Hello everyone. I'm new around here, so I hope this message is going to where I intended it to go... lol. I'm David, a 33 yrs old firefighter from Edegem, Antwerp in Belgium. I'm sergeant, volunteer, together with my about 80 colleagues we take care of the inhabitants of seven suburbs south from the city of Antwerp. I live in the firestation with my wife and three children. Kind of "Janitor"you might say. We take the emergency calls and send out the troops. The wife does dispatch, while I go play outside. To her it's her job, my daytime job is safety advisor on several projects in chemical-, petrochemical- or powerplants. In total we have about 15 trucks in the firestation, which is currently being renovated. We take between 1500 and 2000 calls a year including every type of intervention (from cat in tree, over wasp-or caterpillar-plagues, to fires and accidents) We don't do medical interventions, because in our region you have a hospital with emergency response every mile or so... Which I can live with, our phone probably wouldn't stop ringing... Man's gotta sleep too. I'm looking forward to meeting some colleagues from around the globe. See Ya'll.
Hi David welcome to firefighter nation, I am an instructor in Kitchener Ontario Canada. You will find this site to be very useful with lots of resources available to you. It sounds like you have a very active station,good luck stay in touch
Many countries have apartments in fire stations for families to live there. Asian countries like Japan do.
The city Of Alexanderia VA has a new station that has apartments for city workers like emergency workers and teachers. Could be a new thing here in the US. I had a forum about it here on FFN Good Idea?
Thanks for the welcome everyone. About living in the station: you see it quite often here in Belgium. Over here we have about 17000 firefighters (small country, a little under 11.000.000 inhabitants), of which about between 4000 and 5000 professional. The majority is volunteer. In the bigger cities (wihich means something else than what most of you would probably call "big", lol) we have complete pro firebrigades. Suburbs and further switch to volunteers. But since a volunteer comes from home, there has to be someone to call him to duty... one of the solutions is a "janitor". Some Depts. trained their entire workforce in the fine art of dispatching, so the first FF to arrive is always able to man the station. In our case, the firestation has two appartments, and two families living in them. We have "watch" from friday 1900hrs till next friday 1900hrs. Then it's our colleagues shift for a week. Off course it's important that there is someone home permanently to answer the emergency calls, that's why there are two families. 24/7 would be impossible to do by yourself. Why the majority is volunteer in Belgium? Simple: cheaper... We get paid by the hour when we're called. Pro's get paid full-time, caculate the difference... It has it's charmes, also it's disadvantages, but the system works. We have the same training, get the same education and have to meet the same demands, only in our own time.
About the wasps: It's one of the tasks here for the FD to remove or destroy wasp-nests or other plagues. Of those 1500-2000 interventions I spoke of, you can count 700-800 nests per seizon. We take the nest away wearing special suits off course, or if unreachable, we poison them. Summer is coming up, so are the wasps... I hate that job, haha.
Welcome! I should have done that when I answered the apartment question. As for dealing with wasp we have some areas of the country have to deal with Africanized Bees or Killer Bees. It becomes a emergency when someone gets attacked because the bees swarm everything.
We have problems with yellow jacket wasp. We had a call where a woman drove her car into a tree and there was a nest under it. Engine and ambulance arrive walk up to the car and got swarmed. Lucky no one was allergic but it was a problem which ended up using a hose line to keep the yellow jackets at bay until the woman was removed from the car and the car could be pulled away from the tree.
As for living in the fire station we had volunteers that made the fire station home. If they had a bunk they would be there when they were not working their job or going to school. Sometimes they would be there the whole weekend unless they had a date or went out of town or went home to their parents house for mail or something important.
We haven't had a live in volunteer in years since our volunteer chief made all of them move out get jobs or find somewhere else to live. Some even left the department and went to other departments or out of the area.
We have career crew of 4 and a district chief man the station around the clock. We have 2 stations in our department that are owned or contacted to us. The other station has 6 because they have a paramedic ambulance.
Most stations in our county are volunteer stations with career crews to make up manning. We have 50 stations with another to come on line soon and more to come
50 stations...? That's quite a number... In our station we have 4 pro's: our captain, a lieutenant, a sergeant and a corporal/mechanic. In our main station we have about 65 volunteers. We have one outpost with 18 volunteers. Firedept's are currently being reorganised by the government. They are creating "safety-zones", so the organisation will probably more similar to the American system. Our new zone will be the complete south-east side around Antwerp, containing 18 stations with about 850 firefighters. They already excist, but now we all operate on our own, limited by the town borders. In the future everything will be operating under the "zone-umbrella". Training, equipment, finance, prevention will all be arranged by the zone-board. We'll see how that works out.
About the wasps: We can't destroy bee hyves, we have to call in a specialist for those because they are endangered. Then again, bees cause no harm under normal circumstances. Luckilly we don't encounter their African nephews here. Sounds horrific if you encounter those in a "normal"intervention...
Are things arranged by federal government over there regarding organisation and training for volunteers? Or are there differences per state for example? I know about a few colleagues of mine that visited Ocoee FD a few years ago, and they had a very different idea on voluntary FD's, before my colleagues explained how things work over here. Off course there they didn't have any, so I can imagine them not knowing too much about the subject...
I didn't mean to say they regarded it as being "less", they just were a bit surprised about the way things go here. That made me wonder how things are arranged in the States, that's all. Over here things work out great between the two, regardless of isolated cases. We get called in by the "big boys" from Antwerp city every once in a while, and the other way around. Usually works like a charm. And so it should.
We have our county fire service which has a career fire chief who comes under the public safety director who is under the county exec and county council. We also have a fire commission, volunteer fire and rescue assoc and a volunteer chiefs council. There are 30some volunteer chiefs in our county. Now the state has a the state firemens assoc. who works on fire laws and other things concerning the fire service along with other groups. Then there are so many agencies involve in the emergency services. We have the state's fire and rescue training institute and the state's emergency medical institute even the state police.
Then each volunteer fire company have there own rules but they have to operate under county rules too.
Some how they all have a hand in how everything operates in the counties.