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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Feb 2003

    Question When does a practical joke go too far?

    I wanted to run this by all of you and see what you thought.

    Saturday I had a cadet decide to play his idea of a "practical joke" on me. While I was inside at a PR event, this cadet proceeded to get my helmet and place 12 JUNIOR FIREFIGHTER stickers all over my helmet and my leather front. A few hours later, I was trying to leave and was unable to find my helmet. Come to find out, it had been hidden so I would not see the stickers all over it. I was furious, number 1 that a cadet has the gumption to do something like this to a firefighter's gear; and number 2 that my helmet was taken off the truck and hidden where I wouldn't be able to find it in the event of a call. When I asked him if he did it, he lied and told me no, he knew nothing about it. One of the other firefighters quickly ratted him out and I confronted him...extremely p!$$ed off!!! When I told him that I would be talking to the fire chief about it, he proceeded to explain that he didn't care because the chief liked him and he wouldn't do anything to him for it. He told me if I didn't like practical jokes, then I was on the wrong department.

    I have never messed with this cadet nor any one else for that matter as far as that is concerned. My helmet is not department issue, it was bought and paid for by myself and cost me around $230 dollars total with leather front. I am unable to get parts of these stickers off and as a result my helmet looks like S#!@...I am still not happy about this as you can probably tell.

    I wanted to ask you guys if you thought I was over-reacting, or if my anger is justified? My philosophy is...practical joke or not, you don't F@%$ with somebody else's gear...especially not a senior firefighter when you are a cadet and definitely not with someone's personally owned equipment. I did my time as a cadet as well and have had my fair share of pranks pulled on me.

    Also...does any know what will bring these stupid stickers and their retarded adhesive off my helmet without doing any damage to it, causing potential harm to myself by using a flammable adhesive remover, or potentially voiding the warranty?


    All things I say...while not always making sense are ALWAYS my opinion and only mine. They do not reflect the opinions of any department of which I am a member.

  2. #2
    Forum Member PFire23's Avatar
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    Nov 2001
    On a rock, surrounded by water


    Baby oil or some other oil based product should take it off, mineral oil maybe???? Oil based products shouldn't hurt the leather, but will loosen the adhesive.

    As for the other question, I don't believe you should EVER mess with anyones gear, especially to the point of hiding it. I think you are justified in your anger.
    To the world you might be one person, but to one person you just might be the world.

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  3. #3
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    Dec 1999
    NW Ohio


    I can take the sticker part ok ............but hiding it crossed the line ............I would certainly talk to the Chief about this persons brash attitiude and lack of remorse.And I know that if it was hid from me and dinger went off and I could not find it .....there would be war in camp !...........goo gone or something of the like should remove your advesive, also perhaps some alcohol preps.

    About the flamable removers ..........think.........if you have a plastic helmet, none will get absorbed and all of them DRY rapidly, so no vapors or anything. If it's leather then I dont know what to tell you.
    Last edited by Weruj1; 03-01-2004 at 01:35 AM.
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  4. #4
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Default 2 things...

    #1. Try the "Goo Gone" or some type of citrus cleaner.

    #2. I would beat his ***...Ok, just kidding. This
    might sound extrem, but I would document the
    incident. And yes, I would talk to a Supervisor
    about it. He should be worried about messing with
    other people's PPE.

    (still say beat his ***)

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2001


    I work in a place where Shinanagins and General Tom Foolery is a big part of our day. One thing is for certain. PPE AND OTHER RELATED GEAR IS OFF LIMITS! There's a big difference in dumping a guys duffle bag or carving his soap into a form that any male wouldn't want to take in the shower and messing with gear that we depend on to potentially save our lives.


  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2004


    We play alot of jokes around here, but the gear is DEFINATELY off limits. That guy sounds as if he has an attitude and is also a little shortsighted in his thinking things through.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    Nov 2002


    Messing with someones gear is a big no-no. Everyone is a potential target but messing with PPE is not allowed.
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

    IAFF Local 3900

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  8. #8
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....

    Thumbs down Not Here...............

    Mess with someones gear here and you're gone. End of story.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.


  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber CFD Hazards's Avatar
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    Apr 2002
    Cranston, RI, USA


    Are you friends with any of the cops in the town? If so and it is a practical joke that he wants to play, have your cop friend show up at the station and arrest him for the destruction of your personal property. Have him taken to the police station and sit in a cell for a while and then see who is laughing. I am assuming a cadet is someone that is 14 or 15 so beating him is not an option. Someone once decided to joke with me and clean my helmet. I didn't find it too funny and had a little meeting in the parking lot. You can't let this pee-on get away with something like that.

  10. #10
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 1999


    There are two issues here... Obviously, there is the issue of respect between the cadet and the senior firefighter. More importantly, there is the issues of altering & hiding PPE. The latter is NEVER acceptable.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Santa Rosa County, Florida


    In my department we have a lot of fun together. This goes from the Fire Chief on down to the Rookie. But when it comes to practical jokes, PPE, and personal property are off limits.

    I like the post where someone suggested calling your police friend.

  12. #12
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Jul 1999
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee


    Well I am afraid I am going to come off as somewhat of a hothead with my response to this but here goes anyways. I would go to his direct supervisor, I am assuming there is an officer in charge of the cadets, and voice my complaint, if nothing was done at that level I would go up the chain to the chief if necessary. If nothing is done in house I would talk this "fine" young lad and let him know that if he ever touches a single thing of yours again the police will be called and his delightful little rearend will be in it cheek deep.

    I would make it clear every step of the way up the chain that a practical joke does not include damage of personal property or the hiding of turn-out gear.

    In all of the FD's I have ever belonged to messing with turn-out gear was strictly forbidden, and the policy was strictly enforced.

    I would really like to know what happened in your FD over this.


  13. #13
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    Calling the little bastard a "cadet" is wrong... he's a "pup" as in "future mutt".

    I agree with Brother FyredUp.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  14. #14
    Forum Member FiremedicMike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Central Ohio, USA


    I have to agree, who the hell does this punk think he is?

    You are where THE CADET wants to be, cadets DO NOT play jokes, cadets are there to learn. Cadets should be seen and not heard!!

    And for him to take that arrogant attitude with you, if the chief won't remove him from the dept, then you make sure you do everything in your power to get everyone on yer side and blackball that little punk. Dont talk to him, don't let him take runs, don't let him train with you, don't let him eat with you.

    Grr.. that fires me up

  15. #15
    Forum Member RFD1067's Avatar
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    Jan 2004
    Riverside Ca.


    We have an unwritten rule in our Dept. we DO NOT mess with safety gear. Practical jokes are ok as long as they don't cross the line where someone gets hurt physically,or to a point where it could be considered harrassment.

  16. #16
    Forum Member LeuitEFDems's Avatar
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    Feb 2004
    Egremont, The Bizerkshires, MA


    Like many others have said, talk to the supervisor in charge of the cadets, and work from there. As a previous cadet (we were called junior ff's), I never would have thought to play a joke on a senior member, even though I had alot played on me....unless I knew the person really well from both the FD life, or personal life and I knew that they would "respect" a joke from me. It NEVER would have been with their PPE.
    I have worked through the ranks with alot of jokes going on, and now I have somewhat earned my dues....like this kid should.
    I like the PD idea also..maybe scare the crap out of, and put some respect (back) into this person. Just make sure you, yourself won't get in trouble for doing it.
    Another idea...since it's your personal helmet that YOU paid for...send him a "bill" for buying a new helmet since yours is "ruined" because you can't get the stickers off.
    The comments made by me are my opinions only, not of the Fire and EMS services I am affiliated with.

    I have lost my mind..has anyone seen it? it's not worth much..but it's mine

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber ullrichk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Deleted by the forum gremlins


    It's very easy to get involved in something that seems funny at the time but turns out to be quite the opposite. I'm more concerned about the attitude than "the crime."

    Had the cadet shown some remorse over the act then I would say choose corrective action with that in mind. Under the circumstances I'd say it's open season.

    Avoid the return favor via the cops as it would only validate the cadet's opinion that practical jokes are O.K.

    a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for

  18. #18
    Forum Member
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    Dec 2002
    Essex Junction, Vt.


    Here, practical jokes are part of life, but NOT when it includes gear- definitely off limits!

    As far as getting the adhesive to let go, you might try a blow dryer to heat it up enough to soften and work it off.
    Essex Junction Fire Dept.

  19. #19
    Truckie SPFDRum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 1999
    St Paul, MN


    I agree with hwoods, mess with the gear and it's; cya, leave your stuff, and don't let the door hit you on the way out.
    Hate to be so extreme, but if this cadet doesn't know the black and white stuff, how are they going to make a decission if there is any gray area?
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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  20. #20
    Forum Member stm4710's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003


    IMO a jr. ff sticker on your locker or something---big haha.

    Cadet admiting he went to far and apoligizes for his lack of judgement and removes the stickers or pays for repairs and learns never to touch PPE again----a good out come.

    Cadet lieing,not takeing responsibility and messeing with and damageing PPE and personal property--- totally unaceptable.

    I belive the later should be a suspendable offense.

    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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