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


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Russ -

"a probationary member... took it upon himself to take two SCBA's off another Engine at the station to deal with the smell... "

Seriously?  What a wuss - IMHO probably not cut out for either firefighting or EMS.

We'd give him a sippy cup at every meal and the nickname "Rose" (as in, "smelling like a...") and more importantly the numero uno spot in every subsequent body recovery until he either got over it and got better at his JOB, or  he could find another hobby.

Yeah, you can be fired from a volunteer position, for not following the department regulations as well as for being unable to handle the realities of the work.


Where's the "like" button?

The men can't deal with the "smell" without a Pak, and the chief can't deal with the men without seeking advice on FFN. Bad situation all the way around.

WestPhilly I started this forum as a discussion not to seek advice. I delt with the situation as I see fit swiftly and with confidence in my decision. Our department is structured like no other department I have ever been on where as the board of directors is made up of the senior staff some of which are his friends and as per our bylaws which are rarely followed I might add . As Chief I have very little power to repremand a member unless on the fireground where ICS guidelines allows me to. So hopefully this gives you a brief window into the crap I have to deal with on a daily basis. Furthermore I am currently in the process of establishing a new fire dept. for the area I live in and can break away from KennyLake community which is basically governed by hillbilly politics. Welcome to my world...


The title of your discussion looked suspiciously like advice-seeking. Be that as it may, we are indeed from two different worlds.

First mistake is allowing Probies to have access to the fire department without a reg member being present! They are on probation because you do not know their abilities or personal agenda's.

WP - 

I'm gonna go with what he said. He didn't start this forum seeking advice, I wonder why he decided to air his comments here? Hmmm.... 

So someone who was working for EMS used really poor judgement and needed to be reprimanded BUT not by him, by the EMS sector Chief. This has NOTHING to do with "freelancing" - IMHO this title was just to draw attention to his posting.

No, this poster doesn't want advice about "chain of command." He just used it as an opportunity to... complain about department politics and to inform the world he is gonna start his OWN department not "governed by hillbilly politics," and you failed to be suitably impressed.

Hope you and your crew are all safe -


  FireSiren the person in question volunteers for both EMS and the Fire Dept. but when he decided to take the SCBA's from the engine he was operating under the command of EMS. Also this isn't the first incident with this guy. Yes it has been very frustrating to say the least. My main reason for starting this discussion was to see if any other rural FD were dealing with the same issues as I am. Since taking over the operations of this department we now have insurance and workmans comp for the first time ever! No longer is the town drunk allowed to operate apparatus.We now have SOP's that don't look like a 5th grader wrote and have a structured training program.Now I am not looking for a pat on the back nor looking to get my chops busted. Believe me this is the last discussion I will start here if this is the kind of feedback that happens here. As for my reference to Hillbilly Politics if I offended anybody by that I apologise.

  Believe me Mike if it were up to me he would be gone in a flash, unfortunately some people join the dept. to further their own self serving agenda. We are down to a handful of members and only 4 of which are dedicated to saving life and property in my tenure so far I wear many hats. Not only do I personally maintain the fleet I also apply for grants to replace old equipment and in many cases still find myself at the end of the nozzle. Fortunately I now have an Asst. Chief whom I trust to delegate some of this to and I can focus on my duties. One my my biggest challanges has been recruiting and retaining new younger members who are willing to learn and listen.We have came a long way from what it used to be like and am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel but know I still have a ways to go. 

Who do YOU answer to as the fire chief? Is it a board of commissioners, a town/village administrator, council, what?


If you truly want to make changes, then you have to look at the very top and go from there. Just because you may be a volly dept and have limited members does not mean that rules and discipline can not be implemented. If, as you say, you talked with this member in question, and what you posted was his reply, there is no reason he shouldn't be disciplined, or even let go.

One my my biggest challanges has been recruiting and retaining new younger members who are willing to learn and listen



John you are going to love this one I answer to an Executive board which is made up of all the senior staff on the department. ie Asst. Chief,Senior Engineer,Training/Safety Officer, Property Officer and Treasure/Secretary so you can see the quagmire I am faced with. It doesn't make sense but that's just the way our dept. is structured. The only time I have any real authority is on the fire ground or at an incident !!!

  Very true Mike and I do just that which hasn't made me a very popular guy around the department but I don't care it's not a popularity contest and my main focuse is to keep all the members safe while providing the best possible service to the community. Thank you for the positive feedback.

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