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  1. #1
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    Default robbing from the fire department to pay for the PD?

    Are there any other departments out there that are experiancing this phenomenon?

    Our Police Department has sustained only superficial cuts (ie. full time horse unit), where we have lost 3 Engines, 1 Truck, and our Fire Boat. They have attempted to eliminate our overtime, where the PD has gotten more overtime budgeted!

    Of course, our crime has gone up this last few years, but so have our fires and other calls....



  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    My Brothers to the Northeast (Cleveland) are about in the same boat. Talking shutting down several companies..but no police cuts .
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

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    Here we go again...

    Did you ever consider the following:

    1. That calls for police service and calls for fire service (ie; fires, not runs) may not be increasing at the same rate?

    2. That the PD may be providing service in a more efficient manner than the FD?

    3. That the PD may be justifying their manpower by assuming a more active role in Homeland Security and the lack of cuts reflects that?

    4. That the PD may have found a way to generate funding (state and federal grants, homeland security money, aggressively enforcing laws, etc)?

    5. That consolidating the FD actually makes it more efficient?

    6. That the PD has a better marketting vehicle than the FD?

    I know, I know...all cops suck, they eat a lot of donuts, they block our hydrants and the steal out money.

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    This always going on here with GOV Guam . last year the took money from both the police and fire department . so they can pay the teachers salaries. The fire department got the shaft this year. Cause OSHA ,Guam EPA , the Dept of Health . condemned a building that is there office and the island's government does not even want to find them a new one. It is sad when they can barely afford to fuel their trucks or even do basic maintain and the cops do not even wear bullet proof vests cause they do not even get funding. these are our brothers. and sad thing is one of the Ambulances station #1 can be competitive with any major cities ambulance in amount of calls Per year. I left them as volley cause of safety and other concerns.If it was for the generosity of the military FD's and others including my self . some of the basics. I.E. collars ,gloves, O2 masks . they would Be in hurt and the fact they transport injured military out in to Naval hospital and get some money back from Uncle Sam . I wrote this to add that you are not alone on thsa mainland in this ever increasing sense of being loveing by the politicians and the closed mind way of thinking. thaqt your fellow rothers DC2 Eric Kloosterman

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    Default

    edit
    Last edited by OFD226; 10-26-2003 at 06:00 PM.

  6. #6
    Forum Member Dave1105's Avatar
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    Default

    I really, REALLY hope you are playing devils advocate, because if you are not, then you need to re-evaluate your profession and stop pretending to be a brother fireman.
    PFFT, Go pull your head in buddy. Who the hell do you think you are making such a comment. Just because somebody doesn't agree with you and doesn't make the "Politically Correct" statements then that doesn't mean that they should be condemned or accused of "pretending". This kind of pretentious, holier-than-thou attitude is what really gets up my goat and you really should take a long look at yourself before you start pointing fingers. Who's the real brother now when you turn your back on someone in 5 seconds?

    I really hope he wasn't playing devils advocate, because those arguments do hold merit, they may not apply in your case, but they do apply in lots of other cases. A lot of the time Fire Departments whine about not having the biggest and shiniest and newest appliances... yet the equipment they do have is more than capable of doing the job a hundred times over. Unfortunately the Police Departments are the "Big Brother" of the Fire Departments and you ask any parent how hard it is to keep things fair at "Christmas Time".

    6 - Negative. PD has no marketing vehicle. We have had over 100 homicides this year. That is more murders per 1000 people than anywhere else in california, and one of the highest in the US. This is what the marketing vehicle is. FEAR.
    Err.... well there is your answer right there! Unless you have some kind of huge funding scandal involving the mass murders of people in your area than this is most likely the explanation. The police aren't creating this fear, the public is. The police aren't doing the killing, the public are. Sure they may be using this as an avenue to get funding, but if this isn't a good reason then what is?

    It sucks some times when you don't get as bigger bite of the apple as everyone else, but in the same vein you have to understand that essentially we're all fighting the same battle here. If those figures are true then I think you have bigger fish to fry in your area than the loss of a few fire trucks and a boat....

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    Default

    Originally posted by OFD226


    6 - Negative. PD has no marketing vehicle. We have had over 100 homicides this year. That is more murders per 1000 people than anywhere else in california, and one of the highest in the US. This is what the marketing vehicle is. FEAR.
    And I think you just made your point for the PD right here. If I lived in your city, I would certainly hope the powers that be put more emphasis into reducing the homicide rate, and increasing the PD budget, allowing more overtime, etc would seem to be logical steps. It's no fun seeing cuts in your department when others are seeing increases, but if it is for the betterment of the city...

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    Default

    edit
    Last edited by OFD226; 10-26-2003 at 06:01 PM.

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    Default

    More money for these guys:
    http://www.net.big-river.sk.ca/cybereye/oaklnd.htm

    Meanwhile, a quick glance at FH's run reviews shows Oakland fire getting busier and busier.

    Sure, the cops need more money, too, but I really don't see why they would cut your fireboat.

    Maybe I'm a bit biased (ok, I admit it- I am), but I have a bit more faith in OFD's ability to be cost efficient than OPD's.

    Good luck over there, OFD226.

  10. #10
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Default

    Here's the problem with fire service funding...

    -Mayors and city councils see that the majority of runs are EMS. They think sending a three or four man company on these runs is a waste... and that two FFs is the magic number.

    -The average citizen *is* more likely to be a victim of crime than they are to be of fire. Crime comes on many levels... it doesn't have to be violent crime.

    -When fire companies have downtime, they are in the station. They may be cleaning or training... but they are seen as just hanging out. When police officers have downtime, they are out in their car somewhere. They can't be seen doing nothing, so they folks think they're hard at work.

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by OFD226


    I really, REALLY hope you are playing devils advocate, because if you are not, then you need to re-evaluate your profession and stop pretending to be a brother fireman.

    Point by Point:

    1 - The calls for fire has risen faster in my city than the police calls.

    2 - Definately not. They are much worse than us with many duplications of services that are not needed. They have much less public support as well.

    3 - Nah. We have the 5th busest port in the US, and so what do they do? They cut our fire boat that is the only fire protection in the port area!! So much for homeland security.

    4 - Nope.

    5 - There is no consolidation. Only cuts of service. Nothing to consolidate when there is only bare bones as it is!!

    6 - Negative. PD has no marketing vehicle. We have had over 100 homicides this year. That is more murders per 1000 people than anywhere else in california, and one of the highest in the US. This is what the marketing vehicle is. FEAR.
    I am choosing my words carefully in order not to get tossed by the WT.

    First of all, I am NOT playing devil's advocate. I am asking very legitimate questions. Your first post contained zero information about your city, the statistics, the details of each dept. You just asked a whiny, self-centered question.

    Secondly, if your city experienced a radical increase in arson fires, or fire deaths in a given year, what would your solution to the problem be? Exactly, increase the manning in the fire department. That is exactly the justification that the PD is using. And well they should.

    Thirdly, there are few,if any, FD's in this country that are showing marked increases in fire activity. Is your call volume going up as a result of working fires? EMS runs? Other calls for service? If your calls for service are up when your fires are down, maybe your answer lies there somewhere.

    Fourth, if you think corruption is unique to the police service, hit your back button and look at the number of corrupt fire fighters (arson, thefts, homicides, drugs, etc.) there are out there.

    Fifth, street gangs and domestic terrorism are not unique to your city. But, the FD takes no action whatsoever to stop these groups. If these groups are such a big problem (the Weathermen haven't been active in over 15 years), the answer lies in providing law enforcement with the tools to combat them effectively.

    Lastly, I do not need your lectures. Who the hell do you think you are questionning my commitment to the fire service? My ties to the fire service run long and deep. Most likely back to pre-puberty years. The shocking reality is that people might not see things the way you do. There are also fire fighters out there who have independent thoughts, they do not robotically follow "the Brotherhood". In fact, the blind following of "the Brotherhood" breeds corruption.

  12. #12
    Forum Member firemangeorge's Avatar
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    Default

    Did anyone read the question posed in the first place? All he asked was whether anyone else was experincing this phenomenon.
    George, you seem to always question the query, instead of simply answering it.

    On the subject at hand, yes, my department has experienced similar issues. The city council has discovered that insurance companies can be billed for extrications, and has ordered the Fire Dept to figure out how to do the billing so the funds can go to the Police. Makes sense to me
    See You At The Big One

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    Forum Member Firegod343's Avatar
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    Cool Yea, and those garbage guy get a big cut too

    OFD226 -

    While I understand your frustration, I'm going to have to side with George on this one. The Fire Service in general has become its own worse nightmare. We have gotten so good at doing so much with so little, that the public believes we're overstaffed, when in reality, we are barely keeping up. Our committment to customer service and "getting the job done" has made it possible for your City Council and my fire commissioners to slowly hack away at funding.

    During a recent budget hatchet session in my agency, the Chief told the commissioners that the guys would "just have to do more with less." My guys (I'm the Ops Chief) have seen their call volumes increase by 20% over the last two years with no addition to personnel. Yet the Fire Chief won't hesitate to send them out to water the new grass at a local park, or send them to clean gutters at a Community Center. I'm not saying we shouldn't do these things, but the Chief doesn't help in justification of needed funds when he doesn't admit that our staffing is too low to do them.

    Ultimately, (using a Zen approach) it starts at the top. Your Union Local needs to find City Council candidates that have a belief that the Fire Department needs to be a priority. The current community has elected members that place the priorty on Police protection, because that is what your local community thinks is important. Not many of the "voting" community will ever need or see your fire boat, so why should they care.

    FG
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    "Victorious warriors win first,
    and then go to war,
    while defeated warriors go to war first,
    and then seek to win."

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  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    I think first of all everyone needs to step back and take a deep breath.

    Now FiremanGeorge..what part of the Buckeye you from? Near our Bros in Cleveland..they are getting the shaft. Laying off 100 plus FF in mid December, Merry F!@#$%^& Christmas CFD.

    Now what has been stated that we are our own worse enemy is right. Our trustees about stroke'd when we stated we need a new station. Their response...just add on, that is when they were advised we would have to bring the entire structure up to code and that would cost more than a new station. This is due to we have members who always some how figure out how to make due.

    Remember guys, play nice or the WT will get you
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

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    Default Re: Yea, and those garbage guy get a big cut too

    Originally posted by Firegod343
    OFD226 -

    While I understand your frustration, I'm going to have to side with George on this one. The Fire Service in general has become its own worse nightmare. We have gotten so good at doing so much with so little, that the public believes we're overstaffed, when in reality, we are barely keeping up. Our committment to customer service and "getting the job done" has made it possible for your City Council and my fire commissioners to slowly hack away at funding.

    During a recent budget hatchet session in my agency, the Chief told the commissioners that the guys would "just have to do more with less." My guys (I'm the Ops Chief) have seen their call volumes increase by 20% over the last two years with no addition to personnel. Yet the Fire Chief won't hesitate to send them out to water the new grass at a local park, or send them to clean gutters at a Community Center. I'm not saying we shouldn't do these things, but the Chief doesn't help in justification of needed funds when he doesn't admit that our staffing is too low to do them.

    Ultimately, (using a Zen approach) it starts at the top. Your Union Local needs to find City Council candidates that have a belief that the Fire Department needs to be a priority. The current community has elected members that place the priorty on Police protection, because that is what your local community thinks is important. Not many of the "voting" community will ever need or see your fire boat, so why should they care.

    FG
    This is exactly my point when it comes to marketing. I have been in law enforcement for almost 20 years. I have never cleaned a bathroom, cut the lawn or washed my car. Yet, the fire service culture has evolved not only to the point that FF's do this, but that they are EXPECTED to do it.

    In another thread, I talk about letting the citizens choose the level of fire service they are willing to pay for. If they are not willing to pay for it, especially in volunteer towns, then why should the FD worry about providing it? We would never think about relying on a low-budget, volunteer service to pick up their garbage, but they see nothing wrong with using a bare bones service to save their lives. It's all about selling the fire service.

    I never said that the above cuts were right. I was pointing out the possible reasons. And one of the possible reasons that a FD is cut over a PD is that PD's are better at selling their service than the FD is. Fact. If your Chief is a political, butt-sucking, goober-smoocher, than the FD will get the short end every single time. But attacking the PD for them being fairly funded is not the answer.

  16. #16
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    As much as it is ethically wrong, the city doesn't make money on the FD so they see it as a cost and don't want to spend money on it. On the other hand our brothers in the PD(God bless them), earn money by writing tickets. This is not a slam against the Coppers but the truth in how a big city works. They pay the PD $50/hr in OT to write tickets and in that hour they can write hundreds of dollars.

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    Wasn't Robert Bobb the former City Manager out there? If he was it's not surprising-he left Richmond in a similar mess...Now he's moving on to bigger and better things in Washington,DC...Like they haven't already suffered enough!

    Stay safe folks...
    Rob

    "Well done is better than well said" - B. Franklin

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    Lightbulb

    Take a look at Pittsburgh, PA.
    731 people were laid off including 102 Police officers and 21 EMT's. About 20 of those police officers laid off were brought back. The PD overtime has been cut and all kinds of other events in the city have been cut also. The city wants the veterans pay for their parade nxt month because of the but backs. Do you think that is right. The homicide rate is way up.
    Everyone in the city has been affected by the cuts EXCEPT for the fire bureau. They are exempt from the cuts because of a no layoff cause they got in the last election for mayor. The fire bureau was to merge with the EMS back in July and that has not happened to date and probable won't happen because no one can decide how the merger will take place.
    We deal with it and we move on. Yeah there is a lot of resentment but we all still have to work with each other. We still get the job done with what we have and that's all that counts.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Default

    From another thread...
    Oakland, California circa 1978 - population 350,000
    23 Fire Stations, 24 Engines, 16 hose wagons, 8 Trucks, 1 Squad
    1 Rescue, 1 Fire Boat

    5 Men per Engine Co, 6 Men Per Truck, 4 Men on squad
    ~35,000 calls a year - 3500+ working fires a year


    Oakland circa 2002 - 410,000 people
    26 stations, 25 Engine Co, 7 Trucks, 1 Rescue, 1 Fire Boat
    4 men and women per engine, 4 or 5 on trucks
    75,000 calls - 1100 working fires


    Working fires down by 2/3rds...firefighters down by my estimate by less than half. Sounds to me like a City Manager's formula for further cuts.

    The Fire Service has to approach things in a pro-active manner, not one of, "if cuts have to be made, cut someone else!"

    First, in most cities the four largest municipal expenses are: Education, Police, Fire, and a distant fourth Public Works. At least for the first three on those it's mostly salaries. Public Works at least gets some wiggle room they can cut back on supplies and they tend to be paid less than the professional teachers & the public safety police & fire guys. Public Utilities is usually pretty safe, because they can be revenue-neutral (user fees pay instead of taxes). Cuts in other city departments often are difficult -- cut 20 guys from Fire is barely noticeable to the public, while just 2 people might represent 50% of a department outside of the "big four".

    Now, I *believe* in Oakland the Schools are probably independent of the city. That leaves Police & Fire as the big two municipal expenditures. It's tough position to be in going before a city council with two places they can potentially cut money -- hmm, a murder rate that's equal or higher than it was in 1978...or an area that 2/3rds of their work has disappeared since 1978.

    I'm not necessarily offering any solutions, but for most cities the only three big areas to save money are schools, police, and fire. If schools are politically sacred cows, and the police both can pull in revenue and show crime is as bad as it was 20 years ago, fire ain't gonna have much luck if they're mantra is "cut someone else!" cause their ain't someone else to cut.

    I have issues with NFPA 1710, but one of the really great things the committee did from a strategic standpoint was justify the 4 minute response time as being needed to deliver effective EMS to cardiac patients. You can hammer on 1710's staffing & deployment from a firefighting perspective as being pretty arbitrary, but the time to deliver an AED is both something well and scientifically documented, consistent, and is a growing area of responsibility today. Yeah, we need 4 minutes to save a heart attack patient...and as this terrific side benefit, we get to fire calls in a timely manner too! It may wrinkle the nose of fire guys, but it's the arguement that will hold the most weight with the city manager & council.

  20. #20
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    From another thread...
    Oakland, California circa 1978 - population 350,000
    23 Fire Stations, 24 Engines, 16 hose wagons, 8 Trucks, 1 Squad
    1 Rescue, 1 Fire Boat

    5 Men per Engine Co, 6 Men Per Truck, 4 Men on squad
    ~35,000 calls a year - 3500+ working fires a year


    Oakland circa 2002 - 410,000 people
    26 stations, 25 Engine Co, 7 Trucks, 1 Rescue, 1 Fire Boat
    4 men and women per engine, 4 or 5 on trucks
    75,000 calls - 1100 working fires
    These were the numbers I was looking for. There are alot of FD's in the country that wish they were having the "difficulties" Oakland is having. From a City Manager's point of view, this justifies the reductions. I have these questions before I comment further:

    What is a hose wagon?
    What is a Squad?
    They don't do EMS?
    How many Chiefs?
    How many fire prevention?
    How many arson?
    How many public education?
    How many civilian employees?

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