1. #1
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    Lightbulb Looking for help/fresh ideas

    I don't know if this is the right place for this but I did'nt see anything else.
    I am looking for some help.
    To make a long story short, myself and and a Lt. form my department have been put in the positions of VP and President (respectivley) of our local Firefighters Association. Our Association is all but offically closed. We are trying to "revamp" from the ground up but we have a problem. Of the 17 departments that send our association dues, we are lucky to get half to show up to our meetings, once every three months.
    We are in desperate need of some new ideas to gain the membership so we can make this a viable Association. We (meaning the two of us) have some good ideas and some grand plans but we are lacking in support. If anyone has some ideas or suggestions, we would be very thankful. We have re-done our bylaws and constitution to fit our current needs but that is all so far. We are a work in progress and hope to move forward at a steady and progressive way.
    Thanks in advance.
    Capt. Warren Jacobs
    Pelican Fire/Rescue
    Omnis Cedo Domus
    • -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    • -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

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    Is it a county wide association? What is the membership made up of (paid/volly/combi)?
    Our county fire assoc has similar problems, not much participation along with not much funding, but they do well every year with a county wide muster. The newest member of the association isn't even in our county, but runs auto/mutual aid into our county & there isn't an assoc in thier county.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    We are local volunteer association. We just need some ideas to keep the interest and give our departments something for there money. How do you form your muster. I would be interested in that.
    Capt. Warren Jacobs
    Pelican Fire/Rescue
    Omnis Cedo Domus
    • -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    • -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

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    The 2nd Wed of every month they have a meeting that moves to a different "member" acting as host. Each host tries to do a small 20 minute in service, that can cover new equipment they have or a general training item.

    Our local Chiefs assoc backs the FF assoc. By backs I mean pushes it on their people, making the officers set things up when it's their turn to host. And Sh@t rolls down hill, the officers lean on the FF's to help as well.

    The Chief also appoints a FF to attend the Assoc meetings when they are at other houses. That FF is then expected to "report" to the rest of the FF's during one of our meetings.

    Last years muster was held in the parking lot of an old Wal-Mart. One of the members of the Assoc that is in the middle of our county, hosted in their town. There were several events (bucket brigade, 1 & 2 person hose couplings, water fight are all i can remember at this time), each member was given a list of rules & events about a month before the muster. Ribbons for each event & trophies for over all places were handed out. (Adrian fire needed to call for another unit for the haul of trophies they earned).

    Its alot of work, takes them half of the year to iron every thing out. With just the two of you almost impossible. You may want to focus on the Chiefs of your membership and have them through thier bugle's behind you. Each one of your members designate a representative and you have 17 people attending your meetings. I would try and do a muster ASAP. If you are struggling for attendance this would give people something to put their two cents in about.

    They also do a year end awards dinner each year, something for you guys to thing about down the road.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

  5. #5
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    We are able to use our county chiefs association to thow a little weight around, our problem is that the Firefighters association has been taken down to just about nothing. We kind of adopted and assumed the responsibility of bringing it back up to it's former glory. We do have a annual dinner (returning in 2007 after a couple years of not having one). I like the idea of a muster but I think that our situation is such that we may have to plan for one next year. I am open to any and all suggestions you may have and will let you know how things turn out in the short term. Our next meeting is at the end of July and I hopefully we can produce some forward motion. We are kinda spinning our tires at this point. Thanks

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    Have the Chiefs throw a little more weight. Get their permission to come into their house's on a meeting night and sell your assoc. Would also be a good night to get a representative and the contact information that night for that member organization. I wish you the best of luck, if you would like, i'll try and get a copy of last years musters rules.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    What reasons were there that the association started to fall apart? What things went on within the association that people did like? Try sending out informational packets to each department asking each what they would like see happen in the association. Try visiting the departments on their meeting nights if possible and communicate with them about what they would like to see.

    In general, having a muster is not the solution to the problem. You need to find out why things happened the way they did, how can you ensure that they will not again, and what do the people want.


    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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    If they people don't have much interest now, they aren't going to take the time to fill out an information packet? At my real job as a Parts Dept Mgr for a auto dealer, when customers come in to get warranty work done they are sent a survey by the manufacturer. The people that came in and every thing went great (fixed right the first time, timely manner, ect) respond to that survey about 20% of the time. But the people that things went wrong (parts on back order, missed diag or masked complaint) they respond to the survey 90% of the time.

    My point is, the people that will take time to fill out the information packet, 90% will have a B!&($ about something. If it involves firefighters that B!&($ will be about something that happened 10 years ago. And what brother Pelcap needs is constructive solutions.

    I mentioned in an earlier post to go out to each Dept and talk to people. I think it's a great idea asking for feedback and ideas.

    As far as the muster, you might be right. Pelcap was asking for ideas to give a shot in the arm of participation in his assoc. Young guys generaly have more "free" time (free being no wife, kids or a house that needs maintained), a muster with trophies and bragging rights might excite young firefighters to get involved. If you can keep them involved for a few years, they'll be one of the "old" guys talking about the Assoc to the new rookies.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for the input. To give a brief "recent" history of our association, the previous officers really accomplished nothing. Myself and our President have taken over what has become more of a blank canvas, we just need to figure out how to get the interest back. We do have a fire safety house and a tow vehicle but that is about it. We are beginning to form a Honor Guard for our surrounding departments and hopefully have more to offer by the end of the year. We have talked about sponsoring water fights, memorial parades and the usual things but we need to get the participation back before any of this can happen. We kind of feel like a one legged man in a *** kicking contest at this point. I will let you know how things progress. We can really only go up from here.

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    Don't mistake my suggestion as not holding merit. We are not talking about mechanics nor are we talking about customers with warranty issues. I am saying to send the informational packets out to the FIRE DEPARTMENTS in the association and get some feedback from them as to what they would like to see done within the association. A week after sending them out, call on the fire chief and see if they received it and ask if he/she has time to meet with you and discuss some of the issues. It works and has worked for me and others in similar associations.

    So let me ask you this, what was the intended purpose of the association when it was started, and what is the intended purpose now? Is your association just within a specific county or are there multiple counties involved with the association?

    The reason I ask is that if it is a single county association then you will be limited to personnel attending no matter how good the idea is due to the fact that most firefighters today are taxed with the additional trainings, meetings, work details, and such that they must do besides working with a family. A multiple jurisdiction association will enabel you to have more people in attendance and give more you more resources to help you.

    The color guard is a good thing to initiate within the association and it opens the door for you. The thing most departments look for is what weight the association has and what merit do the officers of the association have and in general what they can get out of it.

    If you can find information concerning your states legislative system and how new laws may effect fire and EMS services pass the information on. The same can be said about LODD benefits and injury benefits. And if you association has the money hold some grant funding classes with grant writers, and even hold a weekend training class on some specific fire-EMS training areas.

    Other avenues you can go is if your County has an EMA system in place you can get involved with them to initiate some training classes as well as with local and state law enforcement agencies. These agencies love to share their knowledge of things most are unfamiliar with.

    Buy having these things looked into you build more merit and trust throughout and people will tend to communicate with you sooner than if they do not understand your desires to help each member in each department gain more knowledge about the fire-EMS service.

    Once you gain their trust they will attend your musters and water battles and such. It takes time and dedication amongst those in your shoes to do the job and to seek help doing it. It is not and should not be about you or the president making a name for yourselves but as you said to build back the association to its once proud state. It is hard because most associations country wide have fallen off. Not that people care less but because people are more occupied now than what they were 15 years ago.

    When I came into the fire service in 1972 the associations were the biggest and best tool a firefighter could have to get answers and trainings in. They thrived in those days and it was nothing to have 100-150 people attending monthly meetings and trainings. People actually enjoyed the comoradre they shared with others and to this day some of my best friends were made at those meetings.

    Give it your best shot and good luck. Keep us informed if you would.



    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by orangebuster
    Don't mistake my suggestion as not holding merit. We are not talking about mechanics nor are we talking about customers with warranty issues. I am saying to send the informational packets out to the FIRE DEPARTMENTS in the association and get some feedback from them as to what they would like to see done within the association.
    I didn't mistake your suggestions. I thought this was an exchange of ideas and opinions. Thanks for clearing up what we are talking about here. The most successful FIRE DEPARTMENTS believe they provide a service to a customer. I am saying the the information packet, in my customer service experience, wont provide beneficial information.

    The idea about going to each department is great. I love the idea of a county/regional fire school type hosted by pelcap's assoc!
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

  12. #12
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    Default A reply finally

    I have been really pressed for free time as of late so I appologize for not responding sooner. I had no idea what to expect when I started this thread but I want all of you to know your suggestions will not fall on deaf ears. We will use this information and ideas to the fullest extent possible. Our association is multi-county, by that I mean 2 countys as of now. We hope to expand the association to the county north of us because they are only 20 miles north of here. I will work on a packet but I do want to know what I should put in it. I know the standard survey type sueations but as far as what other things to include, I draw a blank. I would like to see a training by our EM Director but I need the attendance to justify it. I don't want Ken to come out and have only 12 people be there. I will keep you posted as time goes. Once again, I want to thank all of you for your help and opinions, good or bad I will take them all.
    Capt. Warren Jacobs
    Pelican Fire/Rescue
    Omnis Cedo Domus
    • -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    • -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

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    One more thought that might help: Have your association volunteer to do all the Public Safety throughout your membership area. Our associations do all the Safety functions at our schools as well as Career day. If a standarized Safety Program is used than you can combine manpower from different depts so that it all doesn't fall on one dept. or a handfull of individuals. It is also a good PR hook that can benifit you in the long run.

  14. #14
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    Could you be a little more specific on the Public Safety you do in you area.
    thanks
    Capt. Warren Jacobs
    Pelican Fire/Rescue
    Omnis Cedo Domus
    • -Brotherhood: I don't know half of you half as well as I should; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
    • -Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of you life is to serve as a warning to others.

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