1. #1
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    Unhappy what is happening?

    Hi all, I need to get something off of my chest. I was also wonder ing if any of you guys encounter similar situations in you departments. There seems to be a trend in cities with career departments to utilize firefighters as free labor for activities that do NOT fall under the scope of fire department responsibilities. I'm not just talking about non-emergency calls like lifting assistance or water leaks(those I really don't have a problem with.) Frequently, at my station, we host birthday parties for children. Basically, we get 20 or so kids tearing around the station while there parents kick back and enjoy a break from watching their kids. I take this as a major intrusion into our workplace. This isn't a playground; we work here! Last week, some graffiti was sprayed on some buildings at the city park. Did the parks dept paint over it? Hell no, it couldn't wait that long. An engine crew loaded up and went down there and painted over it all. The only recognition they got from the city council: "Y'all can come back and sand it another time."

    I hate this common mentality of "We pay your salary, so your job is whatever we say it is." Especially when we are denied COLAs and raises EVERY YEAR. I like to help people, even when it is not in an emergency capacity, but the line needs to be drawn somewhere. I did not go through paramedic and firefighter training, and seek every opportunity to further my career only to be regarded as a day laborer.
    Thanks for taking the time to read this and I welcome your opinions

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    Notice how you never seem to see police officers getting roped into this kind of stuff? Mutts....

    I'm not a big fan of unions...I don't agree with a lot of what they stand for, but this is one situation where I think they could do some good...
    Last edited by dmleblanc; 06-23-2005 at 11:21 PM.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "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"

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    I remember a quote from the advice column Dear Abby....

    "nobody can take advantage of you without your permission"
    I would remind the Fire Chief and the politicians of a few things...

    Birthday parties in the station: If onre of the little darlin's slips on a wet floor, or the worst case scenario, is struck by one of the rigs as it pulls out of the station, will the community be willing to pay million$ of dollar$ in law$uit$ for any injury or wrongful death?


    Doing the Parks Department work: Are the members of the Parks Department required to go to fire scenes and help pick up hose, overhaul, etc? I didn't think so!

    Ask to see the Department's mission statement and job description. I am sure that hosting parties and doing other department's work won't be found written there.

    PS: It sounds like your Chief traded in his balls for 5 bugles....
    ‎"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."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    I don't know what your call volume is, but I think I'd be a whole lot more upset about babysitting a bunch of rug rats at a birthday party than going out and helping make my community look good.

    Why does everybody have to always bring in the "you'll never see the cops doing that" argument in? Part of the problem with our country is this attitude of "It ain't my job". Let's not even go into the whole union thing. Obviously, you weren't out on a call, or they wouldn't have asked your chief if you could help out with the graffiti. Evidently, the parks dept. must have had stuff going on that they couldn't do it right that minute? You want graffiti out there for any visitor or prospective new resident coming through town to see? What kind of impression does that make? Heck, I've gone and bought paint and painted over graffiti on my own just to make my town look good. You are a member of the fire dept., you are a representative of the town, you should be bustin your butt to make sure that your town always looks its best, because the face that your town shows the world is a reflection on you, and the face that you show is a reflection on your town.

    imho

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    Originally posted by SteelMaiden
    I don't know what your call volume is, but I think I'd be a whole lot more upset about babysitting a bunch of rug rats at a birthday party than going out and helping make my community look good.

    Why does everybody have to always bring in the "you'll never see the cops doing that" argument in? Part of the problem with our country is this attitude of "It ain't my job". Let's not even go into the whole union thing. Obviously, you weren't out on a call, or they wouldn't have asked your chief if you could help out with the graffiti. Evidently, the parks dept. must have had stuff going on that they couldn't do it right that minute? You want graffiti out there for any visitor or prospective new resident coming through town to see? What kind of impression does that make? Heck, I've gone and bought paint and painted over graffiti on my own just to make my town look good. You are a member of the fire dept., you are a representative of the town, you should be bustin your butt to make sure that your town always looks its best, because the face that your town shows the world is a reflection on you, and the face that you show is a reflection on your town.

    imho
    You could not be more wrong. Did they ask the schoolteachers? The clerks at City Hall? The Police? The department of public works? The selectmen themselves? Of course not... just keep shoveling the "shoot" to the FD....

    The impression of the town on visitors is best served by the Fire Department doing their job...protecting the community!
    ‎"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."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Oh I believe it. We now have a Community Realtions Assistant Chief with our department. This group oversees our Citizens Fire Academy, runs point on citizen questions (PIO?), and other community related activities. It's new so don't really know where they will end up with this. My company is active with our Division of Environmental Emergency Management with the training of the CERT teams in our city. We have received good press about the training we have provided. Yes, some may consider it outside the "fire scope," but it looks good when the citizens (tax-payers)see an acitve department.
    As for the painting...not good. Looks like time to get a new chief or get your Local off its butt.

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    Steelmaiden what are you talking about. If we have down time we should be training, pre-planning, hydrant checks, public education, hose testing, equipment checking I could go on but you won't see the point anyway. The bottom line is the town fathers don't want to raise taxes (lose votes) by hiring the right amount of p.w. employees. I don't mind helping out the p.w. guys with hanging some flags with the truck every now and again, but you won't catch me doing their job, sure as hell they won't be doing mine. Enigine15 pull out your contract, look up your state department of personnel job description and start making some noise. If you have a union put them on stand by, and as eluded to earlier go to the sporting goods store and get the chief some balls.

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    engin15cod,

    Station B-Day Parties ??? Is that it ?? Brother let me tell ya.....I work for a combination department where the Volunteer Side schedules public events such as bringing the fire engine to kids parties and other social events and guess what ? Volunteer Participation ? Yeah Right the Paid Guys more often than not get stuck with these tasks.....Yet we're supposed to be the EMS Crew. We'll get summoned for the stupidest Sh** why ? because the public knows we're there.

    July 4 Weekend is coming up and the Village Fathers host an in town Block Party that goes the entire lenth of the center of town with the main fare being...You guessed it The Fire House. I'm Working on the 4TH {Nightwork Thank-God} but the festivities will still be in full swing when I get in and let us not forget the Fireworks Stand-By which the Volunteers won't be able to do they'll be to drunk. Paid Guys will bail 'em out again and Than I'll spend 8hrs. of my 12 hour tour cleaning up the firehouse because ahhhhh let me see all the members went home. What thanks will we get ??? NONE ! Instead Grief will come our way because something won't get put away or locked up and right away it's our fault.

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    I'd have to agree with the concerns of this post. I'm glad it was not just me who . . . had my engine company taken out of service from 9:00AM to 5:00PM to participate in our city garbage pick up. Yes, you heard, we went from house to house and loaded up garbage that people left in their front yard. We also parked the engine in sub zero weather to shoot t-shirts at a local hockey game not to mention using the $500,000 truck to get aerial photos of high school football games, parades, and other events. And this was in a city of over 125,000 people.

    I would have had no problem shoveling out fire hydrants after a snow storm, for example (by the way, we were told that we were not allowed because the local prison population was farmed out for that) or anything else remotely related to the job of FIREFIGHTING but it was just part of the game and there wasn't much we (or our union) could do about it.

    Unfortunately, I'm sorry to say, that after a few years of all the menial, NON firefighting jobs and political posturing at our expense I gave it all up and left the service. I wish it would have been what I had hoped it would be.

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    If you aren't union already, time to sign the cards. Get a contract (if you can) and tell the powers that be, GFY when they ask you to do something that is someone elses responsibility. Like my friend Gonzo stated, the Parks Dept. isn't going to come pick up your hose after a fire, why should you do their job??? Also would have to agree that your chief may have traded his balls for the bugles. Explore your options. But in no way let this kep you from having a positive image in the community, but keep it to what we know best.
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

    Edward F. Croker
    Chief 1899-1911
    Fire Dept. City of New York

    HOOK N' CAN of the I.A.C.O.J.

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    There is a department about 10 minutes from my home that likes to go to schools and grade papers to help teachers, perform community services that other city departments should be performing and concentrates on doing everything except that which it is sworn to do. The Chief calls it good public relations which it is because when they lose a building they need all the good will they can muster.

    It is but another example of a Chief Officer that desires to make brownie points at evreything except responding to emergencies.
    Jacktee

    IACOJ

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