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  • Fire Apparatus Billboards

    What are your thoughts about using fire apparatus as rolling billboards to display advertising as is being contemplated in Houston, TX?
    http://www.firehouse.com/news/2001/6/8_ads.html

    I don't mind placing a small plaque on any donated equipment or apparatus to acknowedge the donor. However, I am not in favor of selling private adverising space on our apparatus.
    Although it may be a way to get more funding, I personally am opposed to it for the following reasons:
    • Does posting ads on apparatus mean that the fire department endorses whatever the ad is saying? How will this work in union departments?
    • Will politicians be allowed to advertise their candidacy or campaigns on city owned apparatus?
    • If an engine is covered with billboards, will it still be readily recognized as an emergency vehicle and be given the proper right of way?
    • Finally, TRADITION - Most places are finally going back to traditional fire engine red and it would be a shame to cover them with advertising like on a city bus. In fact it would be a shame to cover any color fire apparatus with advertising.

    It sure is a sad state of affairs when we must resort to selling things in order to get the necessary funding to properly support our mission of saving lives. With all the wasted government spending, at all levels, you'd think the number one line of defense to local emergencies would be better served and equipped. Just my own personal opinion.


    ------------------
    Mike Gentili, Capt.
    New Bedford Fire Dept.



    [This message has been edited by mfgentili (edited 06-08-2001).]

  • #2
    I think that billboards on the firetrucks is a bad idea. I think that there is other ways in finding money for the budget. This is a VERY bad idea. Just my two cents.



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    Captain Grant Mishoe
    North Charleston Fire Department
    North Charleston, SC

    Comment


    • #3
      I too, must agree that billboards on a fire truck are not a good idea. It seems to be a devaluing of a serious piece of equipment. The only way that I could see it being done tastefully would be by using billboards of companies that provide equipment, services, etc. to firefighters, but that would do absolutely no good because the target audience is the general public it would do no good.
      I must say that this is a quite disappointing proposal.


      ------------------
      Ryan Dennett
      Dixfield Fire CO

      Comment


      • #4
        That is a horrible idea! It's bad enough to see those ugly billboards along highways, but on a firetruck, NO WAY!!!! I hope this is an idea quickly forgotten by everyone!

        Comment


        • #5
          In a country where everything is for sale, it was just a matter of time before some "genius" came up with this lame brained idea.

          Advertising belongs on taxicabs and busses...not fire trucks!

          ------------------
          Firefighters: Today's heroes protecting everyone's tomorrows!
          Captain Gonzo

          Comment


          • #6
            Bad Idea Folks......Fire trucks already turn enough heads when they're running hot to a scene, now they want people to try and read a billboard on the side of them when they're running hot. I can see this causing a lot of accidents. There are many different way to generate revenue and this is definately not one of them. I think putting a billboard on the side of a fire truck is very distasteful, not to mention..it's just not right.

            Comment


            • #7
              >If an engine is covered with billboards, >will it still be readily recognized as an >emergency vehicle and be given the proper >right of way?

              I can just see the dumbfounded looks when an engine with advertising signs all over it comes roaring up to an intersection: "Hey Maw, why does that bus have a red light and siren?"

              This is a bad, bad idea.

              Comment


              • #8
                I wonder if anyone has even read the whole article, or just read the headlines and reacted. Come on folks, the Chief has indicated he isn't crazy about the idea, but if it was tastefully done, and the money went directly to the FD he could see it. More specifically to add a 4th FF to the Engines.

                We're not talking about huge billboards. We're not talking about signs all over the pretty new paint job, we're talking about various logos, etc. on the trucks. They've been doing it for years around here with Cell companies, etc. It's not an endorsement any more than it is an endorsement when a company advertises on the radio or TV.

                How is this so different than renaming the Hoosier Dome the RCA Dome, or for the new Basketball Arena being called Conseco Fieldhouse, or renaming the local concert site Verizon Wireless??? We all talk about 4 pp being minimum staffing, but yet when it makes our red trucks not all red, or when we over react and make it seem like there will be advertising all over the truck, 4 pp isn't as important???

                Sure there is waste in Gov't, but we can't change that. Here is something we can control. My vote is to move slow, open the lines of communication between LAbor and MAnagement to address the Traditioanlists concerns, but it seems like a good concept to me.

                Once again... I seem to be in the minority...

                Comment


                • #9
                  As a member of the illustrious fire department contemplating using the fire apparatus for advertising, I'd like to add my two cents worth.

                  The Houston FD has a long history of being neglected by the city administration. This idea is just another example of the lack of respect the administration has for the men and women of the Houston Fire Department.

                  There are a lot more "blue and white" billboards patrolling the streets of the city than red and white ones, but I don't hear the administration proposing to plaster the police vehicles with advertising. Our mayor, being a former police chief would never show such a lack of respect for them.

                  I'm aware that this method of fund raising has been used in smaller towns and volunteer fire departments, and that's great for them if it's what works in that locale, but Houston taxpayers pay good money and should have adequate protection without fund raising gimmicks.

                  The city administration owes it to the citizens and the firefighters to provide adequate manpower on all apparatus and should do it with the tax money it collects.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yes ffguy083 I did read the whole article and in my original post I used the words "rolling billboards", "advertising space", and "ads", because that's what the article said. Nowhere did it mention putting "various logos, etc. on the trucks" as you say here:

                    We're not talking about huge billboards. We're not talking about signs all over the pretty new paint job, we're talking about various logos, etc. on the trucks. They've been doing it for years around here with Cell companies, etc. It's not an endorsement any more than it is an endorsement when a company advertises on the radio or TV.


                    I really don't know what the size of these proposed signs are by the article because no dimensions are given. I am only going by the use of the words billboard, signs, and advertising space. If the chief could have the final say, and he only allows a small plaque or logo, then I have no problem with that. My concern is that the city council and mayor will end up deciding what will be allowed and we all know how easily swayed politicians can be. "Buy two $100.00 tickets to my next fund raising cocktail reception and I'll see to it you get a nice ad on compartment #3." Does that sound too far fetched?

                    Finally, yes I am a traditionalist. Sorry, I can't help it but I feel the fire service was built on tradition. I also feel we are much different than the RCA Dome, Canseco Fieldhouse, or Verizon Wireless. They are private entities trying to make money, we are public servants trying to save lives.

                    ------------------
                    Mike Gentili, Capt.
                    New Bedford Fire Dept.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Not to argue... but the RCA Dome and Conseco are Public Buildings.... built with public money.

                      Besides... seems like from our Houston FF perspective, in this case it is probably not a good idea... I just think we should look at some of these ideas....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My thoughts are that it's a accident waiting to happen. People rubberneck and stare at fire trucks as is, and if you give them something to read, then your just fuelling the fire.



                        ------------------
                        Joel

                        If you sent us to HELL, WE'D PUT IT OUT!!

                        **And of course these are only my opinion and only mine. Don't take it out on anyone else but me.**

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ffguy083:
                          Not to argue... but the RCA Dome and Conseco are Public Buildings.... built with public money.
                          That's not arguing, it's discussing and that's what these forums are all about. We don't always have to agree as long as we are all allowed to say what we feel.


                          ------------------
                          Mike Gentili, Capt.
                          New Bedford Fire Dept.



                          [This message has been edited by mfgentili (edited 06-09-2001).]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I've got a great idea - why don't we take the fire truck billboard a few steps further? We could sell each piece of apparatus to different corporations, and during the time that they are not responding to calls, they could be really nice delivery trucks. This would be an even better way for the corporations to make money. Oh, and we could actually put the firefighters on the corporation's payroll so they could clean some offices while they're just sitting around. We could also put together a questionnaire for fire victims to fill out before firefighters proceed with their duties at a fire scene. This would enable corporations to profile potential customers before the corporate paid firefighters interrupt and actually do their job. We could even bring our kids into the fun. They could dress up in the corporation's logo wear, and dance around the fire scene cheering the corporation’s cute jingles. I can see it now - multiple MVC with fatalities on I95; Oh, but everything’s OK, here comes the big red Ronald McDonald wagon with the happy meal kids who dance around. Isn’t life great? Let's all hand it to the brilliant ones down in Houston for allowing us to realize what we really are. No, not exceptional Human Beings devoted to only helping one another, but faceless goons (with some really nice Budweiser firefighter Tshirts on).

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hey fpayne,

                              You better hope no one reads your post, or that will be the next great money making idea.

                              What I don't understand is why we constantly have to justify our existance. We provide a valuable, and necessary service, and the tax rate is supposed to provide for us. In my town we also run the ambulance. We bill for this service cause they say, "we have to to keep the private ambulances from taking over." or some bs like that. I would have less of a problem with the billing, if we saw some of the money.......we don't. Yup thats right, we take in over 600K per year and it goes right into the Town's general fund. And when we ask for more OT money to maintain two, yup 2 men on a piece while the ambulance(key word)is transporting to the hospital, they act like we are asking for a raise.

                              Unfortunately I see that this is a continuing trend...Houston, Detroit, DC, Boston......and I am sure hundreds of others.

                              Remember one thing though, an informed public is the best ally you can have. We took our Board of Selectment to Town meeting floor over the hiring of 4 new personnel, we kicked their butt. How do you ask? Because we spent the time preparing our case, put letters in the newspaper, and convinced the people that we were right.........

                              So brothers, I apologize for my ramblings.
                              Keep the faith.

                              Dave


                              ------------------
                              May your vents be leeward, your searches be negative, and your overhaul complete......
                              FTM-PTB-EGH

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