1. #1
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    Red face Voly or not to Voly?

    Ok guys, Here's one that should get things going. It's a little long of a story, but an interesting one in it's own. Let it be known that my part in this story is that of an outside observer. So here we go.

    I live in a town that has approx 25,000 pop. at any given time. At the time this story started it had 1 paid dept, and 3 vollies. Each vfd had it's own chief and set of line officers. These depts still reported to the paid for municipality reasons, grants, budgets and so on. The city decided there was too many depts, chiefs, and too much work to manage all depts so it decided on a solution, to combine all 3 vfds into one and then have it operate under the paid chief. 1 of the 3 agreed. They signed the trucks over(as to no more debt), and released all training and budgets, etc. The other 2 decided to fight. Now there were many reasons for this fight, which changed on a timely basis as to what the reasons were at any time. The city decided to take it to the State, which handed down a time frame in which the other 2 needed to find running zones to stay in State recognition. These 2 depts did things that should never be done in this Brotherhood. They lied, tried to steal, and even took the trucks that the citizens paid for out of the city and sold them for almost nothing to a neighboring dept that kinda enjoyed the spotlight. This situation started dividing depts in the county in which it involved. New maps were being drawn up to redivide lines without consulting the depts it was going to affect. It was just NASTY!!!!

    Well, they couldn't get it done and the State pulled there funding and recognition. In the meantime, these 2 hired a lawyer to sue the city. the judge give time over time to work things out. No agreements could be met. Then elections came up. You can bet this became a part of election BS. Needless to say, it worked. New Mayor, New council, New everything. Now, in the past 4 months since this new cabinet was put in place, they are wanting to reinstate these 2 depts, give them a running zone inside the city, and pretty much wipe the slate clean. But my question is, what about the dept that stuck with them for 2 yrs of this, gave their trucks and did everything that was asked? The other 2 said they just wanted to fight fire, then why all the BS? What about the trucks that were sold? And, how will they now work with the city that tried to consolidate them?

    I think what the city did was right. There were too many roosters in the hen house, it showed at the time. And why would a city administration go and do the exact opposite of the previous so suddenly? That doesn't look to good for the city I don't think. There is a lot of sour attitudes in this city, and now a lot of BIG egos too. What do you think? I would like to know.

  2. #2
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    Tough one. I would look at it this way. the situation politically is what it is, and you are not going to change ths one way or the other, but regardless of what you choose they will go on. What is needed now is people to help with the rebuilding process.

    The departments will be there no matter what your decision, so the question to ask yourself is will you be able to help them move in the right direction and make a positive difference in that department, even in a small way. It sounds to me like what they need is more people likE you!

    Volunteer, be active, bring your like minded friends on board, bring others over to yur point of view, and put yourself in a position to make some postive needed changes, even if its down the road.
    Last edited by radioguy; 10-29-2003 at 09:18 PM.

  3. #3
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    Default Not me!

    As I stated in the begining of the message..I am an outside observer...I am in no way involved in those departments...I just brought it up for discussion to see what other peoples opinions were...but I appreciate the tought anyways.

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    Thumbs down You don't want my attitude to get started........

    This is a mess. Period. If I were the person with the last word here, I would do this: Each station, 3 Vol. 1 Paid, would be assigned to be "First Due" for all areas that they are closest to. No Exceptions. Everyone on the face of the earth (in my opinion) should be protected by the station that is closest to them. OK, now we have territories, next, running assignments. Every Structure fire gets 3 Engines. The CLOSEST 3 Engines go. Everyone works together, Paid or Volunteer, This station or that station, makes no difference. EVERYONE works together or they're gone. That's the way it would be. Period.

    Also, I do not mean to belittle anyone else's views on this, but you have to understand the Volunteer Spirit. Independence is almost the highest value here. I treasure my ability to think for myself, to raise and spend money independently of government control, to paint my trucks whatever color I want, (mine are yellow) to choose my officers, and everything else that goes with Volunteering. The big thing here in WVa (sounds like Weirton) is the city should have never stuck their nose into the Volunteers operation in the first place. Stay Safe....
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    Default Re: You don't want my attitude to get started........

    Originally posted by hwoods
    to paint my trucks whatever color I want, (mine are yellow)
    Well, there's your first problem.

    I can totally see this scenario playing out, and I think Hwoods hits it right on the head. Volunteers can do things that may seem ridiculous all in the name of pride and independence. At the end of the day, I would honestly hope the Dept's would do what is in the best interest of their staff and community, and not what strokes their ego.

    I see the same thing out here between a couple of neighboring Dept's all the time. As thier communities have grown together, there has been talk of merging both Dept's under one management structure. Ever since this was first mentioned, they fight like old women (no offense to old women ) over the stupidest things, and bad mouth each other to no end. I have not seen it affect the quality of the service they provide yet, but I honestly think the Chiefs over there are just worried about losing their "big fish in a little pond" status.

    I hope your Dept's get this worked out for the best before the public safety suffers.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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  6. #6
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    Talking Sunshine

    I hate to bust on my esteemed Chief from Maryland but....hwoods....If you leave them things parked outside in the sunshine they will ripen up!

    Would love to know where in West Virginia this is. Sounds as if a lot of corruption there.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

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    IT is a simple fact of life that running one dept. would be cheaper and more efficient than running 4. If I had my guess, this arrangement probably dated back to steamers and hand pumpers.

    The mayor did the right thing. However, if he was going to do it, he should have done it all the way. Just pull the trigger. Take it to the public and tell them why you are doing it and then, just do it. They mayor runs the gov't.

    Instead, what ensued was a political circus. I have to agree with you that the one dept. that played by the rules appears to be getting humped here. They should be rewarded here with a large chunk of the responsibility here. The other two should be treated as auxilliary.

    Just for fun...what does the career side of this battle think?

  8. #8
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    I know this wasn't the intent of this thread ... but ...

    Population: 25,000
    Fire Departments: 4
    Chiefs: 4
    Line Officers: 8 (just a guess)

    Does anyone else think this is overkill? Believe me, I'll kick and scream all day for proper staffing ... but this just doesn't seem right. Granted, if each "department" is one engine, or a truck, or a rescue ... and each "department" has a grand total of 10 members ... then maybe it fits. If that is not the case, then it's no wonder why the city is trying to consolidate.

    I agree w/ George and woods ... if the city has a legitimate need to consolidate, then just do it. However, as woods said, it would be in the best interests of everyone to respect where the volunteer FD's are coming from. Let them keep their independence, yet reign them in and run them all from one dispatch center, and make it clear that this one dispatch center will decide who responds and where (all in good faith).

    Stay Safe

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    The city is Weirton, WVA as Woodsie said. Down the road a ways from them and I have watched and read the conflict in the local papers and on the local news for a couple of years now, and the problem has existed for some time.

    Yep, they have 4 departments and 4 different chief officers with x amount of line officers for each station. Truth is they have some real state of the art equipment and vehicles also that they utilize for the protection of the city and surrounding areas, and they also have seperate EMS that is run either through Brooke County EMS or through Weirton Area Ambulance Rescue Squad (WAARS) and again both of these agencies are tremedous assests to that area.

    That all being said, I understand both sides of the story. But, I could not condone the fact that these departments sold their equipment and tried to hide it from the people that have paid for the equipment in the first place. That is just plain wrong to me. Even if the Volunteer companies were correct and felt that strong about their fight, they did the wrong thing. I too am from a volley company and I understand the departments individuality and their right to keep providing services for the people but what they did showed alot of people on both sides of the river just how egotistical some of us can be. What benefit did the people have from them selling and hiding their equipment so that it could not be utilized for what it was intended to be used for. Shame on them!

    Now, granted the paid department and the volley should have checked their ego's at the door for the benefit of the community,but that did not happen. So now new powers that be take over and want to reinstate them all back to where they were. Does that make it right for the people or does that make it right so that Weirton is not in the spotlight again. Just my opinion and not of the comapny that I belong to, but I think that this still needs to be addressed by the chief's and the administration. Just reinstating these departments does not solve the problem within the ranks and it never will get better. The part that really is complexing is that these departments have some really intelligent people in them and some real good firefighters and instructors. The only thing that I can see because of their experience and knowledge that has caused this problem is EGO!.

    Now that being said, I can say this. Our department is similar in the extent that we have 3 departments in our area seperated by a peice of paper. 3 villages that run into each other and the only seperation is the corp limit sign. So in about a 3 mile long strecth by a 1 mile width area with maybe a little over 3k people you have 3 towns and 3 fire departments. Within that you have 5 engines, 1 snorkel, 2 EMS squads, 1 brush truck, 1 personnel carrier, and 1 boat. But again here, like there you have 3 individual departments running it their own way with different policies and procedures. If we incorporated a department 2 miles west before they close you could have added another engine and add a tanker. Add 80 volunteer firefighters to the mix and there you have a pretty darn good fighting force for any fire or rescue.

    Truth is, we are no better off than Weirton is in the sense that the ego's and powers that be can not see through the BS. There is just no reason or good valid excuse as to why these departments aren't togehter or at least have the same policies and procedures in place. Think about it, What kind of department would that be to have them all combined to answer the call and to do the same thing. I have for over 20 years tried to stress the point that we need to combine forces. One it would tremendously benefit out people we provide services for. Think of the ISO grade, training, money not being spent on duplication of equipment-testing-insurances and the like. But again, we can not get past the ego's. Shame on us. Woodsie any help would be appreciated on this.


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

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    Thumbs up So glad not to be alone

    you guys don't know how glad I am to hear some outside opinion on this. As I stated before, I have no special interest in this, I just thought some outside views would be good and also the information might help some other depts from running into the same problem.

    To answer some questions, the paid guys really don't care either way. They sure do like the support from the vollies when they need it, but they sure hate the tension from all the other stuff. To answer the big question, This is stemmed from the city admin. This waqs done in cooperation with the city fire dept but not because (as far as I know). As far as equipment goes, the city, after those 2 cut off their support, is in my mind, barely making it. They went from 7 engines, 2 support, 1 ladder, 1 quint, 1 brush, and 1 boat down to 3 engines, 1 support, 1 quint, and a boat. They have called in mutual aid from neighboring vfds and a paid unit across the river.

    Orange is right, I too believe it is an EGO struggle. But, it gets better. I have found out that the city (new admin) now wants to stop the first responder program from the paid dept. I'm sure the ambulance service isn't happy about this, and I'm sure if the citizens knew the effect it would have, they would be pretty upset too. I think (my opinion) that the city wants to, by stopping the first responder program, reduce the call volume and eventually show that a paid dept is not warranted. There was a rumor during the elections that the new elect would try to shut it down but noone believed it. Now, these are theories, but they sure do look good at this point.

    And on a final note, the State, I believe, will not reinstate these 2 depts, so if they run, it will be only due to the city disregarding the State. Anyone want to move there?

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    Default re: seems opinionated to me

    First off, the sound of the original thread did sound opinionated to me. If you are against it then at least say you are against it. We live in a democratic society so if we don't like change we can vote against it. Looks like thats what the citizens of the city did. They elected the officials they knew would reinstate the departments. So in my opinion the will of the majority has been met. I am sure that those firefighters had to suffer everytime the fire whistle blew knowing that they couldn't respond but they took they fight to the people and the people answered. If you are upset with that then get out and vote. And you said you weren't involved in any of the departments but I am sure they would love to have another set of hands during an emergency. The best way to invoke change is from within. Have a great day and stay safe!!!

  12. #12
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    Question More Info?........

    With more info to work with, I might figure out how to settle the problem. Couple of Questions. Who owns the stations and vehicles? Where does the state fit in? There was some comment about not being recognized by the State, That's meaningless to us, the State of Maryland has no control whatsoever over FDs here. My standard idea of a County Wide Fire Department would solve a lot of the problems in the Brooke County area. Have the County set First Due areas, establish standard running assignments. Set Training Standards for Firefighters and Officers. Integrate EMS into the operation. The various FDs and VFDs would keep their independence and identity, continue to own stations and equipment. They would be legally responsible to County Govt. for compliance with operating rules. A countywide Dispatch center should be in place, attached to a 911 phone system. And last, but not least, a County Fire Chiefs Association should be formed, if one is not already there. 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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    Cool I agree

    I couldn't agree with you more woods. It does need to be handled by the county. They have been talking about a county dispatch for this area (911 center). It is so messed up right now. We have a county dispatch for 6 county fire depts and a city dispatch for 1 paid and what used to be 3 depts now 1. The 3 were also dispatched by the county since they were volly. The main thing to remember in all this is that the city wasn't shutting them down, they were combining them so there was 1 governing authority instead of 4. The depts would have still kept their independence, training, and fund raisers. They would just have to fall under the rules of the city and the city chief. They would still use their own equipment, personnel. and so on. MY OPINION (here it is port) is that they did not want to give up their colored helmets. Let it be known that alot of the fireman joined this new system. The State does have alot of say so in our state. The FDs are governed by The State Fire Commission. The State funds them so they have alot to say about what goes on.

    The 911 center needs to happen though. there are alot of factors and people that don't want it to happen though. Goes back to the independence thing again. Mainly services that run inside the city limits. Also there is a chiefs assoc, and a county fire commission. MY OPINION again, I think too many people are letting their hearts (bad feelings and fear of change) over power their minds. 1 bad apple does ruin the bunch. A couple of people from 2 depts that want to be mutiny decided to make it bad for everyone else that want to fight fire and enjoy doing it.

    Fine, let them leave then. You don't want to fight fire under authority and procedure, go free lance somewhere else is my thought. let the people that want to fight fire, fight it. Stop bucking the system and start being a part of it. There are truly only 2 choices, get in and shut up or get out and stay out. That about sums it up.



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