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Firefighter suspended for saving 2 homes

Captain Randy Woodward was cited for allowing a volunteer firefighter drive a city-owned truck to fight a blaze

By FireRescue1 Staff

COWETA, Okla. — An Okla. fire capt. was suspended after helping to save two homes from burning down.

Green Country Fire Captain Randy Woodward was disciplined after allowing a volunteer firefighter to drive a city-owned flatbed fire truck to help fight a grass fire that was close to burning his home, according to News on 6.

Volunteer Firefighter Jerel Long was faced with a fast-moving fire that was coming dangerously close to burning his home. He called 911, but knew that the fire station was 10 miles away and decided to fight the fire himself with a water hose.

The fire department was reportedly stretched thin that day and Capt. Woodward arrived alone to Firefighter Long's call, according to the article.

With a second fire truck 10 minutes away, Capt. Woodward made the call to allow Firefighter Long to drive the flatbed fire truck he arrived in, while he fought the blaze from the back.

Despite saving not only Firefighter Long's home and those of his neighbors, Capt. Woodward was suspended for a day without pay because he violated a city policy by allowing Firefighter Long drive the vehicle.

"If he would have followed the policy, we would have been sifting through ashes," Firefighter Long told the station.

The Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma have stepped in to help Captain Woodward appeal the suspension.

The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Drew Scroggins Drew Scroggins Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:19:50 PM shame on whoever it was for suspending him instead they should be applauding him or patting him on the back maybe even a medal for what he did.
Kris Krunk Kris Krunk Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:21:48 PM Great job! But two thumbs DOWN to admin for suspending him...*PROTECT LIVES AND PROPERTY*...
Troy Fehr Troy Fehr Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:22:03 PM This is complete and under bullshit. The captain should have never been suspended he help save 2 homes so what what if he let the volunteer drive the vehicle the city needs to change the policy when there's an emergency
David Brown David Brown Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:22:33 PM Our job is to adapt and overcome, sounds like he did a hell of a job!
Craig M Cook Craig M Cook Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:26:45 PM if Long is a trained firefighter why couldn't he man the hose? then there wouldn't be an issue.
Drew Scroggins Drew Scroggins Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:26:55 PM but this is Wagoner County Oklahoma we are talking about I am a vounteer in this county as well but at a different fire department I think who ever made that call to suspend him should be fired for making a bull shit call volunteer or not we all go through the same training as a TEAM has people forgot what that it is?
Don Talenti Don Talenti Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:29:12 PM I'm betting that would have been a bigger issue.
Bobby Dean Cranford Bobby Dean Cranford Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:33:41 PM if I were in his shoes I would do it again! 1 day suspension is worth knowing you did the right thing! the public should make such a big deal about till whoever suspended him gets a week off unpaid!
Bobby Whitmore Bobby Whitmore Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:34:37 PM I agree Kris~ "PROTECT LIVES AND PROPERTY".
Ryan Sessions Ryan Sessions Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:39:48 PM A flatbed grass truck? it was probably safer to have the volunteer drive the truck than operate the pump and hoseline off the back which he is probably unfamiliar with in a time where things need to be done quickly...Although it may have been more appropriate to call for mutual aide before responding, why wouldn't this department have a policy to keep a firefighter from responding to an incident alone? then we also wouldn't have this issue...
Tim Raddatz Tim Raddatz Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:40:38 PM Must be a Union issue.
Fred Thompson Jr. Fred Thompson Jr. Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:40:49 PM Another policy gone bad. you can't write one for ever situation. So, I guess you need one for common sense so your boss can say good job. BY THE WAY GOOD JOB YOU CAN BE MY HERO ANY DAY!
John Tunnell John Tunnell Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:41:02 PM I think Capt. Woodward did the right thing in doing what he did. I was a firefighter for 30 years and a command officer, He did the right thing in letting Long drive the truck. I don't know how it is in Ok. but in Mo if you yell for help everyone responds no matter City or Rural.
Todd Overmyer Todd Overmyer Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:45:25 PM If you read the last line of the article, the union is stepping in to appeal the suspension.
Ray Connell Ray Connell Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:55:40 PM That is BS.. However, why couldn't the volunteer sit on the back and fight the fire?
Fenton Hubbart Fenton Hubbart Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:04:59 PM I won't say where it happens but I know of an area where if there is a house fire on the WRONG side of the street, being the city limits boundary, the fire department will stand by and do nothing but watch the house burn to the ground. They will only do something if the fire crosses the road and threaten anything inside the city limits.
Brian Burtt Brian Burtt Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:08:29 PM What do they think if this was to happen to their home? Mutual aid is what it is for a reason and if the person in question is certified to drive the equipment then there should be no problem. Damn politicians and brown nosers have to have their mouths open and run it for no reason other than to make noise.
Michael Torosian Michael Torosian Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:09:43 PM Improvised, adapted and overcame...just like any good firefighter..too bad the red tape is what it is. The complaint probably came from a resident that are usually jealous when town employs take a town vehicle home.
Drew Scroggins Drew Scroggins Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:11:09 PM that is horrible and i dont see how they can call themselves firefighters i mean i understand if it is in their SOP's/SOG's but they should still act on it if they are first on scene
Marty Franklin Marty Franklin Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:12:49 PM WTF...Just WTF!
Chuck Foskey Chuck Foskey Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:14:44 PM He should not be in any trouble, Hell even if the guy wasn't a firefighter at all look at the end result......he did his job! job well done sir.
Dave Littlefield Dave Littlefield Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:17:07 PM what in the blue fuck is wrong with these town governments these days?
John Owen John Owen Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:18:15 PM Fenton its like that in NY, its all bs with district lines and all, but we will still go on the attack if they tone us out by accident to a neighboring district
Michael Farnsworth Michael Farnsworth Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:25:47 PM Great job Captain, too bad you work in such a screwed up town.
Tina Allen Tina Allen Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:27:56 PM Had it been a city councilman's home he would have been honored as a her!
Shellie Belcher Shellie Belcher Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:33:21 PM Great job to the two firefighters who done their job... shame on you admin for making a bad choice...
Ian Schulte Ian Schulte Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:33:52 PM As far as this whole deal goes. The captain make a good call, it might have violated city/county policy, but in the end he wound up saving homes and quite possibly lives. I would expect that he be "verbally reprimanded" (a minor tap on the wrist, more for insurance and legal purposes than to actually discipline) but not suspended, that is complete overkill for something this minor that had a great outcome. But there may be more than meets the eye, we only know a piece of the story. Good call though on the cap's part. As far as what Mr. Hubbart references, this is a very touchy subject, very similar to the fire department in Tennessee a couple years back that let a trailer burn because the homeowner didn't pay their fire coverage fee. We know as firefighters, we WANT to get in, we WANT to do the job, and we WANT to go home to our families. These men ARE firefighters, but they are being bound by sooo much legal red tape with their communities that it is ridiculous. For instance, if the City Fire Department (CFD for reference) shows up to a house that is burning on the wrong side of the street, and the CFD makes an attack, these firefighters are now operating in a hazardous area that they are not sworn to protect. By nature as firefighters, we dont care, we just want to fight fire. But if anyone were to get hurt while fighting the fire the CFD insurance can deny a claim, because they were not tied under a mutual aid agreement OR had jurisdiction over the area. I want to fight a good fire as much as the next brother, but if i get hurt, i atleast want to have insurance to cover my injuries. Now, if you throw out that there are viable rescues, you bet your ass i'll throw my beliefs on that insurance out the window, because our number one priority is life safety. But OUR lives are not worth someones replaceable belongings and neither is our health. These brothers are between a rock and a hard place, lets not monday morning quarterback that in which we do not know.
Wayland Slater Wayland Slater Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:36:46 PM I would say this was a special circumstance that as long as the vol. FF had a required license it shouldn't have been a problem. But I know how some Chiefs are, and the beurocrats. Too many Fire commisions think they how the fire serv. works, but they don't have a clue.
Michael Poston Michael Poston Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:40:55 PM Its just a bunch of bs policies and rules.
Chris Zumwalt Chris Zumwalt Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:41:03 PM This is B.S my God I am a volunteer FF and if a guy from a city department said come help by god I will , Let this happen in there own Damn Yard and see what happens then , someone needs to knock some sense into there heads.
Steve Davis Steve Davis Wednesday, September 12, 2012 2:56:10 PM Great job Capt! Unfortunately what is missing in the modern fire service administration is common sense. Obviously what he did violated policy, but when the violation of policy prevents the destruction of property and potential death of a person, it shouldn't be frowned upon by anyone in command.
Jared Warren Jared Warren Wednesday, September 12, 2012 3:05:31 PM I say he did just as he should and got the job done
Debbie Woods Debbie Woods Wednesday, September 12, 2012 3:10:38 PM them two men ought to be commended for what they did not suspended !
John Przybylek John Przybylek Wednesday, September 12, 2012 3:10:51 PM Ya done good Brother...... I'd make that same decision... time after time after time....
Steve Metcho Steve Metcho Wednesday, September 12, 2012 3:11:36 PM Unbelievable ...good work Capt.
Amy Moody Amy Moody Wednesday, September 12, 2012 3:14:06 PM It's a shame he was suspended at all for saving property BUT it was only a day suspension so this didn't go to horribly stupid. What I would like to know is why it was a violation to have another Firefighter drive? Was the other Firefighter from another company? Was it a case of Vol. vs. Paid personnel? I am a bit confused sorry.
Lorri Barstow Lorri Barstow Wednesday, September 12, 2012 3:24:20 PM Hopefully the appeal will go through. Also public education regarding what the current policies are and what that means for them and their own protection should be spread loud and clear by the fire departments. If people know that they are at risk because of public policy, they demand changes.
Rudy Parker Rudy Parker Wednesday, September 12, 2012 3:44:37 PM Great job guys. The aftermath suxs. You did a great job. Nwhvfd
John Fischer John Fischer Wednesday, September 12, 2012 3:51:47 PM
Angela Dee Dionne Angela Dee Dionne Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:07:52 PM wonder how close it was to their house? if it was their backyard they wouldn't have cared, sounds like some people with god complexes need to be jobless.
Andrew Ballard Andrew Ballard Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:22:46 PM that is what beancounters do----common sense ain't so common.
Kevin R Favier Kevin R Favier Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:25:09 PM Some rules are just stupid! So if he saved a life would he got the same treatment? Oh if he did nothing and some one died then what!
Richard Miller Richard Miller Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:29:38 PM another stupid blunder by policy givers.
Richard Miller Richard Miller Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:31:25 PM anotherstupid policey Fenton where do these idiots come from
Bobbie Howard Bobbie Howard Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:52:06 PM common sense has left the building
John Bishop John Bishop Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:55:02 PM I worked for this city for 9 years before I finally left for greener pastures. The city management is the problem. Randy is one of the ones who stayed with it because he's from there and loves his town. This is how people like him are treated. The city manager, as usual, is out of control and has a serious God complex. He needs to go.
Bruce Boatman Bruce Boatman Wednesday, September 12, 2012 5:08:40 PM once again, common sense has gone out the window so that some big wig can be politically correct.
Mike Gauldin Mike Gauldin Wednesday, September 12, 2012 5:11:41 PM I understand why policies are in place, but in emergency services and emergency situations, sometimes the rules don't fit the situation and calls have to be made to do the right thing. Just because a rule is violated doesn't make the action wrong. What's worse, wrecking a truck or two families losing their homes while firefighters sit there and seemingly don't do anything.
Fenton Hubbart Fenton Hubbart Wednesday, September 12, 2012 5:15:40 PM Good question, I don't know either. I do know that in what I made the comment about, it had been going on for YEARS with the county having jurisdiction over any areas outside of the city limits. I don't know if the problem has ever been solved as I don't live in that area anymore. It could take anywhere from 10 minutes to a half-hour before the county fire department arrived on the scene by which time the building might be fully involved or have totally burned, while the city fire department just stood by and watched. And yes, I realize that there could be something with insurance as well, as to why things weren't done. I just think it is ridiculous that there isn't some sort of leeway that would allow for whichever department that got there first, to be covered in case something happens.
Michael L Staton Michael L Staton Wednesday, September 12, 2012 5:18:08 PM He saves two house, and is suspended due to a volunteer driving a vehicle? Some Common sense here is needed! If the houses had burned down, would the town be responsible because they would not allow him to drive?
Lauretta Haffner Lauretta Haffner Wednesday, September 12, 2012 5:34:27 PM The city administration cannot see the forest for the trees. They need to review the INTENT of the laws that they wrote and either REWRITE the laws or ADD exceptions to the laws in order to PROTECT LIVES AND PROPERTY instead of just PROTECTING THEIR ASSETS!
Robert O'Connor Robert O'Connor Wednesday, September 12, 2012 5:35:26 PM Supervisor Stupidity...
Ian Schulte Ian Schulte Wednesday, September 12, 2012 5:38:20 PM It is absolutely ridiculous, it hampers us from performing our job to the best of our abilities, but people put egos and "the way things have always been done" over what is safest, most effective and best for the community. I only ask that people not blame the firefighters, blame those who pull the strings of local government, beaurocratic BS has been impeding progress of the fire service and public safety as a whole for years.
Roland LaFrance Sr. Roland LaFrance Sr. Wednesday, September 12, 2012 5:51:38 PM WHAT?
Brad Welch Brad Welch Wednesday, September 12, 2012 5:59:36 PM Sops and sogs are in every department for a legitimate reason but with that being said there are also a time and place where there can be a loophole or a bit of oversight of those policies in which insures a far better outcome and far better cirvumstance then what would have hapoened if wouldnt have broken these policies,its called situational awareness anddoing our job, theres not one professional or volunteer firefighter that at some point in time hasnt broken these a better outcome whether it be during rescue, attack or overhaul.operations, but to.punish a firefighter for doing what he's taught by saving his house and his neighbors really guys? If anything he should have been given a atta boy and told that he did a hell of a job an awarded for his duties, in my eyes he did nothing wrong and should be thanked for his heroic efforts
Kj Larson Kj Larson Wednesday, September 12, 2012 6:05:59 PM Had that been the mayor's home, he would have probably received a commendation of honor no doubt... just another article that portrays the lack of manpower nation wide.
Sarah Senko Sarah Senko Wednesday, September 12, 2012 6:16:04 PM The same thing that any of us would have done. You do what needs to be done regardless of the consequences and you sort out the political bull shit after the call.
Chip Mathis Chip Mathis Wednesday, September 12, 2012 6:28:56 PM Must not have a S O G called "COMMON SENSE"!
Calvin Williams Calvin Williams Wednesday, September 12, 2012 6:43:20 PM amen brother do it worry about the spanking later
Reid Timothy Reid Timothy Wednesday, September 12, 2012 6:53:49 PM Calling the bullshit card.
John Barnes John Barnes Wednesday, September 12, 2012 7:03:19 PM A policy or sop or sog either way Captain good Job you deserve to be reconized by your agency and the local community for a job well done.
Steve McMahon Steve McMahon Wednesday, September 12, 2012 7:10:30 PM Thankfully we have much more reasonable people in our administrations as well as a provincial law allowing the OIC to on the spot "deputize" anyone, even someone off the street to assist in operating at a fire scene including driving an apparatus. The person being deputized is also covered by department insurance.
James W Bates James W Bates Wednesday, September 12, 2012 7:48:41 PM IT is really too bad that the houses didn't belong to one. IT is really too bad the houses were not owned by the city administrators , the story would be a lot different!
Gaston D Wilsonjr Gaston D Wilsonjr Wednesday, September 12, 2012 8:00:08 PM NO GOOD DEED GOES UN PUNSHIED, THE WAY SOME ADMIN.THINK!
Trent Ghostrider Hutchings Trent Ghostrider Hutchings Wednesday, September 12, 2012 8:40:57 PM Some people don't understand that there are special occasions, in which the rules are men't to be flexible... this is one of them. Good job Capt.
Jerry Montgomery Jerry Montgomery Wednesday, September 12, 2012 8:57:18 PM That's one DUMB administration. Hopefully, voters will cure the problem at the next election.
Stephen Kelly Stephen Kelly Wednesday, September 12, 2012 11:11:05 PM I have had to utilize the personnel which I had in many times. Due to short staffing in our volunteer community, I have asked our local pastor to assist us in more than one situation. He not only drove out grass truck but also th county abulance to meet the helicopter. We overcome issues in the time of emergencies and do the most good for the most people.
Dermot Ryan Dermot Ryan Thursday, September 13, 2012 2:06:21 AM What happened to thinking on your feet, what decision would you have made if it was your home? Keep up the good work. How come everyone knows what to do in hindsight.
Brian Blackburn Brian Blackburn Thursday, September 13, 2012 4:13:45 AM Wow, this is why you need to keep politics out of public safety.
Bill Chadwick Bill Chadwick Thursday, September 13, 2012 5:10:31 AM Nothing like second guessing the on scene commander; who is the only one who can make the risk/reward judgement of when it it time to go against "policy". I think I would prefer the news report, "two firefighers bend rules and save two houses during short handed response" to "Fire Capt. stands around and watches two homes burn rather than take small risk!"
Spartacus Jones Spartacus Jones Thursday, September 13, 2012 5:36:57 AM Admin needs to review that policy. Good grief. Seems like the only time rules get enforced is when it's completely stupid to do so. Most of the time nobody pays any attention to the rules at all -- unless they're trying to "get" somebody.
John Novak John Novak Thursday, September 13, 2012 5:45:29 AM This incident obviously brings out alot of emotion. As a chief, I have a couple of questions: Was that volunteer firefighter who was placed in the driver's seat qualified to operate that truck. If he was a firefighter, why did the Captain not place him in the position of fighting the fire. A more obvious question is why did not FF Long have a defensive space cleared from around his house in the first place, since he knows the dangers of wildfires more than the obvious citizen. I think more information should be provided before people go and make brash comments commending the fire department's administration.
Mark Windham Mark Windham Thursday, September 13, 2012 5:45:56 AM We are all part of the "Brotherhood" volunteer or career. I can't imagine not jumping to the aid of a brother firefighter under any condition, it sounded like in this case they both should be commended. They worked together to overcome a emergency situation, neither could have done it without the other. I'd take the spanking to save a life or someones property as long it was done as safely as possible. Why make a person an officer if you don't allow them to make critical decisions on a moments notice. Good job guys.
Matt Mozes Matt Mozes Thursday, September 13, 2012 5:58:26 AM That's a joke! Fire admin are all a joke these days.
Fred Steneck Fred Steneck Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:16:36 AM 09/12/12 Capt. Randy Woodward and Firefighter Jerel Long should be reward for their action at this emergency. for a job well done. If I were one of the home owners I would pay the Capt. For his lost time. I would also demand that the City Manager, Mayor and Counsel recognize these men for a job well done. The people of Coweta Okla. should be outraged that a fire Capt. Was suspended for saving the homes of tax payers in the community. Policy are just guide lines but in extreme emergency the people that arrive on scene first especially a higher ranking officer should and must make the call. His or her decision may be critical in the outcome of the emergency like in this case the saving of the peoples homes was the first priority. I do not know what's going on in this city but the Chief must be a out of town to let this kind of thing. happen to one of his officers, Unless he is pushing it because him and the Capt. do not see eye to eye. There must be some politics involved in this episode in Coweta. I would like to here the real story.
Tom Allen Tom Allen Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:22:49 AM The Department should be given a fine for letting one man respond to an emergency. If their SOPs/SOGs allow that they should be rewritten.
Ed Foley Ed Foley Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:28:15 AM way to go capt, right man right training.............. Great job
George Darden George Darden Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:29:05 AM This is what happens when politics it put before sound judgment. He has been put in the position of Capt cause you trust and want him to make quick decisions then slap his hand for doing what you promoted him to do... Way to go! and do it again if you need to save a life or property.
Rose Dicamillo Rose Dicamillo Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:36:48 AM Unbelievable!
Paul Jacobs Paul Jacobs Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:45:46 AM I guess my question is where was FF Long a Vol. at? Was it within the department itself or from another. My experience has shown that we have to make snap decisions and I see nothing wrong with the decsion made by the Capt. It would be differnet if it he allowed a civillian to do what FF Long did, but I would guess that FF Long has training. It would be no different than having an A/A or M/A FF doing it. As a matter of fact my former department trained with other departments and learned about their rigs and equipment for just this issue. Again, more and more municipalities are trying to get by with less, and this is what happens. Adapt overcome and improvise....
Tom Allen Tom Allen Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:50:42 AM I wondered that too but I think if he was with the same department there wouldn't be a problem. If he's with a neighboring department maybe combined training on the other department's equipment would be in order, especially if the Capt's department routinely sends out equipment with 1 person on it.
Chuck Collins Chuck Collins Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:57:13 AM Spoken like the salty old veteran you are Matt!
Scott Barker Scott Barker Thursday, September 13, 2012 6:58:32 AM Can't fix stupid..but you CAN not reelect them.
Ron Stewart Ron Stewart Thursday, September 13, 2012 7:32:13 AM In the wise words of our friend Clint Eastwood... he did not cheat, he adapted, he improvised and he overcame. Strong work. SOG's are just that... Guidelines. They cannot predict every scenario. Sounds to me like this Capt. exercise good judgement in the face of adversity and a rapidly evolving situation. He made a decision and it saved property while risking little in terms of injury or death to fellow firefighters. Strong firefighter working for a weak administration.
John Dickie Kay John Dickie Kay Thursday, September 13, 2012 7:57:58 AM Sometime its just better to ask for forgiveness rather than beg for permission....DTRT!
Scot Reid Scot Reid Thursday, September 13, 2012 8:28:23 AM Quick thinking and a low risk decision in the grand scheme of things..Great Job Cap! This department needs to evaluate (or develop) a progressive discipline program.
Robert Christian Robert Christian Thursday, September 13, 2012 9:35:19 AM Are you FRAKKIN KIDDING ME? Seriously? Well I would say that come the next City Elections, time to vote some people out of office and replace the City manager. If I lived in the area, I would be outside of City Hall with a "Picket Sign"! I say everyone call City Hall, and express their "Dismay", politely of course. It also seems quite obvious, that the City manager, either has never attended, or he did not pay attention to any of the lesson and scenarios in FEMA NIMS ICS Classes. You know the ones where the instructor tells you, that you may have to use a little "creativity" and "OTB Thinking" to prevent a potential emergency, from becoming a substanstial emergency. While I was reading this article, I just shook my head in disbelief.
Wayne F Durr Wayne F Durr Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:01:12 AM this admin are complete morons , what if it was their house to burn down, youtell them there not allowed, give me a break.
David McLeod David McLeod Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:08:49 AM As a Lieutenant I have been thinking about this scenario and what would I do if I were at that scene. I try extremely hard to end everything on a positive note, and Capt. Woodward's actions open so many doors. SOP's have to be followed, HOWEVER Firefighters and Officers MUST think outside of the box a lot of the times. If I was tasked with investigating this call, 1st off I would want to review the SOP's and find out if ANYONE can ride on the flatbed. I would want to know if the Capt. has had issues in the past with violating SOPís? One on one I would ask Capt. Woodward his understanding of the SOP's, why he did what he did, and addressing if time was of the essence why did the Capt. switch and let the Volunteer drive if this was such a fast moving fire? Were there any other ways he could have approached this incident? I would then present to Capt. Woodward the reason why this SOP is so important not only for the obvious reasons, BUT if the Volunteer would have fallen off the truck and sustained a serious spinal injury and is now a quad, the money and resources now dedicated to that Volunteer for the rest of his life is astronomical. During my next shift, I would review the SOPís with my team, acknowledge Capt. Woodward on what he did and how he had to think outside of the box, and then conduct hands on training simulating the incident. It sounds like there is a MAJOR issue with the cities administration. For starters why is the department running so understaffed? Is this an all-Volunteer Dept? As an Officer, I practice the art of NEVER to question another Officers decisions, and in this case I am not 100% sure what I would have done. I wish Capt. Woodward the best and thank you to the Professional Firefighters of Oklahoma for stepping in!
Dustin Dinwiddie Dustin Dinwiddie Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:25:10 AM Risk vs gain
Steve Kady Steve Kady Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:40:44 AM Sometimes you have to close the book and go with your heart. I am sure the insurance company would be glad that common sense jumped in and save the day. If firefighter Long is a certified firefighter, what is the big deal? This is called co-operation, mutual it what you want. The guy is a firefighter. The admin pin heads need to be voted out!
Brad Beneski Brad Beneski Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:44:26 AM 10-4 that Stephen. Out in Burnet, we figure out how to not let the rules get in the way of common sense. Our Teams would get a pat on the back for controlling the fire, not a reprimand for breaking protocol. My hats off to your pastor, and others like him, for doing what it takes to get the job done.
Stephen Kelly Stephen Kelly Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:48:39 AM Thanks Brad, In rural communities, resources can be scarce, so people have to utilize what they have and think out of the box. SOGs are guidelines, written to be adhered to but also be flexible so as to allow for special circumstances. Don't get me wrong, rules are needed to ensure safety and discipline but making decisions is part of the job.
Jill McChurch Hobbs Jill McChurch Hobbs Thursday, September 13, 2012 10:59:34 AM The City Manager and Fire Chief are both hired positions not elected. The city council is elected. Not sure if they could interfer in this situation or not. I don't agree with what they did but not living in the city limits means we don't get to vote.
Jill McChurch Hobbs Jill McChurch Hobbs Thursday, September 13, 2012 11:08:23 AM The firefighter was suspended for 1 for not following reulea and letting a civilian and not city employee drive a fire vehicle at the site of the grass fire. I'm not saying that I agree with the suspension but Jim did point out the liability issues involved.
Stephen Kelly Stephen Kelly Thursday, September 13, 2012 11:29:24 AM I have been involved in Public Safety in some way or another for most of my adult life. What can I say, I am a glutton for punishment. :)
Stewart P. Deveau Stewart P. Deveau Thursday, September 13, 2012 12:38:48 PM Wonder if the suspension would have happened if they were under the same circumstances at the home of one of the city officials. Highly doubt it. It's hard enough for volunteer fire departments to get new members, mostly because of the amount of time required for meetings and training's. This kind of Bureaucratic BS is just another knife in any departments recruitment drive. Who wants to become a firefighter if you are NOT aloud to do what you signed up to do. Great team work my brothers. Stay strong and don't let the Bureaucratic idiots get you down.
Matt Arcuri Matt Arcuri Thursday, September 13, 2012 12:40:30 PM More power to Capt. Woodward, I am also a capt. in my vol. dept. and I would of made the same call. When you are faced with such a fast moving fire you make with what you have. We are sworn to protect and serve our comunity to the best of our ability.
Paul McKeever III Paul McKeever III Thursday, September 13, 2012 1:26:38 PM so letting another fire fighter drive a firefighting vehicle is against their policy well then looks like they can't respond no more.
Daniel Thompson Daniel Thompson Thursday, September 13, 2012 3:23:24 PM sounds to me like to many chiefs smoking in the teepee and not enough indians......hooray for Capt Woodward for doing an outstanding job. I would have done the exact same thing!

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