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  1. #1
    Member Engine2WhgFire's Avatar
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    Angry Bellaire OH paid FD disbanned

    This city council has not a clue what they are in for!!!http://www.wtov9.com/news/2424036/detail.html

    Hope our brothers from across the river can get through these difficult times.
    http://wheelingfire.com

    Burnie Yoho (member)
    IAFF Local #12
    "Wheeling Firefighters"
    Wheeling, WV. 26003


  2. #2
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    whats the rest of the story? Got to be more to it that that snippet. Whats their call volume? Closest mutual aid? Coverage size? Seems if they just run out of money, there is at the very least a budget issue, if not mismanagement.
    Like I said, where's the rest?

  3. #3
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Now That We Have Seen The Tip..............

    Just where is the rest of the iceberg????? This is far bigger than cutting off some P.O.C. brothers, at least I think so from here. Is there anyone close to the situation that can provide more insight?? If so, please post so that we can keep up, This is not the end of the story by by a long shot. As the post above asked, anyone got any info on workload, etc. for this dept.? Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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  4. #4
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    I wonder if this town government made the same error in judgement I have seen other communities make, going paid too soon. As a volunteer I am all for paid firefighters, but not if it affects your ability buy buy and maintain the needed apparatus, equipment, and training.

    Several small towns near me got hung up on having paid FD's to be better than the "country volunteers", and the result has been stations with a full crew, but they roll in old, underequipped apparatus and lack the additional apparatus needed, as well as basic equipment such as extrication tools and in one case a vehicle for responding to medical calls. The result is that these stations rely heavily on mutual aid to make up for thier shortcomings, more so than the surrounding volunteer stations do, and are unable to reciporcate when thsoe who help them need MA because the city government does not want its paid guys going out of district and they don't have enough trucks to send some out and still cover thier own area. One station has areas in its district without hydrants, but no tanker to supply water. They depend on mutual aid exclusivly for water supply, and that will come back to bite them in the *** some day when there is already a fire in one of the surrounding districts that has all the MA tankers occupied. the only backup they have is the town street washing truck and the tank on it.


    Without more info it is hard to tell, but this may be the case. I am all for paying crews, but you need to be able to afford it AND run the station properly, having a crew on hand is useless if they lack the proper equipment to do the job. Would you rather have a paid crew responding with old, outdated and underquipped equiipment or volunteers with up to date and well equipped apparatus? In many of these cases the paid crews are still having to wait for volunteer MA to show up in order to be effective, and are depending on them for any type of specialized equipment such as extricatioon tools, thermal cameras, brush truck, and even a tanker.

    Of course, in my area there is no shortage of willing volunteers, if you live in an area where it is hard to get folks to volunteer it throws things into a new perspective. My department usually has a waiting list for slots to come open.

    Like I said, I am all for payed staff, but not at the expense of having the proper, current, apparatus and equipment.
    Last edited by radioguy; 08-22-2003 at 01:46 PM.

  5. #5
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Originally posted by radioguy
    I wonder if this town government made the same error in judgement I have seen other communities make, going paid too soon.

    Several small towns near me got hung up on having paid FD's to be better than the "country volunteers", and the result has been stations with a full crew, but they roll in old, underequipped apparatus and lack the additional apparatus needed, as well as basic equipment such as extrication tools and in one case a vehicle for responding to medical calls.

    Of course, in my area there is no shortage of willing volunteers, if you live in an area where it is hard to get folks to volunteer it throws things into a new perspective. My department usually has a waiting list for slots to come open.
    The Only reason for hiring full time help should be that the existing Volunteer system is unable to handle the load. Keeping up with the Burg next door is NOT a reason to do anything. Sure, good equipment is worthless without good people, but there has to be a balance. I've heard of Departments that went from all Volunteer to all paid instantly. Stupid, Stupid, Stupid. If Volunteers are having trouble getting out, hire a person or two that will insure that the first piece gets out, and Volunteers continue to respond as always. I've spent 45 years in a system where Career and Volunteer Fire/Rescue/EMS people work together all the time. It's the most cost effective system out there.

    One thing I don't understand is making someone wait to get on as a Volunteer. We do not have, and would refuse to even consider, a limit on the number of Volunteers in our organization. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  6. #6
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    I can agree to a point about the waiting part, the way our department was set up many eons ago the charter limits the number of firefighters allowed at one time. They have just left it that way because it ensures that we don't spend a lot of money on turnout gear and insurance for a whole lot of people that don't ever do anything. I say a waiting list, but it is usually one or two pending applications awaiting a slot to come open.

    We are doing pretty well as is, and I guess they just don't want to mess with a system that works. But I can definitly see where it would be nice to be able to take anyone right when they want to, insted of waiting 3-6 months for a position to open.

    We better stop hijacking the topic.....

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber Duffman's Avatar
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    I found it interesting that the reporter felt losing their paid on call position would put a strain on the firefighters families. I wonder just how much they were paid per call?

    I have never known a POC firefighter to rely on his FD money to pay the bills.
    "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

    IACOJ

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    I'm going back to re-read this story. I did not catch the part where it said anything about POC. I thought these were fulltime career guys....
    Omnis Cedo Domus

    www.hinckleyfd.org

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    Default Redirecting SUCKS. How's about a little cut 'n paste...

    After more than six months of battling to keep a paid fire and EMS squad in the Village of Bellaire, the fight is over. At Thursday night's council meeting, Bellaire council voted in favor of changing the fire department from paid to volunteer. Many residents at the meeting disagree with the decision. The department was set to run out of money on August 23rd, but council extended the deadline until September 20th.

    Now some of the firefighters are taking the issue into their own hands, ten of the twelve paid on-call firefighters have already put in their resignation effective September 20th.

    Fire Chief Mike Wallace says his duty as a firefighter will still stand.

    Council's decision may eventually put a strain on all residents of Bellaire, but for the families of firefighters, the strain begins right now.

    Council has not ruled out the idea of working with a private company.
    Now that I look at it again, it's hard to tell, isn't it? Are they paid career? Or POC? Or Combo, and she's referring to the POCs? Damn media.....
    Omnis Cedo Domus

    www.hinckleyfd.org

  10. #10
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    from the 1990 Census: 10,480 people
    from the 2000 United States Census: 4,892 people

    That's got to be a challenge for any city government budget. Loose 53% of your population and tax $ are going to fall. Any town of 5000 people able to afford a paid dept? Looks like in boondocks SE OH on WV border. I'm pretty sure that isn't exactly a rich yuppie part of the world.
    Last edited by neiowa; 08-22-2003 at 05:21 PM.

  11. #11
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    This story has been going on in this town for sometime. If I am correct, the department has 6 full time members, whereas the village is supposed to be running with 11 full time, but budget problems for years have caused the cutback. There are also Paid on call members that are running with the fire department.

    The Chief has tried every avenue of stopping the situation from happening, and as of last week had brought up the possibility of the department going to a private company and lowering the villages financial obligation from 400k to 150k and pay salaries from ems billing and fire service fees. However, the village council still insists that they will not even explore this avenue and voted to abolish the department and go all volunteer.

    To keep you further in tune, the fire department has been paid for many years, and the decrease in population as previously noted has also hurt the finances as have industry moving from that area to other areas. In the last few years the department has taken over the ems sector and has managed to support itself and the department to a degree.

    The department operates some very old apparatus currently, and a new engine has been on order. These guys have done a bang up job with limited resources for years and they do not deserve what is happening to them, nor do the people they serve.

    As to date, a 3rd firefighter resigned, leaving the chief to cover extra shifts, and there have been 3 people that have shown interest in becoming a volunteer for the department.

    Mutual aid departments are very close. And to myh knowledge these departments are going the other way by putting some paid members on to cover certain hours of the day, as have other departments in Belmont County.

    Not quite the boondocks, but this is a limited resource area for industry and business.

    Hope that the council can review the chief's request for the department to go private so that they can still function in the same capacity and provide their residents and others the professional service they have always give.

    I am 15 miles or so north of them, and even though our departments donot work with each other, I know their cheif and some members and they are all stand up people.



    STILL STANDIND

  12. #12
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Orangebuster, Thank You.

    I'm sure I'm not the only one here who appreciates the input from someone who knows more about the situation. Thank You for the update. A Question for anyone from that part of Ohio who understands local government. Would a County wide system work? Take the entire County and divide it up so that each station would be responsible for anything that they are the closer to than any other station. Then have an evenly levied County wide tax to pay for it. Seems to me that the town is just too small to afford paid folks full time, but a County wide system would give ALL departments in the County a better shot at getting more help. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

    www.gdvfd18.com

  13. #13
    Temporarily/No Longer Active Cellblock776's Avatar
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    Default happening here too

    I hate to see it happening anywhere but lots of communities are finding it difficult to fund City Services. I work full time for the City of St Gabriel, Louisiana. The City rests inside of Iberville Fire District 1 which has been covered by a volunteer FD since 1974. A few years ago the Mayor realised that the City Charter required having a Fire Chief for the Town. The Mayor recommended and the Council approved the appointment of our volunteer Chief as the Cities official Chief. A short time later the City budgeted the Chief a salary and to decrease response times gave him a budget to hire some of the volunteers to work parttime at the main fire station. The parttimers worked weeknights from 6pm-6am and soon it was decided to hire fulltimers to have at least one firefighter at the station 24/7. The fulltimer would get a truck enroute and be backed up on every call by the volunteers. This year we saw budget cuts which led to the layoffs of all of the parttimers. Of the 3 fulltimers, one was cut to parttime, 20 hours a week, and 2 of us were kept fulltime. The Chief put me and the other fulltimer working nights, 6pm-6am, opposite each other. The Chief works works 10 hours every Mon, Tue, Thurs and Friday. The Partimer comes in during the day Wed and one weekend day.
    On Oct 4 we will have a tax election. If the citizens don't agree to increased property taxes then the entire budget for the Fire Department will be cut by the City and we will revert back to our original all Volunteer status. That means I will take my FF1/EMT-B creddentials and begin job hunting again.
    To learn more about the St Gabriel/East Iberville VFD you can check out the site i built at: http://www.geocities.com/cellblock/stgabrielfire

  14. #14
    Temporarily/No Longer Active Cellblock776's Avatar
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    Default corrected link

    sorry. the correct url to St Gabriel FD is :
    http://www.geocities.com/cellblock776/stgabrielfire

  15. #15
    Member Engine2WhgFire's Avatar
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    Default Sorry it took me so long!

    Sorry I had to post and run on this one. With working on shift yesterday, and youth football today, I haven't had time to get online. Orangebuster covered the details pretty well. However the neighboring departments they have are volunteer and already have problems getting out. My department sits across the river and state line from theirs. The people of Bellaire, in so many words, are going to be left unprotected. There were many other ways to FIX Bellaires budget, some of which were offered and council, at least 4 of the six of them, wouldn't consider it. It's obvious to me that there was a hidden agenda throughout this whole ordeal. This was a Paramedic ambulance too. There will be no gaurantee of that after Sept. Bellaire Firefighters were a reliable and dedicated department. They were cut a bad deal, and the residents will be the ones who suffer from the poor decision made by their council people.
    http://wheelingfire.com

    Burnie Yoho (member)
    IAFF Local #12
    "Wheeling Firefighters"
    Wheeling, WV. 26003

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    Whoa here, going to a volunteer department is far from being "unprotected", unless those 6 paid guys were manning the station 24/7 with a full crew, which I doubt. At best you had what, 2 per shift?

    They cut costs, they didn't close the station. There is no reason why with proper leadership they cannot provide the same level of protection as before.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    I feel for these guys, as I witnessed the same thing happen to my home town as a teenager.

    Our Northern Ontario Rail/Mining town dropped from a population of 6000+ to less then 3000 over a span of 10 years. We lost our Ambulance, Police Dept, Rail Police Dept, and the VFD and other municipal services saw a dramatic drop in budget. We also lost our local YMCA, and dozens of local businesses went under including our movie theatre (absolute disaster to a teenager).

    The worst part of these types of events, is that the town doesn't really shrink in size, so the tax dollars available for upkeep of community parks and other services get stretched until they break. We lost all but two of or our parks and playgrounds, so the kids have nothing to do. Crime went up and the standard of living went through the floor.

    My parents still live their so I visit for a week or so every year, but it is very depressing to return and remember what we used to have. I'm sure this community is struggling with many other issues related to the loss of the population/tax base as well.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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  18. #18
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    Mr.Yoho is correct that the neighboring departments are volunteer companies, and two of them are going to be putting a day crew on to help them cover their own areas.

    As far as going county wide for services, that probably would not happen in that area. There is one other full time department in the County and they are pretty much run ragged with the calls they answser already, even though their shift are larger in crew numbers.

    Going to a volunteer company is going to be really difficult for that village. I am a volunteer and have been for over 30 years. The days of getting large amounts of people to volunteer in this general area are more and more difficult each year. The economy has fallen flat on its face here, and the jobs in the mines, mills, railroads, and the construction areas all have dropped tremendously as the census notes.
    With only 3 takers so far to join the department I do not see it getting better.

    Truth is, this is not a paid-volly battle in that town. The hidden agenda as Mr. Yohi indicated is the reason behind it all. 4 council members voted against trying to find a way to keep the paid guys on. Didn't see either one of them sign up.

    Good guys getting a bad deal as are the citizens. 3 member volly company with no training.Sounds like trouble for Bellaire.


    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. #19
    Member Engine2WhgFire's Avatar
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    Thanks orangebuster for your accurate help in this post.

    Radio....just for your info, it was a 24/7 paid dept. with 12 paid on call others. yes 2 is a low number to start with, but with EMS being the majority of the call volume, 2, I think is wayyy better than none.

    This isn't a volly vs paid issue, these are the facts!

    3 untrained personel with antiquated equipment spells disaster.

    I feel the chief has tried everything in his power to keep it alive to no avail.

    One of the councilwoman says the fact that these paid guys refuse to do this job for free states they dont care about thier community. Wonder how many of the town council, street dept. and other city workers would feel if they were offered to do their jobs for free.

    How about all of you? Would you get fired from your job, then come back and do it for free?? No would be the logical answer. Council is making a mistake in Bellaire, make no mistake about it.

    My advice to them.....Dont Play With Fire!!!!!

    We have seen other local communities attempt this before here and it was unsuccessful. This town could afford to continue jobs of the firefighters by making some adjustments. I have followed this issue and helped my brothers with a pickett and went to a council meeting to help them in thier fight.

    Anybody here that suggests they are making a good decision is severely misinformed.

    Anybody who volunteers to take a mans job and do it for free is nothing less than a scab.

    I have nothing against volunteers in small communities, but the trend is to go from volunteer to paid. not the reverse.
    http://wheelingfire.com

    Burnie Yoho (member)
    IAFF Local #12
    "Wheeling Firefighters"
    Wheeling, WV. 26003

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber Duffman's Avatar
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    They cut costs, they didn't close the station. There is no reason why with proper leadership they cannot provide the same level of protection as before.
    If they had full time staff, and they now have to rely on volunteers responding from home or mutual aid, they are not providing the same level of service.

    An increase in response time is a reduction in the level of service.
    "We shouldn't be opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in New York City."

    IACOJ

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