WFC News

Posted: Jan 23, 2018

Out of My Mind—Firefighters Pulling Their Weight

by Richard Marinucci

A recent discussion I had with a fire officer centered on the performance of one of his assigned personnel. He was lamenting the fact that the individual did not carry his weight. I asked a couple of questions. Had the individual been a good performer who was going through a bad stretch or was the person a “day one deviation?” Also, had anything been done to try and correct the behavior such as training, retraining, or initiated discipline? The answers were that the person was a stiff while on probation, and nothing had been done to correct the behavior. I asked why not? Basically, it was a case where no one wanted to be the bad guy and deprive this individual of a job.

I asked why no one acted during the probationary time. Again, no one wanted to be the bad guy, and there was a sense on my part that the officer did not believe it was part of his job and that the probationary period was not considered part of the selection process. Obviously, there is a disconnect, and the organization needs to reevaluate its hiring practices so that similar cases do not slip through the cracks. It is very easy for officers to blame the administration for a bad hire and not consider that they also have a responsibility in the process. I realize that each instance has some inside information and there are reasons why certain people skirt the system and survive when they probably should be in a different line of work. But, what should be a concern is when everyone in a department knows of the slackers, and nothing is done.

Back to the officer—I knew he had a side business besides being on the fire department. I asked him if he would consider hiring the questionable employee to work for him. Not only no, but hell no!!! I also asked if he would want to have this individual respond to one of his loved ones. Same answer. The general question to the fire service is—why do we tolerate people who do not do the job? And, why don’t we hold their feet to the fire (no pun intended) and either get them to a minimum standard or initiate disciplinary action? I am not sure there is a simple answer, but part of the issue is the brotherhood/sisterhood that has the unspoken rule to protect each other, even though some don’t deserve protection. Somehow this cycle must break as many departments don’t have the staffing to carry slackers. Everyone must contribute and do their parts. Standards must be met by everyone.

This is not new. I recall earlier discussions with officers who told stories of firefighters either hungover or still drunk when working. The crews would send the firefighter to bed to sleep it off and would not report it to anyone. It was common practice. There were cases where the officers didn’t think the person was too drunk, so he would be allowed to respond to calls. This was acceptable in the organization and, in most cases, was known up and down the chain of command. Of course, when asked if the officer wanted that individual to respond to one of his loved ones, you know the answer. I know of a couple of cases where individuals tried to take action (chiefs, officers, and/or other firefighters) and were strongly opposed (in the case of the chief) or ostracized (officers and firefighters).

I understand the importance of loyalty and knowing that someone has your back during tough times. Those are very important in environments that require teamwork and total trust. But, there has to be a line that cannot be crossed in the interest of providing the quality of service that is so necessary in the lifesaving business. Individuals not meeting standards must be given the opportunity to raise their level of performance. All laws, rules, regulations, and labor agreeme

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Posted: Jan 23, 2018

Update: Traffic Open After Truck Hits Ambulance At Commercial And Kuebler

The ambulance was traveling with its lights flashing and sirens blaring at the time of the crash just before noon. 

Two medical personnel were transported to the hospital as a precaution, said Salem Police Sgt. Ryan Demmer.

The driver of the pickup was cited for failure to yield to an emergency vehicle. No injuries were reported. 

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Posted: Jan 23, 2018

South Windsor Fire Department Donates Truck To Enfield School

The truck will give students hands-on experience of working with a real truck and learning the many aspects of fire service training from pump operations to the calculation of pump pressures and friction loss and ladder extensions.

“To have an actual working firetruck in this firehouse is a way to inspire future high school students to join the fire service,” Jarvis said. “Fire departments all across the country are really hurting for members. They are suffering because they don’t have the volunteers. In addition, the paid fire service is a great career for students who don’t necessarily want to go to college.”

“Having this apparatus here could actually change lives in the fact that it can open doors for students in fields they may have not considered,” he added.

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Posted: Jan 23, 2018

New State Bill Would Compensate Fire Departments For EMS Calls

A bill is being sponsored in both the Senate and the Assembly to allow fire departments to be reimbursed when they go out on EMS calls. When a hospital sends an ambulance it will be reimbursed for the cost through a patient’s personal health insurance. However, that’s not the case for fire departments.

Assemblyman Billy Jones of Plattsburgh said that the last thing anyone wants is for an EMS call to go unanswered.

“We’re not asking for anything more that’s not due to these fire departments,” Jones said.

With the number of volunteers in the state dropping, the money is needed even more. This  money refunded from the patients health insurance would also be used to pay for paid staff, equipment, training and more.

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Posted: Jan 23, 2018

Boonsboro fire division working to replace tanker truck

The tanker truck is essential for rural areas in Boonsboro that don’t have fire hydrants, Burton said. The new tanker truck would be able to carry 3,000 gallons of water, which is double what Boonsboro Fire and Rescue’s current tanker truck carries.

The need became all the more apparent last month when firefighters responded to a 911 call about a blaze at 2483 Charlemont Road. Below-freezing temperatures that day meant dry hydrants — pipes installed in natural water sources in rural areas for firefighter use — were frozen, rendering them useless. Trucks instead drew water from the Georgia-Pacific paper mill some eight miles away.

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