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  1. #61
    Forum Member BFDNJFF's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Just a side note, paid department near me runs 1 engine with 2 guys. Vol's are running 2 or 3 with 4-6 guys each.

    Which would you rather have?


    i'll quote myself....
    It's really simple, don't drink and respond. Whether you drink at home, at a bar, at your friends, at work, at the firehouse, at the police station, etc. DON'T DRINK AND RESPOND.
    I'll just requote you again.

    I guess things are just different in our neck of the woods Bones.
    Last edited by BFDNJFF; 04-14-2006 at 04:22 AM.
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  2. #62
    Forum Member RoadsideRay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StillLearning
    Don't buy your argument at all Ray.

    Eating too much doesn't impair your judgement, drinking too much does. I've never heard of a lawsuit involving a firefighter had had been eating, I have heard of one involving one who'd been drinking.
    My argment actually called for moderation. Moderation in the consumption of alcohol, and moderation in our view of alcohol. Calling for no alcohol is extreme and simply panders to the puritanical.

    The reference to over eating was a hyperbole. Your counter argument isn't altogether true, however; eating too much does impair your judgement and ability to react.

    We live in a lawsuit happy society and it's only a matter of time before some ambitious lawyer figures out how to sue an overweight firefighter for not being on top of his game.

    I addressed the liability issue when I discussed firefighter drinking at home. Would the fire department be any less liable if I respond to a call after drinking at home? No!

  3. #63
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    There is almost certainly a higher degree of liability related to being the licensed "server" or otherwise the provider of the alcohol.

    I agree to some extent with Ray that there is over-zealous campaigns against alcohol. However, I really see no need for it in a firehouse (my station has been dry, with the exception of the annual banquet night when special response protocols are in place, since 1947).

    It's ready availability, in a social setting, in the firehouse makes it too tempting and too easy to abuse. Funny thing about alcohol is it's ability to impair your judgement before you realize it Go home, go to a bar.

    I'm not clear in this case the exact nature of the request -- if it's to support a social hall that renters wish to be able to have a bar service in, I'm not opposed to it. If it's for a bar regularly used by the firefighters, no need for it.

  4. #64
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    Default Enjoy Responsibly?

    In our neck of western Wisconsin, beer/booze was at one time the norm in the firehouse. We don't have a social hall or even a meeting room. Everything is done right on the apparatus floor.
    Next came moderation - no more than two beers. More than that, you don't ride the truck. Many lost count - just like on the cop shows when the officer asks how many have you had to drink. Answer is most always 2. Moderation doesn't work either.
    Next came zero tolerance and it is working great. Nobody quit and in fact most of our people find themselves drinking less. I'm not a prude or a saint - I like my beer now and again and every so often a lethal dose of 7&7's. No pager, no car keys, and no one to blame but myself.

    RoadsideRay: I'm not going to attempt a battle of words with you as you represent yourself as being well-read. I disagree completely however with your opinion of moderation. No alcohol 'ever' is extreme. No alcohol in your system when responding to a call is just plain better business. If you have been drinking, don't show up at our station. period.

  5. #65
    Forum Member ThNozzleman's Avatar
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    Children of the temperance movement need to realize that alcohol can be enjoyed moderately by responsible adults in any setting.
    Any setting? I don't think so.

  6. #66
    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadsideRay
    Calling for no alcohol is extreme and simply panders to the puritanical.
    In a private setting...I agree. However, in a public building, with hundreds of thousands of dollars of publically owned equipment, in an atmosphere where you are under the microscope of public viewing and perception..... No alcohol is not only good business, it's the right thing to do.

    Take it to the extreme..... If your argument were valid, then why not allow a quick beer in the teachers lounge at your school (after hours of course, and naturally the teacher wouldn't be allowed to teach for 8 hours after the beer), but why not allow the beer in the lounge....after all that's the teachers "social area". Or how about a kegger in the break room at the local police station (for after hours of course...)...

    I'd hate to be the parent of an 8-year old, who comes home after a cub scout field trip to the fire station and says..... "boy I wanna be a firefighter when I grow up... you get to drive cool red trucks...where neat fireman clothes....and the bar at the station is better than anyplace around town"

  7. #67
    Forum Member RoadsideRay's Avatar
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    I agree. We don't respond to calls under the influence of alcohol; whether we have been drinking during social events in the Fire Station clubhouse, or at home.

    I would like to emphasize that there is a difference here! Members of the Palmyra Fire Department do NOT drink during Department work details, trainings, and business meetings. We do NOT respond to calls under the influence of alcohol. Sobriety and responsibility is mandatory.

    Quote Originally Posted by quietone
    No alcohol in your system when responding to a call is just plain better business. If you have been drinking, don't show up at our station. period.

  8. #68
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    I agree entirely with what Quietzone said. I'm in Minnesota, with plenty of time spent in Wisconsin, so I know the drinking atmosphere. If the legal limit to drive your CAR is .08, what about driving a hundred foot ladder truck? Now I'm not a teetotaler by any means - I love taking advantage of Blue Brick's $6 pitchers of Long Island on a Wednesday night - but not when I'm on call. If you're on call, DON'T DRINK. If you're on call and you do drink, DON'T RESPOND.

    It comes down to this. What good are you going to be? None. What harm can you cause? Death - yours, a citizen's, or a fellow firefighter\EMT\cop. Destruction of property - be it someones vehicle, the truck or engine you're driving, or the street sign you run over with said truck or engine.

  9. #69
    Forum Member RoadsideRay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameryfd
    Take it to the extreme..... If your argument were valid, then why not allow a quick beer in the teachers lounge at your school (after hours of course, and naturally the teacher wouldn't be allowed to teach for 8 hours after the beer), but why not allow the beer in the lounge....after all that's the teachers "social area".
    I agree, and I wouldn't have any problem with that. Those decisions are up to the school board. I would expect that teachers drinking in the teacher's lounge after hours would do so responsibly.

    Quote Originally Posted by ameryfd
    Or how about a kegger in the break room at the local police station (for after hours of course...)...
    If the Police Chief did allow a kegger at the Police Station, I'm sure there would be limitations placed on its access. Just as there are limitations at the fire department.

    Quote Originally Posted by ameryfd
    I'd hate to be the parent of an 8-year old, who comes home after a Cub Scout field trip to the fire station and says..... "Boy I wanna be a firefighter when I grow up... you get to drive cool red trucks...where neat fireman clothes....and the bar at the station is better than anyplace around town"
    A Cub Scout field trip to the station wouldn't see a "bar" or any alcohol. It's all discretely in a cabinet under lock and key for access only during special events. We don't have beer lights or bar stools or anything that detracts from the overall theme of firefighting and EMS.

  10. #70
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ameryfd
    then why not allow a quick beer in the teachers lounge at your school (after hours of course, and naturally the teacher wouldn't be allowed to teach for 8 hours after the beer), but why not allow the beer in the lounge....after all that's the teachers "social area". Or how about a kegger in the break room at the local police station (for after hours of course...)...
    When's the last you spent any time in a teachers lounge? Do you REALLY know what goes on there after hours? Funny, just this morning I was reading about another LEO up for charges on their SECOND DUI conviction. They ain't no saints. Cub Scout/Girl Scout trips to the firehouse in my area go no further than the truck bays cuz that's what they are there to see. Firetrucks and their equipment. Once in a while, they go into our meeting hall and see a video presentation.
    "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?

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoadsideRay
    My argment actually called for moderation. Moderation in the consumption of alcohol, and moderation in our view of alcohol. Calling for no alcohol is extreme and simply panders to the puritanical.
    I can safely say in my 50+ years you are the first person who has ever compared me to being a puritan.

    Thank you for that, whatever it was.
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  12. #72
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    RoadsideRay:

    After a weekend training or work detail and the social event begins, I would assume (and I know that is not always safe) that a few of the participants break out the beers to quench a thirst and socialize. With that being said, when the next call comes in during this socialization time, can you without a doubt and with 100% certainty absolutely declare that only those that had not been drinking AT ALL are going to be the ones responding? If you can, kudos to you and your department. What about when the trucks come back to the station? Do they offer to help clean and repack hose and other equipment? Isn't this "in the performance of their duties/response"? How about the guys that think, well it's only a grass fire and I've only had one or two - I'll be OK to respond and help out? If at no time do the ones that had anything to drink help out at all, again kudos.

    Mixing any alcohol and any firefighting activities is not too smart. There are too many injuries and deaths (volunteer and career) each year. We don't need to take the additional risk of adding to those numbers. I don't think that there is any reasonable way existing that can justify the argument supporting alcohol in the fire station.

  13. #73
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    The bigger issue here is that of image...

    Sure, liability is a concern, but as some pointed out, a guy can drink at home and make the bad choice of responding. So, let's look at image.

    Image is perception...how professionally you present yourself determines how professionally you'll be treated. There is also annecdotal evidence, if not scientific evidence, that a professinal image leads to professional performance. Image, that is perception, is also a difficult thing to measure and even a more difficult thing to change. All of us know, for example, a person that made a poor first impression on us, and who has probably never recovered from that initial perception. Regardless of what he (or she) may do in the future, it will always be clouded by our perception. So, what can take years to build up into a positive image can be destroyed in just minutes by negative perception. Recovering that can take years, assuming it can be recovered at all.

    If you accept that image is perception, then the next concern is perception is reality. Connect the dots, and image is reality...and the question is, what image (and therefore reality) to you want to present to the public and your brothers in the service?

    A local cop recently drove his take-home cruiser after a few drinks. He was not legally intoxicated. However, he drove a police car after drinking. The issue was not where he went (a girl's house) or what he did (nothing police oriented)...the issue was perception. And the endless "what if"...what if he had to make a traffic stop on a dangerous DUI? What if a woman came running to his car to escape a rape-in-progress? What if...what if...what if....and what if it happened and the citizen smelled beer? Because the perception would be bad, the reality would be bad...the man was asked to resign.

    I admit that when beer was taken out of my old firehouse 12 years ago, I was upset. But I look back on it now, slightly wiser, and wish that we had done it sooner. Image...perception...reality. Make all three "professional"...and you can't do that with beer in the firehouse.
    My comments are sometimes educated, sometimes informed and sometimes just blowing smoke...but they are always mine and mine alone and do not reflect upon anyone else (especially my employer).

  14. #74
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    Default Questioning the "social" nature of the fire department

    The general impression I get at my combination paid/volunteer department is that, while we enjoy socializing with our fellow firefighters, the station is not your livingroom (even though both have couches and TVs). With the exception of two events each year (the Christmas party and the St. Paddy's party), both of which are held at the hall nextdoor rather than in our actual station, it is assumed that any time you are at the station you are available and ready to jump on the engine if we are toned. If we are there cooking lunch or studying or training or just chatting and joking, our turnouts are ready and our gear bags on the engine.

    This has never been explicitly stated to me, just a feeling I have picked up over the last two years. The policy is no alcohol at our station, but in reality it goes deeper than that. Many of us live within walking distance of the station. We would not drink a couple of beers at home and then walk over to the station to socialize. I cannot picture the tones going off and anyone being there and not getting in gear because he or she had been drinking. I guess it wouldn't be an actual breach of policy, but it would definitely be seen as flaky, unprofessional, and rather rude to the other FFs who are responding to the call. If you're not in a state to respond, you shouldn't be there - the exception being if you have an injury that prevents you from responding, of course you aren't banned from our sight because of it.
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  15. #75
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    With that being said, when the next call comes in during this socialization time, can you without a doubt and with 100% certainty absolutely declare that only those that had not been drinking AT ALL are going to be the ones responding?
    Can you, without a doubt and with 100% certainty absolutely declare that those responding from home/bar/restaraunt/etc had not been drinking AT ALL?
    "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?

  16. #76
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    Bones:

    No, I cannot. However being that much further removed from the station adds an additional step in the "auto-pilot" response. Like I said in an earlier post, I have an occasional beer or two. I have had one beer, been paged out for a call, and started for the door before the light went on that I had been drinking and to not respond so I stayed home. If I had been at the station, I would have been that much closer to responding and there would have been less in my way to prevent getting on a truck. The temptations and pressures to get on a truck after "just one" would be too much for most of us to resist (IMHO).

    I agree with firemanjb: Image, perception, and reality.

  17. #77
    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Can you, without a doubt and with 100% certainty absolutely declare that those responding from home/bar/restaraunt/etc had not been drinking AT ALL?
    Of course not.... that's impossible.....But what CAN be done is with 100% certainty absolutely declare that those responding were NOT drinking at all at the firehouse.

    This ain't about drinking and responding, that's a no brainer....It's about the intelligence of keeping alcohol in a firestation. What's more is it's about a department going to the public for a referendum to keep this antiquated practice continuing. In this day and age when so many FD's have to beg for donations because they're govt. won't fund them appropriately, why in the world would anyone want to do anything that even has the perception of diminishing the professionalism we work so hard to attain.

  18. #78
    Forum Member RoadsideRay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quietone
    I agree with firemanjb: Image, perception, and reality.
    The image of how things are in our society is split in half. Recent Presidential elections have reflected this, and so was the referendum concerning the storage and consumption of alcohol on fire district property. Our community was split right down the middle. This clearly indicates that not everyone’s perception is the same, and therefore; not everyone’s reality is the same.

    To be prized, more than perception, is discernment; which gets to the core of the issue. Perception is easily disregarded as a matter of opinion, six of one, and half a dozen of another.

    Whose perception do we accept as reality? Which half of our society do we accept as molding reality for the rest of us?

  19. #79
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    However being that much further removed from the station adds an additional step in the "auto-pilot" response.
    True, but looking at it from the evil side, seeing who is at the building drinking gives you the ability to say "You don't go." to that guy/girl.

    As to the public's perception...if their perception of you is that you hang out drinking at your firehouse...your battle is long lost. You need to get out in the public and show them what you do for them.

    Hey, look at this, a discussion about alcohol that does not have people going crazy on each other. Good Job.
    "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?

  20. #80
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    RoadsideRay:

    I disagree. In your community of Palmyra, the perception is that it is OK to have alcohol in the firehouse until it is proven otherwise. In the firefighting community, this perception has been proven to the contrary. It is not OK to have alcohol in the firehouse.

    IMHO, to have this even brought to a referendum by the fire department and to have over half of your community in favor of it casts a black cloud on the perception of the entire firefighting community. That is a reality.

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