This is for opinions on volunteer companies/departments and there apparatus being canceled enroute routinely.


I was a volunteer Chief, I understand the safety concern of apparatus being on the road in both emergency and nonemergency mode.  I used to cancel apparatus enroute often. 


I am currently a black hat, and in a totally different department, and I am becoming discouraged quickly with being "canceled enroute" more times than not.  I am second guessing my decisions I made with canceling units enroute for moral reasons.


Should the apparatus be allowed to continue to the scene with no lights and sirens?


Does it effect the moral of firefighters to be canceled more time than not?


If it does not sound like a "good call" do less people show up because of being canceled so much?


Is it really a safety hazard to have the apparatus on the road in nonemergency mode?


Let me know what you think!



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Ok, short of just going to the station and taking the trucks out for a drive. When the call comes in you respond to what ever the need is. If your not needed then your cancelled. This isnt a priveledge thing here Bro. Every time that apparatus rolls there is expense and liability involved. I am sure its a bummer to get all hyped up and respond on a call an then be cancelled. I have heard it many times from my firefighters. Why did you cancell us. HUM??? thats a tough call. You wernt needed. Sure you could go ahead and come to the scene but for what? just so you could take a ride and feel real cool because your riding around in a big red fire truck? Second, this is an issue for you to be discussing with your Chief not us. What do we have to do with your cituation or have some ability to change it. If I was your chief (an thank Gog I am not) I would want to be hearing this from you rather then the posibility that someone would contact me and ask me if I was aware that someone on my department was posting questiona about how I do business on the internet for all to see and question. Quickest way to be sitting in my office answering questions bro. If your Chief or officers are making the discision to cancel you its based on what they see upon arrival and the discision that your not needed. Works for me.
Yes, the equiptment should be allowed to keep responding to the scene but with no lights or siren.
I know with my department we get a lot of Automatic fire alarms. 4 people at the most show up for those only because we get cancelled most of the time.
To me having the apparatus on the road is not a safety issue because to me its just considered another vehicle, but with benefits.
Send 'em home. They're not needed. You've answered your own questions, stop second guessing.
I would much rather be cancelled en route or while at the station than continuing on to a call where I'm not needed. I consider my time somewhat valuable and getting cancelled only costs me 15 minutes out of my life whereas it might take an hour to go to a scene and return.

I think it would be worse for my morale to have to go to scene even when not needed. That would be a much bigger let-down and woudl waste my time.
Thanks for all the replies everyone.....great opinions from lots of people....Good to see the feelings of people too....
Well its a waste of time, and fuel for the apparatus to go to an incident and not be needed, We get canceled every now and then just because were not needed, i've been a few accidents where our rescue pulls up for a fender benders, and people complaining of back pains, so we just get off the truck and just stand there.
I myself is an active asst chief I have a good policy. Our paging for structure fires is us pluse 2 other fd's. When I get on sceen and see its a false alarm or my guys can handle it I cancale the other fd's and keep us going. We dont never have hurt feelings. All of us have the theroy "rather be called and not needed then needed and not called"
I agree 100% with you Marty, we have the same problem in our fire district, we have a large district with 2 firehouses which houses an engine, a tanker, and a rescue at one, and an engine, a pumper-tanker, and a rescue at the other. We have a district chief, and 2 assistant chief's at each firehouse. I am at the first firehouse that I described and the district chief is out of the second firehouse I described, well the district chief & the two assistants at his firehouse cancel the units fom my firehouse at least 75% - 85% of the time. Well now it is hard to get our people to respond because they are tired of being cancelled all the time. Let me give you a couple calls we were cancelled on. This am 4:30am we get called vehicle leaking fuel we get cancelled they are going to handle. I get there because I went directly to the scene there is me one firefighter from ther firehouse, 2 drivers, & 2 chiefs ffrome their firehouse there they are attempting to put a bucket under the vehicle to catch the fuel, well there is one guy on the ground putting the bucket under & I am lfting the vehicle by myself & the guy on the ground says can you lift a little higher, so there are the 2 chiefs standing there doing nothing & I said I know you all got white helmets and can not do anything but stand there and stare at me but can someone give me a hand, and one of the chiefs said well you were doing such a good job I didn't want to interupped you.. Well first off if they had not cancelled my firehouse they would have had more manpower to do the job, which also was going to require speedy dry etc. another call we had been called mutual aid to the thruway to assist a neighboring department with an MVA, well again are other station responded with their engine, and cancelled our station, 20 minutes later after I was almost back home they called & now wanted our engine to respond because there was a possibility that a person was ejected & they want our thermal imaging camera as an additional camara for the search. Another call was an EMS we got to the firehouse & called rsponding & was told by our other firehouse again one of the assistant chief from that firehouse to cancel they were handling the call, so we stood on the ramp of our firehouse and about five minutes later the rescue from the other firehouse passed by us & proceeded to the call which was down the street from our firehouse. So now the district chief & commissioners are constantly asking why no one shows up from our firehouse when there is a call. LOW MORALE you bet there is, and in my opinion there is never a reason to cancel members of the same fire district if there is anything that needs to be done or might need to be done. If they are mutual aid and you don't need them yes then cancel them. Old saying many hands make light work! Kevin C. Ross Ex - Assistant Chief, Ex - Captain, Ex - Lieutenant, current firefighter x 40 years.
Kevin, to me this sounds like more of a pissing contest as oppossed to cancelling units for a specific reason, ie; not needed. This sort of behaviour needs to be addressed and clear SOP's put in place to describe the process and requirements for a cancellation ,etc.
Its not a pissing contest it is a fact of cancelling units on every call and then expecting the limited amount of personnel on scene to do all the work as I said above also many hands make light work, there is no reason not to continue all units even if down graded to non- emergency , if nothing else all firefighters can learn from every call & every call should be critiqued no matter how little or how routine (which by the way there is no such thing as a routine call.) These cancelled calls are only because the chief's choose to continuously cancel our station which in turn results in low moral and people stop responding at all. I know I told you above about some of the calls such as the one where they had to drive past us to get to the call while we were told by a chief to stay in quarters, how many time would you want to go to the firehouse & be told to stay in quarters before you don't stop sleeping, eating, watching TV, SPENDING LIMITED QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY to be told stand down. Also as stated above I have been doing this for 40 years and I still respond to every call when I am not at work. We are not looking to continue to false alarms, etc. just when there is a call when some type of assistance is needed (Fire, EMS, Service call etc.) not to be told to stand down 75 - 85% of the time, and just for the record I have been with my current department 2.5 years and have responded to the most calls every year including the first year when I was only their for 6 months.despite being cancelled 75% - 85% of the time. not that it means anything to be number one in responses, I don't do it to be number one, I do it because people need help & I am proud & honored to be well trained to help them. So if you want to disrespect my opinion still call it a pissing match go a head but, I will still be their when our residence are in harms way and need assistance. Kevin C. Ross

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