Headline Animator

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Still Going

Hey guys,

I just realized that it has been over a week since my last post. I have been busy much like most of you all. I have so much to say, and I hope to get to it soon.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) I am taking the kids to Emerald Pointe with several other families. The Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary set up the trip. We are hoping for decent weather.

There has been a lot going on in the City, although at the surface it appears as though the Department hasn't changed much.

I noticed in the paper the other day where the city has spent over a million dollars on another piece of property. I swear, Roanoke City is having a very lucrative budget crunch. The claims of not having money are met with what seems to be one of the biggest spending sprees I have seen in a while.

The Roanoke Times had a nice piece on Roanoke City Manager Darlene Burcham...I didn't read it. I am sure that they got their point across, unlike the news media is able to do when we have a story for them. The one sidedness of our media in Roanoke is embarrassing to say the least.

If you think back to when Chief Hoback took the helm as Chief of our department most of us where saying things will change. Most of us gave him a chance. Most of us kept our heads up and wanted to believe that change would come.

Damn, this is getting depressing...

I will continue on though.

You know that 6 million dollar station 1 they built, well they are replacing it piece by piece it seems. Soon they will have a brand new garage floor throughout. Apparently, the work was sub-par. Shock.

Ladder 13 went out of service the other day...and then the reserve ladder went out of service. Engine 13 stayed in service though, and the City operated with 3 ladder trucks, well actually 2 and a half. Ladder 7 accounting for that .5.

I was told by one of our Chiefs that if a truck is broke he will shop it automatically. That if it is unsafe, then it needs to be fixed and does not need to be in service. This was told to me without me asking. I didn't say a word...until now. Why the hell are Ladder 7 and Ladder 13 still in service if they have not been able to fix the relief valves since February. Hell we have needed 4 people outside of the apparatus drivers to come in special and tell us they are broke. What gives.

Oh yeah, Engine 8 failed the pump test twice and was kept in service for months.


I will tell you what I think. I think we are on a one way trip to the darkest day of our lives. I think that without change, one of us is going to be seriously injured or killed.

The best thing we have going for us is each other. Watch your back, watch your brothers back.

I have some more stuff I need to post. Some feel good stuff as well. Look for it soon.


Anonymous said...

What property did the city recently purchase for $1 Million??
Also, is there any way to post the link to the piece the Times did on big red??
It is kinda scary to hear about the dismal shape the ladder fleet is in. I say we boycott the "busy" work that downtown has the stations do until they show us that WE are their number one priority. This is getting old with no relief in sight.
Sol Rosenberg

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy seeing the ladder companies run with HTR 6 when two ladder trucks are out of service. Is this something that all INTERNATIONALLY ACCREDITED departments do???

Valerie said...

I found some pictures from last summer when I first purchased my camera. They are in my blog on the slide show but you can get to the hose practice exercise at the corner of Ranch and Lewiston if you scroll down to the bottom with this link ... maybe you know who is operating the hose - I have not seen it since:

Anonymous said...

1 thing left to say Rhett...


Anonymous said...

Apparently now if you call in sick you can plan on a chief driving by your house to check on you. Maybe if we are lucky they will knock on the right firemen’s door and the problem will take care of its self. Also, all doctor appointments at occupational office have a requirement of a drug test before your seen especially if they wrote you a prescription, what a great place to work. If they keep up this harassment, and bullying, somebody is going to get rich or worse.

FIX IT said...

It only took 4 months to get the red lights fixed on one of the ladder trucks !!!!

Anonymous said...

If the chiefs in this department think that the men don’t see what they do their crazy. Maybe we need to keep up with their whereabouts on and off duty. Lord knows you can’t find them during the day. If you follow someone with a video camera all day long you going to get some good stuff. When you’re at the bottom you got nothing to lose. BIG BROTHER IS ALWAYS WATCHING, NOW LITTLE BROTHER IS TO.

Anonymous said...

well now they are appearently getting access to our medical records without our permission. huh...
now they're really gonna cross the wrong line & get nailed for it...that's illegal on a personal note!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, what a great place to work. Something that has been eating at me for the past few years that I have been here. Someone posted about the chief's harassment and bullying. Well, some of you need to look inward. You may not drive around and see who is at home or have guys piss in a cup for no reason. What I am talking about is this "brotherhood". Now, I have seen some great things such as compassion, care, and freindship, but many times it's not extended to all. Many times the guy that may be different or unpopular is picked on and belittled at every turn. This is reasoned away as firehouse joking. I understand that boys will be boys and fun is fun. Often this funning goes to far and no one considers the object of this fun's feelings. Many may say if you can't take it get out of the firehouse, but if you put yourself in the others shoes you may see how it could hurt. The guys that are your "brothers" talk down to you and chip away at your self esteem untill you start to belive what they say is true. No matter how old you are everyone wants to belong and feel as if they have worth. If you want to stop harassment and bullying, then stop it in the firehouse too. As everyone says at work, hanging out, and on this blog we need to stick together and have a true brotherhood. So look out for all of your brothers.

Your Brother HH

Michael Overacker said...

The previous poster has a valid point. I have always been a supporter of the RFFA. I attended every meeting that I possibly could. In the 24 years as an active member of the IAFF, I am sure my attendance is probably around 100 meetings, and probably around 20 since I retired. I am 3rd generation Union. My maternal grandfather helped form the steelworkers unions in Pittsburgh PA in the early 1900's, at a time when companies were killing union members. My father was in the railroad unions, and I am a proud member of the IAFF.

Year after year, I would see new groups of firefighters join the RFFA. Most of them would disappear after initiation, never to set foot in a meeting again. I have heard all the excuses. I have a family, kids, extra jobs, live out of the area, and on and on. The funny thing is, I would inevitably see every freakin' one of the excuse makers drinking downtown for hours on end, or hanging out. They all have time for goofing off, but not time to support the RFFA and the other firefighters who are looking out for their jobs.
The fact of the matter is, if you aren't a part of the solution, then you are a part of the problem. If you aren't standing up for your rights, then you don't deserve them. If you are not there to support your brothers and sisters, and I mean ALL!!! of your brothers and sisters (not just the ones you like), then you should have no expectation of their support of you. Every one of the RFFA members take an oath never to wrong a brother, but many do it all the time. You take an oath to never see a brother wronged, if within your ability to prevent it, but that happens all the time as well. So, exactly what does everyone expect? Most RFFA members might as well take the oath, write it down on some toilet paper, wipe their ass with it (or the ass of their favorite chief), and flush it down the crapper, for all the use it gets from them.
Power comes from standing together, not standing together only when convenient and not hindering your promotional position. As long as Roanoke has 200 firefighters and medics looking out after themselves, the city will continue to walk all over you. And you deserve it. If you are not willing to make a small sacrifice for the betterment of all members, and not just yourself, then you do not deserve the benefits of brotherhood.
And quit blaming the citizens. Why should they support you when you can't even get together and support each other?

Lieutenant Michael Overacker (Retired)

Anonymous said...

Sure no one wants to hurt anyone's felling, but what kind of job would this be if we couldn’t harass each other, that is about the only thing worth working for these days. If a person generally does not want to be joked with they need to speak up and it needs to be respected. There will always be leaders and follows, that just life, but the omega of a group is just as needed and loved as the alpha, but as pitifully politically correct the world has become I see were someone would be coming from.
Don’t sweat the small stuff at some level it is all small stuff.

Anonymous said...

We did stand together as brothers and sisters at the city council meeting when we all found out that we were losing personnel. Ninety plus people stood in front of council and what happened...absolutely nothing. Our union has no voice and it really showed after the past several months of turmoil that happened in the department. Maybe we dont go to the meetings because very few, if any, issues are even allowed to be brought up. One can only hear the "we need to fight the bigger fight" so many times before one decides the meetings are not worth going to. Hoorah.

Michael Overacker said...

You are right on some counts. We did stand together, around 90 strong, to show our feelings on the issues. However, by that time, the damage had been done. People point the blame at the RFFA leaders, but their hands are tied without support from the membership. Since 1995, fire administration has been waging a campaign to minimize the ability of the RFFA to fight for the health and safety of the firefighters. They did this by placing a system into the stations where firefighters could support administration by volunteering to do all kinds of jobs for the chiefs, and, in return, these people received preferential treatment when it came time for promotions. Not all promotions during that time period were that way, but many of them were. Fire administration pitted firefighter against firefighter, and many of the firefighters and officers gladly bought into the plan. Backstabbing became commonplace, and standing on a brother to get a promotion was all too common. Roanoke firefighters have weakened the position of the RFFA, not the officers of the RFFA. If the Roanoke Firefighters want to see who has made their job more difficult, and who has enabled the city to continue the downsizing of the department, all they need to do is look in the mirror. If every firefighter and officer had been looking out for their brothers the past 13 years, instead of themselves, we probably would not be in the predicament that we find ourselves in today.
Could our RFFA officers do better? Probably. But might I suggest that you start the process by doing better yourself, rather than pointing blame? There is more than enough of that to go around.