Should a member who showes up to a trainning course under the influence of alchol and kicked out of that trainning couse still be apart of the company? From a recent story i have heard there was a member from a company that showed up to a course under the influence and all he got was a slap on the wrist and that was it, i dont know if thats the type of person i would want manning a hose behind me or on a search and rescue team with me not only putting the patience life in danger but everyone in the companies and myself

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no no no you do not show up for anything with a drink in your system
If it were up to me, I'd send the impaired individual home, asking two other members to transport them and their vehicle back to their home.

On top of that, I'd instate a 2-week to 1-month suspension.

Training is training, whether it's classroom or hands-on. Plus, as someone else stated before, a run may come in during the duration of the training. One rule in my firehouse is that if you're in the building, you've got to go (depending on the call - you can't have 30 people pack into an ambulance for an EMS run).

Should the member be booted from the fire department? No, especially if it's their first offense. They should be reprimanded appropriately. If it's a common occurrence, then the said member should be sat down and talked to. Maybe there's something more to the situation. Maybe they have a large amount of stress on their shoulders and they are utilizing alcohol to self-ventilate their emotions. Maybe they're in trouble. Overall, it may be a subconscious call for help. Don't let the helpless fall through the cracks, especially when they are one with your brotherhood/sisterhood.
What is your definition of "under the influence"? Smell it on their breath? Impaired in their functions? 1 drink?

Technically, one is under the influence after 1 drink.
I think kicking them out fo the class is a good thing, however barring him from the company may be detrimental.

You could be looking at the beginning or continuing stages of alchholism, and the FD may be all this person has. I would try and help this person by stipulating that in order to continue with membership they submit to regular alchol screenings and attend an AA program oe conselor. I would also offer as a company to foot the bill for this (as a career firefighter would have done for them if they asked for employee assistance)

Bottom line is life is stressful and we owe it to one another to help each other out, we just delt with a member suicide in my FD last year...all the signs were there just no one took the time to say hey wanna talk?
That changes things just a little.
Times they are a changing
It wasnt that many years ago when almost every volunteer dept in the state had a full fledged bar in it.
That was a part of the volunteer culture, hang out at the FD in your own private club.
There are still a few Depts that have booze, but for the most part they have policies against showing up at a fire so drunk you couldnt hit your butt with both hands.
Ahhhh the good old days, somethings needed changing.
Interesting that the people on this page didn't (bother?) to read the OP response;
Reply by Jason Abram on May 13, 2011 at 10:58am
thank you all for the replys and this individual is both underage and it was a ff1 class

This has nothing to do with alcoholism, or the definition of 'under the influence.' This was a MINOR who showed up to his FF1 class smelling of alcohol. The police should have been notified as well as the parents and the individual should have been kicked out of his department. Anything less is simply condoning underage drinking.

Kicking the individual MAY appear harsh but, this person showed a complete lack of responsibility and maturity, endangered himself with the potential to endanger others. And exactly HOW did this individual show up at FF1? Did he drive?

Five (5) people responded without bothering to read the earlier replies. What does that signify? Lack of attention to detail? Lack of situational awareness? An eager concern to express one's opinion regardless of the relevance of the reply? Moreover, how many others will respond after me and NOT bother to read this?

Rather than approach an issue such as this with an all encompassing, warm and huggy approach, look at the cold hard facts.
Yah, I noticed that too and said the same thing to myself. And then figured nobody would read, or care about what I wrote, so I didn't bother. Then I got to thinking,....up here, legel age is 19 to drink. Therefore, the subject in question would also be a junior member, to add to his list of faults. Would that also be played out the same, by offering him sactuary in the form of AA, or just a swift kick to the ass out the door, after involving the poilce and parents.

Well I guess this shows MY lack of situational awareness. This wasn't meant as a response to Jack's post, as it seems I have.I was just throwing it out there. However, it was triggered by DT's response.
There needs to be enforcable SOP's in place that outline what is acceptable, not acceptable, the disciplinary action to be taken, etc.

Without it, you have no leg to stand on.

The individual is a MINOR, no SOP's are needed, the kid broke the law, end of story. Police and parents needed to be notified. Moreover, either he drove to training, also against the law, or someone else did, and most likely knew he had a drink/been drinking, also against the law.

See my (slightly) earlier response.
In my opinion, a few things need to be considered. In New York State, a minor is a subject under 18 years of age. The legal drinking age is 21. This plays a HUGE role in how the situation is to be handled. However, in any case, the instructor was 100% correct in sending this recruit packing from FF1.

IF the subject were under 18, they would be considered a junior member in my department. Which also means they are considered probationary members, whose membership can be terminated at any point while on probation. Their parents would be notified immediately, suspended on the spot pending a hearing, and sent home. Unless some VERY extenuating circumstances could be demonstrated (I cannot possibly think of anything that would be a legitimate excuse for such behavior, but stranger things have happened), the junior member would almost certainly be terminated. The juniors have a strict set of guidelines that include a policy governing alcohol and substance use, violation of which is punishable by termination. The member would be eligible to apply again when he or she is 18, or for one year from the date of termination, whichever is longer. We are very strict with zero tolerance with junior members.

IF the student is between the ages of 18 and 21, no parental notification is necessary. However, the same circumstances apply for the most part. The student would be driven home and suspended immediately pending a hearing. At that hearing, all circumstances would be considered including the level of intoxication, whether the member operated a vehicle while under the influence, any history of alcohol or substance abuse, and whether or not the member is still on probation. The member could still be terminated, but would likely face a lengthy suspension, and extended probation on their return to active status. Any additional infraction would likely result in immediate termination. The department would also likely mandate an alcohol and substance abuse prevention course prior to returning to active status. And of course, any member over 21 would likely face similar charges and penalties for arriving to ANYTHING under the influence of alcohol.

As previously stated in several posts, at the end of the day we are all one big family. The member must be dealt with swiftly and fairly not only to reprimand the member but to demonstrate to other members that any sort of similar behavior is entirely unsafe and unacceptable. But at the same time, those in charge should also examine the end result of their decisions, and ensure that all possible steps are taken to help the member avoid the pitfalls of alcoholism and chronic substance abuse. Certainly a "slap on the wrist" does not at all suffice, but we are a service created to help others. It would be counterproductive and hypocritical of us to cast someone out due to such an issue without offering them help with whatever issues they are going through. Stay safe friends. -DG
Situation dictates, to best make that kind of decision one must know all the background details.

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