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Ask a Firefighter

Captain Willie Wines Jr and Battalion Chief Bobbie Slayton 2010This post will resemble a “take off” …. is actually  a replica of one of The Fire Critic’s featured categories “Mutual-Aid Question From A Brother”. You can find those questions posted regularly on his Face Book Page located within THIS LINK .

Rhett and I get a LOT of questions from our followers who are seeking guidance and / or advise. For whatever reason, they feel “comfortable” enough with us to ask some of the questions they may not normally ask (especially to someone on their own Department etc). Rhett came up with a great idea and began posting them as “Mutual-Aid Question From A Brother”. This allowed the Brother (or Sister) seeking advise to get a response from members from ALL OVER THE WORLD vs. a single view from Rhett or myself. The participation and responses have been a HUGE SUCCESS!

Ironfiremen.com on FaceBook HERE

Typically, I forward the questions I receive on to Rhett or I reply via private message. Tonight, I thought I’d just post it myself instead of adding more to his work load. I called it “Ask a Firefighter” but also considered calling it “Dear Firefighter”. I’m not looking to jump into the competition here,  just lighten the load.

I hope you folks take the time to respond (post a reply) and help these members out (but please keep it civil). Sometimes, they (the questions) may not make sense to us (as pertaining to tenure, how you operate, where your Department is, how it’s staffed etc.) but, the questions are relevant for those asking. And just for the record, there IS such a thing as a stupid question …(we’ve seen em and will try NOT to post them here…LOL).

These members are simply looking for advice … some direction. They Need “Guidance”. Rhett recently wrote about that exact topic. Take the time to read that post (as well as the comments) in the link below ….

Read “They Need Guidance” HERE

Here’s his question (problem), noting that I edited the grammar and removed all names or reference to Departments, members etc.

  • images (2)“Hi, we’ve never met but I follow you on facebook. I need some advice… I don’t know what to do with the department I am in. They have kicked out 7 people in the last 2 months, including 3 of my family members and 2 best friends. It’s all over silly stuff…. like taking a soda without leaving a quarter…. accidental knocking over a trophy. .. spending $10 dollars more than  allotted on ems books etc.  (its just always something). Unfortunately the ones who run the department now are all part of the same family… 5 of the 7 officers and 4 of 5 board members are all part of the same family. I don’t know what I can do, if anything. The community is in jeopardy with these guys. They are afraid of fire and the town has lost 2 great landmarks to fires that could have been stopped if not for their firefighting tactics. The rigs aren’t getting out, with the exception of 1 of the 3 stations and if that rig rolls up with probies, all the “old timers” quit or refuse to go with these guys. I feel lives are going to be lost if something is not done. I just don’t know what to do…can you help? Maybe point me in a direction? You can message me on here or call me ***-***-****. Pass the word…. I’m in a “Mayday”…I’m the only one in my family left and all the guys I trusted are gone. I’m truly afraid to go into a building with these guys because they don’t know what a real fire is…. help!”

    Thanks for the help … stay SAFE and in House!

    Captain Wines

 

Comments - Add Yours

  • Jonathan P Monaghan

    Unfortunately this seems to be a common issue. I know of a volunteer EMS agency that had similar problems that you are mentioning. Unfortunately the best advice I can give is to stay positive and steer the course. It is tough and it drives people away but in due time things have a funny way of working themselves out. One of my mentors uses a term “toxic leadership”. It is a term for negative moral at the higher levels and it has an effect on the members of the department at the lower levels. Remember your roots and why you wanted to join the fire service to begin with. Remember that you do make a difference in your department even though at times it is tough. Try to take a positive stance. Are some of the things your leaders are doing right? Maybe not. Perhaps you could search for other options, is there another nearby department you could join? Maybe ask for some insight from your board pertaining to the dismissals. It is always difficult when families are involved however family and tradition are part of the fire service. Keep your chin up and your head low and remember that even though times get tough they eventually find a way to work themselves out.

  • Willie Wines

    take a stand get the good members to document everything names dates times and places for 30 days or so go to higher ups every body has a boss u may get kicked out but u did try and they may see if it is as bad as it sounds I would not want to be a part of that u can make a stand and a change for the better