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  1. #1
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    Default Station Watch Log Books

    In your department, are you required to keep a station watch log book?

    Besides tradition - "we have always kept a daily watch log book" - what would be the reason to continue doing this?

    I ask because my department still requires each station to maintain a watch log book. With today's technology, we do computerized daily activity reports and computerized NFIRS reports. All of the information that would be entered into the watch log is the same information that is required on either the daily activity report or the fire report. So, I am thinking that it is no longer a necessity, but just a continuation of an out of date record keeping method.

    What do you think? What does your department do?


  2. #2
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    It gives you a good point of reference if the run #'s get screwed up on the computer. It also is a quick way to look something up by date. AND..a little tradition never hurt anyone!

  3. #3
    Truckie SPFDRum's Avatar
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    Even with most of the reports being done on the computer, it's tough to beat the convenience of a log book. We list the duty chiefs, watch rotation, current orders, who called off sick or B/W, who is working for who in a duty trade, SCBA pressure and condition, and etc., all easily viewable in the log.
    But to answer your question, "what would be the reason to continue doing this?" is simple; we are just to damn nosy not to be able to read what the other shifts did on duty and see if we missed anything!
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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  4. #4
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    My career dept has an "Occurance Book" at all of it's stations. We record crew rosters, leave, problems with the engine, equipment and station, injuries, important phone calls and of course, fire calls. Fire calls are also fully reported through a computorised system, and other forms exist for recording injuries etc. What the book does though is record a shift "snapshop" that is easy to refer back to. It's also a 112 year tradition

  5. #5
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    We also maintain a watch book, and will continue to do so for several reasons. We record who is on duty, etc., and "all pertinent information". This includes but is not limited to, outside repair people in the station, deliveries, fuel and otherwise, with ticket number recorded, visits by tours, all sorts of things that are not recorded in the computer. An easy reference, and although we no longer record runs in the watch book, when the computer system crashes, (like THAT never happens!!!), we then resume recording runs in the watch books until such time as the eggheads can figure out what the story is. Plus, its kinda cool to peruse the old watch books once in a while and read up on the history of the dept.
    Leroy140 (yes, THAT Leroy)
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  6. #6
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    We keep a book of that sort, with, in my opinion way to much information in it .........it does keep a log of has been in and put of the station ....but obviously if you dont sign in who is gonna know ? we used to use a radio log form that had date and type of response in it then we went to the book format after a career FF who became Chief instituted it..........
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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  7. #7
    Forum Member fieryred943's Avatar
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    We currently use both...log books because "tradition" doesn't hurt anyone(thanks mikey)The book doesn't crash for days, you won't lose your monthend reports, and it is nice to look back at certain days. But in saying that we are going to a complete tracking system from duty roster/attendance/monthend/smoke sheet/hazmat exposure/blood & fluid exposure etc....with the NFIRS reporting system as well. We are hoping to have the tracking sheets intergrated with the NFIRS report soon.

    Cheers

  8. #8
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    Last year my dept. went from the standard bound paper log books to the Firehouse software for reporting and journal purposes. Most guys prefer the book, because it doesn't crash and the computerized way is sent to the chief's office daily so it is like big brother is watching. Some co.'s still use the books, but pay for it themselves.
    "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."

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  9. #9
    Forum Member Smoke20286's Avatar
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    we still have them, but no one ever writes anything in them

  10. #10
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    We had a lady come into the firehouse today looking to thank a crew member from a run in fall of 2000... It was easy to figure out who it was because we had the log book. not a life or death situation , but it was alot easier then trying to look it up on the computer.

  11. #11
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    All of our EMS & Fire reports are done on computerized programs ment for such. Each station keeps a journal also. It has the crew, whether there is a guy on vacation and there is a reserve filling in, trades, sick whatever. We log on there the start times & end times of each incident, address and incident number. Then the area for chores, tours, problems and other "stuff".

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  12. #12
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    Thumbs up

    We use them and they are great link to our heritage and traditions. Many of the items are entered in ours that others already posted. We keep journals from the past chronilogically in a storage room. We have one from the late 1800's in a shadowbox with other treasured items. In it are some great lines.

    0800 hours: Captain Smith inspected members of Truck Co. "D." Condition of horses and men: good.

    1345 hours: Fuel truck in quarters, delivered 1 ton of coal.

    1800 hours: Private Smith leaving for meal at his residence. (Almost all of our members lived within walking distance of quarters.Noone had cars. There were no kitchens in the firehouses yet and there was only one shift of men. It was called continuos duty. I feel guitly having 4 shifts now days compared to those MEN.)
    Last edited by R1SAlum; 04-06-2003 at 12:41 PM.

  13. #13
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    We still use one and actually have the shifts initial by thier names as they come on and off duty. We do all our reporting on NFIRS and send it to Tallahassee also. Very easy to get monthly tally reports....sometimes . The log book just contains the daily activities and a summary of the runs for the shift....

    I agree with Mikey...TRADITION..
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber Engine5FF's Avatar
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    Default Re: Station Watch Log Books

    Originally posted by fireman077
    Besides tradition - "we have always kept a daily watch log book" - what would be the reason to continue doing this?
    Are you saying tradition is a bad thing? I don't feel keeping a log book in addition to a computer log is bad. It is a quick way of glancing at the previous shifts runs and activities, without having to dive into the computer records.
    "What makes a person run into a building others are running out of?...Character."- Dennis Smith

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  15. #15
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    Default Re: Re: Station Watch Log Books

    Originally posted by Engine5FF


    Are you saying tradition is a bad thing? ...
    No - not all all. I believe that we should remember where we came from, honor those who served before us, and continue to serve with the finest traditions that got us to where we are now.

    With that said, I do not believe in continuing a practice that is outdated, inaccurate, inconsistent, and a paperwork exercise for the sake of tradition - "because we have always done it this way".

    From the replies, there seems to be many departments that have a very good handle on the continued use of the station watch log book. They seem to follow the true intent and find that it's use is the best way to handle daily company level documentation. These are the responses that I was hoping to see and I am glad that many of these fine departments are carrying on a tradition that also is still a practical manner of recording activities.

    On the other hand, in my department, I feel that the practical use of this recording keeping book has been surpassed by other means that we are required to maintain.

    Thanks for all of the replies.

    John

  16. #16
    FIREMAN 1st GRADE E40FDNYL35's Avatar
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    We call it a Company Journal.This is what is in our Rules and Regs.
    The company journal records chronologically the day-to-day events of a unit. In it are entered vital particulars of alarms, accidents, deaths, injuries, other matters requiring an entry for proper record keeping. As such, it forms an official enduring record to be retained for 20 years. Therefore, it is incumbent upon all members to exercise the utmost care in the maintenance, use and preservation of this journal.
    The purpose of this guide is to:
    1.1 Set up simple standardized procedures for company journal entries, making them as
    concise, yet as informative as possible.
    1.2. Assure entries which will aid in the continuity of supervision providing incoming officers
    with a chronological resume of activities since the last working tour.
    1.3 Increase the efficiency of all units.
    ALL GAVE SOME BUT SOME GAVE ALL
    NEVER FORGET 9-11-01
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    CAPT. Frank Callahan Ladder 35 *
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    FF. Michael Lynch Engine 40
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  17. #17
    Member NatchezFD's Avatar
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    Oh that brings back memories!

    I remember being a rookie writing in those log books and i loved reading back ten years or more through all the history.

    We stopped using them not long after I started (1982) but just had a staff meeting this past Tuesday. Seems I brought up the subject and the Chief agreed that to ensure good comunications between all shifts that we should start them back up. (We all forget sometimes to pass on the little things to the next shift)

    Just ironic that I read this post.

    Tradition with Progress.

  18. #18
    Forum Member Tooanfrom's Avatar
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    Post Manned watchrooms

    Reading the previous entries brings to mind the "Test" messages that would be phoned thru at some unearthly hour 0230--0330ish -just to make sure that you were awake. Having sometimes dozed off, supporting your chin with one hand (usually the one you write with) then trying to hold a phone with a hand that has gone "dead" and writing with the "wrong" hand , led to some interesting handwriting! Fire calls in red ink-all mistakes(and that included spelling) ruled and signed in the margin, and the cardinal sin "Omitted to book at ****hrs the following message=" meant a bollocking of the first degree. How we rejoiced when teleprinters came in.A little luxury --you were allowed to take off your collar and tie and also wear a pair of plimsoles(sneakers) but only after 2300hrs reverting back at 0600hrs.
    "If you thought it was hard getting into the job--wait until you have to hang the "fire gear"up and walk away!"
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  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber CrossBro1's Avatar
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    We have had many problems with our computer and have lost many case reports on our computers so our log book is the only record we have of servicing a call. Sometimes the old way is more reliable.

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