1. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by phyrngn

    Yellow Gear with zippers on the legs, West Coast...Black Gear, East Coast.
    Not all of us have zippers on our legs. Some West Coast FDs (Bay Area) wear black turnouts too.

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    I stand corrected BOU Like I said, I'm not from there, and I don't intend to make sweeping generalizations for either side...just a few observations.

    If I'm not mistaken, I've seen a few LA County guys wearing leather lids, too

    That's why these forums are fun...we can discuss the differences and similarities...it wouldn't be interesting at all if we did things the same now, would it

    I do have to say...chasing a fire up a hill or mountain is not my idea of fun...I have a lot of respect for you guys that leave for one of those and don't get home for weeks @ a time.

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    I have a theory about this whole East Coast v. West Coast thing. I don't think it exists. For instance, there are plenty of FDs in CA where you'll see leather helmets in service, and there are plenty of FDs on the east coast that wear salad bowls on their heads. Some big cities on the west wear black turnouts, and some places "back east" wear yellow.

    On the west coast:
    Oakland, CA FD: est 1869
    Sacramento, CA FD: est 1850
    San Francisco, CA FD: est 1851

    on the east coast:
    Clifton, NJ: 1918
    Baltimore City: 1858
    Philadelphia: 1840

    I've heard that West Coast FDs pay more; coule it be because west coast FFs are more likely to be recieving EMT-P pay incentives? Also, I believe the 3 platoon system is more common on the West Coast than on the East- maybe the westies are paid more because they work more (does anyone have any info on this?).

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    What Ive always wondered is how did the west coast fire service develope the way it has. Not so much tactics, but the other stuf like gear, polishing lugnuts, know what kind of polish is on your boots and so on. We are the same way down here.

    This is a question that I’m not sure has a really good answer to it. My dad retired 4 years ago from a suburban department, 4 stations and about 100 total members.
    As a kid, I still have memories of watching him leave for work in his class ‘A’ dress uniform. Why? It was required to be worn when you reported for duty, and, when you were relieved from duty the following morning. Once roll call was completed, on-duty personnel changed into their ‘khaki’s’, or work-day uniform, unless of course it was Monday-Friday, then promptly at 0900 hrs their dungaree’s were the uniform, until 1800 hrs sharp or it was meal time.
    I’ve spoken with him plenty, in regard to his years on-the-job, he has a career full of stories, such as washing rigs at 2am following a night run, simply because it was raining out. Waxing a rig weekly, polishing apparatus floors, and the like. They, for a number of years operated in an almost entirely military fashion. No good reason, it was just the way it was.
    Conversely, my grandfather, who retired from the department I work for has told stories that are eerily similar, to an extent. Formal roll call was a daily occurrence, as was a strict uniform, until 0900 hrs, in which case almost any clothing was acceptable until change of shift the following morning.
    Tradition plays a big part in a lot of these attitudes, or policies. I’m sure many of the east coast departments were much more ‘strict’ back in the day, maybe the west coast just needs to catch up now.
    Maybe it’s just a shift in societal attitude, in general, rather than just our jobs. The prevailing attitude today is to not worry about spit and polish so much anymore, as it is about doing your job. We still have traditions aplenty though; spring house cleaning dates back to the ‘horse drawn days’, as does flushing the apparatus floor on Saturday’s.
    Last edited by jasper45; 10-31-2005 at 01:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by phyrngn

    If I'm not mistaken, I've seen a few LA County guys wearing leather lids, too
    The LA County guys were allowed to buy their own leathers to honor 9/11.
    It is not a standard issue PPE.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingHippo
    I've heard that West Coast FDs pay more; coule it be because west coast FFs are more likely to be recieving EMT-P pay incentives? Also, I believe the 3 platoon system is more common on the West Coast than on the East- maybe the westies are paid more because they work more (does anyone have any info on this?).
    True on the pay. Ofcourse it is all based on ther cost of living. Not every West Coast FF is a medic, but atleast an EMT.

    Yes, the 3 platoon shift is pretty much the standard here. Mainly the 56 hour week. I dont know about the "work more, paid more" comment.

    Hope that answers some questions.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 10-31-2005 at 02:40 PM.

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    i have only been on 2.5 years on a small paid department but when i started you had to coem to work in your class b with badge and name tag and leave with it along with any public detail and we had to wash the truck after every run no matter the time. i washed it 5 times one shift after we had a large commercial building fire and we had to go and check it and hit hot spots every couple hours. my captain is a former marine and is constantly on me for not shining my boots so i bought a back up pair and keep them under my bed for when we have a detail.

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    This is a question that I’m not sure has a really good answer to it. My dad retired 4 years ago from a suburban department, 4 stations and about 100 total members.
    As a kid, I still have memories of watching him leave for work in his class ‘A’ dress uniform. Why? It was required to be worn when you reported for duty, and, when you were relieved from duty the following morning. Once roll call was completed, on-duty personnel changed into their ‘khaki’s’, or work-day uniform, unless of course it was Monday-Friday, then promptly at 0900 hrs their dungaree’s were the uniform, until 1800 hrs sharp or it was meal time.
    I’ve spoken with him plenty, in regard to his years on-the-job, he has a career full of stories, such as washing rigs at 2am following a night run, simply because it was raining out. Waxing a rig weekly, polishing apparatus floors, and the like. They, for a number of years operated in an almost entirely military fashion. No good reason, it was just the way it was.
    Conversely, my grandfather, who retired from the department I work for has told stories that are eerily similar, to an extent. Formal roll call was a daily occurrence, as was a strict uniform, until 0900 hrs, in which case almost any clothing was acceptable until change of shift the following morning.
    Tradition plays a big part in a lot of these attitudes, or policies. I’m sure many of the east coast departments were much more ‘strict’ back in the day, maybe the west coast just needs to catch up now.
    Maybe it’s just a shift in societal attitude, in general, rather than just our jobs. The prevailing attitude today is to not worry about spit and polish so much anymore, as it is about doing your job. We still have traditions aplenty though; spring house cleaning dates back to the ‘horse drawn days’, as does flushing the apparatus floor on Saturday’s.
    More or less this is what I gathered from the old timers I know and a few that I had the pleasure of working with...along with my own experiences.

    In the urban cities much of the routine was done away with in the 1960-70s during the arson rages that tore apart entire communities. It was hard for anyone to really give-a-f*ck after the 20th run/3rd job of the night tour and it was only 0200. Guys had gone through 4-6 pairs of clothes and all were left smoky & wet.

    There are many interesting stories of the attitudes the men and their houses took on after working under conditions such as these.

    Much of the west coast with its reduced density and higher standard of living and the relative newness of everything has kept much of the same from happening to them. They certainly aren't doing as many phone alarms for fires and they certainly aren't putting their turnouts on for the 6th time to night and making ones way to the roof of a 6 floor tenement or the 14th floor of a project with the elevators OOS. As one can see there is a usual difference between a company in the worst part of Oakland than in some sunny beach community down south. So even on the same coast there is a difference. It isn't so much geography it is those who see whats really important in life and those who don't know how lucky they have it.

    As I experinced with the suburban department I worked for...when times were busy and the company was busy...the chiefs left you alone and all the silly sh*t they always worried about didn't matter anymore. However when times got slow and these chiefs had to justify thier jobs....things could get ugly. Nothing makes me cringe more than a micro-manager chief with time on his hands.

    Basicly there aren't as many differences as most think...at least I hope so...I have been surprised on this forum before though.

    FTM-PTB

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    QUOTE: "West Coast FD's like LAFD use Chain Saws for Aggressive Roof Ventilation, and from what I see, they practice it often and are very proficient in this art.

    East Coast FD's like FDNY are more likely to use a K-12 for Roof Ventilation."


    Being an East-Coaster (right between NYC and Philadelphia - ~55 miles from each) I have to say the saw that is used is dependant on the building construction (I don't see how this would be any different no matter where you are). I'll use a chain saw for a wooden roof (or axe on occassion depending on the shingle material...i.e. slate) and a circular saw (K-12 style) on a metal roof.

    p.s.- we're issued leathers (although some request tupperware) and I love them. Once they've been in a few hot situations they fit like a glove.

    www.palmerfire.org
    Last edited by Ladder27; 10-31-2005 at 03:20 PM.

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    I think it is safe to say there is no standard regarding chain saws or K12 on the East and West Coast.

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    NonsurfingCAFF: I see you don't deny drinking Zima or the girly shorts, though

    I dunno, I'd rather take a warehouse with a million shredded tires inside(which we had happen about six years ago), than a wildfire. Any brush fire that requires me to do more walking than the distance it takes me to walk to the rear of our brush truck to sit on the rear tailgate while we pump and roll is too big of a fire.
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpartanGuy
    Any brush fire that requires me to do more walking than the distance it takes me to walk to the rear of our brush truck to sit on the rear tailgate while we pump and roll is too big of a fire.
    Wait...let me get this right, you SIT on the outside of a moving apparatus? Didn't know that was still practiced..Do you have more than 10ft of booster line for the brush truck?
    FF/NREMT-B

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    Yes. I sit on the back of a moving apparatus. Yes, we have 150' of booster line.

    It's better, in my eyes, to spray water from the back of a slowly moving pick-up truck then to charge up a hill on a forty-five degree angle in full structural gear to put out a spot fire. But that's just my logic.

    Notice, I said its ME sitting on the back, not some junior, not some other firefighter. I'm more willing to take risks with myself than I am with others, but I think any officer thinks that way...


    If you think that's bad, Oakland doesn't even wear turnout pants! Yell at them!
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpartanGuy
    If you think that's bad, Oakland doesn't even wear turnout pants! Yell at them!
    For what its worth, I was just on major fire (7 alarms) with Oakland and I remember all of them wearing full black turnouts. (pants and all)

    Additionally, they were super cool guys to work with! I didnt even know them and we were chatting it up. Instant bros! Thats what I love about the fire service!

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    Why are you wearing structure gear to a grass/brush fire?

    Birken

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    Quote Originally Posted by BirkenVogt
    Why are you wearing structure gear to a grass/brush fire?

    Birken
    Because we get....12 a year?
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SpartanGuy
    If you think that's bad, Oakland doesn't even wear turnout pants! Yell at them!
    Pants are over rated. Don't knock it till you've tried it.

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    The biggest difference between the east coast and the west coast is that east coast tankers carry 2000 or more gallons of water, but west coast tankers can carry 2000 or more gallons of water but also have wings.

    One of our FF's that was originally from the west coast explained to me that we don't actually operate tankers... we have tenders. I told him that we'll call our tanker a tender when we have to run mutual aide to Cali.
    I can't believe they actually pay me to do this!!!

    One friend noted yesterday that a fire officer only carries a flashlight, sometimes prompting grumbling from firefighters who have to lug tools and hoses.
    "The old saying is you never know how heavy that flashlight can become," the friend said.
    -from a tragic story posted on firefighterclosecalls.com

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    Originally Posted by SpartanGuy
    If you think that's bad, Oakland doesn't even wear turnout pants! Yell at them!

    Actually, I believe OFD went to full turnouts a couple of years ago. SFFD went to full turnouts around the same time. I hear Sacramento went to full turnouts last week.

    I think Hayward might still wear wool pants, but I'm not sure. At any rate, the old NorCal tradition of wearing wools is pretty much over. You won't see the leather helmets disappearing anytime soon, however.

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    I too am from somewhere in the middle...so I'll weigh in with an unbiased opinion.

    While there seems to be a generalized agreement that alot is the same...there are som subtle differences.

    The bit about polishing/waxing rigs....I do believe the public saftey agencies out west are held to a much higher standard. Citizens expect the station to fit into the surrounding neighborhood...not be an eyesore. There is a great deal of civic pride, so sharp looking, clean fire trucks have come to be expected.

    I do think that west coast FD's have done a little better job of embracing change and continuously readapting the way they do things. I think that has prevented the departments from becoming stagnant and decreases the resistance to change.

    Out east...you can trace the blood lines through each department. Great-great-great-great-great grandfather was a firefighter...and every generation since has entered the fire service. While the legacy is an admirable item, it precludes a degree of progressiveness.

    In the west, you are dealing with much different construction on often times sharply contrasting terrain.

    In the East, alot of things generally remain constant in the urban areas.

    EVERYONE DRIVES in LA. They have alot more MVC's than you probably do out East. ON FREEWAYS....that in and of itself spells MAJOR INCIDENT.

    As far as the comments about having more fun while off fighting a structure fire than a wildland fire....atleast you can usually get out of the structure. Wildfires are so big there is often no place to hide. I have a helluva alot of respect for those guys who go into WUI environments!

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    Ok...so maybe sometimes the wildland stuff isnt so fun...

    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 11-01-2005 at 05:46 AM.

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    Out east...you can trace the blood lines through each department. Great-great-great-great-great grandfather was a firefighter...and every generation since has entered the fire service. While the legacy is an admirable item, it precludes a degree of progressiveness.
    What is wrong with generations of service? As to your comment on progressiveness...

    The east coast FD's have the new rigs, new gear, new airpacks, read the same trade magazines, post on the same forums and attend the same conferences.

    Having in some cases been established a few hundred years prior the West coast FD's, we here on the east coast may do things differently, based on our infrastructure and experience.
    ‎"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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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    Whenever I think of fire departments in california I always imagine that there is a lot of BS busy work - shoe shining, floor polishing, shining brass every day, pressed uniforms with badges and name tags, non stop rig waxing, flower planting, power washing the station exterior, endless hose painting and washing, aerobics in the morning, etc. I don't know why and know it might not be right but that is how I picture the L.A. fire dept. Anyone else?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BirkenVogt
    Why are you wearing structure gear to a grass/brush fire?

    Birken
    All we have is structure gear. Then again, I cant recall the last time I was on a brush fire.


    As for another post about the west coast public expecting more from their FD (nice uniforms, shinny rigs, well kept stations) we have the same thing here, which is why we spend so much time on these "tasks".
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF
    Whenever I think of fire departments in california I always imagine that there is a lot of BS busy work - shoe shining, floor polishing, shining brass every day, pressed uniforms with badges and name tags, non stop rig waxing, flower planting, power washing the station exterior, endless hose painting and washing, aerobics in the morning, etc. I don't know why and know it might not be right but that is how I picture the L.A. fire dept. Anyone else?
    I can verify this is simply not true. Maybe the flower planting thing, but the other stuff is a little over the top.

    Seriously- Nothing wrong with being "high and tight" in our profession. I see some Firefighters sitting around a lot waiting for fires on a current prime time TV show currently running. (Not naming any FD names)
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 11-01-2005 at 02:04 PM.

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