I've got members on my department who also are on EMS at a recent fatal fire I had a probationary member who was operating as an ETT for a body recovery and took it upon himself to take two SCBA's off another Engine at the station to deal with the smell neither are trained on using SCBA's and one isn't even on the department
So who do they answer to Russ?
Bottom line is that in the end, unless you are a private fire entity, you are going to answer to elected officials. Even if those you directly answer to may be the very same people comprising the dept, the reality is it goes beyond that control, because in actuality it is the elected officials of the areas of which you respond who determine services. This still means that despite the obstacles, there is still a chance to make the case that such poor attitudes won't be tolerated and that the dept won't harbor personnel who can not follow the rules.
Unfortunately John the buck stops there we are a stand alone nonprofit 501(C)3 entity with no local government!
So then who and what are you protecting?
It really doesn't matter, there really is no reason to endure such an attitude as this member may portray, you can and should look at disciplinary actions, even if you are a volly dept. It is tough to recruit and even retain personnel if such attitudes are so easily strewn.
Sure you may not have a lot of members, but the reasoning for asking who you answer to is the ability to go to those you protect and can say that you are limited with what you can do with manpower......and that there ARE standards involved. It takes away from the "take what you get" approach, because reality is, you don't have to take what you get. There IS (or should be) a give take, which means members conforming to the rules.
Give the probie 30 days off. Send a letter to the other subject's department stating policy of who may use SCBA. Both need to be educated verbally on the dangers they each presented your dept by leaving an engine without the required equipment. After the probie returns from suspension sit him down with all line officers present and give him a chance to apologize and be heard. If his responses (verbal and non verbal) lack contrition hand him a written explanation that another incident such as this will result in immediate termination.
Russ, my department is the same. Private non for profit company that contracts with the town. We have by-laws, corporate operating guidelines and firematic guidelines in addition to our fireground SOG's. This is serious. Forget about shorting the engine. What if this kid operated the pack and injured himself or others. Your company is wholly liable. This is real. If you're not trained, cleared or certified, whatever you want to call it, don't touch it. If he was injured, you know OSHA would to see his last quarterly SCBA training cert and annual fit test. He put the entire dept in jeopardy.
Russ I understand that not being a popular person being chief. I have seen guys become chief at small volunteer departments that wanted to be the popular chief and all that happened was the department ran in shambles. What this member needs to realize is you are not there to be he friend so to speak but to do as he is told and if needing to use some equipment needs to ask if it is possible. A question I would ask this member is, What would have happened if one of them had gotten hurt? How would he have been able to answer the question on the witness stand when the DA was questioning him. I.E Chief where those EMT's trained in using a Self Contained Breathing Apparatus? Chief is it common practice to allow a service not connected to you to use your equipment? Unfortunately in today's society as a officer you have to look at things like that and what this member has done is put you in a tough situation. Another thing I would do is write a SOP for disciplinary action and push for the board to approve of it.
Oh, you don't want advice; you only want comments that affirm your POV (as in "point of view", not "privately owned vehicle") and praise your many self-reported accomplishments.
"Believe me this is the last discussion I will start here if this is the kind of feedback that happens here."
Oh puhlease. Let me guess - You're gonna leave this place and start your own website?
And you think your main problem is finding new members... Fascinating.