1. #1
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    Talking 19 Year old Female becomes a Utah Fire Chief

    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

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    Haws says he suggested Olsen be made chief because of her enthusiasm.
    "Twenty years from now, she'll be running a bigger fire department somewhere," he says. "Stand back, she's awesome."
    More power to her! If she has the enthusiasm and support of the community behind her then her age should be no big issue, BUT, I certainly don't envy the task ahead of her- good luck Nicole!
    Luke

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    Unhappy What a sad, stupid man

    When ENTHUSIASM is more important than QUALIFICATIONS, I think that town is in big trouble. I shudder to think of the mistakes ahead of this rookie Chief.

    LAIRDSVILLE ANYONE??????????
    I.A.C.O.J. Charter Member
    "Chet, get an inch and a half on that!"

    "Not for fame or reward,Not for place or rank. Not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity. But in simple obedience to duty as they understood it. These men suffered,sacrificed,dared all, and died. Let us never forget our fallen friends."

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    Thumbs down

    Doesn't Utah have any qualifications you have to meet to be Chief? I live in kentucky and to be even a volunteer chief all the departments I know of make you be what is now known as Firefighter II at a minimum. I know becouse when they started the deprtment I'm on it was a new department. The chiefwas a Asst. Chief at a near by department and was given the one I'm on. I'm not worried that its a girl but that its a 20 y/o person with no experience at all. The thought of that is scary ever heard of the blind leading the blind.


    Lt. Firebug
    South Hopkins Fire Department
    Mortons Gap, Kentucky
    firebug75@mchsi.com

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    Default Career Opportunity or ... ?

    Affirmative Action/Political Correctness at its best or a Career Opportunity?

    Let's look at the stated facts:

    1) Virgin (having nothing to do with the new chief) is a community of 390 people.

    2) The town is creating a NEW volunteer fire department.

    3) Nicole Olsen is a seasoned fire service veteran by having managed a fire camp in Montana at the age of 17.

    4) Nicole is intimately familiar with Virgin territory, having been a long time resident since 2001, moving there from Cheyenne, WY. (Montana, Utah, Wyoming? At 19, it appears that the girl has been around.)

    5) Mutual aid, from the town of Hurricane, will continue to service Virgin until Virgin's new chief is broken in and gains experience.

    Every locale has the right to choose its leadership. However, I suggest you keep the names of Virgin, Utah and Nicole Olsen in the back of your mind. Those western fires can get mighty big in a hurry and there have been a number of firefighters that have lost their lives fighting those fires in the past several years.

    I sincerely hope that Chief Olsen's enthusiasm is large enough to shoulder the injury or death of a firefighter under her command. Enthusiasm is no substitute for maturity, experience and knowledge.

    I wish Chief Olsen the best ... she will need it.

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    5) Mutual aid, from the town of Hurricane, will continue to service Virgin until Virgin's new chief is broken in and gains experience.
    How much experiance do you gain in a town of 390 people- what is that, 30 calls a year?

    3) Nicole Olsen is a seasoned fire service veteran by having managed a fire camp in Montana at the age of 17
    Some one needs to get out of the woods, structure firefighting is a whole different animal.

    Enthusiasm equals a desire for education equals a desire for experiance equals gaining qualifications, which in turn will develope the skills to be chief. Just 1 of the first 3 don't cut it...
    Good luck-
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    I shudder to think of the mistakes ahead of this rookie Chief.
    LAIRDSVILLE ANYONE??????????
    However, I suggest you keep the names of Virgin, Utah and Nicole Olsen in the back of your mind.
    Are you sure you guys couldn't be anymore dramatic?!

    How about judge her IF and WHEN she makes a mistake that costs a life....

    I trust that all the critics will be there helping her (As I assume the neighbouring towns fire depts. will be) with advice, training, etc.

    Remember with other disasters such as 9/11 and Worcester, a lot of criticism flew around regarding the leadership of those incidents by SEASONED and WELL TRAINED and EXPERIENCED leaders....

    How many people can HONESTLY say that if they were offered an opportunity like this at the age of 19, that they wouldn't jump at the chance? Not many, I bet!

    Beware of the "dream-takers" Nicole- they're everywhere....
    Luke

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    Default Looking at both sides...

    How many people can HONESTLY say that if they were offered an opportunity like this at the age of 19, that they wouldn't jump at the chance? Not many, I bet!
    Well said, lutan1.

    There are few people that would turn down this opportunity at age 19. Also, look at the situation from the town's perspective...in a town of 390 people, what are the chances that there is a more experienced, mature firefighter who is willing to invest the time and effort in starting a new department? Is this a perfect situation? No. Is this the best that can be made of the situation there? Quite possibly.

    My hope is that others in the area are willing to offer advice and training, and she is smart enough to accept that advice. If so, this could be a great opportunity for her and the town...

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    Post Sound like some issues here about a female Chief

    First....I would request that the WEBTEAM move this to a more appropriate place such as in the "Firefighter Forums". Anyone agree?

    As I read some of the comments (some of which I sense to be made in an off color type of way) I sense some resentment here about the fact that this is a female more so than just a 19 yr old.

    As a 32 year veteran of the Fire Service, I will follow this one very closely.

    My first question to you is this. Would anyone be making an issue of this if the person was male...or if the headlines just said..."19 year old to head new volunteer department."??????

    Do i think it is the best idea in the world? NO... Do I have concerns about someone so young being in this position? You darned right I do. But am I going to tie her to Lairdsville (after all...we can all agree that Lairdsville was due to ignorance and carelessness...And from the article...she at least seems to have something on the ball) or other catastrophic events before she even steps foot in the door? No..... She has done nothing wrong and apparently was approached to do the job. Am I concerned about he lack of experience.....? Sure.... I would love to see statistics on how many calls that department will run a year and a break down of the type...EMS vs Fire. If some other department has been covering the area there has to be some way to identify the number of calls that were run within the area of the new departments identified response area. A lot of information is missing here. Of the citizens wanting to join....what are their ages and qualifications or background?

    It appears she has done some homework and is at least somewhat familiar with what is going on. I can not imagine a city in their right mind that would appoint a person who know absolutely nothing!

    Instead of being critical and washing her down the tubes those of you out there who are skeptical or concerned with her abilities, should take some steps to offer her some assistance in the form of suport, information, mentoring, guidance, resources, contacts etc!

    I say good luck to her. Does she have a hard road to go...? Sure, absoultely so....but we can only hope her enthusiasm in the fire service realm has led her to look into what is required before she entered that position.
    Last edited by captstanm1; 12-02-2002 at 08:00 AM.
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    First off, let me say that I am attacking the wisdom of appointing a 19 year old with little to NO actual firefighting expierience. I could care less if it is a male or female. Why not try to get someone from the neighboring town's dept to start the dept?? Maybe no one was willing. I would have to think that someone in the new depts area is on the neighboring dept that has been covering this town, why not one of them??

    What are this 19y/o's training credentials?? Is she certified to teach ANYTHING????

    I wish her all the luck......and a lot of time to attend classes to further her knowledge. As soon as you stop learning, you become a liability.


    As for my Lairdsville reference, it was in regards to a lack of knowledge and expierience. The potential is there for something bad to happen. I hope not. I hope she will have me and all the rest eating crow in a year or less!!
    I.A.C.O.J. Charter Member
    "Chet, get an inch and a half on that!"

    "Not for fame or reward,Not for place or rank. Not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity. But in simple obedience to duty as they understood it. These men suffered,sacrificed,dared all, and died. Let us never forget our fallen friends."

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    Default A few thoughts....

    Having been through something similar to this (startup of small rural VFD) 6 years ago, I can surmise:

    1. The people in the area have realized that the nearest fire department is too far away. Since there is no such thing as an instant fire department, they've decided to form one.

    2. There is probably no one in this town with 20 years of experience that is willing to serve as Chief.

    3. This gal may well be the most experienced person in the district. She seems to have the confidence of the town leaders, at least.

    4. As the new fire department will probably be running on grass/brush fires 99% of the time, the experience she has is valid for the situation. They can start running on grass fires with relatively little training, and can do some good in their area with nothing but a grass rig or two and a tanker. This is a GOOD THING, because these fires get a lot bigger while waiting on the FD from the next district.

    5. What they need at this point in the game is someone that's HIGHLY MOTIVATED. They have a fire department on paper. They probably don't have a lot of money to throw at the fire department, and for the next three or four or five years, the name of the game is going to be A) recruit (she's already doing that), B) organize training (she's already doing that), C) find a place to use as a fire station, D) acquire or build serviceable apparatus and equipment, and E) acquire adequate protective gear.

    6. Until such time as the firefighters (and the Chief) acquire some experience, training, and adequate equipment, if they DO have any structure fires, they will perform exterior attacks, which is better than nothing, which is what they have now. (Recognizing that we live in the Real World, Oklahoma now offers training for rural fire departments in exterior attack.)

    7. If she's smart (and she probably is), the new FD will not try to do anything that they're not trained or equipped for. They will rely heavily on mutual aid for the first two or three years.

    I'm optimistic. I hope she's up to the task. I know what she's facing. It takes time and effort to start up from scratch, especially when you're not adequately funded. And a town of 390 can't provide adequate funding.

    The proof of the pudding will be about five years from now. Virgin will make mistakes just like everyone else, but they'll figure it out.

    You gotta start somewhere.
    Asst. Chief Bill

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    Somewhere in or near north central Creek County, Oklahoma

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    Obviously I am not familiar with this area, but how far is the nearest M.A. I would have to be concerned about rescue. These people are not trained for structure fires yet, what will they do? Scary to think of it. What about extrication?

    They do have a long road ahead, and I wish them luck.

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    WELL EVERYBODY LISTEN UP, YOU CAN SAY WHAT YOU WANT ABOUT THE WHOLE SITUATION. EVEN THOUGH YOU THINK SHE DOESNT HAVE ENOUGH CREDENTIALS, OR QUALIFICATIONS, SHE IS HELPING THIS SMALL TOWN HAVE FIRE FIRE PROTECTION, SO PEOPLES HOUSES WONT BURN DOWN,YOU KNOW THE STUFF THAT MATTERS, YOU DONT NEED KNOW MUCH ANYWAY TO GET THE JOB DONE,JUST THE BASICS, IE THE WET STUFF ON THE RED STUFF, YOU KNOW. SO WITH THIS NEWLY FORMED FIRE DEPT. PEOPLES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE MAY DECREASE AND PEACE OF MIND MAY INCREASE. SO GOOD LUCK, STAY SAFE.

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    Default WOW!!

    Dude! You don't have to yell!!
    I.A.C.O.J. Charter Member
    "Chet, get an inch and a half on that!"

    "Not for fame or reward,Not for place or rank. Not lured by ambition or goaded by necessity. But in simple obedience to duty as they understood it. These men suffered,sacrificed,dared all, and died. Let us never forget our fallen friends."

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    I started on a newly formed FD 18 years ago but the Cheif and asst. were both off another FD and had the experiance that was needed. If you start out with the laedership not knowing what is really going on in a fire that can be a bad accident just waiting to happen. Your leadership has to have an idea of what can go wrong. As far as Isurance ratings going down until they have all the right equipment and training the Insurance companies are not going to reduce rates just becouse you have a engine and some people who want to do it.



    Firebug
    South Hopkins Fire Department
    Mortons Gap, Kentucky
    firebug75@mchsi.com

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    I helped form the Silver City VFD when I was 19, along with killerb (who's a lot older than me ). I have many thoughts on this that I posted in a similiar thread in the Firefighter's Forums.

    Forming a little VFD has much more to do with organizational and motivational skills than anything else. Everyone has valid concerns, but you start with what you got.

    Every fire department in this nation, with few exceptions, was started by a few people who recognized a need and took a step to make things better with little or no idea what they were getting into.

    People talked about forming a fire department in Silver City 30 years ago, but no one ever did anything. 20 years ago, the talk began again, and Oklahoma State University came out and did a study that said it would take $250,000 to get an effective fire department in Silver City. Again, no one did anything. In 1996, the talk started, and people acted. Six years later and our insurance company values our facilities and equipment at $250,000.

    Don't get me wrong--it wasn't (and still isn't) easy. But you can talk about it or do something about it. Houses and pastures still burned out here while people were talking...
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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