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  1. #1
    Forum Member medicmaster's Avatar
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    Angry Another bunch of MUTTS in action...

    Iowa Firefighters Quit Over Storm Shelter's Closure

    Firefighters walked off the job after they were told to close an emergency shelter in Monroe County on Tuesday night following an ice storm that knocked out power to many in the area.

    The Lovilia fire station was set up as a warming center at the request of the emergency management director in neighboring Marion County. More than 3,000 people in the area had lost power.

    Firefighters said they had no choice but to turn in their pagers after city leaders told them to close the shelter because it was a liability.

    Members of the Lovilia Fire Department said their decision to quit was not made lightly, but felt it was a necessary one.

    “There’s a time when someone has to take a stand for what they believe in. I can’t go out and perform my job if I don’t have anyone to back me up,” said Katie Gillaspie, a former Lovilia firefighter.

    All but two of the town's 16 volunteer firefighters walked off the job Tuesday night after they said the mayor and city clerk decided the shelter was a liability and risk for the community.

    “It hurts to be told you’re a liability, under what stand are we a liability when we’re here to help the community. It’s what we’re here for. It’s what we volunteer for, we love our job,” Gillaspie said.

    City Clerk Dorn Haywood declined KCCI’s request for an on-camera interview, but says he did suggest it may be a liability to have the public in the fire station, but he says at no time did he demand the shelter be closed.

    “The liability issue should be null and void when you’re asking them to set up a shelter,” said Corey Bakalar, former Lovilia Fire Captain.

    Bakalar said they were just trying to do what's best for the three communities the department serves.

    Both sides in this debate said there's more to the story and that this is just one of several problems between the department and city officials.

    Those using the shelter Tuesday night said they were surprised by the decision to shut it down, but are more concerned about future fire coverage in their community.

    “I’d like to know that the community here is going to support the fire department and hopefully they’ll be back in service here real soon,” said Raymond Showers of Lovilia.

    “The department is more than just fires, they respond to any kind of emergency we have and it’s comforting to know they’re there, they’re nearby,” said Jennifer Selix, a Lovilia resident.

    Lovilia Mayor Dave Berry was out of town Wednesday, but KCCI did talk to him by phone. He too said he never told firefighters to shut down the emergency shelter.

    Until the issue can be resolved, two neighboring departments from Albia and Bussey will provide fire coverage.
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  2. #2
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    There *has* to be more to this story.

  3. #3
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    So does that mean there will be openings? (kidding)

  4. #4
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    Who are the Mutts in this scenario? The citytypes for being to liability conscious or the firefighters for walking out. I'd say they are both equally responsible.

    It's not like the Mayor said, no more PPE. No more, fire hose. They turned their fire house into a hostel, and then were surprised when people asked if it was a good idea or not.

  5. #5
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    I agree with the others. Not only does there have to be more to this story, I'm not quite sure who the mutts are in this story.
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  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber dadman's Avatar
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    My first impression after reading a couple of stories is that the Mayor and Clerk are the MUTT's.
    But on the other hand, how big is the FD building?
    Are the apparatus stored outside to make room for people?
    How big is Lovilia? Are there other buildings that can be used for shelters?
    Can the FD buiding be used for apparatus AND shelter?
    For almost all the dept. to walk off, there has to be some other issues at hand.
    It sounds like there was room to make a shelter, but the powers that be are spineless and more concerned about liability.
    A community should pull together in drastic times.
    Ice storms suck, big time.
    The FF's shouldn't have quit. They should've ignored the Mayor, kept the shelter open and let the Mayor fire them and/or get the cops involved.
    If the roads and such are still crappy, an incident happens and far-off mutual aid is needed due to the dept quitting, who has benefitted?

    Get back to work and tell the Mayor and Clerk to stick it.

  7. #7
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Don't know about this particular situation, but I don't think most firehouses are good shelters.

    The firehouse has limited space, the bays are needed for the apparatus, the bathroom/shower facilities are limited or non-existant.

    Schools on the other hand are much better shelters, until you run into an extended incident and they need the school back.

    Like I said, don't know what the particulars were here, but we have always avoided using the firehouse for shelters and polling places.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Don't know about this particular situation, but I don't think most firehouses are good shelters.

    The firehouse has limited space, the bays are needed for the apparatus, the bathroom/shower facilities are limited or non-existant.

    Schools on the other hand are much better shelters, until you run into an extended incident and they need the school back.

    Like I said, don't know what the particulars were here, but we have always avoided using the firehouse for shelters and polling places.
    Majority of small communties in rural Iowa have consolidated schools "serving" multiple communities. So many small towns (1000 or less) have no school. Every town pop of more than 100 has a fire station. Almost all have 2-5 bays and a multipurpose community hall that is used as the FD training room, local card parties by the old folks, family rentals, local polling station, etc. And has a kitchen for use during various organization fund raisers (see FIRE DEPT). Typically the fire station/community hall IS the community emergency shelter. The individuals that can be counted on to run an emergency shelter are the FF/FD. Every city in Iowa established and basic emergency operations plan designating where their emergency shelter/shelters are (at a minimum) in Fall of 1999. Nearly all cities since 911 have prepared a Hazard Mitigation Plan that also established what other requirements of operating the shelter are and the city was/is to be making progress to address problem areas (generators etc).

    We did not loose power last week but if necessary to house the residents of our community the trucks would go outside so the bays could be used for keeping humans inside and warm/alive. It's a just a big piece of iron, drain the pump and you can keep the booster tank from freezing. The paint and shiny stuff will be ok.

    Pretty good chance more to this story.

  9. #9
    Forum Member firemonkey311's Avatar
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    I am sure that there a some facts that we are not hearing now but I dont know if i could just walk off the job like that.
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  10. #10
    Forum Member medicmaster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by firemonkey311 View Post
    I am sure that there a some facts that we are not hearing now but I dont know if i could just walk off the job like that.
    I will try to find more on this story as it develops and update as needed.

    However...keep in mind that Lovilia is a town of about 500 or so people...these were volunteers that "walked off the job"...they didn't exactly walk away from their livelihood. I believe they did this to make a point to their local government.
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  11. #11
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Hmmmm.....Walking of the job when the people we serve need help? That makes a lot of sense.

    the dumb*****es should have waited until AFTER the emergency, loaded their guns and then make their statement via proper channels. (news media, etc)

    Totally lame.

  12. #12
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    Volunteer stations frequently have "halls" attached which are used not only for department business but are a source of revenue (rented out for events, host fundraising meals, bingo, etc...). They're usually already insured for members of the public being there. Sleeping there might be a little more risk.

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    First I'll "go out" and say that I have a t-shirt that is very similar to this one. (B-T-D-T syndrome) And it aint pretty.

    I will also agree there is more to this than meets the eye, on both sides.

    On a slightly similar note, Malahat VFD is listed locally, by the Protective Services Branch of Cowichan Valley Regional District as an emergency shelter. Only because they do have a kitchen, that could do the job for the 350 or so residents, and they are the only "municipal " building in the area that happens to contain an emergency generator. Could they effectively house 350 plus residents? I dont think so, but they can provide some comfort for a few days at least.

    Again, there is more to this than has been openly reported.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingRon View Post
    Volunteer stations frequently have "halls" attached which are used not only for department business but are a source of revenue (rented out for events, host fundraising meals, bingo, etc...). They're usually already insured for members of the public being there. Sleeping there might be a little more risk.
    My old department's "new"(2005) station is set up for just that.The 8 bunk rooms are reserved for members sleeping over for the duration to see to things with extras on a first come basis.The meeting room can hold 70 people in chairs,maybe 50 lying down.
    It's also supposed to be rated to survive a 7.0 earthquake.I'm not sure how they tested that rating but that's what the designer claims.For $1.5 mil,it better.
    During storms like tornadoes,I'd get told to call the various trailer parks and advise that we had space if people needed stronger shelter than something strapped to the ground.
    The bays in the new station are big enough we've had all vehicles owned by the department inside and still had room for some state fire commission trailers.The older station doesn't have much more than a meeting room and kitchen/office but people inside a warm dry building aren't going to gripe much about laying down on a pallet of blankets.At least,I wouldn't given the possible alternatives.
    At either station,the BRTs aren't outside in such situations.
    But not all departments or jurisdictions have Chiefs or County Judge Executives(County Mayor equivilent)that are that open minded.

    Now,I don't know if they tried alternatives to walking off and leaving the department before doing so.They could have been so frustrated,they didn't think of any routes like filing a protest while keeping the houses open for warm shelter,calling up the news station and then kick the folks out while explaining the Mayor wants this done.I wasn't there.but I can understand their frustration.There have been jobs that I got so fed up with supervisers not listening to a complaint and just leaving them in the lurch.Going long enough without work and almost losing the trailer isn't advisable.At least they have real jobs to tide them over until the problem gets sorted out.Maybe they can return to their volunteer status after it gets resolved.I hope so.
    Last edited by doughesson; 12-14-2007 at 03:15 PM.

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    B-T-D-T syndrome



    What the hell does that mean???

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davjohnson View Post
    B-T-D-T syndrome



    What the hell does that mean???
    Been-There-Done-That.

    {not real proud to say that either - the whole situation JUST PLAIN SUCKED!}
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Been-There-Done-That.

    {not real proud to say that either - the whole situation JUST PLAIN SUCKED!}


    DUHHHHHHHHHH... should have thought about that one a little longer.

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber MalahatTwo7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davjohnson View Post
    DUHHHHHHHHHH... should have thought about that one a little longer.

    Thats ok Dave, been a long week of DDUUUHHH here too.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

    "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

    "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

    Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

    impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

    IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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