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Get a department to work together

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  • Get a department to work together

    I am having allot of problems with the department I am on.
    There are only 14 members on the department, which only maybe 5-7 are active. The others want to be an officer, but only come to the meetings to bitch and complain. Most of there havnt been on a scene in 5 years now or more.
    All the trustees are over 55 years old and sitting on at least $120,000.00 thinking we have to fight fire with money.
    The trucks we have are in the 1980's and there as NEVER been any up dates since then.
    The hoses are all old, never been tested, trucks are not serviced like there surpossed to. And there is so much more to list.

    Another thing, as far as training, we no longer have a "training officer" the department told who ever want to go for more training to go outside the department and get your training.

    I have so many goals and dreams for this department, but I cant get anything done because mostly all of them are still back in the 1960-1980's style of firefighting.

    Could someone please help me with some ideas, and thought to how to go about making this department succeed.

    Any other Ideas can be emailed to me at [email protected]

    Thank you so much for your time reading this.

    [ 11-18-2001: Message edited by: Saint Bernice Fire Department ]

    [ 11-19-2001: Message edited by: Saint Bernice Fire Department ]

    [ 11-19-2001: Message edited by: FireFighter10 ]

  • #2
    It sounds like you got some issuses.

    My company has had some problems but never as far as training and equipment. A couple of years ago the old school was running the show, with bad officers that weren't around a lot, and our money was never touched. Over the years as more young bloob came in we gradually over powered the old school. We have a roster of about 30.


    • #3

      Let me give you some quick Forums advice.

      1) Never mention your real name if you intend to come on here and speak derogatoraly about your fire department. (Do you think you are the only one on your fire department or in your town with a computer?)

      2) You have to ask yourself this question: How does telling every Firehouse Forums user in the world that your FD (identified by name)has major problems help the problems?

      3) You could have stated the exact issues you did without telling who you are and the name of the FD. General questions still would have gotten the answers you seek without the potential backlash.

      Just my 2 cents worth.

      Take it or leave it.

      Crazy, but that's how it goes
      Millions of people living as foes
      Maybe it's not too late
      To learn how to love, and forget how to hate


      • #4
        If your fire department is really that yucky then you should leave and go join another one that's safer.
        Probie Name: HurryUpMichelle!!


        • #5
          I feel that the best way to fix this department would be to let the taxpayers know what is going on. If I had a FD with this many problems and my house was in their district, I'd be attending ALL the council meetings.......


          • #6
            Fyrdup raises some valid concerns, but I believe there is 1) a method to your madness or 2) your frustration has reached a point where you don't care who knows anymore.
            Sometimes, this isn't always the best place to get good advice. What worked for someone else, might not work in your situation, because we don't have all of the issues to consider. We can all say "been there-done that", but a key component might be missing from your description. I can relate to you my experience here or you can email me. Go to my profile for my address if you would like to talk further.
            I joined our volunteer department in 1980. When I say "joined", I mean to say that I was "chosen". It was my third attempt to get on because the fire department at that time was very clicky. Average seniority at the time was 20 plus years. There was one guy who had been on for as long as the district had been a district(since '48) and the trustees were tight, old bitter men who said "no" to just about everything. Anyway, I wanted to train and they didn't really do any training, so I took it outside of the department and was almost kicked off. I had a chief that kept getting in my chest (I would say face, but he was very short)and was telling me stuff like "nobody likes you, why don't you quit?" Nice, huh. The trustees loved him, so you can imagine how they treated me. Well, I went about my business, became a training officer and then in 1987, I was elected chief by the members. The trustees told me that they could over rule the vote, but they would see how it goes. Some vote of confidence, right?
            Well, little did these three men know that I had plans for them. At the time, trustees were appointed by the county board. I read up on my laws and discovered that they could be elected. So we got the referendum on the ballot; it passed overwhelmingly and then we elected three, new trustees. We get along great. I mention this because often times, if you are having trouble with older members, it is because of the older trustees. You can only do so much; that is why it is important to build others along the way. It has to be a complete overhaul to work.
            Did you see "The Untouchables" with Kevin Costner and Sean Connery? Sean Connery's character asks Elliot Ness if he wants to make a raid, so they walk across the street to the post office. They walk up to this door and Sean Connery says "Once you walk through this door, there is no turning back". He was preparing Elliot Ness for the trouble that would follow by raiding Capone's whiskey. It is also your situation. Once you start this process, there is no turning back. Others have asked me how we were able to make such dramatic and very positive changes in our fire department. I always tell them that you have to start it and don't stop until it is finished. You can change the trustees and chief; you can get rid of the dead weight, but if you don't have a plan to continually improve your department and get the support of the others, what you will get is "OK, now what, smart guy?" And it could all end right there. You may want to brush up on the laws that affect fire departments, because alot of trustees aren't very sharp when it comes to knowing what they are supposed to know. What they do understand is that they don't want to be sued and lose their house. And they don't want to be bothered with the details unless it affects THEM. What can happen to you is if you are a fire protection district, the trustees have the power to appoint fire department members. Just because you may have been elected by the membership doesn't mean that they gave up that right, because it's the law. And that's why I say, if you start this, you have to see it through. Otherwise, you are just another malcontent causing trouble. Does this sound strange coming from a chief? Well, let me tell you that if I acted like some of my predecessors, I would expect to either be removed or killed! There in lies a problem as well. Alot of people don't know when it time to go or won't go when it's time to go. They think that the department can't function without them. You probably know someone like that. It can all tear at the fabric of a fire department.
            One last thing; if you are the new kid on the block, your credibility will be an issue because you "haven't been around the block" so to speak. It might help your cause to get some of the more experienced men in your corner.
            If you want to talk more, email me.
            "Yea, though I walk through the valley of Death, I fear no evil, for I am the meanest sonofabitch in the valley!"
            Kirk, take care and be careful.
            Visit www.iacoj.com
            Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
            RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)


            • #7
              First off Fyredup, cut the guy some slack. If you look closely you will see that this was his first post. He probably had no idea how much information would be viewable to everyone else. We just need to teach him about the edit feature
              Now as for advice, you don't say whether your department is municiapally supported or not. If it is, go to your county, municipality etc and tell them your concerns over training, then contact either your local OHSA office or whatever organization deals with labour issues (we have a Ministry of Labour here in Ontario)
              You may also want to bring up to the elder members that should someone be injured or god forbid killed during department business the department, county and the members themselves could be found legally responsible. Thats a huge liability issue!!


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