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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber gefd901's Avatar
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    Default pregnant applicant

    Situation:
    Potential recruit turns in application for department (all volunteer) - before application is processed, background check, reference check, DL check etc. she comes back and says she is pregnant. She says she still wants to join. She is a single mother (23 years old) and already has a 6 year old child. She lives at home with mom and dad.

    Concerns:
    Obviously, health and welfare of her and the unborn child.

    Her ability to make calls. With 1 child already and another on the way, she was asked this question. She says her mom is at home and she would leave the kids with her. (Are her priorities in order?)

    Time and money invested in training her. If we put her through basic fire fighting and first responder class are we going to get a return on our investment? When the baby comes will she change her mind about responding and we won't see her any more?

    Legalities - if she was already a member, she would be allowed to continue and perform whatever duties she was comfortable doing and her doctor allowed. If she needed a leave of absence it would be given.
    In her situation, I think the best thing would be to reject her application now and ask her to reapply after the baby is born. There is a call in to the city attorney regarding this.

    Opinions?


  2. #2
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Let her join! She can be assigned to do inspections, gfile reports, etc until her child is born. Then she can go through traininf.
    ‎"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."
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  3. #3
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Is this department POC, strictly volunteer, career?
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    MembersZone Subscriber sbfdco1's Avatar
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    I have to agree, I would let here join as well. How far along is she? I'm sure there is plenty to do besides getting on the rig. Perhaps you could "put off" here training until the baby is born. Once the baby is born and she shows up on a somewhat regular basis you could evalaute her as far as training is concerned.
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  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber gefd901's Avatar
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    Is this department POC, strictly volunteer, career?
    Strictly volunteer. No duty shifts, sleep overs, etc. All responses are from the person's home unless they happen to be hanging out at the station thus the concerns about the ability to make calls.

    Her ability to make calls. With 1 child already and another on the way, she was asked this question. She says her mom is at home and she would leave the kids with her. (Are her priorities in order?)

  6. #6
    Forum Member fftrainer's Avatar
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    I'm no lawyer, but I would think you almost have to let her join if all the other aspects (background, etc) are in order. Otherwise I would be thinking discrimination and I think you sort of answered it yourself when you said if she was already a member she would be allowed to stay so why shouldn't somebody new be able to join.

    We had a similar case a couple years ago with the exception of the woman joining with us was previously trained at a former department and was just looking to join after buying a home in our town.

    We had a sit down talk with her as the officers of the dept. We laid it out that we have a probationary period that is 6 months in normal cases and can be extended for various reasons (both good and bad). Between ourselves and the member in question, we came to an ADULT decision of letting her join and hang around as she was able until the baby was born and she was medically cleared to resume duty. At which point her 6 months probation would begin.

    It worked for us, she has been great. Partially I think due to the flexible undertanding welcome she got.

    As for the priorities thing. What is the difference between leaving the kids with mom and dad for a call or, in my case leaving them home with my wife? She's not bringing them with her and she is not leaving them unattended.

  7. #7
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    If it is strictly volunteer you should have no legal problems with whatever you decide. I would be concerned with the amount of time she has to contribute as a very young single mother of two.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber gefd901's Avatar
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    letting her join and hang around as she was able until the baby was born and she was medically cleared to resume duty. At which point her 6 months probation would begin.
    This is being considered.

    As for the priorities thing. What is the difference between leaving the kids with mom and dad for a call or, in my case leaving them home with my wife?
    Huge difference. They are your wife's kids too and she is and should be just as responsible for them as you. When you are unemployed (forgot to mention that), living with mom and dad, single parent with 1 child and another on the way it seems to me that you are already asking quite a bit from mom and dad. To expect them to be instant baby sitters every time the tones go off is asking a lot. She appeared to have no problem with doing that and insinuated that making the call would be more important. Our families should be more important than the fire department thus my question of her priorities.

  9. #9
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    Smile

    Let her join! She can be assigned to do inspections, gfile reports, etc until her child is born.
    I know what CaptainGonzo meant to say was that she could be assigned to inspections after completing a probationary period, at least a basic firefighting course, and at minimum a fire inspector orientation program plus an inspector mentorship program

    Conducting fire inspections requires way more than just following a check sheet as you survey a building.. It's kind of like the Safety Officer position, best suited to those with a fair amount of firefighting experience. As an inspector, I not only ensure that the appropriate fire codes are applied, but use my firefighting experience in understanding what building issues, whether construction or operational, may cause unsafe conditions for firefighters that may have to operate in that building... then cause to be corrected where possible, but minimum, include information in the preplans so fellow department officers can be aprised of the difficulties facing their crews. Sorry, don't want to soapbox, just dislike it when inspecting always seems to be considered the red headed b*stard step child of the fire service.

    BTW.. can pregnant firefighters meet the two out rule on their own


    Cheers

    This comment is probably way out of line, but perhaps her motivation for joining is to 'meet' a 'White Knight' that can rescue her from her domestic situation. It's happened before!!
    Last edited by Fawlty; 04-28-2005 at 12:24 PM.

  10. #10
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Originally posted by gefd901


    This is being considered.



    Huge difference. They are your wife's kids too and she is and should be just as responsible for them as you. When you are unemployed (forgot to mention that), living with mom and dad, single parent with 1 child and another on the way it seems to me that you are already asking quite a bit from mom and dad. To expect them to be instant baby sitters every time the tones go off is asking a lot. She appeared to have no problem with doing that and insinuated that making the call would be more important. Our families should be more important than the fire department thus my question of her priorities.
    With your honest feelings on the subject, you should not feel bad about droping the black ball in the box.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by gefd901


    This is being considered.



    Huge difference. They are your wife's kids too and she is and should be just as responsible for them as you. When you are unemployed (forgot to mention that), living with mom and dad, single parent with 1 child and another on the way it seems to me that you are already asking quite a bit from mom and dad. To expect them to be instant baby sitters every time the tones go off is asking a lot. She appeared to have no problem with doing that and insinuated that making the call would be more important. Our families should be more important than the fire department thus my question of her priorities.
    First off, if it's okay with her parents, it's none of your business what arrangements she makes, as long as arrangements are made.

    To say she Ônsinuated" that making the calls is more important is somewhat an unfair statement. I would say your biased ears heard what you wanted to hear as it seems obvious you are reluctant to hire her. Besides, what would her chances of getting on be if she were to say I'm not too sure I'll be able to attend many calls as my infant and small child will take up alot of my time? That would be exactly what you'd like to her to strike her out.

    You've already made up your mind. Stop judging her personal life and decisions and look at her potential as a positive addition to your department, in whatever scope.
    IACOJ

  12. #12
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Originally posted by LadyCapn


    You've already made up your mind. Stop judging her personal life and decisions and look at her potential as a positive addition to your department, in whatever scope.
    Shouldn't we judge the decisions that possibile members have made in their life as they are likely to reflect directly on the Department? Isn't our societies recent movement away from judgeing people's actions lead to the fact that people feel that they can do anything and lowered the standards of our society? If folks on this department have concerns with the choices a possible candidate has made in life, and are concerned with the way the demands of the nessesary committments to the department will effect the life and family of the candidate, then they should be able to vote based on those concerns.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber gefd901's Avatar
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    You've already made up your mind. Stop judging her personal life and decisions and look at her potential as a positive addition to your department, in whatever scope.

    No, I haven't made up my mind. I have my personal thoughts and opinions and I am trying to sort out whether they are correct. That's why I have asked the other officers their thoughts on this matter, asked the opinion of our 1 current female member (and she even mentioned what fawlty thought might be out of line) and why I asked the opinion of the people in this forum. This has been and continues to be a difficult decision and I am trying to do what is best for all involved.

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    Unhappy Uh Oh......

    Shouldn't we judge the decisions that possibile members have made in their life as they are likely to reflect directly on the Department? Isn't our societies recent movement away from judgeing people's actions lead to the fact that people feel that they can do anything and lowered the standards of our society? If folks on this department have concerns with the choices a possible candidate has made in life, and are concerned with the way the demands of the nessesary committments to the department will effect the life and family of the candidate, then they should be able to vote based on those concerns.
    Holy Crap Dennis... I believe you may have opened the floodgates here. My prediction is this thread will soon surpass three plus pages.

    BTW.. While I agree on many points, volunteer or not, this is a hiring decision which needs to be based on someones ability to do a job and meet the requirements of the Department. That's it!! Anything else, and hello Mr. Attorney, why yes I would like a lawsuit, thankyou.

  15. #15
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    You have to go with your gut feeling. Good Luck with your choice.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  16. #16
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    I don't think your can reject her due to her being pregnant, as you might find yourself on the wrong end of a discriminatory lawsuit. as long as a medical doctor clears her to ride, let her join.

    that being said, as Ladycapn said, who are you to judge her priorities? so she's an unemployed single parent who lives with her mom. but she wants to join the FD. you also have no right to tell her how to live her life. right, wrong, or indifferent, she's an adult, and she can make her own choices.

    I'd say let her join, train her inhouse to the best of your ability, once the doctor says no more FF duties, then she takes a maternity leave of absence, once she is cleared by a doc after she has the kid, she can resume active duty, and go for formal Firefighter training. treat her just as you would treat any other applicant, otherwise start opening the checkbook and writing a 1, followed my many 000000
    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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    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Anyone who thinks that a volunteer department, or for that matter any organization, can choose to allow a member or not without due regard to discrimination laws needs to find a lawyer. NOW.

    If you don't want her, find a reason besides the thing growing inside her. DO NOT make it due to her pregnancy. However, since this is a public forum - you've may have already made it a problem.

    We have an existing member that found out she was pregnant. She's eased off the structure fire calls, but still does the EMS side. Hell, we had a contract paramedic that was VERY pregnant and still did her job fine. I think she made it eight months before her doc told her to knock it off.

    Do you have minimum performance requirements for your people? We have numerous single parents that seem to make our requirements just fine.

    Sounds to me like your judging her character more than the fact she's pregnant. I don't care how many kids our firefighters have out of wedlock, as long as they 1.) Show up to trainings and calls, 2.) Don't break any laws, 3.) Maintain an image of integrity and decency while performing the role of firefighter. Just because we're in charge of them in the station or on the fireground does not mean we can manage their lives.

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    Excellent post Conster, pretty much made my point exactly.

    Lawsuits aside, as I personally hate to think of decisions being made because of a potential discrimination lawsuit, this woman deserves to be seriously considered as any other applicant would be. Do you ask male applicants their personal situations before considering them? Would you consider a young unemployed male, living at home with his parents who had knocked up half the young girls in town?

    Give this girl consideration based on her merits and her merits only. Leave her personal life out of it. If she assures you she has a responsible adult willing to watch her children while she attends calls, then that is all you need to know.....period.

    As Conster said, perhaps this is the impetus she needs to change the direction. Perhaps 5 years from now you may see her on calls as a full time LEO, or perhaps a paid Paramedic or maybe sending her off with a big party as she moves away to start her new position as a paid Firefighter. Or perhaps she takes over the reins of Public Education in your Dept (you do have that right?). She may have something very valuable to contribute to the community and you may provide her with an idea on where her life may lead. Consider her based on HER.....not her living situation, not her employment situation and most certainly not her sexual history/family situation.
    IACOJ

  19. #19
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Originally posted by npfd801
    Anyone who thinks that a volunteer department, or for that matter any organization, can choose to allow a member or not without due regard to discrimination laws needs to find a lawyer. NOW.

    If you don't want her, find a reason besides the thing growing inside her. DO NOT make it due to her pregnancy. However, since this is a public forum - you've may have already made it a problem.

    We have an existing member that found out she was pregnant. She's eased off the structure fire calls, but still does the EMS side. Hell, we had a contract paramedic that was VERY pregnant and still did her job fine. I think she made it eight months before her doc told her to knock it off.

    Do you have minimum performance requirements for your people? We have numerous single parents that seem to make our requirements just fine.

    Sounds to me like your judging her character more than the fact she's pregnant. I don't care how many kids our firefighters have out of wedlock, as long as they 1.) Show up to trainings and calls, 2.) Don't break any laws, 3.) Maintain an image of integrity and decency while performing the role of firefighter. Just because we're in charge of them in the station or on the fireground does not mean we can manage their lives.
    There are no discrimitation laws that apply here. They are not judging her by gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion, but how she has lived her life up to this point in the space-time-continuum. There is nothing discriminatory about judgeing a member for their character.

    We have not accepted more then a few male candidates due to questionable character and life choices. You can't and should not judge those that ask for help, but you can make judgements about those that you bring to the emergency.
    Last edited by DennisTheMenace; 04-28-2005 at 01:12 PM.
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    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  20. #20
    MembersZone Subscriber npfd801's Avatar
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    Sorry, but when the thread is named "pregnant applicant," you can say you're judging character all you want. If the thread had been titled, "Acceptable character for a recruit," then I'd accept your argument.

    So I suppose if you can prove that no one else on your department has a child (or two) without being married, has never made the choice to have consensual sex without being legally married, has never taken the opportunity to ingest liberal amounts of alcohol (while off-duty of course), etc. - then you can deny her the right to be a member. I know that while we're probably one of the best trained and busier volunteer departments in my county, we've got a number of folks that have character issues apparently. The difference is the choices that they make are done "off-duty", and not in the firehouse. I know it can be argued that a volunteer is never off-duty, but if I enjoy a beer, I've effectively taken myself out of the picture for a while. We did have one time where a guy thought he'd get his groove on Backdraft style, but he was dealt with. When he first started, I don't think anyone thought his "character" had that in it.

    I know that I don't run as many calls as I would like due to having two young ones at home and a wife that often works odd shifts. I do make well above our minimum requirements. However, I'm down at the station on an hour-for-hour basis more than 95+% of our folks instructing recruits, handling EMS supply, any number of things. Does that make me worth less to the department?

    If she hasn't done anything illegal, passes her drugs tests, etc. - you are discriminating. Character or not, the pregnancy card has been played.
    Last edited by npfd801; 04-28-2005 at 01:38 PM.

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