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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are guys are allowed to drink but if they do they cant participate in drills or calls. its mostly for when we have social gatherings such as the annual Superbowl party. or banquet after party... in the case of most of such events we have a few crews that are designated to be sober... usually the crews are mostly under 21 except for the driver for obvious reasons.. but no one who was drinking gets on the truck or they get suspended. for the banquet we have another station cover our district.
The law is the law. Hopefully one day the PD will step in and start whackin some of these Idiots before they get someone or themselves killed. Adreneline doesn't bring a life back from a accident caused by drinking. When you drink, turn the pager off
We don't have beer at meetings or any thing else.And we have soda vending machine in the firehouse.We have 0 tolerance .If some one on a fire scene got hurt with alchol on thier breath what do you think the plubic would have to say.Not a good thing .
Erin, I agree with you 110%! Unfortunately, in my dept, if we were to get rid of the alcohol, people would quit. They think this is a social club, not a fire dept. We have members that show up to drive the trucks, let alone fight the fires, after they've been drinking. These people either drink at the firehouse or outside of it or both. i refuse to get on a truck with one of them driving. The funny thing is, they even admit that they've had a few, but nothing gets done because we can't afford to have them quit. Well, my thought is that they are not needed then. They feel drinking is more important than training. But like always, nothing will be done until something tragic happens. Like your dept, we have SOGs about the alcohol, but they are only enforced to the ones not in the "in crowd." It is a shame, but what can ya do? i just hope I ain't involved in the tradegy that wakes them up. If I am & I live to tell about it, they'll be hell to pay. As you can see, I am very passionate about this. There is no room for drinking in the fire service. we are not a social club. We are here to help the people out when they are in need.
They would crucify the department in an instant. Can you imagine your fire districts meeting the following year trying to explain the need for more funding after one of your men have killed or injured somebody as a result of drinking. I don't even drink in public (unless out of town I enjoy a cocktail or two) because I don't want the people who pay for us to stay operational to associate the fire department with a bunch of drunks. Maybe this is just me...
At our FD we have a zero tolerance. No alcohol on the premise. You are not allowed on any calls until 8 hours after you stopped drinking. Doesnt matter if you just had a beer with your steak. You come after 1 beer you will be let go. Oh and btw we are paid per call not full time. Well not full time yet anyways. We will be within the next 5 years.
This sounds exactly like my dept. You're right, the depts would be shut down fast & the lawyers would be knocking on your doors even faster. Like I said, it's gonna take a tradegy to open their eyes.
I agree with my partner on this,show up intoxicated go home suspended.
Our assit.Chief is a deputy sheriff. We do have a deputy on our county that will effect a DUI arrest on the spot if you drive to the scene under the influence.
Again I have to agree with my pard
My department had an issue (which I won't go into) a few years ago which brought this question to the forefront. At a meeting the Chief announced that we had to have a department policy on drinking. He did not say what it had to be. Some of us thought this would be a big issue... It wasn't. The department unanimously agreed that a 0 tolerance policy was the only way to go.

A bunch of us used to go out to a local establishment often after training and drills. We just made sure that not all of us were drinking. For a while I told a couple of our Chiefs that I would let them know about the rare occasions when I would have a drink... It seemed like we had a good working call everytime!

I agree with everyone's comments about being concerned about making poor judgements when you've had one or two. Even beyond that, there is the public perception. Even if you've only had two sips of beer and go to a call... Say a car accident. If you wind up helping to extricate someone who is pretty cognizant they may note the beer breath. Even if EVERYTHING goes right, someone from the public is left with the impression that your department goes to calls drunk... And one person probably doesn't keep that information to themselves, the story only grows and gets better with each passing telling!

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