Category Archives: Command & Leadership

Official Fire Service Ice Cream Rule

To finally dispel the myths, rumors and falsehoods regarding the Fire Service Ice Cream Rule (AKA Steaks, Cigars, etc) I offer the following definitive ruling on the matter:

Official Fire Service Ice Cream Rule:

1.  Purpose

To establish when a Member of a Company owes Ice Cream to the other members of said company.

2.  Scope

This rule applies to all Fire Service personnel, both paid, paid call and volunteer regardless of rank, station or assignment.

3.  Definitions

Company – A unit or similar single resource.  This can be defined as an Engine Company, Station House or Volunteer Post.

Member – Any person in official capacity at the time of the incident in question.

Ice Cream – While an abomination in the eyes of the Lord your God, something with a crap load of ingredients.

4.  Enough with the bullet points!  Onto the rule!

Ice Cream is owed only if a member of a company is portrayed in the media, be it television, print, online or otherwise (social media not affiliated with a media outlet excluded (see rule 8))  portrays the member in activities not associated with the assignment they are recorded at.  Being filmed fighting fire, cutting a car, rendering aid or performing regular assigned tasks on the scene of an emergency response DOES NOT entitle the members of the company to ice cream from the member involved. Also, for rules on double parenthesis, see rule 9.

5.  Who gets Ice Cream

Only other Members of the offending Member’s Company are required to be appeased with the cold Ice Cream goodness.  Depending on Agency or Department, this may include all units assigned to a house or all shifts on that unit.  It DOES NOT apply to other Companies, units, houses or personnel who wander in to mention being “owed” Ice Cream.

6.  Who doesn’t get Ice Cream

Officers above the rank of front line supervisor (Lieutenant/Captain/Sergeant) unless they were at the scene and may have to answer to the activities of the member caught not performing duties relevant to the scene in question.  All other houses, members and companies not assigned to the offending Member’s HOME Company.

7.  Oh yeah, that reminds me, HOME Company

Ice Cream is only owed to a Member’s HOME Company, not the Company where they were assigned when said incident took place.

8.  Social Media not involving media outlet

That doesn’t get Ice Cream but instead a pat on the head for the person trying, because that wreaks of desperation.

9.  Multiple Parenthesis

Nah, looks weird…or like math, which is WAY worse.

 

You got WHAT stuck in a bowling ball?

In my memoirs of EMS (Working title – My Life in CQI: Kill me now, just document it properly) some calls will stand above all others.  This, sadly, is not one of mine, but from a friend overseas.

No, not Mark.

I got an email about a curious rescue his agency was called to and was wondering what I would have done.

So, here is the scenario:

 

A 19 year old male has gotten his finger stuck in a bowling ball.  He somehow wedged it in there so far, it up against the webbing of his hand with very little wiggle room.  Rotating the ball is out of the question as he seems to have the finger next to it wedged in almost just as bad.

25 minutes into the call you’ve tried gel, ice, lubricants of questionable origin (who carries that stuff into a bowling alley?) and brute force.  Prayer is taking place and all options seem exhausted when the decision is made to simply move him, and the 16 pound bowling ball, to the hospital.  What will they do there?  Dunno.

 

What would you do?

A quiet weekend in the City

Some boats in the bay…

America’s World Cup

More boats…
Fleet Week

Air traffic ticks up a smidge…

Blue Angels

Music…

Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

A bit of sport…
Cincinatti Reds at SF Giants MLB Playoff Game

Buffalo Bills at SF 49ers NFL Game

 

Should only triple to population for a few days, all 33,000+ hotel rooms are booked, and I wish my weekend cars luck.

Out of Left Field

Sometimes we forget who we’re up against.

Sometimes the system is indeed rigged against us from the start.

But how can you win if the other party refuses to even play the game?

 

The term “blind sided” was used in a meeting today, much to my surprise.  You could even go so far as to say that I was blind sided by this blind side.

It was a jolt of reality back into my EMS 2.0 world that not all of our enemies lie within.  Some are just skirting along the outside of EMS, providing valuable services, only to pounce on ideas they find threatening.

Only problem is, I don’t see it that way, not sure I ever will.

I’ve had almost a year to figure out this whole politics thing and I still just don’t get it.  I don’t care who had the idea, or who gets credit, I need some things to just happen.

In my role, very few decisions are actually within my control.  I do research and pass the info along.  If it gets rejected, I research more.  I’ve had my preconceptions busted more than a few times, comes with the territory.  But there is this perception that others see my actions as more for me than the system.

I just don’t get it.

 

Some things come from out of left field, but that’s all based on the assumption that what we’re expecting was in left field to begin with.  My surprise came from the bleachers behind left field, caught my on the jaw and knocked me to the floor, blinking, wondering what just happened.  I had a ceiling do that to me once.  Once.

 

I’d love to say “never again!” but when you don’t know what to expect, how can you prepare?

Special Call Mobile Surgery 1, Mobile Surgery 2, EMS Surgeon 1…

A nice resource to have if your system is innundated by, oh I don’t know, the shaking of the earth until everything falls down.  Especially in a City with water on 3 sides and only 4 trauma bays…total.

 

 

Interventions Issue 4 – Supervisors

Please enjoy!

Please Albert, not in mixed company

Sometimes we spend a few days with like minded folks and forget that we speak differently when around them.  We speak candidly about our jobs, our frustrations and our opinions of others not like us.

 

When waiting with a large crowd for the train at the airport it is not advisable to have a raucous conversation about people who commit suicide by jumping off of buildings.  You compared highest falls, genders, dispersal of remains, even splatter patterns.  The disgusted looks you were getting from those around you went unnoticed by you but I’m sure they took note of your ambulance companies which were prominently displayed on your shirts.  I tried to get your attention to distract you, but when you made the Humpty Dumpty joke, I decided to pretend I was offended too.  It wasn’t hard at all.

 

The Complaint Box

…is my email inbox at work.  Or my voicemail…whichever…

I knew our CQI position handled citizen complaints, but I had no idea how many there were.

“It’s a thankless job” they told me when I took it.  Like being a Paramedic in the City was a thankful job?

Almost like clock work most mornings I get a call from a person I’ll call “Bob.”

Bob doesn’t like the Fire Department, or my mother, or my race, or the fact that I am his employee since he pays taxes.  Bob was taken to an ER for a complaint and was shocked and appalled we were directed to place him in the triage waiting area after a nurse assessed him.  In other words Bob is 99% of our business.

Bob and I have a 30-45 second conversation about his most recent abduction by the Paramedics and how they assaulted him, robbed him and left him to die…at the hospital.  When I pull up Bob’s run history the computer returns “Seriously?”

Some may say Bob’s calls are a hindrance or a distraction, but Bob keeps me on my toes.  Bob is my window into the mind of someone who does not know our lingo, our policies or our commitment to his overall health and safety.  Others may say I should report Bob, but that’s what he wants, a reaction, and all I do is listen, explain and then he hangs up.  then I get a coffee.  It’s a routine we have.

 

Other  complaints vary from legitimate clinical concerns from local hospitals, to regulators who question charting, to folks who simply want to vent.

But my favorite calls of all are the ones I can tell in an instant are without merit.  Bob helps he spot them easier.  How do I know?  They don’t know our lingo.

 

For example, if you tell me the ambulance people told you they would “throw you out of the truck” you’re lying.  How do I know?  Because a “truck” to us is a giant 5 man device with a 100 foot ladder on the back and is big and red.  We do not call it a truck…only you people do.  And by you people I mean the ungrateful masses who demand our services in 4 minutes or less only to complain that we took you to the wrong ER, since they “kicked me out” earlier today.

Kicked you out did they?  How do I know you’re lying?  Because they don’t kick people out.

When people get bored waiting 4 hours for a refill of Plavix (which they were never going to do in the first place, we told you that) they leave or are told to go to the pharmacy, but they are not kicked out.

We stole your wallet you say?  (Keep in mind folks, I am required to investigate these complaints no matter what they are)

Doubtful since I recognize your name from my days on the ambulance and we keep track of these things.  2 years ago you claimed we stole $500 from your wallet, then 8 months ago another $700 and today the total is up to $900 and we somehow walked off with your brother’s bass guitar.  I’ll investigate this but I should warn you, the No Merit letter is on my desktop I use it so often. (The Further Investigation by Investigative Services Bureau Recommended is there too FYI).

But just for once think about what you are about to say to me in your complaint.  If the crew kicked you out of the truck how again did you get to the hospital for the nurse to sign our form that they accepted you?

If we stole your grandmother’s $2000 necklace, why can you not describe it to me?

I’ll take your call, I’ll treat it as true until I complete my queries, but put some effort into it first folks.  If you’re unhappy and make something up you’re just wasting my time and yours.  If you have a legitimate concern I want to know about it.

 

Think twice about questioning the professionalism of the folks who took care of you when you didn’t need it, only wanted it, and how they did everything you needed up to and including taking you to an ER you did not need for a reason you could have handled yourself.

But if they weren’t professional, if they didn’t do what you needed, I’ll be the first one to tell you so.

 

Talk to you again on Monday Bob.

Good Luck MC!

WikipediaTomorrow morning (Monday) our buddy Motorcop is taking the sarg…the seargean…the saarg…well, he’s looking to promote.   In an effort to help him out I was able to pull some strings and get some of the exam questions.

I hope these help!

 

Vehicle 1 is parked facing south 22 feet from a stop sign in a 25MPH zone with hazard lights activated.  Vehicle 2 is traveling south at a speed of 35 MPH wit ha driver holding a cell phone to his head.  If vehicle 2 impacts vehicle 1 after applying the brake pedal for 20 feet, how far away is the Starbucks?

 

A male has been witnessed peeking into windows at the local yoga studio.  When you arrive on scene do you,

A) Detain the man in the london fog coat looking into the window.

B) Question the man in the london fog coat looking into the window.

C) Tazer the man in the london fog coat looking into the window.

D) Point out to the studio owner that their window faces a public street, the blinds are open and it’s daylight.

 

One of your patrol officers fails to report for duty.  Phoning his residence there is no answer, but he answers his cell phone.  He states he is sick and notified the night Sergeant, but in the background you hear an airport announcement.  Do you,

A) Notify him he is in violation of Dept regulations and begin suspension paperwork.

B) Accept his statement and place him off sick, then call in a cover.

C) Call the night Sgt to confirm the story.

D)  WTF guys? Am I not invited on the camping trip again this year?

 

CVC 21100 addresses _______________________________

A) The size and location of mud flaps on commercial vehicles.

B) The allowable length of overhang of an object protruding from a vehicle before it needs to be flagged and lighted.

C) Electric vehicles on sidewalks

D) No one is ever going to look it up, just pick something random.

 

And the question weighted most heavily on the exam:

Responding to a reported man down you arrive to find the local town drunk an inebriated fellow.  Do you,

A) Dismount bike in manly fashion making sure all civilians see the stripes.

B) Assess the situation after growing a bad ass mustache.

C) Ensure the man down is breathing and if not, begin life saving efforts

D) Stand over him, hands on belt and shout “Stay down! The heroes are coming!” after calling for an ambulance.

 

Good luck MC, we’re all rooting for you!

Pass your passwords forward please

At last year’s How to Become a Firefighter Workshop here in Northern (some will argue Central, long story) California, I presented on technology in the job hunt, focusing specifically on the pitfalls of social media.  It is a fantastic all day seminar held at the Las Positas Fire College and includes lunch cooked by the students.  The cost of the seminar? $12. Including lunch and a chance to speak to the people hiring you one on one, let them preview your resume etc.  Where was this when I was getting hired?

The seminar attracts Battalion Chiefs, Division Chiefs, Officers from a number of large metropolitan departments and someone you know who writes a blog.  Our pals Judon Cherry, Chris Eldridge, Sam Bradley and Thaddeus Setla helped film the video for the program and this year Judon and the Dridge were there again.  Oh, and I have nothing to do with the kick ass indexed screen shot BTW.  have a look:

The attendees had some great questions about facebook, twitter, email a whole host of issues, but one comment from the audience stood out and has caught traction recently.

In my presentation I mention that some employers are asking that you friend their HR director on facebook prior to the interview.  When I mentioned that the Chiefs you’re speaking with may want to friend you as well, one of them spoke up from the audience,

“I don’t want to be your friend, I want your password.”

The audience was silent.

If you were one of the final applicants being considered for this job, would you give a prospective employer, or anyone for that matter, your facebook password?

It could be considered an invasion of privacy, but I can’t think of a better way to see what someone does when they think no one is watching.  And with the way that an employee can ruin a department’s reputation with the simple click of “share” I think it is reasonable to ask for it.

So this year, when I gave the presentation, we discussed the privacy settings pages and how to eliminate tags in photos perhaps you wish others had not uploaded, comments on posts that maybe you made late at night after drinking studying, or perhaps something rather inflamatory, deragatory, racist, sexist, heterophobic…you get the idea.

It’s actually a good idea for everyone to visit those pages every few months just to check and see what you look like from the inside of social media.  We make comments to one circle of friends the other circles may find offensive, but is any of that going to be considered immature, dishonest or a misrepresentation of who we really are?  It matters greatly if the three key traits an emploer is looking for are maturity, honesty and trust.

What do you think?

If you got called up for your dream job in the fire service and they asked for your password, what would you do?