Take the latest brew ha ha in Cleveland where up to 12 firefighters are facing suspension and loss of there jobs after they where caught urinating on a former fire chiefs picture.
I know myself and others filed a discrimination lawsuit against Penn Hills Pa. Point Breeze station 224# because it got so bad trying to serve your community and having to deal with jackasses , bully's ,low life's .lost souls etc.
One firefighter actually put small nails in one of my fire boots which injured my ankle which I have circulation issues with causing a pressure wound that took months to heal .
Of course this is not the first time this dept has gotten it self in serious trouble there was the infamous inner tube tube ride in the park which injured a fire fighter
Yes at one time being in the fire service meant a brotherhood and comradely between firefighters who worked together for the betterment of the community . But in far too many stations and halls this is no longer the case. Instead of working together as a unit its doing everything you can to keep good members from belonging and staying .
With so many people having to work 2 jobs and other obligations the ranks have thinned it started mainly after many of the steel mills went down and the loss of men who worked shifts to be able to have adequate staffing 24 / 7 Here in Penn Hills like in many community's it takes several fire company's to be notified to be able to get enough fire fighters to show up and answer even a simple day light call.
Add in all the fund raising one has to do all the training requirements and it leaves precious little time for family and work.
The result is you have stations full of people mostly young who are unemployed or under employed hanging around stations with other low life types who have gotten into the fire service because help is needed and stations where not properly checking out people and with too much time on there hands they get into trouble and pick on other members who are vulnerable .This also leads to Arson fires when they get bored as well .Which also happened in Penn Hills stations when members where arrested for a series of Barn fires in neighboring Plum Boro. It was so bad at 224 one former chief actually allowed a young man who had set a fire come down to station and show video in the fire station of it.
Then there was the fireworks incident where Penn Hills 226# with company vehicle in there uniforms went to Ohio to buy illegal fireworks and the bragged in a newspaper article there Friends with police and did not see it being a problem. I could go on and on the story's I have seen in newspaper and heard about depts. all over this area.
The other problem since no body wants the officers jobs some one would get stuck with it and does not do the job properly there just filling the position and all too often those filling the officer positions in these problem fire company's are lucky to have graduated high school and this lack of proper education hurts them and there fellow firefighters to the detriment of the community and it often leads to theft of funds .Because they lack the required education to put in place proper practice to prevent it and to make matters worse these same company's after being ripped off by a member allow them to rejoin the fire company instead of banning them from the fire service period.
In one case a Fire dept officer who was in fact a convicted arsonist was sent to jail over skimming money from a bingo game .
Yes Pa. finally passed a law forbidding convicted felons from serving in fire service after that and several other embarrassing issues.
But the thefts and arson's continue you here of one at least every week some where in the state a volunteer fire fighter arrested for theft or arson and if it is happening in Pa. its happening in other states with volunteer forces.
You can see why too many stations have deteriorated to point no one wants to belong . I have seen way too many excellent men driven out of the fire service by low life's .
I would hear it all the time about not being a real firefighter because I am disabled I did not go in and fight fires I worked as a driver /pump operator / Engineer maintaining the trucks so the able bodied could go in and do there job and after all that's what everyone wants to do is go in and fight the dragon not be stuck outside . But no they always had to run there mouths.
So now when the fire whistle goes off I no longer respond to it and many times I hear how they had to punch out another company out for a call since they had no driver. Too bad you caused it your self.
Now there are some very excellent run stations , but there the exception not the rule these days.
There are many very dedicated men and women in the fire service who give it there all but they can not do it all themselves and when you get into a company of misfits and malcontents they soon get disenchanted and leave.
Dr. Harry Carter recently wrote in Pa. Fireman's magazine about Honesty is best Policy in the fire service.
and he is so right . But there will be no honesty till the fire service is ready to sit down and address the bullying and lowlifes situation in departments that is slowly eroding it. I would rather see a station shut down and replaced by professionals than see a station torn apart and cost some one there life.
Its times community's start cracking down on bad fire dept's like they did in Dorseyville when they shut the dept down
Just like in Fox Chapel where they forced a station closed because they forbid them from answering calls when they refused to operate under the new rules set up in the community .