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.
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.
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?)
I sure wish we had the same cooperation from our PD and sherrifs Dept. as most of you other guys do. We are running into the problem of 7 or 8 officers at a ditch grass fire and none at a 1052 on I90 when we have semis flying by us at 70mph. Granted it is not all bad we do get along for the most part, I just wish you knew what to expect when you got to the scene.
Hi Danny,like most cities, I think the busier you are, the more you see the cops on a day to day basis, the more familiar you become to the police and the better the working relationship you'll have. In the busy areas of the city here we tend to have very good relationships with the police. Of course there are some exceptions.
One negative observation I do have when it comes to working with the cops, especially the young, uneducated ones is that they seem to be the biggest e.m.s. abusers in the city. The police tend to be hypersensitive to the litigiousness of our society. Because of this, the police call out the FD or e.m.s. for every little thing and end up tying up our companies needlessly. "We just wanted to have this guy checked out." To make matters worse, there is a paramedic on duty in the jail. These cops, especially the younger ones, need to be "educated" that they need not call out the FD or e.m.s. for everything.
Dave LeBlanc mentions a nice way to get the police and the FD to understand each other is through cross training. I agree; what a great way to bring the cops into our line of thought. The down side here in Albuquerque is that both departments are so large (700 firefighters and 1000 cops) that it all but impossible to schedule this type of cross training. In fact, in my fifteen years with the AFD the only time there has been any cross training is when we teach the SWAT team how to properly perform forcible entry.
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