Reading Firedaily.com they had an article about Grants Pass Oregon. There are 2 "fire departments" in the county. I use quotations because calling them Fire Departments might be an insult to fire departments.
Its not about the condition of the engines, maybe late 60 early 70 vintage, or PPE a mesh mash of construction helmets, safety vest and leather gloves. Its about the actual firefighting ability. The video shows a house fire. Doesn't show how long it took to get there but there is fire from the D side with smoke throughout. they pull two lines (1 1/2) and within several minutes there is an explosion. While the video doesn't have smell-o-vision I beleive there were several messing pants. Lots of running around and an air horn blowing for maybe 2-3 minutes. I don't know if this was for evacuation or for dinner. I guess the driver beleives in the old axiom the larger the fire the louder the engine should sound (as told to me when I joined in 1978)
I'm on the record as hating Keyboard Incident Commanders because we don't know the full story. But DAMN, no leadership, poor equipment and to top it off its a private department that is contracted with various towns and home owners. This video shows one departement so I might be wrong about the other department in Grants Pass but this is the scariest video I ever saw....and that includes my first wedding video.
Youtube is full of evidence of far better equipped,far better, resourced, and supposedly far better trained FD's doing just as bad a job.
That includes paid and vol.
Go search the archives of these discussions of some of the cluster f**ks that are happening.
Watched that video! SCARY!
"Hillbilly FD" had NO properly trained pump operator! He was controlling the pump speed by sitting in the cab working the accellerator pedal! Also sounded like he was pumping in FIRST gear instead of FIFTH! The pumper sounded like the motor was operating WAY IN EXCESS of its redline! "Ass't Chief Mom" needs to wear her flippin PPE! No helmet, NO hood! Hair all out and exposed! NONE of them had a pair of even work gloves among the whole crew! NO SCBA! Kids with NO PPE were in the hot zone! Melted plastic REALLY BURNS into your skin! No apparent organization, although this structure was gone anyway. Looks like "The Hoarders" live there! "Structure" was burning lots more furiously than an ordinary home! Meth lab? Also in the end of the video you can hear ammunition cooking off! WHERE were the police??? Rural/Metro looked like they made a pretty good stop to it before they were "placed in service". They should have never left! No matter what! Or at least they should have notified authorities!
Was this "incident" EVER reported to REAL authorities? Do they even HAVE real authorities there?
The "apparatus" all looked like they came from a scrap yard! Other than possibly hose and nozzles, did not see ANY other equipment either displayed or used! The on-scene pumper didn't even have proper warning equipment on it!
Several NIOSH and OSHA violations are readily apparent in this video. Does this state have a State OSH authority? (some don't) Also I would wonder about some Child Labor laws being possibly violated here.
Even if they cannot afford newer equipment, they should get some training and better maintain the equipment they have! Even second-hand equipment can be had that is far better than what they DON'T have! Exterior people should at least be clad in heavy work clothes and gloves and fire helmets and hoods. And NOT allowed within 50 feet of the involved structure! They can "go fetch" to free up geared up personnel, but that one boy was WAY too close to the fire structure! Looks too young to be there legally anyway.
Training is available (at least SOME basic stuff) for free on the internet if these people wanted to start somewhere. Also, I'm sure if the right attitude were displayed, they could also get some practical training with the neighboring FDs (time to stop the petty rivalry) as this is NOT fun and games or TV!
The "FD" should attempt to get some mechanical assistance with proper maintenance and operation of their apparatus. There are PLENTY of guys who wouldn't mind "pitching in" if, again, the right attitutdes were displayed. These are all NO COST or LOW COST methods of survival. Not neccessarily NFPA approved but better than what they ARE doing now!
I have travelled all over the US into some really depressed areas, but have NEVER seen a disaster like this! Someone is going to get SERIOUSLY hurt or WORSE!
I wonder just how much "contract money" this operation gets! And HOW it is spent on this "FD"!
WOW! Just WOW!
OH! And if they are SO skilled, they should have NEVER let the mutual-aid FD leave with out at least transferring their water to the on-scene pumper! And if this is a "contract" operation, then someone should have been designated/availabe to bring the other "apparatus" to the scene to at least use the water from that tank as well! NO EXCUSE to just quit and say, "Oh well, we're out of water, just let it go."
I can see a liability suit here. Negligence, Not using due diligence, Not furnishing the services "contracted" for, etc. etc. etc.
Makes me wonder if the "Hillbilly FD" even HAS any kind of certs at all to operate as a bonafide FD.
They as a fire dept. Need to read upon several fire fighting techniques as well as get adequate training and some one should really train these people properly because if not there will be a loss os life! Have they heard of FEMA ? They can train small depts. and as well supply grants to these fire fighter wanna bes. I think their name says it all GRANTS PASS well pass the freaking grants to these people so they can learn how to properly fight fires and not with construction helmets and teenagers. As some one stated earlier if they cannot achieve this feet then maybe pass the contract onto someone else. I have been with small rural depts. and have been on large fires with 1500 gallon capacity engines and was able to adequately get the fire under control and out. Without loss of life or equipment. Therefore in this video I see the main failure is training, discipline, and most of all leadership! And I started fire fighting with a prison fire fighting crew and we only got paid 15 cents an hour for every fire we responded to but you know what we were the best in the state! And our record can back that up......so training and leadership is what either makes or breaks a fire dept. And sorry to say it broke the hell outta Grants pass !
I seen this a while back and my jaw dropped. I was utterly speechless!
How can the USA tolerate this kind of thing? Third World countries do better!
Well here i go. I pray that nobody gets hurt or killed on this department. I have a question here know. What the hell is wrong with the neighboring departments? I realize that they are all competing for contracts but if you have a neighbor in this bad of shape; Why isn't anyone helping this department? A lot of departments have extra PPE just laying around why are they not giving it to this department? We have a department 4 miles down the road from us and we have giving them gear and have found gear for them that is what we do. I don't care what state we all live in we can find departments that are in the same state no funding ect. Yet we are a brotherhood and should be doing what we can to help out are brothers in other departments. I agree there is no excuse in this day in age to have this bad of a commend structure and not have basic training; While at the same time i really do not think we should be slamming are brothers this way. I guess i would need to know a lot more about this department and if anyone has offered to help them and they have refused or is the whole area just a Dog eat Dog area all departments are just looking out for number 1 and if that is the case i feel sorry for the whole area. Agree or Disagree? What do you think?
Being volunteer is no excuse for the kind of stuff seen in this video. As a volunteer I can tell you if I saw stuff like this on my crew It would either change or I'd find a new department.
This is what happens when bureaucrats decide they can save money by flipping the traditional idea of taxes for firefighters. Years ago they tried to combine the City PD and FD to make Fire/Cops to save money, needless to say it didn't work and didn't last long. I'm led to believe this same group of people are responsible for the contracting of services that has resulted in unfortunate situations like this.
Just for the record this video does not reflect the whole of Grants Pass, or Southern Oregon for that matter. The City of Grants Pass does have a good fire department, as for Rural/Metro I don't know so I won't comment on them, but I have personally seen FD's with a 5K to 7K budget operate significantly better than the dept shown. It's sad that of all the things in Southern Oregon this is what will come to mind when people think about the Grants Pass/Southern Oregon area.