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mutual aid - how politically motivated is it 'in your woods'?

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  • Chief Reason
    replied
    toneloc177;
    Nothing is going to happen until something happens!
    Right now; it's just a bunch of ****ed off firefighters bitching about not getting in on a call. Our department complains all of the time. I'll give an example: we are less than a half mile from the interstate. No one in our immediate area can get on safer and faster than we can. Period! But the Dispatchers dispatch according to boundary lines. We all know that! But it is stupid. We measure the call in minutes; not miles. But the fact is that some of the "chiefs" in our area aren't sharp enough or compassionate enough to request us, even though we can get there much faster. And don't even get me started on the winter months. Does it sound like boundaries are the problem? Because I suggested in a meeting that, where the interstate was concerned, to re-write the boundaries. No tax money was at stake, so are boundaries or taxes the issues? No, it is egos disguised as politics. I have sat down with these people and tried to hammer out an automatic aid agreement. We have one south, but for some reason, north is opposed to it. I had a chief pull out a map dated 1957 and said "There, it shows the interstate in our district". What Mr. Dumass failed to realize is that the interstate wasn't built until 1970 AND it was a no man's land until 1999! I went so far as to offer everyone at the meeting a waiver on OOD fees. Nope! So I like to believe that I am not the problem. They sat there and told me that they were just as concerned for the victims as we are, but it's their call. They must think that I have sh*t between my ears. I don't dispute that it's their call. It is also their decision to MA it to us; you know, we'll start and they can finish. But they won't do that either. Anyway, we WILL NOT jump calls; we will only respond if we are duly dispatched. Of course, that is not to say that some of my guys wouldn't go out to the scene "incognito" as a Good Samaritan and help, if you know what I mean. Wink-wink. They just happened to be in the neighborhood. I swear, some of them are better equipped than some rescue rigs that I've seen! But still, it's sad and someday, when the grieving family of a loved one finds out that we were closer in terms of response time and didn't respond, the papers between lawyers will start flying and then my egotistical counter-parts will be defending a countersuit-by us. Technically, we will be subrogating the claim. But you get the picture.
    No one from the general public is going to give a good goddam about politics if they suffer a catastrophe. That position will never be defensible, so unless Chief Ego is prepared to lie through his teeth, he'd better be prepared to write a number followed by six zeroes on a check to the victim's family. And for those of you contemplating change, remember that you can't change the chief unless the Board of Trustees approves it. They won't let you? Guess what; it only takes a petition to get the question on the ballot to change them! Does that sound like alot of work? Then apparently you think it's easy working for a management team that doesn't support its employees and exposes them unnecessarily to not only the hazardous risks of firefighting, but the legal liabilities of their poor decision-making.
    Fix what needs fixing. Otherwise, quitcherbitchin!
    Stay safe.

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  • hctrouble25
    replied
    I think just about everyone has issues with politics/attitudes, and MA. A couple of weeks ago there was a huge tractor trailer crash out this way and they dispatched our neighboring department to the call. They went, and so did two others that are farther from the accident then we are, but we just figured there was a good reason they got called and we didn't. Then a town over 5 miles further away got on the radio and their Chief told dispatch they were responding...even though they were not called out...they were told by the Fire Marshall to stand by at another station and they came back and said they would just stay at their own station since they were not allowed to participate in the call. The way I look at it is that these officers should be disciplined/fined, something for not doing their jobs. Granted we are volunteer, but conducting yourself like this is not acceptable. We stayed at our station just in case they needed us but we never tried to jump the call or get involved.

    We work very well with our neighboring town and even run MA from 8am - 6pm Monday through Friday to ensure that we have enough personnel to cover calls. Lately we have had issues with their Chief and he is endangering others by not calling us for help, cancelling us before he even gets on scene to know what is going on, etc. Our Chief has explained to him that whether or not he likes us right now should have no bearing on the coverage we provide to the communities we protect. It has gotten a little better since their conversation. The way I see it is that we are all here for the same reason..to help people. So the little fights about nothing have to stop. I would hate to see someone get hurt because this Chief is mad at that Chief, or because this officer won't talk to that department. It is all pretty silly when you think about it.

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  • PyroSlayer
    replied
    Fortunately, all our mutual aid is automatically handled by our E911 center. At different parts of our territory, we know who will be dispatched to the scene depending on who is closest to the call. By the same token, we know when we will be automatically dispatched to help our neighboring depts. We really love this system. It eliminates politics (concerning mutual aid) and speeds response time of mutual aid companies as all depts are dispatched at the same time. It seems crazy to me that any chief or officer would be willing to delay response of mutual aid to play politics. If I was working for someone who puts politics ahead of the life safety of firefighters an potential victims, one of us would have to find someplace else to be.

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  • toneloc177
    replied
    again, good points by all.

    Chief, like you said, changing the chiefs (in & out of town) would only be a different problem, not the solution by itself. People in the volly's need to see what is right for each situation and make the proper call (for M.A.) when it's warranted. It definately is a looooooooong term thing. It's a shame that chiefs / OIC isn't held more accountable for poor M.A. decisions.

    Example - calling north town for a truck which is going to be responding from a futher distance than east town's, and ussually need a second alert to get the three guys to show up, instead of calling east town's which has more guys on average who'll show up for confirmed fires, and has a better response time than all truck companies in the area.

    What if someone was to get hurt or worse because the truck was slow to get there? How would you be able to sleep knowing that just because there has been some rivalry between east town and your town, you chose not to call them, and one of the brothers is in the burn center.

    Or it's a battalion thing (Nassau County). Oh well this town is in our battalion, so we'll call them instead of these guys because they aren't. They even have knife and forker meetings called "The # battalion mutual aid chiefs meeting". Are you serious? Common, if you're the best company with the equipment I need, put your boots on. If you're only second best, stand by cause you're probably on deck to be notified!

    Bing, how can your department members keep a guy in the highest office in your department when he is breaking one of the departments rules and regulations?

    (Church lady)
    "Could it beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee POLITICS????"



    [ 09-10-2001: Message edited by: toneloc177 ]

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  • rcbadabing182
    replied
    hey toneloc,
    isn't thats what it's all about......POLITICS......the chiefs in my department dont believe in calling mutual aid any other way...the do whats best for them(short+long term)....not whats best for that situation......dont know why this goes on...it's just politics....then again we have a chief in my town who is breaking a by-law and living out of town when it states they cant...politics....all ways and forever..

    Leave a comment:


  • postal79
    replied
    my area is the same way, we have a few towns that border us that we are the closest M.A. department and they will not call us first because we are a different county, our one co. sits right on the border of this other town and they still call a dept. thats 10-15 minutes away while they have us just on standby at quarters....al dumb politics, but thats the way the world works

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  • Chief Reason
    replied
    toneloc177:
    I see you came over here and started your own discussion on MA. You also used the broad brush when you state that Chiefs are responsible for poor MA cooperation. I agree that SOME chiefs are most definitely that way, but there are some very good officers out there who understand the value of MA. A MABAS system takes alot of politics and egos out of the system. Getting it there may be a struggle. A county here in Illinois has been trying to get a MABAS district started for seven years! It must be politics. It took our association less than one year from start to finish to form the MABAS district, but now we must establish several standard protocols AND educate the dispatching agencies to our new system. Let me ask you all this: Do you believe that your MA would improve if you could change chief officers, thus changing the politics? How are you going to change the chiefs of some of your neighboring departments? My point is that it is not as easy as changing officers. Politics isn't something you change like your socks. It is deep rooted and will take alot of time and effort if only a small group and in some cases, an individual who is attempting to change it. Larger groups moving with sweeping changes stands the best chance of getting something done quickly and before someone dies. MABAS districts have executive boards, by-laws and rules. The only way that you control your part is to do things the right way. Otherwise, you are out.
    TruroFAO: you raised a question about taking the engine off of the run cards. My answer would be "no", but what I would do is to place the problem personnel on probation and on a very short leash. You may get that same engine with a very different crew who follows the SOGs. Deal with the problem kids!
    toneloc177: I believe that Shoe said it best when he said "we have seen the enemy and they are us". But with men like you in the service, you will continue to fight the good fights and a few bad ones, and your strength of character and commitment to your duty will not allow you to succumb to the politics that nips at our ankles everyday. You will gather support to change what is wrong. Never give in and never give up!
    Peace.

    [ 09-08-2001: Message edited by: Chief Reason ]

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  • toneloc177
    replied
    POLITICS!


    It's killing the volyunteer service!!!

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  • sgtdave2002
    replied
    We have a neighboring community that refused to call us for MA because he didnt like our Chief. We also have another neighboring community that uses the same dispatch as us. Whenever another community request MA from us for a tanker they are the ones to get called. They dont even have a tanker. You would think that when they get called out for MA tanker that they would realize they werent the ones they wanted.

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  • TruroFAO
    replied
    bgfdchick brings up a good point...We also have automatic runcards which predetermines which companies are due on mutual/automatic aid to our areas. But it can be a double-edged sword...In this area, no matter what the run cards say, our chief officers still have final say in who comes on mutual aid. If he doesn't like who is next on the card, he'll 'special call' a department over another, despite run card order...I agree wholeheartedly with all of the postings...This practice of selective mutual aid is dangerous for the peeople we're trying to help, as well as for us. An incident occured a few months ago that I'd like your feedback on...Perhaps this point could be considered....

    There was a structre fire...2 story house...Standard initial response was 2 engines, a truck, heavy rescue and a medic...First arriving engine reported a worker. RIT assignment was dispatched- another engine and medic. The RIT engine is the company of focus for the discussion...

    The RIT engine was the closest available engine company, and was dispatched per the run cards. When they arrived, as has happened several previous times, they ran roughshod on the fireground. They disobeyed instruction from the command post and ran headlong into the fire building, despite being told to act as a RIT. (RIT, FAST, RIC, you know...) This has happened several times with this engine (and the accomponying medic and chief at the station). Following this particular incident, their engine was removed from the runcards. Their engine no longer responds...The chief took this action because he felt they posed a danger to the personnel on the fireground...Now other mutual aid engines pass their station on the way....There is more to the story, but they are not related to the discussion...I will post the rest of the story (all bueracratic, not having to do with fireground safety), but based on this, should the chief have taken the engine off the run cards, despite their close proximity to the scene?

    Your toughts....?

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  • res7cue
    replied


    It is truely a sad statement when politics plays a role with emergency responses. I know of several areas that politics plays a major role in who responds on mutual aid. You know how that "good ole boy club" or "you scratch my back & I'll sratch yours" mentality works.

    My district is VERY fortunate in that the supervisors enacted an ordinance 20+ years ago that states the CLOSEST services will respond. The ONLY exception is for special services, etc.

    It makes it pretty simple when completing box cards and eliminates the above BS.

    When something goes wrong and the attornies find out that politics played a role, watch out of for the s*** hitting the fan.

    [ 07-06-2001: Message edited by: res7cue ]

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  • toneloc177
    replied
    Amen, smokey. That's where it needs to be addressed - @ the officers level. How would you feel knowing that you may have been able to save a life if only your town / company was called, and not another town / company further away?

    Chick, sounds like you have something a little different - dual response program. We have on the island too. Call is in certain areas located near bordering towns, and yet the closest firehouse is in the other town, they're notified to respond too.

    Chiefs (and that who is to blame!!!) need to put their pride aside and realize that what is, or might be best for their town, might show up with a towns name on the side of the rig!!!

    My companies response is within 5 mins of a transmition of an alarm 97% of the time, with a few guys on the rig any day of the year. I'm not braggin, but if you could have that response for the b-s we go to, what about if it was a ripping job or even if it sounded good?

    I hate gettin jipped out of work because of where i come from (town), and how our Chief's past and present have bad political ties w/ the neighboring towns.

    Good replies though, keep um' coming!!!!!

    Leave a comment:


  • bgfdchick
    replied
    I'm not sure how your MA works, but we have it all computerized at our county 911 dispatch center (called MABAS - mutual aid box alarm system). It doesnt require us to specifically ask for departments - which sounds like what's happening (or not happening) from these other posts

    In a nutshell, we already have a pre-agreement with surrounding FDs as to who will be sent out, depending on the incident type and the address/type of structure.

    In example, if its a structure fire, it automatically pages other departments with ladders (since we don't have one). If its an assisted living facility, it dispatches automatically surrounding ambulances because of the potential casualties. It also is pre-determined what apparatus we get for a second, third, etc. alarm. And it defaults to other apparatus if one is not in service to work the incident.

    Another advantage - if you have a scanner and hear the incident from another department - and it looks like they're about to strike a second alarm - you know if that means your department's about to get paged...and you can get a running start to your station!!!

    One of the officers at my old department was on the committee to establish this MABAS system - he spent a lot of time keying it all in - and he did a great job!

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  • CAPTAINKAOS
    replied
    Politics here too. There is a nieghboring F.D. that calls M.A from everyone but us. Some of the M.A has to drive by our fire station to get to their district. Strictly a matter of which Chief officer is on the air in that F.D.

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  • NY Smokey
    replied
    In our "neck of the woods" departments often let politics win over what is best for the public. We've had fires less than a mile from our district and been told to standby first. These were working fires. To make things even better they later found out that people may be trapped. It's my belief that the neighboring chief knew we would get there first and waited to have us respond to the scene so his dept. wouldn't look bad. As an officer, I call the closest available for the incident. I'm not gonna see someone die over b.s. politics.

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