If you don't understand that you work for your mislabeled 'subordinates,' then you know nothing of leadership. You know only tyranny.
There are a few good old souls still here that can handle it.
I have been to almost all of the open mic nights as well as our mandatory town hall meetings and a common topic has been the quint concept and returning to a traditional department. This also seems to be a pretty common topic around almost every coffee table. Why is it that it is very hard to find someone who speaks positively about the quint concept but we are just continuing along this path? The Fire Chief often states that this was dropped in his lap and he has to make it work. I for one believe that this is an excuse. Another excuse is that we cannot just make firefighter positions lost in the past appear today. A traditional response model can be achieved with our current staffing. There are so many things lacking with this system. I know there are people in this department who can help in planning a better more efficient future. The problem is that you have to have leadership in place that allows others to have ideas. I do not believe we need to spend several hundred thousand dollars on an outside company (Fitch and Associates) to take us into the future. We were tasked through the building bridges process to take a more active role in OUR department. I know several people who worked on ideas for a transition away from the Total Quint Concept but it fell on deaf ears. We still don’t know exactly what the Fire Chiefs plans are and money is already being spent. There was no official attempt made to look at moving away from the TQC. I mean in one breath we were told about this consulting company coming in to study our response model and then how the department purchased 7 new trucks. What??? Cart before the horse? Why is it that we are asking for a cheaper smaller fleet with a simpler response plan but 201 ignores us? Well not all of 201. There is a reason that this grand concept has not taken the fire service by storm. 13 years later we are still trying to make it work. It was an attempt at fixing the problem of the time without any concern for the future. Why is it that there has never been a study to see if this system is actually cost effective and able to provide the similar level of service that other communities receive. Chances are that if you polled the 804 they would not think so. Oh wait, Fitch did.
Where are the defrost fans?
The average citizen does not know that the city of Richmond on a normal operative bases has 20 LADDER, and 3 heavy rescue trucks answering service calls. Service calls meaning, EMS, FIRE, PUBLIC ASSISTANCE, RIVER RESCUE, ALARMS, ETC. All trucks are over 30 tons, again 30 TONS. At a normal house fire, the city of Richmond's response policy dispatches 6 of these units, no matter how big or small the fire turns out to be. Therefore on average you will have six ladder trucks, and one heavy rescue unit. In the traditional fire department world, IE, the entire U.S. On a house fire you typically get, 3 of the trucks shown in the picture above, and 1 to 2 of the huge ladder trucks that we run on every call. You can do the math yourself and tell me which one would seem more efficient. 3 of what we call engines, small wheel base and lighter, can get down tight streets, and 1 or 2 ladder trucks = traditional..... OR 4-6 heavy and long ladder trucks, that may or may not get down your street, and one heavy rescue = City of Richmond.....its self explanatory. Quint 5 has been out of service more times than in service for all kinds of issues. Maybe this is due to the fact that the busiest company in the city, (3,000 calls for service or more a year) also happens to use the heaviest in weight and longest in length truck in our fleet. Station 5 also happens to reside, in an area where we have extremely tight streets, well if you think about it that is most of the entire city. Do you know that there are streets where Quint 5 can not even get down. If your house is on fire, and you live in District 5's area, your fire truck may not even be able to get to you for a normal service call. WHAT? Again most departments countrywide, would only dispatch this unit for fire calls that would require this type of heavy equipment, and you the citizen would on a normal service call get a smaller fire engine, that would normally make it down your street. The 75, and 105 foot quints are 15 years old, and are breaking down on a regular bases. I cant imagine how much money it costs the city (citizens) in fuel, and maintenance. Its being paid for in more ways than one. Here is a side note, while we are on fuel does the average citizen know that our ambulance transport units sit on city corners idling 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Yes, turned on and engine running on YOUR street corner, SPEWING diesel exhaust fumes into our neighborhood. Think about that in emissions terms, and fuel costs as well. Again most departments house there ambulance transport units in the stations along with the fire trucks. In this day and age of eco friendly, and "best for the environment" , why is the tactic and model still employed. HUH? Would you leave your car idling in your driveway until its time to go to work in the morning? Continued on next post
cont from last postDo you know that if there is a fire south of the river that you get all 6 fire stations that are located in your area on a working fire, that leaves you the citizen and your homes, unprotected, with the next due unit miles and minutes upon minutes away. The quint concept is not sparing. Depleting multiple fire districts of units at a time for a general fire alarm that is known to be false for example. Think about the danger we put or citizens, and us as firefighters, in running these huge trucks on every single call for service, that may not even require such large amounts of equipment, major or minor. The average fire should require the response of about 3 fire stations total. The quint concept requires 4 or more stations on a response, sometimes 5 or 6. Leaving a HUGE, HUGE service gap in fire truck coverage... Imagine if you will, you live on Grove ave, and a fire call goes out not to far from you, and within minutes, you have a call for service, our ambulances could be miles away, or not even enough available for you, and all the fire units in that area are on another call for service, IE, house fire, and you have to wait an extensive amount of time for help. How does that make you feel as a tax paying citizen, in a time of need. Think about that. Its time to bring the real problems to the city council.... this has to be changed.
Oh the defrost fans had to be moved because of the Zoll system. Yet another item we fought for, dropped just like that. The fans were moved behind the drivers seat facing forward because the camera for the Zoll system needed to be placed in the windshield. Now the fans have become a waste of money because placing them that far from the windshield defeats its purpose. Brand new trucks and we will still be using our nomex hoods to clear the windshield as we drive down the road. This Zoll system really has started taking over.