VAFireNews.com Headline Animator

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You know the rule....well its just not written down

I have posted on the need for more defined SOP's, SOG's, Guidelines, Memos, Emails, etc. Once again the unwritten rule strikes.

In a world of digital media, we the firefighters find ourselves out in the dark without a flashlight. Most Fire Departments are para-military. Meaning we have rank and follow the rank. We understand our role and follow orders.

Recently, as in a few years ago, the department went to SOP's online. The SOP book in the station was not maintained after that point. Therefore if you were looking at the SOP book, you had to go online to make sure nothing had changed. This is not a huge deal, however it seems as though memos and emails have taken the place of updated SOP's and it has created a problem. Now, when you want to see what the rules are you have to get the emails, memos, and SOP's and put them in chronological order and put them together like a jig-saw puzzle.

However, there is one more thing you have to take into consideration...the unwritten rule. What is the unwritten rule? Well to be exact, it could be anything. What weight does an unwritten rule have? To me, nothing really.

I know the SOP's, I receive email, and I know where the Memo board is. So I guess it is up to me to know what is going on and what rules to follow. If indeed I fail to follow the rules, I will pay the consequences. That is the way it works.

Unwritten rules? Well don't expect me to know them.

But it could be better. It is very simple actually. All we have to do is update the SOP's to common practice, discontinue the practice of using emails as policy because not everyone uses it, and get rid of relying on unwritten rules.

I would be happy to be on a committee to clean up the SOP's and make them more understandable. After all, it would be beneficial if I could go to one place to know what is expected of me, other than the City POP's.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

What are some of the unwritten rules? Are you talking about staying at home when you call in sick or has something else happened?

Anonymous said...

It seems as though a certain chief remains vigilant to create chaos and discontent in a time when the department struggles w/ morale and budget constraints, what a shame. Roanoke has a great bunch of firefighters and officers that are good at what they do but unfortunately have to endure the wrath or retaliation of one or two.

Anonymous said...

One rule that was written, but now not found, is stopping for all stop signs and red lights. Ralph has ordered a Capt. to issue a written reprimand to a medic driver for failure to stop, on a unwritten rule.

Another unwritten rule is that you can't wash your vehicle unless you at the Castle on Elm.

Another is parking your vehicle inside the station unless you are at #1.

Also, I heard that Craig withdrew his grievance. MAde a deal but still lost a days pay. Another spineless omega. He had them by the balls.

FireFleitz said...

Actually, the deal you talk of with Captain Sellers was not exactly what you think. Maybe you should check your facts. Either way, there was an agreement met and you weren't involved.

As for the written rule of stopping at red lights. It was but now isn't still doesn't cut it. Exactly my point of the issues with the unkempt rules and regs.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, Unless you know the true facts, perhaps you should keep your comments to yourself. I did not "withdraw" my grievance. However, there was a negotiated agreement made at the department head level of the process. Did I recieve the amount of disiplinary action initially brought upon me? NO. Was I cleared of any and all charges? NO. Did I recieve a corrective action that I felt was fair enough to agree to? YES. Obviously you have never worked with me or know me very well, or you would know that I have no problem with standing up for what is right for the people who work under my supervision or myself. With regards to the individual that was given the written reprimand,SOP 2-12 from the "old" SOP book that was issued in 1984 and updated in 1992 is still in force until superceeded. What I find crazy is the fact we have an updated and current SOP for swift water rescue, something we once or twice a year. An updated and current SOP for elevator rescues, something we do maybe a dozen times a year. But, not an updated or current SOP for something we do a hundred times a day. Which is drive our apparatus in the emergency mode. No anonymous for me, Craig Sellers.

Anonymous said...

Unwritten rules allow management to make things up as they go; no standards, no consistency, no fair treatment across the board.(thanks Gbo)
It allows management to arbitrarily jerk employees around to satisfy their arrogance and mask their incompetence.
After all, if the rules were written down, they would have to follow them and be uh whats the word? oh yeah, accountable.
There are lots of unwritten rules.
Watch your back.
Yes, the #2 man is in over his head, is a bully and mistreats personnel, but they don’t stop him so they share the blame.

Anonymous said...

Instead of the "Castle on Elm", we prefer to be called "The Big Show"!

Anonymous said...

You are exactly right poster above "Big Show". #2 is out to get us all. Its a shame we have some one like him in such a leadership postion. We all hoped that the new chief would squash him like a bug and put an end to our misery.....but thats yet to be seen. What a let down Chief!!! Way to stand up to him Craig, and to stand up for yourself, your men, and whats right.

The Ol Grumpy Guy said...

Thanks for posting my last comment Rhett. Oh ya you didnt. Im sure none of the previous post would damage your career. Why would mine.

FireFleitz said...

Your welcome Ol Grumpy Guy. Or not. Whatever you mean. Anyways. I cannot allow certain things to be published on the blog.

Currently there is a case that will make an impact on bloggers which relates to the legalities of the actual blogger (in this case me) being held accountable for the comments (you and all the other anonymous commentors). Therefore, why would I want to through it all away because of some immature/unnecessary comment someone else makes.

I have always stood by my words. I have always owned up to the consequences of speaking my mind.

If you have something negative to say, say it constructively or professionally. I also recommend not using names.

Thanks for your understanding.

Anonymous said...

The SOP that the illustrious King Ralph cited for issuing the written reprimand is 2-12 from a POP dated 1984! So since we're going by the standards set in the 80's I guess we can abide by SOP 2-2 from the same book where it says we can use the Fire Dept bays to perform "minor repairs" ie: washing and waxing personal vehicles from the hours of 1500-2000 Monday through Friday and after work is completed on Saturdays, right?

I wonder if all the white hats stop at all intersections when they're responding from home, after hours to a fire scene that will go all to hell upon their arrival?

Anonymous said...

In a desire to satisfy his need to feel power, the #2 man has blocked promotions, reduced raises and given punishment assignments to employees that simply disagreed with him. Is it OK to screw with peoples lives? Several have left this job directly as a result of his retaliatory attitude. The fact that he gets away with so frequently and blatantly mistreating personnel and the lack of intervention from downtown illustrates the lack of regard that management has for personnel. Is he the only one? No, he’s just the worst offender.
We have many problems that are denied and unaddressed.
The floggings will continue until morale improves.

Why doesn’t chief 1 do something about him? Some say he’s in complete denial of the problems of the department, after all, I’m chief so things are good.
That is #2’s attitude.
Maybe #1 can’t do anything about #2 because his hands are tied?
Why doesn’t the city manager or council intervene? Is it because the seriousness of the matter can’t get higher than our chief? When news of the problems in the department reach the municipal building, does the x chief simplify, downplay and dismiss our issues since they originated with him?