1. #1
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    Default Chief responding with kid in car...

    As a volunteer firefighter just completing FFI& FFII training I was stuned to see the Chief responding to calls with a child in the car. Sometimes lasting for hrs, my heart went out for this child. (4yrs to 6yrs old). This to me does not seem like a safe thing to do. The members of the FD felt the same way but don't want to take a stand. (the buddy thing} The Chief said that she would take responsiblity for her. Is there anything else that can be done? I also went to the Fire District in our town expressing my concern and they also said there is nothing that they can do. {The buddy thing as well}
    Please help...

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    I have a couple of times been caught out and about with my daughter in the truck. I have brought her with me once or twice, but with some restraint (i.e. I'm really just "driving" to the scene, not what you'd call "responding"..no lights, no speeding, stop for the red light (we only have one ). Depends on the call, too. I think the only call I've brought her with me recently was a residential alarm investigation, where I knew I wouldn't have to get far from the truck and we probably wouldn't be there long (plus my 14 year old son was with me to keep an eye on her).

    That's only if I happen to be out driving in the area. If I'm home with her I'm not going no matter what it is.
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    When were displaced from our home, if I was in town and I knew there was a medic sheduled I would "drive" there to see if they needed any help, but never on the exporessway, also got a spankin for it and not that it happened alot, and now we are back home and it is over with. It is clearly in the SOG that kids, or any family member are not to be going to calls code 3.
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    Happens all the time.
    The Deputy Chief of the local volie FD got divorced and had custody of his son. When the pager went off he'd jump in his pov with his kid and respond from home to the scene.
    We have a part-time paid FF who has responded with her kids in the department ems truck when the pager went off while she was taking them to school during her shift. She brings them to work in her pov at the beginning of her shift then puts them in the ems truck and takes them to school.
    What about adult passengers? It's not uncommon to see FFs pull up on their POV, lights and siren blaring, with a friend in the passengers seat. Someone who was visiting or riding somewhere with the FF when his pager toned out.
    It's happend to me back when I volunteered. I'd be out somewhere with my girlfriend or someone else and the pager would go off. As long as they didn't mind going on the call I usually ran with them. Of course, a MVA enroute to the scene could cause the FD all kinds of grief. While you, the FF, might be covered by some sort of insurance, what about the passenger?

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    we once had a member who stopped at the station in his pov to pick up the rescue truck for a med aid call and took the time to buckle his 18 month old son's carseat to the passenger seat of the rescue.....yes he responded with lights and sirens. when on scene we kindly advised him that if he had his kids with him he could just respond pov and one of us would pick the rescue unit up. this guy was a top shelf f/f, i guess everyone is entitled to the occasional brain fart.

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    one of my old deputy chief did it all the time. the running joke was that his son was command, while he was operations

    anyway, back to the topic at hand, I don't see a problems with it for chiefs to do it. I mean, the chief and his wife are driving to dinner (in the chief's vehicle), and he gets a call. should he drive back home, drop his wife off, and then go to the call? or just go directly to the scene?

    now, the chief and his son are coming back from baseball practice. the chief's department gets a call for a working fire. now, should the chief ignore the call, continue driving home, drop off his son, then run L&S back to the scene? or (assuming his son has no problems with it) drive directly to the scene, and begins assessing the fire?

    should anyone be strapping a child seat into the rescue, or the back of an engine) to take their kid on a call? absolutely not. but for a chief, who has a chief's vehicle 24/7, to respond from where ever he is directly to the scene with family in the car? well, I'll say that's more acceptable.
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    How can you expect a vol fire chief not to have a child, friend or family member with them? Both my husband and I are in the fire co., he's an asst chief,as long as the call isn't going to be too long, it won't hurt the child to wait in the car. Now I'm not saying take the kids with you out of the house, but as long as they're with you.
    Heck, just yesterday I was driving and came upon an accident. I had my two children with me (ages 11 and 6). Was I not supposed to stop and help? I wasn't even in an emergency vehicle. No lights no nothing. I was actually on my own for at least 10 min.
    Before I was in the fire dept. I have actually gone to the scene and brought the children home. That's what happens when you volunteer.

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    I have four kids: 9, 6, 5, 1

    This has happened on my department, and I am uncomfortable with it at the ages I have seen - but I allow that it is very rare here. One time comes to mind when I responded with another firefighter who brought his 4 year old son. Because of the kid's car seat needed a shoulder belt (the only other one was the passenger seat), I had to ride in the back of the rescue. No second set of eyes on the road, running the radio / siren etc. This increased risk for all of us in the rig. I can't think of any time kids should be in apparatus code 3, and VERY few when not code 3 - like parades maybe (even then you have to have a plan to get them safely off if you get a run while in the parade).

    I have occasionally considered letting my 9 year old come with me to a call if she happens to be with me and we're in the car when it comes in. She knows how to follow directives, and we have discussed what is expected of her should this happen although it has not happened so far. I would never bring her with if I was at home or at any place where I could otherwise leave her in trusted care. Again, I would have to be caught out on the road with her in the car.

    Having said all of that, the risk factors would have to be pretty much nonexistent for me to do this. We run POV (no lights/sirens, normal speeds) to scenes most of the time, so I would need to know up front that my POV would not be in a hazard area. This pretty much rules out all calls except for medicals where I know without a doubt that there is SAFE off-street parking.

    All emergency scenes produce rubberneckers, and so many emergency vehicles get hit. The kids aren't safe in the trucks, not safe in POVs, not safe outside at a scene by ANY stretch of the imagination. Kids do not possess enough situational awareness to be cognizant of the risks around them, they can't make informed decisions about their safety (this is why kids ride in car seats or the parents get a ticket). Without realizing it, they trust their lives and futures to our judgement, and that is a huge responsibility for us to bear. We owe it to them to not increase risk of their injury or death than they already have by being young and inexperienced.

    So yes, I sympathize with crews short on staff. If you don't take your kids, who will go? But should you lose one, was it a fair trade for the services you rendered? I am already volunteering my time without compensation, and I think that potentially offering up the life of one of my children is more than I am willing to give to the community. Think about that real hard.

    Stay safe.

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    IMHO........ It is unsafe and irresponsible to go to a scene with children in a car. It is one thing if you are out and about and stumble upon something, but other than that, take your kids home. They are your primary responsibility. Not the emergency at hand. If a call comes in you feel the need to go on, take them home, to a friends, to a relatives, somewhere, anywhere where they have proper supervision. An emergency scene is not a place for a child wheteher they are 16 or 6 months.

    If you have ANYONE in the vehicle with you besides another FF, you do not respond with lights and sirens. Again, this is very irresponsible. This person did not take the same oath you did, whether it is a friend relative, whoever.

    How would you feel if your friend/child/spouse/other relative was injured in an accident because you felt the need to take them on a run with you????????
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    I would have to say it should depend on the age of the kid. I know alot of you are going to disagree but if he/she isn't a young child and is very capable of making good desicions and is aware of what is expected of them like someone said above me than there shouldnt be too much of a problem. If you are close to your home or someone else you trust well then by all means i would drop them off. So what if you are a FF/EMT and you are older than 18 and you have a friend with you who isnt a FF or EMT but is the same age or older... Are you not going to respond??? Seriously i dont think there going to mind... Now as for bringing a child on apparatus absolutly not. But i think it should be ones judgement on there trust of there own child as to if they can handle being on an emergency scene... DrParasite and Mary had great points!
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    Default Re: Chief responding with kid in car...

    Originally posted by STO123
    As a volunteer firefighter just completing FFI& FFII training I was stuned to see the Chief responding to calls with a child in the car. Sometimes lasting for hrs, my heart went out for this child. (4yrs to 6yrs old). This to me does not seem like a safe thing to do. The members of the FD felt the same way but don't want to take a stand. (the buddy thing} The Chief said that she would take responsiblity for her. Is there anything else that can be done? I also went to the Fire District in our town expressing my concern and they also said there is nothing that they can do. {The buddy thing as well}
    Please help...
    If I'm home with the kids, I will go to the station to man the radio but nothing else and I respond no lights/siren. As others have said, anything else is irresponsible.

    Having said that, do you think it was a good idea for you as a new firefighter to go over your Chief's head to the Fire District with your concern?
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Default Be careful what you ask for.................

    I do understand where your comming from on this. My heart goes out to the little one having to sit in a vehicle for hours at a time. But in the world of volunteer departments and some paid ones as well, this is more common than you might know. Chief's can and do write rules to suit them. You have guts for bringing it up to the Chief and upper crust level but the answer has been given "It's none of your business" Personally I would never put my family or bretheren in such an uncomfortable position and I think Chiefs that do so have an ego problem. If you try to make issue of it again, I predict you will have more free time on your hands.

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    Originally posted by FF2303
    So what if you are a FF/EMT and you are older than 18 and you have a friend with you who isnt a FF or EMT but is the same age or older... Are you not going to respond??? Seriously i dont think there going to mind...
    No, they may not mind, but I, and everyone else that's a FF should. If they are not a Firefighter or EMT they have no business on an emergency scene and have no business responding with one, unless some kind of legal waiver has been signed for that particular time....... IT IS IRRESPONSIBLE!!! What are you going to do if you get in a wreck and that person is hurt or killed? How are you going to feel, knowing that someone you care for is dead/injured because you were stupid........ They are not covered under any kind of insurance. They did not take an oath to risk their lives for others. How can you justify the risk? I know I can't, and hopefully everyone else on here can't either.........
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    Let's look at it this way. You respond to the scene with the kids, once on scene, the simple little box van in the MVA turns out to be carrying hazardous materials. You really want your kids there? or you respond to the alarm sounding in a house, and the homeowner turns out to have a gun and start shooting. or you respond to the little garbage can fire and while there get a another call for structure fire that turns into a 6 hour call. You really want to leave your kids sitting in the car all that time?

    Go home, there will be more calls later.
    "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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    Originally posted by Bones42
    Go home, there will be more calls later.
    Exactly. Another similar way to look at it: Your department was probably getting along just fine before you joined, and would still be doing more or less OK if you had never joined in the first place. They'll get along fine without you on this call.

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    Default Re: Chief responding with kid in car...

    Originally posted by STO123
    As a volunteer firefighter just completing FFI& FFII training I was stuned to see the Chief responding to calls with a child in the car. Sometimes lasting for hrs, my heart went out for this child. (4yrs to 6yrs old). This to me does not seem like a safe thing to do. The members of the FD felt the same way but don't want to take a stand. (the buddy thing} The Chief said that she would take responsiblity for her. Is there anything else that can be done? I also went to the Fire District in our town expressing my concern and they also said there is nothing that they can do. {The buddy thing as well}
    Please help...
    Well, being that you just completed FFI and FFII, I am going to go out on a limb here and guess you havent been part of the vollie's long, and you're young. You have to really understand how much a chief does in order to understand what he/she does. You also have to understand that they have been doing this alot longer than you, and arent doing mach 1 to the scene of an auto alarm. The chief has a life, and he/she has to live that life, and still be a full time fire chief!! Thats some task to take on. You should be happy you have a member willing to take on that kind of responsibility!!!

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    Now how many of you have been in this situation when you were younger? It happened many times to me before(well, it didn't happen while I was a baby, you get what I'm saying), and I loved every minute, always wanted to learn about what was going on from the old man when he came back.
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    I just wanted to clarify my point of view. I would never take them on the apparatus, or put them in a dangerous situation ie: haz-mat calls, thruway calls or even serious mvas. That's just stupid. I'm referring to the run of the mill calls, like the 80yr old female feeling ill, the 2yr old that has a hand laceration. Only minor things that aren't going to take too long. And obviously park your pov in as safe a spot as you can. By no means am I saying put a family member in danger.

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    By no means am I saying put a family member in danger.
    One of the LARGEST dangers is responding to calls.
    "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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    Originally posted by MARY016
    I just wanted to clarify my point of view. I would never take them on the apparatus, or put them in a dangerous situation ie: haz-mat calls, thruway calls or even serious mvas. That's just stupid. I'm referring to the run of the mill calls, like the 80yr old female feeling ill, the 2yr old that has a hand laceration. Only minor things that aren't going to take too long. And obviously park your pov in as safe a spot as you can. By no means am I saying put a family member in danger.
    OK........ How about the 80 Y/O ill female..... You go assist her, squad gets there and transports. You get back in the car with your kids and drive off........ You get home with the kids and you get a call from the crew on the ambulance that the Patient had TB. You have just exposed you children to that. Maybe if you had dropped your children off first, you may have been back at the station when that crew called about the TB. You could have been to the ER and started the testing/treatment before exposing your children to it......
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    Default Re: Re: Chief responding with kid in car...

    Originally posted by WTFD10


    If I'm home with the kids, I will go to the station to man the radio but nothing else and I respond no lights/siren. As others have said, anything else is irresponsible.

    Having said that, do you think it was a good idea for you as a new firefighter to go over your Chief's head to the Fire District with your concern?
    As a "New Firefighter" I didn't go over the Chief's head. It was brought up at a meeting at the firehouse first, and as stated in my thread, she said "she would take responsibility for her". I expressed my concern and said that I didn't agree with her. I then went to the District.
    Responding with lights flashing with a child in your car from your house is not being responsible or safe....

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    Here's my 2 cents worth. As a Chief of a small volunteer department, I would have to say if I ever caught anyone on scene with their children they would be going home. I mean lets stop and think about this for a moment. I love being a FF, but whats really important or whats more important.....My Family. They come before anything I would do. I have 2 kids, 4 and 8. I would never do anything to put them in harms way. That means they stay at home. Being a Chief, if a call came in and my wife wasnt at home, know where I will be when the trucks start rolling? At home. There is no reason in the world that would make it right to bring your kids to a call. NONE what so ever. Like the post before(I think) just because you did not go to the hospital you still put the kids at risk. Heard a story once of a State Trooper at the scene of a Haz-Mat call, wasnt watching what he was doing. Went home after shift was over. Few days his 1yo child died from some kind of haz-mat material the trooper had got on his shoes and then on his carpet at home. Now I know this is kinda off subject but my point is you never know. But like I was saying to start with, the FF will go home and repremand will come later.


    Auk

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    Lightbulb

    I've been in the "predicament" a few times myself. Can't say that there is any one good answer with the way things are in todays society. (i.e. 1 parent families, two jobs, no relatives living, don't trust the neighbors, and on and on) My daughter has been to several calls in her 12 yrs on this earth. Every time it has been with me in my personal vehicle and usually because I've already been out on the road when the call comes in. We have a cell phone in the Rescue truck with which I will call (my list) an individual to pick her up @ the scene if I am tied up for very long. ( I can tell right away if I will be there for an extended time or not) I have also set up a call list for her if I need to drop her at the station. She will call someone on the list to come and get her there. WE DO NOT ALLOW ANYONE BUT FIRE DEPARTMENT MEMBERS IN THE APPARATUS!!!!!!!!!!! Boy, would a lawyer love that one!!
    Like I said, don't have any one answer for this but, what I've set up works for me. Just remember, those little ones are our future and WE are responsible for their safety.
    Take Care

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    I'm glad everyone out there lives in a perfect world. As I said before only if they are in the car and we get a call, and even then it's if I know there may not be enough people to respond. The kids can be exposed to almost anything at school too. Sometimes you just have to fully understand the risks and/or dangers and make the best decision at the time.

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    generally if i have someone in the car with me and the pager goes off i take them with me to the fire house since no one responds POV except the captain, liuetennant,asst. chief and chief. and if they can drive, i tell them to just come by the firehouse and pick me up when we get back or if they cant drive i have them go inside and call someone to pick them up or hang out upstairs at the firehouse. no big deal though since no one is on scene other then the members.

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