I have a few questions that I've always been wondering.
When do you do things like grocery shopping and prefire plans? Do you do it when you are on the job and just respond to calls from the store?
Also, I've seen some firefighters watching a high school softball game. They just parked the engine and truck right on the street. Would they just wait for a call and respond from there?
I was on a volunteer department so we only did grocery shopping on training days.The paid guys are on duty from the moment they clock in,even if they are just sitting around"doing nothing"to the public's perception.
Paid departments usually have a plan of the day for doing housekeeping chores like cleaning the living spaces and equipment,training on skills and going out to preplan buildings and visit schools.It all gets superceded when the tones drop.Grocery shopping would fall in there somewhere and I guess the officer decides when they get the chow and who goes after it.In some places, the cook does the shopping in his POV with someone helping to tote and make sure he doesn't do anything hinky with it for laughs.
As to the football game,they could have been assigned as medical response.I dunno.We always let people know that if they went to the game,they'd need to have their turnout gear there in case we got a call.We also had the utility truck there to provide medical response from the high school.
So when you do something like visit a school or prefire plan, it's during your regular hours? And they just radio you or something when the alarm goes?
Crews that work 24 hours shifts usually do inspections and training during the daytime hours (0800 - 1700).
As long as your engine, truck, or rescue stay within their district....it shouldn't be a problem going out. Fire alarm will know how to get in touch with you if a run comes in.
Of course, whether or not your crew can go out joy riding is up to the officer.
When we go to the grocery store, pre-fire plan, do a display/public education, check hydrants, etc., the entire company is together and in service. We stay in our territory, but we are not prisoners to the station.
We each have a radio and if a call comes in, we respond.
There are times when we have to make several attempts to do something as simple as buy groceries. It has taken as many as 4 attempts for me (us)before...Each time we got into the store, we got a call. The store employees thought it was hilarious! :)
If things get busy and we don't have a chance to cook at the station, we often times will go out to eat (always keeping the company together and in service) and respond if we receive a call.
For some PFPs, training and for some special events, we may go on a "delayed response", or a 'second response" mode if circumstances warrant.
Okay. Thanks for all of your replies. I understand now. :)