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  • #16
    I would say if you wanted to use the fire (Officer) tetrahedron you could say personality would be the forth side, but like chemistry that is more difficulty to control and in many cases it is easier to just not mess with it.

    Gonzo... I mean Deputy Chief Gonzo , how about making us an image using those tags. I would do it but my creativity sucks.

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
      Posted by dmeblanc


      Chief.. This wasn't meant to slight you at all.

      If I recall correctly.. you do have the experience working as a fire officer at a refinery.

      There are some elected chiefs that do have to meet criteria to be considered.. then there are some that only get it because they throw the best parties and buy the "beverages"....
      I didn't take it as a slight at all, Gonz, no offense taken....I understand what you were getting at. Just relating my situation. Yes, I do have some certs and training from my paid job that make me somewhat qualified. But it's an elected position nonetheless.

      Our local government officials take absolutely no active role in what the fire departments do, other than paying us to do it. They have no clue what it takes to run a fire department, nor do they want to. They wouldn't know what qualifications one should have to be chief of one of these departments, they only know that they pay us and when someone calls for help we show up and the public never complains to them about the service we're providing, so they're satisfied In our area, it's not unlike hiring a contractor to do a job that you lack the knowledge, equipment, or interest to do yourself. So basically, we are completely self regulated and run things as we see fit, including electing the chief (other officers are appointed, not elected).

      I believe that in our area, for the most part, most departments do elect the most qualified person for chief. I also know that in the early part of my tenure I was opposed a couple of times by the "everybody's buddy" candidate (backed by that silent minority who never seem to come around much but didn't like all this "paid fireman" stuff I was trying to implement...you know, stuff like minimum standards, attending training, wearing PPE, that stuff).

      But I suppose we're getting off the topic here.....
      Last edited by dmleblanc; 07-27-2010, 08:20 AM.
      Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
      Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
      Paincourtville, LA

      "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
      — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

      Comment


      • #18
        Oh, by the way, didn't mean to call you Capt. Gonzo...I guess I didn't notice you had changed your username . As Maxwell Smart used to say, "Sorry about that, Chief....
        Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
        Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
        Paincourtville, LA

        "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
        — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

        Comment


        • #19
          I agree with what that Lt. from a big city in New York said: "A culture of extinguishment will bring about safety."

          Let me ask this though: I see a lot of disparaging remarks here and in other places about officers with a lot of training and certifications but little experience. While this may apply to an urban department that goes to a lot of fires, what about the small rural & suburban departments that only go to one or two fires a year at most? Should only their 20 or 30 year members be officers? What if those members have in essence repeated their first year 20 or 30 times?

          Is training an adequate substitute when the opportunities for experience just aren't there?
          "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor." - Vince Lombardi

          Comment


          • #20
            During a recent mutual-aid call (we assisted), we arrived only to find the first due department on defense. When my officer advised me by phone of the situation, I recalled them. Why do I need to assist a defensive situation when there was no intent to do anything but watch it burn? The opinion of my officer was if command was inclined, they could have saved at least 50-60% of the structure, you know those personal items in the bedrooms and closets that none of us can replace. But no, it was not to be. Too bad that we chose to forget our past and purpose at times. The young chief of that department will not last... he lost his heart somewhere along the way

            And to me, here lies the issue.

            I have absolutely no problem with a department going defensive initially on any fire if they feel, for whatever reason, it's beyond thier capabilities. Those reasons may be manpower, training, experience, water4 supply or whatever else, but I would rather see them lose a building, or yes, even the life of a civilian, rather than one of us.

            For any other firefighter to comment " they should have....." is completely wrong and totally out of line. It's that department and that officer that is responsible for the lives of his/her personnel, and any decision they make regarding offensive/defensive is likely based on facts or information about their department or members that we have no access to.

            There are fires that my full-time combo department would go offensive on in a heartbeat that my volunteer department would never make entry on. Why? Because the members of my combo department see much more fire and have much more experience (though compared to the same department 15 years ago, it's much less due to fewer fires) and are much better trained, due in part of the department's ability to send them to more outside classes.

            Does that mean my VFD is much less of a fire department because we make fewer entries? No, though listening to some of the posters here you would beleive that is the case.

            The fact is we have an obligation to equip ourselves tgo the best of our financial abilities, train, and keep the apparatus and tools ready. We have an obligation to respond in a timely fashion. But we do not, and never will, have the obligation to go offensive, in any case, including rescues, if we do not have the resources, experience and training to support that offensive operation.

            And there are thousands of departments that are in that boat, through no fault of their own.

            It's simply not our place to tell them what they should or should not do.

            Often the best fire service leaders are the ones that say "no", and understand that the needs of the members come ahead of the needs of the public.
            Last edited by LaFireEducator; 07-27-2010, 08:32 AM.
            Train to fight the fires you fight.

            Comment


            • #21
              @LA: If what I posted sounds like critism, it was.

              Was my officer out of line for stating his opinion to me, and only me? No he was not.

              I agree with the earlier post that some departments do not fight enough fires to gain the valuable experience that an officer really needs. That is not their fault, and should not be the only determination on whether a person is qualified to be an officer or Chief. It is a bit more complex than that. It takes some other things like a calm nature, maturity, respect for his people, and common sense. We all have seen young officers who lacked all of this. But we have also seen young officers that nailed all of these.

              There isn't a thing wrong with training, certificates or even a degree in Fire Science. But that is just acknowledgment that you passed a class or test. It is not a measure of what you really know based upon experience. I can teach everything anyone wants to know about Fire Science... but it does not mean that they will understand the difference between a roll-over and a backdraft when they are looking at it. I have had guys look at a freeburn and think they were close to a backdraft. I have had officers who wanted to vent a roof when we were already inside. The only thing that will provide guidance during the event is experience, acquired through both application and the textbook. "We can predict this because we see this."

              The incident that I referred to was a full time department that was currently engaged in three calls at once. They could only commit an Engine and Brush truck with about 10 people. The scene commander was a young LT that had never commanded a structure fire. That wasn't his fault. What was his fault was making the decision in the beginning to just hold the ground without effort. That doesn't set well with many of us.

              My officer was a Captain with 20 years experience. Within our MOUs, the first due is Command. My officers instructions were to provide whatever assistance possible as along as they need it. But they did not need us to help them burn it down. That is why my crew was recalled. Of course I received a call from their Assistant Chief who expressed concern about my recall order. Once we discussed the issue, he felt that it was proper. Why should I commit an Engine Company that will do nothing but sit and wait? The LT had lines deployed but had no intention to extinguish the fire; only protect additional exposures.

              You put a different Commander at that scene, it might have been much different. Their people had equal capabilities to ours. But if you do not recognize what you are looking at, how to utilize your resources, or know what to do... you play it safe. Perhaps it is a gut call, or perhaps some of us just see it in a different light. But do you really do your department or community justice if you boldly proclaim, "we do not save property"?

              I didn't join the Fire Service because it was glamorous, or cool. I sure didn't do it for the money (less than $6000/year in 1972). It was one of the things you did in my small hometown. Many of the guys did it out of a sense of necessity, or urgency. I guess those are as good of reasons as any. I didn't get my first Fire Shirt until the second year, so I didn't do it for the shirt.

              I saw my first casualty fire when I had been on the department for a month. I nearly quit over the sick feeling of failure that I had. We lost 4 little kids in a two story. When the Chief asked for volunteers to try to find their remains, he shamed us when not one single guy stepped forward. I had no desire to search for a burned body... We went as a team, as it should be. But this was not about me, and it took the burden of guilt to understand that. We shared that bond then, and now. It defined many of us and some of us decided to pursue much more than what our little town could provide, and bring it back. So when I see guys go defense in the beginning, I wonder if they have really been baptized, or if it is fear of risking anything. I know when I can't turn the tide... but it does not mean I quit before I try.

              But as this topic started with a concern about how much we should risk, I will close it with this. If we decide we won't risk anything, why are we claiming to be fire "fighters"? Wouldn't that make us more of a fire "sitter"?
              HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

              Comment


              • #22
                Palad ...

                I fully agree with most of what you say. Certifications do not equal the ability to command or make the right decisions. In some cases, experience does not equal the ability to make those decsions either, as bad experience can be as detremental as no experience. In many cases, it takes the combination of education, sometimes formal through academies and certifications or informal through daily or weekly (in the case of volunteer departments) training and experience to make the right decisions.

                In the case of many rural departments, they often lack the access to both formal training (either because of distance, finances or lack of statewide training), and because of a lack of experience, often experience shortcomings in thier informal, or department level training as well.

                Right or wrong, this is simply often the case and there is often little they can do to change the situation.

                Unfortunatly, this dictates there tactics at structural incidents, which are often limited to offensive operations only at situations where very minimal fire is present on arrival or all-defensive operations.

                But as this topic started with a concern about how much we should risk, I will close it with this. If we decide we won't risk anything, why are we claiming to be fire "fighters"? Wouldn't that make us more of a fire "sitter"?

                Again, I state there is nothing wrong with that.

                If a department or officer has any doubts about his department's ability to fight the fire, the resources on hand or his ability to command an offensive attack, I have never and will never take issue with that department or IC.

                The simple fact is we have no obligation to go offensive, even in rescue situations. The first obligation of a department or officer is to see that his personnel return to the firehouse healthy, with no stops in the ER. If attempting a rescue or extinguishing a fire threatens that in any way because of training, experience, manpower, resources or even leadership, the department or officer has not only the obligation, but also the responsibility to put his men first. If that means responding and attacking the fire in a defensive mode the majority (or all) of the time, even on what some may consider a minor fire or managable fire which could be extinguished with a offensive attack, so be it, and it's simply not something that any other member of the fire service has a right to question.

                I feel very strongly about this. Not only I have seen questioning when it comes to the use of defensive tactics as a baseline form of fire attack by some departments on these forums, but I have also seen it on the streets. IMO, it has no place in the fire service. Each department is soley responsible for the health of thier personnel, and it is thier right to determine at what level of risk they choose to expose them to.

                If the department and/or department leadership chooses to expose thier personnel to minimal risk by generally (or always) attacking fires in a defensive mode, they are still a fire department, staffed by firefighters, in every sense of the word.
                Train to fight the fires you fight.

                Comment


                • #23
                  You are my hero! Come be my Chief.
                  But the way i look at this your a fireFIGHTER and not firewatcher. Grow a par of balls go in put the fire out and go home.
                  Basically, Its all about breaking glass and kickin' ***

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
                    As a Chief officer and shift commander, it is my duty to make sure that my personnel go home at the end of their duty tour.

                    We have far too many career fire officers that fall into the "booksmart, certifications up the wazoo" category that have little or no experience in actual fireground operations... They can tell you in theory what should happen... but there is a vast difference between theory and reality.. and that gets firefighters killed and injured.

                    We have far too many paid on call and volunteer FD's that "elect" officers based on popularity instead of actual credentials and experience... and that gets firefighters killed and injured.

                    We keep getting mandates that we cannot possibly afford, train for or keep up with while ignoring training on our bread and butter operations.

                    We also have to deal with the politicians.. who have no qualms about cutting FD operational budgets to keep their pet projects funded and are swayed by the internet idiots who hate the FD out of ignorance or jealousy.

                    Ray McCormack stated that the best way to keep our people safe is to go in and put the fire out... I agree with Ray.
                    You are my hero. Come be my chief.
                    But the way I look at it. You are a fireFIGHTER not a firewatcher. Grow a pair of balls and go in put the fire out and go home.
                    Basically, Its all about breaking glass and kickin' ***

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      LA

                      I don't mean to pick over a bone, but you and I both know that attacking from defense is just for show, and tactically does not do anything but prolong the amount of time you will keep your people on the line; what I call "prolonging the agony".

                      In all my years, I have either attacked from offense or maintain from defense. There is nothing in between. Spraying water through windows, into roofs with towers, anything short of a direct attack, is not going to be solve the issue.

                      So the choice seems clear. If you're bent on defending the ground, get it over quicker and don't attack from defense. If you want to put out the fire, you must conduct an offense operation effectively.

                      I have seen many ineffective attacks due to poor water supply, shortage of manpower, etc. But the sooner we attack the thing, the sooner we get to go home.

                      Having said that... I WILL question the call of other ICs because I really want to understand what makes them tick. It isn't my mission to decide if they are correct, or made the right decision. Unfortunately, not all commanders are equal in their abilities and many do not trust the resources thay are given... and many times they do not trust themselves. We can play arm chair commander all day long and have differing opinions.... isn't that why we debrief and study what we can do better the next time?

                      Let me share this... This current atmosphere in this world dictates we must hold someone accountable for something. I know of a department that is having to defend in Court the decision to go Defense on Arrival. It is the opinion of the homeowners that the department didn't try hard enough to save his house. I wasn't there but I know people who were. The IC is on record stating he felt no need to commit resources when there was no life safety issue. If they lose this, I wonder if it will change how they do business?

                      When we profess to Protect Life and Preserve Property (and don't forget the Environment), how can we protect property if we are on defense?

                      For some reason I cannot make that compute.

                      I can debate this all day, but the fact is we are all going to have a different opinion of what we are and how we should do the job. So we will just have to agree to disagree.
                      HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Gonzo and Palad -

                        Well said.

                        Acklan -

                        Also a very good point.

                        I see the younger guys not wanting to take advice from the older guys because they don't have all the papers that say's that they are a firefighter. All the certs and degrees does not make one a firefighter. As many have said it takes experience to become a good firefighter and a good officer.

                        Even if we know everyone is out of structure we will go offensive as long as the conditions allow. Part of our job is to protect property. Yes a house can be rebuilt and often a house is dozed in and a new house is built, but when we put the fire out it allows the owner to retrieve personal property. To me that is what is important.

                        A personal note. I could care less about the house I live in, but I do care about the quilt that my great great grandmother made, the gun case I built in high school, the shotgun that my great grandfather had, and a very long list of things that cannot be replaced. I would be an unhappy camper to watch the fire department not try and save my house because everyone is out and there is fire venting out one window and two rooms are on fire. Every person in this world has things that cannot be replaced that is why I feel very strongly about trying to save someone house. I didn't join the fire service to stand in the yard and watch someone's home burn to the ground because it is easier to do than to train, to think, and to work. I see too many buildings burnt to the ground because of the 'risk involved' that is bull ****. If your do scared to do the job you signed up for then it’s time to let someone else to it.

                        One last thing. The above is how I feel it does not reflect my department. I work for a department that will not let us enter a building that they feel is un-safe, but we fight most of our fires on our hands and knees inside trying to save someone’s property.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by rm1524 View Post
                          One last thing. The above is how I feel it does not reflect my department. I work for a department that will not let us enter a building that they feel is un-safe, but we fight most of our fires on our hands and knees inside trying to save someone’s property.
                          The world of building construction is changing.

                          My 1840's built house was assembled using unplaned 2x's and planks in the walls and some of the joists in the basement are round - it'll be a while before it collapses if it burns.

                          A house built today is assembled with trusses glued together from 2x2's and "I" beams made from 3/8" particle board and 2x2's. Time to collapse may not be much more than normal response time.

                          Grandma's quilt may be a valued family heirloom, but so are my grandchildren. I intend to be around tomorrow to see them.
                          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by tree68 View Post
                            The world of building construction is changing.

                            My 1840's built house was assembled using unplaned 2x's and planks in the walls and some of the joists in the basement are round - it'll be a while before it collapses if it burns.

                            A house built today is assembled with trusses glued together from 2x2's and "I" beams made from 3/8" particle board and 2x2's. Time to collapse may not be much more than normal response time.

                            Grandma's quilt may be a valued family heirloom, but so are my grandchildren. I intend to be around tomorrow to see them.
                            I guess I wasn't clearn enough. We don't enter unless command feels it is safe. Followed by we will get pulled out if command feels it is becoming unsafe or we tell command that it is becoming unsafe. Such as roof sag, floor sag, smoke getting worse and ect. Yes I am well versed in building construction.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              I can debate this all day, but the fact is we are all going to have a different opinion of what we are and how we should do the job. So we will just have to agree to disagree.

                              On that we can agree.

                              We are all shaped by our background. In my years, I have been on or ran mutual aid and worked with some departments that had little in the way of resources, funding, manpower (often due to community size), training and experience, often due to a lack of working fires. I have seen these departments due what they can without the resources and training options and opportunities that most of take for granted, and yes, for the most part, they have operated on the defensive because they had to.

                              Sonme departments have little choice.
                              Train to fight the fires you fight.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                If your do scared to do the job you signed up for then it’s time to let someone else to it.

                                Bottom line, if you're not scared, I'm worried.

                                This job has nothing to do with overcoming fear or proving to the other guys that your are not too scared to do the job.

                                This job is about sizing up the situation, your resources, and your and your crew's capabilities based on your training and experience, and then taking the appropriatte risks given the benefits v. those risks.

                                You call it bull****.

                                I call it keeping the boys unhurt and alive.

                                That is the responsibility of the company officer, on the company level and the command officer. They are the ones that are going to have to answer if something goes south.
                                Train to fight the fires you fight.

                                Comment

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