Volunteers Baulk at Contract
written by firstname.lastname@example.org
It's a multi million dollar government budget that's agreed to with little more than a hand shake.
That's why Escambia County officials say they want to put the agreement with volunteer fire departments in writing.
But as Channel Three's Dan Thomas explains the proposition has ignited a protest among volunteer chiefs.
Dan Thomas: "Who's going to sign this contract?" Volunteer Chiefs: "Nobody" "Not me." "Not the Ensley Fire Department" "Not Brent"
In fact the county gave every department the contract nearly 6 months ago and so far not a single department has agreed.
Lewis Ward/Ensley Chief: "How can somebody from down there dictate on what's going on here as far as an operational level? It ain't going to happen!"
For the most part, the contract puts in writing what most fire departments do already... like balancing a budget and obeying government regulations.
But it's the section that addresses performance that has caught the attention of these chiefs.
Turnout time shall be no greater than 4 minutes, 90 percent of the time.
The department shall provide to the county a minimum of 4 volunteer firefighters for all structure fires and even fire alarms.
Beulah Volunteer Fire Chief Steve McNair says that's an unrealistic standard.
Steve McNair : "With that 4 minute response time by the time they get up out of bed and get to the station and get a truck out it's going to be 45 minutes."
And if it's found that the station can't meet the standards of the contract?... The Board of County Commissioners may order the Department to cease operations immediately... and be subject to a county takeover of its fire services operation.
Steve McNair/Beulah: "They want us to fail so they can turn around and have your taxes go up to 2 and 3 hundred dollars a year for fire protection so they can put career crews in each one of these stations...they want to build them an empire that's exactly what Fire Administration wants to do. They want to build them an empire they want to be like the big counties down in South Florida."
County officials declined all comment on this story, including what they plan to do if the departments don't sign.
Copyright 2005 WEAR-TV
Glad our ocounty don't have the paid guys to do that.
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05-30-2005, 11:17 AM #1
- Join Date
- Apr 2005
Escambia tries to chase voluntears away.
05-30-2005, 11:51 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jun 2004
First, I am all for volunteers and I understand your area may be very rural so times are longer, but 45 minutes....what is going on. Maybe the taxpayers, including yourself deserve a better response than that. Maybe it is time to put some paid staff on line to ensure adequate responses along with general accountabiity. As for minimum staffing at the scenes, that is common sense. It reduces the counties liability and yours should someone be injured or worse.
Having said that, I am sure there is more to this, AKA Polititcs.
I feel for your situation but it is what it is.
05-30-2005, 11:55 AM #3
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
Did you ever think it might be the citizens they are trying to protect? The County has the ultimate responsibility to protect all the citizens.
There has to be some accountability, if the volunteers are not doing the job the county has an obligation to. This should not be about kingdoms and empires, it should be about the protection of the citizens.
05-30-2005, 12:16 PM #4
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
- Not the end of the earth but I can see it from here...
As much as I don't like the tone of this article, I have to agree with those chiefs...4 minute response 90% of the time is a good goal to shoot for, but to sign a contract to that effect? In an all-volunteer setting, I can't guarantee either response times or turnout strength. Believe me, I wish I could....Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
"I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
— C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"
05-30-2005, 01:40 PM #5
dmleblanc.....I agree with you completely. There seems something fishy here.09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
"Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.
06-10-2005, 04:06 PM #6
Seeing the story and interview on t.v., I believe he stated 4 TO 5 minutes and not 45 minutes as stated here. I do have a copy of this same contract. The four minute response is a goal, but not a demand. If a department feels after doing the research that they will need 5 minutes to get four firefighters out at 2 a.m., then they document it in the contract before both parties sign. Anyone interested may contact me thru this forum.
06-24-2005, 04:21 PM #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2002
Your best bet is to try and maintain voluteer staffing 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week at the station to ensure a quick and adequate response. Many dept's in the Northeast have established bunk in programs for college students, free room & board, for responding to calls. Check out Hyattsville, and Kentland in the Metro DC area. Set up shifts, and have members sign up to provide coverage. It should build solidarity, and pride with all those involved, and allow you to make a stand.
7am-12pm, 12pm-3pm, 3pm-6pm, 6pm-11pm, 11pm-7am
That was the schedule of operations the volunteers used where I used to live.
06-25-2005, 01:50 PM #8
- Join Date
- Mar 2004
I would certainly hope that it is 4 to 5 minutes and not 45.
Given the headway fire gains in one minute, after 45, you may as well stay home.
Our goal is most always met, unless there is a storm or something.
2-3 Minutes: 1 Engine, Tower, Ambulance
4-5 Minutes: Tender, Rescue, 1 Engine
6 Minutes: Additional Ambulance, Rehab Crew
Actual response time (That is from when they leave the station, till they arrive on scene) cannot be determined since the station covers 300 Sq. Miles. All depends on traffic, weather and road conditions.
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