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Morale on Response

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  • Morale on Response

    I know that the volunteer department i am in is having major staffing problems; as do every other department in the country. I feel that a major cause is canceling apparatus that are en-route or awaiting a crew. I know that it is a "safety" issue but when you expect the firefighters to leave their own lives to respond and then cancel them before they get to play with the truck it kills morale. Yeah maybe it will use a little more fuel but the guys will feel more like they have done someting worth while. Just my thoughts. Allowing response may help morale and recruitment

  • #2
    If I got canceled every time there was a run I'd get sick of it real quick. If they are already in route and the response time isn't going to be long, let them come in.

    It really stinks to drop everything at home, get your adrenaline going, and then get canceled. If that happens a lot people are going to get sick of it. At least going to the scene lets you see what's going on and lets your body get out of emergency mode a little slower.


    • #3
      Wait a minute guys, lets look at the other side of the fence. The run you are talking about is at a place of business. Having trucks in there needlessly only hampers business for your subscriber or taxpayer, let alone the fact that if you are responding needlessly (after need being canceled) and with the red lights running you are a huge liability for the dept.


      • #4
        First of all the members "did something" simply responding to a call for help, it is their job, the reason they volunteer and they should be commended for responding quickly. If people have low morale because they can't drive the trucks to a call using "the cherries and the noise" then it is my belief they need to find something else to occupy their spare time. We are NOT about the whoopies, we are about responding to calls for help, saving lives and property. When I am on duty and a call comes in am I not also required to drop what I am doing(supper, stocking a rig, in the can) and go? And if I am cancelled during that response, oh well.
        Secondly I don't see any safety issue in cancelling other units that are not on responding or that are waiting for full crews to respond. Just because members "want to play" as you put it is no reason to put apparatus on the road going code for no reason. Number one, it opens the liability up on your department if a wreck occurs and number two, just wait until town officals and the tax payers get wind your cruising for the sake of a joyride.
        On a constructive note maybe you should institute duty crews were only a certain portion of your department (1/4, 1/2, only guys with last names between A-M) respond on certain days or something. Break up the department into squads, companies, or battalions if you wish and then make a schedule for initial response. I.E., Squad A is on call from 8 am until 8 PM and Squads B and C only respond during those hours when a recall, second tone, working fire, etc. is done. This system worked for us until our call department dwindled away to near zilch also.
        Finally, take a look at the stats about how many of us die going to or coming from a call every year. Why tempt fate for then we don't have to?
        Proud to be an American, Union Firefighter!


        • #5
          Yeah your right, good call.

          It's still annoying though.


          • #6
            There are many things that motivate people.

            One of the motivations for many volunteers (and others) is to have a sense that your time is needed and valued.

            When you waste people's time, especially time their giving for free, it wears away on that sense.

            I suspect that's one of the main problems with Ambulances -- were probably 70 to 80% of people you transport should've or could've been taken by private vehicle, Taxi cab, or Police Cruiser.

            First, look at why the trucks are getting turned around so often. Is it possible to split the alarm assignment so not as much is called? I.E. for internal alarms, 1st Engine & Ladder only...then upgrade to a full 1st Alarm if more information is received?

            Second, look at duty crews and if they'll work in your situation.
            IACOJ Canine Officer


            • #7
              Chief, why don't you make every alarm a learning experience? When the units are not needed have them shut down their lights and drive into the scene. Once there have the first due officer or IC explain what happened, where the alarm was and why it went off. Show everyone how to locate alarms from info obtained at the panel. show the members the FDC, closest water supply, utilities, knox box, etc. When back at the station fill out a drill sheet for preplanning / systems. After some time your guys will know you buildings better than any of your neighboring departments know their buildings.

              You could also hand out info on CPR classes, pub ed material, and you'll get to know the property owners.

              You could even point out things that may get written up at an inspection. Let the owner avoid a hassle from inspectors. An alarm can be a great pr opportunity


              • #8
                I agree with Dalmation 90. It can get pretty old when just as you get your turnout pants pulled up, you hear, "Engine XX, recall." I hear the Pac Man dying sound in my head - "beeoo beeoo beeoo BWAP".

                But there is also the other side to consider, which is that we do this for the protection of lives and property, not necessarily for the "whoo whoos".

                Good suggestions by everyone - i.e. splitting the alarm assignments, duty crews.

                Me after getting recalled on the second alarm system call of the night:

                "Let's roll." - Todd Beamer, one of a group of American soldiers who handed the terrorists their first defeat.

                Joe Black

                The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone (but you can borrow them )and may not reflect those of any organization with which I am associated (but then again, they just may not be thinking clearly).


                • #9
                  If we are told to disregard and are the first due rig,we respond no lights no siren.We still have to take a report no matter what.Called CYOA.Had a cop at a traffic accident say"You dont need an engine send it back!"Our chiefs response was"Once you get a funny white hat like mine and a pair of rubber boots you can tell us where to go"All in fun mid you we get along well with our police.They sometimes see it as overkill but the day they need that engine company is the day they say "whew glad that was here too"No need to go crazy responding to a scene where their is no emergency,but it is also better to make sure you are not really needed.


                  • #10
                    If we're not needed, then send me home. Bad enough I could've been doing something of importance in my pathetic life, so if this call is nothing but a waste - let me take up and get on with life!

                    Dalmation 90, AMEN on the bus thing, though.
                    May God bless all the people and families who have lost
                    their lives on 9-11-01, to those also lost on Flight 587, and to the rescuers who responded to both.

                    "I'm not saying it's right, i'm just saying (the way it is)."

                    FDNY-EMS - Still New York's Best!

                    e-mail always accepted @
                    [email protected]


                    • #11
                      If getting called off lowers morale, then I suppose getting called for "stand-by" will cause a mass resignation! Seriously, though, when our department is duly dispatched by our dispatching center, we go. Only the officer-in-charge of the fire department has the authority to 10-22. Another public safety agency should not want the liability of that decision, so the best thing to do is to make sure that you are not needed; not from their perspective but from your perspective and do the right thing. I don't believe in mucking up traffic when it is unnecessary, but I also believe that things could go very wrong very quickly if the decision is taken out of the hands of the fire department. Anyone ever had people out of the vehicle walking around only to find out that they had a C-2 fracture? Anything wrong with providing scene lights, hoseline just in case or traffic control? It's those words "you are not needed" that lowers morale; not getting turned around. We get along with the cops just fine, because they understand that I won't play cop and they won't play Billy Blazes.
                      But since you got everyone together, how about a little vehicle maintenance, wash job or some other chore that needs done?
                      Buck up, chief. It could be worse.
                      Stay safe.
                      Visit www.iacoj.com
                      Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
                      RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)


                      • #12
                        Seriously, though, when our department is duly dispatched by our dispatching center, we go. Only the officer-in-charge of the fire department has the authority to 10-22.

                        Well, I can't read Cheif Gebel's mind...but the way I read his original post wasn't fire department responses being cancelled by another agency like the Police, but extra units getting returned.

                        In our area what annoys me (including my own departments use of it in some situations) of Automatic Mutual Aid on internal alarms. Lots of extra resources getting started and turned around for something that is often false. 9/10 Internal alarms or greater are false. At least when we're AMA for a reported structure fire I know we have about a 50/50 shot of being put to work...and even in the other 50% at least most of the time it was a real fire, just one the 1st due company could handle.
                        IACOJ Canine Officer


                        • #13
                          I agree with ADSN/WLFD. No matter what the response is for, you do have an opportunity to learn from it. By actually getting to the scene and observing what happened and why it happened, firefighters can learn more about the job.


                          • #14
                            For about the last 10 years, the number 2 cause of firefighter fatalities has been vehicle accidents - responding to and returning from alarms. Vehicle accidents account for nearly 25% of all FF duty fatalities. I hope nobody ever has to deal with another FF LODD, but if it does happen (and statisitcs say it will before this week is up), let's not say we were 'just doing it to increase morale' was the cause.

                            If I am the IC and I cancel incoming units, please don't take it personal. I have an incident that I am trying to mitigate safely with the right configuration of resources. I don't need any additional vehicles, especially those arriving with lights and sirens, to add to the confusion that I am trying to sort. If I send you home, it only means that I didn't need you this time.

                            The idea of continuing in without lights/sirens for educational or public relation reasons is a good idea. However, remember that not every incident is the place for this type of exposition. Maybe the initial IC can make that determination.

                            Just my ideas.


                            • #15
                              Morale can get low when response after response gets {as we call it here} "Re-Called" ~ Re-Calls happen because it is determined that the services of the Fire Department are not needed. This happens in alot of cases in response to Malfunctioning or Intentional False Alarms or Calls that are Unfounded. ~ My Chief will arrive on scene make his size up and determination and hold the assignment to what he needs {Either The Engine and/Or Ladder} and hold the balance in quarters. ~ Other times if the Equipment hasn't been on the road in a few days he'll allow them all {Two Engines, Ladder, and Utility Truck} to roll out just to blow the "Cob-Webs" Out. ~ I've responded from Home dozens and dozens of times only to hear a Re-Call Sounded while I'm on the Way to the station {I have a 4 Mile Drive to the Station so it takes me a little bit of time..about 6-8 Minutes sometimes} All I do is Shut the "Whacker Lights" Off and go with the flow until I reach the Hall. ~ We still get credit for responding either way. ~ To Answer the original Question Yes I do get frustrated sometimes over getting re-called but thats the nature of the business we're in
                              ***The Opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect those of the Department to which I am a Member ! ***

                              Stratford Fire Co. # 1.."Any Job ~ Any Place ~ Any Time"

                              Check us Out www.stratfordfire.com


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