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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber Nilsog's Avatar
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    Default Small Maine Town: Backwards?

    Hello All!

    I've come to share some information and hopefully get some feedback on my department. I'm a fulltime firefighter, 1 of 7. It's a combi department, us full timers are Engineers, as we operate the apparatus, and we also have a call department currently consisting of an *** chief, dep chief, 3 Caps, 2 Loos and 6 or so firefighters. We have 3 Engines, an Aerial and a Tanker, full time chief, and two engineers on shift 24-7.

    Now comes the strange part.

    We also dispatch for the PD, which is housed in our station. Though we are given no formal dispatch training, we are expected to take emergency calls and dispatch the police units to them. We also operate the summit computer aided dispatch system (we do have a short class to learn the use of that system).

    These duties are normally performed at the state or county level by 'professional' dispatchers at an hourly rate of $14 or more. Our top pay is currently $12.70.

    We are not permitted to perform EMS, nor is the town licensed for such. All EMS is handled by the local hospital which currently operates the only two ambulances in a service area roughly the size of Rhode Island.

    Currently, the town manager does not feel the fire department is 'showing its value' to the citizens, as we do not ride around constantly as the public works or police department do. In fact, we have even been called 'common thieves' while in contract negotiation.

    Although we cannot show our value by dispatching or performing other in house duties, performing 10-14 business inspections a month, as well as checking all town owned extinguishers, and responding to emergencies is still not enough. We each have duties that must be reported on monthly, such as hose testing, training, reporting, inspections, etc etc etc. Still not enough.

    So I ask you, my brothers and sisters, how much should we put up with? Is putting our lives on the line not showing enough value? How can we go about pointing our department in the correct direction that will lead us away from police dispatch and towards EMS?

    I really appreciate any input you guys have.

    Thanks
    Last edited by Nilsog; 02-14-2008 at 08:42 PM.


  2. #2
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Where is your Chief in all of this? Is he one of the "Mutts" or for his men?

    It sounds like the Town "manager" wants to eliminate the paid portion of the FD. You need to do your own PR program.

    Let John and Jane Q. "Ayuh" know what you do.

    Contact the local newspaper when you have specialized training, open houses, kid's tours, etc. Get out intro the streets... it's called "district familiarization".

    Get involved with a fire safety program in the schools. The information the kids share with their parents can equate to support for the FD.

    I see you are a member of the IAFF. Get the Professional Firefighters of Maine involved.

    Nothing ventured, nothing gained, and everything to lose!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  3. #3
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    "Interim" chief still? How has/did things go w/ Dave Cobb? I'll reserve comment about him on this forum, but I used to work on the same shift with him in Augusta. He's...interesting...

    CaptainGonzo, if it's still the interim chief, he may well have limited input. Being a full-time FF at another dept. downstate, he may well have been brought in to fill more of the operational and day to day admin functions.

    I don't know a ton about the situation there, but was this part of the reason that the old chief left, and that they brought in an "interim"?
    Last edited by mtngael; 02-07-2008 at 12:42 PM.

  4. #4
    Forum Member KeithA8's Avatar
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    As soon as you finish reading this you need to call Maine's proffesional firefighters assosiation. Forget about the chief! This is a labor issue, not a management issue. Next thing I would do is get copies of area depts contracts and compare the salaries and job descriptions. $12 an hour is poverty! How the heck do you support a family on that? Does Lincoln have a volunteer ambulance? Or does the hosp transport too?
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithA8 View Post
    . $12 an hour is poverty! How the heck do you support a family on that? Does Lincoln have a volunteer ambulance? Or does the hosp transport too?
    That's the fire service in Maine. 5 years ago, I only made $11.25 an hour in Augusta (the state capitol) as a FF/Medic. At least Lincoln's cost of living is lower than other parts of the state, but it's still insanely low pay.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber Nilsog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtngael View Post
    That's the fire service in Maine. 5 years ago, I only made $11.25 an hour in Augusta (the state capitol) as a FF/Medic. At least Lincoln's cost of living is lower than other parts of the state, but it's still insanely low pay.
    Cobb was done away with while I was still in Firefighter 2- at least 2 years ago. New chief is also the Chief of Howland, a totally volly station (also where I started). He started out strong and on our side, but has constantly gone more and more down hill. I know he won't admit it, but the manager run thie department through him now... hes just a middle man.

    Thanks for the advice guys.
    Engineer, Local 3038

  7. #7
    Forum Member KeithA8's Avatar
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    Nilsog,
    That's the chiefs job! He works for the city management. That's why he's not in your union! Don't depend on him to justify your job! If he reduces costs - he's a hero to his boss!

    mtngael,
    $11.25 an hour? Are you kidding me? Move to CT! You'll at least double that in your rookie year. I couldn't be a firefighter in Maine I guess. I got hired in Portland many years ago and the reason I didn't take it was because of pay. But it wasn't that bad 10 years ago.
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nilsog View Post
    Cobb was done away with while I was still in Firefighter 2- at least 2 years ago. New chief is also the Chief of Howland, a totally volly station (also where I started). He started out strong and on our side, but has constantly gone more and more down hill. I know he won't admit it, but the manager run thie department through him now... hes just a middle man.

    Thanks for the advice guys.

    There's part of the problem. Not a career vs vol. argument here, but...someone who has managed a vol. dept., is probably going to be weak on issues dealing with career staff. It's a whole different administrative ball game. Of course that may be why they hired him rather than looking to the pool of people with career dept. experience. Not conspiracy theory, similar things have happened.

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