I had to read, and re-read the header to this article on our local news site.  I can not believe that someone would attempt to abuse the system this way.

http://wqad.com/2013/05/21/local-fire-chief-resigns-over-phony-fire...

 

Your thoughts?

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I agree, it is tough to believe that someone would abuse the system this way. This speaks volumes for lack of leadership on part of the chief, but also doesn't reflect to good on the rest of the dept either. The use of calling out a false fire for dept duties, really shows how you do get people who only seem to care for the fire aspect and not dept operations. It makes me wonder how many folks skip training, refuse what is deemed to be BS calls, etc? Furthermore, the article mentions cleaning up a structure used as a haunted house for a dept fundraiser. It is MAY, why the heck is this to be cleaned up now? Is it because the chief has tried numerous times already to get this cleaned and not getting any help from the volunteers? Is this the result of his wits ends to get his volunteers to actually do something for the dept?

 

It doesn't excuse his actions, but I sure don't hold any high regards for the dept either if this is the last resort to get people to help out for dept functions.

I agree with your whole response. I to can only wonder how these people are with other aspects of the department.

This is sad and infuriating at the same time.

What is even sadder is that the dispatcher(s) went along with this falsified call.  The chief is not the only one who should be looking for work now

A good leader should always be honest with his people. It's a shame the person described in this story felt compelled to mislead the members in an effort to get extra manpower.

What is even sadder is that the dispatcher(s) went along with this falsified call.  The chief is not the only one who should be looking for work now

Actually, that would depend upon how the dispatch center is comprised and what their limitations are. For several dispatch centers, the dispatchers essentially work for the depts and follow their instructions, not question the orders.

 

The dispatch center in my area went from a dept controlled, where many calls could be mitigated by the dispatcher, to a county based system where dispatchers essentially don't question the orders from a chief, etc. They also will page out an ambulance and engine for a bloody nose because their Priority Dispatch cards on hemorrhage dictate a trauma response. It is up to the station/resources dispatched to make the decision to cancel the engine, etc. Dispatchers basically no longer are allowed to make those calls.

 

So in this example I don't really cast blame on the dispatcher who was following orders from a chief.

I went to the newspaper article and read the local resident comments.  Some identify the chief was a long standing member and how the department has only a few carrying the load of work and calls.  Not far from the truth by many departments I know of.  The underlying issue here is the lack of leadership forced this chief into using this tactic to get members to come out for a work detail.  We all understand the fake call from a liability standpoint.  But let's look behind the incident.  Now for most smaller fire departments regardless of paid or volunteer, many fire chief's take the thankless position and have not been prepared for the complexity of managing people.  Being a fire chief and running calls is the easy part, the difficult part is dealing with people, personalities, and conflicts. I would suspect without knowing the man or the department, that the day to day was challenging at best.   

So you are saying that your dispatchers would tone out a response even though they had been told that it was not a legitimate call? 

 

The Chief (and I use that term very loosely) had informed the dispatchers that the call was not legitimate.  He should have been prosecuted the same anyone who made falsified 911 calls would be prosecuted

Yes, I am saying that. The article doesn't leave a whole lot of info regarding what happened in dispatch, it does mention a dispatcher was frustrated when other units called in regarding the "fire". This could be something that when the call was taken that concerns regarding a false call were mentioned to a dispatch supervisor etc or their protocol, they do what is told and let the chips fall later.

 

I don't know a whole lot about what the dispatchers job entails. I have seen how the job has become so much more automated and policy and procedures set in place that dispatch is not alllowed to question, nor make their own decisions about what to send etc. Dispatch isn't allowed to make the determination if a call only requires a certain resource as opposed to multiple. Just like the nosebleed scenario, majority of times a single ambulance can take care of this, but if the dispatch protocol for hemorrhage says send an engine too, they do.....it is up to the station/crew to cancel the engine. For the most part dispatchers have become human robots with all the crap they must conform to.

 

In this case, I see this as a situation of "better to ask  for forgiveness, than ask for permission" from dispatch. They were put in a very tough spot and depending on how their protocols and so forth are set up, the calls for termination and prosecution on dispatch part is taking things a bit far, IMO, especially if you don't know how the dispatch center is established and protocols in place.

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