Thread: Leadership

  1. #1
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    Angry Leadership

    Hello

    I am a volenteer firefighter looking for a foot to stand on.
    Currently on my dept. I am a Firefighter/EMT, I have been with the dept. for four years now and am having a problem with how the chain of command is put in order. Currently we have two LT's, One Cap.,One Chief, and one deputy Chief.,with 15 firefighters. My problem is one of my LT's. does not have any fire background at ALL. He says he is too busy to attend firefighter I or II and his time is very limited. The thing is that he is always too busy for training but always first on any call. What is my problem you ask? Well along with being a volenteer I am also a Career FF/EMT and someone being in command of me and my brothers that has no background is disaster in the waiting. I have been on many fire with this LT. and his lack of knowledge shows every time. I have taken this up the chain and it is a problem that if they would fix it, it would create hurt feelings. To me hurt feelings is easier to fix than a hurt brother or worse. Currently I am looking for ideas from others in command, and how they would handle the problem if it was one of their own. Please reply with answers, comments, anything!
    Last edited by Fytnfire; 03-21-2005 at 07:20 PM.

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    First word is politicks. Unfortunately you have gone up the chain of command. Does your dept elect officers are they appointed by the chief. That is a problem we have. Donít want to hurt any feelings. Beside no one here will get hurt or killed. It going to happen at every f.d. in the world. May take more time than some of us will see. But take it to a business meeting and address it to the group. Try to watch out for you and the rest of your crew. Good luck and be safe

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    As was stated already, are they appointed ny the chief or by your city council. We do the following: In order to be considered for the Lieutenants position, one must be a memerber of the department for 2 years. Have completed FF1, EMT-B, and Hazmat awareness. Captains must have 3 years service, and same class requirements. We do ask that all officers should be trained 1 step higher than those they will be overseeing. All of our Captains and Chief staff are FF1,FF2,Hazmat Ops, Emt-B. My personal thought is I dont want anyone trained less than I am telling me what is best. If this person has never taken the courses to become certified, We would call him a Rookie or Probie. I would hate to see something happen and this poor guy get the shaft, over a decision that may have changed in his mind, had he been better trained. Knowledge is power, it's better than knocking on someones door to let them know their spouse wont be comming home.
    Good Luck
    HFD4144

    These are my views and not those of the department or city for which I work for.

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    Not to hijack the thread but I have a sort of similar problem at my dept. One of our medical officers resigned and his position is now vacant...in casual conversation a chief level officer suggested that a firefighter, who hasn't even finished EMT-basic yet, be the next officer. Now I have a year seniority on this firefighter (whom I have no personal issues with) and have held my EMT-basic card for quite a few months now. Of all the "regualar" responders, I am the most experienced (although I had a huge learning curve when I first started working). I also do most of the paper work already on the EMS side of things...What might I say, do, hint towards, or anything to help me get into this position. I am not being greedy, I am just asking for the position that I am qualified for...because I had a huge learning curve when I started (because I was the first "regular" responding EMT) and this other person will have an even larger learning curve because ontop of getting used to the field work (which, lets face it, the book is no preperation for the real world) this person also has to learn the responsibilies of the Medical officers position.

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    No an untrained officer is not an ideal situation. Unfortunately, from what I've seen in the volunteer departments, the powers that be (those in charge of the funds) have no firefighting training at all. All they are concerned with is filling their obligation to the tax payers. Which is providing fire protection. Also they are counting on volunteers which limits their choices. Most small volly depts. don't have the funds for formal training. They rely on training from whatever sources there is available. All you can do is keep your head up and watch out for yourself and your brothers while doing your volly job. It's tough to buck that sort of system. Usually it's a good old boy set up.

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    Touchy subject - I am in the same boat as we are a combined service relying on volunteers to boost our numbers. Back when we were all volunteer members moved up on a seniority bases - didnt matter on your courses because you have the experience. Now we still have a couple of the old gaurd lurking - they understand that there have been advancment in the industry and that they are the old gaurd. We know it, they know it we work mutually around it. You cant just file someone that has dedicated many years of volunteer service and not let it count for something. The old gaurd does have experience to bring to the table and the young guys should embrace it and understand that is basically by the seat of your pants - outside of the box thinking. Not everything can be learned from a book!

    Now for taking in new officers, I believe they should be the highest trained, most experienced (not necessarily by years of service) and mature enough for the position. We treat our officer openings like a job application. Those interested apply, those qualified get interviewed and hopefully the best person gets the job.

    Dont get pushy on those less trained - take a leadership role where you can explain to the not so educated officer the goal you wish to accomplish. Involve them in the process - pushing them aside doesnt do moral any favours. If you see something hazardous at a scene - be a leader as safety is everyones responsibility!

    Take care
    Dave
    -I have learned people will forget what you said,
    -People will forget what you did,
    -But people will never forget how you made them feel!

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    Sometimes you cannot avoid these types of situations, but there are things you can do to limit your exposure to this syndrome...

    1. Document. If it is wrong, write it down. But use caution. Keep your own files secure out of the station. It's like poker. you need to know when to play the cards.

    2. Does your dept. follow NFPA standards across the board including those on officer qualifications? If you question the training ability of this individual, seek outside training oportunities.

    3. You need to ask yourself if this is an individual you follow into a burning building? He or she may not have the book smarts, but what about the street smarts? If the answer to this question is no, what can you do to avoid putting yourself or others in danger?

    Just a couple things to consider.

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    Default You gotta' Love it !!

    A person put into a position of authority who has no fire service background or training. Hmmmmmm Sounds like back room poilitics to me.

    How could this have happened ? As with most Volunteer Fire House Elections he was part of a populairity contest and won his spot over some beers and false promises --

    Those with the knowledge and training are often over-looked for these types of positions simply because the "Good ol' Boy Fire House" is reluctant to accept change. "Change???...We can't change that By-Law because we've done it this way for lots a years." or "If I stir up the sh** pot I might not get elected next year."

    In a Career Service we have to study, test, and interview along with having a few years under our belts before even being considered for a promotion to Lieutenant, Captain, Aide, Deputy, or Chief.

    So why is a Volunteer Company so diffrent ? "Oh....well we are a corporation and our By-Laws Say this....." What kind of crap is that ? - B.S. Like this in a firehouse is what gets firefighters injured or killed.....Is this individual aware of the fact that if he runs a job where injury or death occurs he is criminaly liable ? A jury isn't going to care that he "Didn't have time for training, or that he was never certified as anything more than a fireman wanna-be with a portable radio....All they're going to see is a man they can hold responsible..... and they will.

    I'm a Career Firefighter {As some of you might have guessed} as well as a Volunteer in another state and see two entirley diffrent sides to the fire service. Some good on both sides and some bad on both sides. I totally disagree with politicing to get into an elected position in a volunteer house. For example the department I vollie with works pretty simple....Only the Chief is elected by the membership {He/She must meet the eligibility requirements for the position} and the Chief appoints his/her Office from the Deputy right down to the Jr. Lieutenant and Engineer. These people must have the proper certifications, be apparatus operators, and familiar with The I.C.S. Structure. Being an EMT is helpful but not a requirement.....Yet.

    Anyway Maybe I made my point maybe I didn't but hey...Volunteer companies will continue to operate the way they did when the charters were signed because no one likes change - The only Change that ever sees positive results is Soft-Ball, Banquets, Beer, Conventions, parades, and Bingo. Oh yeah do we fight fires ??? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

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    Is their anything that can be said or done to help this situation or should it just be kept on the back burner.

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    My problem is one of my LT's. does not have any fire background at ALL. He says he is too busy to attend firefighter I or II and his time is very limited.
    Then how in the he** did he become a Lt.??? Something is seriously screwed up here.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

    IAAI-NFPA-IAFC/VCOS-Retired IAFF

    "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government"
    RUSH-Tom Sawyer

    Success is when skill meets opportunity
    Failure is when fantasy meets reality

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    what can be done. depends on your set up of how the officers are picked. are they appointed by the chief or voted in by memership.

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    Well here is how I have heard he was promoted.
    Their was a,now LT. promoted, this LT was well qualified and in my opinion the best man for the position. Well with this promotion the other LT complained over hurt feelings over the fact that he had been their just as long and wasn't promoted. so to solve the problem he was also promoted. These position were appointed by the chief. This chief is no longer with the dept. and we now have a problem on our hand that is terribly churning the waters amongst the dept.

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    First of all, I need a few clarifications here...

    How long has the Lt. been in the fire service ?
    How long have you been in the fire service ?
    When you say he has no training .. does that mean NO training or
    NO training with a piece of paper.

    Despite the generalizations by some posters here about the lack of training .. I find it hard to beleive he has no training. He may not have FF1 .. which I guess in today's world and todays new firefighters means no training even if he has attended a bunch of other department, local and regional classes that didn't generate the "paper" trail.

    So I can better understand what the situation is with this officer is, please cite 2 or 3 examples of where his "lack of training" has caused a problem on the fireground.

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    does everyone feel the same way you do. the only thing to do is hope the new chief will listen.

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    I couldn't tell you how long he has been on the dept.
    I have been there for four years now, he was a ff when I joined.
    When I say no training I mean NO TRAINING!
    As a dept we train once a month in the past these trainings were just social club meetings with a few being actual training meetings, until within the last year there was another LT appointed training officer. We have now started to put some structure behind our training meetings. He has had some on scene learning experices but it is very minimal.
    Last edited by Fytnfire; 03-22-2005 at 06:55 PM.

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    There is about 90% with me on this the others have just joined and don't want to chose sides, which that is totally ok with me. I am not complaining to get this guy demoted I just think that maybe if he wants to keep the officer position he should me mandated to attend some type of training, FFI, FFII, ICMS, NIMS, Officer I something,even if it is just the basics to keep himself and the crew safe.

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    Unhappy qualifications

    over the years i have seen this happen on a yearly bases and through training we have overcome the problem of haveing an officer without the education needed to direct the crews! we started by giving the members an opportunity to set up and run their own drills,thoses that wanted to did and those that didn't, didn't! we would explian to the ones that did that they did a good job and to keep it positive and get more informtion on the subject they tought,what classes were available to become more informed on that subject. by giving them the chance to express their education on a subject, they became more willing to take the required classes to move up the ladder! then we reviewed our bylaws and made the changes needed to make sure the person in the position fit the position!

    to start up the ladder they,

    1)must be in 3 yrs and have completed FF1,advanced SCBA,LDH and a pump class and CEVO.
    then and only then could you run for the 2nd asst engineers position.
    then you worked your way up to chief engineer. next,within the 3 yrs at the engineers positions you took officers training 40 hrs min and our state requires ics 200 to be an officer, only then you could run for the 1st LT position. before LT you needed instructional tecniques for company officers,then to captain, ICS300 before chief. if there was no one for the position it was left open until someone could fill it! the officer needs to know that his decisions are the dividing line to us going home to our familys!! this works for our company because before anyone joins they are well educated on what we expect of them!!!!

    changing the bylaws and the officer requirements and making them law within you have the documentation needed for the future. if they circumvent the rules ,it's all liability after that!!

    "there is no greater family ouside our own than the brotherhood of fierfighters"

    helping people,
    it's what we do!
    capt.Dennis

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