Is there favoritism/discrimination in your fire company or fire district?   Cronyism? Nepotism?

Political corruption? Misconduct & maladministration by fire commissioners?

Inadequate training?  By-laws violations?  Ethics violations?  Safety violations?


I regret to say that I have found all these and more in my own fire district.

Am I the only one?

I find it difficult to believe this is a unique situation.

Let me know.

Maybe together we can get some changes made that will benefit both the responders and the communities we serve.


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yes - dysfunctional FAMILY sounds about right too...


many departments run like dysfunctional families


families have secrets - sounds about the same

family members can be manipulative (ok, strategic) to get their individual needs met


more parallels... to "the family" - lololol - sadly it can also be very mafia-esque who also refers to themselves as "the family"


but never under-value the extreme value that working "as a family" those before us have served to create the fire service and build the fire service


I am starting to lean towards the Corporate America business model for the fire service. Do well - climb the ladder, do poorly - then there are consequences... however, the problem with this pie-in-the sky thinking is the volunteerism component and the dwindling numbers of volunteer FFs.  I don't have any answers - just a lot of questions as this topic is quite interesting as I hope the fire service can sustain and improve.

one of my dis-connects from the sporting world is the seasonal nature of sports - you have some down time to recouperate


and then we can look at Penn State right now - I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO HAPPY that the feds came in and started arresting people for covering up their sins and the sins of others...   And glad that all the way to the President of the University - people are getting fired !

 Good point about the mafia "family." Seems the fire service has the same code of silence. That code may be appropriate for a "family" that is operating against the best interests of the community, but not for one that is supposed to be "serving" the community.

I think, when the fire service has performed most admirably, it has been in SPITE of, and not BECAUSE of the "family" model.

For me, the main trouble with the "corporate" model is that it allows individuals to escape responsibility for their actions. I think that's a serious mistake.

Recruiting and keeping volunteers isn't that hard. Plenty of people are still willing to donate their time for a good cause. BUT they aren't generally willing to WASTE their time, or be treated unfairly.  I think THOSE two things lose us more volunteers than a lot of the other things often cited-- but nobody seems to be willing to talk about those two.

A  HUGE part of the problem is that it seems very few "leaders" in the fire service actually have any training on how to be LEADERS. I'm not talking about fire suppression expertise. Leadership is communication, motivation, conflict resolution, time management, money management and stress management.  Too many (especially non-veterans) wrap their arms around the "para-military" model and embrace the AUTHORITY of command, but don't want the RESPONSIBILITY of command. (There's a saying: You can delegate authority but you can't delegate responsibility)

It's possible that the days of "all volunteer" companies are numbered. After all, how many volunteer cops are there?  Why should people pay taxes to support an organization that doesn't actually provide the services their taxes are supposed to be paying for? And how much training time can volunteers reasonably put in without being compensated? Sooner or later, I think we have to bite the financial bullet, and change to all-pro or mixed departments, all around.

The Lions Club and Rotary Club, and others of that ilk often perform services for the community -- but they DON"T have the power to TAX the community to coerce support. The fire district commissioners DO have that power; they are a government function subject to certain standards by law, and may not operate as a private "club."

Just my opinion.

Thanks for your thoughts.






Some sports aren't seasonal.  Boxing, for example. You might not think of boxing as a "team" sport. But if you consider sparring partners, cutman, cornerman,trainer and manager, the shape changes. The guy in the ring may have the nozzle, but there's a crew backing him up. So to speak. :)

That Penn State situation is awful.  BUT it was NOT a function of the football organization, or part of that model. They still had the "winningest" team around. The problems there arose from action by individuals that were NOT part of the model.  Indeed, it was more of the "family" model ( "protect your own" and  "don't say anything bad about the family to outsiders") that seemed to take over on that matter.


Just my opinion.



For sure....!  In fact I have been an "outsider" since the day I joined.....(or at least have felt that way) and nothing will ever change that......My days are numbered now......sorry to say.

Sorry to hear that, Paul.  If you don't want to share the details on a public forum, feel free to contact me at

I'd like to know the details of your story.





pounces across the room and tackles Paul smothering him hugs and kisses



Where ya been big boy, I've missed you???

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