I don't think you broke any rules chief. YOUR crew was short, so instead of letting them struggle and maybe look worse than they are, you pitched in and helped out. Since you were not in command of the incident, and were not directly assigned a task aside from your crew.. you did good. I would have done the same... nah.. I don't think its wrong at all in this case.
We are a City Department that is a combination Dept. That in its self makes a differance I guess. I belive a Chief should have to have been a firefighter before he can move up the ladder. My brothers chief went from dog catcher to chief in on motion and you could tell were he came from,and this to was a paid City Department. I do not diagree with your opinion and or facts but we need all hand on deck as we are a small town department.
I am a very busy man, so I will admit right up front that I have NOT read through this discussion thread, so my opinion is neither swayed nor polluted by the discussion thus far.
Normally, when a question like this one is asked, you have your answer, because I would be willing to guess that in the case of the poster, the chief DID fight a fire and the poster has an issue with it.
Here's my opinion: I was chief for 14 years. We had a chain of command that was followed. The OFFICER-IN-CHARGE could pass command at ANY time. That includes the chief. That is the right of any senior officer and especially on short handed calls on the initial response. If I had an asst. chief or a captain who was good at extrication and were needed for hands on? They'd better damn well get on it. The outcome of the victims is the ONLY thing that matters at the scene. P and M about how it after you get back to the station.
Contrary to popular opinion, the white hat does not suck the brains out of the head.
I wouldn't let it become SOP, but I would make the allowance under strained circumstances.
And I wouldn't make the blanket statement that "chiefs shouldn't be able to fight fires".
Instead of telling the chief to go back to the rank of firefighter if he wants to fight fires, I would tell you that, with such a strong opinion on the subject, you should work on becoming your department's chief.
Yeah, I get the small town or rural district think, but they need to make sure, command, safety and other leadership positions are covered. The chief's main job is to protect his men, he can not do that from inside on the nozzle.
Thanks for the input Chief. As I have stated I get the small town, rural district issues. Your remarks are very good. I have just two things to add, and you know one already. The safety of firefighters matters on scene, and they are not sacrificial lambs for the sake of the victims. I am sure that FF safety is the top of your list so don't get in a tizzy. It is not personal, but your statement that they "ONLY" thing that mattered was the victim was a little strong. Second, I like working on the engine, that is why I am still a lieutenant. Just because I have opinions about how the department should be run does not direct me in the path to be chief. I do not want to be chief. Just to be fair I did spend 10 years as union president. My position there put me at the table negotiating how the department would be run. I our city by contract, it the chief wants to change a policy he must negotiate it with the workers/union, because it is a change in conditions of work. In Washington wages, hours and conditions of work must be negotiated with the union/workers. That is the other reason that from BC on up the chiefs do not do "our" (the local union/firefighters work) work. It is our work to run the nozzle, work the Husrt tool and pull ceiling. It is their work to command. LT.GB
I know if is a big word just to be 2 letters but here goes. If on scene and the crew includeing the chief and there is a problem and the chief could have helped with duties of the FF and a person is hurt,or suffers because he had the yraining to act but did not. Is your union going to stand behind your chief in a court of law? Just because they feel the only thing the chief can do is push a pencil.
If the Chief helps to keep someone from getting hurt no one is going to complain. Sometimes it is hard to put what happens in practice on the street next to what the rules say. We do not have any issues with this in our department I have just been responding to the question. Obviously everyone has their opinion and how they do things. I think, and the reason for this web site discussion is to see how things are done in different places and see if part of what is done someplace else will fit at home. We have never had an occasion where the line between chief and FF has been questioned or been an issue.
Shoot i dont think it really maters casue when it comes down to it he still a firefighter plain and simple just a diff color hat on his head, that like saying the red helmet should not fight fire casue he is the ic on location as the officer in the engine or ladder. but he dose all the while running a scene. hey let em be firefighter is a firefighter if he wants to fight fire by all means. i am with the city of columbia sc fire/rescue and seen on several occasions my battalion chief done picked up a hose and let er rip..
My comments were directed at the original poster.
And you are correct. Safety is second nature to me, but first on my list.
And our contract was with the citizens in our community.
I understand how the union/administration stuff goes.
But as you stated; in a small, rural setting yes; as long as it is the exception and not the rule.
Personally; when we got called for mutual aid and the incident commander was "roaming", I'd get more than a little miffed.
Again; I don't have a problem with a chief officer helping out as long as incident command is still in place.
This ain't Mayberry.