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Thread: Bad Fire Chief?

  1. #1
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    Default Bad Fire Chief?

    I work for a career fire deparment that is led by a volunteer certified fire chief. He has not taken any firefighting classes in over 25 years and that was only a 36 hour basic fire class. Now I know that this may be acceptable if he was only administrative but he responds on all structure fire calls. I have seen him on several cases order firefighters to perform unsafe acts. Thank God that the firefighters were smarter than him and refused. I have heard him tell my lieutenant that he seen the medic crew get off the medic with gloves (medical) on before they knew if they need them. Now this is just stupid, anyone who has taken any medical training knows that BSI is the first thing you do on a medical scene. I doubt that he knows what BSI is, but he wants to bitch that we use to many gloves.

    We recently moved into a new firehouse, he moved his office from the administrative building to the new firehouse. Now all that he does is bitch about this and bitch about that. He has no concept on career firefighting. We do over 5,000 medic calls and 1,500 fire calls a year, (out of 2 firehouses with 10 personnel) and he beleives that our job is to look busy from 9-5 when he is there. I beleive that our job is to take calls and serve the community that we serve. How cares if the trash is not taken out by 0900 when he comes in. We have 24 hours to clean the station. Am I wrong for thinking the way I do? I share the same thoughts as my fellow firefights. Are we wrong?

    The most recent dumb thing that came out of his mouth, he yeld at a firefighter for studying his paramedic book. He told the firefighter that he is not allowed to study until after 1700 hours, that is when down time starts.

    Does anyone have any ideas? Don't get me wrong I respect the man and his rank but anytime anything is suggested he beleives that we are just out to get him. This is not the case, but he makes it hard by stating that he is the chief and it will be his way.


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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Default a few questions...

    Was this a a volunteer FD that transitioned over to career?

    Who hired him?

    Did they have any qualifications that needed to be met?
    ‎"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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    How is a he a certified fire chief if he has, according to you, almost no training? Who certified him?

    Is he elected or appointed? If elected, work the system to affect change. If appointed, what do your state or local laws say about the fire chief? This may take some time. Watch out, going behind his back to try to replace him will brand you as the enemy and I'm sure he can make life miserable for you. I've had this happen in my department and it gets real ugly real fast.

    Do not mistake a lack of agreeing with you as a sign of incompetence. What happened to the fire fighters that disobeyed a fire ground order because they thought it was unsafe? Were they brought up on charges and cleared or did the chief just let it go?

    If the chief says no studying until after 1700 hours, there is no studying until after 1700 hours. You do not have to like or agree with it.

    You may just have to suck it up, say "yes chief" and watch out for each other and hope a better chief comes along.
    -------------------
    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
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    Genius has its limits, but stupidity is boundless.

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    Forum Member THEFIRENUT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFROB3958
    I work for a career fire deparment that is led by a volunteer certified fire chief. He has not taken any firefighting classes in over 25 years and that was only a 36 hour basic fire class. Now I know that this may be acceptable if he was only administrative but he responds on all structure fire calls. I have seen him on several cases order firefighters to perform unsafe acts. Thank God that the firefighters were smarter than him and refused. I have heard him tell my lieutenant that he seen the medic crew get off the medic with gloves (medical) on before they knew if they need them. Now this is just stupid, anyone who has taken any medical training knows that BSI is the first thing you do on a medical scene. I doubt that he knows what BSI is, but he wants to bitch that we use to many gloves.

    We recently moved into a new firehouse, he moved his office from the administrative building to the new firehouse. Now all that he does is bitch about this and bitch about that. He has no concept on career firefighting. We do over 5,000 medic calls and 1,500 fire calls a year, (out of 2 firehouses with 10 personnel) and he beleives that our job is to look busy from 9-5 when he is there. I beleive that our job is to take calls and serve the community that we serve. How cares if the trash is not taken out by 0900 when he comes in. We have 24 hours to clean the station. Am I wrong for thinking the way I do? I share the same thoughts as my fellow firefights. Are we wrong?

    The most recent dumb thing that came out of his mouth, he yeld at a firefighter for studying his paramedic book. He told the firefighter that he is not allowed to study until after 1700 hours, that is when down time starts.

    Does anyone have any ideas? Don't get me wrong I respect the man and his rank but anytime anything is suggested he beleives that we are just out to get him. This is not the case, but he makes it hard by stating that he is the chief and it will be his way.
    Be thankful that he is a BAD Chief. If he was a GOOD one, he would be reading these forums and would find out what you are saying about him .Take care and stay safe!!
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and possibly that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

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    MembersZone Subscriber Chief2100's Avatar
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    Now that is a strange setup career people vollie chief. Well have you ever heard of a Vietnam Era term (fragged). No JK we were in avery similar situation a few years back the Chief was not certified in anything had no idea about basic firefighting nor any about medical he once called me from the scene of a wreck to ask me if he needed to give a person O2 and if hadnt told him he wouldve never realized that it was out side his skill level. He aslo never did paperwork, failed to be at meetings, and made some really dumb calls at fire scenes i.e. operating at a brush fire team had a tree catch on fire over their heads I was running the pump so I aimed the deck gun pulled the hoses fo it out and gave them a burst to put it out where they couldnt reach he gets there just as we finish and starts criticizing me for using the "new hoses" for the gun on a brush fire BTW he had no idea why I did it just started talking we were all exhausted and I was just about to tell him where he could take his not so intelligent posterior when one of my firefighters just lost his cool I hated it came to that but made me feel good in a way cause my folks stood up for me and I was only the A/C at the time well it embarrassed the chief and he resigned a few months later and I was voted in. In other words your not alone best thing is hope he finally gets tired of being an idiot and either leaves or changes his ways.

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    Hey thanks for the reply, yes this was a volunteer fire department about 6 years ago that transformed into a career department. He was appointed by a board of trustees (elected trustees). He is a retired deputy sheriff and a former assistant fire chief of this department when it was volunteer.

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    First piece of advise....never bash the white shirts in public, regardless of their abilities. It can and has come back to haunt individuals involved.

    Secondly, your chief may require some education. Has anyone ever requested a meeting with him to discuss the problems? Are the career guys and gals unionized?

    If talking to the chief directly about the specific issues do not work, move on to the next step. Talk to the trustee's who appointed him. On the bright side, he is already retired from one career...I doubt he will be sticking around to retire from a second one 20-30 years down the road.

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    So you are career? Unionize, negotiate a contract, fight for what you want, and see that it is enforced.
    IACOJ, Flatlander Division

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    Default Opinions welcome

    Sorry for starting a midthought post

    Can a fire captain effectively lead his company if his privates do not respect him. In previous years the company that he commands tried to have him voted out. He's arguementative, a terrible instructor, and he's only in the dept for the title it seems... one of those guys that likes to hear himself talk on the radio.

    This captain always responds to the scene and always talks way to much on the radio and he always assumes command... I didn't know you could assume command unilaterally...

    He's not my captain, but I have to deal with him on a regular basis

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    If he keeps getting voted in, then more guys like him than not.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Chief Has Arrived On Scene.............Hence Chaos!!!!!!! Thats my vol. depts. motto

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    Quote Originally Posted by mpfire4
    Sorry for starting a midthought post

    Can a fire captain effectively lead his company if his privates do not respect him.
    I don't know if my privates respect me, but I definitely respect my privates
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and possibly that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

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    I have been lucky enough to work with both sides of that one. My first chief was a 9-5 look busy and we will find busy work for you to do. The second one made us busy from 9-5 on stuff, but there were things like the daily housekeeping and checks we did right away and then the rest of the things we did between calls when we could. My second Chief was good in the fact that he made a point to ask how the programs we were enlisted in were going and told us to study as much as we needed. Now some of the older P's were torqed off because the person that was in the P program was studying for a couple hours during the day, but the Chief had "private" meetings with those individuals. It was always funny how they changed their tune after that....."Do you need help with that?" Who knows, maybe the Chief said that he would hold the person griping about the student responsible if the student didn't pass.
    Maybe if there is a trusted member of the board of trustees you can go to, you can plant the seed of making the department all 110 hour FFI and EMT-B's. As a "public service". No money out of their pocket, I am sure you have instructors in house that could do it. If your Chief can't cut the mustard then he obiously shouldn't be in that position.

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    Some responses I agree with...Especially Don't bash the white Shirts in Public, it really can bite you in the *** later.

    As far as what he wants you to do between the hours of 0900-1700 that is his call. Frankly every dept. I have ever been associated with station duties were of very high priority. Every morning truck checks and clean up were preformed before anything else. That is a good habit and tradition to keep. It sounds to me like you are so "against" your chief that you are letting the petty things, like what time the trash goes out superseed the actual problems.

    As far as his qualifications; try encouraging your training officer to subtly address the subject by arranging for classes that your chief can be included in that will help him as well as you.
    Another approach is to re-evaluate your SOP/SOGs to include a minimum qualification for officers, and that officers not meeting these qualifications must obtain them within a certain time frame.

    There are many ways to approach this subject, but be very careful, and try to do it with GREAT tact. usually the person that "bitches" the most about leadership is seen as a know it all trouble maker that doesn't last long. Think what you want about your fellow firefighters, and what all they say in front of you but be very aware that alot of them I'm sure still have a loyalty to the Chief.

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