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    Default Fire Service: East vs. West

    Ive been told a lot of things concerning the differences in the fire service between the east and west coast. Id like to hear your opinions on the differences in pay and tactics to how you carry yourself around the fire house. My main reason for wanting to know this information is that i grew up in the mid east, im getting my fire training out west, and i plan to move back east to pursue a career with a major department. So any info is much appreciated. Thanks.

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    IN before the lock.
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    Leather forever, baby!
    Probationary Firefighter

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    Paramedic in training..

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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronYork View Post
    Ive been told a lot of things concerning the differences in the fire service between the east and west coast. Id like to hear your opinions on the differences in pay and tactics to how you carry yourself around the fire house. My main reason for wanting to know this information is that i grew up in the mid east, im getting my fire training out west, and i plan to move back east to pursue a career with a major department. So any info is much appreciated. Thanks.
    Well, for one thing, LA City are some venting Fools.



    They still have funny lids though.
    Last edited by FDAIC485; 02-21-2008 at 10:14 PM.
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    Well, this is a very, very old writing and bound to **** a few off. I did NOT write it, but found it interesting....



    "The West coast fire service has better codes thus killing less
    Civilians and Firefighters. The ratios of difference
    are as high as 8 and 12 to 1 deaths between some West
    and Eastern states. You get what you invest in- ie-
    required sprinklers, detectors, adopting of model
    codes, hydrant spacing and flows, prevention and
    enforcement of same, etc. It is not just due to old
    buildings, look around almost any Eastern city little to no
    hydrants in the rural areas with thousands of people. Along little to no
    codes whatsoever...Anything goes. Out West, the states
    requires whatever the city or county won't in many
    cases. San Clemente, CA was the first city in the nation to make residential fire sprinkler mandatory in new home construction. This move is now paying off.

    East vs. West Coast ISO ratings are really an issue
    of doing what is best for the public. Having a Class 5
    or lager number, simply indicates you are offering poor fire
    protection. Seeing as how the measure is water 40%,
    fire apparatus 22% and trained people 24% of the
    agency evaluation. Everything else is an excuse. You will pay less
    for a good grading for insurance and your fire losses
    are in fact less! West has the best city and rural
    water supply scores and does it with less
    firefighters, greater spacing, and more innovation
    apparently.

    Almost everyone on the East coast wants to be FDNY.
    From look of their apparatus, black turnouts, lack of ICS, etc. The FDNY
    worship is clear from the rush to have leather helmets to the "bite blocks" in their Scott SCBA face mounted regulators so they donít have to wear the face mask to breathe a quick breath of air.

    Tradition the badge of honor of the east coast. Not a West coast thing. Most West FD's don't have a President, bingo, meeting hall, etc. The West is there to offer service, period.
    When it comes to Line of Duty Deaths (LODD), the East often hides the event to bring honor to the dead versus an open debate and report on the West to keep whatever from happening again.

    East coast rarely follows their own personal safety
    rules or enforces them at all levels. (See any
    trade magazine photo for proof) Versus the West- safety is first
    and write-ups will happen if you don't want to follow the
    safety rules. You know, things like cheaters on the breathing
    apparatus, taking the liners out of the coats, free
    lancing on the fire ground, no accountability on the
    fire ground, pull up boots forever, wearing the SCBA
    but never buckling the waist belt, standing in the
    rescues, jump seats, etc. Look at LA City with 14 years
    between Firefighter deaths for any cause, then it was
    a helicopter falling out of the sky. Or Clark County, NV
    with 1.5 million people, 28 years between Firefighter
    deaths.

    West coasters consistently follow ICS like a battle plan. It is common to see them work together over a large region, up to 2-3 weeks. Some East coasters rather not choose to use
    this or any system.
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 02-21-2008 at 11:58 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    Well, this is a very, very old writing and bound to **** a few off. I dod NOT write it, but found it interesting....



    "The West coast fire service has better codes thus killing less
    Civilians and Firefighters. The ratios of difference
    are as high as 8 and 12 to 1 deaths between some West
    and Eastern states. You get what you invest in- ie-
    required sprinklers, detectors, adopting of model
    codes, hydrant spacing and flows, prevention and
    enforcement of same, etc. It is not just due to old
    buildings, look around almost any Eastern city little to no
    hydrants in the rural areas with thousands of people. Along little to no
    codes whatsoever...Anything goes. Out West, the states
    requires whatever the city or county won't in many
    cases. San Clemente, CA was the first city in the nation to make residential fire sprinkler mandatory in new home construction. This move is now paying off.

    East vs. West Coast ISO ratings are really an issue
    of doing what is best for the public. Having a Class 5
    or lager number, simply indicates you are offering poor fire
    protection. Seeing as how the measure is water 40%,
    fire apparatus 22% and trained people 24% of the
    agency evaluation. Everything else is an excuse. You will pay less
    for a good grading for insurance and your fire losses
    are in fact less! West has the best city and rural
    water supply scores and does it with less
    firefighters, greater spacing, and more innovation
    apparently.

    Almost everyone on the East coast wants to be FDNY.
    From look of their apparatus, black turnouts, lack of ICS, etc. The FDNY
    worship is clear from the rush to have leather helmets to the "bite blocks" in their Scott SCBA face mounted regulators so they donít have to wear the face mask to breathe a quick breath of air.

    Tradition the badge of honor of the east coast. Not a West coast thing. Most West FD's don't have a President, bingo, meeting hall, etc. The West is there to offer service, period.
    When it comes to Line of Duty Deaths (LODD), the East often hides the event to bring honor to the dead versus an open debate and report on the West to keep whatever from happening again.

    East coast rarely follows their own personal safety
    rules or enforces them at all levels. (See any
    trade magazine photo for proof) Versus the West- safety is first
    and write-ups will happen if you don't want to follow the
    safety rules. You know, things like cheaters on the breathing
    apparatus, taking the liners out of the coats, free
    lancing on the fire ground, no accountability on the
    fire ground, pull up boots forever, wearing the SCBA
    but never buckling the waist belt, standing in the
    rescues, jump seats, etc. Look at LA City with 14 years
    between Firefighter deaths for any cause, then it was
    a helicopter falling out of the sky. Or Clark County, NV
    with 1.5 million people, 28 years between Firefighter
    deaths.

    West coasters consistently follow ICS like a battle plan. It is common to see them work together over a large region, up to 2-3 weeks. Some East coasters rather not choose to use
    this or any system.
    If you ever wanted to see the definition of ignorance and Bull sh*t look no futher than the utter stupidity written above.

    I've previously worked in other departments outside the east coast and one of them had a what I would call a significant amount of influence from the West Coast as well as some from the midwest and a little from the East.(as most depts do even if they don't know it or refuse to admit it.) The coward and dope who wrote this and the backstabbing rat who posted it don't know the first thing about the difference between East and West and most certainly don't speak from expereince working in any system other than the one they are currently familiar with.

    FTM-PTB

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    Ok, I just wanted to see who would vent first. Less than 5 minutes. PLease feel free to pick it apart and say whats what.

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    what about the fire service in the south?



    That article made me laugh and not much does.

    Bou blasts FDNY worshippers but he is nothing more than a LAFD junkie with a hard on. Pot calling kettle black.

    Besides, if anything, east coast people worship Boston, not FDNY
    The Box. You opened it. We Came...

    "You'll take my life but I'll take your's too. You'll fire musket but I'll run you through. So when your waiting for the next attack, you'll better understand there's no turn back."

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    I work on the west coast, have for 32 years now. My son now works on the east coast in a major city (largest in U.S.) We talk daily as he is in the academy.

    Over the years I have visited the east coast and have always found an open door, and the guys going out of their way to welcome you. A long tradition of pride in their organization, rich in history.

    California is faced with a growing population, and is prone to disasterous earthquakes and fires, but still is a great state. I have worked in both types of disasters during my career. The cost of living is greater statewide than most states. The pay and benefits are good, and the working conditions are, in most cases great, as many state laws and workers rights have been secured.

    I think we all have a lot of pride where we work, and when it comes down to it, we are all the same....the difference is the weather.....ours is the best.....at least in my little world.

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    I have to laugh because BOU's description of the East closely resembles his criticisms of San Francisco (see the recent SFFD thread). All I can speak for is the SFFD and it has been said that this department is as close as you can get to the FDNY or Boston as you can get.

    In regards to the original post, I don't think it really matters too much where you are trained geographically. Most departments, especially those in large cities, will put you though another academy to get the old stuff out of you and make you learn things thier way. There may be some attitude differences, but in the end you still have to put water on the fire.

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    I agree with what localtrainer said. They are both better in their own way. It's a bit tough to compare the two because they are so different. Maybe you could compare LAFD, SFFD, or Oakland with FDNY, Boston, or Baltimore, but besides the big cities, it would be too hard. Then the fires are different as well. There are wild fires and earthquakes on the West Coast. Then the East Coast has more urbanized structures.

    Not sure if what I said makes much sense(I'm very tired and about to leave for a drive from Milwaukee to St Louis for a PAT in the morning), but they are just very different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    Well, this is a very, very old writing and bound to **** a few off. I did NOT write it, but found it interesting....

    "The West coast fire service has better codes thus killing less
    Civilians and Firefighters. The ratios of difference
    are as high as 8 and 12 to 1 deaths between some West
    and Eastern states. You get what you invest in- ie-
    required sprinklers, detectors, adopting of model
    codes, hydrant spacing and flows, prevention and
    enforcement of same, etc. It is not just due to old
    buildings, look around almost any Eastern city little to no
    hydrants in the rural areas with thousands of people. Along little to no
    codes whatsoever...Anything goes. Out West, the states
    requires whatever the city or county won't in many
    cases. San Clemente, CA was the first city in the nation to make residential fire sprinkler mandatory in new home construction. This move is now paying off.
    Considering that most of your cities didn't exist or fully develop until after WWII kind of gives one side a slight advantage in the metric you are using....on the other hand we could compare the efficency at how many persons we protect with a single company as compared to you.

    On the other hand...what codes on the east Coast allow one to build 10,000 of homes in the middle of a tinderbox that are also prone to mudslides...please point those codes out...or perhaps the codes that allowed errant slag from a welders torch to consume the upper exterior floors of a high-rise building in Las Vegas?

    East vs. West Coast ISO ratings are really an issue
    of doing what is best for the public. Having a Class 5
    or lager number, simply indicates you are offering poor fire
    protection. Seeing as how the measure is water 40%,
    fire apparatus 22% and trained people 24% of the
    agency evaluation. Everything else is an excuse. You will pay less
    for a good grading for insurance and your fire losses
    are in fact less! West has the best city and rural
    water supply scores and does it with less
    firefighters, greater spacing, and more innovation
    apparently.
    That is why every year we see 1000s of homes destroyed by fire throughout California?

    Almost everyone on the East coast wants to be FDNY.
    From look of their apparatus, black turnouts, lack of ICS, etc. The FDNY
    worship is clear from the rush to have leather helmets to the "bite blocks" in their Scott SCBA face mounted regulators so they donít have to wear the face mask to breathe a quick breath of air.
    That I can assure you isn't the case, I know a number of Depts that actively will do exactly the opposite of us even if what we do makes the most sense for even those depts that despise us. As for lack of ICS? Lets not start the discussion of what do we call Engine Co. 47 again. Who used bite bars anymore...I haven't seen one in years! What year was this written? 1979?

    Tradition the badge of honor of the east coast. Not a West coast thing. Most West FD's don't have a President, bingo, meeting hall, etc. The West is there to offer service, period.
    Care to explain what one has to do with the other? Do you really want to compare the level of service provided by the West Coast vs. the East Coast? My dept doesn't have a president, bingo or meetinghall either...but that is how their financing is set up...care to offer an alternative?

    When it comes to Line of Duty Deaths (LODD), the East often hides the event to bring honor to the dead versus an open debate and report on the West to keep whatever from happening again.
    A. Cite your examples...I will cite two for your consideration...
    -Bret Tarver
    -Ricky Pearce (question: where was AB when this occured?)

    You want an open debate on the tactics and operations that killed these two men?

    Ever seen one of our LODD investigation reports? Do you have a full time Safety Battalion with support staff?

    East coast rarely follows their own personal safety
    rules or enforces them at all levels. (See any
    trade magazine photo for proof) Versus the West- safety is first
    and write-ups will happen if you don't want to follow the
    safety rules.
    Which rules...the ones written by inexpereinced and poorly disiplined Chiefs and depts that don't know the first thing about fire duty (perhaps they are better suited at nursing issues outside a hospital setting)

    You know, things like cheaters on the breathing
    apparatus,
    What year is this again?
    taking the liners out of the coats,
    That is something I've always seen attributed to west coast FDs.

    free lancing on the fire ground,
    Just because the writer is ignorant of how East Coast proceedures work doesn't neceesarily translate into "freelancing". We don't need a chief to hold our hand at a fire. If you do...shame on your chief and shame on you.
    You are supposedly a professional....perform like one for godsake!

    no accountability on the fire ground
    ,Once again ignorance...care to compare the precision of our accountablity down to a man and location within any given building and yours which changes fire to fire, chief to chief and mintue to minute.

    pull up boots forever,
    Perhaps this also comes from more inexpereince, interesting recomendation came from one of our latest LODD reports. The Dept should look into the impact caused by the new gear on the roofman's position and duties.

    wearing the SCBA but never buckling the waist belt
    ,
    Perhaps if you ladies had been to a fire you'd understand why we do that.

    standing in the rescues,
    Ever rode a city bus?

    jump seats, etc. Look at LA City with 14 years
    between Firefighter deaths for any cause, then it was
    a helicopter falling out of the sky. Or Clark County, NV
    with 1.5 million people, 28 years between Firefighter
    deaths.
    Do you really want to temp fate with that statement? Count your blessings...or perhaps derilicition of duty has become an accepted practice where these persons work...who knows...needless to say it is nothing short of a disgrace for you to insult the memory of the men who have died in the line of duty from any Dept.

    What is your save to death ratio for civilians...I don't think we'd want to compare that "service" metric.

    West coasters consistently follow ICS like a battle plan. It is common to see them work together over a large region, up to 2-3 weeks. Some East coasters rather not choose to use
    this or any system.
    Ignorance again...any questions refer back to any discussion regarding ICS and its many issues. While it may have worked out for what it was intended to do...bring some order and disipline to a bunch of unorganized and inexpereinced FDs out west for large week long grass fires...it has severe limitations that as of yet haven't been addressed.

    FTM-PTB
    Last edited by FFFRED; 02-22-2008 at 12:55 AM.

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    So long as there is a fire service, there will always be a debate.

    Paid vs. Volunteer
    Truck vs. Engine
    Old Timers vs. Newbies
    East vs. West
    Leather helmets vs. New Style
    Fire vs. EMS
    American LeFrance vs. Pierce
    FDNY vs. Everyone else

    I understand that debate and conversation is the reason that these message boards exist and that a lot of good information and tactics may be shared on them.

    As a 24 year old (yes, Im a newbie) paid firefighter in Iowa that has spent his whole life dedicated to the fire service and getting a full-time job doing just that, I feel uneasy seeing brother firefighters argue over such miniscule topics listed above.

    The way I fullfill my duty as a firefighter is simply this:
    I have spent 2 years as a paid firefighter, 6 years before that as a volunteer and roughly 20 years absorbing everything I could about firefighting. When I am sworn in as a firefighter, either paid or volunteer, it is my duty to save lives and protect property.

    On top of that, I must follow SOP/SOG, learn something new everyday, keep my mouth shut and MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, respect and learn from my elders. The fire service is not a job nor even a career. It is a special brotherhood that I have been (very) fortunate to enter into early and best of all, I get paid for it which means I am required to perform to the best of my abilities. It has become second-nature to listen to the old "smoke eaters", learn from them and keep the tradition of American Firefighting going.

    I visit this forum as a way to entertain myself, to visit with fellow firefighters and learn how they perform the various tasks that are reguired on the fireground. But other than this one post, I find it funny and yet discouraging that we spend so much time debating and arguing over non-important topics that I frequently see.

    After reading the many posts here on Firehouse.com, I guess I just wanted to add my two-cents and let everyone know that there is still someone around that is not a cocky newbie, not some old salt that "don't need no airpack 'cause I can eat smoke", and not a guy that became tired of his 9-5 job and wanted good benifits. Im just a regular guy who grew up around the fire service and will work my ***** off to become the best firefighter I can be.

    I hope everyone stays safe out there.

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    wearing the SCBA
    but never buckling the waist b
    elt,

    Quote Originally Posted by FFFRED View Post
    Perhaps if you ladies had been to a fire you'd understand why we do that.
    Always wondered, is there a valid reason for not wearing the waist strap?
    Other than being in a hurry, what's the thinking there?

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    I'm staying out of this one since I've never worked on the East coast.

    My only experience with East coast FF is that to a man they could all drink me under the table.

    And that's not a bad thing.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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    First off thanks to everyone who replied to this post and sorry to those it may have offended. As far as arguments go there is positive and negative arguments. I think this is a positive argument because peoples perceptions about the differences in the fire service are being shared and defended which is expected and in my eyes appropiate. I dont see this topic miniscule at all for the simple fact that the differences in the fire service can only lead to advancements in the fire service through adoptions of techniqes, tactics etc.

    Second thank you for that article. Its obviously from someone very biased and i dont fully agree with it but its a perception that i respect. (not the perception of the poster the person who wrote the article)

    Third i still havent heard how you guys act in the fire house. Im in Oregon and the way you carry yourself is very "by the book". Im not saying we dont clown around in private company but things seem a little more strict out here than some of the stations i have been to in Ohio. Does this difference reflect the east, mid west and west coast as a whole?

    Fourth and most important to me is the reason i posted this topic. Im a city boy at heart (born in Illinois, raised in Ohio) and i have, if not a hate, a strong dislike for the west coast, no offense to anyone. But im out here and this is where im getting my training. But i plan to end up back east. So what im getting at is will my transition from a west coast background in the fire service to an east coast way of doing things benefit or hurt me? Either way i plan to end up back east because i dont see myself out west 10 years from now. Thanks for your posts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronYork View Post
    Third i still havent heard how you guys act in the fire house. Im in Oregon and the way you carry yourself is very "by the book". Im not saying we dont clown around in private company but things seem a little more strict out here than some of the stations i have been to in Ohio. Does this difference reflect the east, mid west and west coast as a whole?
    I think once you cross east over the Mississippi you will notice a steep decline in the pimp factor. By the book? Come on. What book?
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Quote Originally Posted by CRFDrookie View Post
    I feel uneasy seeing brother firefighters argue over such miniscule topics listed above.
    Be careful of who you saddle me with as a "brother"...
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Quote Originally Posted by AaronYork View Post

    Third i still havent heard how you guys act in the fire house. Im in Oregon and the way you carry yourself is very "by the book".
    Oregon?, that explains it, thats where we go to retire...they still pump your gas there.....dont have to get out of the car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localtrainer75 View Post
    Oregon?, that explains it, thats where we go to retire...they still pump your gas there.....dont have to get out of the car.

    Ha! Same in NJ. I feel like a king everytime I pull in to get gas. Still almost cheaper then anywhere eles though!
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    Thumbs up Hey Aaron...........

    Here's a Tip - Whatever Training you get, be sure that you get Certification from the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications, or as we call it, "Pro Board". In most places in the East, arriving with Pro Board Certs will help you somewhat.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    Here's a Tip - Whatever Training you get, be sure that you get Certification from the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications, or as we call it, "Pro Board". In most places in the East, arriving with Pro Board Certs will help you somewhat.
    To work at Harve's outfit, you also need a CDL with "BUS" endorsement.
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    [QUOTE=CALFFBOU;923043]Well, this is a very, very old writing and bound to **** a few off. I did NOT write it, but found it interesting....



    CALFFBOU,

    I am stretching my memory banks here a little but I believe that diatribe was written by Larry Stevens. If my memory is correct then it should be shredded for the garbage it is.

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    [QUOTE=RE33FFX;923151]
    Quote Originally Posted by CALFFBOU View Post
    Well, this is a very, very old writing and bound to **** a few off. I did NOT write it, but found it interesting....



    CALFFBOU,

    I am stretching my memory banks here a little but I believe that diatribe was written by Larry Stevens. If my memory is correct then it should be shredded for the garbage it is.

    Why does that make perfect sense?

    LHS* oh the memories...
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    Be careful of who you saddle me with as a "brother"...
    I couldn't agree more.


    The fire service out west is more diverse in regards to the job. The west coast considers EMS. as part of the job. In speaking with some of the guys from the east, they are very resistant to this change in their job description.
    Other than florida, I would say the west probably has the lock on vegetation/ wildfires.
    How many east coast departments actually do fire prevention inspections at the company level??? On the west coast this is very prevalent.How about pre-fire planning at the company level??
    West coast typically wears yellow turnouts with a few exceptions. East coast prefers leather helmets and has alot more tradition than most west coast department, not to say we don't honor tradition but we are a little less resistant to change that might threaten the traditions.

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    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 08-24-2004, 09:24 AM
  5. east meets west
    By dz in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-22-2002, 04:54 PM

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