1. #1
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    Angry They just don't get it, do they?

    From the FH.com home page:

    TORRINGTON, Wyo. (AP) -- In some fire stations across the country, a couple of cases of beer may be found stacked in a fridge. In others, there are neon lights, full caches of liquor and even a bartender.

    Some fire chiefs say the alcohol is an important tool for recruitment and builds camaraderie, but policies that allow the consumption of beer and alcohol at fire stations are increasingly under scrutiny.
    Do they have to get their recruits drunk to get them to agree to join their sorry department? I think some folks have their priorities out of whack.

    (Apologies to those WY departments that have their acts together. I'm not referring to you.)
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    I don't think we can single out WY FD's. There are firehouses right here in Northern NJ that have bars that rival some neighborhood taverns. They also have no alcohol policy.

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    I thought the exact same thing when I saw this on the FH homepage.

    I donít see how they think its ok. Just imagine the uproar if cops were allowed to drink at the station. In a job thatís dangerous enough, why throw something else into the mix to make it worse- especially something which is so easily preventable?

    There is no excuse for this type of stupidity.

    They probably went back to the station after Anndeeís funeral and enjoyed a few drinks.

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    They probably went back to the station after Anndeeís funeral and enjoyed a few drinks.
    That is not fair. You have no proof of this. In fact, it seems as though Andee's FD was quite proactive in getting rid of the beer in the wake of this incident.

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    Unhappy

    Iím sorry for the remark. Stupidity annoys me. Hopefully, the incident will continue to change their minds.

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    Post Keep them seperate

    One point needs to be made clear. You can have a professional fire department staffed with professional and dedicated firefighters and still have a bar if that is a source of income for the department.

    What needs to be separated is the firefighters from the bar if they are also going to respond to any type of call. Just because you have a bar in the fire hall does not make it necessary for the firefighters to stay at the hall all night drinking while waiting for a call. The policy should be that if you have been at the hall and had a drink; you have no business responding to a call.

    Any town that relies on a heavy volunteer force must understand that those responding to fire calls are not always sitting in church when they get the call. They may be at home just getting finished cutting the grass and having a beer. It is the professional that knows when he has no business responding to a call. Whether he had the drink at the hall or at home.

    Many departments have a full bar and they serve as the social circle of many a small communities. At the same time, it generates much needed revenue for these departments. It is a knee jerk reaction to close down the bar if they rely on that as a source of income or as a way to generate interest in the department.

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    One point needs to be made clear. You can have a professional fire department staffed with professional and dedicated firefighters and still have a bar if that is a source of income for the department.
    No, you can't.
    What needs to be separated is the firefighters from the bar if they are also going to respond to any type of call.
    Obviously, that's not happening.
    Just because you have a bar in the fire hall does not make it necessary for the firefighters to stay at the hall all night drinking while waiting for a call.
    It happens all the time.
    Any town that relies on a heavy volunteer force must understand that those responding to fire calls are not always sitting in church when they get the call. They may be at home just getting finished cutting the grass and having a beer. It is the professional that knows when he has no business responding to a call. Whether he had the drink at the hall or at home.
    Guess what?? People who are drinking DON'T have the capacity to think correctly. Hence, the problem (nationwide) that started this whole debate.
    Many departments have a full bar and they serve as the social circle of many a small communities. At the same time, it generates much needed revenue for these departments. It is a knee jerk reaction to close down the bar if they rely on that as a source of income or as a way to generate interest in the department.
    Knee-jerk?? Tell that to Andee's family, pal. Thousands of fire departments do just fine without selling booze to the public.

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    Unhappy

    In fact, it seems as though Andee's FD was quite proactive in getting rid of the beer in the wake of this incident.
    No, if they had been PROACTIVE they would have addressed it before someone got killed. This was REACTIVE....

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    I think the real issue is whether the FFs respond to calls after drinking. In my VFD we have alot of hardcore beer buffs. We used to have beer in the department vending machine with the cokes and 7up until the ABC board got a tip and had us remove it. Beer is still allowed at monthly business meetings and parties. A few of us nondrinkers got together a couple of years ago and passed a motion to ban drinking during the meetings because they were lasting for hours and nothing was getting accomplished because of all the beer induced behavior. The 2 months following the beer ban we didn't have enough members or officers for meetings. The third month the Chief and officers returned with the motion to overturn the beer ban. It passed and we are back to drinking at the meetings again.
    Since we don't have training along with our monthly meetings there isn't a conflict. When we do have training, (I should say when do we have training), drinking isn't allowed. If any calls come in the SOP is that nobody who has been drinking may respond to the scene. It's happened a couple of times and hasn't been pretty. Those of us that are trying to act responsibly are upset and the public has the negative image of the 'Fire and Drunk White Boys Social Club' reenforced once again.
    We can't keep people from drinking on their own time. We can tell them that if they have been drinking they can't come on calls. Stay home with your cans and listen to the action on the radio/pager. We'll understand and will probably see you on another call later when you are sober.
    Take care and be safe,

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    Default It's not an excuse

    One thing that seems to have been left out of this thread is that the 'man' charged with killing Andee Huber did his drinking at a local bar and not the fire station. So whatever that FD's policy was at the time regarding drinkng at the station it had nothing to do with that particular incident. My opinion is and always has been that drinking and incident scenes should never mix, EVER. My own FD had a long standing unwritten rule of 2 beers and you don't go. Quite some time ago, and fortunately without a tragic incident to trigger it, we chose to have a zero tolerance policy. We do have beer at our station, but it's under lock and key at all times and can only be consumed with permission of a department officer(Chief's, President, VP) who have the only keys and only while they are present. It's made quite clear that if you choose to drink you don't respond, period, if you have more than you should, get a cab or sleep it off in the bunk room.

    Personally, I agree with some of what's been said here. Any department that has to rely on alcohol to recruit and maintain it's membership is only asking for trouble. Any person that would decide to join a department based on whether or not they can get a drink at the station shouldn't be a firefighter. I sure as hell wouldn't trust them and their priortities are in the wrong place to do this job.
    Cleverly disguised as a responsible adult.

    Anything found in my posts is soley my opinion and not representative of any other individual or entity.

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    I swear, I was only trying to stick up for the FF in Wyoming. Now look. This has turned into another dreaded alcohol thread.

    WEBTEAM, PLEASE CLOSE THIS THREAD! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SPARE US FROM ANOTHER SIX PAGES OF THIS STUFF.

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    WEBTEAM, PLEASE CLOSE THIS THREAD! FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SPARE US FROM ANOTHER SIX PAGES OF THIS STUFF.
    YES, WEBTEAM, PLEASE SAVE GEORGE FROM THIS THREAD! I THINK WE SHOULD NEVER DISCUSS THIS AGAIN, BECAUSE THE PROBLEM WILL SURELY VANISH IN THE NIGHT LIKE A FART IN THE WIND, JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER PROBLEM IN THE FIRE SERVICE HAS IF WE IGNORE IT LONG ENOUGH.

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    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One point needs to be made clear. You can have a professional fire department staffed with professional and dedicated firefighters and still have a bar if that is a source of income for the department.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    No, you can't.

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    What needs to be separated is the firefighters from the bar if they are also going to respond to any type of call.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Obviously, that's not happening.

    quote:
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Just because you have a bar in the fire hall does not make it necessary for the firefighters to stay at the hall all night drinking while waiting for a call.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    It happens all the time.
    Nozzleman, let me know the next time your up in NJ, I'll take you to visit quite a few firehouses where:

    Yes, you can.
    It does happen.
    And it does not happen all the time, in fact, very rarely.



    Can anyone honestly say that if there was no alcohol in the firehouses, none of the incidents mentioned in this article would have happened? How many of these incidents involved members drinking at their firehouses?

    Aren't there already laws in every state of the USA about driving under the influence? How often is that law broken? Drinking and responding is the problem that needs to be corrected, not where they were drinking it. Removing alcohol from firehouses will make very very little difference, the drinkers will simply drink somewhere else. And that is the problem, drinking and responding.
    "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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    Thank you for taking the words right out of my mouth, Bones.

    In fact, one could make an argument (I'm not, but one could) that, it is actually better to have beer in the firehouse. The reason being, if people are going to drink, they are going to drink. You could make the argument that it is better to have them doing it at the firehouse, where you can keep an eye on them. If they are drinking at home, you don't know if they are coming in after 2,3,4 ...

    Note that I am NOT making this argument (that it is better). I'm simply playing a bit of devil's advocate, and I am adamant about not drinking prior to responding.

    Also, there is a difference between having an operating social club that happens to be owned by the fire company, and having beer in the vending machine.

    Stay Safe

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    Originally posted by ThNozzleman

    YES, WEBTEAM, PLEASE SAVE GEORGE FROM THIS THREAD! I THINK WE SHOULD NEVER DISCUSS THIS AGAIN, BECAUSE THE PROBLEM WILL SURELY VANISH IN THE NIGHT LIKE A FART IN THE WIND, JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER PROBLEM IN THE FIRE SERVICE HAS IF WE IGNORE IT LONG ENOUGH.
    Ya know, you are a realhop in the butt.

    It really wouldn't matter what position I posted here, you would go against it.

    There is no ignorance of this subject. This subject has been beaten to death. And almost every time it has been beaten to death, it turns vicious and the thread gets shut down. In addition, there has been no one as voracious as I have been about a zero tolerance policy. My views on this are quite public and quite explicit.

    Do me a favor and add me to your ignore list.

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    Nozzleman, let me know the next time your up in NJ, I'll take you to visit quite a few firehouses where:

    Yes, you can.
    It does happen.
    And it does not happen all the time, in fact, very rarely.



    Can anyone honestly say that if there was no alcohol in the firehouses, none of the incidents mentioned in this article would have happened? How many of these incidents involved members drinking at their firehouses?

    Aren't there already laws in every state of the USA about driving under the influence? How often is that law broken? Drinking and responding is the problem that needs to be corrected, not where they were drinking it. Removing alcohol from firehouses will make very very little difference, the drinkers will simply drink somewhere else. And that is the problem, drinking and responding.
    Please let me know when he comes to NJ.

    Bones, PA, let me ask you a question...is there alcohol served in your workplace? If not, why not?

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    George, no there is no alcohol in my place of employment. Why, because the owners made that decision. Does that mean I can't have a drink when I'm at lunch? Actually, there is a policy that states a glass of wine or 1 12oz. beer may be consumed during a lunch with clients. Is there alcohol in my firehouse? Kind of, we keep a locked cabinet for when we have our Christmas party. We also get a case of beer on our meeting night for after the meeting for those that want it. Why? Because we, as the owners of our firehouse, chose to get a case of beer. The town, which owns the firetrucks, is not too concerned with what we do in our firehouse as long as we answer fire calls and assist the town in whatever needs they have that we can assist them with. We, as a fire company, have written rules and follow them regarding who does and does not respond to calls. Will I say we have never had someone on a truck under the influence? Nope, can't say that, I don't run breathalzyers/bloodtests on every call to know. Have we ever had someone "appear" under the influence? Yes, and they were quickly dealt with and removed from the scene. We have had more problems with Fire/EMS/ and even off-duty PD members coming to calls from the local bars than we have ever had involving either fire company's hall.

    The problem is not alcohol in the firehouse, it's alcohol in the responding person.


    And yes, this has been beaten to death, discussed many times, many bad things said, many threads closed. People have their opinions, some good, some bad, some we agree with, some we don't. No one, through these forums, will change anyone else's minds.

    We need to stay adult, discuss, offer our experiences, and sometimes we have to agree to disagree. There is no need for the name calling.

    I will not argue with you to try and change your mind, that is not my place. I will offer my opinion and I will respect yours.
    "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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    It really wouldn't matter what position I posted here, you would go against it.
    That's not true, and you know it.
    There is no ignorance of this subject. This subject has been beaten to death. And almost every time it has been beaten to death, it turns vicious and the thread gets shut down. In addition, there has been no one as voracious as I have been about a zero tolerance policy. My views on this are quite public and quite explicit.
    If people new to this forum feel like discussing this matter in a civil way, who are you to tell the Webteam to shut it down?
    Do me a favor and add me to your ignore list.
    Never!

    I remember plainly visiting one well-known fire department in PA, and having the opportunity to browse through some of their photos. Several of them showed firefighters openly drinking while firefighting operations where going on. Not only that, the ground near them was littered with empty beer cans. I asked one of their members about it and he just smiled and said, "That's the way it is." What a joke.

    And it does not happen all the time, in fact, very rarely.
    If it happens only ONCE, it's too much. Whether they drink away from the station, or at the station, is not the point. Allowing these activities to carry on in a fire station gives the impression to the public that it's tolerated. People who are drinking, firefighters or otherwise, don't "know" when not to get on that truck that's headed for the "big one;" that's why drunk drivers kill people, week after week. It's a huge liability that today's fire department cannot afford to ignore, in my opinion.

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    Bones, you jerk! (Just kidding).

    I forgot to ask what you do for a living, but I assume it is less dangerous or demanding than being a fire figther. But you can't have beer there, but you can in the firehouse. I would call attention to that irony.

    No arguments, just irony and humor.

  20. #20
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    2 cents.

    IMO it is all about dicipline and character of the idividual.

    Adult beverages it the firehouse should not make a bit of difference if you have a fire fighter that is strong of character and has self control.

    Cellblocks post earlier made me think back on the history of booze in my VFD. There used to be a lot of drinking at meetings years back, probly 20 or more. Beer was not baned in the firehouse, but drinking at meetings and training was. A bunch of hot heads up and quit. Instead of giveing in and kissing their hind ends to get them back by letting them drink, the VFD just went on a rucruitment drive and replaced them with more responceable people. Sure enough, a few months later they came back with their tails between their legs wanting to join back up.

    You can take the beer out of the firehouse, but you cant take the beer out of the fireman.

    Sometimes you have to give lessons in humiliation, sometimes you have to challenge someone to make them a better person.

    You cant take alchohol out of the fire service no matter what you do, you can try prohibition but there will always be home brew.

    What you can do is weed out fire fighters that lack the character, dicipline, and moral responsibility to control their behavior, not in just drinking and responding, but in all aspects.

    Not everybody is cut out to be a fire fithter, this includes volunteer and career. If you are the guy that has one DUI from responding drunk to a fire, and then you show up drunk again and get somebody killed, then by God you have no damn buisness in the fire service.

    We have a stockpile of adult beverages on hand most times of the year, either left overs from our New Years Eve party or some other funtion. We dont have a problem with drunks at fires, and often the beverages get old before they get used up.

    We dont have a problem because we fixed it. Not by takeing away the beer, but but molding the fire fighters, and if they cant find in themselves the dicipline or character required...

    Then they are envited to leave.
    Last edited by SamsonFCDES; 11-20-2003 at 04:06 PM.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

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    Bones, PA, let me ask you a question...is there alcohol served in your workplace? If not, why not?
    Is there alcohol served during business hours? No. Is there alcohol served when we have client receptions in the office? Yes. If you consume alcohol responsibly, there is no problem. If you consume alcohol and do something that you are not supposed to do, you would be fired (I suppose so anyway ... it's never happened).
    I remember plainly visiting one well-known fire department in PA, and having the opportunity to browse through some of their photos. Several of them showed firefighters openly drinking while firefighting operations where going on. Not only that, the ground near them was littered with empty beer cans. I asked one of their members about it and he just smiled and said, "That's the way it is." What a joke.
    First, what firehouse (I'm just curious, PM me if you don't mind)? Not that it surprises me ...

    Second, I visited a well-known firehouse in New York City. They had beer with dinner ... so let's not just pin this on the PA volunteers (although, I have posted on many occasion the downfall of the volunteer fire service in PA). It happens everywhere (no, does not make it right, but it does).

    Finally, on occasion, we will have beer in the firehouse. It's locked up, and it doesn't come out on meeting nights, or trainings. It's there for the crew picnic in the summer, and the crew Christmas party. Any extra is taken home by guys that evening. During these two events, it is common knowledge that once you crack open the first one, you're done for the night. It's mostly the old guys who don't ride too much anyway. It is not an issue, never has been an issue, and never (I know, never say never) will be an issue in the future.
    What you can do is weed out fire fighters that lack the character, dicipline, and moral responsibility to control their behavior, not in just drinking and responding, but in all aspects.
    That is where it's at ...

    Stay Safe

  22. #22
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    Its about balance.

    Yes we have alcohol in our station, we have a couple after training nights and meetings. If it has been a bad call, we will get together in the afternoon for a couple and an informal debrief.

    When we party, a crew always stays sober.

    Do we go raving around our community in the BRT bombed out of our skulls, of course not, it is our community we are protecting not endangering.

    As FF's we have seen the results of alcohol in all its forms, I personaly have a brother who has been sober for 15 years after treatment. Does that mean I shouldn't enjoy a beer, get a life.

    That doesnt mean I don't like George.
    Psychiatrists state 1 in 4 people has a mental illness.
    Look at three of your friends, if they are ok, your it.

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    That doesnt mean I don't like George.
    That's all right. Sometimes I don't like me!

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    Boys, Boys, Boys.....

    You both need to group hug and make up. We all can agree to disagree. We're all professionals here.

    As far as the issues go, yes, there are 2 issues here. One is having beer at the station and drinking at the station and the other is responding to calls after been drinking.

    In my department, this is strictly enforced. There is a no tollerance policy for drinking at the station or on city property. Also there is a no tollerance policy for responding to calls while under the influence. Our policy says you must wait a minimum of 4 hours after your last drink to respond. If you show up to a call or the station while under the influence you can be fired on the spot. Same with drinking at the station or on the property. We used to have beer in the pop machine about 15 years ago but got rid of because of the liability. That is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Not to mention the possibility of injury or death to someone from the public or another firefighter.

    As far as social gatherings within the dept, do you really need to drink to have fun???? Don't get me wrong. I like my beer and have a very very active social life. I am single and love going out. I am the farthest thing from a prude or a stick in the mud. But when I drink I stay as far away from the fire department as possible. I even shut my pager off so there is no temptation to respond. There has been times where I have been borderline but still didn't respond just to avoid the issue. If you want to have social gatherings that involve alcohol, then do it outside of the station. Go have a campfire at someone's house, party in someone's basement, go to the local estabishments but please don't drink in the station. Yes, I think social gatherings do promote commeraderie and are a recruiting tool for the social things you do outside the fire dept. with other co-workers. Some of us on my deparment regularly go to the local establishment after a meeting or a training to chill out and debrief sometimes. This a good thing to make new friends. This, even by accident, makes people work better together in the fire station. Yes, this is important but it should be totally removed from the fire deparment.

    If having a bar is the main money maker of a small department, then that bar has to be seperated from the fire station. I mean around the corner or down the block, not in the same building. Then there also needs to be a policy in place and strictly enforced for firefighters that have been drinking do not respond. That is just common sense.

    There are other departments that we mutual aid with that have beer in the station in the their pop machines. One day something will happen, as it has elsewhere in this country, that will make them change their mind after someone gets hurt or killed.

    Keep your head down and your powder dry.
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    All I am trying to convey is that it is not a alcohol problem, it is a fire fighter problem.
    -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

    -Adversity: That which does not kill me postpones the inevitable.

    -Despair: Its always darkest before it goes Pitch Black.

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