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Sunday, May 11, 2008


Remember that the Council Meeting is Monday May 12th at 2pm. We are meeting at Noon at the Union Hall. Call me if you have questions.

These past two weeks have been interesting. There have been a lot of comments that have offered more insight to the events which have consumed most of the Roanoke Firefighters lives. I have heard from a lot of firefighters as well as their wives and even some parents and children. The common theme is that we are on the right track. I think it can be summed up by this one comment which I will quote:

let me give you an old saying to answer your question as to why you shouldn't listen to the chief.
"all of us are smarter than one of us"
think about it

On another note...I have gotten a lot of phone calls about the Administrative Chiefs actually staffing trucks this past week. Chief 2 ran on Engine 10, Chief 3 and BC5 ran at Station 1, Chief 1 ran as BC 2, BC 3 and Captain Dillon ran at Station 6. All of this is understood to have been due to Rescue Challenge being in town. Apparently we cannot even afford overtime to fill the spots on the trucks.

So this leaves a couple of questions:
  1. Are all of the Administrative positions needed?
  2. Can we really not afford any overtime?
  3. Did we finally mark out too much apparatus? (it is very common to have 2-3 engines, a ladder, and a medic truck or two out of service at any given time for whatever reason)
Worse yet.... these actions bring up some other questions about the Chiefs who filled in on the Engines/Ladders
  1. Are they all up to date with SCBA Fit testing?
  2. Are they up to date on all of our operational training.
  3. Are they up to date on all of their training.
  4. Are they up to date enough to do the job correctly and safely.
Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to attack their abilities. However, I remember taking an R.I.T. class which had a lot to do with communication between Incident Command and the operational divisions/groups. It was my understanding from what I have been told that many of the Chiefs had not attended. This raises questions about exactly how educated are certain personnel who could be put in the place of Incident Commander and now even as the officer on an Engine or Ladder Company.

I actually hope that everyone involved is up to date on all of the things that affect our jobs. I also hope that no corners were cut or procedures skipped. We are all held to a very high standard and we expect the same from anyone who might possibly get on the truck next to us. If you cannot understand why I bring this up on the first place, well most of the remaining firefighters who have not said a word up to now have finally joined the rest to say "What the hell is going on".

The events of the past week or two have 250+ Firefighters scratching their heads wondering what the hell is going on. It appears as though certain people have continued to cut the fire department, were able to get City Council brainwashed into thinking it was no big deal, and then able to get a department head to say that nothing will change becoming the fall guy. I wish I had that kind of persuasion. With that kind of following and power of persuasion, I have one last thing to say...."don't drink the cool-aid".

As far as the morale of the firefighters and what they think, well I don't know if it can get any worse. I hope it can't and I hope it gets better, but it isn't going to change in the current pace it is going.

I have more thoughts that I will get posted later in the week.


Anonymous said...

They want to try our jobs because most of them can't do their own. NOT DILLON or ATKINS they pulled their weight. Were the fire offices closed last week, it just shows that they really don't have that much to do there. Good thing Kim, Brenda, and Mary were there! I hear they are talking about getting rid of the pagers because of the cost, and if you want you can give them your cell number and they will text you if they need people for something. Thats right use us even more, we pay for those phones. It would be nice if NO ONE gives them their #'s. Sorry maybe not then that Holdover B-S would start up again, OH maybe not, then they would have to pay OVERTIME. I know what they would do, just mark something else out of service, that seems to work well! Rhett you have been making some great points, keep up the good work. It just sucks that the city can do this to their employees and the citizens of Roanoke City. The citizens aren't going to care, until something happens to them or someone they know and thats a big problem for us because it's going to make us look bad.

Anonymous said...

Just to let you guys know if it's not out yet Upham is leaving to move back home. So were losing another dam fine medic/FF and a all around good guy. Mickey, your an ass but I'll miss ya! I guess that will be the first of our six they won't be replacing? And also means we will be short yet another medic.

Anonymous said...

Rhett,has anyone discussed what will happen with E5/E9 when they build that new station at 20th and melrose?! You know damn well that we won't be keeping both engines there. Another 12 positions lost! Yes, it is 12, Chief not the 9 that your numbers keep refering to.How do they get 6 when there are 4 men per apparatus times 3 shifts plus the 3 from #7 that adds up to 15 in the school I attended. That means 15 minus 6 = 9! Sorry for the rants but it just doesn't add up. Good luck today. Bastard Child @ St.13

Anonymous said...

I heard a top level Chief took command of a fire recently and when things went to shit he passed it back to a Captain.

Any truth to it?

Anonymous said...

Yes it is true, Just like on 13th street, he was way over his head. I think we need to clean out the Admin. office, apparently they don't need to be there, they all came out and tried to ride fire trucks last week, two of them got scared on thursday and went back to an ambulance on saturday.

Anonymous said...

you memtioned koolaid. Maybe they will drink it since they seem to be a cult or maybe belong to that club. I think a work "slow down" is in order. did the working chief violate FLSA by working too many hours?

Anonymous said...

Rhett, I can assure you & that due to the diligence of the training division, Ellen to be exact, and myself, that all personel, including the chiefs have been fit tested.
(except for a few at Co. 7, which the county was supposed to make sure they were tested and did not, and Ellen is getting them when she can. Another reason to bring those peeps back into our system)

Before fit testing began this year we re-visited our program and made changes to better serve our personnel to make them safer.
A lot of problems were found with the mask in service and corrected during this proces. We also bought a new fit testing machine with fire programs monies
($8,200.00) for next year to make our program more efficient.

I can honestly say that the one division that is not lacking in funds in this department is the SCBA program. Chief Tartaglia & Hoback understand the importance of continued maintenance and repair and have supported this division fully. We have been using our Scotts for almost 5 years and Chief 1, 2 & myself will be sitting down soon to do a comprehensive 5 year plan for replacement.

And before anyone says or thinks anything, check the promotional list, I am not on it. I do air packs for the personnel & myself.

Should anyone need or think they need repairs or changes to their mask or packs, please contact me on duty or off and their issues will be addressed.

Baron Gibson 6 C

Anonymous said...

I am honored to have been quoted in the blog. appearrently many people have taken it to heart & really feel it is an important statement & I feel it could or should be the motto of the union.

I think we should look at the term morale. Morale is an intangible term used for the capacity of people to maintain belief in an institution or a goal, or even in oneself and others.

Factors influencing morale within the workplace include:
-Job security.
-Staff feeling that their contribution is valued by their employer.
-Realistic opportunities for merit-based promotion.
-The work 'culture'.
-Team composition.
-Management style.
-The perceived status of the work being done by the organization as a whole.
-The perceived social or economic value of the work being done by the organization as a whole.
(stolen from wiki)

I already know the answer to each of these as they relate to our profession & our current position personally.

However, I bet that morale is now pretty low at the top as well. now they know what it's like to not like going to work.
They however have it worse. as no one there trusts each other. as I said before it;s like survivor island up on the 3rd floor.
AND no, maing decisions tha stab an ntire departmnt in the back is not part of the job, BTW.

we all understand that running anything, being in charge, means you have to be the bad guy on ocassion. it means you cant always make everyone happy. However it doesn't mean you can make such boneheaded mistakes & lie to people to their face. you cant fool the people that have done this longer than you.
yeah, change has to occur, but not this type of change. not negative impact change.
-at least we now know we have your attention. Now we know you do go to bed thinking about this at night.
-now, do the right thing. cut the puppet strings & listen to the people that do the job. use common sense. do the right thing!!!