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  1. #1
    Truckie SPFDRum's Avatar
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    Default Regression in the fire service?

    It has become very apparent to me and I believe it to be true that there is a huge regression in the fire service occurring.
    -The attitude towards of many on working on the roof.
    -The failure to teach, learn or understand the basics of a VES.
    -The hesitation and at time hostile attitude towards searching with out a hand line.
    -The trend of not searching above the fire floor until the fire is out/contained.
    -Or worse, the complete disregard of life safety by completely neglecting the primary search all together.
    -And now the many pages of discussion, for a lack of a better term, criticizing the Brothers from FDNY on properly using a can to aid in an outstanding rescue.

    At one time, not that long ago, all these tasks where taught in the very beginning of your fire service career. But now as you read some of the forum posts, just doing any of these basics you are subject to condemnation or worse, they are looked on as heroic efforts. Yet any of these should be basic skills learned and practiced through an entire career.
    Have the fire service been over run with the risk alot to save alot, risk nothing for nothing; safety sally mentality where it is actually contributing to the deaths of fire fighters in the line of duty?
    Many talented writers contribute to Firehouse, maybe one of those can look into this, what I feel, is a poor direction of the fire service to take.
    My 2 cents on the soap box, I hope the discussion continues.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    You've got it all wrong. Thats not regression, it's just departments being progressive. How many times have you heard "progressive" used here to justify doing everything except putting out fires and saving lives and property? Just because you are a traditional dinosaur don't make fun of us progressives who want to reduce ff ijuries and deaths to zero at the expense of the public. Hey, I didn't start the fire, it's not an emergency to me. Progressive is the way to be...or at least thats what a book I read said.
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    You can't mistake the general direction of the fire service on behalf of the postings in the Firehouse.com forums. There are many departments that operate quite well without the need for acclaim or condemnation by forum commanders. True analysis of regression must incorporate many specifics, the least of which is whether or not faceless, nameless identities agree or disagree with how departments should operate and their internet crusade to prove each other wrong.

    William Carey
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
    Andy Fredericks,
    FDNY E.48, SQ.18
    Alexandria, VA F.D.

    Rest in Peace

  4. #4
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Interesting you brought this up Rum. I was at work last night and got a call from a good friend who happens to be a Chicago Fire Dept. Lieutenant. He has worked most of his time on the southside and on busy companies. He is a Truck Officer and spent the first part of his career as an engine man. We got to talking about fire stuff and he really is frustrated with the state of the fire department these days. Diversity training, CPR, EMS lifting teqniques, Cultural Awareness and AED training have their place I suppose but my buddy is frustrated. The need for the door kicking, roof cutting, etc. fireman is still there. However, it is getting watered down so much that we both believe it will be hard for the fire service to recover.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  5. #5
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    I think that both SPFDRum and bcarey have merit in thier posts. The does seem to be general progression towards being more conservative than aggressive in the fire service, but I don't know that all hope is lost.

    I have 10 guys on my shift in my station (engine, tower, medic). Out of the 525 members of the department, they're easily some of the most highly trained, motivated, and aggressive firefighters you'll encounter. The truck guys live and die by VES, fast and aggressive searches (with a can, nonetheless), built their own simulator for roof cuts (and practice a couple of times a month at least), and quite frankly, "get it." The guys with me on the engine know about getting lines stretched, dropping LDH any time it could even possibly be needed, moving in and staying low, and putting the fire out quickly. We PRIDE ourselves on this.

    However, we have surrounding companies that want to sit back and laugh at us. Trust me, we don't care, because we're doing our jobs, and they're simply looking for the easy way out. They say that using 2.5" on a standpipe is ridiculous because, "what if the fire is small enough to be controlled with a 1.75" line?" or "Why did you drop 5" for smoke in a residense, it's probably just a [insert BS call type here] call!"

    Laziness and apathy are going to continue to stifle the fire service if we (the guys that have been doing this a while) don't continue to have make our points about why we do the things we do. And remember, this is a different generation that we're working with now, whether you like it or not, they do need to hear justification behind why we're doing things. "Cuz I said so" doesn't buy it with them, and they'll not comply simply because you DIDN'T have a good reason.

    Till next time, VES, LOVERSU, take a can, get to the roof, and go home safe!
    Career Fire Captain
    Volunteer Chief Officer


    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

  6. #6
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    I don't think it is laziness or apathy. Left to their own devices, fire fighters will go in and put the fire out.

    -The attitude towards of many on working on the roof.
    -The failure to teach, learn or understand the basics of a VES.
    -The hesitation and at time hostile attitude towards searching with out a hand line.
    -The trend of not searching above the fire floor until the fire is out/contained.
    -Or worse, the complete disregard of life safety by completely neglecting the primary search all together.
    -And now the many pages of discussion, for a lack of a better term, criticizing the Brothers from FDNY on properly using a can to aid in an outstanding rescue
    Every one of these items is a vital component of an aggressive, coorindated fire attack. I think that you will find that the people who are speaking out against those tactics are in departments where the officers are booksmart, but not fireground smart. Their positions have been attained mainly by proving they were great at studying. Their actions after the are promoted, however, may show that they lack balls or courage or whatever else you want to call it.

    This is not a career/volunteer thing either. There are properly trained and commanded vol. FD's in my area that put some career FD's to shame in terms of interior operations.

    IMHO, if you are against using the above evolutions in a coordinated interior fire attack, you are a coward or you lack the proper experience and skill to conduct a proper size up. Good things happen when the fire goes out.

    I suppose there is one other possibility; the fear of being sued. The fear of being sued will earn you alot of vacant lots.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarey View Post
    You can't mistake the general direction of the fire service on behalf of the postings in the Firehouse.com forums. There are many departments that operate quite well without the need for acclaim or condemnation by forum commanders. True analysis of regression must incorporate many specifics, the least of which is whether or not faceless, nameless identities agree or disagree with how departments should operate and their internet crusade to prove each other wrong.

    William Carey
    I'm not sure what exactly you were trying to communicate.

    Do you feel the open exchange of ideas and practices is a bad thing?

    Do you feel that the problem mentioned above doesn't exist or that it is only an issue that effects a small percentage of the fire service? (that is what I'm taking from your comments) Considering that you quote the late Andrew Fredricks (RIP) I would find it odd that you would have this opinion. One of his overreaching messsages was concern over the very same problems mentioned above...the focus of training is in some places is concentrated on EEO, delivery of O2, "Diversity" training, WMDs slide show classes and the such....and not where it should be...on stretching lines, proper techniques and to a lesser degree the proper support functions of the Truck company.

    Prior to the Sofa Store fire in SC it wouldn't have been odd to see anyone claim that an 1 3/4 is sufficent for a fire in a commercial occupancy in these very forums...now although I'm sure a few Rocket Scientists could be found to argue for the same today...most would be aprehensive to do so...why?

    Because the procedures that some of us live by (nothing less than 2 1/2 for commercial occupancies) that often are dismissed by the inexpereinced and ignorant was reinforced very tragicly and graphicly in Charleston. Now while everyone is still waiting for the final conclusive reports there and the hose is only one issue of many involved...I'm sure that this fire and the resulting fall out will serve to improve the safety of firemen everywhere.

    Will some learn from their mistakes?...yes...will many ignore it and think their dept will fare better under similar circumstances? Yes...in speaking to a brother who works in a mid-sized Dept that the isolation and ignorance is still thriving and doing very well. There is no scientific approach to the job...no thought. If anyone reads the articles in FH or FE(or at least the good ones that they used to print before the likes of this Halton or AB took over) they clearly aren't understood or even acted upon in any manner.

    As a man who has worked in a few different departments and can look back and compare my experiences with each...I think one of the most critical things FDs everywhere can do is compare notes (similar to what occurs in the forums) You seem to suggest that many depts are doing just fine...from my expeierence I would say it is because too many firemen are isolated in their own world and for the most part look at the photos in FH and FE and then hit the couch...(chiefs included). It is the very lack of exchange of ideas and information that leads Depts to a false sense of security.

    It is easy to say a FD anywhere is doing well...when there is no comparision or exchange of ideas. Anyone else read and understand the message from the Secret list in regards to staffing and proficency when comparing two recent videos of portable ladders being used to execute a rescue(or attempted one)?

    It was the very comparsion that made the discussion possible and to illustrate a point that is often made but is often rejected out of hand.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 01-03-2008 at 11:57 AM.

  8. #8
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarey View Post
    You can't mistake the general direction of the fire service on behalf of the postings in the Firehouse.com forums.
    Hear Hear!

    You have to take what you hear on the interweb with a larger grain of salt than what our grandpas heard down at the barber shop. Half the stuff written on hear is B.S. written in the heat of the moment with only an instant of thought given to it. We are all guilty of it. 99% of the fire service is in just as good of shape or better than as it was 99 years ago.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

  9. #9
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    Sadly the term risk ANALysis has become a big word in the fire service today and some of it is because of the fact that everyone is either sue crazy or afraid of being sued, but also we [upper management] keep trying to reinvent the wheel with things like chief fire officer or chief fire administrator. How about just plain chief or fire chief because we are the fire department not some fortune 500 company. If we have a bad year it's not because we didn't make big profits it is because we have either injured some of our member severly or even killed one of them in something that 10 years ago would have been as routine as getting dressed. The fire service is changing so fast that we can't keep up with it because many people choose not to. I have heard we have never had to do a R.I.T. response so why do we need to train so hard on it 9/11 was a big change for us now we have WMD and NIMS but the problem with stuff like this is if we have a WMD attack most of us first responders will be dead before someone realizes what happened or with NIMS if you pick an essentials book from the 90's it gives side of building in terms as sectors either by letter or number now it's division and we are not companies we are groups which is even more confusing than before. So you have spent all this time learning about this and we have moved away from the basics like building construction or driving or even air management or mayday. We keep reading about L.O.D.D. and ask how and why but if you read the reports it's the same thing over and over again. The building didn't get vented the line didn't get led out correctly he got lost and ran out of air. This is all stuff taught in recruit school not some advanced school that just came around. If your department is not getting the training to its members than the members need to go out and get it themselves. I am all for forward progress in the fire service but some of the so called traditions are what makes the fire go out. If you don't want to go into the burning building then get out of the fire service. If you don't wnt to go above the fire without a line because it's not safe then get out of the fire service. I am not advocating we should try to kill ourselves over an abandonded building or someone that is already dead but for anyone to say something in the fire service is not safe think about this: the whole job is not safe we get killed by responding to and from calls in either accidents or medical conditions we get killed on scenes by catostrophic events or medical conditions or even worse we get exposed to so many diferent things beside B.B.P.'s that I'm sure most will end up with something at the end our their career but it was a well known fact that shaould have and probably was explained to you when you joined the fire service. That's all I'm spent

  10. #10
    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    99% of the fire service is in just as good of shape or better than as it was 99 years ago.
    I can't speak for 99% percent of the fire service. I can speak for my experience and I agree with Rum, Chicago, Mikey and Fred. I echo their sentiments and see much of what they are describing on a near daily basis.

    Assuming that most of the fire service across the country is the same, I believe your comment and logic to be wrong. Although technology and equipment has improved greatly over 99 years, the attitudes and work ethic of the firefighters and chiefs has apparently been lost.
    Robert Kramer
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

  11. #11
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarey View Post
    You can't mistake the general direction of the fire service on behalf of the postings in the Firehouse.com forums. There are many departments that operate quite well without the need for acclaim or condemnation by forum commanders. True analysis of regression must incorporate many specifics, the least of which is whether or not faceless, nameless identities agree or disagree with how departments should operate and their internet crusade to prove each other wrong.

    William Carey
    Yes, that's what I was going to say. Well put.
    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.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    I agree with most of the above post's. And I think alot of it can be contributed to one basic thing. There are way too many people making decisions who have neither the education nor the experience to be doing so.

    I'm talking about the "Chiefs" and "experts" who have very,very little experience of actually doing the job of a firefighter (which I guess isnt needed anymore to be considered an "experienced firefighter"). Apparently reading about it, or getting "certified", qualifies many to become experts. And what is worse, it isnt bad enough that they influence their own department, but they all seem to have a need to impose their ways on the rest of the country (so they can leave their mark) through the NFPA, OSHA etc....which is doing nothing more than weakening departments that did have their sh*t togather.

    To all you young guys out there......Always consider the backround,reputation and real experience of the guys who try to influence you in your career....very often, you'll find that they have little more than a few books and certifications under their belts.
    Last edited by MattyJ; 01-03-2008 at 02:05 PM.

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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Holy s**t! I think I finally agree with George. No,it's NOT getting better.You want me to what?Open the roof?It's only a furnace call,do we really need the rig?(you gonna put it out with your bare hands and a POV?).Not enough fires and too much diversity.Sensitivy training? You gotta be shi**en me.Don't do medical so we're in pretty good shape there although that MAY be changing.Oh well,won't be the first change I've been thru. T.C.

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    Fred,

    No, my opinion is that the problem of regression can't be identified only on forum discussions alone. Good conversation is how we learn from one another and share many things, such as what Andy Fredericks and others who taught and still teach, did.

    It's fine to discuss the fireground or how your department operates in comparison to mine. I share that with others equally, but I personally draw the line at trying to convince someone that they are wrong, especially in the forum setting. However, I go back to the original post; much of what is said, I believe, is correct that too much emphasis is on the catchphrase ideas and being universally progressive. I also believe that SPFD's last example about the using the water can and the discussion, cannot mean that the entire fire service is falling apart. Companies in my area and departments in and around the Capitol use the can in searches. Does that mean they need to have a PSA or endorsement from the FDNY? Does that mean that for every department that doesn't, that they should be considered "hillbillies" or less educated? No. These are just personal opinions based on education, training and experience.

    If I and some firefighter from who knows where disagree on something, then we simply choose to disagree. It doesn't mean that the national fire service is coming to an end. The only ones we (the fire service as a whole) are going to truly, continually impact are the ones riding across from us.
    Last edited by bcarey; 01-03-2008 at 02:22 PM.
    "If you put the fire out right in the first place, you won't have to jump out the window."
    Andy Fredericks,
    FDNY E.48, SQ.18
    Alexandria, VA F.D.

    Rest in Peace

  15. #15
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRUCK61 View Post
    Sadly the term risk ANALysis has become a big word in the fire service today and some of it is because of the fact that everyone is either sue crazy or afraid of being sued, but also we [upper management] keep trying to reinvent the wheel with things like chief fire officer or chief fire administrator. How about just plain chief or fire chief because we are the fire department not some fortune 500 company. If we have a bad year it's not because we didn't make big profits it is because we have either injured some of our member severly or even killed one of them in something that 10 years ago would have been as routine as getting dressed. The fire service is changing so fast that we can't keep up with it because many people choose not to. I have heard we have never had to do a R.I.T. response so why do we need to train so hard on it 9/11 was a big change for us now we have WMD and NIMS but the problem with stuff like this is if we have a WMD attack most of us first responders will be dead before someone realizes what happened or with NIMS if you pick an essentials book from the 90's it gives side of building in terms as sectors either by letter or number now it's division and we are not companies we are groups which is even more confusing than before. So you have spent all this time learning about this and we have moved away from the basics like building construction or driving or even air management or mayday. We keep reading about L.O.D.D. and ask how and why but if you read the reports it's the same thing over and over again. The building didn't get vented the line didn't get led out correctly he got lost and ran out of air. This is all stuff taught in recruit school not some advanced school that just came around. If your department is not getting the training to its members than the members need to go out and get it themselves. I am all for forward progress in the fire service but some of the so called traditions are what makes the fire go out. If you don't want to go into the burning building then get out of the fire service. If you don't wnt to go above the fire without a line because it's not safe then get out of the fire service. I am not advocating we should try to kill ourselves over an abandonded building or someone that is already dead but for anyone to say something in the fire service is not safe think about this: the whole job is not safe we get killed by responding to and from calls in either accidents or medical conditions we get killed on scenes by catostrophic events or medical conditions or even worse we get exposed to so many diferent things beside B.B.P.'s that I'm sure most will end up with something at the end our their career but it was a well known fact that shaould have and probably was explained to you when you joined the fire service. That's all I'm spent
    Wow, I would highly recommend paragraph breaks! LOL

    I don't think the terminology "risk analysis" is a bad thing, nor is the process.

    It's HOW you analyze that risk and against what form of education and experience you base your analysis that I'm concerned with.

    As we have seen a large drop in working fires (don't start citing stats, please!), but in my area, we have seen this drop.

    Recognition Primed Decision Making... another buzz term, but it's critical to how we should be training young firefighters and officers.

    Basically the theory is that if you have seen and participated in a certain scenario, when it happens again, you will know how to react better than someone who hasn't seen it. Very simple concept, but knowing that, what do we do..

    The problem is giving these new guys the experiences to help them forecast when they look at a fire or situation. One of the best ways is to just watch other fire departments fight a fire... get a video, sit down with your crew and watch...critique, forecast.

    READING SMOKE is a great training for those guys who aren't seeing a lot of fire... what does it mean when you see that dark brown smoke pushing from the eaves and out every crack of the building...

    It's up to the old guys to bring practical knowledge to balance their book smarts and lack of experience.
    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.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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    See I'm a lazy guy. I wholeheartedly admit it. My guys know it too. Thats why I'm an agressive firefighter.

    I want to get everything done as quickly as possible because I know its easier that way. I'm now an Lt at a split engine truck house and can end up riding either depending on the day of the week. Whatever rig I come on, my guys now its time to do the job quickly. Stretch the big hose and get the fire out before it get too big and too hot. Cut the hole in the roof quickly before the fire weakens the roof and my guys fall inside. Get inside and search quickly because its hard work and I'd rather search for 5 minutes for a live victim than bust my *** for 10 for a dead one. VES, we call that "get in, do your job and get out"



    I will say however that I have seen a progression towards being overly cautious within the areas command staff officers. We get frustrated often by events such as this...

    Crews get on scene of a structure fire and begin operations
    Crews begin to get in place for effective fire attack
    Battalion Chief arrives and backs everyone out
    Crews get ordered to start exterior operation
    Crews knock down a large portion of the fire from the outside while flowing serious amounts of water
    Crews get ordered to shut down exterior operations and re-enter the building
    Crews get to extinguish hot spots in a near total loss structure



    I was raised in the fire service to belive that as a company officer, its my job to put the fire out. Its the Chiefs job to make sure I have what I need to do my job. Something, sometime, has changed.

  17. #17
    Forum Member KnightnPBIArmor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Although technology and equipment has improved greatly over 99 years, the attitudes and work ethic of the firefighters and chiefs has apparently been lost.
    Actually I think it's a loss of work ethic in society in general, which spills over to the fire service. Young people today are conditioned to ask "what's in it for me?", and it's that attitude that we're up against.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattyJ View Post
    I agree with most of the above post's. And I think alot of it can be contributed to one basic thing. There are way too many people making decisions who have neither the education nor the experience to be doing so.

    I'm talking about the "Chiefs" and "experts" who have very,very little experience of actually doing the job of a firefighter (which I guess isnt needed anymore to be considered an "experienced firefighter"). Apparently reading about it, or getting "certified", qualifies many to become experts. And what is worse, it isnt bad enough that they influence their own department, but they all seem to have a need to impose their ways on the rest of the country (so they can leave their mark) through the NFPA, OSHA etc....which is doing nothing more than weakening departments that did have their sh*t togather.

    To all you young guys out there......Always consider the backround,reputation and real experience of the guys who try to influence you in your career....very often, you'll find that they have little more than a few books and certifications under their belts.
    I think this will continue to be the trend. We are having less fires, and more medicals. Training burns are the closest scenario possible. Although I completley agree with you I also feel departments are doing there best to hire the most experienced, and qualified people possible. You only have so many to choose from, and now we are having little fire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BKDRAFT View Post
    I think this will continue to be the trend. We are having less fires, and more medicals. Training burns are the closest scenario possible. Although I completley agree with you I also feel departments are doing there best to hire the most experienced, and qualified people possible. You only have so many to choose from, and now we are having little fire.
    The reason for more medical calls to a degree is the absurdity of the criteria to send an Engine Emergency while it takes in some cases a confirmed fire (by another agency ie PD) to get a fire engine on the road for an alarm.

    Much of the problem is created from within.

    My experience has shown me that most depts aren't looking to hire the most experienced or the most qualified. They use subjective exams, preferential hiring and in many cases promote "leaders" with a lack of experience who shot up the ranks or were hired from the outside to appease political groups or reward patronage.

    I know many Depts that I've worked for and friends have worked for where this is the case. I know that it isn't unique to these Depts either. Look at the nonsense some guys must endure to try to get hired in some places in the employment threads...it isn't your ability...it is your ability to kiss the right azz and know the right people.

    Merit and fitness in the fire service is a dying concept that unfortunately too many are unfamiliar of.

    FTM-PTB

  20. #20
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    The reason for more medical calls to a degree is the absurdity of the criteria to send an Engine Emergency while it takes in some cases a confirmed fire (by another agency ie PD) to get a fire engine on the road for an alarm.

    Much of the problem is created from within.

    My experience has shown me that most depts aren't looking to hire the most experienced or the most qualified. They use subjective exams, preferential hiring and in many cases promote "leaders" with a lack of experience who shot up the ranks or were hired from the outside to appease political groups or reward patronage.

    I know many Depts that I've worked for and friends have worked for where this is the case. I know that it isn't unique to these Depts either. Look at the nonsense some guys must endure to try to get hired in some places in the employment threads...it isn't your ability...it is your ability to kiss the right azz and know the right people.

    Merit and fitness in the fire service is a dying concept that unfortunately too many are unfamiliar of.

    FTM-PTB
    I see that, but I also see problems with the objective narrow tests that turn off the less academic but better leaders in our department from testing for promotions. They are aggressive guys that teach the younger guys but are scared of the test for what ever reason. It might be worth it to have multiple ways up the ladder, the military has meritorius promotions, any fire departments have the same?
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
    -Big Russ

    Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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