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.
I'm not defending any actions or personnel in the video, but I am speculating the video might have been put together by someone who had something against the rural department...maybe the competition. I must say I would agree with the criticism. You get what you pay for. Are they still in business???
I would hope not. But a good question.
What difference would it make who shot the video? The fact is this FD showed up and started immediately with an exterior attack, and noody was in complete, PROPER PPE, including SCBA.
Rural Metro showed up, with FFs in PROPER PPE and SCBA on their back, pulled a line and helped knock the fire back and were then told to leave by the original FD, who by now was completely OUT OF WATER. Golly, the fire took off again and we can only surmise resulted in a total loss of the structure.
People do get what they pay for and my guess is this is probably the cheapest, so called, fire department in the area. Frankly, people would be better off with several water and dry chem extinguishers, or a garden hose, and fighting the fire themselves. What is the difference? If they don't get it in the incipient stage it will burn down just the same as if the Grants Pass Rural Fire deaprtment showed up.
Are privately owned fire companies common in other areas? Who has oversight of them? Do they seem like a good idea?
There are many areas that have private fire companies but they come in different flavors.
You can have a volunteer fire company that is privately owned by the fire company that contracts to the community. Or you can have a private company that will supply fire protection. It may be a small local company or a larger corporation like Rural Metro or Wackenhut.
The volunteer companies are afforded more control of their personnel, equipment, and money than a municipal run volunteer fire department. The advantage they have over an outside private company is ties to the community. The advantage a larger corporation has is resources. Generally the pockets are deeper and finances stronger. The small local companies offering fire protection, like Grants Pass Rural Fire tend to not have the money, equipment or resources of either the Volunteer fire companies or the corporate fire companies.
Whether or not they are a good idea is up to the local community to decide, as well as what level of fire protection they desire to have.
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