I have a problem... sometimes I take comments to personnaly. Therefore, when, about a year ago, I heard about a citizen complaining about the fact the fire truck was going too fast in front of her house, I took it personally. We are always driving too fast, making too much noise for nothing, but when it's their call, it always is too long before we get there, or we moved too many persons for that kind of call...

 

Now, I want to know, Have you ever faced that kind of situation. How have you delt with it? I think  that the more we go out and speak with people the better it will be but maybe some of you have different suggestions.

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"anytime we make a lot of noise or train near their homes they complain." That truly is the "I agree with you, but not in my backyard" syndrom (or whatever you call it in the states;-) )
If a citizen is making an actual formal complaint, it should be investigated. The fact is, there ARE far too many of our associates who loose all common sense when they get behind the wheel of the engine or truck. To some, it's not a ligit response if they aren't pushing it.

Of course some times we get insulted by hearing soemone complain. How dare they? We are out there halping them, and what if it's their house on fire? I'd bet for every ten complaints, half of them are ligit. The same goes for unnecessary use of audible warning devices. Responses routes should take into consideration of certain problems with residential neighborhoods.

The correct action is to listen to the complaint. Maybe other people in the neighborhood feel the same way. MAYBE they are right? Do you send the entire house out on every call? Is every call run "hot" regardless of the nature? Are you running lights and sirens at midnight to cover another station?

How about a fuel spill? Are all the appartus using the same reponse routes and running hot to the same alarm system that comes in three times a week?

I have heard this complaint a few times over the past thirty-some years. And in some cases, they were valid complaints.

Heavy fire apparatus with an untrained, undisciplined driver behind the wheel is lethal weapon. Without respect, maturity, and an understanding of the potential consequences, you cannot honestly say you have a trustworthy operator. There is rarely a reason to exceed the speed limit.

However fire apparatus repsonging with audible and visual warning signals may sometimes appear to be going faster than they really are. Just understand that it may be hard to admit, but many of these complaints are valid. Make sure you have intelligent answers as to why you are operating in the mannor you are.

The jury you face will most likely NOT be made-up of emergency response personnel that will take your side.
I really appreciate your response Jeff it lights up some problems we sometimes face. In that particular situattion accusations weren't right at least on one point, I was blamed by the lady, but I wasn't driving or sitting in an apparatus on that call.

The house is situated on the main road, in the middle of the commercial zone and it was in the afternoon. The driver was my brother a 15 years ff who's day job for the last 5 years is to drive ten-wheellers, day or nite, rain or shine. The second best guy in our department to drive apparatus. The call was in the middle of the afternoon. The road at that place makes a 90 degree curve and you have no choice but to slow down. Even with my POV i go 10 km/h under the limit which is 50 (30mph). I assume on that one sirens, horn and jake brake might have played for something.

Otherwise I agree with you that sometimes audible signals might be disturbing like at night or something. But as the law asks us to do so (we can be held liable if there is an accident and it is proven we haven't used both), I prefer having my guys running with sirens and disturbing citizens sometimes. We have 60 calls a year so maybe 10-15 calls a year might really be a problem.
Eric...welcome to the Fire Service...this has been the way it is ever since I can remember....you will never make everyone happy...some people thrive on being critical toward everything....Don't take it personnally.........
Had one tonight. Our Dept. is selling reflective address signs(at cost and we put them up) in our District. This project has been well recieved till tonight, a gentleman declined our offer, we left, he called the county sherrif's office to complain about the "scam" and that the guy was even wearing a fake fire shirt and cap! Our guys were even driving one of our brush trucks! The guy says he is even going to "complain" to his State Representative that this is a waste of taxpayers money. Go figure.
Three situations come to mind...We used to get complaints that we "blew past a car just to get through a red light and traffic" when in fact we were canceled enroute. The chief ordered us to continue lights and siren to the next street, turn on to it then shut down...We were ordered not to wear any kind of mirrored sunglassess on calls because one patient complained that he could see how injured he was. This caused a county wide sunglass policy to be created...We were stopped from carrying any folding work knife that was longer than 4 inches because a blade 4 inches or longer was "considred" to be a weapon BUT no such law is or ever was on the books, the chief just didnt like us carrying work knives and made it up.
we had the same thing happen with a commissioner that "saw the fire truck at the market every day" so he stopped everyone from going to the store period. When somebody got stuck working a double shift, we called him at home and asked permission for him to eat. he asked why the guy didnt bring enough food for a double shift and had no answer when he found out it was a unscheaduled double. he got pissed because we called him at home. we rememded him that the policy was "his idea" and should be the one to break it. he tried a retiliation move and we put yellow ribbons on our cars and homes. when people asked who they were for we would tell them they were for "the firefighters who were being held hostage in the firehouses"
"NIMBY"= Not In My Backyard
i used to have a two sayings. "its never an emergency until its your ass" and on a bumper sticker," would you have pulled over quicker if you knew we were going to YOUR HOUSE?". i still have a bumper sticker that says "when the experts panic, they call the fire department"
Well, I don't know you, your dept., or your situation, but as an industry, many of "us" DO in fact drive too fast for things that don't warrant it. Many of "us" DO in fact use sirens on stuff that should be a cold response. Many of "us" ARE big whackers that care more about us getting our jollies than serving people and communities.

I'm not indicting you personally, but I bet there are in fact people in your dept. (as there are in mine) that are not representing us the way we would like, and probably taking risks that absolutely don't need to be taken.

Sometimes citizen complaints are very much worth looking into.
I am so stealing this!
I agree about the sunglasses things. It makes some sense to me. In some times if you are working to reassure someone maybe this could play against you.

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