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Opinions and Comments on the Detroit Fire Department Crisis.

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  • #16
    Indy, I believe Detroit uses a lot of different appartus. From what I know they are ... ALF, Sutphen, and Ford bread type vans for Squads. Their new engines are ALF Metropolitan.

    62 Engine 67 Truck ... The Pride of the West Side


    • #17
      Everyone agrees that this is a pretty sad situation. Being from metro Detroit I've heard my share of stories and I believe there is blame to be placed at all levels of that department. But I also believe that the City of Detroit is slowly climbing out of it's hole that past city administrations have stuck them in. Mayor Dennis Archer and his administration have really begun to turn things around (believe it or not). There are alot of major corperations moving back into the city that left 2 decades ago, which is only going to make things better. Maybe this bad press is the best thing that can happen at this point so that the fire dept. can get the attention they deserve. hopefully 5 years down the road, with much needed changes, this dept. will be seen in a much brighter light.


      • #18
        I take exception to the comment that the Commissioner made blaming the firefighters in the city for abuse of sick leave and injury time. He is a military man, and an officer. As such, it is inexcusable and extremely poor leadership to blame the troops. He, as the leader, is responsible for the problems within the department, not the troops. He requires them to work with unsafe trucks and equipment, in addition to risking their lives on a daily basis, and then blames them for the problems that he is not competant enough to fix. His actions reflect poorly upon himself, the department, and the Army, and are undoubtedly demotivating to his personnel. It is definately not the responsibility of the firefighters. I commend them for continuing to serve their community under these conditions; they are an admirable breed, and a tribute to the profession.


        • #19
          Yes I can agree that these problems are not only faced by the Detroit FD, but by Fire departments across the country. I do hope that the press that the Detroit Fire Department recieves from this newspaper report allows them to correct the situation.

          That having been said, I do agree with several other postings that have been made- that there is more than enough blame to go around, and while the majority of the blame should fall on the Administration -- I don't feel that the Department is blameless here. How long have hings been this bad? This situation didn't occur overnight. These problems have been festering for some time.

          I hope that they do get things turned around. The citizens of Detroit deserve better.

          OSU Matt -- Yes- the Commissioner is a military man, and yes he should probably apply some of the leadership principles and traits that he learned in the Army, and apply them to his current position-- but don't make sweeping generalities. Have you served? Do you know all the facts? Do you know-- other than from what has been reported in the newspaper articles, specific situations -- PROBABLY NOT. And guess what - neither do I.

          There is a time and a place for the pot to call the kettle black. Maybe this was the time--??

          I wouldn't pass judgement on someone, unless I knew all the facts.



          "In Omnia Paratus"

          -- The opinions presented here are my own; and are not those of any organization that I belong to, or work for.


          • #20
            If you look at Detroits History, these results are inevitable.
            A minority mayor elected by minorities on the promise of easy welfare, free this, free that, low income this, low income that, financial subsidies for all this laziness...what does one expect.
            A major Detroit City newspaper continually reports how the "Hard working", "Tax paying" citizens fed up with being squeezed to death by taxes, left Detroit in droves.
            The laziness of the many was being subsidized by the taxes of the working few, and they were fed up and left.
            When any society panders to the lazy, the welfare queens, etc., and overspends tax money on pork barrel social programs, then all basic quality of life services suffer.
            The well does run dry. The cow runs out of milk, etc.,etc.

            Perhaps Detroit should indict the current and former Mayor(s) for starters, and all the inept political appointees and hacks. Then recoup some of the money these folks used to line their pockets instead of providing the money to ensure the safety of their citizens and firefighters.
            If the Fire Department is in this bad of shape, I can only shudder and imagine what other city services are like.

            I don't feel you can blame the Union for the decline either. Most unions these days are impotent in regards to negotiations with management.
            Yes, the union folks can thump their chests, talk big to the media, raise concerns through scare tactics, but the bottom line is there is NO positive long term effect.

            Lets sit back, take a deep breath and say a prayer for those dedicated and brave men and women who despite a plethora of daily obstacles, still go and get the job done!

            My hat is off to them!!!!!


            • #21
              I have been following the Detroit Fire Dept. for almost 26 years. This city and all its services have been in a steady decline since that time. Don't underestimate the power of their union, it has successfully fought off
              every effort to change the promotional system. I attended the National Fire Academy with a member of their dept. who became Chief soon after. I later ran into him at the FDIC with then Fire Commissioner Melvin Jefferson. The bottom line was, neither of them got it. Neither seemed to understand the workings of a modern fire protection system. Corrupt govt., bad hiring & promotional practices, lack of adequate training,no management or leadership, no one being held accountable for anything, has led the DFD to the point where it is now. What was once a great and beautiful city has been ruined, prbably beyond repair.


              • #22
                I am glad that I do not work, or live for that matter, in Detroit.


                FIrefighters are the chosen people.

                My views do not reflect that of my department or the United States Air Force


                • #23
                  Unfortunately, Lieutenant 25 said a LOT in his first paragraph, and it's all true! Systems such as this cannot provide even the minimal level of service that they need to. The people themselves have brought this on themselves by electing a gov't that panders to their own laziness. If no one is working, who is paying the taxes to buy better equipment, hire sufficient personnel, and just maintain the equipment they have?!? (I know this is over-stating the situation, and over-simplification, but work with me on the concept, ok? ) I do not feel sorry for the citizenry. I feel sorry for the firefighters who put their lives on the line in this situation.

                  In terms of the media/press coverage: in my experience, media/press coverage is a flash in the pan with little or no follow-up, and therefore, it's embarassing to the officials in the short term, but little gets done.

                  Although nothing is said, there is a strong implication that at least part of the problem has to do with the city's mechanics and maintenance. Training mechanics and paying for upkeep and maintenance is far cheaper than buying just one new truck every year, and in return, you get your entire fleet working, at least adequately, I would hope. Wonder why no one in Detroit has figured this out, yet???

                  We definitely don't know many of the aspects of the situation, but it is clearly obvious to anyone, even one who isn't knowledgeable about the fire service at all, that there are major, glaring mistakes there in Detroit.

                  [This message has been edited by Mic13 (edited November 08, 2000).]


                  • #24
                    In my honest opinion the problems with the DFD is,
                    A: The City Management
                    B: The Maintence Dept
                    C: The FD for allowing such backward promotions, times change so do policies
                    D: The firefighters who just sat around and let the department fall down around them, they let it, they should have put their respective feet down and said enough is enough they have known the longest and let it slide

                    Kevin Wiseman
                    Oklahoma State University School Of Fire Protection
                    Ponderosa FD, Houston Texas


                    • #25
                      Why does the local union stand by and allow its members work under these conditions without raising hell? Or are they raising hell?


                      • #26
                        Very good discussion on this topic, and I just wanted to lend my $.02 to it.

                        My Grandmother lives 2 miles inside the northern border of Detroit, and has attempted to call the FD, EMS and Police within the city many times over the past few years for various emergencies.

                        It's not just the Fire Department in Detroit that has problems!! When my Grandfather had his first stroke, it took EMS over 45 minutes to arrive at their house. I understand that this is still typical of the response today. As a matter of fact, my Grandmother fell in her bathroom and needed transport. That was 2 years ago, and she is still waiting for the ambulance to arrive!!

                        My Grandmothers next door neighbor had the front window of her house shot out 4 years ago, and is still waiting for the Police to arrive to take a report.

                        The conditions we have read about with the Fire Department in Detroit are deplorable. No one should be asked to live or work in a City that is run like Detroit is.

                        I will give credit to Archer though, he has started a turn-around, but I think turn-around is going to take twice as long to implement as the problem existed. 50 years from now, Detroit will once again be a great place to live and work!

                        Keep up the good work, and stay safe!


                        • #27
                          My concerns are with the hiring process. I have applied for DFD along with my brother. We both have all our training. I have been a FF for 7 years as a Paid-on-Call. My brother has been a FF for 11 years as a Paid-on-Call. We both have seen a lot and learned a lot. We went throught the application process and the testing process and have yet to hear from them. Im sure were not the only ones who have training and experiance that arent even considered. They are hiring the minorities with no training and experiance. What is the problem here? Im not saying not to hire these people, but I think they would have a better department if they would hire the ones that know what they are doing and have the desire to be a dedicated FF and not just to have a job. This carreer is not just a job its is a killer that needs to be treated like one. You cant just give someone a job because of thier race or sex. I hope things change soon and the dedicated FF get the equipment and backup(FF) they deserve. To all the dedicated Detroit Firefighters......"PLEASE BE SAFE AND PATIENT YOUR DAY IS COMING".

                          [This message has been edited by FIREFLY2420 (edited November 09, 2000).]


                          • #28
                            Everyone has a blame in this. The Blackcoats for putting up with a lousy situation and not doing anything. The officers for not looking out for the good & welfare of their Blackcoats. The Chiefs for being incompetent and not stepping down or refusing the appointments to be chief officers. The city fathers for also being incompetent appointing incompetent chiefs, and letting the Dept. go to hell in a handbasket.

                            ---FF McDonald, Texasff62 kinda sounds like here doesn't it?---

                            The statements above are my own opinions

                            FF Greg Grudzinski
                            Oaklyn Fire Dept.
                            Station 18-3

                            [This message has been edited by ENGINE18-3 (edited 11-10-2000).]


                            • #29
                              I agree with one of the earlier posts. They must do away with senority based promotions if they want to see change.


                              • #30
                                As a firm advocate of the seniority promotional system, let me give you the lowdown on this system and my background. I hold a B.A. in Administration and an A.S. in Fire Science. I also instructed for 16 years on the state, local and county level. I also taught on the college level. First off, you will end up with unqualified officers regardless of the system you have. I have personally met fire officers who can pass an exam and know the book from front to back, but can't make fast and correct decisions on the fireground. An officer in detroit has a minimum of 16 years and has been involved in every type of situation you can think of. Experience is and will always continue to be the best teacher. 95% of our officers have college degrees and have taken classes fron leadership to records and reports and on thier own with no help or backing from the administration or the city. If you use a book to make all or the majority of your decisions, eventually the wrong decision will be made. You cannot fight fires from a book. I also have 28 years and over 6500 hrs fire service and many hours of rescue, haz-mat and administration. Detroits record on firefighter deaths and injuries speak for itself. a study done in 1987 proved that detroit has one of the best records for for not losing firefighters and our injury rates are highly acceptable considering the low staffing. The department is not run or controlled in anyway by firefighting personnel. All the power and decisions lay with the non-firefighting personnel running this dept. The chief has no say or control over the decisions made by the administration. We also have in place a performance evaluation by an individuals Battallion chief which can grant or deny a promotion.Denying promotions have happened before and will happen again. Experience is the best teacher and i would with no hesitation, match our Officers with any department in the country. As the old saying goes, if you've never been there, you don't know. Don't knock a system you have no understanding of. Seniority forever.

                                [This message has been edited by FireLt1951 (edited 11-14-2000).]

                                [This message has been edited by FireLt1951 (edited 11-14-2000).]


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