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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber firedawg312's Avatar
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    Default i need some help

    ok before i go into the whole story ill give you some backround. i am on a VERY small dept in the poconos. it is a fire dept connected to a club in a probally 1.5 sq mile private community. we do go out of it but we are not primaray resonse out of the development. the dept is run by a board of directors that basically runs both the club and the fire co. o mind you we have to be paying members of the club in order to be a ff weve been running into alot of problems as of late. our former chief was basically run out by this board of directors. some things happened at a function FOR THE BAR!!!! and they wanted him out ever since. now there taking it out on the rest of us that have stayed with them. we are trying to find a way where we would be able to "seperate" from this board of directors(o and mind you ONE out of EIGHT of the are even a ff) without having to merge with the primary dept or shut down the club. o i forgot to say that in the land donation aggrreement it states that the fire dept had to be there for the bar to be there. we want to get them elected out of office but the problem is its all of their buddies who have memberships there and it wont happen. we need new gear and there basically telling us no. they want us to go cheaper and cheaper but the stuff we looked at was really good gear. and trust me most of us need it. The interior guys(of wich is me) probally has the best gear andeven some of that is lacking.

    can anyone give me some suggestions on how to otry to fix this situation??
    " IF GUNS KILL PEOPLE THEN I CAN BLAME MY MISSPELLINGS ON MY PENCIL" -Larry The Cable Guy-


  2. #2
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    Of course the easiest fix to this problem is for you to move. Question, how many dwelling fires do you see in a year? When you do get a dwelling, do you call in mutual aid or can you handle it yourselves? How many of the residents in this village are full time residents compared to vacation home owners?

    From where I'm standing, looking at your situation, it seems to me that you really don't have a fire company, but what you actually have is a social club with a fireman theme. The Chief got the boot because he thought (in error) that you have a real fire company and started making unreasonable requests that costs money.

    If you have lets say 1000 homes in your 1.5 square mile territory, you may have lets say 1 or 2 structure fires per year. If the fire is contained to the structure of origin and no one gets hurt and insurance pays for the damage then the powers to be are not going to get too concerned about the condition of your bunker gear of the amount of training you receive because you are not going to use it much and no one is complaining except the fire fighters.

    If they, the powers to be, know that they can have the next store neighboring fire company cover your development for your 1 or 2 structures per year at a fraction of the cost of maintaining trucks to NFPA standards and work conditions that comply to OSHA rules, then it makes better sense to eliminate the fire fighting function from the fire company and put the money saved into tennis courts or swimming pools.

    So learn the lesson to steer clear of fire compnies that have bars their hall.

    Tom

  3. #3
    MembersZone Subscriber firedawg312's Avatar
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    Default

    the club was actually started for the fire fighters not other members. greedy people came into power and changed that. we get about 100-200 calls a year. half of wich are actually in the develpoment. 75% of those are structures. all of the structure fire are toned out with the primaray company of the township. they also call us out for man power. most of the firefighters live in the develpoment. i am the only officer that lives here. the old chief was trying to change the whole club thing back to the way it was. yeah i realize now that the whole bar attached to a fire dept sucks. thanks for your input
    " IF GUNS KILL PEOPLE THEN I CAN BLAME MY MISSPELLINGS ON MY PENCIL" -Larry The Cable Guy-

  4. #4
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    There is a fire company near me that was once associated with bar connected to the station. The fire company changed it name and I think actually closed the bar so it no longer had anything to do with it.

    You can imagine how upset when the bar patron discovered this.

    In my opinion, there should only be two types of members. Firefighters and social members (bar patrons only). The Board of Directors shoud not be in charge of both. If you cannot get them out of office, for your own safety and that of the other members who are interested in firefighting, get everyone to move to another station. Once they realize that all of the active firefighters are gone, they have no choice but to change.

    Best of Luck

  5. #5
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    I guess there are a lot of things that have to be considered. The first place to start is a through review of the fire company charter, constitution and by-laws and company SOGs. It is possible that the officer and board of directors (the elections and their actions once in office) are not in accordence with the by laws. Another thing, there are legal implications with respect to grants and government money and (lets say) grants from PA firemans relief that should go to personal protection gear and training and not to stock the wine cooler.

    My fire co makes a distinction between active firefighters and social members. According to our by-laws, only active firefighters can vote for executive officers and Board of Directors. Once in office, a BOD or executive officer has the office but has no vote since they are not active firefighters.

    Another big consideration is who owns the fire hall, furnishings, trucks and PPE. If some or all of this is owned by the town, then the town fathers may not be happy to learn that the facilities are being used for a private social club. Somehow, though, it seems that a members only social club run by volunteers would be a hugh money looser if there wasn't some kind of outside infusion of cash. Once you strip away the fire/rescue function of the company, i don't think it will be long before outside financing will force the social aspect of the fire company to die a natural death. In any event, it may take a lawyer to review the running and policies to determine if there is any legal remedy and that can be expensive and can turn ugly in a small town. One thing is for sure, if a firefighter ever gets seriously injured or worse while on a call, the resulting investigation into the way things are run would make for some long sleepless nights for those in charge.

    If however the fire company is being run properly with respect to the law, then there probably isn't anything you can do. There is a difference between bunker gear that is old but servicable and bunker gear that is not servicable. I see no problem with having non-firefighters serve executive offices as long as the fire/rescue ability of the organization is first and formost. Being a volunteer FF takes enough time as it is so having people that can run the company is not necessarly a bad thing.

    Another thing, some fire compnies are just better than others. Some take the mission of the fire service with a grain of salt while others exist soley to serve the community. I'm not too far from you in PA no doubt and there are some guys in other fire compnies that I would be very hesitant to do interior attacks with because they do not take this enterprise seriously enough for my tastes. With any volunteer organization, there will be things that you don't like mixed in with those you do like.

    You may not like the reality of things and I don't blame you if you feel that way but is it possible with 1.5 miles of coverage area in a single development that you really don't need fire company for this small an area? The main things though is where is the money for day to day operating expenses coming from. If the bar is the primary revenue maker then this could be a problem. The good things is those who put social activities above the mission of the fire company and thus alienate the actual men in the trenches have the awful job of keeping the money for operating expenses rolling in once the men stop showing up for actual calls and traditional fundraisers.

    Someone in your organization has the title of Chief. If this person is runnig the fire company within the guidelines of acceptable practice then ok. If he is more interested in happy hour though then you have a big problem. It may take a while before a Chief with other things on his mind besides the well being of the crew to have a negative image projected into the community but it will happen eventually.

    Why don't you join the primary fire company in your district?

    Tom

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