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Thread: Help Needed

  1. #1
    Forum Member SpartanGuy's Avatar
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    Unhappy Help Needed

    (Reposting this from the volunteer forum for more feedback here)

    Maybe some of you guys can help me in this regard:

    We're a combination department with 5 guys on during the daylight hours. That makes us a great mutual aid company, especially when everyone else around us is suffering manpower shortage. The problem is, out of our juristiction and the EIGHT surrounding companies, we are the ONLY one that impliments an incident management system.

    Recently, we had a mutual aid call in a nearby township for a structural fire. We responded with a crew of five to the scene. As we came on scene, I found that the 12 firefighters on scene were all freelancing, just doing things that they felt they should do. When I asked where command was, so we could report it, I was asked what I meant by command. I then figured to ask for the chief, and found him to be inside the building. So I asked if there were any other line officers, and found all but a captain to ALSO be in the building conducting interior operations. When I found the captain, he was on the nozzle of a 2 1/2 directing it inside the same room the chief was in! Furthermore, the building's structural integrity was beginning to weaken, as was evidence by sagging in the rear and the fact fire was blowing through part of the roof there.

    With the lack of an incident management system, and the fact that there were MULTITUDES of safety violations going on, I made the decision to impliment it and take command of the incident myself(after toying with the thought of putting my guys back in the truck and going home). Everyone there listened, and we withdrew from the building and initiated an exterior defensive attack. The fire was turned around, and no one was hurt.

    But afterward, I recieved a nasty phone call at the fire station from the opposing company's chief where he used choice words for my 'over-stepping my bounds', and then informed me he was totally taking our company off of all automatic aid assignments.

    While I recognize I was out of line in taking command of someone else's fire, I couldn't do nothing and see someone get hurt, most especially one of the men I was responsible for.

    So, what I'm asking is, does anyone have any ideas on how to approach this situation, and perhaps try to repair relations with the other company?

    And does anyone have any ideas how we can encourage neighboring companies to operate more safely?
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.


  2. #2
    Forum Member firenresq77's Avatar
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    What rank are you? If you are not the Chief, I would refer it to your Chief and have the 2 Chiefs meet and try to discuss what happened and why.

    Sounds like you had a big mess on your hands........ It may have ******ed some people off, but it probably saved some lives, too. It's a touchy situation.......

  3. #3
    Forum Member SpartanGuy's Avatar
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    I'm a lowly lieutenant, but I was the crew chief for our crew, and other than the captain who didn't want to leave his 2 1/2, the highest ranked person on the fireground.
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

  4. #4
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Unhappy Well................

    First and foremost, YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. PERIOD. I won't dump it out here, but if anyone knows who the Chief is, ask him to give me a call at 240.508.8663. I'd like to talk to him about SAFETY! I don't know any more than what was posted above, but I'd like to find out why some things are done, or more correctly, not done, in that area.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  5. #5
    Forum Member SpartanGuy's Avatar
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    We're a relatively progressive department, and I take a lot of ideas from here.

    Everyone around us, however, has the 'we've always done it this way' syndrome. People also resent our department a lot because we have a lot more money than everyone aroudn us, and have a paid staff. A lot of our proposals are rejected under the basis is 'not everyone is as rich as your department, so we can't afford this' or 'Just beacuse you have paid people doesn't mean you know everything'.

    We've tried for a unified command between all departments, a joint fire district, standardization of equipment, and all of it was shot down for one of the two above reasons.

    You can never be too poor for safety, but oh well.
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

  6. #6
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    Hang in there Bro...Just keep raising hell, and I wouldn't run mutual aid for that dept. for nothing more than water supply.. There is absolutely no need for this in today's fire service.. A method I've found useful in this scenario is INFORM THE PUBLIC.. Get the heat on them and you may be able to turn them around...Good Luck
    Ain't skeerd

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    I completely agree, you did the right thing given your situation. You put your guys (and thiers) first, and fought the fire systematically.

    I would hold off on any public discussion of this situation until you have exhausted all other options. That will only serve to undermine your discussions with the other Dept.

    I would pass it on to your Chief Officers to have a chat with the other dept. An informal meeting might be a good start to express your Dept's concerns, and if you find you absolutely can't resolve your issues, a well written letter to that dept and thier local council explaining why you won't be providing mutual aid might result in a kick in the ***** from the powers that be.

    Again, don't start a public slag-fest, as you'll only come off as a couple of bickering rural FD's.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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  8. #8
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Posted by my Brother Harve... aka hwoods...
    First and foremost, YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. PERIOD.
    Harve was right. It's hard to believe that with all the information and technlogy we have at our fingertips, we still have fire chiefs that have the "it works, the fire still goes out, why change the way we do things" and the "it's my party, an I'll do what I want to" dinosaur mentality.

    The fact that you have daytime staffing and the neighboring FD's don't smacks of jealousy.

    Posted by Soloblitz35...
    Hang in there Bro...Just keep raising hell, and I wouldn't run mutual aid for that dept. for nothing more than water supply...
    Amen
    ‎"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

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
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    We had a situation with a dept that we run AMA with for a basement fire. My truck was second on scene and they had one trucka nd 2 guys. So I team up with one of them and we head into the basement. I am on the knob advancing in to the fire when I noticed the line was getting harder to pull. I look back and my "partner" had bailed on me, luckily my crew was at the door waiting when this joker came running up the stairs. They asked where I was and he said still in the basement, they followed the line in and we put the fire out. Upon me exiting I had several choice words with my "partner" (who was a Captain).

    After this a directive from our Chief is, we only provide water. If we fight fire it is only done with someone from our dept as you partner.

    You did exactly what you should have done, if they don't like it fine.
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  10. #10
    Forum Member SpartanGuy's Avatar
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    Originally posted by mcaldwell
    Again, don't start a public slag-fest, as you'll only come off as a couple of bickering rural FD's.
    They're a more rural department then we are, but we're considered city slickers by them, as we have a fully paid department next to us in a city roughly 20,000. We're a rapidly growing municipality with slightly less than 15,000, and our daytime population doubles due to people who come in for business.

    The neighboring fully paid department is just as bad with their safety practices as the volunteer department I spoke of. They'll at least have command, but when you ask em where accountability is, they'll laugh at you.


    My chief called their chief this morning to have a discussion on the issue. Our chief proposed a meeting of the line officers from both departments to discuss the issue, but he got the same kind of response I got previously. He also proceeded to blame my chief for his officer's 'out of control' behavior.

    After that conversation, my chief made a directive to respond for nothing other than water supply(much like you guys said) and to not call them for anything but water supply or overhaul duties.

    We also bumped them down to a second alarm assignment for all of the automatic stuff they were on.
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

  11. #11
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    While I work in a urban environment, I believe most FD's in the country can be held to the "standards of practice" in the event of an injury or fatality.
    Without looking up the actual pages/numbers, don't the NFPA standards require the IC position to be filled, and for that person to remain OUTSIDE the hot zone? I seem to remember from reading the FF fatality reports on the NIOSH web site that this is a common factor in many of the fireground fatalities.
    You arrived on scene, recognized a dangerous situation, and acted accordingly.
    If they "don't want to play" with your dept anymore, screw em.
    You'll live longer without em.
    "Don't just do something, stand there!!!"

  12. #12
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    It sounds like you did exactly the right thing. No matter what, make sure you take care of yourself and your crew. As far as their complaints that they are "not a rich department", how much money does it cost to get on a radio and establish command? Is there a tax that is accrued for every benchmark that is hit? If they think your ideas are too expensive, just remind them that your ideas are a whole lot cheaper than the cost of a lifetime of medical bills they will have to pay if/when one of their members is seriously injured while their command staff is playing in the house like a tailboard rookie. Or worse yet, the lifetime of regret that will occur if/when someboby has to pay the ultimate sacrifice. Keep up the good fight, and stick to your guns. If you and your crew goes home at the end of the shift, then chalk it up as a victory for the good guys.

  13. #13
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    It sounds like you did exactly the right thing. No matter what, make sure you take care of yourself and your crew. As far as their complaints that they are "not a rich department", how much money does it cost to get on a radio and establish command? Is there a tax that is accrued for every benchmark that is hit? If they think your ideas are too expensive, just remind them that your ideas are a whole lot cheaper than the cost of a lifetime of medical bills they will have to pay if/when one of their members is seriously injured while their command staff is playing in the house like a tailboard rookie. Or worse yet, the lifetime of regret that will occur if/when someboby has to pay the ultimate sacrifice. Keep up the good fight, and stick to your guns. If you and your crew goes home at the end of the shift, then chalk it up as a victory for the good guys.

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