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  • Bunkrooms

    Bunkrooms come in many sizes, shapes, types of construction, and the way us firefighters modify it to make it a more "home like" atmospheres. I have been in open squad bay type (in the marines at MCAS Beaufort CFR), partition walls that are open on top (office cubicals), and small rooms with one bed. What would you concider going to far for comfort and welfare in the bunk room? Ours is a partition wall, office cubical style.

    Our department has no written policy on the bunk rooms. Lights are off usually from around 7pm until wake-up at 645am. There are several cubes with reading lights, TVs, VCRs, Radios, PCs, Video Games, ceramic space heaters, fans, hanging lights, electric heating blankets, homemade shelves and bookcases and more recently in mine (and very short lived) a small 1.6 cubic foot fridge. Some have almost everything listed other are just a light and alarm clock (like mine).

    I was told to remove my fridge because it was not authorized. My fire prevention Chief had no problem with it as long as it did not exceed the amps for the outlets. The fridge was very quiet. I bought it because my food in the shift fridge, even though marked, was being consumed by a rate that exceeded my personal consumption. (and yes, i had brought the issue of the theft of my food up several times to my crew leaders and nothing was ever done) The only consern from the fire inspector was the current draw from too many fridges (if every one bought one for example). I was willing to have the amps checked to make sure it would not pose any threats. I could not imagine it being anyworse that 8 TVs on on the same line.

    Now, I have only two other personal things in my clean cube... a clock radio and a reading lamp with a 25 watt bulb. Other cubes have the contents in the above 2nd paragraph. One firefighter has wall to wall bags of garbage and clothing in his cube, another has it decked out with a hanging lamp (cut through the ceiling tile) and a personal computer, TV, VCR, and playstation, others are pretty scarey as well. There are also a lot of personal storage of mowers, R/C planes, bikes, canoes, and other stuff through out the fire station.

    I complied with my supervisor wish to remove my unauthorized fridge. I do not feel that this is fair, but I shall comply. Two other firefighters have been asked several times in the past year to clean up and take down their things and they have not complied. Should I take action with the Union if they are going to make me remove and adjust my living space to comply with thier "rules" and not enforce others in the same manner? There are lots of personal property that is stored about the station (bikes, mowers, TVs, R/C airplanes, etc.) and it does not bother me if they are there and out of the way, I just am looking for equal and fairness across the board here! (and I know not everything can be fair!)

    Mmmmmm, Beer

  • #2
    I think that someone cried to a officer about the fridge, why is anyones guess. I would try to get it "authorized". If the location is a problem then propose an alternative location. If this doesn't work I would say you are out of luck on the fridge issue. As far as getting the union involved I would advise against it, as this would be "making a mountain out of a mole-hill". Union involvement is for larger issues ie: safety, pay, contractual infractions. Keep in mind the chain of command this isn't a good place to violate it either, doing so will only degrade your reputation with superiors. Good luck and like you said, life isn't fair, and sometimes that is a hard pill to swallow.


    • #3
      Having piles of garbage around, space heaters, electric blankets and the like is more hazardous than a small refridgerator.

      It seem to me that you are being singled out...probably because of the food issue.

      Fair is fair...if they can have multiple tv's, play stations, computers and rthe like...you should be able to have your fridge!

      [ 09-01-2001: Message edited by: Captain Gonzo ]
      ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
      Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY


      • #4
        I have never jumped the chain of command and I also brought these problems (theft of food) up through the chain of command. I have not seen or heard of the supervisors addressing the shift as a whole on keeping your hands off other people's food and property. Then again, if they have not learned it as an adult, they probably would ignor it anyway and keep doing as they please.
        When I was told to remove the fridge and talked about the food theft with my supervisor, it basically was my fault that I left the food in a shift fridge, marked with my name on it. I also addressed the issue of fixing the locks on our commercial fridge for use for both shifts (A shift one side and B shift the other) and that was shot down. Reason being that they would break the plexiglass partition to steal food from the other side that was locked. It seems that they would rather have firefighter welfare suffer than address and discpline the problem makers.
        So yes, I swallow the bitter pill and now will fill up my small cooler with ice and keep it in my cube for use when I am on shift.

        Anyone want to buy a fridge?

        Mmmmmm, Beer


        • #5
          You have to bring your own fridge to work??? How long are your shifts?


          • #6
            We used to just have a big open area with fold downs, now we got cubicles (floor to ceiling walls, no door, but a doorway) for a little privacy.

            Ambulance crew is at the bunkroom door because they're up all the time and that way they don't bother us on the 3 and 1 calls.

            Room lights off at 2030, reading lights allowed, a radio may be played low unless someone gripes. Clock, night stand and a small chest-of-drawers and a locker are standard issue. We have to share the room over three shifts so personalizing it is really not an option.

            No grub allowed in the bunkroom, just water. Allegedly it keeps the meeces and roaches in the kitchen. But that's what I thought the scorpions were for...

            [ 09-01-2001: Message edited by: mongofire_99 ]
            It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!


            • #7
              24 hour shifts... I do not have to bring my own fridge... but the amount of food I have had stolen in the last 3 and 1/2 years could have paid for the one I bought. It just made sense to keep my food in my own fridge... that just did not work out to be the case. It will be a beer / liquor fridge for the bar in the basement.

              As far as bunk room rules... pretty much anything goes as far as lights and TVs. You would think that most adults would have some respect for others, but that is not the case. Only with in the last week has there been any action on some of the annoying firefighters with TVs, radios, and flood light on. I admit... I have forgot to shut off my reading lamp and it has been on at 12am when I got out of the alarmroom watch. But that is only a 25 watt bulb. I had a 15 watt one in there but that disapppeared along with the lamp. The firefighter across from me had his remote from his TV stolen.

              How many of you work with crooks too?

              Mmmmmm, Beer


              • #8
                but the amount of food I have had stolen in the last 3 and 1/2 years

                We have a ground rule that if it's not marked, it's public.

                Been on the job 3.5 years and you ain't figured out how to stop this?

                Go to an auto supply store and find a tub of grease that has or is close to the same consistency as peanut butter and doesn't stink bad. Take an almost empty (about 1/4th left) jar of peanut butter, mark it as yours and mix in the grease. Mix it up good so you can still smell the peanut butter.

                Grumble around the station mouth that you'll fix whoever is stealing your food, starting with the peanut butter. He/she will tell everybody, some genious will give it a taste just to see if you did it, then word is out that you did and anything else you bring is suspect.

                • heavily salt a PBJ sandwich between the PB and J, don't tell anyone, they'll figure it out.
                • Habenero's are good to put in things.
                • The chocolate laxitives in the trail mix.
                • Vasaline/KY mixed in jelly.
                It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!


                • #9
                  I do keep my containers of food marked!

                  I was thinking of Exlax Choclate Chunk Brownies myself!
                  Mmmmmm, Beer


                  • #10
                    Here's something I heard the "old timers" talking about how to stop theft in the fridge, and it's kinda funny.

                    They use to put there food in the box style crab traps and throw a chain and pad-lock on it for security.

                    As for bunkrooms...All stations are differnt. All have seperate rooms for the officers.
                    3 stations have military style, everyone in one room.
                    2 stations have 2 bunkrooms, One for the Truck guys and one for the Engine guys.
                    1 station has cubicles with no doors. (TV's and personal lockers in each)
                    1 station has rooms with doors. (TV's and closets for lockers)


                    • #11
                      We just have one big room. No tv (though it would be nice.) I would really like carpet though. That cement floor in the winter is murder!
                      This space for rent


                      • #12
                        My bunkroom is very uncomplicated - it's an open carpeted room upstairs boasting 6 bunks. We are expected to stay quiet when anyone is in the bunkroom sleeping but there aren't any rules as to when you have to go to bed or when you have to get up.
                        As for food, if it's marked with your name then everyone leaves it alone but if it's not marked then it's open season. Plus we have a particular counter where you can leave food and folks will devour it like locusts. It's the "Free For All" counter.
                        I'm totally shocked that you guys have such problems as folks stealing your food! That's so immature!
                        Probie Name: HurryUpMichelle!!


                        • #13
                          Wow....Brings back memories...I have been in all kinds of bunkroom situations...The first CFR station I worked at was fairly new. It was very much like a college- 2 members per room, with TV's, Lockers, beds, desks, bookcases, and large LAZY Boy chairs. Practical jokers entered rooms on a normal basis. These pranksters did anything and everything except destroy personal property or risk safety. The next bunkroom I stayed in (In one of the oldest stations in the federal system) was a brand new (when I got there) cubicle system. They were very pleasant. You couldn't watch TV or play a radio (unless you had headphones) but it wasnt as bad as I thought it was going to be. The only complaint I had was having to have an electric blanket in the summer because the A/C was set at -10. Now I am in a 3 station department- in my own station I share a room with a member of an opposite shift. We went halfies and bought a TV/VCR combo and a small fridge (because of the problems described above...I DID the Ex Lax thing once, and one of the old farts was on the ****ter for 6 hours.) I hate the room, because it is too small, and there is no window. At the second station, it used to be a common bunkroom....What FUN if you were a practical joker!!! Now it is remodeled, with seperate rooms for 1 man and a member on an opposite shift. Roomy and with a window in each room. The third station has a common bunkroom, but they're all old farts, no fun at all!!!! All in all I have to say I enjoyed the 2 man rooms, as well as the common bunkrooms- providing that there are practical jokers that dont get out of hand!!! I hate my current room.
                          "Loyalty above all else, except honor."


                          • #14
                            This is a problem that has been going on in firehouses for years. I can't tell you how many times I have left food with my name on it in the frige and it disappeared. I have even gone to the extreme lengths of sabotaging the food just to see who would come down with a sever case of the s***s. Since my department is volunteer with college live-ins, we solved the solution at my department by buying 2 refrigerators, one for the live-ins and the other for general use. This has for the most part cut down on food being taken.

                            As for our bunkroom it's coed. There are two bunks per partition, each with a night light and room for personnel items. We have seperate locker rooms & showers. We have also instituted a dress code as to what must be worn at all times in the building (shorts and a t-shirt). We allow radios, tv's and other personnel items in the bunkroom as long as it's used with reason. Why not try and make your assigned bunk/cubicle as comfortable as possible.


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