1. #1
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    Exclamation Havana, FL--Liability Issues Arrise With Bunker Gear

    Clothes make the fireman? Concern over liability issues.

    A couple of reccomendations to the proposed fire department guidelines and procedures now being considered by the Havana Town Council caused some discussion about safety and liability at Tueday's meeting.

    Councilman David Norman, who's also a member of the local fire department, recommended that bunker gear be worn by firefighters participating in all emergency calls except brush fires. Bunker gear is the coat, pants, helmet, eye protection, boots and gloves that firemen wear. The original guideline said that firemen would wear 'appropriate gear'.

    Councilman Don Vickers, who is also the fire chief, was concerned about too many rules. He said he'd been on the force for 40 years and there were a lot of older members who might quit over too many rules. He said he preferred that county fire director Oliver Sellers tell the firemen how they should dress instead of making more rules. Vickers said the firemen were volunteers, not full time firemen.

    Norman said that he was afraid that firemen in improper gear exposed the town to too much liability, not to mention someone getting hurt.

    Councilwoman Olive Collins, a firemen on the Concord Fire Department, said her department was told by the county that if a firemen is hurt at a fire without the proper gear on then the county's insurance won't pay the claim.

    Another recommendation by Norman was to better define the firemen's board and officers of the department. The board would be compromised of three members from outside the department. The officers would consist of a Chief, Assiatant Chief, Captain and Lieutenant to be appointed by the board.

    Mayor T.J. Davis went an extra step in appointing Town Manager Susan Freiden and Police Chief Brian Mitchell as two non-fire dept. board members.

    Frieden said the recommendations were necessary to bring the department up to state regulations.

    They passed unanimously.

    Copyright from the Havana Herald

    I'm not sure I would want non-fire people and cops telling me what to do and the volunteer vs. paid comment cracks me up.

    Copyright from the Havana Herald

    This whole article cracks me up.
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    Posted by Firefighter1219

    Councilman David Norman, who's also a member of the local fire department, recommended that bunker gear be worn by firefighters participating in all emergency calls except brush fires. Bunker gear is the coat, pants, helmet, eye protection, boots and gloves that firemen wear. The original guideline said that firemen would wear 'appropriate gear'.

    Councilman Don Vickers, who is also the fire chief, was concerned about too many rules. He said he'd been on the force for 40 years and there were a lot of older members who might quit over too many rules. He said he preferred that county fire director Oliver Sellers tell the firemen how they should dress instead of making more rules. Vickers said the firemen were volunteers, not full time firemen.
    Small town FD politics...gotta love it!

    It sounds like there is a turf battle brewing...
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    Yeah, I would love to see an engine respond to a full code in bunker gear.

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    Default Re: Havana, FL--Liability Issues Arrise With Bunker Gear

    Originally posted by Firefighter1219
    Councilwoman Olive Collins, a firemen on the Concord Fire Department, said her department was told by the county that if a firemen is hurt at a fire without the proper gear on then the county's insurance won't pay the claim.
    Not going to happen, will the insurance company drop them? For sure, but they will still have to pay up if no malice intent is found.
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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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    1219, I couldn't help but notice that the three of the council were firefighters, with two being for the measure and one against. The really interesting thing was the opponent was the fire chief.

    Is this an effort to get around a chief officer that won't enforce PPE standards on the old-school crowd? I ask because PPE usage isn't something that should rise to the level of a city council meeting - it should be addressed in a departmental SOP. The only reason I can see for it to reach this point is if the others felt they needed to unite as a governing body and 'pull rank' on the fire chief.

    Additionally, what real impact could a resolution have? Not sure how Florida law works, but councilmembers typically do not have operational authority over city departments - that responsibility is usually vested in the mayor or city manager. Should the resolution be disobeyed, the only normal recourse would be to fire the chief for not following council resolutions.

    Dennisthemenace, I'm not sure about the insurance thing. It is probably a countywide workman's comp policy. I'm part of my county's safety/incident review team and I can tell you firsthand that wc carriers will use just about anything to get out of paying a claim.

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    I'm not going to make specific comments about many of the issues in the article because I don't want to step on any toes. I'm not sure how or why the council has authority over the FD. There is another around that might want to give you insight into that.

    I thought this wan an interesting article. Not just because of the gear issue, but because non-fire people were in charge of the department.
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    Default Turnout Gear

    As a Chief Officer in a volunteer department I am shocked that a Chief would be against a policy on PPE. I feel that any Chief not making their people wear the PPE is not doing their job. It is one thing not to wear it to an EMS assist call if you department even does them. But to not wear your PPE on a MVC, Structure fire or any fire (Except Brush) is not a good practice. PERIOD! Even after the fact of extrication and hazard management at a MVC we are required to wear a minimum of a vest and helmet. This is to protect you the responder. If you are the officer in charge on an incident and someone gets hurt, and they are not wearing their PPE and you knew about it and did not make them wear it or make them leave, it will all come back on you! I would hate to be in court on that one. Not to mention in the Chief's car going to make the notification to the family. "Yes we had the equipment to protect them from this but I didn't make them wear it" would be something I would never want to have to say.

    These comments are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion or position of my department.

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    Default Re: Turnout Gear

    Originally posted by craigsheets
    . But to not wear your PPE on a MVC, Structure fire or any fire (Except Brush) is not a good practice. PERIOD! Even after the fact of extrication and hazard management at a MVC we are required to wear a minimum of a vest and helmet. This is to protect you the responder. If you are the officer in charge on an incident and someone gets hurt, and they are not wearing their PPE and you knew about it and did not make them wear it or make them leave, it will all come back on you!
    These comments are my opinion and do not reflect the opinion or position of my department.
    I will agree with you except for the brush fire. Case and point- the other day we were dispatched to a grass fire, I wore my bunkers and through my nomex coveralls in the truck, my partner wore his coveralls and through his bunkers in the truck - we arrived on scene as a structure became involved. Partner had to do a quick change.
    Personally I am in favor of wearing bunkers to all calls (except medical......unless there is a danger of spontaneous combustion, but thats another story).
    Another point is why does it have to be in council? Why isnt this part of S.O.P's?
    -I have learned people will forget what you said,
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    Structural turnouts should not be worn for wildland fire, however that should not be an excuse to NOT wear protective clothing. Appropriate wildland PPE is just as important for wildland fire. Both types of PPE have there place, and are not interchangable. Full and appropriate PPE should be worn on EVERY response.

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    There is alot I would love to say on this issue
    but I can not. I am directly involved,and a international
    web site is not where I should air laundry. (I had a bunch
    of things written here that I was going to say but
    thought it over and decided not to) lets just say some
    M*Ts wear fire coats.
    Last edited by firemanpat29; 04-29-2005 at 05:58 PM.

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