I am considering resigning from my EMS squad and possibly the entire fire department. This is long but I wanted to post and see if you all could help me walk through this. I know there are things I am not considering or may not be able to see because I'm in the middle of it.
We are a volunteer fire department, with BLS squad, in a rural area. Our Squad has three EMT-Bs and two CFRs. My boyfriend is Chief of the fire department, remember that, it's important. I joined the department to help people, plain and simple. My boyfriend and I met after I joined the department/squad, figured I'd throw that in there in case someone felt it was relevant.
Our squad Captain is incompetent. There's no nice way to say it, it is what it is and that's what she is. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses and she's just not built for a leadership position. She ended up in that position, before I was involved in the FD and or squad, for the sole reason no one else wanted it. She grasps so tightly to this position because, as it was explained to me, she grew up in our town in a family that was looked down upon. Now she's in a respected position of "power" within the community and she likes it. Her husband is her assistant and also Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. I'm sure you all can see how that complicates these issues being addressed properly.
She has run at least four people away from the squad in the last year. One was an amazing EMT, who refuses to refresh until she is no longer Squad Captain. One was a newbie who became a member of the FD, was interested in volunteering and becoming an EMT but was never followed up with by Captain and moved on to other things. The two others were EMT students who were constantly pushed off by her (told they couldn't do anything on the ambulance (lie...emt-b students can do things at direction of the EMT, never called or followed up with) and partly through the class saw the state of the Squad and how she ran it and just didn't want to be involved.
She lacks as an EMT though she is better with medical than she is with trauma and is relatively good with the elderly. I have seen her do things that could get her, and the department, in big trouble if someone decided to report/file a complaint against her. These have been HIPAA breaches, as well as not taking appropriate care of patients, and lack of professionalism. The Chief (AKA my boyfriend) knows these things. She does not take well to critiquing. She gets very defensive and refuses to believe she is doing something wrong. She makes [bullshit] excuses for things she does not do and rarely accepts personal responsibility. She doesn't delegate to get things done, they just don't get done if we wait around for her to give us permission or for her to do them herself.
She has repeatedly told lies to me, at least one of our CFRs (EMR in other areas, in our area is one level under EMT-B), and others regarding polices of the Squad/Fire Department, handling of patients, and on. I am well connected and have contacted the appropriate people to fact check information that did not seem right to me, either things she has told me directly or things others have been told by her that they brought to my attention. Most recently, earlier this week we had a structure fire during which I functioned in a firefighter capacity, not EMS. I saw one CFR making rounds, checking in with the homeowners, bringing them blankets and warm drinks (it was around -5 degrees that night), and keeping an eye on the firefighters. After the call the CFR came to me and said that the Squad Captain told her she (the Captain) could not leave the ambulance, it wasn't allowed. That was completely untrue and I verified that fact with the appropriate people, as well as the SOPs/SOGs, before I went back to the CFR with the correct information and detailed with the CFR the importance of getting out of the rig and making "rounds" at a fire scene.
She doesn't do rig checks, doesn't want anyone else to do them either. Last year, for the first part of the year I was doing them and found so much broken or expired equipment which I then reported back to Captain and Chief. I also discovered our ambulance was not Part 800 compliant. I, along with the Chief, was in touch with the head of our county EMS bureau to find out what expiration dates mattered, which ones didn't, and in touch with Med Control to get necessary prescriptions and whatever else I did I can't remember to help get us part 800 compliant. It was weeks of me connecting with people, and me and the one CFR rig checking and inventorying the ambulance and our stock closet to figure out what we had that was good and what we had that was expired and needed to be replaced, what we had and didn't need, and needed but didn't have. Most recently, me and one of the EMT-B students inventoried our three trauma bags (two on ambulance, one on our rescue) and they were pathetic. I am currently in the process of having our trauma bag inventory reviewed by our EMS bureau, without our Captain's knowledge. I plan to take that information back to the Chief and if necessary to the Board of Commissioners to get the bags up to par. If it goes to the Board the shit will hit the fan, no doubt.
During this whole process I have gone to the Chief (my boyfriend), from before we were together up until now, and he is well aware of everything. At times it has caused us to get into arguments...actually our biggest arguments, we don't fight often thankfully, are often Squad related. He feels his hands are tied to an extent and is one that does not like confrontation. To complicate matters even more, he is suppose to be buying land from them as soon as it warms up enough they can walk the property, and doesn't want to piss them off and have them rescind the sale. He said a week or two ago he would talk to her about her chasing one of the new EMT students away, but didn't/hasn't yet. When I was told the EMT dropped out of the refresher course due to our Captain I took that information back to the Chief. He talked with the EMT and was told why. It did have something to do with the Captain and that the EMT would not come back until she was out as Captain. That seemed to light a fire under his butt to talk with her again but he has been out of town for work and thus far hasn't had the opportunity to have a sit down, closed door, conversation with her.
Frankly, I'm fed up with her and the way she runs "her" ambulance. I talked with one of the line officers a couple weeks ago, when I was ready to resign right then because of her. He put things in perspective and reminded me that this is not about her, it's about the community and reminded me why I joined the FD in the first place, to help people. However, I am sick of our squad performing in a way that makes us look inept; IE not having appropriate and functional equipment. I also worry about liability issues. I am tired of having the time and energy to do things that could greatly benefit our Squad but can't because the Captain won't "let" me and for no good reason, other than it's a power thing. I am tired of not being able to trust my Captain AKA my superior. I am tired of my boyfriend and I arguing over Squad Captain stuff and feel that it may be better for our relationship if I am no longer in the fire department. I feel like I won't be able to just resign from the Squad. I can't see something broken and just ho-hum past it. Her term won't be up until the year ends.