1. #1
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    Angry Unorganized fire dept

    I am on a small fire dept in North Carolina. We run about 230 calls a year and most are mutual aid with our surrounding departments. We have a district in 2 countys, and have to attend the cheif meetings in both. Well the chief of our department could care less about that and doesn't do anything at all. The deputy cheif and Asst Cheif never come around. If they do run a call its POV so they don't get tied up and can leave. We have 35 members on our department and the same 10 or 11 run all the calls. We are scared to leave town for fear of a truck not getting enroute. We are now REORANGIZEING our command structure and everyone agrees that all it does is takes less off of the cheifs and puts more on everyone else. As of Feb. 1 we will have a FF going to the cheif and officers meetings for both countys. Its just not right and no one knows how to deal with it. SOMEONE PLEASE HELP. Our cheifs are elected by the members and our officers are appointed by the cheifs.
    Last edited by dragonslayer22; 01-06-2005 at 05:24 PM.

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    For starters, how did the Chief's get there? Are they appointed/selected/elected? If the majority feels the same as you, then get them out and replace them.
    "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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    Default Unorganized ?

    Reorganizing...... Let the votes count as you replace the officers that do not want to do their job !
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
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    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
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    if the chief doesn't do anything at all, and the assistant chief's never come around, why do you keep voting them in? that's the beauty of elections, if someone doesn't do the job, then they are replaced by someone who will. SO PUT SOMEONE ELSE IN THE CHIEF, ASST CHIEF, AND DEPUTY CHIEF POSITIONS!!!!!

    and if your department is too stupid to elect someone else to the office, then you get no sympathy from me.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    I say it might not be that easy to get rid of them. We don't know what the departments By-Laws say. I am on a department that went through the same thing a little bit ago. But the Cheif at the time left, and gave the position to someone due to his job as a Deputy Sherriff was getting in the way. But we would have voted for the same guy. But it is clear in our By-Laws that the chief can only be replaced if there is an out right need. Example would be some sort of criminal action or moved from the district. If the by-laws don't say that teh cheif as to spend x-amount of time or required to go to the meetings then he as the choice as a Volunteer. Now I am not backing those people who say I am a volunteer I don't have to do anything. But then again volunteer's are just that volunteers. Other things in life get in the way even if we don't want them to. I didn't make one run all last month becuase of work. Does that make me a bad person.

    And even then it is up to the board to make the motion. Can't say the department it stupid if the by-laws are out of date. But then again we don't know hwo the department was set up.

    Dragonslayer22 how does the voting go in your department. What is the length of time that they are allowed to serve. Mine is somehting crazy like 3 or 5 years. Thats how it as been for 30 years and no change in site. It might just take the members riding out the time of the current higher ranks and then change. Untill then just do what you all to do to run the department. If that means you have to go to the meetings and do all the thing the chief should be then do it. But I would be more interrested in hearing more about some of the by-laws and what they state.
    Thanks
    DM
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    MacInnis

    If the by-laws don't say that the chief has to spend x-amount of time or required to go to the meetings then he has the choice as a Volunteer.
    And he also has the choice to accept the position and the responsibility that goes with it. Believe it or not, there is much responsibility that goes with the office of Chief, even in small rural volunteer fire departments. Just have a LODD and see who is going to have to answer all the questions and do the paperwork. Have something happen that may be negligence, and see who has to answer the questions and do the paperwork.

    Yes, in some volunteer fire departments the position of Chief is nothing more than a status symbol, but if that's what you put in office, that's what you deserve.
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
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    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
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    Default ok

    Originally posted by AFD368
    MacInnis





    Yes, in some volunteer fire departments the position of Chief is nothing more than a status symbol, but if that's what you put in office, that's what you deserve.
    I don't disagree with you at all. I understand that there is alot to do as the chief officer. But if for some reason tthis department has a by-law stating that the chief is there for 5 years. And in the five years things change with him/her. My point other then status symbol was to make it clear that some department as a major turn over. So I don't think that the new members deserve anything. But if they can not get rid of him other then wait his term out. Thats all they can do. I know of a department that as alot of new members pushing to improve and update the department. The old chief when first given the position was great and timly. But over the years things have gotten in the way and the command structure is gone, not saying they really had one. Newer members come in and want to change but have to wait.

    I came from a department in New England that the Officers were voted on every year. And if they didn't do the job they are gone. But since I moved to Ky I seen many places were the voting goes on every 3, 4 and sometimes 5 years. And if the by-laws have no real way for getting rid of the person untill the end of term. Your kinda stuck with him. This isn't going to be an over night change it will take at least a year or so. I have been through this and seen it many other times.

    I am sorry I just don't think you can say that they are stupid or deserve it. Because we really don't know the whole story. Would you like someone to call you stupid or you deserve it becuase of past performance. Not saying the poster is new to the department. If it was me I would bring it to the attention of the Chief and Asst.'s. That they are not performing the duties given to them.

    Hey as a volunteer no one can make you work. I am not saying I agree with that. I spend as much time as I can at the Fire House. All you can do is wait or talk to them. Because the officers might have been the best person for the job, but something happened.

    My chief and Asst Chief drive their POV's. Easy when we only have two trucks. But if we have to go to our full time jobs, soon after a call or the call might run over then thats what we do. Its a standing issue with us. We need to make money as long as there is people to take over.

    My personal opinion is that the Chief and Asst need to get a clue or leave. The time for the I am the chief I do what I want is gone. I have told a many of officers that. I never said that they were right, just saying that hey they are volunteers and don't have to go. Never said they should be in the position thay are. I did say we need more information even bones ask how did he get the job.
    Thanks
    DM
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    Thumbs down

    THIS SIS NOT THE CORRECT PLACE TO DISCUSS INTERNAL PROBLEMS. THESE ITEMS SHOULD ALWAYS BE KEPT IN HOUSE. AS YOUR COMMUNITY AND OTHER FIRE AND RESCUE PERSONAL RIDE YOUR POST, IT IS VERY EASY TO DETERMINE THAT THE DEPARTMENT IS FALLING APART. I STRONGLY SUGGEST TO YOU AND THE OTHER MEMBERS, TO CAL SPECIAL MEETING BEFORE THIS GOES TO FAR. IF I CAN NOT FACE YOU IN A MEETING I CAN NOT PROTECT YOU DURING AN EMERGENCY.
    JUST OUT BUSTING MINE TO SAVE YOURS

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    You need to call a special meeting, if all the men agree with you, have a "vote of no confidence", and go over there heads. I don't know if you have fire commissioners, town board, or a mayor, but you need to get others involved

    GOOD LUCK!

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    Originally posted by sfvfdac
    THIS SIS NOT THE CORRECT PLACE TO DISCUSS INTERNAL PROBLEMS. THESE ITEMS SHOULD ALWAYS BE KEPT IN HOUSE. AS YOUR COMMUNITY AND OTHER FIRE AND RESCUE PERSONAL RIDE YOUR POST, IT IS VERY EASY TO DETERMINE THAT THE DEPARTMENT IS FALLING APART.
    I am going to have to disagree with you on this statement. I also own and operate a large scale firefighters forum in Central NY, and sometimes, when users vent their frustrations on certain topics, I always get a couple posters who reply with what you just said.

    I have seen departments do some pretty crazy things, but it's always fun to watch how quick changes are made when the rest of the world is notified about how things are going.

    The fire service is not a private club run out of a tree house where internal problems need to be a secret. Run it like a business, and if your doing something or operating in a way that you don't want others to know, that's a big red flag telling you that something isn't right.
    Chris Shields
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    Haz-Mat Technician
    East Syracuse Fire Dept
    Onondaga County, NY

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    Get rid of the current chiefs and find someone willing to take the responsibility that comes with the job. Sounds like these guys like the idea of being the fire chief without doing what the job actually calls for.
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

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    It's called wanting the title but not the workload that comes with it.

    Maybe their too good to attend those meetings, that's why they don't go?
    Chris Shields
    Lieutenant / EMT
    Haz-Mat Technician
    East Syracuse Fire Dept
    Onondaga County, NY

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    I cannot speak for all other volunteer fire departments across the country, but usually, when elected or appointed to office, you take an oath of office which means you will take the responsibilities and perform the duties of the job for as long as you hold that position.


    Well the chief of our department could care less about that and doesn't do anything at all. The deputy chief and Asst Chief never come around. If they do run a call its POV so they don't get tied up and can leave.
    My personal opinion of this would be dereliction of duty. As
    puddenhead said,
    I don't know if you have fire commissioners, town board, or a mayor, but you need to get others involved
    .

    Best of luck to you and you should be thanked for trying to better your department, which will ultimately better your community.
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
    Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
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    Status Quo for Vollies.....The sign out front is different...but the same BS within.
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    Vincent: One Dept. out of 30,000 vol. Dept's

    Your painting with a pretty broad brush Bro.

    Bill

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    A buddy of mine once said, "Everywhere ya go, it's the same circus; only the names of the clowns change."

    I've personnaly seen that to be the truth in volunteer, combo and carer departments.

    No one can $#!+ on you without your permission.
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    But then again volunteer's are just that volunteers
    The last time a volunteer firefighter volunteered was when they volunteered to join. After that, they have to follow the rules of their department. It's not "if they want to" or "if they think they should". They have to. Plain and simple. They volunteered to join, now follow the rules.


    God, I hate when people say "we're only volunteers".
    "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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    sounds like your chief and other officers should just get together with the department that torched that house for "training"


    We have 35 members on our department and the same 10 or 11 run all the calls.
    I think we have a few more members but the same problem the only time we even got anywhere close to having most of the department is if we go to a college thats in our district or we have confirmed flames

    also what other couties do you run mutual aid with?

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    Dragonslayer,
    Welcome to the forums.
    Wow. Chiefs or other officers not attending mutual aid or other county meetings because they don't want to be bothered? The same 10 people running calls even though there are 30 or more people on your roster? Officers or other members going POV to calls only so that they can leave as soon as the call is over? Assistant chiefs not even coming around for regular meetings?
    Deja Vue all over again.
    I understand your frustrations since I've been posting the same things and more here for quite some time. Change is difficult enough when the problems are with the firefighters but when it includes the most senior officers you are often facing a loosing battle.
    Afraid to leave town because there may be a call and everyone will respond POV and you won't be there to pick up a truck? Been there. You know what? Tough. Turn off your pager, take the family out and have a quiet dinner and movie evening and if the town burns while you were gone it's not your fault. It is the fault of the officers who have failed to enforce even the most basic standards. If you try to shoulder the responsibility for the safety of the entire town you are just going to burn out.
    Regarding those who posted saying that you should not air your departments dirty laundry here they may have a point. While it's good to vent and get input from others who may be able to offer advice keep in mind that this is a public forum. The things you say, as true as they may be, will get back to your Chief and the rest of the department. I have personally felt the effects of this. While I know my Chief doesn't have a computer with internet, several members of my department and surrounding departments do and they check into these boards often. They pass on the things I post here to those in charge. Going public that your department is disfunctional will not make you popular in your station. Consider carefully what you are going to post and plan on it being printed out and handed to your Chief. If you can handle that then I wish you luck. Fight the good fight and make a change for the better.
    Steve
    EMT/Security Officer

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    Originally posted by cellblock
    Afraid to leave town because there may be a call and everyone will respond POV and you won't be there to pick up a truck? Been there. You know what? Tough. Turn off your pager, take the family out and have a quiet dinner and movie evening and if the town burns while you were gone it's not your fault. It is the fault of the officers who have failed to enforce even the most basic standards. If you try to shoulder the responsibility for the safety of the entire town you are just going to burn out.
    Regarding those who posted saying that you should not air your departments dirty laundry here they may have a point. While it's good to vent and get input from others who may be able to offer advice keep in mind that this is a public forum. The things you say, as true as they may be, will get back to your Chief and the rest of the department. I have personally felt the effects of this. While I know my Chief doesn't have a computer with internet, several members of my department and surrounding departments do and they check into these boards often. They pass on the things I post here to those in charge. Going public that your department is disfunctional will not make you popular in your station. Consider carefully what you are going to post and plan on it being printed out and handed to your Chief. If you can handle that then I wish you luck. Fight the good fight and make a change for the better.
    WOW. cellblock, I think is is probably your best post ever. well said!!
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Never post anything your not ready to back up in person. That's why I never worry about what I post here, if someone asks me, I'll tell them the same thing...sometimes I don't even wait for them to ask.
    "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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    Talking Good Point

    I am in 100% agreement with you cellblock. And a mighty good post. You said it your self you been through it, and we are on the back end of the same thing here. I use to worry about leaving town during the day becuase no one go. I stopped that and now enjoy a stress free week. Just keep going at it Dragonslayer22 it will get better.

    Bones: Your not the only one thats hates hearing them say I am only a Volunteer. But if the chief and them are following the by-laws and SOP's then they are doing what they are told.

    The thing I find some people fail to realize is that every state and department is ran different. And sometimes you come across places like this that are different. Hey my first 2 years on my department was scary, I came in with the same thought and feeling as you and Drparasite. I had 5 years in the Fire Service, and 2 years of college to add. I felt the same way thought they were stupid and deserved what they got. But once in the flow of everything, it came to be that it was what happened years before the current group took over.
    I live in part of the state that for years the State Fire Commisson used to say, Oh you don't have to really follow NFPA and OSHA because your just a volunteer. Well the state realized they were wrong and have been tring to change it. But when you still got those guys under the old way, its hard to convince them different. And when it comes to voting time and the Majority is the old school you have no chance. I been on a department that had members only show up enough during the year to keep their voting rights. When the basic voting came up or someone stepped down they came out of the wood work. Usually voting for them was to protect the old farts in charge.

    If the chief as to attend the meetings then he needs to, if not then get rid of him if your by-laws allow. I like the idea of a special meeting, but if they don't attend meetings you might have a hard time getting them there. Just that if you never been through what this department is going through then its hard to understand everything. And if your on a department or come from a place were being a firefighter isn't something you do its your life it really hard to understand.

    Trust me: I came from a place that being a firefighter volunteer or paid it was a life not just something you do. I moved to an area that firefighting to some is just something they do on their free days. I used to feel just like Drparasite and Bones and everyone else. I came from a great department ran smoothly. To an department lost and confused needing alot of help. Chief never showed up (had his reasons), Asst. Chief works too much and can't come as much either. We as a department started filling in for them when needed at other events. If there was a meeting the niether chief could attend because of work, then someone went for them. But even if we wanted to get rid of them, our by-laws did not allow it. They had to step down, if not we had to ride out their term.

    Dragon you got a long road ahead of you and I wish you all the luck. One thing I would say that we did change is that instead of the chief appointing the officers you change the by-laws to were each positiion is elected. That will help get some good guys willing to take some slack up. And I do have one more question, Where is the Board on this problem have they tried to do anything?
    Thanks
    DM
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    Originally posted by gfpdwh
    Vincent: One Dept. out of 30,000 vol. Dept's

    Your painting with a pretty broad brush Bro.

    Bill
    Uhhh No I am not bro...I've been a volly for 13 years...and I have been in 2 different depts....there are 53 volly depts in my county...the YES the sign is different...but the BS is the same...POLITICS, POLITICS, POLITICS.....the good ole' boys v. the truly active members....sure...there are some really good volly depts out there...they are the exception...I would venture to say my statement holds true...if your place is different...God bless them...
    IACOJ Member

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    our by-laws did not allow it
    and just like people, by-laws can be changed.
    "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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    If you go for the head, the body will follow.
    The chief is elected by the members and the officers are then appointed by the chief?
    Seems pretty simple to me. Vote the chief out. Get a new chief. Get new officers. It's a brave new world from then on.
    It was said earlier; if you aren't willing to make the change, no sympathy from me.
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