§ 58‑82‑1. Authority of firemen; penalty for willful interference with firemen.
Members and employees of county, municipal corporation, fire protection district, sanitary district or privately incorporated fire departments shall have authority to do all acts reasonably necessary to extinguish fires and protect life and property from fire. Any person, including the owner of property which is burning, who shall willfully interfere in any manner with firemen engaged in the performance of their duties shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1965, c. 648; 1993, c. 539, s. 476; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
in the regional department, we are dealing with 5 police departments with 5 different personalities. As a whole, they are dedicated professionals, but like our business, some are better than others at respecting what their limitations and dutres are (hmmm.. just like firefighters sometimes) but there are many times that they do not play as part of our game plan and we find that they block the street and leave their cars so additional apparatus including first alarm companies sometimes don't get proper access to the fire block. We also find them in the building too often without protective gear and on more than one occasion, they have been burned or overcome by smoke. I have seen several pulled out of smoky fires puking all over themselves. I have had them block hydrants and fire buildings. Also, alot of the time, until thier supervisors arrive, they do not report to the command post where we can coordianate actions. We have had firefighters hit by cars and many "near-misses" due to the fact that the cops are in the building and not controlling traffic. In one case in a neighboring city, a firefighter was caught in a rapid fire development as he was making a rescue due to the fact that a cop, thinging he was doing the right thing, threw a cinder block through a back window before water was on the fire and caused the place to light up. Fortunately the firefighter, a good friend of mine and an FDIC instructor, had his gear on properly and was not far from the entrance and survived.
I have had to speak to supervisors at times and have gotten various degrees of cooperation. remember as an IC, whether they are playing as part of the game plan or not, you are responsible for them. Making them (and sometimes their superriors) understand this can be difficult. As always, open lines of communication and respect for each other as well as setting expectations before an incident are th keys to success
Chief Avillo is right on the mark...the IC ultimately will be held resposible if a cop gets damaged. I have been at too many jobs where cops get there first ( seems a lot of fires start near doughnut shops), and then try to help. The fact that they bang on doors and wake sleeping or unaware civilians up is a good thing. Most times they stay out of the smoke, but every once in a while, that 3 hours of fire extinguisher training they get in cop school adds that cloak of invincibility to the mix and they go just a little too far into the building, then they dump dry chem all over some smoke and they just get that nasty yellow powder all over everything except the base of the fire. As for parking by fire hydrants and blocking the street...I think they attend that class on Thursday of the first week of cop school. Just lay the supply line over their hoods once or twice and they will catch on. And how many times do you hear on the radio....the PD says there's nothing showing.....from their car...then when you get there half the block's on fire (it's a Hudson county thing). Don't get me wrong...this is not all of the cops...just most of them. There are a lot of informed cops out there that do the right thing. Strange thing....if you ask those smarter cops.....most are volunteer firefighters.....and if they had only scored two points high on the test.......
I live in South Carolina,Bamburg county.We do have and Rookie Policeman,that joined our fire department.
But to speak of other PD's ,i would say they let us do our job,after ward ,the clean-up and we start to 10-22 back to the station.The PD takes over,I guess ,I can say we get alone well with the PD.I know they get over when they see me going to and scene,i respect them. They respect our fire fighters here....
Over the past three years my paid department in SE Washington State has done joint training with our PD. We serve a community of approx 70K and provide "Roll Call Training" once per quarter to the four platoons of officers. Our Training BC developed the program in conjunction with PD's training officer to build some common understanding between the two depts. In a 10 minute presentation with some PPT pics we have covered water supply systems and hydrants (and how to keep them un-blocked), the FD's command structure and fireground organization and what different color helmets signify, basics of reading smoke, the objectives, methods, and dangers of ventilation (particularly un-coordinated horizontal) by breaking windows, and several other classes. The intent is to build a working relationship with our counteparts, so we have our engine, medic & truck companies do the training. The response has been very positive from both sides and shown itself in a much more coordinated effort on fire, medical and law enforcement scenes.
In return, we in the FD have received hands on training in self defense-preservation techniques, recognition of dangerous scenes and dealing with violent patients and other classes. In fact, we were invited to participate in a new cutting edge "Active Shooter" class that dealt, on a tactical level, with response to a school shooter and how to operate with PD to triage and transport victims, communicate, and operate in the hot zone. This is something we generally don't do and will stage out on violent scenes until secured by PD. This is a different animal and requires a different approach.
Anyway, we have seen big benefits from these programs and have built a good relationship and some mutual respect with our cops. (They especially like the Perry & Jake vids).
Contact me if you want some more detail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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