I recently came from a small career fire department (4 stations/4 companies) to a larger career dept(18 stations/21 companies/8 ems units.
For those who went to larger dept's, what were/are some of the biggest or most notable differences. Fo me, it was the more relaxed atmoshere..ie: the guys have a job to do. let em do it, and leave them alone.....basically, less micromanagement.
Hey, it's not a post about helmet color or nozzle type. Ha! Merry X-Mas
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12-18-2004, 10:03 PM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2000
Biggest change 4 U-Big VS. Little Dept.
12-19-2004, 02:17 PM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2004
I did the same thing 9 years ago. Now at a county department with 12 stations, fire and ems transport. Running our ***off because of the growth of the county. Sometimes being at a small department has it's advantages. I use to swap shifts at the city department and work 48 off 5 days. I don't do swaps any more working at the department I'm at now. Last time I did 48 here turned into 50 hours and 30 calls, no sleep and about wrecked my truck on the way home. I won't be doing that crap any more.
12-19-2004, 10:28 PM #3
I'd be kind of interested in some of these reply's too. Currently I'm on a smaller FD (60 FFs./4 houses). Im on a list and waiting for the call for a major metrp dept. (30 houses).
I've been here 12 years and can't wait for my call. I'm high enough on the list to be in the 1st or 2nd class, but they are having a budget crisis and have yet to hire anyone.
My questions would be...Are there any regrettible differences? What were the differences that made it all worth while?
12-20-2004, 09:49 AM #4
I am in the same situation too. I used to work for a small combo fulltime/paid vol. dept. with 1 station and 8 paid firefighters. I just got hired with a dept. with 29 stations and 700+ firefighters. I miss the small FD though. All of us guys knowing each other real well and having aspirations of going to different departments, we had a lot of fun; but the management was terrible. The small department was regressive other than progressive. I am looking forward to 18 weeks at the Academy and working for a progressive department that is busy.Shawn Clark
Tulsa Fire Dept. E-23 "C Platoon"
I.A.F.F. Local 176
12-20-2004, 10:05 AM #5
- Join Date
- Dec 2003
Small vs. Big
While I have never worked for a small municipal FD, several of my close friends do. When we compare the station life/routines the difference is like night and day. Besides the obvious call volume difference, the amount of busy work my Bro's have to do is insane. I think a part of that comes from them having their fire station in the same building as PD/City Hall..someones always watching. When I go on duty my schedule is pretty much as follows.
- Get a brief shift summary/ any pass ons and relieve the A shifter.
- Put my gear on the Truck/check SCBA, do Truck checkout
- Roll Call
* after this I am pretty much on my own unless we have something scheduled (ie. training/preplan/demo). I can read the paper, watch TV, work out, read FH , take a nap or whatever. The caveat with this is that my Captain expects the crew/the truck/all equipment to be ready to go at all times..no excuses. All house duties are expected to be completed by end of shift...no excuses. I think if a problem arose we would quickly find ourselves very busy correcting the problem and making sure it did not happen again.
Like EHS said, less micromanagement..and that makes the job so much nicer. -46
12-21-2004, 05:35 PM #6
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
less whining, white shirts and blue
besides the differences already mentioned, especially the nagging issue of "busy" work, the thing that struck me as the biggest difference was the relief of not have to spend 24 hours around guys who wanted to be somewhere else. the incessant whining i heard when i worked in the burbs was unbearable. now when i go to work, after i check in my rig, eat, and read the paper, i look forward to spending the rest of my day NOT bitching about management/call volume/busy work/etc. and being around people who love to be at work.
12-21-2004, 06:32 PM #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2003
- Troy, NY
About a year ago, I transferred from a small (36 man, 3 stations) department to a larger one (120 men, 6 stations). I geuss size is relative, because my new department isn't that large compared to some of the others you guys are talking about, but it is the second largest in the area, and #10 in New York State. I definately made the right move. Money is better, more room for advancement, and more structure. One thing I like about the larger department is how the companies operate. In my old job, it was two men on a rig, and sometimes you took the ladder, sometimes you took the engine, sometimes one guy drove the utility truck and the other guy jumped on the engine. We had one officer per shift, and were micro- managed. In my new dept, each company and house operates on it's own, with a house captain and lt's running the show. The BC stop's by to check on things, but as long as the work is getting done it isn't his concern. Having more structure makes the job safer, and as a junior man it also makes me more confident. The old palce was a free for all at a fire, with every man having too many tasks and not enough time to do them. Now, I know my riding position SOP, and I just worry about getting my job done. The call volume is higher, which is good for a young guy like me. One negative aspect was going from BLS first response to ALS transport. I don't mind the workload, but the prospect of missing a fire while at the hospital kind of sucks! It will be worth it in the long run though....in a few years I'll be able to bid to an engine.
What I miss the most about the smaller department is being involved with EVERYTHING. In the smaller department, the call volume was lower, but I knew that I would be at every fire, extriacation, river and rope rescue. We also would be recalled for fires on our off days. Now, if a fire is on the other side of town, we don't go, and if an interesting rescue comes up, the Squad guys take over. Again, that's just a short term drawback. In a few years I'll have some senority to bid the "better" spots. Short term sacrafice for long term gain. I've been rambling, but I have to say that I highly reccomend the larger department.
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