1. #1

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    Default overweight firefighter

    Looking for help with ther handling of this one. I have a firefighter that is overweight. And unable to preform or want to preform to my expectation but will do just the bare minium to get by. As his officer I feel he is a danger to me my crew and rest of the department. Have brought this to administration and to safety comity. With no result other than we know there is a problem.He is realy taking the wind out of my sails. Any NFPA or osha guildlines or presidents been set around the fire service. input greatly appriciated.

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    I think you have quite a challenge on your hands. The Chief and administration needs to be behind you 100%. What needs to happen is the department set forth some minimum standards to preform to. Then if he can't he will be given some time to conform then you could go after his job.
    A departemnt near me tried to get rid of a few very overweight guys, and I'm not sure how it finally ended up.
    We have some very real physical demands to our job and being fit is mandatory. Too many of our brothers die of heart attacks on the job, you are not picking on him you may be saving his life (but don't expect him to see it that way)
    Good luck and keep us posted.

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    Quote Originally Posted by captredneck View Post
    And unable to preform or want to preform to my expectation but will do just the bare minium to get by
    I understand what you mean, but be very careful. Are you setting expectations for all department members or just the overweight guy? Do other officers have different expectations of him or other members or are you all following the same expectations for everyone? Are the expectations of department members part of a written policy? Not trying to give you a hard time, but in the absence of a consistent and mandatory performance standard for all personnel, getting rid of a member because he does not meet your expectations can be difficult, if not impossible.

    Another thought, do you do annual medical testing to NFPA 1582 and does he get the clearance of a doctor? If so, is the doc trained or certified in occupational health or is he the general practitioner the signs off as long as the FF has a pulse?
    Last edited by KenNFD1219; 11-27-2007 at 12:16 AM.
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    If the department says he meets the heath standards then you can't say a word. Unless you want a serious lawsuit for discrimination on your hands. Maybe approach him as a friend and offer some assistance. Otherwise move on with it.
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    Unless your department has a yearly fitness test or cardiac stress test, you're handling a tar baby.

    A way would be to document what he cannot do in training, each time you train, build up a record of it and get an action plan implemented.
    Drew Lyman,
    "Dear Chief, much has happened since we talked last..."

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    Also don't treat him any differently than your other crew members. Treating him differently can be considered harassment and get you in more trouble than it is worth. Obesity is a "disease" (talk to the CDC on that one) and is protected by labor laws. As long as he passes what ever physical and medical standard your department has he's yours.

    I'll agree with DrewOnFire on the log book. But also make sure you are still teaching him the job. Also does he even know what you expect from him? If he doesn't know you expectations how can he meet them. Don't do this as a one-on-one, present it to your entire company.

    Good luck.

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    i think ken makes a great point, before you do anything through the ranks is maybe try and talk to him as a friend...everyone knows that fire fighting is a a physically demanding job and if someone is not able to take care of themselves then how can the other guys in the company trust that he will be able to take care of himself on the fire grounds...but make sure that he knows you are telling him this as a friend and that you are only looking out for his best interest...and if that doesn't work start working through the ranks.

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    Is the individual not meeting department standards or just not meeting your standards? If the answer is the former then you must begin documentation. Document every time or incident where the individual is not performing his duties up to department standards. Be specific in your documentation, date, time, location, details, witnesses, etc.

    Identify his lack of performance in his written evaluations which should go up through the chain of command.

    Last and most important, sit down with the individual and try to come up with a work improvement plan. Set goals and document his progress. Try to make it a positive thing and not just a hammering. Discuss how we all depend on one another so we can go home safe at the end of each shift.

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    are you volunteer?

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    Default Overweight

    If you follow the chain Command about your fellow firefighter then they have to deal with it.

    If he's lazy and doesnt anything around the house then you and the guys deal with that. Let him know you guys wont tolerate it. But as for the weight issue follow the chain and get your Health and Safety involved. But dont be a coward and let the guy in question know your concerns 1st and maybe help him. See how that goes 1st.

    As for the fellow firefighters saying to mind your own business and stay out of it. When the LODD happens cause of a heart attack on duty. And when the tears are flowing ask them if it's a concern then.

    We need to be in shape and ROUND is not the shape Im talking about.

    Thast just my opinion. But if you pursue this you better have all your T's crossed and I's dotted.
    And it better be a concern for the guy and not just a personal agenta.
    Last edited by JAFA62; 12-03-2007 at 11:36 PM.

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    perhaps recommend that the on duty guys have a minimum workout time per shift, say 30 minutes to an hour and make sure he does it. If not, write him up and he will get the point or get the slip

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985 View Post
    write him up and he will get the point or get the slip
    More likely, nothing will happen. It can be very hard to uproot a fireman.

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    yeah, i know. I worked with a few fatties before... and they were proud of it.

    And what if they can pass the physical? Fat or not, they are "still capable of doing the job", in theory. And I doubt any court in country would side with you if you fired a guy who was "overweight" yet could still pass the physical agility

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985 View Post
    yeah, i know. I worked with a few fatties before... and they were proud of it.

    And what if they can pass the physical? Fat or not, they are "still capable of doing the job", in theory. And I doubt any court in country would side with you if you fired a guy who was "overweight" yet could still pass the physical agility
    Ability is the only important thing to me. My first Captain was huge, but he worked all of us under the table. Ask Captain Reed about Captain Louis Moore.

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    Is this paid or volunteer? At work if they think you are overweight you go to fat camp at randalls island till you tip the scales the other way. If its volunteer keep the guy outside, I wouldnt want to be the one responsible for this guys death.

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    Ability is the only important thing to me. My first Captain was huge, but he worked all of us under the table.
    My first time through an academy, one of my instructors was 370 and he told us this was after he had lost 80 lbs. But let me tell you all something, if something needed to be done on the fireground, he would do it no problem. And he also told us that within 40 yards, no one there could out run him, and we were all afraid of trying it. Just the perfect definition of a "bubba"

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    Everyone has a lot of advice about keeping track of incidents of poor performance. Not a bad idea, but I'd offer that you should be doing this for all your crew members. If not, be prepared to spend lots of time in court.

    This is not a company level issue. You should encourage all of your crew members to work out, encourage everyone to eat well, and promote the general wellnes of your crew.

    If the doc and the chief says he's okay, then you've got to deal with it. Otherwise you'll be the one with the walking papers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JHR1985 View Post
    My first time through an academy, one of my instructors was 370 and he told us this was after he had lost 80 lbs. But let me tell you all something, if something needed to be done on the fireground, he would do it no problem. And he also told us that within 40 yards, no one there could out run him, and we were all afraid of trying it. Just the perfect definition of a "bubba"
    Have you ever heard of the saying "ticking time bomb?"
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    Our department requires meeting CPAT requirements bi-annually for all full time firefighters. Duty crews get off lighter...

    Maybe you should propose a rule/policy change for the health and fitness of your department.

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