To make a long story short I am considering leaving the fire service. Its not under my free will, I love the job and still get that feeling from helping people. However, lately one of our members has been making it hard for me to do my duties at Lt.
On Sunday morning aroung 3:30am we had a house fire. Upon arival to the station I hoped out and there were 2 guys out front getting their gear on. One of them was running his mouth. He was yelling that we were taking to long to get there and get ready. He went on to yell that he was glad it wasn't his house and that we are a joke. I asked him to quiet down two times and he continued to yell. At this point I am tring to hear the size up from a unit that just went on location and I am ready to call our engine in service (I was driving). In order to get some quiet I yelled at the man to shut his f&$king mouth so we could hear the radio and each other. (I knew it was wrong but it worked, he was quiet at this point and I got the needed info). The next day he went to the police chief and fire chief and made a complant on it. (I knew he would). Today I was given 30 days out and striped of Lt.
This guy and I have had a few run-ins before. He likes to say that its a race issue. (he pulls this every time he has a problem). I would like to say this, I am not a raceist person...I can prove this due to my job. I am a shop Foreman. I have people of ALL colors working for me and we all get along just fine. There has never been a problem like this with anyone else.
All this said, He has been gunning for me for the two years he has been around this station. I get no backing from the rest of the dept because they all want to stay clear of the guy. They are afraid of him. What are your thoughts on this? I'm lost here. thanks -Matt

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don't give him the satisfaction.
I would just have to say hang in there and things will work out in the long run, and if you are anything like me you are not in the fire dept for the rank and I know what it is like to be stripped from Lt to just a FF again for no reason my Cheif just decided to get rid of Lt and Capts and go to Batallion Cheifs just out of the blue. Just stay in the dept and keep running you calls once you get past you 30 days.
I agree with you Tyler. Quitting is not the answer. Stand up for your rights. I can not speak for all of us, but I am on three different volunteer departments. Each department SOP's are different. So make sure you do your homework if you decide to goto another department.
You can always transffer to another station....I am sure there are other places that would love to have a dedicated person that comes out for calls.

I was in a very similar situation I was a company officer at my vollie house for 5 years when something very similar happened to me. I decided that it was time to take my services elsewhere were I was more appreciated. It was the best move I ever made.

Bottom line is if they are not gonna curtail the actions of this other firefighter then you have to either deal or go but not out of the fire service all together.

On another note don't mind the haters cause they are everywhere....don't be mad when someone steps on your dick everyonce in a while...just be happy your dick drags the floor...if that makes any sense.
Well let me say brother I am glad i saw your post I had issues with people on my crew when i was a lt. not to the degree you are facing but all the same it is what it is..that said..You obviously know the obvious that being the manner you handled it was wrong but not entirely your doing ..what i mean is you were tested ..they or he knew they could get a rise out of you in a stressful situation, the reason behind it we may not truely know but i would bet my last dollar this person knows he will never get past what he is and so he wants to take as many as he can with him it sounds like a combo of a vendetta against both you and dept. sad part is those above and below your spot are either to scared or to lazily stupid to give a damn to put this a hole in his place...My personal advice is DO NOT Quit you walk away now he wins..and my brother no matter the out come i would die before some scum bag would walk away with that gloating factor..So that part said..Take your 30 days for now, but demand the reasoning in writing..that way you documented proof, secondly either now or after the 30days you have to decide but I would go in and demand he be brought up on charges..reason ?..disobeying a direct order from a line officer as you were when it occurred and since you have a right to do so do not take any BS that its to late, in fact do not be affraid to use the discrimination crap against them cause thats what it is they fear him so they trample your rights..
You have nothing to lose since you are considering leaving anyway and you lost your position so F&%% them back tell them you have talked to an attorney...Now we get to the nitty gritty..As the OIC of the apparatus and even if you were only acting as a chauffer at the time you are in charge of that rig and the crew and he poised a threat to that safety..thats strike one on him...strike 2 he disobeyed the direct command..strike 3 he embarrassed and degrated the fire company to the members and public..(if you search your by laws /protocol/or SOGs you will find that one )..So when you get all these ducks in a row you file a charge on him for each one seperately making total of 3 maybe more if we really look into this. ...You have a fight on your hands no doubt but we are fire fighters and we don't give or run away fight this dept and this A hole..and once you turn them inside out and everything gets shmoozed over thats when you stand up and tell them to go F off and join next nearest Dept... actually join them now as part time or daytime member that way this crap doesn't follow you past hearsay...It is a lot to take in right now but trust me you will feel better knowing you didn't let this degenrate win stay in touch and best of luck will help as much i can from here.
Thanks man, I keep this updated in the future.
As for the charges on him I have filed my written complaint to the chiefs. I will know in a few days if anything will happen to him.
I hate the bs racist admit that you were wrong by using profanity the way you did to get him to shut up however there is nothing wrong with that at all.i cant understand for a minuet why your superiors chose that course of action it sounds like you got the short end of the stick.this guy seems to be a real ass.if anything he should have been written up or suspended for insubordination.dont give up this guy seems like a real screw up and eventually he will screw day he is going to get in such a hurry that he is going to forget something at the station and be forced to hang back and watch while the prepared focused firefighters get the job done.stick with it and keep it did what was neccesary to get there safely and prepared.good luck any station would be lucky to have you.
Dear Matt, I'm still real new to all of this, but I don't think you should quit. I think the 30 days out and being stripped of your Lt. was a little harsh. My boyfriend is a chief. I want him to read your story. Hen may be able to give you some advice. Hang in there and don't do anything you might regret. Becky
I'm in the medical emergency world and don't know much about firefighting, but I thought you fought fire with water.

Sorry, my little plug at humor.
Here is a good quote for you to remember...

"The needs of the many out weigh the needs of the few or the one." from Star Trek the Wrath of Khan motion picture.

No disrespect to you but you are looking for help so I am offering my opinion. I believe you are not a person who is racist. Given the fact of multiple examples and you have had situational concerns with the same individual for over two years, "you definately have history"

First off, not hearing the full version of the incident, it is difficult to determine the entire story but I believe I can fill in the blanks from the post. First you are in a combination department, a volunteer Lieutenant. Not sure if this guy is a firefighter - your subordinate, you called them "guys". So I am writing this reply as if they are both firefighters.

Whether paid, call or volunteer, many in the fire service do not understand the complexity of functioning as a fire officer. The status whether appointed or voted upon, holds each and everyone of us to certain standards. In your case, the race card was deployed so we have discrimination laws to be concerned with. Most likely "BS" as you put it but it was mishandled at many levels.

First off, a professional officer or supervisor should never loose his or her composure to the point in which we rebut a subordinate's comment with negativity or profanity. This can be extremely difficult to do, but we are the leadership and must maintain our composure and level-headedness even in stressful conditions.

As others have stated, racing to dress out or driving recklessly is dangerous. So next time this occurs, remind the person we will be responding when I "the officer" say we are ready, please be quiet as I am trying to hear the arrival report on the fire." By saying F-U, he was been disrespected in front of others and if his personality is so, he will definately use what he knows will work, in your case the race card.

Upon returning to the fire station post call, you should have written the firefighter up with written documentation to the fire chief for "insubordination" due to the fact that he refused to be quiet when asked him to multiple times and also, "disrespecting an officer" for saying you were too slow, your taking too long, or glad this isn't my house burning, during your response and turnout time. When you stated, you figured he would complain about the incident, you basically knew and allowed it to happen because you didn't act as an officer should have. Now like I said before, no disrespect to you, but without the initial formal compalint from you the officer, to include witnesses, the fire chief has only the complaint from the guy crying foul.

Many on FFN feel this guy has what is coming to him and he will eventually screw up... don't hold your breath FFN believers. Without fire officers who are truly trained on how to be a complete officer, be a leader and handle interpersonal dynamic problems within the organization, then the poor guy is actually working blindly. It is not all about who is a great firefighter or a "get it done guy" who makes a good fireground leader, most problems that arise in an officer's career occur within the station and not at an emergency. Now I know you said you are a foreman at your job and have never had problems before. So you are probably a standup guy, a good person, with good intentions but have never had to deal with a difficult employee, and unfortunately your fire department has not prepared you to handle this situation, heck your chief sounds as if he may have no clue how to handle the situation, and your department definately has at least one problem child.

When you arrive in the office with documentation, the next day it would be clear that the firefighter was using his race card to cover up the underlying issues, lack of respect towards an officer and the safety of others. When the fire chief quivers, your next step would be the personnel HR department, fire ward, commisioners, board of trustees, etc. But when you arrive to defend yourself, at least it is not he said she said...

By quitting, moving to another house, or taking time for a leave of absence are all choices that you personally did not do anything to actually fix the situation, you didn't learn anything except when it is uncomfortable it is time to walk away... so how would you handle the same situation again?

Here are some tips to make sure you are better prepared next time, (hopefully) you can regain the rank after serving the time off. But DO NOT QUIT!

Cool Down - Effective discipline will not result if tempers / emotions are in charge of the communications.

Get the Facts - In your case, document the facts and submit your complaint to the fire chief.

Be on the Offensive and Not Defensive - Chief's should have the details long before the problem comes knocking.

Always Be Respectful - No matter how hard it is, people are judging you on how you handle your personal actions. You must give respect to gain respect, now it may not be from this problem child but from your peers.

Do it privately - Do not work on the problem in front of other firefighters.

Attack the Offense - NOT THE OFFENDER. Stick to the disrespect and safety issue from the incident not the guy personally. This will reduce the race card issue.

Don't get Emotionally Involved - personal problems should not become fire chief's problems. Find the root of the problem and stick to the root and not personalities. Don't let personal issues ignore behavioral problems.

Avoid throwing rank around - Bullying never works. Use the root cause and justify the situation with a policy, rule and or safety connection.

Explain why and seek agreement (if possible)

I do not see why a complaint like that was upheld. You were his officer right? He needs to understand how rank structure works. If you want to go ahead and push the issue, he could be found insubordinate. I know that in the military, that kind of behavior is not tolerated and the lower ranking person would face disciplinary action. I am fairly confident that the same would happen in my fire department. If a lower ranking member is speaking in a dis-respectful fashion, they would at least be verbally disciplined. Judging from the story, you're action was justified (though maybe worded a little harshly in some people's eyes, but not mine). My feeling is that the mission comes first and this guy complaining was keeping you from hearing the information that you needed to hear to complete it. My opinion is that if anything, this guy should be the one being disciplined. I can understand you being taken aside and someone saying something along the line of "hey, next time be a little more calm about it" or something like that, other than that you should not have been punished. Do not let this get in the way of something that you love doing though. It sucks, even more so if you've been wrongly punished. But I say stick with it. That's all just my opinion. Hopefully it helps.

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