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    Post Maryland Leaves the NVFC!

    It's official. The website of the Maryland State Firemen's Association, www.msfa.org has a news item and a copy of the letter from the leadership of the MSFA to the NVFC that spells out Maryland's reasons for dropping out. Primary to this situation is the lack of assistance to Maryland when the "Career firefighters who also volunteer" controversey was starting up. The MSFA is holding an Executive Committee meeting this weekend, I will be attending, and will post more on this when I get back, probably Sunday night. On a personal note, I have corresponded with quite a few Forums participants regarding the possibility of another nationwide organization to represent the interests of ALL volunteers. This may be the time to look at this issue again. Regardless, Maryland's Volunteers WILL be active in pursuing legislative remedies to our problems, Legislator's support for adequate funding issues, and generally working to make this a more volunteer-friendly world. Stay Safe....
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    Uhh... do you think this might be better over on the Volunteer forum? I'm a volunteer, too, and interested in the topic, but humbly suggest it be moved out of the general firefighting forum. Just my $0.02.

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    Originally posted by sts060
    Uhh... do you think this might be better over on the Volunteer forum? I'm a volunteer, too, and interested in the topic, but humbly suggest it be moved out of the general firefighting forum. Just my $0.02.
    blah! It's fine where it is.
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    Lightbulb Thanks............

    I appreciate your thoughts on this thread being somewhat "out of place". Truth is, I wanted maximum exposure, and you wouldn't believe the amount of Volunteers who ONLY look at this area, ignoring the rest of the forums. Stay Safe....
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    Truth is, I wanted maximum exposure, and you wouldn't believe the amount of Volunteers who ONLY look at this area, ignoring the rest of the forums. Stay Safe....
    What other forums??!!

    Seriously, good luck with all that up there, Harve; tough issue, and one I'm glad I don't have to figure out.

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    Harve; you dog, you!
    I remember when you and I were kicking this around some time ago.
    You made it happen.
    What's the next step?
    Let me know.
    CR
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    Good Luck Harve....Maryland has always been strong in the volunteer arena, especially counties like PG, Montgomery and Howard...to name a few.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
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    Smile Thanks, But.........

    Stan and Art, I'm humbled, to say the least. But, Truth is, I honestly didn't make it happen. This decision is the end result of a lot of soul searching debate among members of Volunteer Fire/Rescue/EMS organizations across our great state. Yes, I voiced my opinion, like many others, but in the end, this action reflects the sentiments of a large majority of our 35,000 Volunteer Firefighters here in Maryland. And, despite some opinions to the contrary, it wasn't a single issue that caused this action. Speaking with folks across our state, there is quite a bit of dissatisfaction with the Federal Grant Program. Almost all of those who spoke out about the grants want the program restricted to Apparatus and Equipment ONLY. Many Marylanders are frustrated with the continuing bickering over the Homeland Security-FEMA issues. The IAFF members who are also Volunteers were alienated by the NVFC very early in their fight for the RIGHT to Volunteer. And the list goes on. The one link between all of these issues was the NVFC's lack of AGGRESSIVE Action on the Volunteers behalf. Thanks for the support, AND, stay tuned.
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    Thumbs up

    It's about time.


    The NVFC is supposed to act as our "Union" but it seems all they do is make excuses. Good Riddance.

    How about the "MSVFFEMSA?"

    Maryland State Volunteer Fire Fighter and Emergency Medical Service Association?

    MDCVFFA- Metro-DC Volunteer Fire Fighters Association.

    BVFFA- Beltway Volunteer Firefighters Association.

    I could go on and on. Sorry to sound exclusive, but I think the Strong Volunteer Departments in urban areas always get the shaft when it comes to national organizations.

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    Although I'm not trying to redirect this thread, I was wondering why so many vols in Maryland want to restrict the grants to just equipment and apparatus? I feel that training should be just as important as equipment and apparatus, especially in our area. Many vol departments have the nicest, flashiest rides around, but their training is nowhere near what it needs to be. Facilities, media, and training equipment are needed everywhere, in my opinion.

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    Cool Good Point...............

    I think that much of this comes as a backlash to the stories out there about departments getting big bucks for exercise equipment, and prevention. I know this will bring a lot of poop down upon my head for speaking out, but I've seen firefighters with minimal training put a fire out, but they had to do it with firefighting gear, their exercise equipment was not up to the challenge.... To many of us, it's a thing about priorities, good dependable equipment comes first, then training, then adequate facilities (stations etc.) and then the other stuff. I have a very, very, hard time accepting that my fellow emergency responders will ignore a rural VFD with 2 F250 pickups with skidmounts as their entire fleet, while awarding grants for exercise equipment and prevention programs. Stay Safe....
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    Default Just my 2 cents

    I feel that state and local volunteer organizations can have a much bigger impact on our day-to-day issues and problems than a national organization can. My area has a very strong volunteer association ( Northwest Ohio Volunteer Firemen's Association ) that does many things for us such as a yearly training weekend, charity fund for LODD, etc.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Originally posted by TillerMan25
    Sorry to sound exclusive, but I think the Strong Volunteer Departments in urban areas always get the shaft when it comes to national organizations.
    Chris and Harve, you have identified a key issue. Volunteers in urban/suburban areas, working in combination departments, have significantly different operational and policy issues than an all-volunteer fire department.

    Good luck on the new organization!

    Mike

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    I am with my buddy Harve here, I ain't never seen a Treadmill or an Exercise bike put out a fire.

    Give us the fire apparatus please. Maybe LA County can use the Bikes.

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    Ya know there has been a thought that kinda runs through my head quite often, and it just finally came to something of a conclusion:

    With a proposed format change such as is being considered here, and the suggestion for a "new volunteer organization"... I will admit to not having done my homework here, but I was wondering if there is (or could there be one created) an international volunteer firefighters organziation. I know that we have one for Vancouver Island, and a larger group for British Columbia, (and we have to pay into it as a station for membership) but I haven't really heard anything relating to (specifically) a US/Canada type organization.

    All of us here share ideas and trade SOPS back and forth, but other than IFSTA and NFPA (for some but not all), to name a short list where we all get our base line requirements from, there is no real standard even station to station, let alone city to city.

    I understand that there will be differences in local procedure, according to call volume, call type etc, but particularly when it comes to training, we all rely exclusively on our governing bodies for funding, in addtion to the whim of our employers as to whether we can get work time off to attend full training sessions.

    This was just a thought, and it might seem mostly only half baked, but inquiring minds were wondering.
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    Default Reality check

    Some of these departments can't get along with the department one town over... Do you really think there could be any type of consensus reached in the volunteer fire service? The MAJORITY of volunteer outfits protect small towns and rural areas. They have very very little in common with the type of operations found in Suburban D.C. Look at the call volume alone. I would love to see what the average number of responses are for the majority of volunteer departments in both the U.S. and Canada..It sure the hell isn't 5000 calls a year. Its probably not even anywhere near 1000. The guy/gal who drops what he/she is doing and responds to an emergency in Anytown U.S.A. or Canada is the epitome of a true volunteer. Someone who drifts around from department to department from God only knows where, to "catch some fires" really isn't connected to the community. They are connected to their own self interest. Not my idea of serving except their own egos. We have all seen lazy, non-caring paid firefighters, but little is said about the "you cant tell ne what to do I VOLUNTEER" guys/gals. I am a proud Union member and a past Local President. I am not "anti-volunteer". I have VERY strong opinions about off duty/paid/Union volunteer firefighters giving orders to fellow Union firefighters. But thats not the issue. The NVFC will NEVER be like the IAFF because like it or not, the IAFF message is unified, even when indviduals disagree with the Unions position. (Which happens all the time)

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    To many of us, it's a thing about priorities, good dependable equipment comes first, then training, then adequate facilities (stations etc.) and then the other stuff. I have a very, very, hard time accepting that my fellow emergency responders will ignore a rural VFD with 2 F250 pickups with skidmounts as their entire fleet, while awarding grants for exercise equipment and prevention programs. Stay Safe....
    I tend to agree, for the most part. However, I don't think we should take away from the benefits of health and safety, or exercising, as we all know what the leading killers of firefighters are. But I don't think we should be giving major grants to well financed departments for exercise equipment, when there is even ONE department out there with junk as apparatus.

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    Angry The arguement for Prevention

    hwoods,

    "Almost all of those who spoke out about the grants want the program restricted to Apparatus and Equipment ONLY."

    I understand that this was potentially other persons reasons to be upset with the NVFC. I too have a problem with the NVFC, but feel that the methods to accomplish change is from within. I will continue to attempt to do that as a member.

    But the comment above really frosted my buns, and I HAVE to comment.

    Fire Protection for a community involves many aspects of which fire suppression is just one. However fire suppression is not as efficient as fire prevention. There are too many studies to quote here that have proven in a scientific manner that prevention is the most efficient method of fire protection. Suppression in it's very definition assumes a failure of prevention.

    Those of you who knew Don Manno knew of his passion for prevention. His own near fatal close call with a locked fire exit door during a fire in a commercial structure, was the impetus that made Don such an advocate for fire prevention and inspection activities. He spoke often and with passion that fire prevention should be every fire fighters first and most important job. How many in the volunteer service can actually say that they have this attitude? I'll bet very few!

    In the 8th edition of the ICMA "Managing Fire Services" which was copyrighted in 1979, in Chapter 6, page 165, the authors suggest a forecast of things to come.

    "1. Fire protection will become less reliant on suppression and will incorporate more prevention activities."

    Despite this and the years of history with fire sprinklers, we in the volunteer fire service insist on buying the best and shinest fire apparatus when we know full well that this is admitting or ignoring the fact that this piece of equipment will only respond when we have already failed in our primary mission.

    Maybe this is a low blow, but I looked at the apparatus on your fire department (Glen Dale Volunteers) web site and your company doesn't look like the two, four wheel drive, thirty year old, skid mounted pump and tank apparatus that you or others described in your other posts. Besides an 18 year old engine, nothing in your firehouse is older than 1992. The firehouse looks pretty good too.

    I'm not saying that there aren't firehouses in the country that aren't in poor shape and could use MY tax money (unconstitutionally removed from my paycheck, but that's for another thread) to improve their operation. I however would wish that they would also use the majority of the FIRE Act money for fire prevention, since that will be more efficient than fire suppression ever will. And if your using my money to do so, I want you do make sure that the money is well spent. Nowhere is this more important than in rural America, where manning and response time of volunteer fire company's is always an issue.

    Maryland's refusal to be a member of the NVFC may be necessary to get others attention to a very difficult problem. But to think that the Feds responsible for the FIRE Act program will change the priorities of this one program is not realistic, and is counter to what we should be doing in the first place. Suppression should be the LAST line of defense.

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    Looking at the shear number of calls some of these MD departments have, they should put a lot more into prevention.
    "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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    Originally posted by Bones42
    Looking at the shear number of calls some of these MD departments have, they should put a lot more into prevention.
    OK. We'll spend more money to tell people to eat better, exercise, stop taking so much booze and drugs, and slow down a little bit behind the wheel. That will cut down on the roughly 5,000 (out of roughly 7,500 total) EMS/rescue calls my combination - well, mainly career nowadays - house runs.

  21. #21
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    Smile Good Points..........

    Glopop has raised a few good points which I can agree with. (before I get past this question, the "2 brush truck" station is in West Texas, it's not mine) Now, I, like everyone else, tend to set priorities. Mine are 1.Equipment, 2.Training, 3.Facilities, 4.Prevention, and on from there. Why do I put a piece of apparatus, the training to use it, and the station to park it in, ahead of prevention?

    Despite all the best prevention efforts, we will continue to have fires. Period. Yes, I know, that sounds like some defeatest attitude. Or does it? There are a number of factors out there that weigh heavily in the "unpreventable" Fires, Things like Equipment malfunction, lightning, and the big ugly one, Criminal Intent. We can, and should, utilize reasonable and adequate prevention programs wherever possible, But those prevention programs should be backed by a reasonable and adequate suppression program as well. Stay Safe....
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    Default Yes, your right, but...

    hwoods,
    Yes my friend, you are very correct that despite what I and others in the fire prevention field are able to accomplish with code enforcement and public education, there will always be fires. That's where the engineering portion of fire prevention comes in, and they're called sprinklers, and other active and passive fire protection features in the built in environment.

    The fire in West Warwick that claimed 100 lives this past year most likely would never have made the national news if sprinklers had been installed in the Station Nightclub. You might have had a few people injured, but statistically, no one would have died.

    Sir, I want you and others to be well equiped, well trained and have a nice facility to house your people, apparatus and equipment. The reason that I changed the jist of this thread was because of what you mentioned about some departments wanting to restrict the FIRE Act money to be used soley for fire apparatus and equipment. Many in your area and mine don't need any more apparatus. They don't need new fire stations. They might need more personnel. But they certainly can do more in the way of prevention. It is the exception to the rule when I see a volunteer fire company spending time and money on fire prevention activities. Does this make your priorities wrong? I can't say because I don't know what your fire loss is, but your web site seems to indicate a very high run total for a volunteer company. (Although not as high as some others in PG.)

    Fire prevention work is not sexy, and it isn't nearly as fun as fightin' the red devil, but it is more efficient. Those fires that do happen, particularly in rural areas, might be better served by requiring sprinkler installation as opposed to equiping, training and housing more fire equipment that isn't going to get to the scene of a fire until, 10 to 15 minutes after the fire's been reported. By then if it is a working fire the matter has been resolved. Without sprinklers, everythings a loss. With sprinklers, you might have a chance, even with that F250 with the skid mounted pump and tank.

    And since some of that money that we're givin to the "West Texas in the middle of no where" FD, is some of my money, that I didn't have a voice in them confiscating from me, for a cause that is not constitutional, I want that money spent in a manner that is the MOST effective and efficient.

    Fire Protection as a whole should include a balance between the three functions of fire protection. Prevention, Suppression and Administrative functions, should be balanced to a degree that is set by the community at large. Too frequently, when the community accepts volunteers to provide their fire protection, they get the short end of the prevention fire protection equation. Should we have a say in what that balance should be? YES, absolutely! But the citizens should be the ones who determine what that balance should be, not the volunteers by themselves.

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    Glowpop- Are you in my Advanced Fire Administration course?

    Fire Protection as a whole should include a balance between the three functions of fire protection. Prevention, Suppression and Administrative functions, should be balanced to a degree that is set by the community at large. Too frequently, when the community accepts volunteers to provide their fire protection, they get the short end of the prevention fire protection equation. Should we have a say in what that balance should be? YES, absolutely! But the citizens should be the ones who determine what that balance should be, not the volunteers by themselves
    Seriously, you have brought a number of very good points up as has Chief Woods. I think you might just be helping me with my final essay.

    I will be back to pick your brains a bit more as I have a few questions (but duty calls and lunchtime is over. )

    take care, stay safe

    Cheffie

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    Default hope this is the right palce for this question

    In reading this thread and the issues behind it, it seems to me that the real questions here are about leadership. Glowpop you bring up the point that there has to be a balance between all three areas of Fire Protection. But for that to happen, the leaders need to look at recruiting not only the firefighter who wants to be out there suppressing the fires and doing all the sexy stuff, but the person who knows how to make things happen on the inside who maybe does not have the training to be a firefighter but still has the commitment to the fire service.

    My first question is has anyone read the book " Leadership on the Line" (yes, I was also at the USFA EFO Program site. I have been a busy girl!). The following is a review of the book which I include as I thought there were some relevant points made in it.

    "Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky are two faculty members from Harvard and high-level consultants who understand the risks that are inherent in the role of the leader. They write that leadership is worth the risk because the goals of leadership extend beyond material gain or personal advancement. Real leadership speaks to higher values, surfaces unresolved conflicts, and can make a difference in people's lives. But, leadership can be risky when it brings up unpopular initiatives, puts provocative new ideas on the table, questions the gaps between people's values and behaviors, or asks people to face up to tough realities. "

    If I am off base here, please correct me. I hope I am making some sort of sense. Fire Protection as Glowpop stated is about Prevention, Suppression and Administration. But under those umbrellas comes training, equipment, facilities etc.) So how can I set the balance?
    Last edited by superchef; 12-12-2003 at 06:25 PM.

  25. #25
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    Smile Well................

    Cheffie, Thank You. No, I don't have any problem understanding your direction, nor do I have any difficulty with Glowpop's. I think that almost all of us want to go to the same destination, it's just that we have mapped out different routes to that end. I have, as I have outlined above, priorities that I feel worth pursuing to reach my goal. Glowpop has his. We respectfully disagree on the route, not the destination. That, in an electronic nutshell, is the story. My outspoken position on the grant program should not detract from the good that is done there, I only disagree with a portion, not the whole. There is much more to Maryland's disenchantment with the NVFC beyond the Grants and the percieved lack of action on the "Union members who Volunteer" issue. Other areas of concern include, but certainly are not limited to, Federal surplus property disposal rules that see used apparatus from the USA being given to Foreign countries while American FDs/VFDs that are asking for that same apparatus are being told that they will not be considered. Many of us feel that some OSHA rules hamper our operations and should be changed. Apparatus is being built under NFPA, DOT, and OSHA requirements that make no sense to those of us who use it. None of these items have been acknowledged by the NVFC as being detrimental to America's Firefighters. They simply refuse to fight for the best interests of those of us out on the streets. Period. Stay Safe....
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