Last week I went to lunch with some co-workers (non-FFs) and the discussion rolled around to my involvement with the FD. One of the guys said "well, you must have guys that just join the department for the drinking". This recalled to mind another comment by someone, some years back, who swore that ALL volunteer FFs drank at the station and "those who say they don't are lying".

In my department you might find a 6-pack or two if you look in every nook and cranny, but we really don't touch the stuff on drill night or after calls, or meetings. There just isn't stuff to touch. In the late 80s we had the converted soda machine that dispensed several brands of beer but we got rid of it because the Jr. FFs were becoming interested in the stuff.

So - what is your department policy or practice regarding alcohol in the firehouse?

NOTE: 10/16/09: I started this thread over two years ago to gather input from other volunteer firefighters on FFN as it was then. The new theme is, what steps can we take to make America's fire houses 100% dry?

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Well, a few things:

- 100% dry as a goal; we may never attain that but why strive for 85%? It's kind of like quality; what failure rate is acceptable? (Answer = 0 failures). Same thing for seat belts; the only acceptable number of deaths due to seat belt un-use = zero.

- We know that very few volunteers are drunks, however those that operate their POV or a rig under the influence, and get caught, give the rest of us a black eye.

- There is nothing wrong with hanging around the house having a few pops, and remaining behind when the rest of the crew goes out and deals with the call. Or is there? If it's the same ones time and time again, or if I'm at the scene of a sh*t call or trying to reload 5 inch in the dark and I think about my buds back at the station laughing and knocking back a few brews, I'm pretty sure I'd be hugely pissed off. Also - if it's a working fire, maybe the really big one, who would stay behind at the house? Stronger willed people than I; the temptation would be too great for us seasoned fire horses.
That is one of the sharpest ideas that I have seen to date.
Truly, a solution.
Gotta tell you that that is one of the most progesive ideas I have seen in a long time....... I have been following this thread for a while now and most everyone has had a opinion ( my Dad used to say they were like a--holes everyone has one) but very few have offered a viable solution to the problem. I don't know if it would work everywhere but if all of us out there keep an open mind and continue to work towards a solution with an eye towards imagination we can lick it yet..... Bravo Greenman
Hey Greenman, hell of an idea! I don't think anyone has thought about a positive change when it comes to firehouses or the fire service going dry that would actually promote firefighting and be good PR for the fire service as a whole.
This is great! Keep the ideas coming!
I thought your idea with Siren's addition of internet was top-notch.

Of course after drill tonight I felt the need to float that balloon past a couple of the line officers.
Have you ever seen "The Lonely Guy" with Steve Martin when he walks into the restaurant and asks for the table for one and the room falls silent and the spotlight is shining on him?
Yeah, it was kind of like that.

Baby steps with my's going to be baby steps.
LOL... like the proverbial fart in church?
not as loud, nor as....aromatic....but about as well-received.
Yeah, but I think they're starting to gain an appreciation for the uniqueness that is me.
I'll have em rollin in the aisles in no time...and that's when I can put my nefarious schemes into play.
They'll be ordering mochachinos before they know what hit them...
More like Kaluha and coffee!
Pretty tasty and HOT.
Baby steps it is!

If one department tries it and it works, then another will try it. If they're successful, then some more will try it. It's like a pantene commercial....and so on, and so on, and so on.

I think the idea appeals to Gen-Xers and younger mostly, but of course with some exceptions. My two sons (both in high school) love the idea, and even came up with a come of ideas to name the coffee house in a fire station.

"The Steamer Company" Complete with antique apparatus out front. or...
"A full head of Steam" Another play on old Steamer Engines.

When I think about idea more, I envision a full-service Coffee place, similar to the mermaid brand, with a clean atmosphere and huge window looking into the apparatus bay and a speaker in the coffee house so customers can hear the dispatcher without being too loud for them.

Then when Betty-lou's friend makes a comment about the firemen getting drunk at the firehouse, Betty-lou can say, "Oh, no. I was there with my grandson the other day and we watched those young men and women washing the trucks, and putting hoses on them and checking all of their gear. Then they mopped the garage and put the trucks back. Little Jimmie loved watching them all morning! Then the buzzer went off and we saw the firefighters put on their gear and get their trucks and go to a car wreck! When they got back to the station the first thing they did was wash their truck again, then put their gear away and then they came in had some coffee with me and little Jimmie!"

What better PR is there than that?

Sure it means the FFs need to be a little more professional in the apparatus bay, but is that a bad thing? If they want to play grab-a$$ they need to go into the barracks portion of the station. The department might just find that their busy nights in the coffee house are training nights when the FFs are doing drills in the bay!

Anyway, the idea probably won't work in every department, but it will in many. We'll just have to take baby steps and see what happens.

Thanks for the Kudos, everyone.
they're deserved.....I love those "Come to Jesus" moments.....

Your idea made so much sense I'm starting to wonder if perhaps you shouldn't market yourself as a consultant and make a little dough-re-mi off of it?
You could be the Marketer Provocateur for the fire service version of Starbucks.

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