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Firefighters supended six months for taking their gear to WTC

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  • #31

    Are there By Laws or a Constitution for the Fire Company? There must be a way to bring it up on the Fire Company floor to amend the By Laws to make the LT's position by vote instead of appointed. You may have to post the proposed change for 30 days prior to the vote, but you should be able to amend them. We had a similar issue and this is how we dealt w/ it.

    Stay Safe


    • #32
      Being here on the Westcoast was one of the most difficult experiences I have ever had. I am both a volunteer FF and a military member, so the urge to go and assist was awful to deal with on a personal level.

      However, I think the issue here is one of discipline. In both the field and on the Fire ground, discipline is an absoulte must have item.

      While I may not agree with the length of the suspension, there had to be something done. As was stated earlier, FDNY was very quick to indicate that although they appreciated the various persons who rose to the call and volunteered to help out, they felt they had the situation under control, and that if they came to a point of requiring further assitance, they would be the first to call for it.

      Being on the "Leftcoast" as it were, that was something of a relief, in as much as FDNY felt they were dealing with the problem at hand and that it was under control.

      I think that if there had been a general call for assistance, there would have been a manpower issue in most units right across the world, as FFs and Johnny Q Public would have been plugging all available resources to get to the scene.

      Of course this is just my own personal opinion, and not that of the companies and units I work for, or work with.
      Malahat27: "Play safe y'all."


      • #33
        [QUOTE]Originally posted by no_name_FF:
        [QB] I don't know how you know what happened in the first four days if you weren't there until the 25th. Once the FEMA teams were assembled and got the "FEMA o.k." they deployed.

        I think you are doing a disservice to the professional non-FEMA teams by calling them "volunteer" and implying that they were doing an amateurish job.

        My information came from a FEMA officer who had been present from the beginning. In the first week, people were searching the pile in shorts and tennis shoes, while deployed FEMA teams were sitting on the sidelines. Whatever you believe the initial situation was, resourses were not utilized as needed.


        • #34
          Having been born and raised in New York city I felt this attack personally. I have friends on the FDNY who were there and by the grace of God were not injured that day. I wanted to be there in the worst way too. I didn't go because My dept wasn't asked which is the key point. Every fireman on Long Island wanted to be there I'm sure but they understood that Accountability for outside personel would have been a nightmare even if they went as a department. Individuals feelancing just would have been unacceptable. Sorry guy--you're wrong. Your heart was in the right place but your actions were wrong. On the other hand I would not have suspended those guys for 6 months. It's hard enough keeping volunteers today as it is. An appropriate work detail would have made the punishment fit the crime.
          Stay safe--
          "Never trust a smiling dog"
          Delaware F.O.O.L. FTM-PTB-EGH


          • #35
            My information came from a FEMA officer who had been present from the beginning. In the first week, people were searching the pile in shorts and tennis shoes, while deployed FEMA teams were sitting on the sidelines.

            Funny, MA-TF1 has a pic on their website from on the pile dated 9/14 which is sooner than a week, or even four days...I'm sure confusion was a good word for much of the early days of the incident.

            I have very limited USAR training (one class, breaching & breaking). I wasn't at Ground Zero, but from what I've seen on TV, heard reported, and can reasonably guess at...there may well be reasons why specially trained resources on an incident of this magnitude may have been held back -- so non-skilled labor could remove surface debris and/or while engineers and advance teams cleared the safety of other areas. No sense tiring out your specially trained personnel if what is needed there and then is work regular firefighters or volunteer civilian grunts could perform.

            I do have great respect for the FEMA and other US&R teams, since it takes great dedication to train for these incidents with the very few oppurtonities you have to actually deploy and use your skills...and even when a big one hits like this, I think only 1/3 or less of the FEMA US&R Task Force personnel ended up deploying. I'm sure to many of them to get to New York and then be held in reserve initially must've been fustrating as all get out!

            when a big one hits like this Ok, so I'm now commenting on my own writing -- but I originally wrote "when THE big one hits..." in that sentence, then I realized, this **wasn't** the big one. Like I said, probably less than 1/3 of FEMA resources deployed, never mind the many local US&R teams around the nation.

            Which made me realize WTC wasn't "the" big one. "The" big one is going to be a major natural disaster, most likely a West Coast earthquake. Perhaps more scarey is if the "big one" happens to be another New Madrid earthquake in Missouri (a magnitude 8), or even when the "big one" hits New York. I don't know how accurate, but a quick google search came up with one reference that listed the following for New York City: a magnitude 5+ is approximately a "200-year event"; a 6 quake, a "600-year event"; a 7, a "2,000-year event."

            In layman's terms: A magnitude 5 barely makes the news in Los Angeles. A magnitude 6 would cause significant damage. A magnitude 7 is what hit Kobe, Japan and would severely damage most buildings in NY with multiple building and infrastructure collapses. A magnitude 8 would wipe out New York or any other east coast city it hit as we know it. Since a 2,000 year event has a 1 in 2000 probability of happening any year, it's a lot more likely than you being murdered (1 in 12,000).

            Terrorism is the cause of the day (or in this case unfortunately, the cause of the next several years) but even as it passes, our ability as a service to remained disciplined and respond in an organized manner remains paramount. Mother nature is awful powerful, and one day, maybe not in my lifetime, but certainly in the lifetime of this nation and of our fire service, she is going to unleash an event that will make WTC look like a house fire. No, we can't be perfect and lots of mistakes will happen responding to the "big one" whether it's here or LA, but at least we can stay organized while screwing up

            WTC gives us practical experience and lessons that will still be being taught 40 years from now when I'm asking for the Fire-Police vest. There was a lot that went well. A lot could be improved. Yeah, some stuff may get harsh criticism -- but the best thing we can do to honor those who gave their lives is to learn as much as we can from this incident. We know a lot more about skyscraper collapses, something that's never happenend before. We've seen the problems in controlling and organizing incidents like this, and there's a lot of lessons that can be drawn from that. And we've seen how departments have to figure out what their role in disasters like this. 9-11/WTC is causing a lot of thinking to go on right now in the fire service, and that's a good thing.
            IACOJ Canine Officer


            • #36
              Originally posted by fyrcanine:
              My information came from a FEMA officer who had been present from the beginning. In the first week, people were searching the pile in shorts and tennis shoes, while deployed FEMA teams were sitting on the sidelines. Whatever you believe the initial situation was, resourses were not utilized as needed.[/QB]

              Well, your info is wrong.... here is from the FEMA website showing FEMA teams deployed on Sept. 13!:
              http://www.fema.gov/diz01/images/d1391p6.jpg http://www.fema.gov/diz01/images/d1391p11.jpg

              Clearly the FEMA teams were in action on the 13th. It is my understanding that they were first deployed about 9 p.m. on the 12th!
              The above is MY OPINION only and not that of anyone else. I am not representing any organization in making a post here!!!!


              • #37
                An order was given. The order was ignored. Subordinate personnel were disciplined for insubordination. 6 months too harsh? Well, let's see. If the chief said, "I'd rather that you didn't go. NYC said that they didn't need us, so you shouldn't go". That's one thing, but if the chief said "No department member is permitted to go to NYC and assist in any way with the WTC incident", then they should be separated from the department. Does that leave you short-handed? Then call mutual aid until you get your count back up. In Illinois, if you are part of the state-wide response, EMA will request your help. At that time, you are covered for any injury or damaged equipment and you will be paid your hourly rate to assist. If you are not called, you do not have any of those benefits. So if someone just goes to help, that is, being a good samaritan, then you had better not take department issued or you are in deep do-do. Jeez, we have fought this image as volunteers for so many years, but to allow them to go to an incident of this magnitude with limited skills such as riding in a truck, let alone complex SAR skills, is an embarassment. I know that they lacked skills to follow orders. I am sure that many of the vollieteers were told to go back home. Some even complained to the news reporters to the extent that the news reporters couldn't understand why they wouldn't need all the help that they could get. Has anyone had a news reporter run their incident command lately? And the sad part is; some of them were posing as firefighters from neighboring departments so that they could get into the hot zone. As I said in an earlier post, some of it was done to get face time with the camera or the front page of the local newspaper. We had a couple of boys from a neighboring department go to NYC because they "just had to". The one guy was blubbering the entire newscast about how terrible it was and that he would never forget it. What did he expect? I won't ask them about it, because I know that's what they want. Am I jealous? Absolutely not. We were told to stay home! There is more respect, honor and discipline in that than in going against the wishes of NYC. Stay home and practice your major incident plans. Ask yourselves "where can we do the most good?" I don't have to tell you the answer to that one.
                For those of you who disobeyed direct orders: consider yourself lucky if you are still on the department. And don't worry: the rest of us volunteers will work hard once again to prove to our career brothers and sisters that we belong, because we can follow orders and conduct ourselves like professionals.
                My opinions are my opinions.
                Stay safe.
                Visit www.iacoj.com
                Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
                RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)


                • #38
                  Everyone needs to remember that if any officer tells you something like " you will fighter fire naked" you have to do it, not because it is right. but because they can make you do it.
                  **SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE**


                  • #39
                    The FDNY was capable and in control from the moment the first plane hit until today as we speak. They realized what they needed and asked for it. The needed someone to help setup the command structure and who did they ask for help the IAFC who sent down a number of Chiefs. When that was completed those Chiefs left. If they FDNY wanted all of us to run down there they would of called!Ladies and Gentlemen the FDNY is the Largest FD around. Ever hear the saying to many cooks spoils the pot!
                    As for these FF getting suspended, Thumbs up for the Chief, I believe in thinking out of the box, but I am also a firm beliver in rank and structure. He made the call and those FF have no choice but to obey it. They should take thier "vacation" and be happy they can still run on the Department after six months.


                    • #40
                      Ok, fine they disobeyed a direct order. That is way out of line. BUT, there has been lots of complaining about freelancing on this tread. How come nobody has said anything about all of the firefighters there from the big citys? I know I saw Chicago firefighters, some from CA,MI,MA,RI,FL,MO,CT, PA and god knows how many others. Why are we siting here belittling each other. It was a act of war. Planes where flown into 3 buildings in the United States. Over 5,000 people are dead. Most of the firefighters that showed up went to the proper staging area. From there they went in. In a huge line on one of the streets I saw firefighters from almost every county in New Jersey. Departments from all over North Jersey were sent in to cover stations in NY. You guys keep talking like people just stormed in and ran to the top of the pile like they where playing king of the hill. This was not true. They were all mostly part of bucket brigades. This person from Nevada, how can you sit there and critize people when your story does not match! I understand what is being said here. But I think some of you should step back and look at the big picture. People we are all brothers and sisters. For now lets just take this a little easy. Please.
                      This space for rent


                      • #41
                        No, personaly, I've been criticizing everyone who self-dispatched.

                        What most people here are doing is praising the vollie Chief who had the balls to tell his people don't go and discipline them for it.

                        If the big city career chiefs don't have those cohones, they're not going to get that praise.

                        It doesn't make what their firefighters did any less wrong -- and wrong is what it was. Self-dispatching is about stroking your own ego and making yourself feel good, no matter how much you justify it as helping "people in need" or "Brothers."

                        As some of have said, this was an act of war. Guess what folks, if soldiers ran towards "where the action was" against, or even simply *without* orders, they would be looking at Court Martial. War doesn't excuse a lack of discipline; it makes that lack of discipline that much more wrong and dangerous. And it makes the neccessity of firmly enforcing discipline that much more important.

                        [ 10-12-2001: Message edited by: Dalmatian90 ]
                        IACOJ Canine Officer


                        • #42
                          Odds are self dispatch will continue until the region gets its act together and develops statewide and region wide automatic and mutual aid packs. Prearranged strike teams and task forces, with meeting places, with prearraraged order of response, with minimum standards for apparatus and crew size, minimum qualifications for team leaders, and expand to something in order of say 1000 apparatus and 3 to 10,000 firefighters.

                          Such arrangements work on a daily basis to levels 10 times the size of the WTC response. If people were really needed 10's of thousands of trained firefighters could have been there in 24 hours brings their own support system with them. If desired inmates could be used to move material and work in areas of high risk.

                          Walking through 13 check points because you have a fire helmet does not occur at a well run event. It was possible to re-live the Lake Worth/Fort Worth situation where a self dispatched firefighter gets hurt or killed and has not protection or insurance.

                          Walkons rarely if ever occur in areas with requirements, order and process. If what you all are saying is correct that the command staff was whiped out then a federal type 1 overhead team should have been brought in. If the locals want to control the fire stuff still bring in type one teams to arrange all the other things you all don't do everyday, feeding, logistics, payroll, etc. With eight equipment cashes for 22,500 firefighters each a lot of what ails you can arrive in a heart beat.


                          • #43
                            Amen, Dalmation 90!
                            I will go just a little bit further. When my brother or sister needs me, they call me. For those of you who "just had to go", you didn't join ranks; you BROKE ranks. You went against the wishes of the NY governor, NY mayor, and the FDNY. There may have been people there from every state in the union, but they were two kinds; 1) free-lancers or 2) requested for their specialized skills.
                            If you had no tangible skills-and just wanting to help isn't tangible-then you were there for you and not for them. Hell, the whole country wanted to help and they did. They didn't have to go to NYC to do it either. When will you get your "I WAS AT THE BIG ONE IN NYC" patch with your letter of authenticity?
                            I am sure that it made you feel good inside to go, but isn't that what you expected? Did you make any of the 6000 feel better? What about the FDNY? They going to give you a commendation letter for your file? Sold your story yet? Got your mug on a T-shirt? Is your local reporter hounding you for a story? Will your business cards say "I was there"? HooWah! So the moral of the story is that you went for you! No need to explain.
                            My opinions are mine.
                            Be careful out there.
                            Visit www.iacoj.com
                            Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
                            RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)


                            • #44
                              Odds are self dispatch will continue until the region gets its act together and develops statewide and region wide automatic and mutual aid packs.

                              Self-dispatch is a discipline problem. If you can't follow today's plan, you won't follow tomorrows.

                              Although most officers and firefighters aren't aware of them, such interstate plans are and have been in place since the 1940s.

                              In Connecticut, it's Section 28-23a Connecticut General Statutes which adopts the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, and directs State OEM to execute interstate mutual aid pacts.

                              The basic system remains unchanged from the Civil Defense duck-and-cover days of the 1950s -- State OEM to State OEM (through FEMA if needed), State OEM to County Fire Coordinators. County Fire Coordinators contact departments and tell them where, when, and what to report with.

                              Yes, some updating is needed. Certainly a lot of practice is needed. But the foundation and structure of the plans are there. What they need is refinement and practice.
                              IACOJ Canine Officer


                              • #45
                                So, can you make one radio call and get 500 engines and 1500 firefighters? Will they be dispatched simultaneously? Do all 500 engines know who in what order will respond to your aid? Will the closest rigs always be dispatched? Do you know the minimum staffing on the rigs? Do they all know where to meet and who will lead? Who has the interstate gas card? Who can feed and bed the guys down? Who do you report to when you get there? What radio channel will you be on? Do you train together?

                                If you don't have the answers to that right now you don't have a modern mutual aid plan. Don't be that these things will just happen after a bid event, your region has already had several. Anything less is a complete total joke. All risk all the time aid.

                                During the Loma Preida quake, the 125 closest strike teams were dispatched before the earth even shook. Notification was by a P wave detector.

                                We have lots of examples of saying we are going to do something, here is one.


                                After the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which killed six and injured 1,000, President Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and punished.

                                After the 1995 bombing in Saudi Arabia, which killed five U.S. military
                                personnel, Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and

                                After the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 and injured 200 U.S. military personnel, Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and punished.

                                After the 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in Africa, which killed 224 and injured 5,000, Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and punished.

                                After the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, which killed 17 and injured 39 U.S.
                                sailors, Clinton promised that those responsible would be hunted down and

                                Maybe if Clinton had kept his promises, an estimated 7,000 people would be alive today.

                                This question was raised on a Philly radio call-in show. Without casting stones, it is a legitimate question.

                                There are two men, both extremely wealthy. One develops relatively cheap software and gives hundreds of millions of dollars to charity. The other sponsors terrorism. That being the case, why is it that the US government has spent more money chasing down Bill Gates over the past ten years than
                                Osama bin Laden anf has lowered the average retirement account 60%?

                                Here is an example of a plan:
                                Local jurisdictions have identified 403 Type 1 Strike Teams as available resources for:
                                1. Request by neighboring counties within the OES region for major incidents on a short-term basis.
                                2. Request by State OES for major incidents under the California Fire Service and Rescue Mutual Aid Plan.

                                1. Strike teams shall respond on Immediate Need requests with minimum delay (five (5) minutes).
                                2. Strike teams shall respond on Planned Need requests based on an established assembly time or one (1) hour if no time is established.
                                3. Class A (Type I) engines shall be used for structural protection in a wildland fire environment. They are not designed for operations on narrow, unsafe roads, cat, or brush trails. Common sense must be used in engine assignments.
                                4. Each resource in a strike team shall carry credit cards and/or cash for routine travel expenses to and from out of county Planned Need incidents.
                                5. Relief for strike team personnel will be based on a ninety-six (96) hour duty assignment.
                                1. Strike team leaders should obtain the duty chief or administration telephone number from each engine when responding outside bay area counties.
                                2. Once each twenty-four (24) hour period, as the assigned incident location changes and on release for travel, strike team leaders should contact their home jurisdiction with assignment, equipment and personnel status. The duty chief receiving the report will then notify the County Fire Coordinator and each engine's home jurisdiction. Each home jurisdiction is responsible to contact firefighters' families.
                                3. Strike team leaders shall maintain all applicable written records for the incident.
                                1. t is the strike team leader's responsibility to maintain control of the resources assigned (applies to responding and relief personnel):
                                a. Brief all personnel ASAP.
                                b. Inventory and inspect personnel and equipment during assembly. Any unsafe equipment or personnel without proper uniform and safety clothing may be rejected.
                                c. Establish radio communications within the strike team.
                                d. Establish order of travel within the strike team.
                                e. Appoint an Assistant Strike Team Leader.
                                2. Assure that all personal needs are met for personnel assigned:
                                a. Medical
                                b. Food
                                c. Sleep
                                3. Attend all required shift briefings and debriefings.
                                4. The strike team leader is the only person authorized to sign out supplies.
                                5. Crews often sleep during odd times. Even though strike team personnel are not tired, other people may be; be considerate.
                                6. Even in base/camp or at a motel, the strike team is subject to dispatch/reactivation. It is the strike team leader's responsibility to ensure that team members are in a state of readiness.
                                1. The strike team leader is responsible for the individual conduct of each team member. It is the responsibility of the strike team leader to establish and maintain discipline within the strike team. Under no circumstances will drinking of alcohol or use of drugs be condoned.
                                2. The strike team leader shall keep the strike team together until each engine is released back to the local agency.
                                3. Insure that travel routes are known and the most direct route is taken.
                                4. Relief crews shall report and travel in uniform.
                                A. Strike Team Leader Kits will include the following:
                                OES Form 42 Emergency Activity Record 10
                                ICS-201 Incident Briefing 10
                                ICS-213 General Message 10
                                ICS-214 Unit Log 25
                                ICS-420-1 Field Operations Guide 1
                                A. Agency-specific records
                                Financial documents: Credit cards, purchase orders,
                                Current Thomas Brothers maps
                                Map No. 3037
                                Map No. 4028
                                Map No. 3022
                                Map No. 3042

                                [ 10-13-2001: Message edited by: lovelock ]


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