Police rushing into the fire...glory hounds, ultimate freelancers, or what?

We all know what cops and firefighters have in common....both want to be firefighters. But at what point is it too much?

First of all, this is not to bash cops or the jobs they do, and many cops have had some great saves prior to the FD arriving. In my city, the cops somehow get dispatched to calls prior to us getting the calls, there is some stupid delay in dispatch, but that aside yes, PD do go into buildings and since they are out and about can get on scene sooner. About a month ago there was a fire where two PD officer did make some good saves and did risk their life and had a positive outcome.....Problem is I believe the coverage on these officers has turned others into glory hounds.

Here is what happened yesterday. Fire tones go off for a structure fire and a report of people still inside. This was a house in our downtown area and very close run for 2 stations. As I was pulling out of the station a cop car goes flying past the intersection...well above 60 mph in a 35 zone (discussion for another day). We made our response and maybe a few minutes from toned out to on scene. The first in pump and battalion chief arrived seconds before we did. The first in pump went in, encountered high heat in the hallway, we set up positive pressure attack. Fire was extinguished quickly and as visibilty increased the crew found a person in the bed...obvious DOA. From a fire standpoint goes, it was a room and contents, confined to the room of orgin...great stop and this was the shortest on scene time we ever had for a fatal fire.

Problem is, 2 police officers went rushing in and had to get treated for smoke inhalation. While I can see their efforts if they are on scene for awhile but we literally were pulling up on the scene when they went in. They rushed in maybe 30 seconds before we were on scene...meanwhile our 5" LDH was run over because the street wasn't closed down. (charged LDH BTW)

See the thing is, we don't rush into a domestic disturbance, altercations, weapons calls, stabbings, shootings etc until the scene was secured. In this case the cops rush in and no gun, taser, vest, cuffs or baton is going to protect you from smoke, heat and flames, this scene was not safe for them to go in, but 2 officers rushed in literally seconds before FD arrived on scene. Problem is one day we will be pulling a cop out of a fire because they just rushed in.

So at what point do you say enough is enough? We have brought this issue up before and was addressed, but since a few good saves, there seems to be more undue risk from the PD. So I know many have similar types of experiences, would you address this stuff or just let it go?Is it worth it?

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hahaha thats another good one
Most definately it is a chief to chief...there is no reason to start pissing contests with the PD on this. Kicker to that is our current chief also used to be a police chief. He has been receptive to concerns of FF and I would think he would listen to concerns. It definately is not just me thinking these thoughts here.

As for hearing sirens a few blocks away, I agree, it gets worse though when your seconds from on scene and you see the PD going in.
Same with us, we don't take the word of anyone unless it is a false alarm and someone calls back with proper code, but even then the first in engine still checks it out.

Not too long ago there was a similar fire, apartment complex, cooking fire extinguished by the resident, just smoke in the apartment as reported by PD. First in pump went to check it out and found a lot more smoke than a recently extinguished fire. They went to a back bedroom and the room was engulfed in flames. Called it in, pulled lines and made a quick stop. Here the renter smothered the fire with a towel and dropped the towel, still smoldering, into a pile of clothes. Yep, good thing we didn't take someone's word on that one either.
Problem is there will never be such a law, nor should there be. First who enforces the law? The police. Secondly, there have been cases where police have pulled people out and have been on scenes for awhile prior to the FD showing up. I have nothing against a cop who is going to do a quick risk assessment and try and do some good. I have an issue when PD are rushing in despite the FD almost on scene.
If it a person can been scene by the police than by all means they should do what they can to help. If the resaponse time is long that is a reason. But I wish they would understand that the clothes they have on will not help them and if the y go down now we have more to rescue. And if they are down the odds are there brothers are going o try to get them and now we have conflict. Not to mention if they are lost don't bullets discharge in the heat. I don't want to see any body get hurt and not the cops that I works with I belivwe they should wait unless there is no choice.
I agree John. Have nothing against the PD. Some of my best friends.
John, The issue should be addressed with the Chief of police. We have had issues with officers in the past and the next day I was in the Sherriffs office and we resolved the issue.We all have to work together to protect each other and our Communitys/Towns.
I don't think it is healthy to slam the cops for doing what they think is heroic. If they get hurt in the process, then perhaps their perspectives might change.

My personal opinion is that if you are dealing with this issue on a continued basis and not just one or two folks, then there needs to be a change in the culture and awareness of the law enforcement folks. I would think that you could have the Chief of your department write a letter documenting the occurrences and your departments concerns for the safety of the officers. Once you do this, and if an officer does get hurt, you have paper on file warning the police / sheriff's department that their actions are not condoned by the fire department, which provides some protection from your department when the incident gets investigated, and you know that it will be thoroughly looked at by agencies other than yours or the law enforcement agencies.

If they do get hurt, and they were not following their departments SOG/SOP guidelines, then workers compensation coverage may not exist because the officers were not acting under the capacity of their job description.

Remember two-in and two-out? We have rules we have to follow and we have them for safety reasons. What we don't need is someone making the problem worse. It would not hurt to cc a copy to county counsel or whoever the legal beagles are for your jurisdiction. I guarantee that you will get the appropriate folks attention and the problem will correct itself.

Good luck. This is a touchy subject that needs to be handled with kid gloves. It's best left to your management to take care of this. Your only job is to accurately document the problem and forward up the food chain. We all need to get along out there but don't you think they would flip out if we started poaching their calls?
We all know what cops and firefighters have in common....both want to be firefighters. But at what point is it too much?

They do really have this in common? Go and ask every one of them and see what the consensus really is.

Tongue-in-cheek or not, these sort of opening comments simply stir the pot....

We all need to get along out there but don't you think they would flip out if we started poaching their calls?
Mike, this has absolutely NOTHING to do with poaching calls- again, these sort of comments are uncalled for and are of little benefit to the discussion.
whoa... guess I struck a nerve here buddy. perhaps my terminology "poaching calls" was not accurate enough or got lost in the Aussie / US translations. what I was trying to do here was capture the essence of what the author of the post was describing. having cops run into burning buildings to do the firefighters job, at least in my world and perspective is not only wrong but if the shoe was on the other foot would not be tolerated at all by law enforcement if we took on a law enforcement issue.

Please note Lutan that I started off my reply with clarifying that it is not healthy to slam the cops. I think you misinterpreted my intent here. I believe we are both on the same page and having a cop run into a building to be a hero, is still in my mind no different than having another agency self respond to your incident. This is called poaching here in the states.
Appreciate what you're saying Mike, but are we seriously talking about self responding and poaching?

They're very emotive words and the author states quite clearly that the PD get dispatched before the FD. The key word is dispatched.

If they're not meant to be there, or they're being dispatched for a job that is not their issue, then that's a discussion to be had at the emergency management end of things (as oppossed to the managing emergencies end that we respond at).

Is there legitimate safety issues? F**k yes! But that's about education, not poaching or self responding, or being glory hounds as some have suggested.

Look at the argumetn OBJECTIVELY- if you were first on scene and had the opportunity to possibly save someone, I bet any amount $ that millions of others out there a multitude of uniforms would do the same- that's what we do.
Problem is these guys are getting hurt, smoke inhalation, and thus it takes personnel from our response to treat them. It wouldn't be an issue if it was an isolated incident, but it really isn't here and as I mentioned, this has been addressed before and looks like it may need to again. It will be up to the management to handle it, butthe question is to even address it...we will, but the question is would others?

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