1. #1
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    Unhappy Take heed. Member suspended for Website.

    Heard a member of the Melville Fire Department, Long Island, NY was suspended for maintaining a personal website.WWW.NORTHHOUSE.NET Seems this member and others at his station decided to have a little pride with themselves. Guess the commissioners and chiefs didn't like it. He bought himself 364 days and refused to turn in the others involved. Has your department ever experienced this? I mean what is wrong with us? We are always crying for help and then we suspend people left and right. Check out the website. You be the judge. Also...for those of you that follow Harry Carter, he wrote an article about this situation titled "This is still America".http://cms.firehouse.com/content/art...85&sectionId=5

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    Guess the commissioners and chiefs didn't like it

    From the website:
    His 'Go Hard or Go Home' attitude and his drive to always argue for what is right led to many a day of dragging him back to the rig to go home, rarely before he could interject some classic comment, such as "Go **** yourself, Chief", or "If HQ did it, it would be OK"

    Gee, I wonder why...

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    Bout time some brothers started to stand up to apathy, complacency, and (from what I have read at the site) all the things that continue to drive away members of the service. I wish we had members like that in my departmnet. Somebody to actually stand up and say "hey, there are problems here". Let's fix em. Now I am not saying to tell the chief to go f*** himself, but, seriously, sounds like this department has a bunch of members that don't give a s*** about training or participating. Nobody in my department would EVER drop a line at a working fire and walk away. It would be a complete riot over who got to go in. Also looks like alot of memebrs there don't want to train. What a shame with all that we have to deal with today. WOW!!! All I can say is to keep the faith and keep pushing. Hopefully traditions will fade and your members will see the light. Until then, stay safe. Oh, and I don't care what you write on a website. I believe it is called freedom of speech. Sometimes the truth hurts.

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    I don't know, seems to me that this guy could be going about this a better way. I don't know the situation because I'm not there, valied or not I would think that there would be a better way of doing this.

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    Is it me or does it seem that some one is trying to drag there in house fights to the boards here.

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    in the archives there is a picture of the olsen twins and a question of how hot do you think they are.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
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    Well, I emailed the northhouse page moderator. Tried to find out the whole story. While it is his side of the story, this is what I got. The webpage was originally designed as a morale booster to the "kids" at his station. The page trumphed the accomplishments of his fellow station members while poking fun at the "rival" station. The powers taht be did not like the fact that he had this page so they invoked a chiefs order that stated any member is not permitted to release info to the public about the alarm at time of alarm. Not really at time of alarm I think. He was told to remove the web site or face suspension. Eventually he removed the site and was told by the chief that, even though he (the chief) thought it was a great website, he had to suspend him for 364 days because that is what the commissioners wanted. The member removed the site and was still suspended. Now the site is back up I guess to spite the powers that be. It looks like some of the things he posts are just to annoy certain people. On the other hand I found some of the articles that were written to be pretty decent and I can even relate to some of the issues he faces. Anyway...I think the whole point is that freedom of speech is still the law of the land. Be careful of what you do or say regarding your department. Especially where I am a vollie where we have "home rule". That means that in our little district with a tax budget of 3,000,000 dollars, the commissioners and chiefs can do ANYTHING they want and not have to answer to any state, county, or town officials. And while I don't wholeheartedly agree with the certain aspects of the website, kinda makes ya wonder what has actually transpired to make this member (sounds like he knows his stuff) so disgruntled. Anyway, guess it's time to get off my soapbox.

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    First impression was that he/she was an outsider that is Monday morning Quarterbacking without knowing all the facts. Take the little story about the second line being brought to the door but not in. How many times does he/she repeat that he/she watched it happen...why didn't he/she do it? Again, I don't know the whole story, that's just how the site hit me.

    I think freedom of speech is fine, but I hate to see people air their dirty laundry like that site does. Busting chops for fun is for fun, this seems to be over the edge. If it was my department, I would have fought to have the person remove the site also. Don't know that I would have suspended him/her for 364 days though.
    "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?

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    Sounds to me that the 364 was a way to remove a bad apple. Look I work in the military, and there are allot of crappy things that go on day in and day out. But for everything that goes wrong there is a proper way to deal with it. If you are not happy with the attention the issue is getting with your First Line Leader, then you tell him that you are not satisfied and that you are going to go to his boss. And you keep doing this until you find someone that will listen.

    But to air your dirty laundry like this is shameful, and disrespectful. People get the wrong idea about a situation, and it will come back and bit you in the ***. If you circumvent the chain of command, then you are asking for it. It is evident that the powers to be saw, and read his site before he took it down and actions where taken. It does not matter how correct he may have been, because he was wrong in the way he went about it, that is cause in my book for discipline. Now it would seem that 364 is a little much, but because we do not know the whole story this guy could already have been causing trouble, and had been suspended a few times before. Hell this guy could be the worst fire fighter that there ever was and because we don't know the whole story we never will know.

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    I would have to agree with ya on some respects airborne. But I can sympathize with his site in some respects. In my department many of the things he describes occur also. We have a hugh double standard in my dept in addition to a group of us "kids" that are labled as trouble makers. Now when I say kid, I am 27 years old and have worked for the New York City FD for 4 years. I am labled as a trouble maker "kid". I will say that certain times I have not gone about things the correct way. But for the most part I have tried to bring up serious issues which may affect our lives one day. I can give you a ton of examples but I don't feel there is a need to. Suffice it to say, 95 percent of the officers of my dept. do not have my confidence to do the job correctly. I have been witness to things that should no way have been done in so far as tactics and procedures are concerned. Whenever one of us "kids" brings up items of concerned we are told to shut up because we have no idea what we are talking about. Many of my officers only have FF1 certification. That includes chiefs. I think the point I am getting at is sometimes you feel that there is no recourse other than showing your anger. I have felt this way for 6 years. I can only imagine what that other guy feels. I mean, when are we going to realize that being a volunteer is an important thing. Maybe we should listen to our "kid" members because they might have a good idea. Let's not keep discouraging them so they quit the department. In my dept of 110 members there have been about 40-60 people come and gone inthe last 5 years. I still talk to some of them and it is the way they were treated or belittled....Anyway....

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    Well this is what I would do then if I was I was in your shoes or this other guys.

    First Document each incident as best as you can, and document each time you try and approach the subject and your are turned away. Make a nice report, citing these issues time, place and people involved, and documented procedures that should have been followed. Present a copy of this to your local government, and to your local paper.

    Now you have well documented proof of the ongoings, and you have covered your self by documenting that you have tried to go through the proper channels, and you will be protect under the whistleblower laws.

    At that point it will be up to the local government and the local community to makes some changes. If they do not happen then as in life, some things just are **** and there is nothing that you can do about it.

    But to go and create a web site no matter how well intentioned, is still the wrong way to do it. What you are faced with in the end, is what is legal, what he has done is slander, unless he has documentation and proof to backup his charges. Making charges against an officer, that he is derelict in his duties, could become criminal if someone if hurt or worse dead. So documentation is always a must. Another channel that you can use is send this to OSHA if you are in an OSHA state sitting the regs that have been violated. But I caution you must first use your chain of command before you blow the whistle. You don't have to tell them that you are going to blow the whistle if they don't fix it, you just have to document that you gave them a chance to fix it and they did not.

  12. #12
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    Angry There Goes My BP Up...............

    IF the information that I read is only half right, it's time to yank the commissioner(s). I'm not a kid, I'm 61, and I agree with the observations on training. Go Hot or Go Home works in Glenn Dale, Maryland. As to the commish, that sounds like some kind of ego trip. Speaking from experience, as I am a commissioner, insisting on punishing someone over a Fifth amendment situation should get the whole bunch in court. We have a website down here that seems to exist for one purpose, to keep the pot stirring. They have been extremely unkind to me on occasion, and I have ignored them totally. (nothing pees someone off more than ignoring them). BUT, the fact remains, the Fifth Amendment to the US Constitution provides for the right of an individual to express his opinion freely. I saw nothing that I would consider libelous in the remarks that were posted. IF the situation surrounding training, or lack thereof, is correct, then there is additional reason for getting rid of the top management. My best wishes to the Norh House for a quick and favorable end to this stupidity. Stay Safe....
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  13. #13
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    Angry I'm Back.........

    After making my post, (above), I went looking for a Melville VFD website (you know, the "official" one.) Should I be suprised that the two links for Melville in the Firehouse "directory of USA departments" Do not work?? Gee, is someone feeling the heat??? Anyone got an email for that organization?? please post it for me, I want ask a few questions. Thanks, Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Hey Woods, I think that is it. People are starting to feel the heat and don't like people pointing out the shortcomings of their deparment. Who would? In my department we have a lot of serious problems that nobody wants to address. Training, lack of preparation, lack of SOP's, and the list goes on. I have personally called OSHA but their is only so much they can do. They cited them for a few things, but nothing special. To respond to AIRBORNE, you can only document so much. In my dept. we have "home rule". That means my department can do whatever they want and not have ot answer to ANYONE OR ANYTHING. The state can't tell us nothing, the county, or the town also. That gets bad when nobody ensures quality of service or patient care. Down right a disgrace in my dept. If i say anything or anybody for that matter, you are threatened or blacklisted or labled. What can you do for that? My dept. went so far as to dishoner the memory of 9/11 by setting up a sleaze trade of old fitness equipment in exchange for a piece of the WTC tower. Now, if I say anything about that, I am a trouble maker and don't want the dept. to honor the memory of the WTC victims. Now I enjoy being a volunteer and DO NOT want to quit and give them the satisfaction. Any ideas anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated. If you can't then ok, but please don't judge somebody else because they have a website that says the things that Northhouse says. I think he has a good idea and I even thought about something like that for my dept. Like I said, any ideas?

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    rescue253, you sound to me to be alot like the person on the website in question. Any relation?

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    My point is not that there are not issues at this department. I just find the path to resolution, being a the wrong way to go about it.

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    No relation Mark.

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    Good.


    *Mark
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    Read Fire Engineering's article this Month, "Volunteers Corner" Mark. That describes my dept to a T. I am just trying to figure out what to do to impress upon the leadership and members of my dept that there is a dire need for change. Lately I have been thinking that it is a moot point and not worth fighting. I just have to be confident in my skills and knowledge and trust taht if something goes wrong then the right personnel will be there for me.

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    Lately I have been thinking that it is a moot point and not worth fighting
    Training, knowledge, and education are never moot points and are always worth fighting for. Continuing to have a lax attitude will get someone hurt and/or killed. Work on one person. Find one person who feels as you do. Then each of you find another person, etc. It can work, it will take time, it will not be easy. You can fight for and make changes. Once you have a core group doing it, others will begin to "see the light" and fall in. Try and get any/all new members to fall in with the core group right away...if they learn the right way from the beginning, you are winning.

    Stay Safe, Stay Strong, just don't advertise the problems on websites.
    "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?

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    Well, my commissioners just denied 5 guys the opportunity to attend training in Baltimore this summer because they aren't happy with the fact that some members of my department filed OSHA complaints over unsafe practices. I do know that OSHA conducted an inspection and found several violations. So...if anyone can give me advice on how this situation can be handled it would be appreciated.

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    OK... From a first hand account, the "guy" who writes the Northhouse.net stuff isn't one person, yet is a conglomerate of members from the station. Select interested members from the station pay into the site... The site isn't about airing dirty laundry at all... However, from an outsiders point of view, I can see where one would get such an impression... The website became very popular about a year ago when it was dedicated to increasing the morale of the station, and the department as a whole... Then the site was forced to be shut down, and the kid who the chiefs and commissioners have a hard-on for took the blame for the entire thing... Mind you he has more training then the lot of them combined... Then, once the "guy" got suspended everything blew over and a few days later a new Northhouse.net site was designed... But, the new site was instituted due to fact that the site had the attention of the entire department... The 'kids' from the NH who no one ever wanted to deal with were in the limelight... And by pointing out the lack of training, participation by the large majority, failure to follow state and federal laws and a variety of other subjects, they could finally let their voices be heard... Guys like AIRBORNE can complain all they want about following chain of command, yet there really isn't any... the station doesn't have officers, the officers are company officers, and they don't get assigned to a station, but instead to group of members assigned between the two stations... That and they don't care... If they cared they'd become pump operators, or LCCs, or get an ICS certificate before they ran for office... But, that's not how it is on LI... It's about getting to the top for your free chiefs car, the free fuel, and all the other perks involved in being a vollie chief... Well, I hope that clears a little bit up for all of you... Thanks

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    Since most of the cards are already laid out on the table let's just put them all out there. If you look at the site today you won't see the content that got the man suspended. What was previously there were pictures and descriptions of the apparatus that's housed in the station, pictures of the men who respond to that house, a dedication page to a good friend who is nolonger with us and pictures and stories of recent events. It was very similar to www.kentland33.com of you want a comparison. The suspension was based on a "chief's order" that tells members not to speak to the press at time of alarm, apparantly there is an elastic clause given to the chief that allows him to use this particular SOP as a catch all for anyone who says anything to anyone that he dislikes. Case in point another member was suspended for asking a HURST vendor a question as it related to the use of their tools as compared to the way they were used on an alarm.
    SO, the site was there, a disclaimer was also present that stated that the site in no way reflected or was an official website for the department, district, town or county. The man is still suspended, but has subsequently joined an out of state vollie department as well as been hired by a career dept. Right, wrong, or indifferent the site now is just commentary from the men who care to write what they are thinking. Mostly it's just to be a fly in the ointment and throw out a dissenting opinion to counter the "yes men" point of view.
    I've gone on more than long enough, be safe and stay low.

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    Mna your all comming out of the wood works now. Must have gotten around your station that we where talking about you here so you hurried up and registered. You know what, this is not going to be resolved here. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about things. With out knowing you or the other people involved it is hard to say. But it seems from the outside that there are some issues in your station, and I disagree with the path that was taken by the younger guys to change that.

    Never bite the hand that feeds you is all I can say.

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