Tuesday, November 14

Grudge Holders? Too right we are!

I few shifts ago I had a heated conversation with a Station. They needed to book Unavailable for fire calls in order to take part in a community event that had been planned for some time. Fire Control required them to stay on the run due to lack of fire cover.

We have a system where we can allow a certain amount of appliances to book off the run in order to carry out training, community fire safety etc. They can book this in advance and usually it goes ahead as planned. However on this day, the question was asked to my supervisor and the answer was No, not at the moment. This was then relayed to the OIC at the station who sounded as if he was about to explode. He couldn't understand why we would not allow him. I explained the situation, ie there was a large incident going on across the city and although he was not required to attend this at the moment, until all the relief crews had been assigned, all appliances were to remain on the run. He raised his voice, maybe to get me to understand more. I raised my arm to get my suspervisors attention, who then clicked in to listen. Apparently, Fire Control don't understand the effort that is required when organising a large community event. Apparently, Fire Control don't understand that lots of people have been involved in this event. Apparently, Fire Control are letting every single one of them down by this selfish act. He will be contacting his Line Manager to complain about us.

Now here was me thinking that we all worked together as a team. Here was me thinking that a little understanding goes a long way. As a Control Room, we are more than aware of commitments that are made by Stations. We are more than aware that a lot of effort, involving many months worth of work, is put in by Stations in order to make our communities safer. We are more than aware that when we ask an appliance to remain on the run we are disappointing a lot of people who have also put in a lot of effort and time from other organisations. But above all, we KNOW that by raising one's voice to Fire Control does not achieve anything, it does not make us change our mind, it does not make what you are saying any more significant. Unfortunately all it does is put oneself above everyone else on the 'Relief List'.

He did manage to get his appliance off a little later in the day. He also managed to volunteer his entire crew for the 3am relief duties the following night shift.


Firecall said...

Nice to see your blog bag.

I am suprised the reaction that you got. In my brigade we hate taking appliances off. If control told us we had to stay on we would not complain. However much I agree with community events I would still rather be going to firecalls.

Reliefs though now that is painful

Miranda Shuttleworth said...

We usually hear in the voices that they are relieved that they have to stay on the run!

I can understand why he was so annoyed. It was a big event and quite important that they were booked off. But, and its very important, there are ways of speaking to people. Personally, a bit of flattery and sweet talking and I'd do anything for you!!

Kyle said...

I can see both side of the coins... a community interested in its local fire station is always a good thing - keep the kids out of trouble, get those "prevention" messages out, learning about the community - I'm sure some admin officer will be tickled pink with all the ticks he will be able to make to meet some sort of govt initiative or "modernisation".

Also, if the station get threatened the close, then the community can whinge a lot louder.

On the other hand, not having a full cover is a serious issue.. but it makes me wonder how stretched resources are if a fire station can't book off... what if its engine broke down that night?

3am relief? ouch! Wonder what the station officer is actually getting for doing his community stuff (besides a lot of grief from his colleagues).

justajob said...

You mean to say Firepersons don't like doing "Community" stuff?