Thread: Advice Needed!

  1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Unhappy Advice Needed!

    Need some help and/or advice!

    I am currently on a volunteer dept and we are lacking in a few major areas. A few other firefighters and myself have approached our Chief and Officers (also volunteers) about fixing our flaws. We have volunteered to research the matters and help to complete the tasks. However, all the Officers are "tight" and we are shot down with answers like:
    -it has always been like that
    -we are just volunteers
    -we haven't had anybody killed/injured in the 20 yrs I've been here.

    How do I get the Dept to the level we are required to be at and have the potential to be at or above?

    A few sample areas we are currently lacking:
    -no Command Structure set up or used
    -no accountabilty system
    -no safety officer (ever)
    -no truck maintenance logs
    -no hose/pump testing in 5+ yrs
    -limited (if any) training or access to

    Any advice I could get would be great. I want to see the Dept get headed in the right direction but am trying not to step on toes or drive firefighters away. Also, I realize this will all take time and cannot be done overnight.


  2. #2
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2003


    You have to peel an onion one layer at a time.

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Dickey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000


    I have seen this type of thing before around my neck of the woods. If you get no luck with the Chief, then go to the mayor or city administrator. If that doesn't work then go straight to the town board or city council. There are several NFPA regulations that they are violating as well as the negligence in duty. Just mention the liability to the city elders and watch their eyes get big.

    As a last resort, go to the public for help. Try not to do this right away because it will do more damage and make it popularity contest between your and the Fire Chief. It will also hurt your reputation for a long long time. Make sure you have support of others who feel the same as you before you contact anyone. Make sure you do your homework on the NFPA regulations and state laws that your not complying with.

    Your right, it will be an uphill battle but it sounds like it's worth it for everyone's safety. I wish you luck.

    Keep your head down and your powder dry.
    Lt.Jason Knecht
    Altoona Fire Rescue
    Altoona, WI

  4. #4
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    A firehouse in Illinois


    this is a normal problem in most volunteer departments. sadly most of the changes will only occur after someone is injured or killed. to get changes to happen without that, help the officers(or trustees) see the advantages of them. do not act like a know it all, that will not help anything. one step at a time will help them gain trust in your decisions, in turn helping your entire department.

    also bring the public into your station, public image is very important. but dont make the officers look bad that will show the people that there may be a problem within the department. keep the internal differences bewteen members in the house.

    one step at a time, you or a group can make a big difference. dont give up if it doesnt happen over nite. good luck!

  5. #5
    Permanently Removed
    CALFFBOU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Default In Cali...

    There seems to be a lot of laws to use in your/our favor.
    There is a major one kicking in Jan. 1 requiring the
    vollies to meet the standards of a paid professional.
    (How they are going to enforce this, I dont know)

    Anyways- Look into some of your current laws that
    could be enforced. Call your state OSHA office, etc.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2000


    Bottom line: Bounce the officers.

    You're gonna have to play politics with whatever body has the appointing authority over them. Whether that's the membership of a company or some municipal board.

    The organization is going to collapse under the leadership as described. The only question is if people allow it to collapse on it's own, withering to either an ineffective organization or worse to the point it collapses after a momumental **** up like death/serious injury. And some screwed up departments even survive that, continuing on kinda like Gollum in Lord of the Rings with a Chief pawing his white hat going, "My Precious...". Or do you have enough people and support to knock out the current crew and rebuild while there is something left to rebuild.

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