I am struggling to understand why if politicians know this is deadly profession, why do we have government officials that are willing to cut our personnel and resources to reduce the budget. We as firefighters endure things that most people could never imagine and it gets to me that people in positions of power fail to provide us with the basic resources we need to protect and serve. Furthermore, appointed persons seem to get rich and switch..Once they obtain a rank they forget where they came from and who they were before the rank.. Just venting and it sounding like jibberish now thx
We certainly have fallen on hard times. A nearby suburb is shutting down their PD and outsourcing their law enforcement to a neighboring town to save $600,000.00 annually. Fifteen officers and staff will lose their jobs. Sheesh! What's next? Hopefully not the FD!
you've got to be kidding, Mike.You have a vol. dept., and they are making you make cuts too? Plus lose a truck as well? That's complete and utter bull doo doo. I guess maybe I don't understand politics like
I should. That sucks Mike. And I suppose there's nothing you can do about it either, huh?
I was going to say it's all about the almighty buck, but maybe the cuts re necessary so a family member can get hired on in the heavenly world of gov't. Oh wait, it DOES boil down to the dollar.
Think i'll start brushing up on the ins and outs of politics.
No Jibbersh at all. This is the unfortunate part of our business. In my last fire department, the commissioners were elected by the public. During their election I was amaized that nobody asked about their fire service knowlodge or expierence. It seems to be the same old story, "vote for me, I can do a better job". After they got elected, they tried to become reformers vowing to put the department on financial track (we were not off of it). They began by micromanagement and that was the tone of their term. They questioned everything as if they didnt know what we did. They voted themselves a salary and began to look at ways to cut ours because we were the highest paid in the county. When they saw why and threatened to cut, we responded by threatening to stop doing anything other than fire rescue and training. We would stop doing the things that benifited the people of the district except for service they were paying for. We presented a list of things we did-(about 200 services) that we would stop and the public and district would miss. If they ordered us to do it, we would but beyond that-nothing and they backed off at once. I was the president of the firefighters association (combination department) and had no relationship with them. When they had a question they would just show up at a meeting and "try" to take over. When I reminded them that I was the president and all questions about association matters should be directed to me or my staff, they responded by calling me insubordinate and they had the right to take over our meeting and if needed the association and so did the chief because "they" represented adminstration. Our written charter makes us a seperate association from the district (since 1957) and it could only be changed by the state. They went to the membership behind my back and offered them jobs and promtions if they would not oppose a bi-law change to give them the power they wanted. They followed the proceedure and had a crony make the motion, etc. And when it came to a vote I fillerbustered for 1 hour about the negatives and when the vote came I wanted a "voice ballot" so everyone would know who exactly broke the association. I had a majority to beat it and they put the "fear of job loss" out before the vote so I lost and afterwards I made another hour speech about the concequences of their actions saying that "some of you sold out your department for a job. some of you sold out for a promotion, what are you prepaired to part with for your next want? because that's where you're going. A year from now you will see this was a mistake that you will not be able to walk back ever!" I was voted out as president and didn't even get a thank you from anyone for bringing a dead orginization to life and putting it in the black in 6 months after being in the red for 2 years. When the jobs didnt matieralize and the promotions didnt come all I could do was shake my head and say "I told you so" and they gutted the orginization. they took the money and claimed "it was necessary to end the association for legal resons" The folks that were with me wanted to do something so we worked silently behind the scenes for years to back peoole that would run for a commission seat with the complete support of a select group of veteran firefighters. We went all out for them even getting a privately owned fire truck to drive the candadate around as the "firefighters choice". The remaining ones didnt like it and made our lives hell until we got a 3 of a 5 member board seated. The remaining commissioners tried to break the rogue firefighters but couldnt because we worked way under the radar and they really didnt know who we all were. They did get to one and we made his life a living hell so he quit. The remaining 2 commissioners went on the warpath to discover who the rogue firefighters were and break us. We were able to stay together because us Rogues were the older more mature firefighters who knew what was at stake and we were acting for the collective good on behalf of the younger guys who were "seduced by the dark side" as we used to call it. The wisdom of what we did is evidenced today by this department being one of the best around.
My advice to you would be work behind the scenes and QUIETLY dig up the best people you can to run for office who will work to do the things that will benifit the PUBLIC first then the DEPARTMENT. Being a commissioner is a difficult job and i dont know if i could do it, but so many elected officals do what you said, make what they can for themselves, forget the department and leave the actual descision making to accountants and advisors who they chat with on the back 9. I get in the face of my elected officals because THEY WORK FOR ME AND THE PUBLIC not the other way around...(as a funny)- our commissioners put a stop order on a pair of new pumpers because of the cost. They wanted public hearings on it and during the Q&A session one of them made a motion that the departmenmt "try" to build our own trucks and asked a builder (that just happened to be in the audiance-what a conincidence!) how much he could build a truck for?? After a mere 10 seconds of thought he told them and me and a bunch of firefighters began to laugh. They got pissed and wanted to know what was so funny? We asked if his construction would meet the national standards of the NFPA for apparatus construction? He wanted to know why they had to and we told him and the commissioners that if you build a substandard truck that does not meet any quality standards, you better have a lawyer and he better be better than ours because a substandard truck is going to break you in the wallet not to mention that no insurance company on the planet is going to touch a department that makes their own "shadetree fire trucks" that ends up being junk and gets somebody killed. The audience ate it up and urged the purchase to go through. When the meeting was over one of the commissioners came up to me and hissed "you won this one but it aint over" I told him loud enough for everyone to hear, we'd be glad to build our own trucks commissioner, just as soon as the cops start building their own police cars and guns.
Yes the elected positions in the department are the worst. To bring in a person because of his dedication to your campaign is foolish (especially when they have no prior fire experiance). They do begin to micromanage. I like what Russ said, they work for us not the other way around! I have to keep that in mind!
This has been American politics for the last 30 years. We demand services and tax cuts and never see the inherent conflict between the two demands. Everyone thinks the cuts can magically come from somewhere else but at the end of the day, someone needs to feel the pain. The fire department is a great place to cut because chances are you can get by a while before things go pear shaped and someone gets hurt or killed due to the cuts. Does my head in that pols will sell their own constituents short.
Elected representatives carry out the will of their constituents. If you are facing cuts, it is because your constituents are placing greater value in keeping their taxes low than in having a more robust fire/EMS service.
In private industry, if we want additional manpower we must quantify how this manpower will generate more revenue. There is a body of science behind some of this - a means by which we can model and predict how much additional revenue can be generated by a new hire.
Similarly, the fire service must develop and communicate statistical models that make the potential impact of proposed cuts more visible to the citizen. This is a job for the IAFF and the universities that have fire science and EMS research faculty.
Just saying "someone's gonna get hurt" won't cut it.
You are right on Dan!
Let me take it one step further. Elected representatives follow their constituents thinking. Your constituents have no idea of what fire is about. It's not "Stop Drop and Roll". There are no fire drills in the home! Most Americans after 40 years of Smoke Detector promotion are still lax. Most Americans think that fire fighters just have to show at fires and know how to use a hose.The rest of the time firefighters are what they see on TV and in the Movies.
They don't understand that firefighters both professional and volunteer are first responders and life savers and spend a great deal of their time saving lives in many different venues.
Dan if you keep depending on the IAFF and other political groups to change the picture you can expect little to change.It's simply amazing. You can sell Pet Rocks and Preperation H but the fire service cant sell their own message
When I say "IAFF" I mean the arm of it that is devoted to firefighter safety research. In another forum there is discussion about the development and testing of flat SCBA packs; the IAFF is picking up the bill for at least some of this research.
Similarly, they could fund research to develop of staffing models based on many factors. This development happens inside the university: fire science, emergency medicine, statisticians, and geographic information systems.
the fire service must develop and communicate statistical models that make the potential impact of proposed cuts more visible to the citizen. This is a job for the IAFF and the universities that have fire science and EMS research faculty.
Universities/schools really don't have any more responsibility in this task than to train people. The IAFF has the models and so forth and even now further backed up with more statisical proof of staffing on the fireground after a recent study.
The reality of reductions still comes down to the local level. All across the country and world, the fire service is saying the same damn thing, reductions is gambling with safety and even showing these statistics and so forth. The issue still comes down to the individual constituents and ploiticians. You have politicians using the excuse because fires are down etc, then we can cut staffing. Yet you can have years of reduced fires and then have a year with multiple fire fatalities....it happened here. What was the cost? LIVES. Problem is for the most part it may not occur, the gamble can pay off. Reality is the fire service iss here for the "What If" situations.
Safety aside, the money excuse is also prominent. Many of the articles you read here about budgets etc are nothing new to any of us not mentioned in the featured news. You have a mayor in Lawrence, MA blaming financial woes on FF's, yet this isn't the only place it happens. Heck you have national politicians making public safety workers the scapegoat for financial woes. Problem is many people drink it up like kool aid.
The challenge the fire service has is that we know and understand the impacts of cuts, one doesn't need outside statistics to prove this. The challenge is the avg homeowner/taxpayer doesn't typically see the impact first hand, it doesn't affect them. Whereas when crime increases, the homeowner/taxpayer does see that, which is why you see a cry for increased police but a shrug off for fire. There really isn't much more the fire service can do, just because reductions occur doesn't mean fires will increase.
Instead of the "fear tactics", which to me have been overused. Instead the approach may be to show what the homeowner/taxpaer loses out on. Show the public what we do, how much the fire service really does cost them, and then compare that to what they pay for other things. People want to see value for their money, show them how their taxes will remain the same, yet get less service, that may change their mind, perhaps, or at least contact their elected officials, perhaps.
GREAT STORY! IT'S MUCH EASIER JUST TO PACK IT IN AGAINST THESE CREEPS. THE AVERAGE CIVILIAN KNOWS NOTHING ABOUT THE FIRE SERVICE WHATSOEVER BUT SOME OF US (ME) ARE NOT AVERAGE CIVILIANS AND WE DO KNOW QUITE A LOT. YOUR EFFORTS ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED, KEEP UP THE FIGHT!
You mention that the IAFF has already developed statistically-based staffing models. I haven't seen them - are they available (and free) in the public domain? Note that I'm not talking about the NFPA standards - there are only a few primary citations published in NFPA 1710 Annex B.