1. #1
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    Default Rant about property owners.

    Early this morning, we were called to a private school for a fire alarm activation. It's 1:15 in the morning, and we have personelle from 6 departments either on scene helping out, or assisting us with water supply and the tanker relay.

    The original tone was for a fire alarm activation in our District 2 (districts controlled by area / response times, not residential or commercial property types). We rolled all our apparatus, with responders going to the scene as usual. 4 Engines, 2 Tankers, and our heavy rescue. Upon arrival of the Chief, he ordered the full first alarm, which brought 4 more engines, 2 rescues, and a ladder company. A total of about 40 personelle were working at any given point assisting with ladder ops, engine ops, tanker relays, or fill site operations.

    Everything is great up until that point. Then the property owner arrives, and starts complaining about us doing our job.

    "You guys have to use water? Why not use a dry chemical extinguisher!"

    "You could have waited till I got here, you didn't have to force the doors open!"

    "Stop using water. Really, use an extinguisher!"

    "Don't make a mess, we just finished remodeled."

    As you can see, the property owners / key holders weren't exactly polite, or too accomodating to our operations, in fact, they were downright a pain in the @ss. Now, I can understand that you would be upset if the fire department was operating at one of your buildings, or if you had a fire in one of your buildings, but wouldn't you want them to do the best job that they could? I would hope so...

    Now, I will be the first one to admit that we could have probably avoided forcing three doors on the structure, but it was deemed necessary as this was an attic fire, and the fire appeared to have traveled through the length of the building from the Charlie side down to the Alpha side in the attic due to sky lights distorting the image of the fire. I forced entry on the Alpha side so that a line crew could make it's way up the stairs, the Charlie crew forced their door, and a crew on the Delta side also forced a door to get a 3rd line in operation, as wel as check for extension. There is a mess of construction in there, things aren't complete, and it just wasn't possible to navigate through the structure and open doors from the inside.

    We put a quick stop on the fire, and our interior crews as they checked for extension, and pulled the ceiling in the area of the fire, made sure that they didn't cause more damage then necessary. In fact, our crews took great care in making sure they pulled down in the center of a piece of sheat-rock, instead of on the seams of 2 pieces, etc. They truely tried to protect as much as possible. Heck, we even helped clean up the majority of the mess, even parts of it that we didn't cause.

    Yet, that still wasn't good enough.

    It's kind of funny, the breaker for the smoke detector power was turned off, the breaker for the alarm system was turned off, as well as a few others. Breakers in the fire area had tripped as they should have. I also thought it was interesting how the batteries that are supposed to be with all the detectors, wall mounted strobes, and audible alarms were missing. Hmmm, sounding a little more fishy isn't it? Why didn't the alarm go into trouble when the annex's system in the fire area was offline?

    We're a small town volunteer department, that makes due with what it has. We don't run luxurious apparatus, or fully custom cabbed engine-ladder-tanker-heavy-rescue-crash-truck apparatus. We run barebones rigs that get the job done. Each taxpayer in our community doesn't have to pay too much to have good fire protection, yet they still complain about how we aren't doing it right, or we're doing too much.

    In fact, one of the jagoffs even complained about the possibility of water damaging the building. We barely flowed 400 gallons of water, and most of that was used to charge handlines! 3 1.75" attack lines, 250' in length. Not sure how much water that is. We also had to flush the foam systems out, and clean tools, etc. We just saved your building, and prevented ALOT more damage, what would you have liked, Sir? For us to let your building burn to the ground instead? Sorry, we try to put out the fire, not create parking lots.

    The two keyholders / property owners were a real pain in the @ss. 6 Departments were awoken (?) tonight to battle someone elses emergency. A "Thanks" would have been greatly appreciated, it's something that we're starting to here less and less. The last few fires we've had, the people have thanked us greatly, and made an effort to stop in and thank us again and again, or to see what they can do to help us.

    We're volunteers, we don't get paid. You're getting a group of people that have to get up and go to work, or leave their families when the tones go off, to put out your fire pretty much for free. Why are you complaining about the service you recieve, and then do nothing about it? Don't like it? Join the fire department and get a clue.

    I'm tired, and rambling. I'm not sure if this really counts as a rant. But I do know that those two property owners / key holders really ****ed off a group of firefighters tonight.

  2. #2
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    I would have had the local PD explain to them, (from behind the fire line, mind you) that you need breathing space to do your job, and that they may not cross the tape until invited to do so. (Had they been cooperative and well-behaved, they would have been more than welcome to remain at my command post.)

    The red flags you mentioned, would have purchased the opportunity for them to speak one-on-one with the Local, County or State Fire Marshall (however your jurisdiction handles that.)
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Treasure the people that say thanks because at least where I have worked there were many more arsholes than one could have thought possible. You did your job.

    Reminds me of one fire we had - we get an alarm about 0200. We get there and the second due engine is coming off a side street. The fire was through the roof already -it was cold - and we did what we had to do. Anyways the owner of the business comes downtown and looks things over and begins to complain about water damage. The 3 Battalion Chief, with 30 years in, says "Next time we won't use water-we will let you (meaning the owner) use dozers!"
    Jacktee

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    "Next time we won't use water-we will let you (meaning the owner) use dozers!"
    that is a classic response hahaha going to have to use that one next time i hear the water damage complaint!
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    343: I totally get your situation. Nothing worse than trying your best just to have some know-it-all-never-done-it person spout their nonsense at you. They especially like it if they can draw a crowd.
    I have heard that the VFF's in Canada save taxpayers ~$8 million. I can't verify that fact but it seems likely. The problem is that we are often taken for granted. I also think VFF's are some times PERCEIVED as substandard; and that encourages the boneheads that think they know better. Many times I just positively ITCH to get these people aboard and let their backs and hands give their mouths a rest. Then again, I have no desire to put my life in their hands. It makes for a catch-22 situation.
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    Talking Had That Once......................

    We're on a job in a Bar, pulling ceiling and hitting a good attic Fire and the Owner comes running INTO THE FIRE, screaming at us. I tried, for about 30 seconds, to get him out of there, then we restrained him and carried him out. Police had arrived and saw his mad dash inside, and took him into custody for Hampering our Operations (Md Law) His attorney called later that day, (Fire was after 0200) Making all kinds of noise. Our Attorney (also a member) straightened him AND his client out. No further problems.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Well, it's 11:15 and I'm getting ready to jump back in my car and head down to the station to clean up the mess from last night, and get the rehab supplies from the trucks replenished etc.

    Oh how I'd love to submit a bill to the characters that we had to deal with this morning for using my personal time to do this.

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    Now, I will be the first one to admit that we could have probably avoided forcing three doors on the structure...,
    Bull$#!+. You did your job. Two words: KNOX BOX. Required by NATIONAL building code for any assembly building with a fire alarm. All you do is require by reference in your bilding permit process. No cost to the FD.

    I don't come in here telling you how to teach your students; don't you come here telling me how to extinguish a fire.
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    They would have been asked nicely, ONCE, to please stand away from the area. If they came back, they would be given a free ride to the countys "Steel Bar" hotel.

    We had a fire about 6 months ago in a bar. The owner showed up, stuck his head in the door (while the fire was active). He was asked ONCE to stay back. About 5 minutes later, he was back. He was "escorted" from the scene in the back of a PD cruiser.

    We dont put up with any "crap" from property owners.
    Fire Marshal/Safety Officer

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  10. #10
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    Had this problem at an fuel depot fire. Our chief literally drew a line in dirt and told the guy "go ahead, step over it". Hehehe!
    "When you throw dirt, you lose ground."

    IACOJ

  11. #11
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    Originally posted by jaybird210


    Bull$#!+. You did your job. Two words: KNOX BOX. Required by NATIONAL building code for any assembly building with a fire alarm. All you do is require by reference in your bilding permit process. No cost to the FD.

    I don't come in here telling you how to teach your students; don't you come here telling me how to extinguish a fire.
    Knox Box? Oh, they had one alright. Except it didn't have a key in it. It wasn't the "real" Knox Box either. It was some cheap plastic rip off that our KB keys don't work with. We were able to pull the door open without a key, using a bare hand.

    Funny, the building is closed due to the fire alarm system being down, but when I returned to the scene a short time ago to check for a few missing tools, the keyholders were inside looking around.

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    We had a similar episode a few weeks ago when a trailer caught fire and the resident got into it with his neighbors and landlord.We called the Sheriff in and thought the problem had run its course.
    Later,we were loading hose and someone took a swing that almost hit my Captain(not a good idea)so he and half the hose loading crew dropped what we were doing to corral all the participants and call the SOs over for crowd control.
    Doncha just love it when our job turns into an episode of "COPS" or "Jerry Springer"?

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