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  • Heated situation's ...

    Okay so I need some advice .. My Fire Dept. is like one big "Soap Opera" AND ME BEING THE FEMALE .. is the one pin-pointing this out. The guy's are back stabber's to one another .. The Full timer's don't "associate" with the on-call volunteer's .. As they don't "associate" with the Full-timer's. Now to my understanding and what I've learned we're all brother & sister's and are in this together .. But my dept. is full of talk & rumor's. God help the day that we have another serious fire .. I do not want to know or even think about the out-come with some of these guys in the same burning building and not helping one another because of some petty talk ......
    Anyone have any suggestion's ??

    Cruisa ..
    "You never know until the fire stare's you down whether you gonna do this job, or do it well" "You Go, We go" God Bless my 6 Worcester Brother's

  • #2
    Hmm, familiar story - although I'm not the only female. Why do these things start? You may be able to blame it on the career/volunteer (never ending) issue, but I doubt it. I am in an all volunteer department and we've had our share.

    We have a great group of people, but for some reason there are a few that like to stir things. People get their feelings hurt and it snowballs from there. Things can really get out of hand if you let them.

    How to fix it? You could make a million dollars with a solution to that. I can't give you a set answer but I can give you some advice.

    Start with the officers. I can say that because I am one and I know that ultimately the officers as a TEAM are responsible for the overall atmosphere of the department. Officers must be united and set the tone. If they don't tolerate the gossip and "he said/she said" then the rest will learn it's unnaceptable.

    Does that mean you are stuck if the officer's can't do this? No. As an individual you can start the ball rolling. Enlist anyone you can to help and have them do the same. It can start with one person or two, but as time goes on if you continually say, "I don't want to hear it" or "I'm not interested in rumors" then it will eventually burn itself out.

    In the process you will be building teamwork and loyalty within the body of the organization.

    Is this easy? No. It's hard to let old habits die. Who among us has never heard a rumor and either wondered if it was true or repeated it even as a question? How many of us don't even listen to this stuff? Not many I guess, I know I've been guilty in the past so I won't throw any stones.

    Good luck, it won't be easy, but you could end up with a stronger organization because of it.

    Susan Bednar
    Forsyth Rescue Squad (Captain)
    Griffith Volunteer FD


    • #3
      Well I wish I could give you all the answers but I cannot. I know that my company had similar issues a few years back. Once a new "regime" was voted in, one could see changes in attitudes almost immediately. We went form behind the back and hush hush to an open and up front policy.

      Don't get me wrong everything is not all peachy. There are still problems but with a chief and his line officers having a very professional and affirmative attitude, everyone has a better attitude.

      I feel that the tempo of the department has to start from the top down. Without the support for the officers it will be difficult, not impossible, to change the attitude of the department.

      Best of luck to you. Just know that your situation is a common one.

      Keep Safe!


      • #4
        I was hired as the first Full-Time EMS Director with Secondary duties as the Fire Department Coodinator. I am the only paid person on both depts. They brought me in from the outside because there was a lot of back stabbing, hair pulling, all out feuds within and between the depts (Fire and EMS are separate with some shared members). So they hired me to bring some unity to the departments and to increase moral. I had the backing of the City Administrator and City Council to do whatever I had to do to alleviate the problem. After 4 months, I managed to get two "trouble makers" to resign. Could I really afford to have 2 volunteers resign, definitely. Those 2 people created so much tension and discomfort for members on both departments that moral was boosted immediately. There is still a couple more that are sticking it out, but hopefully it won't take long for them to see the light and change or ship out. The Fire Chief and Asst. Chief are behind me 100%. Mainly because they couldn't really ask the people to leave because of friendships. Are there people upset?? Of course. Will they get over it?? Eventually. I am not saying that was the only way to alleviate the conflicts, but it worked in our case, and we are stronger because of it. Sometimes, it does help to bring someone in from the outside that has no bonds or bridges to burn. Good Luck...Everyone has this problem in one form or another.


        • #5
          You're not going to like all the suggestions that you're going to get - but since you asked for some, here's mine:

          #1. Stop complaining; you're not a female firefighter, you're a firefighter - period. We ain't got females, males, blacks, whites, vollies, paid, and etc etc, because we're all, ALL, A-L-L just plain old stinkin' firefighters. Until you (and everybody else) accepts that fact you ain't ever going to be happy.

          #2. Don't air your department's dirty laundry. It's not going to help the situation, and those in your department that already don't like you will now like you a whole lot less.

          #3. Don't go to your officers. They're too busy with budgets, training, records, reports and all the other mindless paperwork crap that some bunch of knuckleheads thought up to give your 'situation' any time - but it's not, NOT up to them; it never was and never will be. Firefighting is all about everybody doing the right thing - if failing to "associate" isn't doing the right thing it's still not grounds for suspension and certainly not worth the time and efforts of a busy officer. People have got to stop running to officers for every nickle and dime 'problem' and have got to use the brains God gave them. They don't wanna 'associate'? So what! Just get over it.

          #4. Talk and rumor is everywhere; it's in every job, and in every firehouse. So what?You said, "God help the day that we have another serious fire." If you really, REALLY think that the firefighters you have labeled as back stabbing petty talkers in your fire department won't cut the mustard or pull their weight at at fire then you best look for another organization that you can join to sit back and criticize. If you're not the solution then you're the problem.


          • #6
            AMEN eCappy.

            Take care, stay safe, & stay low!

            Lt. Spinney


            • #7
              If your department is like mine as the calls go down the tension goes up. When we have the need to work together things smooth out pretty well. Too much slack time gives everyone too much time to think about real and imagined problems. And I second the notion that when the big one comes everyone will pull together and get the job done.


              • #8
                ****My Fire Dept. is like one big "Soap Opera" AND ME BEING THE FEMALE .

                Um..If the "Soap Opera" you are in is like the one my wife watching you just slammed yourself very badly and painted an unflattering picture of yourself.

                ****But my dept. is full of talk & rumor's
                Just like the talk you are throwing out into this national forum. We don't know the other side, merely yours.

                ****God help the day that we have another serious fire .. I do not want to know or even think about the out-come with some of these guys in the same burning building and not helping one another because of some petty talk ......

                Hmm...I really hope one of your town residents doesn't read this. you have not only thrown the aforementioned "dirty laundry" out but called into question your whole departments ability to work as a team.It is one thing to post a general idea searching post with no department names but another to boldly state were you are refering to. Nice. Glad I don't work with you. Wait until some of your department members read this. You think it is bad now, it will soon become unbearable for you there.

                ****"You never know until the fire stare's you down whether you gonna do this job, or do it well" "You Go, We go"
                Pardon me while I go vomit from reading these over used Ron Howard made cliche lines.

                ECAPPY hit the nails on the head for the most part and I second my fellow NH Jake Lt. Spinney with an AMEN.

                OH MY!..If I read her info right I just noticed that the person posting about the Auburn Mass. FD is an Explorer/Recruit! I can not believe that a person who is not a firefighter or officer in the department would post something like this in a public forum or as she stated "the one pinpointing this out".
                FF/EMT Jay Ellingson
                Newington,NH FD
                New England Dragway Safety Team (Sundaaayy!)
                *N.E.D. celebrates 35 years a post-NHRA and current IHRA drag racing venue! Come on by and watch the great action at RT27 Epping, NH(Exit 8 off of Rt 101)*
                New England Dragway is the home of the IHRA North American Nationals Sept 7-9 2001

                [This message has been edited by FiRsqDvr45 (edited 03-28-2001).]

                [This message has been edited by FiRsqDvr45 (edited 03-28-2001).]


                • #9
                  Three words: Big bad chief.

                  A chief getting the respect worthy of that position can put the hush on that kind of stupidity. I can't see this kind of problem surfacing with my department because we have an experienced and highly respected chief who would kindly inform the blabbermouths to drop the stupidity and concentrate on fighting fires.


                  • #10
                    Ok, EastKyFF, you have gone the root of using common sense. Good point, straight and to the point as opposed to my rambling post of disbelief.


                    • #11
                      Back stabbing? Talk and rumor? What? Where? In firehouses? You're kidding right? I think you've confused the fire service with a Club Med cruise so until you get some time on those boots of yours remember that the world is full of good people just having a bad day and never believe anything you hear and just half of what you see. Here's a story: There used to be an oldtimer on my old department that never said anything; and thinking about it I'm sure that he only said 5, that's right five, words to me in eight years: "LOOK OUT!" and "GET DOWN STUPID!" so I'll take quality talkers over quanity talkers anytime.


                      • #12

                        Know it .......live it


                        • #13
                          I just want to say thank you to EVERYONE who posted back to me. This however is not a conflict within our fire dept. but rather a poll question that I had to do research and get answer's for so thanks for helping me out with my poll, the guy's got a nice kick and some good laugh's out of what was said .. It's sad to say that alot of you failed miserably in the conduct of brotherhood .. But who am I to lay down shot's at another person .. NO ONE .. Just like the rest of you who layed down shot's on my "post" .. Your a NOBODY as well .. Keep safe & Thanks

                          Cruisa ..
                          "You never know until the fire stare's you down whether you gonna do this job, or do it well" "You Go, We go" God Bless my 6 Worcester Brother's

                          [This message has been edited by Resc1AFD38 (edited 03-30-2001).]


                          • #14

                            I've taken the time to read everything that's been posted in this thread very carefully and I really don't think that anyone has taken 'shots' at you.

                            All I've read are some very good suggestions - some sugar coated, some not - by longtime users of these forums that have distinguished themselves as caring and dedicated members of the fire service willing to help you or anyone else through a problem.

                            I firmly believe that all the suggestions that were offered here came from their hearts, from their years of experience, or from dealing with their own unfortunate 'soap opera' kind of firehouse; and I further believe that they did NOT deserve to be labeled 'NO ONES' or 'NOBODYS' by someone who; a) began the post "Okay so I need advice ..." b) cried the blues, c) then berated their entire fire department - only to d) then change the 'story' and pretend some 'poll' was being taken.

                            These are all good people that tried to help you out. They will never be 'NOBODYS' to me!It's wrong, and displays an abysmal lack of responsibility for you to call them names after you have clearly indicated that you have intentionally deceived them.

                            Want a real 'shot'? Here's one: Learn the difference between possesive and plural.



                            • #15
                              Hmm..I failed "miserably" at a test I didn't ask to take nor aware that I was taking. The second post really sounds like a lot of back pedaling to me and damage control. First she takes a posture of "being the one to pinpoint this out" and then tries to say she is "no one" to poke shots at others but proceeds to do just that. In my eyes Resc1AFD38 has lost all further credibility in any subsequent posts she makes.


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