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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I'm finding some of statements about the phrase customer service quite amusing. A lot of larger departments have enough to deal with. First, yes it does make a difference wether you refer to proper salvage and overhaul as customer service, it's proper firefighting techniques. In a lot of these posts about replacing batteries in remotes, getting someone a glass of milk, cleaning up for a woman who has a crazy husband ( in this city the husband would probably come hunting for you) and so on, are not what the fire department should be getting envolved with, at least not here.

    It sounds like a few of these forum members feel we should be social workers along with being firefighters. Here we have enough to do without adding a ff/social worker to our title. I'm not against helping people at all but some of these ideas are sure crazy. We train 2-3 hrs a day, then go out and do hydrant districts (2 hrs). We also check 302 sites on a consistant basis ( another 2 hrs). None of this includes our pre-fire planning, public appearences at schools and social events ( public relations). Then add numerous fires during the duty tour, along with eating chow and trying to get some sleep.

    We don't have the time to do all the little things that smaller departments apparently feel they need to do.

    All this and more, along with being shot at, rocks and bottles thrown at the apparatus and its crew. Not to mention the assaults on firefighters at fire incidents and drivers that totally ignore emergency vehicles and feel you do not have the right of way on an emergency rum. We've actually had people try and race the apparatus. Here we have a public relations section, it's their job to work with the public. Ours is to help them with aggressive and proper firefighting techniques, saving lives, proper salvage and overhaul ( property conservation if you want) and getting in contact with the proper agencies when needed for the displaced individuals.

    A lot depends on the type of area you work for. In the larger urban and some smaller departments in low income cities, a lot of this so called customer service would be a detriment to its firefighting operations and their effectiveness. It comes down to, what may be good for your dept, may not be good for another.

    [This message has been edited by FireLt1951 (edited 05-13-2001).]

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by mamaluke:
    I disagree with you, Nate. Fighting fire, preserving property and saving lives is our job and #1 priority. This comes above all else- even "customer service" and safety.

    Fighting fire & saving lives and property is how we provide "customer service".

    Perhaps the guys that are such supporters of "customer service" would be better suited in a sales position with Nordstrom.

    Vacuuming?? Only if you have your apron and its tied securely- otherwise its much too dangerous.

    [This message has been edited by mamaluke (edited 05-09-2001).]
    mamaluke,

    You are Dangerous PERIOD ! Yeah I'll admit Nate Marshall is Off his Rocker most of the Time but think about what you said...

    "Fighting Fire, preserving property, and saving lives is our job and # 1 Priority This comes above all else even customer service and Safety....

    Safety is the Most Important thing you Must excercise during a Fire Operation No matter How Large or Small --- If you go in like a Gang Buster with no regard to the victim's Home or your own personal safety or the safety of others YOU ARE DANGEROUS PERIOD...And Tarps, Runners, and preserving the Fire Scene is not only Respectable to the Home Owner who just lost everything but it helps them gain some dignaty back in what they still have --- THIER LIVES --- Plus it puts some trust in the victim's thoughts that hey,....My Fire Company really does care and they aren't the Drunks I thought they were....A little P/R Goes a Long Way --- But above all SAFETY is and should be your # 1 Concern before you start busting up the place.....Nate Marshall is a cooky goof-ball but he actually makes sense this time !!!

    ------------------
    STRATFORD FIRE CO. # 1 NEW JERSEY STATE FIREMEN'S CONVENTION OVER-ALL CHAMPIONS 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2000 !!

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Ever since someone has taken a concept the fire service has practiced for many, many years and put a liberal-new age spin on and added then added increased responsibilities under the guise of "customer service," we will be distracted from the big picture, which is saving lives and property. Proper salvage and overhaul is not and has nothing to do with C.S. More and more of our so called departmental "leaders" have bought this "enlightened" notion of C.S. hook, line, and sinker.

    The bottom line is that in some jurisdictions added responsibilities do not have a negative impact on workload, but in most areas, the main mission of the fire service has taken a back seat to the other tasks that are distracting, inane, and demoralizing. For instance the "future" of customer service: In-house community immunizations, towing dumpsters on working fires to help keep the sidewalks clean, washing down the side streets and back alleys, daily I'm O.K., you're O.K. checkups. Want me to keep going??? Picking up people at bustops (which I actually don't mind - if the person is female).

    THERE IS A SERIOUS LACK OF LEADERSHIP IN THE FIRE SERVICE. WE HAVE ALLOWED THOSE TO MAKE THE CASE OF A ONE SIZE FITS ALL APPROACH TO EVERY DEPARTMENT. WE WILL CONTINUE TO PAY THE PRICE UNTIL THE CASE CAN BE MADE THAT BETWEEN RESPONSES, CONSTANT TRAINING (YES, NATE THIS INCLUDES PHYSICAL FITNESS), AND AN ACCEPTABLE AMOUNT OF DOWNTIME IS THE ESSENCE OF 'THE JOB.' AGAIN, FTM-PTB...something Nate Marshall wouldn't have the faintest idea about.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    This not customer service. This is what we have done for years and its called SALVAGE and OVERHAUL. Something we were taught and it seems everyone wants to replace this with the phrase customer service. I don't think so.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by FireLt1951:
    This is not customer service. It is proper SALVAGE and OVERHAUL. Something that has exisisted for a long time. Should we change the names. I don't think so.

    Does it realy matter what they call it Firelt1951? If they call it customer service and you call it proper salvage and overhaul are you not both correct? All that really matters is that we do it, do it well and not complain that it is a part of our job.



    ------------------
    I shall fear no evil, for I am a Firefighter

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Originally posted by F52 Westside:
    Nate -
    I have to agree with you on this. Customer service is important. Your last post in this topic spelled it out the best.
    I liked the Springer comment also, because in some depts., or some companies of some depts., it is likely true.
    I have seen firefighters bust out windows when all they had to do was open them, tipping over china cabinets to bust open a wall when it was not immediately dangerous to them.
    Take the time when the fire is knocked down and save some of the property that you are supposed to save.

    Nice job Nate

    This is not customer service. It is proper SALVAGE and OVERHAUL. Something that has exisisted for a long time. Should we change the names. I don't think so.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Nate -
    I have to agree with you on this. Customer service is important. Your last post in this topic spelled it out the best.
    I liked the Springer comment also, because in some depts., or some companies of some depts., it is likely true.
    I have seen firefighters bust out windows when all they had to do was open them, tipping over china cabinets to bust open a wall when it was not immediately dangerous to them.
    Take the time when the fire is knocked down and save some of the property that you are supposed to save.

    Nice job Nate

    ------------------
    Eddie C. - a.k.a - PTFD21
    Local 3008
    "Doin' it for lives n' property"

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Whether you call it protecting the public or serving or the public or customer, remember that when a station is closed or a new apparatus is rejected by the city you serve that the public "can" have a lot to do with it. Remember the impression you make on folks. In one of my recent leadership classes we were told that(don't quote me exactly) when you do a good deed, approx.7 people hear about it but when a bad deed occurs, approx. 35 people hear about it. In other words, all the good stuff you've done throughout the year can be totally erased in instance. Read the homepage here, we see it all the time....

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    You know its been said here that we are in and always have been in the "Customer Service" business. So why are we always argueing about this topic? Because the expected level of service has changed. Is this unique to the fire service? I wish! In my field, I am an appliance service tech., there has grown over the years a higher and higher expectation in regards to customer service. Why? Because "the guy down the street does that now". Well people out there have be programed to think that if they ask for it and want it they should get it. DO they always deserve it? Not really, but the expect it. So what is the danger if we uin the fire service ignore their expectations? Well most likely they will make it known to their politicians that they don't think the fire service deserves what it expects, good equipment and respectable pay. Its a what goes around comes around world guys. I don't agree that you have to give them EVERY little thing they want. Rather we just have to use our heads and do what we can afford in both terms of time in budget. Its refered to in the retail trade as Feature Equals Benefit. You have to show your customer that the feature (the fire department) is a benefit. If they don't think you are why should they pay for you? You say well they need a fire department? Well their house isn't burning right now so what do they need you for? Remember these people live for the moment so at any given moment you better let them know you are a nice guy who deserves their support. Yeah you'll still have to look at them and say I just can't do that for you. But just be sure that you truely can't not that you just don't want to. Keep in mind that to many of those people out there anyone can be a firefighter so they think its as easy as firing you and hiring someone new and that's what they'll be more than happy to tell your mayor. Customer Service, do it. You don't need overkill just the appearance that you are trying your best.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Last summer got a medical call of unknown nature. It was in a trailer park mostly for seniors. Upon our arrival the elderly gentleman inside could not open the door and was sreaming for some help, the door was open so we let ourselves in and went to find the person inside. When we got to the rear room we found a man in late 70's or so. When asked what his problem was he stated that he had nothing to drink and could not get to the fridge to get anything. So being the polite young men from the fire dept. we got the man a glass of milk from the fridge and made sure he was comfortable until the family could return. There are millions of these public assist calls. Now, when we got in the truck we bitched and laughed but the truth of the matter is that we helped a person who needed help. That is what this job is about. Yeah, we all like to fight the fire and we all like to be where the action is, but in the end what we are doing is helping people. There is no better feeling than knowing that what you did no matter how big or small qiuck or long made a persons life a little better, a little more comfortable. I don't ever want to vacum but that is because I don't want to see a persons house burn down. But, they do and if the time it takes to help out with the little things helps the persons involed, than how can you put a tag on that. All the people complaing about doing salvage or think that the job is to put the fire out and go home, Think about your mom or grandmom living at home by herself and what you would like to see done.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I normally don't respond back, but its a slow day, and it appears that there has been some selective reading of my last post. Engine58, I respect you junior or no junior because you post your opinion. What I said was I think you could do it a little more respectful being that you are a junior. I grew up around the firehouse also, and you still have an entirely different world coming to you.

    Also, like I said in my posts when it comes to overhaul, it comes down to 2 or 3 things. Experience, common sense, and additional resources if you have them. Read the post again, I didn't say don't pull walls, all I said is there is no need to pull more then you have to....that is if you know what your doing and what your looking for. TIC's help, I didn't say they were The GOD of overhaul and hotspots. And again, if my post is re-read, you will see that in there I clearly state that staffing takes precedent. The cat in the tree statement was just a run of the mill statement. But yes if it was up on a roof, and animal control needed help we'd go get it. As far as pump outs, that's a case by case basis. If your dept. doesn't, so be it, we do. Where I'm at the taxpayers know that its all $$$$, especially the $$$$ they pay us. The system has always been flawed one way or another. The intox story is not uncommon. Would it be different if it got dispatched as an EMS call, and not an unknown emergency type? Everyone had different lingo, and everyone has different ideas. I apologize if anyone feels I bashed, that was not my intent. I only disagree with some opinions and attitudes.
    ------------------------------------------
    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept./agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I agree with the idea that we've been doing "customer service" all along. I don't like the term "customer" either. It's one of those buzz words which will hopefully die out. They are citizens, neighbors, friends, whatever you want to call them. When someone says customer service I think of "Your call is very important to us. Your estimated time of hold is 15 minutes." Yeah right! Doesn't apply to emergency services.

    Do I believe in doing a good job with salvage? Absolutely. Helping an elderly person with their smoke detector? Yes. If we get a call, we will leave...WITHOUT hesitation. I do not believe in pumping cellars or getting a cat down from a tree. Cellar pumping opens your department up to a huge liability. What if that cellar collapses due to improper pumping practices or if someone gets electrocuted? As far as the cat goes....Did you ever see the skeleton of a cat in a tree?

    If you fight the fire well, the people will hopefully remember and be thankful. We do need to show respect for their loss. Remember accidents happen and we could be in their shoes someday. I have no doubt that the majority of firefighters out there are doing what needs to be done to assist their citizens. Stay safe!

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Yes there are those people too. Ive had my share of idiots and drunks and people who should have called someone else. It shouldnt make us not want to help someone who maybe yeah it seems insignificant to us but it may be important to them enough that maybe someone can hang on who is lonely because there spouse of 50-60 years has just passed away. There are people who have no families, all their friends have passed and they are alone, doesnt mean we should ignore them.

    I dont advocate doing everything for people just because they are taxpayers. I believe once is enough and then inform them why your not personal service and help them find someone who can help them.

    Im also not advocating vacuming or some of the other things Ive heard. There are some instances where it is necessary to leave right away. There are instances where maybe 5 minutes can make a world of difference in someones life.

    For example, a woman who lived in a trailer, who was abused bigtime by her husband, who was drunk all the time, some kids in the neighborhood with bottle rockets set fire to her trailer. No matter what she was going to get the blame and wrath of her husband. So we spent 15 MINUTES IN SERVICE helping her restore her trailer (small fire, just scorched but burned about an acre of another neighbors yard so that when her husband came home she wouldnt get the crap kicked out of here because quite frankly cops cant get there quick enough to help her.

    Now if anyone says we shouldnt have done this it will show what a heartless [email protected]@@@@@ they are.

    The next time you need the public on your side the person you spend an extra five minutes with doing something for may give you that support that you need to get what you want.

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    A few observations...

    We have been doing "customer service" for years...only it has been called protecting life and property! We do this through fire suppression, prevention, education, EMS and good public relations.

    At a fire, if you have enough manpower, you can gather the furniture on the lower floors and throw tarps over them to protect it from water damage, but if you need the personnel to put out the fire, that is Job One!

    If we don't do our job properly in the overhaul phase, to paraphrase Arnold Shwartzanegger "We'll be back!". That why we have to open up walls and pull ceilings. The TIC's are nice, but they do have their limitations. Rekindles are a bitch!

    There are some "customers" who abuse the syetm, like the ones who know their cellars are prone to flooding. Do they buy a sump pump? No. Why should I buy one when I can call the fire department to do it for me? They do not realize that it costs taxpayer $$$$ to put the rig on the road and pay for the personnel. We do it on an emergency basis only, yet there are those who think it's their right to call every time they get water in the basement.

    A person who cannot put a battery into a TV remote has bigger problems...like not being able to care for themselves. The appropriate social service agency or family members should be called.

    An abuse of "customer service"....
    I once answered a 911 call for an "unknown emergency". We got to the address, had to force entry because there was no answer at the door. The emergency? The resident was falling down drunk and wanted another bottle of vodka"...and told us we had to get it for her because "I'm a taxpayer". Unbeleiveable!

    ------------------
    Firefighters: Todays heroes protecting everyones tomorrows!
    Captain Gonzo


    [This message has been edited by Captain Gonzo (edited 05-10-2001).]

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    I know what you are saying...no offense taken...I was just saying..because I'm not that new to the fire service..been practically raised in a fire house so I know what goes on..and Yes once in a while we do take a certain day out of the month to go and help out people around town. We change batteries in Detectors & assist with some other things...and we are a volunteer Dept..so that makes it even better..because not only are we taking time away from our own families to go help a needy family etc we dont even have to do it but we still do...like others have said.to be a requirement I dont think that is such a good idea... I'm just stating my opinions like everyone else is...

    ------------------
    Andrew
    South Amboy, New Jersey
    Explorer Engine 6 So. Amboy Fire Dept & Cadet Morgan FAS
    "EMTS DON'T DIE THEY JUST STABILIZE" http://engine058.boltpages.com/south...explorerpost6/

    [This message has been edited by Engine58 (edited 05-10-2001).]

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