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  1. #1
    Forum Member pletch's Avatar
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    Default Dealing with useless members

    Just a qustion for the body. Our department has a member that is useless, he has failed FF 1&2 Twice now, Failed Hazmat OPS, Actually didn't show up and took him three round to pass MFR. Today, he decided to jump on the first enging out, when i have been trained and been in the service for over five years now i told him to get down from the truck but he ignored me and continued anyways. I want to seriously knock him out, but i know that will create problems. How should i handle this or just blow it off.


  2. #2
    OSD122
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    Quote Originally Posted by pletch View Post
    Just a qustion for the body. Our department has a member that is useless, he has failed FF 1&2 Twice now, Failed Hazmat OPS, Actually didn't show up and took him three round to pass MFR.
    How/why is he still a member? And how/why is he allowed to ride? This guy would have been voted out by the members at my place a long time ago, if our Fire Chief didn't kick him to the curb first.

    Sounds like a management and/or leadership problem to me.

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    Wink

    Quote Originally Posted by pletch View Post
    Just a qustion for the body. Our department has a member that is useless, he has failed FF 1&2 Twice now, Failed Hazmat OPS, Actually didn't show up and took him three round to pass MFR. Today, he decided to jump on the first enging out, when i have been trained and been in the service for over five years now i told him to get down from the truck but he ignored me and continued anyways. I want to seriously knock him out, but i know that will create problems. How should i handle this or just blow it off.
    Why don't you try to take him under your wing and help him learn? Be a mentor and let him know that you care about those that you work with. Where is your officer and what is his/her position on this matter?

  4. #4
    Forum Member pletch's Avatar
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    well our sop's are not specific on this so a technicality we cant vote him off, but thank you for seeing my point my ill bring it up at the next meeting

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    Perhaps a little more information is in order on this one:

    1. Does he have a learning and/or testing problem?

    2. How does he perform on calls, and does he have the basic skills needed to perform?

    3. Does he show up regularly, or at least on average with other members?

    4. Has he been given the option of a tutor/mentor/big brother?

    5. Most importantly, does he truly exhibit a desire to do well, perform well, and be a part of the team?

    Many moons ago, as an oilfeld worker, I was hard-assed and had the opinion of "if you can't get it, you can't stay"........time and life has taught me this doesn't always work. Life revolves around every creature filling a certain "niche"......and from what I've seen in my short time with two fire departments, one industrial and one volunteer, both can operate the same way as life by filling niches.

    For example, we have an elderly member who could never man a hose, do medical, perform extrication, force entry, ventilate a structure......or any other "true" fireground activity. But, he can drive anything you put in front of him, and he is a great department clerk/secretary! he takes the trucks in for preventive maintenance, keeps up the inspections, and is there on EVERY SINGLE call to do whatever we ask. That is his niche, and it takes a load off the other members and allows them to be more proficient in their niche.

    Perhaps your department just needs to find this member's niche......but make sure it satisfies his need and desire to be a team member as best as possible as well.......don't make him the official truck washer....that is what rooks do!

    If it is a safety concern, then adress it to the chief, privately. Thre may be things going on in the background you aren't aware of.....the chief may have identified the problem......or the chief may see value where you don't.

    Volly departments don't always have the luxury of being "choosey", and there are many ttasks which can be performed by non-firefighter personnel.

    Volunteer departments in my opinion are the truest form of community care and partnership.....so why is it that you can find so little value in a member of your community......what if it is your house next? Would you not want EVERYBODY there that can possibly be? One more hose.....one more extinguisher....one more driver to shuttle water.....one more guy to give the "working guys" a cool drink and assist them in rehab?

    If he is causing safety concerns, then that creates a new story. In that case, the members should all speak up, to him and the chief. Give him a chance to correct the faults by identifying them to him. And unless you are an officer, what right do you have to tell him to get off the truck? I don't know the particulars of your department, but "time in" does not always mean you have the right to decide who responds, that falls under chain of command.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pletch View Post
    Just a qustion for the body. Our department has a member that is useless, he has failed FF 1&2 Twice now, Failed Hazmat OPS, Actually didn't show up and took him three round to pass MFR. Today, he decided to jump on the first enging out, when i have been trained and been in the service for over five years now i told him to get down from the truck but he ignored me and continued anyways. I want to seriously knock him out, but i know that will create problems. How should i handle this or just blow it off.
    For starters I'd take the issue up with one of your officers and go from there.If it was one of my people that would've done that I'd have their gear as soon as I found out about it. I don't understand why this ff thinks he can over ride a ff thats trained and able to make entry when he can't. No matter how much this pi**** you off go to your officers and let them deal with it before you do something you regret.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWLAFireDawg View Post
    Volly departments don't always have the luxury of being "choosey", and there are many ttasks which can be performed by non-firefighter personnel.

    Volunteer departments in my opinion are the truest form of community care and partnership.....so why is it that you can find so little value in a member of your community......what if it is your house next? Would you not want EVERYBODY there that can possibly be? One more hose.....one more extinguisher....one more driver to shuttle water.....one more guy to give the "working guys" a cool drink and assist them in rehab?

    If he is causing safety concerns, then that creates a new story. In that case, the members should all speak up, to him and the chief. Give him a chance to correct the faults by identifying them to him. And unless you are an officer, what right do you have to tell him to get off the truck? I don't know the particulars of your department, but "time in" does not always mean you have the right to decide who responds, that falls under chain of command.
    The fault is this person took away a spot on the truck for a certified ff.
    Last edited by dday05; 02-07-2007 at 04:06 PM.

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    I can see where that would be a concern. I must have missed that part, I just thought he rode the truck.

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    I agree with SALAFire Dawg. I have people in my dept who cannot fight fire, but they are very good at other things. like washing and detailing a vehicle. doing maintenaince on the vehicle, fund raising. A volunteer fire chief has to work with the hand that is dealt him and make it the best it can be. Most volunteer firefighters are trying to do their part to make the best and give back to their community.

    By the way if he took the seat of a certified NPQII firefighter SO WHAT in my dept. Our response area is only 10 miles from end to end. He would do what they do already drive their personal POV!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flochief View Post
    I agree with SALAFire Dawg. I have people in my dept who cannot fight fire, but they are very good at other things. like washing and detailing a vehicle. doing maintenaince on the vehicle, fund raising. A volunteer fire chief has to work with the hand that is dealt him and make it the best it can be. Most volunteer firefighters are trying to do their part to make the best and give back to their community.

    By the way if he took the seat of a certified NPQII firefighter SO WHAT in my dept. Our response area is only 10 miles from end to end. He would do what they do already drive their personal POV!
    Do their POVs have SCBA built into the jump seats?

    I think the first piece out needs to have the best crew you have available on it. We have "non-firefighter firefighters" too, but it is made clear to them that the guys with appropriate training ride the rigs.

  11. #11
    Forum Member polecat's Avatar
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    Default Knuckles are not an option

    Quote Originally Posted by pletch View Post
    Just a qustion for the body. Our department has a member that is useless, he has failed FF 1&2 Twice now, Failed Hazmat OPS, Actually didn't show up and took him three round to pass MFR. Today, he decided to jump on the first enging out, when i have been trained and been in the service for over five years now i told him to get down from the truck but he ignored me and continued anyways. I want to seriously knock him out, but i know that will create problems. How should i handle this or just blow it off.


    If you have a problem losing your seat on the rig to a less qualified member, take it up with your officer.Ordering him off the truck is not your call. You've got a lot to learn about getting along ,in a widely diverse workplace. I guarantee this so called useless firefighter, has untapped resources that may surprise you. No matter how this "challenged" member makes out, it's up to you in the meantime,to pass on your 5 years wealth of knowledge to him, because you never know, he may be dragging your butt out of a blaze someday?

  12. #12
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    randsc
    We do not have jump seats, All of our trucks are 2 door commerical cabs. Last night I had a call to go on when I was typing earlier responce. I went to the call by myself in our Squad. In 2 minutes after my arrival I had 8 firefighters on scene. All in POV. All in PPE.
    The point I make here is we can respond in our own POV and make a difference without making a scene (throwing a guy out of the truck).
    I truly believe there is a place for everyone on a FD. The key is knowing each individuals strengths and weakness. Sometimes this can be difficult.

  13. #13
    Forum Member Haweater's Avatar
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    As much as everyone is saying that there is a place for everyone on a department, I must disagree. We've had more than one person like the one described in the first post; and it was a happy day when each one of them was gone. Some people have learning disabilities and will just never catch on. They're dangerous. Had one guy that was with another department for EIGHT years who, when doing his first truck check on training night, couldn't identify a combination nozzle - had a siamese in his hand.
    The big question is, is he trying to learn on his own? If he's trying to learn and can't, best to say good-bye. If he's just not trying to learn, it should be made clear that he's expected to improve or find something that doesn't require the ability to learn a great deal in limited time. Let's face it, on a volunteer department, there isn't a lot of training, you're expected to learn on your own to a certain degree. If you don't get what was covered in training, make it up on your own time. There are lots of areas you can learn - this site and forum is an excellent one. Grab the IFSTA manual, read. Can he read? That's not a smartass question, maybe he can't.
    Just my $0.02
    G

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    There is a lot of truth in everything that has been said so far. In fact, I gave it a little more thought concerning my comment.

    There is in fact something everybody can do in a fire organization, regardless of impairments or laziness. However, it is up to the department and officers as to if those accomodations will be made. Not all departments will choose to do so. I think there are far too many dynamics involved, especially with volunteer departments, to say one size fits all, for any situation.

    For our department, we make do with what we have, and try to place value on all members, even if some are limited to their abilities.

    Can he flag traffic? Let him direct traffic on calls and work perimeter control.

    "Here's your DOT/ANSI approved safety vest, have a nice day......."

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    I'd say there must be more to this story then what we've been told. I do stand behind what I said. Just goes to show why each and every fire dept is different.If one thing works for dept A and dept B does it completley different then so be it.

    I will say though it does get very expensive to keep sending people to school and not passing their classes. It also puts some depts in a bad situation where they must do something. Why was this person sent to Hazmat school when they didn't pass their fire classes? Or was the Hazmat class attached to the fire class? And did or does this person have any basic ff certs? Where I'm from there is a basic 36 hr class,FF I and FF II. If this person has a basic ff cert then there should be no problem.Pletch can you give us more info?

  16. #16
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    Pletch - Unless you were the officer on the rig, acting or otherwise, you were totally out of line. The guy up front is the ONLY one on the rig that should be making that decission. Besides there is always one job that no likes to do at the scene, cause there in no glory in it, and that is catching the hydrant. I speak as someone that has been in the vol. fire service for probably more years than you have been alive.

    As for the cost of training that this guy can not pass, some states provide this training at no cost at all.

    There is always room for bricks in the FD. They are so good at doing the non-glory stuff. Teach this guy where everything is, cause then you have someone that can help when someone comes back the the truck with an "I need" question.

  17. #17
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    If they can Fog a mirror I can find them something to do on Scene,if they are willing to do what they are told.As for riding the engine,heavy,or whatever trucks that are responding its up to the officer to have the best qualified crew on board that he can,our less experianced members will wait to see if there is an avalible seat when the truck leaves.
    as for the last member that we had that thought he was going to to "remove" a less qualified member from a seat he was suspended immediatly and when he did not want to complete counsling was terminated.
    Our members education range from 3rd Grade levals (one of our most reliable pump operators) to doctors,and engineers (dont ask the engineer how it works unless you have free time and everyone looks out for everyone because this is a TEAM sport

  18. #18
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    Captiancvfd you sound like you have been around a long time too. You said it all.

  19. #19
    Forum Member rhvfd1214's Avatar
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    I agree with the idea that if a person is willing to do the task assigned, then they are an asset to the fire department. We were given a printed copy of the guidelines for being members of the department. As long as our conduct is within the guidelines, then we are able to serve. Somebody may not belong driving the truck, or running a hose line, but if that person can hand a bottle of water to a firefighter who just got out of the hot zone, then that person is making a contribution to the department's operation. Training, experience, and ability are factors in determining where the person provides the greatest benefit to the department. Try finding each person's niche.

  20. #20
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    We have a guy that has been on for two years. Has 1152 thru pump ops 1. Then stopped training. Has made a grand total of ten calls maybe. Only really shows up for meal/business nights and training nights. Oh, and the Christmas dinner. Always complains if someone asks to many questions prolonging class,meetings,ect. Overheard saying certain ff's need to "get a life" apparently because they like to come down to the station and hang out.( I felt like saying, "you should mention that at the next meeting so everybody can hear it".) Let me clarify, this "member" was brought on without a vote along with a few others when a new station was opened in a neighboring district we had contracted to protect. Which in my mind would call for a little extra dues paying just out of respect for the normal process of being voted on by membership. Normally I have found these situations work themselves out. Not in this case. The bottom line for me is there wiil be a call when this guy wiil be in a position to have to make entry or extricate a patient with someone qualified,(which I don't consider him to be), and that ff he is teamed with is now taking unknown risk added to a routine situation. Good luck at that point. The icing is this guy had a volunteer license tag almost from day one. So in my Holier than thou interpretation he is in it for bragging rights. Any suggestions on this one?

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