Recently, the Fairfax County Fire Department was questioned about the need and cost of having over two dozen take-home vehicles. With a struggling economy and inquisitive citizens, has your department reduced the non-emergency use of department vehicles?

Fairfax County Fire Department Questioned Over Cost of Having Take Home Vehicles

"Page after page, we found no emergency call-outs at all. And those logs that were filled out listed emergencies like 'retiree's dinner', 'recruit graduation' (in which multiple vehicles went to the same event at the Government Center) and 'funerals' for non-County employees."


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We have three command rigs,all chevy yukons,all fully marked and carrying a variety of equip. from medpacs to traffic control. Our Chief has one and the other two are rotated through our in district officers to allow for a quicker command presence on scene. All vehicles are to remain in district except on rare occasions. It works well for our district, but every district is different and has different needs.
the subject of take home vehicles is allways a hot button issue espically in a recession and usually the cops get tagged first. in my town they did a study and in the end it was decided that the only ones that should have a "THV" were those who were subject to emergency recall (meaning nothing changed because "everyone is subject to emergency recall)-LOL.

the truth is that bossess want THV's because the want to go directly to scenes in a marked vehicle and dont want to have to go all the way to HQ just to get it as opposed to being stopped by the cops at a check point because the're in a POV

the cops get a pass because everyone believes that the the police car in a driveway is a symbol that "a cop is there" (therefore the houses on either side, behind and across the street) are the ones you dont want to rob, everyone else is SOL.

i guess we should sell the same thing...a fire depatment suburban in the driveway means the the house on either side, behind and across the street AINT GONNA BURN
In my town, the Chief and myself are the only two career members of the department. Since the economy went sour, my use of my vehicle has been very limited to emergencies and department business. My personal opinion is that I dont feel its right to use the towns vehicle and create more of a burden on the taxpayer (which I am one of them), besides why bring attention to myself. Bull, you asked a question about using the vehicles after hours.... my insurance doesnt cover me if I use my POV for work unless I add coverage..and we all know how much insurance already is.... so I respond to calls right from my home after 4pm using the town vehicle.

How about if the vehicles in question have Command Post equipment in the back, and the personnel who take them home are the people who will be Incident Commanders on large incidents when they are on call?

It's not so much that they can response with red lights (blue in some states) and sirens, but that they are the people who are trained to be at the green light when they get there.

 

In a large, densely-populated county like Fairfax County, it's not surprising at all that there's only 22 people who have take-home vehicles. We're talking about Battalion Chiefs, Department Assistant Chiefs, HAZMAT Team Leaders, etc...

 

Does that make sense?

 

Greenman

 

My department only has 1 issued vehicle, and that's to the Fire Chief. Otherwise we have 3 other stationed staff vehicles that are used for response to alarms, errands, and training though they don't see a lot of use.  

Our purchasing strategy is to look hardly used with low miles. Our average budget for a "new to us" staff vehicle is under $30,000 for purchase and in service costs. I expect that the next incoming staff vehicles we will weigh fuel economy to help reduce the cost. We send our vehicles statewide to training and we current use 2 Chevy Tahoes for those runs.

 

Otherwise we are about as effecient with our use of vehicles as we can be with our driving and we are never questioned about it.

My feeling on chiefs or officers vehicles (in the words of Antoine from In Living Color) HATED IT. We're going through a thing now were we have chiefs and presidents SUV's and a duty officer p/u truck.

 

The issue I have is that we're a very small department that runs mostly assist. So theres not alot of chances to use the incident command equipment in them. Also, why would the chief respond to a fire when they need bodies on the engine.

But whats worse is the abuse that happens in many departments, paid and volunteer. I hate seeing any company vehicle sitting at a job. Are they going to be able to respond from work. If not leave it at the fire firehouse. I've seen one company command truck parked in front of the cheifs house all year long. I'm tempted to chalk the tires to see if it ever moves.

All you need is one citizen to see the company pu full of furniture for things to hit the fan. God forbid someone gets into an accident off hours.

Only the dept. chief has a take home vehicle which he leaves at the station when he is on vacation and also allows members to use to go to and from school when they are getting advanced schooling.

In my case, my community leaders are well aware of the fact that vehicle goes with me each day. Please read my post above, I myself have limited its use for emergencies and FD business. Our department is predominately volunteer and responds to over 3000 calls per year (as of this post, we are at 3436 calls). We have over 100 members so a Chief responding to the truck to assist with manpower is not necessary, besides that is not the job of a Chief  Officer, his or her job is to direct which cannot be done at the pump panel or at the end of a hoseline as stated by someone above.

In my case, there is no criminal actions being done, and if someone wants to investigate it, I welcome it, I have nothing to hide.

The ability to take home a vehicle lies solely within the decision of the community, nothing more. In some cases, it is seen as a perk for doing a job with little to no other form of compensation. In other cases, it is about a quicker response, considering most times it is a chief officer responding. A chief at least can go directly too the scene and start sizing up and contemplate a plan of action before apparatus and crews get there. In some cases.....I heartily disagree with......is that response times can be kept to look short. It may take 5 or 6 minutes for a chief to arrive (thus FD arrival) yet another 5 to 6 minutes for a rig that can actually do something about the fire to arrive.

 

So really, the issue is moot, because it is the decision of the community. I personally believe there should be requirements concerning such off-duty use, like there being no reason to take a vehicle outside jurisdiction to go and work a primary job 30 miles away etc. However, I also see this as really no different than someone taking a company vehicle home, I see plenty of those in my neighborhood, as well as govt vehicles. To me, it is a non-issue.

Why should there be a criminal investigation? It still is up to the community in what they will allow as far as a take home vehicle useage and as already mentioned, it can be a way of compensation.

 

Now, as I mentioned when this thread first came up is the "gotcha" moment as opposed to any actual investigation. When you take account this artilce (to which you refer) and to the example of the news reported in LI New Yor with a "gotcha" moment......even the Boston news reporter where they did a "gotcha" with a rig shopping outside the city limits. What such reports have also consistently lacked was to even seek out what was allowed and even why things are done. The case of the Boston rig shopping outside the city limits also was a much closer location to the fire district as opposed to the next closest store within the city. Yet the reporter never went to ascertain that simple fact.

 

Same thing with stuff here. So what if there weren't reports of the vehicles being used on emergencies and so what if the vehicles were taken out of the jurisdiction. The fact remains that it comes down to what the city/dept wants to allow. Now it is also easy for such "taxpayers" to seem to get all up in arms, but the simple fact is there will always be those to complain, yet ironically, you never see them step up to the plate either.

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