Iam not a FF but at my company. We are given cell phones but not allowed to use them on a job site. Unless it has to do with that job,calling for help,calling for parts. We are allowed to make personal calls but must not have to many minutes. Had a guy on a job for two and half hours. By the minute total he talked to his wife for one hour and half. He is no longer allowed to use his phone for personal calls.
We are allowed to carry personal cellphones on duty. But, they must be silenced or on stimulate. Personnaly I rather the dept. put an issued one in each rig and ban the personal ones. Nothing like seeing one of you guys on the news chatting away staring at the sky and carrying on an obviously personal conversation! But here is value in having a backup communication and as the duty officer I use mine all the time to speak with RP's, alarm or sprinkler service contractors and dispatch for the details we don't want to air.
The thing that's really annoying to me is now guys won't even get up and out of the lazy-boy (gives it a whole new meaing) to answer their phones so I got to hear about "snookums" bad day at work and how the kids are acting up, and what she should get for dinner, etc. Overall the personal calls and phones are a degradation of the close knit company. Now guys disapear for long periods talking to the wife, the girlfriend and the wife's girlfriend. They answer calls at the dinner table, take calls after 2100 (FD business line rule) and overall are more involved in their private life than the job.
I am seeing a cell phone problem on my department. The trouble isn't so much having members of the department use them while on calls but using them during training. My department likes to do a lot of hands-on practical training and I have yet to see a hose drill or some othe drill take place without someone with a cell phone attached to his ear. As a lieutenant, I have mentioned this in our weekly officer's meetings and seem to get ignored. As a fellow firefighter, I am concerned that the person who may be backing me up in a real-life emergency situation was too busy on his cell phone during training to do his job. I'm a lieutenant on a 25 member paid on-call department. Is my next step to document these incidents myself and take them to our city council or just pray that I don't get killed because someone couldn't pay attention in training?