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    Default Mo. Firefighters Refuse to Help Non-Member

    Anyone know anything about this other than this blurb?

    Mo. Firefighters Refuse to Help Non-Member


    This looks real good for us.
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    This does look horrible but as much as I hate to say it, the homeowner knew he had to pay for the service. It should of came as no surprise when they refused to put it out.
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    I wonder why there are still subscription fire departments around today -- you'd figure if they have enough people subscribing, they'd have enough people willing to vote to form a district.

    If less than 50% of your area subscribes, that's not a lot of property being protected...if more than 50%, why not use that base to vote for a fire district?

    Is it something where a County Commission or similiar body has to create it and they're the resistant ones?

    That said, these are the cases I don't have a lot of sympathy for -- if you don't pay subscription fees, if you don't want your property annexed into a fire district...so sad, too bad if the property is lost. Hopefully it translates into action to form a taxing district.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    That said, these are the cases I don't have a lot of sympathy for -- if you don't pay subscription fees, if you don't want your property annexed into a fire district...so sad, too bad if the property is lost. Hopefully it translates into action to form a taxing district.
    I also have little sympathy...those are the rules they chose to live by...they must accept the consequences of not paying for the service.

    My only semi-related experience was in a former dept where a thunderstorm had just blew through the city and on the tail end a stray bolt of lightening ignited a wood shake roof on a house. And if you aren't familiar with wood shake roof fires...they will go from a small fire to the entire roof in about the time it took you to read this paragraph.

    Now this house sat in a small 4 block subdivision surounded by our city....technically they were protected by the county fire department. (Who's closest Engine would arrive 3rd due normally after us.) They refused to be annexed because they didn't want to pay the city taxes.

    Our 1st Due Engine was occupied at another fire and my company showed up 1st due when we are normally assigned 2nd. Well this pompus windbag homeowner is now yelling at us as we are hooking up to the hydrant in his front yard. "WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?!" WHY DON'T YOU DO SOMETHING AND PUT OUT MY FIRE!!!" ....etc.

    We brush him off and do what we need to do. Needless to say it was explained to him later that he doesn't even pay for our services so he should shut it and be grateful we are there to begin with as we showed up long before the other county dept. A short time later the neighborhood chose to be anexed.

    There is no free lunch in this world, you get what you pay for.
    Last edited by FFFRED; 02-16-2006 at 09:17 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED
    I also have little sympathy...those are the rules they chose to live by...they must accept the consequences of not paying for the service.
    I agree.


    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED
    My only semi-related experience was in a former dept where a thunderstorm had just blew through the city and on the tail end a stray bolt of lightening ignited a wood shake roof on a house. And if you aren't familiar with wood shake roof fires...they will go from a small fire to the entire roof in about the time it took you to read this paragraph.
    When I was rookie cleaning the horse hooves an older captain pointed to a shake roof and asked me "rook, do you know what the difference is between an attic fire and roof fire?" I nodded in the negative. The captain replied, "about 30 seconds".


    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED
    Now this house sat in a small 4 block subdivision surounded by our city....technically they were protected by the county fire department. (Who's closest Engine would arrive 3rd due normally after us.) They refused to be annexed because they didn't want to pay the city taxes.

    Our 1st Due Engine was occupied at another fire and my company showed up 1st due when we are normally assigned 2nd. Well this pompus windbag homeowner is now yelling at us as we are hooking up to the hydrant in his front yard. "WHAT TOOK YOU SO LONG?!" WHY DON'T YOU DO SOMETHING AND PUT OUT MY FIRE!!!" ....etc.

    We brush him off and do what we need to do. Needless to say it was explained to him later that he doesn't even pay for our services so he should shut it and be grateful we are there to begin with as we showed up long before the other county dept. A short time later the neighborhood chose to be anexed.

    There is no free lunch in this world, you get what you pay for.
    I am told anecdotally this same thing happened with the Phoenix FD with the citizens of Scottsdale. Scottsdale had Rural Metro with its delivery being horrible and it counted on Phoenix's mutual aid. And one day Phoenix FD stated they would no longer provide service to Scottsdale since it was a one way ticket. Only send units to the city limit to ensure structures in Phoenix were protected. And homes in Scottsdale burned while Phoenix units watched after ensuring there was no life safety issues in the structures. Does anyone know if that is true?
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    I would say that if the department is hard up enough they need to rely on subscription then you dont pay ....tough luck. We always say that the people will pay the amount of protection they want. So...................to darn bad I say ...........
    Last edited by Weruj1; 02-17-2006 at 12:10 AM.
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    This is another article (same one I posted in the Strategy and Tactics thread) about the incident from a local paper, The Cassville Democrat.

    Fire destroys Monett repair shop By Lindsay Reed

    An auto maintenance and repair shop building, which was located outside of Monett on Farm Road 1090, was completely lost in a fire on Feb. 13.

    Bibaldo Rueda, who owns the damaged building, was using a wood heater to warm the inside of the shop building. After a few minutes, Rueda noticed smoke behind the heater and found that some pieces of cardboard behind the heater had ignited.

    Rueda clled the Monett Rural Fire Department at around 1 p.m. Firefighters arrived on scene 15 minutes later, but when the learned that Rueda was not a member of the fire department, they did not help extinguish the fire.

    "The fire department was here but they didn't do anything," said Rueda. "They said I needed a membership."

    "Our fire department is a member-based department," said Ronnie Myers, Monett Rural Fire Department fire chief. "If you are not a member, we can not help you fight a fire unless it is life threatening. Then we will go in and get the person out."

    The Monett Rural Fire Department has between 1,100 and 1,200 members. According to the membership office, those numbers are low compared to the number of households within the fire department district.

    Rueda said that he was unaware of the Monett Rural Fire Department's membership requirement.

    "We put information about the membership requirement out in the paper," said Myers. "We sit at Wal-Mart two or three times a year. We sit on Main Street during October Fest."

    Myers said he hopes when new people move into the Monett area neighbors will contact each other with information about the requirement.

    "Several times I sai I would pay the fees or just send me a bill," said Rueda.

    According to the Monett Rural Fire Department membership office, firefighters cannot accept membership fees after a fire has started.

    With the help of friends and family, Rueda used buckets of water and garden hoses to keep the fire from spreading to a nearby mobile home. He was burned on the left side of his face while trying to contain the fire.

    "The fire department stayed an hour just watching," said Rueda. "A lot of things could have been saved."

    As Rueda fought the fire, a member of the Monett Rural Fire Department contacted the Barry County Sheriff's office.

    "They called the sheriff because they thought we were mad, but we just wanted help," said Rueda.

    Detective Robert Evenson, with the Barry County Sheriff's Department, and Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper John Luekenhoff were dispatched to the scene at around 1:25 p.m.

    "When I got there the firefighters were in the street watching it burn," said Evenson. "They (Rueda's family and friends) are the only reason the trailer didn't burn up. They didn't get a bit of help from the Monett Rural Fire Department."

    Evenson was surprised to learn that the Monett Rural Frie Department would not fight the fire because Rueda was not a member of the department.

    "They said their by-laws would not let them help unless the property owner had a membership," said Evenson.

    When Luekenhoff was leaving the property, Evenson heared a member of the Monett Rural Fire Department state that the department would help the officer under the same circumstances.

    "He said, 'John, if this was your house, we would put it out whether you had a membership or not,'" said Evenson. "That comment was inappropriate."

    Myers said he was unaware of the statement.

    Rueda, who was uninsured lost around $30,000 worth of cars and equipment in the fire.

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    I also have little sympathy...those are the rules they chose to live by...they must accept the consequences of not paying for the service.
    Well, the man stated he didn't know about the policy. For departments who operate like this, how are new members of the community notified of the requirement? If someone moves into a community that has a department like this, how do they know? Is there a system set up to identify new citizens automatically and make them aware of the situation by sending a notice or something?

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    "We put information about the membership requirement out in the paper," said Myers. "We sit at Wal-Mart two or three times a year. We sit on Main Street during October Fest."
    Myers said he hopes when new people move into the Monett area neighbors will contact each other with information about the requirement.
    I'm sorry, but that's just not good enough in my opinion.

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    My biggest problem with this is the last few paragraphs of the article. This department has in the past fought non-member fires if the owner was a buddy of a board member or someone else of importance.

    I'll agree with you Nozzleman, and even go as far as to say most of the departments in our area don't do a good enough job of educating the public on the membership requirements. Which is why most departments will fight non-member fires and bill them. State law actually classifies failure to pay as a Class A Misdeameanor (not much I know, but it's better than nothing) and requires the insurance to put the FD's name on the check along with the owners to help insure payment. We can bill up to $100 for responding + the membership fee + $500 per hour of operations.

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    Ok...so I'd assume Wal-Mart is self-insured...

    But if you're in an area with enough infrastructure to support Wal-Mart...cripes, between adding in everyone who doesn't subscribe now plus taxes on commercial buildings...if it's $65/year to subscribe to the FD, what would it be with a tax district? $20/parcel for a minimal funded department like they have? $65/parcel and almost a decently funded department?

    And what the &@#$ would their ISO rating be? "Um, it's a 10 if you don't pay, a 5 if you do..."

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    well if they passed laws letting these areas tax (in check of course), not one homeowner or FD would be put into this spot. its a shame depts have to "sell" their services to cover expenses, but if you don't pay, you are rolling the dice. Since insurance companies can lobby for seat belt laws, lobby for taxable fire districts.

    For a country that has some of the most advanced training, equipment and tactics in the civilized world, its a shame a dept has to operate this way...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22
    "Several times I sai I would pay the fees or just send me a bill," said Rueda.

    According to the Monett Rural Fire Department membership office, firefighters cannot accept membership fees after a fire has started.
    right, because if they did allow that, no one would bother to pay the fees. they would just offer to pay if they needed the service. they put ads i the paper, had a stand at walmart, and told people about it at octoberfest. what do you want, every new resident gets a personal phone call and visit from a volunteer FF explaining how they work?
    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22
    Rueda, who was uninsured lost around $30,000 worth of cars and equipment in the fire.
    and yet, I have little sympathy. what he should have done was while the fire was burning, called his insurance company and set up a policy, to cover all of his stuff. this way after the fire, the company would write him a check to replace the damaged stuff.
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    well if they passed laws letting these areas tax (in check of course),

    There are fire districts in Missouri.

    So the question is why haven't the citizens in this area voted to form one, or does another political body (like a county commission) need to form it?

    The laws are in place however to form a taxing district...I just don't know the mechanism there.

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    THIS IS CRAZY!!!! I know its expensive to maintain equipment and the other things that go with the service but WHAT IN THE WORLD is the fire service coming to. The first thing I learned in the academy was FIRE SUPRESSION was our FIRST duty. Its not about money its about SERVICE to the community!
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    Question

    please correct me if im wrong and im sure someone will, when the fire service was first started what back in 1700's(I know it goes back farther but when the insurance thing took place) this is how it was run, and how a fire department knew the persons house or business was covered there was a insurance emblem or plaque placed on the front door. So when the fire department showed up if there was a plaque they fought fire or the people caughed up the premium really quick. So I guess were going back to it huh




    In 1736 young Benjamin Franklin, already one of the most influential men in Pennsylvania, began urging readers of his "Pennsylvanian Gazette" to establish fire-fighting companies. Soon, six volunteer corps were established in Philadelphia. In 1752, insurance companies in the colonies began issuing plaques, or "fire marks," to be prominently displayed on building fronts as an incentive for volunteer fire fighters to save their insured buildings. These fire marks are extremely rare these days as most of them were made of lead and were melted to make ammunition for the Revolutionary War. With bonuses offered as incentives, rivalries ensued between groups. Marked homes and businesses were brawled over, while residences on the same street, with no fire mark, often burned to the ground.
    http://www.pcpages.com/fireman02169/..._Tradition.htm
    Last edited by PFDFIREDOG; 02-17-2006 at 09:28 AM.

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    Some of you have your perspective on this story all screwed up. This is NOT a story about the evil fire service. The fire service is not "coming to" anything.
    The fire department, as it is organized in that area, is under no obligation to provide charity. They provide a service to a paying customer. Just like you do when you go to work.

    This is a story about the citizens of that area who have chosen to provide for their fire protection needs in this fashion. Apparently, it works for them. If they want to change to a tax district, they will do it. Until then, it looks like the citizens are quite content allowing their lives and properties to be left in the hands of a private business.

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    and yet, I have little sympathy. what he should have done was while the fire was burning, called his insurance company and set up a policy, to cover all of his stuff. this way after the fire, the company would write him a check to replace the damaged stuff.
    You can't be serious. Just "call them up" and set up a policy right there on the spot, huh?
    right, because if they did allow that, no one would bother to pay the fees. they would just offer to pay if they needed the service. they put ads i the paper, had a stand at walmart, and told people about it at octoberfest. what do you want, every new resident gets a personal phone call and visit from a volunteer FF explaining how they work?
    Yes. Not everyone reads the local rag, nor do they attend "octoberfest", and they might just not make it to wallsmark on the particular Saturday the fire department chooses to set up. Even if they did, that's still not adequate. I can imagine a few firefighters trying to stop and talk to everybody that goes in and out of our local Big Box Marts; not gonna happen, I can tell you that. A department that operates in such a manner needs to have policies in place to identify new homeowners in their district. And, in my opinion, they need to have some type of policy in place to protect everyone, regardless of how it's paid for. That's why I never really liked "for hire" departments. I'll bet their local law enforcement doesn't operate on such a silly premise.

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    That's why I never really liked "for hire" departments.
    You don't have to like it. You don't live there. If you are so fired up, why don't you move out there and change it?

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    Default Interesting

    I find this a little odd, but who am I to tell the community fathers how to operate. One question is how much does protection cost? What type of service does this get you, fire and EMS, or is that another bill? What about police protection, I know this may be a little off subject but just curious. Also to inform the citizen's (new or old) how to get protection only 2-4 times a year probably is not good enough.

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    Blink you ridin Squad 10 today ? Greedy ?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    I wonder why there are still subscription fire departments around today -- you'd figure if they have enough people subscribing, they'd have enough people willing to vote to form a district.

    If less than 50% of your area subscribes, that's not a lot of property being protected...if more than 50%, why not use that base to vote for a fire district?

    Is it something where a County Commission or similiar body has to create it and they're the resistant ones?

    That said, these are the cases I don't have a lot of sympathy for -- if you don't pay subscription fees, if you don't want your property annexed into a fire district...so sad, too bad if the property is lost. Hopefully it translates into action to form a taxing district.


    I'll offer some comments since I am on a subscription department in Missouri, no not the one that refused to help. Currently we are a private entity that sells fire tags to support the fire service we provide. We have about 3000 people in our response area that covers approximately 100 square miles, we sell less then 1000 tags per year. BUT!!!! We do not refuse to help people who are not tag holders, we simply reserve (but do not usually exercise) the right to bill their insurance for the cost of service, or they pay for the tag after the fire and we do not bill anyone. Sometimes they don't pay for the tag, and they don't have insurance. Well, when that happens we just let it go, we live in a very poor area and we do not see the point in trying to force money out of someone that has just gone through the trauma of a fire. Your absolutely right, new people moving in to the are may not know about fire tags, so we are very flexable aobut it. Needless to say we have hurt for money at times, but we use our money effectively.

    Over the last 3 years our department has made MAJOR changes, we've implemented higher training standards, gotten our own certified intructors, lowed our ISO by 2, decreased response time, increased fire fighter retention, implimented certification requirements and upgraded most of our equipment. In addition to that we have provided training for EVERY fire dept in our county (and surrounding counties), we have shared equipment when we upgrade ours, we help other departments matintain their equipment and we are working toward the first official fire prevention program in our county's history.

    But by far our biggest change has been that we have realized that the days of subscription departments are numbered. We have petitioned to form a disctrict (along with a neighboring department) and this April the public will hopefully vote it in.

    To answer your question "So the question is why haven't the citizens in this area voted to form one, or does another political body (like a county commission) need to form it?". Anyone can petition to form a fire protection district if there is not one in place.

    I am not going to bad mouth the department that refused to help because I do not know them, or their situation. But IMO the subscription fire service has major flaws that are easily resolved by forming a district. Again, that is my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman
    You can't be serious. Just "call them up" and set up a policy right there on the spot, huh?

    Yes. Not everyone reads the local rag, nor do they attend "octoberfest", and they might just not make it to wallsmark on the particular Saturday the fire department chooses to set up. Even if they did, that's still not adequate. I can imagine a few firefighters trying to stop and talk to everybody that goes in and out of our local Big Box Marts; not gonna happen, I can tell you that. A department that operates in such a manner needs to have policies in place to identify new homeowners in their district. And, in my opinion, they need to have some type of policy in place to protect everyone, regardless of how it's paid for. That's why I never really liked "for hire" departments. I'll bet their local law enforcement doesn't operate on such a silly premise.

    I do think its on the fire department to notify these people. They (FD) have to understand that their way of doing business isnt the norm, and that most people expect fire service to be included in thier property taxes. I think they are trying, but it sounds like it doesnt work very well. They need to come up with something better then an add in the paper or booth at the fair.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pkfd7505
    I'll offer some comments since I am on a subscription department in Missouri, no not the one that refused to help. Currently we are a private entity that sells fire tags to support the fire service we provide. We have about 3000 people in our response area that covers approximately 100 square miles, we sell less then 1000 tags per year. BUT!!!! We do not refuse to help people who are not tag holders, we simply reserve (but do not usually exercise) the right to bill their insurance for the cost of service, or they pay for the tag after the fire and we do not bill anyone. Sometimes they don't pay for the tag, and they don't have insurance. Well, when that happens we just let it go, we live in a very poor area and we do not see the point in trying to force money out of someone that has just gone through the trauma of a fire. Your absolutely right, new people moving in to the are may not know about fire tags, so we are very flexable aobut it. Needless to say we have hurt for money at times, but we use our money effectively.

    Over the last 3 years our department has made MAJOR changes, we've implemented higher training standards, gotten our own certified intructors, lowed our ISO by 2, decreased response time, increased fire fighter retention, implimented certification requirements and upgraded most of our equipment. In addition to that we have provided training for EVERY fire dept in our county (and surrounding counties), we have shared equipment when we upgrade ours, we help other departments matintain their equipment and we are working toward the first official fire prevention program in our county's history.

    But by far our biggest change has been that we have realized that the days of subscription departments are numbered. We have petitioned to form a disctrict (along with a neighboring department) and this April the public will hopefully vote it in.

    To answer your question "So the question is why haven't the citizens in this area voted to form one, or does another political body (like a county commission) need to form it?". Anyone can petition to form a fire protection district if there is not one in place.

    I am not going to bad mouth the department that refused to help because I do not know them, or their situation. But IMO the subscription fire service has major flaws that are easily resolved by forming a district. Again, that is my opinion.
    Good luck ......please let us know how this tunrs out for you and thanks for the info !
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire40man
    I find this a little odd, but who am I to tell the community fathers how to operate. One question is how much does protection cost? What type of service does this get you, fire and EMS, or is that another bill? What about police protection, I know this may be a little off subject but just curious. Also to inform the citizen's (new or old) how to get protection only 2-4 times a year probably is not good enough.
    I can't speak for other areas, but ours had been $25 per year per residence for fire service, this year that price was increased to $35. This gets you fire service only, EMS is seperate and is tax based, as are the Police. Notification in our area mainly occurs by word of mouth, newspaper advertisements, mailings, and realtors in our area are good about notifying new residents. Letting citiznes know that buying a tag is required is a major flaw in the subscription fire service.

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