Author Topic: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.  (Read 7311 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Turkitage

  • Of the Nexus
  • ***
  • Posts: 645
  • Karma: 0
  • Gender: Male
  • ターク
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2010, 08:21:19 PM »
Nah dude, it's not that simple. It seems the situation wasn't as originally portrayed, but let's talk hypothetically. If these guys had been there, watching a home burn down and not budging while they could have saved it, then it's their personal responsability that's engaged. Sometimes in life you have to show initiative. "Just following orders" is a copout in a situation like that, as shown by the media attention it got. And there are certain professions that engage people's responsabilities more than others. That's why they're considered "noble" and why people doing them are honored. It's a vocation, like being a doctor or a cop, not just something you do because it pays well.

Yeah, I get that. I'm just saying if they were to hypothetically just stand there and watch that house burn and their boss specifically told them not to help the guy while they are standing there.. then they were just following orders - regardless of the noble stuff. I don't know what all firefighters sign as far as their responsibilities when they get that job but if what you mentioned is true then the boss was completely wrong and he didn't follow the rules, which could have been easily called out then they could of done their duties. And it didn't make sense to discipline the firefighters, in that regard. But this is hypothetical since they were not just standing there as I originally interrupted that article.

Well I think you're harsh with them. I hope something like that never happens to you or someone you know. And if it does I'm sure you'll keep the same attitude.

Yeah, that was too harsh and uncalled for.  I regret saying that.
"I'm oversensitive about bad jokes." - Griffith." -Turk <3

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 16612
  • Karma: 67
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2010, 09:22:56 PM »
I'm just saying if they were to hypothetically just stand there and watch that house burn and their boss specifically told them not to help the guy while they are standing there.. then they were just following orders - regardless of the noble stuff.

I don't want to overdramatize the matter but I believe that sometimes disobeying a bad order is better than following through.

Offline CowTip

  • Roasted Weenie
  • Of the Interstice
  • **
  • Posts: 338
  • Karma: 0
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2010, 11:09:01 PM »
Which again, is nice, but not everyone has the luxury of throwing themselves on the sword. If it were me and I only had this job to support me (it's not like most firemen are incredibly rich or even have a lot of disposable income after all), I sure as heck would let the guy's house burn down if I was ordered to do so as long as no one was burning inside (Again, I feel bad for the animals, but I'm not putting my livelihood on the line for a dog. If I believed that much in equal animal rights, I'd be a vegan).

Honestly, if you have a family it's downright selfish to not take their futures into consideration when a situation like this arises. I'll agree that there are times when morality should have an all overriding effect (again, mostly when someone's life is directly in danger), but I would never throw away my entire life to save the house of someone who forgot to follow known rules.

If you're willing to do that, that's fine, but it seems wrong to expect everyone to live to such a harsh standard. You may be willing to sacrifice your life and the life of your family for a morally ambiguous situation, but you just can't expect everyone to.

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 16612
  • Karma: 67
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #28 on: October 10, 2010, 09:06:46 AM »
Which again, is nice, but not everyone has the luxury of throwing themselves on the sword. If it were me and I only had this job to support me (it's not like most firemen are incredibly rich or even have a lot of disposable income after all), I sure as heck would let the guy's house burn down if I was ordered to do so as long as no one was burning inside

See what I said before about it being a vocation and not just a livelihood. People don't become firemen to make good money. And I don't think they'd be fired for doing it anyway, maybe get a reprimand at most. Whereas letting it happen might eventually have cost them their jobs. No doubt their department's reputation has been damaged already, and the truth wasn't nearly as bad as what we're talking about here.

Offline Griffith

  • 闇の翼フェムト
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 8749
  • Karma: 35
  • Gender: Male
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2010, 06:32:44 AM »
I can't believe anyone still subscribes to the old "just following orders" defense, we settled that one at Nuremberg.
-Griffith

Offline CowTip

  • Roasted Weenie
  • Of the Interstice
  • **
  • Posts: 338
  • Karma: 0
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2010, 02:52:44 PM »
I bet more people wished they had the financial backing to call out their bosses even in the face of being fired. Especially when you consider pensions at stake, you can be damned sure that most people aren't going to be willing to toss away what could be decades of work because of someone else's irresponsibility. When I say that these people would literally be throwing their lives away, I mean it. It's not fair to even expect them to. It's rare that someone would be fired for following rules. The likelihood of a boss tossing you out on your can because they can't trust you to follow their judgment however... (Especially in a chain-of-command type outfit that fire departments follow)

I can't believe anyone still subscribes to the old "just following orders" defense, we settled that one at Nuremberg.

Talk about your extreme examples.

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 16612
  • Karma: 67
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #31 on: October 12, 2010, 03:48:56 PM »
I bet more people wished they had the financial backing to call out their bosses even in the face of being fired. Especially when you consider pensions at stake, you can be damned sure that most people aren't going to be willing to toss away what could be decades of work because of someone else's irresponsibility. When I say that these people would literally be throwing their lives away, I mean it. It's not fair to even expect them to.

It's got nothing to do with financial backing and everything to do with doing the right thing. You're painting a scenario here that revolves about your own spineless vision of a job that isn't your average bread and butter. If a team of firefighters is on a site, their responsability is already engaged regardless of what they're being told over the phone by a hypothetical big boss. That goes with the job.

If you read that article, they mention how firefighters called the "victims" to apologize, and they hadn't even been dispatched to the site until it was too late. So had they been there in time to do something, do you think those same firefighters would have remained passive? I don't.

It's rare that someone would be fired for following rules.

It's even rarer that a firefighter gets fired for extinguishing a fire. And we're talking about high-risk situations here, not working retail. "Following rules" is a vague notion that isn't nearly as clear-cut as you make it out to be. What about rules of ethics?

Offline Skeleton

Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #32 on: October 12, 2010, 04:17:10 PM »
I can't believe anyone still subscribes to the old "just following orders" defense, we settled that one at Nuremberg.

This was the first thing I thought of when I read this thread.  While watching a trailer burn down and the atrocities committed by German soldiers during World War II aren't comparable, it's interesting (or sad) to see the same organizational psychology (or excuse) behind both examples.

Offline Griffith

  • 闇の翼フェムト
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 8749
  • Karma: 35
  • Gender: Male
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #33 on: October 12, 2010, 06:42:25 PM »
Talk about your extreme examples.

Yet apropos, but apparently not extreme enough for some to learn the general lesson. It's not even necessarily about some heavy moral conflict of interest, but a matter of the simple axiom regarding one's personal responsibility for their actions; furthermore, awareness of that liability, and when not to just follow orders, is as imperative to one's self-interest as knowing when to go by the book.
-Griffith

Offline CowTip

  • Roasted Weenie
  • Of the Interstice
  • **
  • Posts: 338
  • Karma: 0
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2010, 05:28:54 PM »
I'm not going to argue this anymore past this point because it's getting ridiculous and circular, but I'll end my arguments with the statement that it's easy to sit and judge what you would call black and white ethics from your computer chair and a very different thing when faced with a tall list of consequences that may affect other people than just yourself.

The fact is, these firemen were not responsible for this group of people and at that point whether they help or not becomes a pure act of altruism. Ethically it may have been better to save the trailer (which I still say is completely debatable), but it's still up to the individual. To call for the dismissal of firefighters for not acting outside of their responsibility is unfair and in and of itself unethical. It's like saying a fireman should be fired for not running into a nearby burning building to save someone while he's on vacation in a different city. Ridiculous.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2010, 05:42:52 PM by CowTip »

Offline Walter

  • 賢者
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 14207
  • Karma: 49
  • Gender: Male
  • Chapter ≠ Episode
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2010, 05:52:18 PM »
I appreciate your desire to end the back and forth arguments but ...

It's like saying a fireman should be fired for not running into a nearby burning building to save someone while on he's on vacation in a different city. Ridiculous.
... that's not anything like the situation that's been described, at all. The property in question was just outside the city's limits, though the city's department was the closest agency. The only reason they didn't respond like it was any other fire was red tape due to this subscription service coverage bullshit. Plain and simple.

The fire chief described that subscription service as broken (“Fire departments know the rural subscription program is not the best fire service delivery method.") Yet in the face of that broken system, did these firefighters take any steps around it to do the right thing? Nope. "Just following the rules, sir!"

My local fire chief here even said it's an ethical issue: “It goes back to ethical and moral conduct. … We’re not going to sit and let a house burn down just because someone didn’t pay a small fee.”

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 16612
  • Karma: 67
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2010, 07:26:53 PM »
I'm not going to argue this anymore past this point because it's getting ridiculous and circular, but I'll end my arguments with the statement that it's easy to sit and judge what you would call black and white ethics from your computer chair and a very different thing when faced with a tall list of consequences that may affect other people than just yourself.

Please don't pretend to take the high road by pulling out of an argument if you're going to restate the same things you've been saying nearly verbatim. You still don't get that being a firefighter implies having certain moral qualities that are hardly compatible with watching a home burn down over procedural matters. The "tall list of consequences" you mention is completely undefined and pretty meaningless as far as I can tell, especially when the direct consequence of the course of action you're so eager to recommend is a family's life being ruined.

Ethically it may have been better to save the trailer (which I still say is completely debatable), but it's still up to the individual.

May have been? I'd like to know how it could be ethically better for a fireman not to put out a fire. :schierke: And I still say in the hypothetical situation that they'd have been there in time to salvage the place, saving it wouldn't have caused any of them to be fired. But hey, at least you're recognizing that people are thinking individuals capable of making their own decisions now, instead of being drones bound to their orders.

Offline CowTip

  • Roasted Weenie
  • Of the Interstice
  • **
  • Posts: 338
  • Karma: 0
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2010, 09:00:51 PM »
I'm stopping because we've gotten to a point where nothing being said by your side is convincing me any more than anything on my side is convincing you.

You say that firefighters must be held to a greater standard than everyone else in the world. If they aren't constantly going above and beyond, even at the cost of their own livelihood, they should be fired (which, ironically, is taking away personal choice as they should be drones to black and white ethics systems).

I say that they should only be responsible for their own territories and if they decide to go above and beyond, good for them (which is all I've ever said. You can try to take me out of context all you want). They should not be punished for following the rules; bad rules should be challenged and those who implemented them should receive the scrutiny. As for the guy's life supposedly being ruined, well he was already flirting with disaster by forgetting about such an important service.

I disagree with your notion that everyone who works within public services should have to be some sort of hero and I find the idea unrealistic at best.

There's really nothing more to be said about it. You can resort to personal attacks all you want but my mind won't change on this subject and I recognize that neither will yours.

Xem

  • Guest
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #38 on: October 13, 2010, 09:33:33 PM »
Capitalism at it's finest!  :troll:

This vaguely reminds me of the final episode of Seinfeld where they all get locked up for not helping someone getting mugged. The Good Samaritan Law, I believe.

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 16612
  • Karma: 67
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #39 on: October 13, 2010, 10:09:41 PM »
I'm stopping

I'm sorry, are you stopping? What's this then? Did you not just reply?

You say that firefighters must be held to a greater standard than everyone else in the world.

No, I didn't say that.

If they aren't constantly going above and beyond, even at the cost of their own livelihood, they should be fired

Oh please, you think that old strawman trick can work? It's just sad. The one who's been continuously talking about firing people here is you, not me. Fired for putting out a fire! Personally I believe that common sense dictates a reasonable attitude and in the context of our argument that attitude would have been to extinguish the fire had they been there on time. As it stands, actual firefighters (including those involved) seem to agree with me. What a surprise.

I say that they should only be responsible for their own territories and if they decide to go above and beyond, good for them (which is all I've ever said. You can try to take me out of context all you want).

Anyone can look at your posts and see what you've said (mostly arguing groundlessly that putting out a fire without the official go-ahead would definitely result in all firefighters involved to be laid off, and reducing the event to financial considerations on the firefighters' part, which is IMHO rather insulting to them) so I don't see why you're pretending otherwise now. And like Walter told you, that house was pretty much on their "territory" and the reason they weren't dispatched is because of that subscription business. When the neighbor called they responded and took care of the fire. Don't try to make the argument into something it isn't.

There's really nothing more to be said about it. You can resort to personal attacks all you want but my mind won't change on this subject and I recognize that neither will yours.

You mean you have nothing to add, aren't even addressing what I said and can't refute it and basically aren't listening to what others say. Then maybe you ought to do what you've been promising and keep quiet? In any case please spare me your whiny tirade about imaginary "personal" attacks since your whole posture in this thread has been offensive to begin with.

Offline Lithrael

  • Of the Nexus
  • ***
  • Posts: 782
  • Karma: 10
  • Gender: Female
  • Remember, always hold your apple tight
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2010, 10:54:49 PM »
This article was what I was using as perspective on this incident.  It's by the fire chief of one of the other FDs in that county. 

http://statter911.com/2010/10/08/another-chief-providing-subscription-service-in-obion-county-tn-writes-to-statter911-com-read-the-detailed-remarks-from-chief-kelly-edmison-union-city-fd

A relevant quote:

Quote from: Kelly Edmison, Chief of Union City Fire Dept. Union City TN. OBION County
Right, wrong or indifferent, it was not the decision of the South Fulton Fire Chief or of his firefighters to not put water on the structure. Their orders came from their city manager and mayor and council. Was it wrong? Everyone has an opinion (We would have put it out if for no other reason than that we had to come anyway and that was the damn fire that was endangering the neighbor who had the coverage.) If they had tried to put it out the chief would have been fired, the fire fighters terminated and there wouldn’t have been any body left to help fight fire for the majority of the rural residents in their area who do pay the annual fee.

I get the impression from the firefighting blogs that the guys on the ground pretty much all agree that if it had been them, and the home wasn't already a loss, they would have at least tried anyway.  Most of them also agree that they would never enter a burning trailer home for any reason other than trying to save a person's life.  With no facts at my disposal as far as how much fire the home was already on when they got there, I don't see any reason not to suppose it was already a complete loss, and that was why the firefighters didn't manage to muster their spirits and try to save the guy's place against orders.

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 16612
  • Karma: 67
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2010, 11:05:26 PM »
I get the impression from the firefighting blogs that the guys on the ground pretty much all agree that if it had been them, and the home wasn't already a loss, they would have at least tried anyway.  Most of them also agree that they would never enter a burning trailer home for any reason other than trying to save a person's life.  With no facts at my disposal as far as how much fire the home was already on when they got there, I don't see any reason not to suppose it was already a complete loss, and that was why the firefighters didn't manage to muster their spirits and try to save the guy's place against orders.

Of course, all of that makes sense. Both the fact they'd have tried to put it out if they'd been there in time, and the fact that if the place was already lost, it was useless for them to waste their time on it. I think it's standard procedure to let a fire burn out when a structure is too damaged anyway, provided it's not at a risk of spreading elsewhere. Otherwise putting out the fire can do even more damage than not doing anything.

As far as the guy saying the whole department would have been fired by the mayor if they'd tried to put out the fire though, I'm going to go ahead and say it's the Chief trying to protect his colleagues. Would be ridiculously out of proportion given that they would have already been there, and it would have unleashed a complete shitstorm in the media/citizens. Not to mention that it's not like trained professionals are waiting in line to get hired in their place.

Offline Griffith

  • 闇の翼フェムト
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 8749
  • Karma: 35
  • Gender: Male
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #42 on: October 14, 2010, 07:26:48 AM »

You guys have it all wrong, no firefighter would have helped against the rules, if they did... they would have died inside the burning trailers they wouldn't have entered in the first place, been ceremoniously fired and denied pension, excommunicated from the church, defaced and mutilated before buried alive in an unmarked mass grave, their families would be executed, a mercy since their failed provider's foolish disobedience would have resulted in them starving to death as penniless beggars shunned by society for the sin of their rogue patriarch, with whom they'd be reunited with in Hell where fire would have its revenge, burning him and his family's immortal souls for all eternity, because... THAT'S WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DON'T FOLLOW ORDERS!!! SIEG HEIL! :mozgus:


See, it makes perfect sense when you look at it realistically like that, I'd like to see any one of you listen to this reasonable argument, get off your high horse, stop seeing things in black & white extremes, and say you'd do things any differently in the face of that reality. :azan:


That's what I thought. :schierke:
-Griffith

Offline CowTip

  • Roasted Weenie
  • Of the Interstice
  • **
  • Posts: 338
  • Karma: 0
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #43 on: October 14, 2010, 01:35:28 PM »
As far as the guy saying the whole department would have been fired by the mayor if they'd tried to put out the fire though, I'm going to go ahead and say it's the Chief trying to protect his colleagues. Would be ridiculously out of proportion given that they would have already been there, and it would have unleashed a complete shitstorm in the media/citizens. Not to mention that it's not like trained professionals are waiting in line to get hired in their place.

You're wrong about the last part.
Quote
Job prospects. Prospective fire fighters are expected to face keen competition for available job openings. Many people are attracted to fire fighting because (1) it is challenging and provides the opportunity to perform an essential public service, (2) a high school education is usually sufficient for entry, and (3) a pension is usually guaranteed after 25 years of service. Consequently, the number of qualified applicants in most areas far exceeds the number of job openings, even though the written examination and physical requirements eliminate many applicants. This situation is expected to persist in coming years.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011
http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos329.htm

That doesn't even take into account the near 10% unemployment rate in this country.

Here's another article, albeit not in the same state, but still relevant as some places literally do have lines of people looking for work as a firefighter:
http://www.king5.com/news/local/Lakewood-firefighter-job-camping-out-100321574.html
The only stories I've seen involving shortages of firefighters comes from the lack of government willing to pay for the positions.

For the first part, you're just making guesses. Same as the firefighters would have had to do. Everyone knows that no matter the profession, you break the rules, no matter how stupid, you're at risk of losing your job. You almost make it sound like some sort of guarantee simply because the rule is dumb. Who's to say it even had to be the whole department? It could have just been one or two people to be used as an example. Guessing is fun.

And if you haven't read the rest of the article that Lithrael posted, you really should. Someone not even involved is being demonized by overzealous people out for blood.

Quote
The remaining 5 departments (city departments) in the county have been going out into the county without a subscription service with the hope that after responding they will bill the home owner and collect. It hasn’t been working. One of these departments even though it is a city department, has to get change out of their outside coke machine that sits on the front of their station just to have money to put fuel in their tank. They get very little help from their own city, let alone NO revenue from the county. Financially these departments will be forced to either go to a subscription based service or draw back into their respective city limits. If that happens, there won’t be any fire protection in three quarters of the county.

If that isn't enough to show you an ethical quandary over saving a trailer with no one in it, then nothing ever will. Apparently, as long as your neighbor pays the bill or the two of you go in together to pay half the cost, it's ok if something happens. The fire department has to put out your fire because they're already there.

As for other comments, everything I argued was in direct response to these quotes:

"Honestly, not doing anything while they were already at the scene sounds like an aberration to me. There's a point where common sense should take precedence over procedure. I don't like scapegoating but I think the guys present at the time should all be disciplined."

"Well, I think it's pretty simple. If I had a say in it, they would all be fired for showing a obscene lack of character and sense of moral duty."

I'm sorry, are you stopping? What's this then? Did you not just reply?

Just because I said I wouldn't argue the morality behind the firefighters decisions anymore doesn't mean I wouldn't post in the thread anymore. My last comment was only geared at pointing out the ideologies and stating that it was useless to argue further. As for your later comment: "You mean you have nothing to add, aren't even addressing what I said and can't refute it and basically aren't listening to what others say." I'm not addressing these things anymore because I don't see the point. If I keep commenting then the argument will never end and there'll be a million more posts the size of this one.

Quote
No, I didn't say that.

"And there are certain professions that engage people's responsibilities more than others. That's why they're considered "noble" and why people doing them are honored. It's a vocation, like being a doctor or a cop, not just something you do because it pays well."

IE: Firefighters should be held to a greater standard than most other people trying to make a living.

Quote
And like Walter told you, that house was pretty much on their "territory" and the reason they weren't dispatched is because of that subscription business. When the neighbor called they responded and took care of the fire. Don't try to make the argument into something it isn't.

No, everything within city limits is their territory. Everything outside of it isn't. Unless the residents pay a subscription fee. 'Pretty much' doesn't cut it.

Quote
Then maybe you ought to do what you've been promising and keep quiet? In any case please spare me your whiny tirade about imaginary "personal" attacks since your whole posture in this thread has been offensive to begin with.

I take an offensive stance towards what I see to be offensive declarations. You can argue the effectiveness of that all you want.

Offline Lithrael

  • Of the Nexus
  • ***
  • Posts: 782
  • Karma: 10
  • Gender: Female
  • Remember, always hold your apple tight
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #44 on: October 14, 2010, 01:57:43 PM »
As far as the guy saying the whole department would have been fired by the mayor if they'd tried to put out the fire though, I'm going to go ahead and say it's the Chief trying to protect his colleagues.

Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case.  Some of the current emergency services blog articles are along the lines of 'how to prevent media shitstorm' and include such advice as 'if cameras show up spray some water on whatever they want, holy crap.'

Offline Aazealh

  • 髑髏の騎士
  • Administrator
  • Of Terror
  • *****
  • Posts: 16612
  • Karma: 67
  • Gender: Male
  • そうはいかぬ
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #45 on: October 14, 2010, 05:03:47 PM »
You're wrong about the last part.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011
http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos329.htm

I think you missed the part about them being trained professionals, not aspirants. So no, actually I'm not wrong about that. And also, you should read what you quote: "even though the written examination and physical requirements eliminate many applicants". That's right, in the end the qualified people are far and few between. And then you have to train them. Also, pulling data from the federal handbook is nice and all but things are different in small rural areas, where half the departments are manned by volunteers.

For the first part, you're just making guesses.

And so are you, and I'll wager that my guess is more accurate than yours. You keep going back to rules and orders when the hypothetical situation clearly called for initiative from the team there and everyone knows it. Everyone except you.

Who's to say it even had to be the whole department? It could have just been one or two people to be used as an example. Guessing is fun.

I was commenting on what the guy said, about firing the chief and the whole team. Pay attention.

If that isn't enough to show you an ethical quandary over saving a trailer with no one in it, then nothing ever will.

No there's definitely no quandary here and I'd say it's not even related. That the department gets no money from the county is a different problem, a political one. It's not at all related to individual firefighters being desperate to keep their jobs or even to their jobs being extremely endangered. In fact, if they even have trouble putting gas in their truck, I'd argue that in the event that they'd already been there, not doing anything would have been a pretty bad waste of resources. It's what I said in the beginning. You're clearly grasping at straws here because you're desperate to prove a point you can't prove. Not to mention that, like I said above, many of those small rural departments are manned by volunteers in the first place, people who aren't getting paid for their work. Is that altruist enough for you?

As for other comments, everything I argued was in direct response to these quotes

Being disciplined isn't being laid off. There's a pretty big difference.

Just because I said I wouldn't argue the morality behind the firefighters decisions anymore doesn't mean I wouldn't post in the thread anymore.

Yeah, right. :ganishka:

I'm not addressing these things anymore because I don't see the point. If I keep commenting then the argument will never end and there'll be a million more posts the size of this one.

Of course, that's clearly the reason. You're a true altruist yourself, in a way.

"And there are certain professions that engage people's responsibilities more than others. That's why they're considered "noble" and why people doing them are honored. It's a vocation, like being a doctor or a cop, not just something you do because it pays well."

IE: Firefighters should be held to a greater standard than most other people trying to make a living.

The profession of firefighter is held to a greater standard than that of burger flipper, yeah. It's not a matter of should or shouldn't. People do hold firefighters in high esteem. They're looked up to. But that's not "a greater standard than everyone else in the world." Putting words in my mouth and exaggerating what I said to try to refute it more easily is a sign that you can't actually refute it at all.

No, everything within city limits is their territory. Everything outside of it isn't. Unless the residents pay a subscription fee. 'Pretty much' doesn't cut it.

Whether they pay the fee or not, it's on their "territory". The word "territory" indicates a geographical region, and that is a region they cover. Paying the fee or not makes them being dispatched to you or not, but the fact remains that it is on their "territory". You're were comparing the situation to a fireman in vacation away from home leaping into action unprepared and on his own, which is just ridiculous, like you justly pointed out at the time.

I take an offensive stance towards what I see to be offensive declarations. You can argue the effectiveness of that all you want.

I'm not arguing anything, I'm telling you not to complain.



Yeah, I wouldn't be surprised if that's the case.  Some of the current emergency services blog articles are along the lines of 'how to prevent media shitstorm' and include such advice as 'if cameras show up spray some water on whatever they want, holy crap.'

Yeah, I mean whatever mayor takes drastic actions against a fire department for selflessly helping citizens is likely not getting re-elected if the word gets out.

Offline CowTip

  • Roasted Weenie
  • Of the Interstice
  • **
  • Posts: 338
  • Karma: 0
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #46 on: October 14, 2010, 06:53:30 PM »
I think you missed the part about them being trained professionals, not aspirants. So no, actually I'm not wrong about that. And also, you should read what you quote: "even though the written examination and physical requirements eliminate many applicants". That's right, in the end the qualified people are far and few between. And then you have to train them. Also, pulling data from the federal handbook is nice and all but things are different in small rural areas, where half the departments are manned by volunteers.

Qualified is qualified. It means that they are fully capable and ready to take on the job at hand. That likely includes those with experience. As for the quote, it's saying that there's stiff competition even after those eliminations. They're run by volunteers in small rural areas due to lack of funding to handle such large areas, not because there isn't lack of a demand for a job.

Quote from:  Aazealh
And so are you, and I'll wager that my guess is more accurate than yours. You keep going back to rules and orders when the hypothetical situation clearly called for initiative from the team there and everyone knows it. Everyone except you.

If you actually look around or go to that page Lithrael mentioned and read the comments, you'll see that not everyone 'knows it'. Plenty of people are arguing both sides. It's part of the reason the media went with this story in the first place. To spark controversy. As for the accuracy, in the comments the same fire chief continued his statement and there's some interesting stuff there.

Quote
Would the Chief of South Fulton been fired? South Fulton has what they call a “Grace Period.” As i understand it, it is a time frame prior to the deadline; (of course one can sign up at any time, just not during a fire)that they give to make sure they have everyone in the system that should be there. 1 to 2 weeks prior to this incident the Chief was written up for actually putting a house out that did not have a subscription. His feeling was that this was what part of what the “Grace period” was for. So you tell me what they would have done. Wrong? I think so.

As I have tried to say, to the rest of the country I’m sure it’s unheard of not having a fire tax for county residents. We all want it. At this time the county won’t do that. We (the chiefs) are looking at a county wide subscription not as a solution; but as a stepping stone to get to that goal.

I have been told this past week that I have no Christian up bringing. I think I remember something to the fact to “Render therefore to Cesar the things which are Cesar’s.” life sometimes dictates we have to do what we have to do. Doesn’t mean I have to like it. At this point in our journey we can spend our time twiddling our thumbs worrying about the minority of residents who don’t want the coverage or think it is owed to them (Which in THIS case, it isn’t) Or we can march ahead and continue to take care of the majority who understand the problem and who are willing to support us. We’ll get through this. God does work in mysterious ways. Eyes are now opened.

This doesn't sound like a man who truly thinks the city would have brushed all this off. Add to that this:

Quote
Also, my statement that if the fire were in our district that we would have handled it somewhat differently should be no negative reflection on South Fulton Fire Department. (I’ve only got “one of my wrists in cuffs at this time.”)

Quote from:  Aazealh
I was commenting on what the guy said, about firing the chief and the whole team. Pay attention.

I'll admit getting the streams crossed here. The fact still remains though: One job or them all, I don't see it as worth the sacrifice and they may not either.

Quote from:  Aazealh
No there's definitely no quandary here and I'd say it's not even related. That the department gets no money from the county is a different problem, a political one. It's not at all related to individual firefighters being desperate to keep their jobs or even to their jobs being extremely endangered. In fact, if they even have trouble putting gas in their truck, I'd argue that in the event that they'd already been there, not doing anything would have been a pretty bad waste of resources. It's what I said in the beginning. You're clearly grasping at straws here because you're desperate to prove a point you can't prove. Not to mention that, like I said above, many of those small rural departments are manned by volunteers in the first place, people who aren't getting paid for their work. Is that altruist enough for you?

You're thinking too short term. By setting a precedent that the fire department will always be there to help you out fee or no fee if you can find a way to get them out to your property, you're actually insuring much more wasted resources in the long run. That's exactly why those mentioned fire departments are in such bad shape to begin with. They're stretched beyond their limits as is which is definitely leaving more problems for other people. This was in response to the challenge: "I'd like to know how it could be ethically better for a fireman not to put out a fire"

Quote from:  Aazealh
Being disciplined isn't being laid off. There's a pretty big difference.

My stance was/is that they should not be disciplined, nor laid off. It just went more in the direction of lost jobs.

Quote from:  Aazealh
The profession of firefighter is held to a greater standard than that of burger flipper, yeah. It's not a matter of should or shouldn't. People do hold firefighters in high esteem. They're looked up to. But that's not "a greater standard than everyone else in the world." Putting words in my mouth and exaggerating what I said to try to refute it more easily is a sign that you can't actually refute it at all.

And now you're going to the opposite extreme. Be it a burger flipper or a fireman, you have a given set of guidelines to follow. You can challenge them if you want, but you do so at your own risk. I wouldn't expect a fireman to be held to any different standard than that of a burger flipper when it comes to their own personal decision about breaking the rules. Being punished for doing your job the way your employer set it out for you is outright madness.

Quote from:  Aazealh
Yeah, I mean whatever mayor takes drastic actions against a fire department for selflessly helping citizens is likely not getting re-elected if the word gets out.

Actually, again, you might be surprised. An interesting quote showing another side to this:

Quote
What most people fail to realize is that the attitude towards government, including the fire service, is changing. The concept of “Americas Heroes” is one that is rapidly fading along with municipal revenues. Today, the public demands more transparency and accountability with their tax dollars than ever before.

As a resident of Hometown, I demand that the city government looks out for my interests and those of my fellow Hometown neighbors. I do not want to subsidize protection for any neighboring agency, especially one that makes NO effort to provide fire protection service for their citizens.

The Hometown Fire Dept, as well as the agency that I work for, does have mutual aid agreements with neighboring agencies. The difference is that these agreements are reciprocal! The neighboring agencies can provide assistance to Hometown if needed.

Obion County brings NOTHING to the table!!! Their solution is to place the burden of providing protection onto the cities and the optional funding of it onto the residents.

Somehow, the uproar is misdirected toward the South Fulton Fire Dept. instead of toward the homeowner who opted not to participate in the program or the County Supervisors/Directors who opted not to provide service to their citizens.

If this sounds crass, get used to it. The “hero” days of firefighting are coming to a close. The pendulum is swinging toward a more pragmatic view of the fire service, one that views fire protection as just another revenue consuming service that local government is required to provide.

If you don’t believe me, attend a ICMA conference sometime. You might be a little stunned.

Other interesting things: Cranick reported that it took 2 hours for the fire to reach his house and that it was started by his grandson lighting barrels of trash on fire on a windy day.

More from Kelly Edmison:
Quote
Yes, Mr. Cranick claims he forgot. Tonight’s Union City Messenger newspaper has quoted both he and his wife stating that yes they got the original notice of the fee being due. Stuck the letter away and forgot. she also says that yes she did get a phone call from the fire department reminding them again that they hadn’t paid. It has also been told to me from SFFD sources that this is the 2nd or 3rd fire he or his family has had in the last five years or so

Funny enough, the wife says she actually doesn't blame the fire department for not responding and even said that she thought apologies she got from the department were unnecessary.

and if true, this is rather disgusting:
Quote
I need to share 2 emails with you. They are both from Chief Russell Schwan. He is the Chief of Martin Fire Department. (City Department) located in Weakley County, Tn They are boardered our our east and they are the other county in TN that has no county department.

His first email was sent to us yesterday:

“I was awaken this morning with a burden that has been put on me. That burden is one of the blown out accusations toward the SF firemen in Obion County.

I am literally disgusted that people would get on a forum and literally insult, threaten, and believe false accusations on fellow firefighters.

If we are a so called BROTHERHOOD, it should not be tolerated. I stand not in judgement of these fellow men and women, because I sit here 11 miles away and a $100 subscription fee away of having that same situation happen in my own Weakley County and department.

These same men and women firefighters everyone has been bashing, insulting and threatening are the same one’s that have got up at 1 am to go and put fires out inside the city of South Fulton before and will continue to do so after all the National News has went on to other stories. Everyone has gotten on these forums and asked this and that, and if they knew God they wouldn’t have let this happen. Well the Bible also says if you “love not your brother, than you love not the Son of God”

I am asking for everyone that will read this and can join me I will be standing at the Weakley/Obion county line on Highway 45 North between Martin and South Fulton Tennessee at 4 pm on Saturday October 9, 2010 to reach my hand across the county line to a fellow BROTHER in the fire service whether he or she is on the SFFD or one in Obion County. I will stand not in judgement, but to show support of the Brotherhood.

The news has put some bad PR out there, lets at least show them we are a much prouder people than they tend to believe.

I am hoping as a member of that Brotherhood that I am not standing out their alone.

Thanks and GOD Bless,

Now this morning, I just received this:

“Fellow firefighters,

Due to the safety of my Family and others that might have showed up I will not be at the Obion/Weakley County line today at 4 pm

It is apparent that this is a hot issue but due to death threats, and other bodily harm to firemen and their families it is not worth risking.

I appreciate everyones POSITIVE response to the event but unfortunately it will not happen.

Thanks and God Bless,”

I’ll keep everyone posted.

Offline Walter

  • 賢者
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 14207
  • Karma: 49
  • Gender: Male
  • Chapter ≠ Episode
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #47 on: October 14, 2010, 07:12:28 PM »
If you actually look around or go to that page Lithrael mentioned and read the comments, you'll see that not everyone 'knows it'. Plenty of people are arguing both sides. It's part of the reason the media went with this story in the first place. To spark controversy.
As a member of "the  media" I can tell you with complete candor that the situation was controversial to begin with. The "spark" was the incident itself. I've reported on similar situations before here in the county I work in, as I posted about earlier. And it was not to "spark controversy." You have a pretty paranoid sense of the job of reporters if that's what you honestly believe.

If you want a true tour of what is or isn't BIG news, it often comes down to the conflation of big concepts or big problems. You'll find that formula in almost every BIG story, whether it's local or national. Take a murder story. Not that big a deal. Oh, but the "murderer" is a "famous football player"! DING DING DING! Conflation! In this situation, it's "red tape," "destroyed property," "firefighters," and the aforementioned sense of duty that people feel firefighters are obligated to. That's what makes it an instant story. And again, all of those elements were already there. They required no "spark," from someone with a press pass.

Also, I'm not really sure what the relevance of most of those quotes was but .. while we're posting letters to the editor, here's one that was sent to my paper recently.

Quote
Thank you churches, yard sales OK this year   

To the editor:
We are thankful for the two churches that gave away clothes last Saturday. That helps the whole town. A consignment sale does not. When we attended church, back then people worked in the church because they loved God. Everyone sang in the choir. There was no praise team, and the women wore dresses. You could tell them from the men. There was no choruses or long over and over songs. At least (it) seems now you get a free, Grand Ole Opry concert anyway. The yard sales this year have been, a few good ones. The rest have been ran by the three stooges, high prices and plenty of junk. So it has been a complete waste of time to attend those. Halloween is coming so maybe our kids will get some free candy. Hope it isn’t 2 years old. We have all burned up all summer. Now it’s time to get ready to freeze to death. Everyone will stand before God some day at the end. If you have taken things away from people knowing you cheated them, the master of all will deal with you then.

Sincerely,
Name withheld

Offline Griffith

  • 闇の翼フェムト
  • Administrator
  • Of the Abyss
  • *****
  • Posts: 8749
  • Karma: 35
  • Gender: Male
Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #48 on: October 14, 2010, 07:48:56 PM »
That is all vital information!

I too am confused as to why this continues like this. I think we long ago agreed that the actual scenario, where the firefighters weren't there and couldn't have even been dispatched in time to save the home anyway, was fine. We're talking about the original, now theoretical, scenario of firefighters already on the scene with their equipment standing by ignoring a home burning down over a technicality, which is just ridiculous unless the house cannot be saved or it's safer to let the fire burn out. Under this scenario, we can't even say a direct order would be in place, or that there'd be any consequences for putting out the fire, so it's largely moot. I don't even hold firefighters to a higher standard for helping people, I'd simply expect anybody to help if they had the means. Furthermore, the doomsday scenarios of "possible consequences" for such action are largely ridiculous as well, impractical bureaucratic cynicism run amok, and particularly unconvincing when applied to people that risk their lives for a living (the few firefighters I've interacted with haven't exactly come across like meek automatons scared of the system, they literally run into burning buildings). It's a very simple equation of helping someone if you can, and no, the fabric of society probably won't be destroyed as a result. The other academic argument was about the consequences of mindlessly following orders in general. Even if you want to take morality out of it and focus on self-interest, knowing when to disobey orders is as important knowing when to follow them in order to protect oneself. Bad systems don't absolve bad actions in the end, and plenty of people have gone down with their superiors.
-Griffith

Offline IncantatioN

Re: Firefighters watch a house burn to the ground over a $75.00 fee.
« Reply #49 on: October 14, 2010, 08:31:04 PM »
You still don't get that being a firefighter implies having certain moral qualities that are hardly compatible with watching a home burn down over procedural matters. The "tall list of consequences" you mention is completely undefined and pretty meaningless as far as I can tell, especially when the direct consequence of the course of action you're so eager to recommend is a family's life being ruined.

May have been? I'd like to know how it could be ethically better for a fireman not to put out a fire. :schierke: And I still say in the hypothetical situation that they'd have been there in time to salvage the place, saving it wouldn't have caused any of them to be fired. But hey, at least you're recognizing that people are thinking individuals capable of making their own decisions now, instead of being drones bound to their orders.
Speaking of morality and the occupation concerned with it, what about officers/ troops in the army who have to kill innocent people for a few bad guys or have to pull out of an ambush where they have bad guys pinned down because they were ordered to/ not to. We all know what happens to people in the army who disobey the order (A Few Good Men). I also know that it's wrong that the firemen didn't stop the fire when it was in front of them, but it's never that easy now is it. If you're a small player in the big scheme of things and we're talking about what a higher up's call is or whether your actions would embarrass the fire department, etc. and of course the thought of losing your job that supports a family, things can go sticky. The system is flawed no doubt. Speaking of 'what ifs', what if a morally right fireman did go all gung-ho to stop the fire and died, would the department refrain from giving his family monetary compensation from the state because he violated a direct order? I think they would.
At the end of time, a moment will come when just one man remains. Then the moment will pass. Man will be gone. There will be nothing to show that we were ever here... but stardust.