In Lewisville we have a great relationship with our PD from the Chiefs all the way down to the newest firefighters and officers. The key is communications, education and understanding. They have a job to do just like us, if they do not know what we expect, how can we expect them to respond accordingly? One of our Battalion Chiefs is currently putting together a SHORT program on this exact topic. In preparation he has visited with our Fire Chief and with the police Captain over patrol to discuss the issues, and to make sure that everyone has input. In this program he will explain our alarm assignments, water supply requirements, truck and engine placement and support vehicles. He will aslo BRIEFLY discuss our command structure so that a PD officer knows who to address is an issues occurs. In the past we have talked about accident / traffic issues with them and we have had good results from that training. We will be more than happy to share this program once completed.
Many of them will share meals with us, and there is no greater way to form a bond than over a meal.
Any formal training we have done with them has been more oriented toward their work, and accident responses. Developing a class for them about fires is an awesome idea. We don't have that many problems, but it would be a great way to explain what and why we do it. Kind of like a Citizen's Fire academy for Cops......
We operate under a Public Safety umbrella. We have a great working relationship with our PD. In years past, alot of LE Officers and Fire personnel were cross-trained. Although the cross-trained indviduals still exist, they no longer participate in regular LE patrols or fire training.
The LE officers respond on 99% of Fire/EMS incidents and they provide excellent support and assistance. They know their roles and fulfull them very well.
We are a huge city, I am sure in a smaller city the departments work very well together. NYC has every problem imaginable, we are so overcrowded, streets become unpassable most times. We seem to be miles apart with our counterparts, lot's of misinformation and misunderstanding. I am trying to get something started in our city to explain such issues as not blocking the front of the fire building, hydrants, elevators etc...
The problem is that PD gets the calls the same time and usually get to the location first. Unfortunatley the only place to park is either in the street or on the hydrant, I am afraid that if we keep heading down this direction, lives are going to get lost.
When I was first hired, the relationship was not as good. It took a lot of time, explaining, some training and compromise on both sides to finally make it understood that we work better together than separate.
Now if we could only teach not to go into the building before we get there. There will be a few Blue Canaries one of these days.
You have to find a way to overcome their misconceptions and your own department's as well. Cops think all we do is sleep, and we know all they do is eat donuts......right?
Our relationship with the PD could be better where I work-and I want to indicate it hasn't been for lack of trying, either. We were lucky to have a very committed training Captain who attempted to formally educate our counterparts, but to little or no avail.
I share your concern over the safety issue of unprotected members of the PD entering building without PPE, though with the best intentions.
Here is an additional concern I have: PD blocking the front of the building with their vehicles, and/or leaving vehicles unattended impeding the arrival of greater alarm comapnies.
One quick anecdote: we actually had a house fire in the not too distant past where a police SUV towing a horse trailer obstructed the first due engine attempting to make a residential street on which the fire building was located. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried....
Our area is smaller but we find that training together helps us to preform our jobs better. We try to incorporate them in everything we do whether its official or just sitting down for a meal together. our strategy thus far has worked to everones advantage.
I read this post and I was compeIled to respond...I was in the jump seat of the engine that was cut off...
The first due Engine Co was having troubled making the other corner due to the parked cars on both sides....on the other end of the street
So now we became the first due engine and we could see the fire venting out of the attic roof vents......as we were approaching the street..... Coming the opposite direction is a PD Ford Bronco pulling a Horse trailer...not the kind used to block streets, the kind of horse you ride....So the MPO starts to take the left to go up the street...and gets cut off by the Bronco pulling the horse... Now he's in front of us looking for some place to park with companies coming in from both ends of the street... I felt bad for the horse though...he took the corner like he wasn't pulling a trailer.... Then he had an engine behind him making all kinds of noise. Because, they just got cut off by some one who is now looking for some place to park there horse trailer…
The closest thing we ever had to that was an attempt to give the PD a class on how we define fires. In other words, it was not uncommon for us to get a report of "heavy smoke showing" from the PD, which was essentially light smoke from a kitchen window caused by burnt food. The same went for fully involved vs. well involved. It was also not uncommon to get reports of a fully involved vehicle fire that is mmiraculously extinghished by a fire extinguisher carried in the trunk of a police car.
I think the PD is open to anything in my area. There is contention sometimes, but any time you have two public agencies working closely together, there's bound to be some conflict at some point. It's just the nature of the beast. We've asked the PD not to park close to an involved structure, and they've adhered to that. And they clear out of the house when we arrive. So in general, they know their roles, we know our roles. I'd say that if there ever was an agency that forgets its role, the PD near me would do it more often than the FD.
All that being said, there's not a lot of animosity between the two agencies.
The Portage Fire Department put on a class last year after PD officers broke out windows and doors trying to save a victim trapped on the second floor of a burning residence. The victim suffered burns. After interviewing the victim, it was deteremined the victim was fine (dispatch had her go into a bedroom and close the door behind her) until the uncontrolled venting occured. We put on a class to discuss these actions, fire behavior in general, apparatus placement (and patrol car parking) and also medical emergencies that could be mistaken for reasons to shoot, taze or arrest citizens. It as worked a little bit. Now when an incident occurs, we send video clips from our rig cameras to the police chief.
No, but I think it would be a great idea. We encounter this all the time, no matter how many times we tell them that what they are doing is wrong. They always reply back...we are on the road and get there first, so we have to go in first to try to rescue people. We try to explain to them that their polyester uniforms wouldn't look good attached permanantly to their skin, and we have enough to do to rescue civilians, never mind other first responders. And this has been going on for almost 20 plus years. It seems that promotions in the PD are based sometimes on bravado and not common sense. Unfortunately we have reverted to making fun of them (ie; "why didn't you guys pull the fire hose out of your trunk to fight the fire.......) and I always try to block them in so they need to explain to their superiors why they were parked out in front. The PD Chief has issued an order for them to leave the front clear, but they continue to do as they please. I wish it could be different...but traditions die hard (where have I heard that before?)
We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our policy page HERE. -- Bobby Halton
Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail email@example.com.
Does your fire department have a policy concerning working above or below truss assemblies involved in fire? CLICK HERE to send us your reply.