I'm the Maintenance Chief for my dept. and of course am responsible for week inspections of apparatus. The actual inspections are delegated to the captains of each company, but in reality, any FF may do the inspection. Yesterday, one of the FF told the captains that he had done all of the inspections for the week, but when we attempted to move our brush unit out of the station we found the battery dead. Now that I've caught him in a lie, how do I handle it? I know how I would handle it if I was still in the Navy, but I'm not sure that I can be so heavy handed in the volunteer world. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.



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How can you be so sure that the dead battery didn't happen after the inspection? Perhaps he/she accidentally left the key on during/after the inspection. I find it odd that a "Chief" would jump to conclusions before even asking the first question.
Investigate into it before you take any action. Like the guys before me said, how long after the inspection - an hour, day, few days. Should you find it's been "pencil whipped" and not actually inspected if this was the first incident just have a talk with the guy and tell him the importance of checking a truck and not pencil whipping the sheets. 2nd or 3rd I'd suggest a written reprimand. You don't want him to say "hell with it, I just won't check trucks anymore" It's easy to turn people away in a volunteer world.
I haven't had the opportunity to talk with him yet, just the Captain and only know one side of the story right now and want to have some idea of how the conversation should go when I do talk with him, which will be later today. And maybe using such strong language as "caught him in a lie" was premature. Thanks for pulling me up short before I show my @$$, it's been known to happen.


All good points and questions. Time between him checking the trucks and it not starting was less than 15 minutes.


This is true.We had the same thing happen to us.Had the brush truck running and maybe an hour or so later it wouldnt start.Thought maybe something was left on but there wasn't it was the battery that had failed.
Gonna change out the battery this afternoon. I think I'll chalk it up toequipment failure and leave it at that. We'll see if it happens again(the battery) and go from there. Might be the start of bigger problems. Thanks for everyoe's input.


Probably the best way to handle it unless there's further evidence.

"I know how I would handle it if I was still in the Navy, but I'm not sure that I can be so heavy handed in the volunteer world. "

I honestly don't see any difference between the way you handled it in the Navy and the way you should handle it in the volunteer fire service. In both cases inattention to detail that gets people killed.

I hold my volunteers to the same standards that the career staff in our department is held to. You can't claim to be equal if you aren't just as accountable as everybody else.
I think in your case you have to ask yourself two questions before you decide on a course of action. 1, is there a chance that it was an honest mistake? If not then 2, did this person intentionally lie to me?

If your not sure if they lied to you take their past history and possible intentions into consideration...

Bottom line though is that if you are lied too, on purpose, and with intent to deceive you then you have a responsibility to act; even if all you can do is document the incident and make reccomendations....
I would talk to him and find out if he over looked it or what he has to say about the battery. We have a master switch in our brush truck that turns on our moble radio,warning lights, and siren. If the switch is left on then the battery dies.I dont know if your rig has the same kinda switch or if this is a guy that gives you repeated trouble but either way I would see what his story is.

I know how I would handle it if I was still in the Navy

Experienced some gundecking issues in the Navy??
Yeah a few, one that put lives in danger. That one didn't go well. Maddest I ever got and the only time I ever wrote a purely negative eval. An E6, too.


To all who have replied, thanks. We pulled the battery and half the cells were completely toast. So no issues of pencil whipping. Gonna consider this issue dead.



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