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Pumping Cellars / Mixed Emotions

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  • Pumping Cellars / Mixed Emotions

    With the heavy rains yesterday our department did a few pumping details
    Does your dept. pump cellars?
    Some departments around us have given it up all together.

    Over the years we appear to have gone from pumping out everything, to flooded basements that are about to create a hazard with the utilities like power and heat.

    I have mixed emotions. Yes it is not the fun and excitement that I signed up for, in fact it gets down right boring.

    What bothers me is as you arrive at the houses that are last on the list and the homeowner comes out with "Took you Long enough". I feel like telling them to do it themselves or buy or fix their sump pump!!!!
    Then there are the ones that won't even say "Thank You" as your leaving.
    Lets not forget the ones that we do after every big storm. I'm at the point that I'm going to recommend at our next meeting that we give out sump pumps in addition to smoke detectors.

    Then there is the little old lady on the fixed income that is so appreciative and would give you the sweater off her back.
    I also feel bad for the people who have major damage / cracking of their basement floors and you know they can't afford to fix it.
    I also can't loose site of the fact that the water is as damaging as if the people had a fire.

    Just venting... Wish it was snow instead of rain
    Last edited by osfd100; 03-03-2007, 10:06 AM.
    If I'm not here I'm on http://ctfire-ems.com/indexc.php

  • #2
    We will only pump a basement if the electrical utilities are compromised. You are right though about people not appreciating what the fire departments provide to these communities, especially the volunteers. I am not sure how these people would appreciate their mill rates going up 10 to 12 mills to provide paid services in these towns. They complain about taxes as it is.

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    • #3
      As much as pumping basements sucks, no pun intended it is still part of the job. No its not running into a burning building and grabing the baby and single handedly knocking down the fire it is important. There are pleanty of people that may not be physically able to pump out their basements. No it is not a life or death situation but the majority of the people that you do pump them out for are extreamly greatful because they cannot do it themselvs. If they could they wouldn't have called in the first place. Perhaps what you could do is like you said, give out pumps. That gets kinda expensive. Better yet next time you are there offer to take a look at the existing pump and see if there is a clog or something that you can fix while you are there. This makes the "customer" happy and it makes you happy because it is one less basement you have to pump next time around. I don't know what kind of department you are from; paid or vollie. Personally I am from a volunteer department and that is what we do and ususally it is something very simple that we can fix. Maybe you could bring that up at your meeting as well. Just my thoughts.

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      • #4
        Its part of the job. CUSTOMER SERVICE.

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        • #5
          Fortunately with the exception of a single commercial building, we don't have "repeat customers" for water problems. The commercial guy calls when his four existing large sump pumps are losing the battle.

          I really don't mind them -- it's a legitimate problem and if we have tools or equipment to help (sump pumps or portable pumps...I don't believe in using apparatus for it), let's help. It only takes one or two guys in a POV pickup to handle.

          Several years back we had a 7" rain storm one afternoon. One pour guy had a 12" culvert under his driveway that couldn't handle the flow...I pulled up to investigate the call, in some good luck the guy was a Mason by trade and had a big pile of sand. He was watching the water level in his yard rise closer and closer to the casement windows. Ran back to the station, grabbed sandbags, and myself, another FF I snagged at the station, and the homeowner sandbagged his driveway. Managed to avoid a major flood of his basement -- my math said we were diverting 7,500gpm from his front yard.

          Another good feeling call that evening was a woman with about 9" and rising in her basement. Short conversation, "I have a curtain drain...this has never happened before..." Went out back with her and a flashlight and found the drain outlet -- and removed the thick layer of leaves covering it. Works much better without them

          Same night was the only person whose ever annoyed me -- she was obviously bent out of shape when I walked on her hardwood floors with my 3/4s on...so I already suspected something wasn't right. Open the basement door and I see dry concrete...walk down to find a whopping 20 square feet in one corner is wet. She was not happy to hear, "Nothing we can do, call us when it's 6" high."

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