I'm not really sure where I should stir up this conversation so I decided to do it here.  Our Department has been struggling since about March.  Everything from Drama that should never be brought to the firefighter level, Administrative Changes, and a HUGE Moral issue.  Of course we struggle with about the same thing that a lot of volunteer departments struggle with and that is man power.  The Drama and smack talking from some people is not helping get people on the department.

Anyone have any ideas or similar situation they could give some kind of advice?  We did have a Strong Department at one time but it seemed like when crap hit the fan it was by the truck loads!!!

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Wyatt, I'm glad to hear your department is looking to move forward. Good luck to you all.


Jason, I still do not know if you would say anything if you saw something wrong on the fire ground. I follow orders myself on every call unless I know it will get me or my crew hurt or killed then I will not come out and refuse but will question the call. Sometime the commanding officer does not have all the pieces of the puzzle and by questioning a little we can prevent major devastation on the fire ground. The same is true around the fire house. Nobody really likes change; but if you were to ask someone what they don't like about such and such you would most likely get we have done it this why for 100 years why change it now! I heard this for the first 5 years in my department. I would just look at them and say lets just give it a try and see how it works out. If we all don't like it after a couple of months we can see if we can go back to the old way. You would not believe how many would say yea you may be right. Drama in the fire house effects everyone and everyone as to work at making sure it doesn't last to long. This is the stuff that tears a lot of departments apart and leads to their down fall.

Not saying to be cocky about it just saying being a new guy look for ways you can approve the situation if all the old timers walk out you will find you will not learn half as much as you could. Books are alright but true wisdom and knowledge will come from the guys that have years of experience and got to go to lots of fires.

Awesome Blog Talk!!!  Thank you so much for the information!!!

I hear what you are saying about the BS in your department and not that it makes it any easier but I don't think there is a fire department out there, or any other organization for that matter that has not gone through the same thing in the past, going through it now, or will go through it in the future. To add to the bad news this will not be a one time thing that will go away eventually and never come back again.

The only solution I can offer is the brothers and sisters have to think about why they are there TO SAVE LIVES and PROPERTY, and ignore all the BS, do your job and go home. I have been a firefighter for 43 years I have held every position from Jr. Firefighter to Chief and the only way I have been able to continue to do my job is to ignore everything else I go to the calls and when I have completed my tasks to SAVE LIVES and PROPERTY I go home and don't get involved in any BS at the firehouse. I don't go to business meetings, I don't get involved in politics.  I don't care what anyone does or says I ignore them, and I SAVE LIVES and PROPERTY. I am A FIREFIGHTER not a social club member, I am not there to be a great guy, or to be everyone's buddy or enemy I am there to be A FIREFIGHTER. All I can tell you is to remember why you joined the fire department, and any of your brothers and sisters who are upset and may leave remind them why the joined the fire department TO BE A FIREFIGHTER. If anyone in your department is harassing another firefighter verbally or physically. The Chief and/or Commissioners must step up and put a stop to it immediately, and issue the consequences to the person or person's.  The Chief and/or Commissioners are the employer and therefore, must protect their employee's.

Kevin C. Ross

We have all the same problems but remembering just like real brothers we argue.  Letting the drama get out of hand and spread is the fault of everyone... its the responsibility of all of us to squash the rumors and drama.  Its hard enough to do the job we do with the physical and financial challenges we face.  The old phrase loose lips sink ships is every bit as true for us.  As been said strong leadership and squashing BS is a big key, But if you don't stop the BS when it comes to you, its part of the problem.  One of our guys stopped an argument in our station the other day... "we have meetings for this so that everyone can have a say" I wont drone on but take a stand and stop the trash talking yourself.  Moral will get better as long as we stay a family.

command changeovers are always a strain on the moral as many people think they could do better.

they also conveniently forget their oaths.

i agree with the others, strong leadership like don said is important.

convincing the old timers to assist their new chief is a monumental task but they should be reminded of the fact that the new chief was chosen by a majority vote (in a volunteer dept) due to their qualifications and the possible improvements they may contribute.

failure to comply by the old timers undermines the authority and can easily destroy a department

and they should be reminded of their oath and held to it.

rather than spending time complaining how something is run wouldn't it be better to use a suggestion box

and start the notes like this might help or just a suggestion to help out these can be anonymous or add a name and contact me for further details and on an added note to this be polite on your suggestions

sarcastic notes or suggestions will only add fuel to a fire

being former military I was taught discipline from the start. I know i cannot expect civilians to take it seriously but in a fire department they are not civilians any more, but they most likely will not have the benefit of a boot-camp training method! so its hard for them to learn a military style discipline.

a fire department /ems /police service is a brotherhood/sisterhood of dedicated people.

and yes it should be run like a military branch, leaders are chosen for their quick thinking and judgment in a stressful situation, and this is something that is observed over a period of time.

no tolerance for BS. is a mandatory requirement in a good department.

Moral is important and from what ive seen on other forum sites there is a serious problem with most of them. some people view fire police as 2 steps lower than dog S#!t and treat them like it.

Yet we are part of the department! we take our orders from the police first then the scene chief, That means if it isn't safe for the pumper or tanker crew to enter the scene you will be held back until it is. and you wouldn't believe the abuse we often get for it.

If you are going to be a member of the fire department /ems/police services a good thing to learn from the onset is Leave the BS at the door and do not bring it into the firehouse.  (it might be a good idea to put that on a sign above each door

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