1. #1
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    Default Lack of Participation

    Well I would like to get some ideas from the firehouse community. My department has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past few years some examples would include daytime staffing, ems billing, expanding our budget, including things like fire prevention in our community. But with all of the improvement comes new problems and exaserbated old problems. The biggest one i want to focus on is lack of participation. we staff our station from 6am to 6pm mon-fri. all other time is ff/emt response. we run both fire and ems. from about 6pm till 11 pm there isn't a problem with response but after that its like a switch was turned off. Now you got like 4 members out of 30 that you know will respond if they are in town and not at there full time jobs but you can't rely on such few people they get tired. So many memebers give excuses like i have my full time job to go to in the morning and i need my sleep. well i want to know why there sleep is more improtant than mine. Other members say well i can't function at night i will be of no use, i have herd the excuse of well no one else shows up so why should I. And there are other excuses. the leadership of the department has tried multiple things to fix the problem like incresed monitary reward for showing up to these calls (we get a flat rate when we respond and it is worth while a medic makes close to $30 bucks per call a basic like $20) that didn't work, they spent money on really nice recliners for us to sleep on at the station no one uses them. so basicaly i need ideas how can we fix this with out going to 24 hour staffing which at this time seems like our only option. Unfortuatly we had like 15 unanswered calls last month alone were our neighboring community whom staffs 24 hours 365 have to cover our class and i am embarrised to say that. we need some imput i am open to any ideas.

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    well you already have more then we do. we don't receive a cent for responding to any calls. we don't staff the station do to the fact everyone is busy. last year we ran just under 200 calls. we missed 120 calls the air force had to back us up all the time. this year we are averaging a call a day. we have only missed something like 5-10 calls so far this year. we still respond from home at all hours of the day. i only miss calls if i am not in town. at night unless its a fire we see 2 maybe 3 people per call. we have tried a lot but one thing that worked for us last year was if u responded to more then 50 calls for the year you got a special gift at the end of the year banquet. we all got new gear bags which the station paid for. maybe setting a number at your station for number of runs gets some sort of special recognition at the end of the year.

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    Any chance of setting up a duty crew roster? 2-3 people per night, depending on your membership, could put people "on call" every 10-15 days? We did that for the misc calls that generally don't call for a full department response. 1 officer and 2 qualified firefighters.

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    Our company uses a fixed duty night system. Everyone signs up for a night of the week and runs the single engine calls after 2300 hrs. Boxes and rescues everyone is expected to come out. A company nearby has a rotating duty crew system where you get a different night each week.

  5. #5
    35monroeffemt
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    My first department I was with had similar problems. At night it was always the same 3 or 4 guys, with me being one of them that ran calls and the other 20 were never to be found. Eventually the people that did respond eventually grew tiresome and then the attitude started well nobody else shows up why should I and it snowballedfrom there. Even on a good day this department has an average response time of at least 10 minutes. It was not uncommon for me to come from another district miles away and still have to wait at the station 10-15 minutes to roll a truck. This was absolutely pathetic most of the time we would have to call mutual aid for medicals and such which I think was ridiculous after I passed ten houses of firemen and all of there vehicles were sitting in the driveway. I went to the officers and up the chain of command and nothing ever happened. By the way there were many other issues with this dept that endangered the safety of everybody.... I ended up leaving that dept on less than cordial terms and will never have any relationship with anyone from there again.

    Now for my current dept. We operate out of 3 stations serving around 17,000 citizens in about 15 square miles. We ran 1,300 calls last year. Our average response time is 1-3 minutes no joke and this is a strictly paid on call dept.

    What makes our dept run so smoothly? We have people that WANT to be there, WANT to run calls and help those in need. Every month statistics are compiled, if you have not run at least 25 percent of the calls you are in trouble, it has not been uncommon for people to be suspended or terminated due to lack of participation. If you are not going to run calls why be a member? We NEVER have any less than 10 people respond, usually more, doesn't matter day or night weekday or weekend or holidays. Dial 911 and you are going to get a professional response.

    Another thing that helps with responses is we all carry our turnout gear in our vehicles, most of the EMS responders carry thier own medical equipment also. If we are closer to the scene we are to respond directly to the scene as opposed to driving across town. This helps as guys can leave work, run the call and then return. There are many other benefits such as mutual aid calls and so on.

    So I guess what I am trying to say is go up the chain of command, maybe get rid of some people that are not benefiting the dept and maybe morale will improve. In my deparment we also have many benefit functions to applaud our members for doing what we do as well as we do it. Dinners, professional sports tickets, family gatherings, you name it and we do it, this brings most of the dept closer together and more of the brotherhood setting like it should be.

    Good luck and stay safe, hopefully things will turn around for you.
    Last edited by 35monroeffemt; 04-08-2007 at 11:33 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 35monroeffemt View Post

    Now for my current dept. We operate out of 3 stations serving around 17,000 citizens in about 15 square miles. We ran 1,300 calls last year. Our average response time is 1-3 minutes no joke and this is a strictly paid on call dept.

    What makes our dept run so smoothly? We have people that WANT to be there, WANT to run calls and help those in need. Every month statistics are compiled, if you have not run at least 25 percent of the calls you are in trouble, it has not been uncommon for people to be suspended or terminated due to lack of participation. If you are not going to run calls why be a member? We NEVER have any less than 10 people respond, usually more, doesn't matter day or night weekday or weekend or holidays. Dial 911 and you are going to get a professional response.
    This is fantastic! It also sound like a good idea with the 25% deal all though I have one question. What if most of the calls are during the day or does it matter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by avfd3099 View Post
    Well I would like to get some ideas from the firehouse community. My department has been growing by leaps and bounds over the past few years some examples would include daytime staffing, ems billing, expanding our budget, including things like fire prevention in our community. But with all of the improvement comes new problems and exaserbated old problems. The biggest one i want to focus on is lack of participation. we staff our station from 6am to 6pm mon-fri. all other time is ff/emt response. we run both fire and ems. from about 6pm till 11 pm there isn't a problem with response but after that its like a switch was turned off. Now you got like 4 members out of 30 that you know will respond if they are in town and not at there full time jobs but you can't rely on such few people they get tired. So many memebers give excuses like i have my full time job to go to in the morning and i need my sleep. well i want to know why there sleep is more improtant than mine. Other members say well i can't function at night i will be of no use, i have herd the excuse of well no one else shows up so why should I. And there are other excuses. the leadership of the department has tried multiple things to fix the problem like incresed monitary reward for showing up to these calls (we get a flat rate when we respond and it is worth while a medic makes close to $30 bucks per call a basic like $20) that didn't work, they spent money on really nice recliners for us to sleep on at the station no one uses them. so basicaly i need ideas how can we fix this with out going to 24 hour staffing which at this time seems like our only option. Unfortuatly we had like 15 unanswered calls last month alone were our neighboring community whom staffs 24 hours 365 have to cover our class and i am embarrised to say that. we need some imput i am open to any ideas.
    It sort of sounds like you have a quite a bit of dead weight on your dept. Maybe some peoples attitude is if you can provide daytime staffing and these people get paid why should I show up at night and not? I know this is'nt a good excuse but I'm sure thats what some people say. Some of the excuses that you provided us are very lame and it shows me that some of your members lack some dedication there for If I was your chief there would be a shorter roster if you know what I mean. I know that it says vol but come on... I allways like responding somewhere with limited manpower and see one of your members sitting on their porch watching you go by. Are you from Geauga county? Maybe your only option is is to go full time. The ones who suffer is the resident of your depts coverage area. Know what I mean? You gotta do whats right for them I feel..
    Last edited by dday05; 04-08-2007 at 12:23 PM.

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    I'm very confused. On this thread you talk about your department growing in leaps and bounds, yet in your other thread, you complain that your department is falling apart due to the Chief's actions that you are again praising in this thread?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    We have a similar system as moroneffemt in that our dept you have too come too 30% of the events that take place. 30% of calls,meetings,training and fundraisers. If you dont meet these requirements than you can be questioned as too why you could not meet them, and if your excuses aren't good i.e. well I just didn't feel like comin too those calls, you may very well get the boot. Gotta get rid of dead weight too make room for those who wanna be there
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    My old department had people that would show up for the bare minimum of training meetings/dinners and just a few calls a year because that was all the time they could put in.Most would show up for as much as they could and it wasn't because we got $3.00 for calls and training meetings,plus chow and cool non-adult beverages when the call ran long.And,of course we had people who just wanted bragging rights of being on a fire department.
    We also had a detail Sunday,instigated by a former Chief who was tired of low response on Sunday when everyone was at Church or taking the day off on the farm.
    Officers would rotate supervising and bearing a hand in cleaning the station and trucks,inventorying the trucks and most of the regular members would show up to join in the work.
    If something needed doing around the station to improve storage or if equipment needed cleaning after a big call on a weeknight,there'd be someone available to do it.
    Given that there's always something to do around a fire station and someone having to do it,it was no wonder people thought we were a full time department and surpised to find out we were a volunteer department.
    People just have to want to do the jobs if they want to be on a volunteer department.You can't just slough it off on the "next shift".You'll be the one using that equipment the next time it's called out.

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    Talking EZ Solution

    Make sure that it's a participation problem, not people getting burnt out.

    If it's particapation, just call everybody that didn't show up at home after the call and ask them why they weren't there. You wake up enough wives and children, people won't roll over when the pager goes off. This is what we used to do and people showed up!

    We also had a night during the week to run medicals. That helped a lot. If you didn't show up for that, you had guys that figured that since they were up, they might as well park the ambulance in the driveway of the guys who didn't come and turn on the lights, sirens and lay on the air horns. Same result as above, but you also ****ed off the neighbors.

  12. #12
    35monroeffemt
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    Quote Originally Posted by dday05 View Post
    This is fantastic! It also sound like a good idea with the 25% deal all though I have one question. What if most of the calls are during the day or does it matter?

    As of right now it does not matter, however we are currently trying to fine tune our sops in this area. For some reason we are going through a drought call wise. We only had 98 calls last month, and all but 20 of them were during the day time. Many guys did not hit 25 percent. Myself working 3 jobs only was able to make 21 of those calls which put me a 23% which is the first time I have not hit at least 25 since I got on. Is everybody that didn't hit 25% going to be punished? Certainly not yet according to our sops we all should be. So every system is not perfect as we are always trying to improve for our citizens as well as ourselves.

  13. #13
    35monroeffemt
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    Smile Thats MONROE

    Quote Originally Posted by ndvfdff33 View Post
    We have a similar system as moroneffemt in that our dept you have too come too 30% of the events that take place. 30% of calls,meetings,training and fundraisers. If you dont meet these requirements than you can be questioned as too why you could not meet them, and if your excuses aren't good i.e. well I just didn't feel like comin too those calls, you may very well get the boot. Gotta get rid of dead weight too make room for those who wanna be there

    That would be MONROE, not moron-e

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    Quote Originally Posted by 35monroeffemt View Post
    That would be MONROE, not moron-e
    My deepest Apologies. Will not happen again. Your post was too damn long too wanna sit there and delete what I didn't wanna post about.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Post sounds good

    well this is the kind of info i was looking for, all of you have some great info presented and i hope to take it to the chief and make some of it work, please keep it comming. just to add in with some things you guys have been saying. Yes we are fortunate to get paid per call day and night and staff during the day so those of you still doing it for free my hats off to you, but there are still many things done at the department that we do not get paid for.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    I'm very confused. On this thread you talk about your department growing in leaps and bounds, yet in your other thread, you complain that your department is falling apart due to the Chief's actions that you are again praising in this thread?
    well i mean we have improved our equipment, have two great ALS squads, very nice engines, a great new tanker truck, the problem is all this great equipment but no one to use it

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    Default participation

    be thankful you even have any show up .. our Dept here is all volunteer and we are lucky if we even have 6 volunteers that ever show up at all .. and its always been like that .. I have been to fires where I had to start by myself ... and hoped back up would arrive before the home wazs lost. we didnt always succeed ... apathy and people not wanting to invest the time is what kills vollie depts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FirewmChelle View Post
    be thankful you even have any show up .. our Dept here is all volunteer and we are lucky if we even have 6 volunteers that ever show up at all .. and its always been like that .. I have been to fires where I had to start by myself ... and hoped back up would arrive before the home wazs lost. we didnt always succeed ... apathy and people not wanting to invest the time is what kills vollie depts.
    How many people are on your dept?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FirewmChelle View Post
    be thankful you even have any show up .. our Dept here is all volunteer and we are lucky if we even have 6 volunteers that ever show up at all .. and its always been like that .. I have been to fires where I had to start by myself ... and hoped back up would arrive before the home wazs lost. we didnt always succeed ... apathy and people not wanting to invest the time is what kills vollie depts.
    I have had similar experiances. Going too a Chimney Fire, where the driver is also the Officer of the truck and IC of the scene, with a crew of 3 FF's. Or going too a barn fire with Driver, OIC and 2 FF's on First Due. It sucks but we deal with it and thankfully we have a top notch mutual aid system that no matter where in our district we are there's always someone too help yah
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Smile members

    hmm think there is "officially " 20 on the roster .. of which .. 6 show up I have been out for a few years due to arguing with my VA doc .. ( I said I can fight fire and they said NO you cant .. ) I'm back now .. I won the argument .. so now we have 7 that respond

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    I would also suggest crew nights. Here's how we do it at my dept.
    6am to 6pm Mon-Fri is staffed by 5 paid people. 6pm to 6 am Mon-Fri and all days Sat & Sun are staffed by the volunteers. There are 4 of us per crew. If you live too far from the station to respond you have to stay at the station during your crew night. If you don't show up to a call, you get a phone call the next day from the crew leader. If you consistently don't show up you can get put on probation. We have a probation system that keeps everyone participating. If you don't show for calls, training, and don't make your minimum 6 month call volume you will be placed on probation. If you don't meet your minimums within the next 6 month period you will be removed from the dept. This can be tough to meet at times but it keeps the people involved that really want to be doing it. Those that really don't want to keep up or realize they can't keep up are usually gone within a year of joining.
    S.Davis
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    throw inactive people off?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FirewmChelle View Post
    hmm think there is "officially " 20 on the roster .. of which .. 6 show up I have been out for a few years due to arguing with my VA doc .. ( I said I can fight fire and they said NO you cant .. ) I'm back now .. I won the argument .. so now we have 7 that respond
    Has your dept put the word on the street that they need some help? Sounds like they need to do some housecleaning as well...

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    alot of our depts are looking for volunteers. some of us have signs up asking for volunteers .. as of right now .. we have no paid FF at our Dept . but we do work closely with the county and other stations thoughout the county some of our stations do have paid FF and they hope to place some at all Depts but its not countywide as of yet. thanks for the tip on the call list. thats a good idea.

    And if I thought my dept was bad ... Country Oaks Fire Dept right near us they are in a bad way . most of thier equipment is older than dirt ... thier main engine they have to keep the battery disconnected before they respond to fires .. cause it wont start .. and thier Duece .. well they got pulled over by the police cause it had no lights so they had to drive with a car in front and behind it .. and apparently they dont get much help from their county. So im trying to get my county to donate some equip for them. Any ideas there ? They need all the help they can get.

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    Unhappy roll call

    had training last night.. officially we now have 10 on the roster .. last night 7 were there. its hard to get people to volunteer out here .

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