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To clear an arguement of us Vs. them

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  • To clear an arguement of us Vs. them

    I wasn't so much talking about career Vs. vollies. I'm sorry if it come off that way or if I upset anyone. All the career FF's I know are great people. I was more talking about our public. As for coming on strong, these are statements I have heard many times. I was more looking at the effect it has on us getting vol's, people just don't want any part of "something" like that. I understand alot of it is are own doing, but I don't see why we should have to treat the public as "customers" we're not selling anything. We are only demanded by law to provide fire protection, but we choose to do the rest and if we don't, the public says we're useless, but on the same token if we go to a tree on wires and block the road we're jerks 'cause ther is plenty of room to "get around" the tree. It's a damned if you do damned if you don't, I was more looking for how do you fix it when it breaks either way? How do you make the public see the job we do for what it is instead of another pain in the a** road block. We've even put a timer on our "raid siren" so it don't blow after 9pm 'cause people we're complaining about being woke up at night, after we did that for the public, it's why don't it work after 9, it's dangerous not to know you're coming out of the fire house with those trucks.

  • #2
    RDS... Every volunteer does what we do for their own reasons. All these nice shiny new trucks and our new turnout gear and our workman's comp insurance and all these other very expensive items are paid for by somebody. In my area, it's the town's taxpayers that foot the bill and if we want that new truck next year WE have to keep THEM happy enough to foot the bill for it. If we don't keep them happy, we don't get what we need (or want) to do what we love. Like it or not, there has got to be some give and take on both sides. I'm all for doing public assist jobs and what not but, there is a line where, in my eyes, this whole "customer service" policy becomes unreasonable. Every department has to figure out where their "line of reason" is and I think every department should do this on their own before they are told what is reasonable by the folks footing the bills. As far as people complaining about us blocking a road or something, oh well, you can't make everybody happy all the time.
    Stay safe all.


    • #3
      Thanks for the reply and I agree that you have to keep the public happy but how do you change old views? our dept used to do a door to door fund drive and have actually been chased with shot guns and told we were wasting money and wouldn't need a fund drive if we'd quit wasting fuel by driving all over town. Just doing a fire prevetion drive in OCT. to remind the people to check their smoke detector batts we get told to mind your own buisness and get off my land. It just get frustrating to try so hard and get told it's not enough. I became asst. chief in hopes to change somethings but nobody seems to want to hear it.


      • #4
        Just a couple of suggestions of things we have done and that have helped my department to work better with the community:
        1. Work well together as a department...no bickering in front of the public and no free lancing in front of them either. They are not as dumb as some might think they are. You would be surprised at how many of them know just what we are doing at a scene and why.
        2. Do things for them and show them what volunteering is all about. Examples: Yearly Fire Prevention at the schools, open houses, yearly Santa Claus with candy canes through the neighborhoods...this one is a big one for us..the kids go crazy and the parents love it. We get lots of donations and thank yous on this night.
        3. Pay attention to the kids. We had a CO alarm at a house last year and we went inside. The little boy in there looked at me and said "cool you are a girl" I said "yes I am, what's your name" he told me "Matthew...before you leave can I see the truck outside." I said "sure". While some of the guys were finishing up with his dad I took his mom and him outside to show him the trucks, told them about our open house coming up and let him try on my helmet. We were back there for our one of Santa Claus nights about 3 months later and they all remembered me and came over to talk to me. They also donated some money to us. It is all about your attitude.
        4. Present a united front with mutual aid departments, the squad, the police, etc. The public can tell when there is tension..work with each other for the same goal instead of fighting over territory. I never understood this...we are all there to save lives so what is the point of fighting over who has command, who the call belongs to, etc.? Dumb.
        5. Do it because you love it. When you are passionate about your work people know it. We got a new member a couple of months ago and he said his wife agreed to him becoming a fire fighter after she met some of us and saw how much we loved what we do. It made her realize how important we are to the community. Giving back always feels good.

        Some of these might seem like common sense, but look around at your next call and see that common sense sometimes goes right out the window at a scene. Be aware of the public when you are out among them.
        Take care, and please stay safe out there.
        Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!


        • #5
          First off let me say "Good Post rds"

          Now let me say that I have heard that some paid departments have this kind of problem as well as Volunteer departments.
          Although I have heard this from more volunteer departments. I link this to just what your article talks about.

          Some volunteer departments have to raise every dime they need to operate by raffles, picnics, and various fund raisers, and my heart goes out to the departments that have to operate like this.

          Now as for as the public opinion. Trying to combat the negative opinion that some of the public has for Fire Departments has been going on for ever. I think the biggest problem is that the Fire Service does'nt is a very expensive and the pubic foots the bill. If the fire service was making money all this negative attitudes towards us would be out of the picture.

          Now that leaves how do we combat this problem. It seems to me that you have been on the right track, and no matter how hard you try I don't think you will win the hearts and minds of everyone. You can't make everyone happy.

          If you have the money maybe try printing up flyers putting out information about why you do certain things they way you do them. Why you block the road for wires that are arching are down.etc.

          Even if this is just a computer generated form and taken door to door. You will probably always run into someone that tells you to get off their property abd all you can do is comply to their reqeust.

          We used to have problems with certain residents telling us the same thing while we where testing hydrants. So we would send them letters explaing to them that the hydrant was on the right of way and we will continue to test the hydrants. We have even had people plant bushes around hydrants. So when we would go to test them we would not be able to test them. So we would send them letters informing them that they had to keep the hydrant clear and that if the problem wasn't rectified that we would clear them problem our selves. We never had to clear the hydrants ourselves.

          So sometimes it just takes persistance to try to get your point across. I hope this has helped and I have'nt gotten off the point. In all of our correspondence to these people would state the laws or ordinances to back up our actions. We usually include some type of specialty information into annual newsletter to inform the public as well.

          again good post

          Take Care and Stay Safe.


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