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?
In this day and age of lawsuits and internal investigations, it is bad policy to allow any sort of drinking in the station, or on department property. My father's first official act in the fire/rescue service 35 years ago was to go down the block from the firehouse and pickup several cases of beer after the meeting. I know that many stations have social halls which are attached to the station, on the grounds of the station, or even at a separate location. The latter of the three does not concern me as this is not a public safety facility, nor on the same grounds as a public safety facility. If the department has social events where alcohol is served, they should have people tasked with ensuring that members do not respond under the influence. It is a liability to serve alcohol in the station. In the attached banquet hall is fine, but worrisome. However, I understand the need to unwind, to celebrate, etc. Banquets and other social events are tradition, and part of that includes having alcohol available. I do not have any reservations about that, but to allow alcohol in the stations operational areas is irresponsible and inviting disaster.
We do not allow alcohol of any type in the fire house. Nor do we provide it for Dept functions. This was eliminated at least 15 years ago. If a person has been drinking they dont respond either. If we smell alcohol on a person they dont get on the apparatus. Easy one to administer.
Paid or Volunteer anytime you pick up a Alcoholic beverage at a fire department, or respond having drank you Make every other Firefighter look bad!! There is No excuse!
I hear some departments have Bars and cannot Fathom how this is possible, but things are different sometimes in other places as crazy as it might be or sound..
each and every time someone who calls himself/herself a firefighter and Wrecks or gets killed or caught Drinking on duty, the rest of the fire service all across the States not only looks bad, but much of time are asked to explain such actions, and those of us who try to serve the public rather than drink or look at the fire house as a social club to scam tail cannot explain such actions..
Drink and Have fun until you slobber face down in mud puddles if you wish, just do not do it representing a whole nations branch of public servants past and present claiming to be a drunk one..ugh!
We are vollies and our fire house is DRY. If I choose to go have a few I leave my radio at home and do not even think of making a run. I would not want my fellow FF's to be under the infulence if my ass was on the line so will not do that to them. Rather be 1 person short than have to save 1 cause they got stupid.
We do not have any alcohol beverages in the fire house at all. We do not allow any of the members to bring or drink alcohol in the station during drills, meeting or just get togethers. no firefighter is allowed to answer any type of emergeny calls if they have been drinking. The only alcohol that is permitted in the station is when the social hall is rented out for different occasions.
Back in the day firefighters seemed to be known to sit out in front of the station house, tip a few brewskies back, and answer calls half in the bag. That was how the public saw us. Especially in rural departments. I think, or at least hope this has changed over the years. In our department, there is absolutely a NO ALCOHOL policy. We allow no drinking at the fire station, or on calls, by brigade members, and we are not to respond to calls if we have consumed any alcohol. It's just that simple. The liabilities are way to high, and there's just to much at stake to even take a chance. We do, however, have fund raisers that include beer.(gun raffles, money raffles etc.) The chief sets up a call list of which members will answer different call types. If a member is going to drink at one of these fund raisers(lets just say for arguement sake, he's there with family or friends. Not to work) he will not be added to the call list.
Well see I disagree with the Drinking at the Fire Department it doesn't matter the occasion. In my opinion its not Professional at all. I mean yes we do have firefighters that drink in my department and I have had to drive a couple of them home AND I DON'T have a permit at all. So you can see where it all rolls down hill here I don't like the fact that the fire fighters at my department because the seem to always get rude and become complete jack asses but then there are the EMT's that tell them its time to go home because you know its not right.... I don't think it is anyway but thats just me...