aware that people count on their firefighters to make good decisions during an emergency. It should not be done while under the influence of alcohol.
    Volunteers constantly **** and moan about getting respect from the career guys. Vollies want to be called "professionals". But not if it means getting rid of the beer at the station. We tell ourselves that we spend as much time at the station as we do our "real" job. To us, firefighting is a job. Well, how many employers allow alcohol to be stored in the fridge at work?
    Departments will do what they want. Some will keep the beer at the station. Others will have someone get upset and the beer will be banned from the station. Still others will battle with people showing up while under the influence. There is no easy solution, but a solution must be found.
    If you got on the department so you could sit at the station and drink, I will suggest that you choose a new hobby such as bartender.
    Just my opinion. I could be wrong.
    IMACOJ-coffee;black!

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    I have to laugh because back in the day, probably the 1970's, my dept. had beer in the soda machine (and no soda)....For 50 cents, you hit Coke and got Budwiser....My have the times changed.....The old timers enjoy talking about it.....We still have beer (et. al.) in the firehouse, under a padlock, for meeting nights, dinners, and parties. Once or twice a year we actually will get beer from the some of the residents for helping them with their situations or for the holidays....
    "When I was young, my ambition was to be one of the people who made a difference in this world. My hope is to leave the world a little better for my having been there."
    -- Jim Henson (1936 - 1990)

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    Not for nothing, but weren't some of the wild fires that we saw this summer set by paid people?

    We had an incident where a couple of guys got into an argument at the Clubhouse over radio communications. One guy got made and threw something at the other. Result, the thrower was banned from the Club house for 30 days.

    As for my comment 365 X 24 X 7 coverage. Vollies don't have schedules, paid guys get vacations and days off. By no menas should a paid guy drink on the job. That is no different than anyone drinking on their job. Volunteer departments don't have the same luxury that the paid guys do. Paid departments have a crew on duty, they know who will be there. Volunteers have no idea who will show or how many. There are times you will take what you can get. Grass fire, you've been drinking, take the Indian tank and knock out the hot spots. I don't recommend doing EMS calls after a couple but (simply because of the law suits) fighting fire is no big deal.

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    Default Are you high or been drinking???

    Originally posted by cdevoe
    I don't recommend doing EMS calls after a
    couple but (simply because of the law suits)
    fighting fire is no big deal.
    Oh my god, I cant believe what that person typed.
    You just set all Volunteer Firefighters back 30
    years, good job. Yeah, fighting fire is no big
    deal..BS! Its comments like that hurting our
    industry. Paid guys have standards but the
    Volunteers dont??? Because of staffing? What
    back woods, country bunkin town you from?
    Its OK to drink a little on a brush fire???
    Please tell me you are just yankning our chains!
    GET A CLUE PAL!

    As I will say it, even though I am gonna catch heat-
    This is one tradition I am glad to see go away. Again,
    tradition is nice, but I/we gotta live in the now.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 11-13-2002 at 01:02 PM.

  19. #19
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    Originally posted by cdevoe
    .

    As for my comment 365 X 24 X 7 coverage. Vollies don't have schedules, paid guys get vacations and days off. By no menas should a paid guy drink on the job. That is no different than anyone drinking on their job. Volunteer departments don't have the same luxury that the paid guys do. Paid departments have a crew on duty, they know who will be there. Volunteers have no idea who will show or how many. There are times you will take what you can get. Grass fire, you've been drinking, take the Indian tank and knock out the hot spots. I don't recommend doing EMS calls after a couple but (simply because of the law suits) fighting fire is no big deal.
    Hogwash!!!! this is one of the craziest logics I have ever seen when talking about beer in or around the fire house.....there is no room for anyone to have an ounce of any kind of alcohol in there system while operating at an emergency scene and being a paid firefighter I would hope that anyone called back to duty including myself ,would also have the common sense to report sober..........6 beers!!!chezzz!
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    At the same time, the guy that has had 2, 3, 4 or even 6 beers might still be able to function in some capacity.

    Are you kidding me. MIGHT BE ABLE TO FUNCTION. That is one hell of a gamble to take on a scene. I said it once, I'll say it again, the alleged justifications just hold water.

  21. #21
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    Not for nothing, but weren't some of the wild fires that we saw this summer set by paid people?
    I will admit there are exceptions to the rule (both were forestry workers I think) but overall...

    As for my comment 365 X 24 X 7 coverage. Vollies don't have schedules, paid guys get vacations and days off. By no menas should a paid guy drink on the job. That is no different than anyone drinking on their job. Volunteer departments don't have the same luxury that the paid guys do. Paid departments have a crew on duty, they know who will be there. Volunteers have no idea who will show or how many.


    All the more reason to be on top of your senses and not have them dulled with alcohol...

    There are times you will take what you can get. Grass fire, you've been drinking, take the Indian tank and knock out the hot spots. I don't recommend doing EMS calls after a couple but (simply because of the law suits) fighting fire is no big deal.
    I agree with CAL on this one... Your attitude on this subject is way in left field. I take my job very seriously and I take firefighting very seriously. I am thinking, with the answer you gave "simply because of lawsuits", that you are not an officer or have any responsibility in your department or community. Remember, Firefighting is no big deal, RIGHT?!?!

    I think you should think your answer over before you stick your foot farther in your mouth.
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

    Captain Grant Mishoe, Curator of History
    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"
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    www.sconfire.com

  22. #22
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    Default Well.......

    This point can be argued over and over until hell freezes over, however there are dept's out there that do have alcohol available to it's members. So, I think the whole point is this ..... the onus falls onto the individual, if you've had a drink or two DON'T respond. Could you live with yourself if you responded after having a couple and lost a pt?? Even if helping the pt was beyond anyone, wouldn't you always second guess yourself and wonder "what if I hadn't had that drink?". What if after having a couple and then responding to a call one of your brothers or sisters were injured or killed, would you be able to say you had been operating in full capacity and did all you could? It all boils down to maturity and responsibility. Know your limits and don't cross the line. JMHO
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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    There are 2 issues being discussed here. 1 is whether there is beer (or alcohol) in the firehouse, the other is people drinking when responding to calls. A person who has something to drink should not respond to a call, whether they drank at the firehouse, the bar next door, their own house, etc. Just because there is beer at the firehouse does not mean everyone sits around drinking all day, talking about the old days, setting fires, waiting for a call to come in. We are adults. Act like adults. Use the lump on top of your shoulders as it should. My company has been volunteer for 117 years. We have had beer on tap, then in a soda machine, and now back on tap. After a meeting or drill, some guys will sit and have a beer. They simply don't respond to calls. It's that simple. Be an adult and use your head. We have beer in our firehouse, does the public ever see it? Nope. It's in a back room that is not open to the public. Have they ever seen a drunk fireman? Not at a call, but they have seen them at some of the local bars, standing next to police, garbage men, council members, lawyers, doctors, etc. If not "on-duty" then it's their time to do as they wish. Just don't answer calls.

    And as for the it helps us get/keep members BS, I don't believe in that one bit. I am positive my membership would not change in any way if the beer was removed. It's just not that big a deal to us.
    "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?

  24. #24
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    Default

    As for my comment 365 X 24 X 7 coverage. Vollies don't have schedules, paid guys get vacations and days off. By no menas should a paid guy drink on the job. That is no different than anyone drinking on their job. Volunteer departments don't have the same luxury that the paid guys do. Paid departments have a crew on duty, they know who will be there. Volunteers have no idea who will show or how many. There are times you will take what you can get.

    You can't have it both ways devoe. If you want to be treated as a proffessional you had better act like one. My being paid is not what makes me a proffessional. There are many volunteers who are very proffessional. YOu are not a proffessional, not if you truly believe the things you have said in your post.

    devoe, do yourself and your department a favor. Do not post on this topic anymore.

  25. #25
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    Default And another thing!

    If you are killed while under the influence ( meaning any alcohol)you are risking any benefits your family would recieve thru the feds or your department....You see, they check for those kind of thing while your on the slab
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