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Firefighter claims harassment after finding water in boots

The volunteer firefighter's incident is now being investigated by town officials

By FireRescue1 Staff

RICHMOND, Maine — A Maine firefighter is claiming harassment after finding his boots were full of water when he arrived at the fire station responding to a call as a volunteer.

Town Manager Marian Anderson has alerted every member of the Richmond Fire Department of the incident and has launched a formal investigation, according to the Portland Press Herald.

"Workplace harassment is a serious matter that the town of Richmond does not tolerate," she said.

The Richmond Fire Department's Facebook page said that crews had responded to six calls during a storm on Aug. 3, the day that the firefighter had found his boots full of water.

The city has hired an investigator to look into the matter and may result in disciplinary action and legal prosecution.




Comments
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Rick Dunn Rick Dunn Friday, August 31, 2012 6:10:57 AM This is stupid, a good example of what this world has come to The idiot should be blackballed if he or she can't take a little firehouse fun, that's how you deal with the stress, used to be a fun job!
Will Vest Will Vest Friday, August 31, 2012 6:33:13 AM Agreed! Very stupid. Waste of Time and Money.
E- Hoot Gibson E- Hoot Gibson Friday, August 31, 2012 7:01:58 AM What in the world would this firefighter have done if he/she had found their car keys in the refrigerator, frozen in a glass of water, or found salt in their bed?
William Parkerson William Parkerson Friday, August 31, 2012 7:04:16 AM I agree Get a life
Jim Penn Jim Penn Friday, August 31, 2012 11:22:33 AM Or a bucket of water dumped on your head from the 2nd floor? Or your sheet stapled to your mattress with about a hundred staples? hahahahahahaha, that was fun!
Shelly Propes Smith Shelly Propes Smith Saturday, September 01, 2012 4:55:08 AM poor little guy........... man up !!
Robbie Pycior Robbie Pycior Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:05:31 PM if it was habitual acts against one person...
Timothy Frankel Timothy Frankel Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:07:48 PM SOUND LIKE JUST A LITTLE FIREHOUSE PRANK.
Mark Normington Mark Normington Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:08:47 PM You never mess with someone's bunker gear period. Who ever did this should have his ass kicked.
Ryan Dennett Ryan Dennett Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:08:55 PM Harassment? Maybe, maybe not because we don't know the circumstances surrounding the events. The thing that disturbs me most is the rest of you that think it is perfectly acceptable. I am glad I am not a part of your department since I would obviously have to wonder if the equipment that is supposed to be protecting me is in the proper condition. All the departments I have been involved with tolerate a certain amount "horseplay" but screwing with another individuals PPE is strictly off limits. So a good chance this wasn't harassment unless there is more to the story, but definitely inappropriate behavior.
Rene Irick Rene Irick Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:09:42 PM fire house fun or he did something stupid and this was the way to say we know. eather way money spent for what should hve been worked out in house. if you can't work togather leave its volenteer, I am so tired of lawsuits for dumb things and people getting money for something they started, or was not harmed wet boots well I hae yet been on a fire were my boots stayed dry.
Logan Noyes Logan Noyes Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:09:44 PM look, around my firehouse we mess with each other all the time. if you leave your gear laying around or in a truck, don't be mad to find it inside out or the boots turned around or even full of water. we have all been that guy and we have all been the one to do it. its all fun and games, if the crew didn't like you they wouldn't mess with you. get over you big friggin sissy.
Jody Buffy Sees Jody Buffy Sees Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:13:52 PM no one should be messing with personal protection gear paid or volunteer.
Richard Gossman Richard Gossman Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:17:15 PM Well, after 27 years in the firehouse p. this was probably just a little fun , nut if that firefighter has been repeatedly the butt of someone elses joke. And has voiced his displeasure with the actions of his fellow firemen. Then it is the management of this department that has failed him. It is not the way it used to be in the old days. You can,t tolerate this behavior anymore. Sorry guys, but join the 21st century. Be professional.
Scott Clemo Scott Clemo Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:18:10 PM It was a joke we do it all the time or hang stuff on hooks thay cant get too.
Peter Warren Peter Warren Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:19:09 PM At least he/she could see the water. Try stepping into your boots and finding small hard balls. Though I agree not to mess with ones gear, this I hope was not harassment.
Patti Shannon Viers Patti Shannon Viers Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:20:37 PM this is plain stupid....workplace pranks lessen tension, get over it buddy!
Robert A. Osbourn Robert A. Osbourn Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:21:48 PM why would anyone be a firefighter if they are offended by a little water,
Patti Shannon Viers Patti Shannon Viers Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:22:17 PM if they continually picked on him yes it's harrassment, but a prank is a prank.
Kevin Frizzell Kevin Frizzell Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:22:51 PM I agree 100%. Gear is sacred and should NEVER be compromised in any way for a "joke". There should be severe reprecussions for any thing of this nature. No tolerance. Period! I agree on the harassment part as well. Without more background such as other occurances, it's hard to conclude. My personal thoughts are that is was just a poorly thought out prank.
Michael Foster Michael Foster Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:25:25 PM I agree with the real firefighters. Having fun in the firehouse is fine, but messing with a firefighters gear is forbiden. Would you like it if you had an emergency and the firefighters were delayed because a firefighter had to get his gear back in order?
Mark Normington Mark Normington Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:33:50 PM Having your keys frozen in the freezer is totally different than messing with bunker gear. In 29 years of service it was always an unspoken rule. Yes..I have had my keys frozen in the freezer. Bunker gear is off limits no matter what. Harassment...maybe it was bad judgement and I know what I would do to the person that did this. If you can not trust their judgement in the firehouse how can you trust them on the line?
MikeandJanet Wiles Price MikeandJanet Wiles Price Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:34:19 PM I would hate to think a person we look for to save our life would do something to cause someone to lose their life don't let one bad seed give the rest a bad name I am very proud of my brother in law Michael Foster and the job he does!!!!
Dennis Drennen Dennis Drennen Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:37:52 PM Rotflol!!!!! Ok, take some pills for some thicker skin... If someone did fill them up, it was meant to be funny, in my dept we had a few guys that did this for some time... The station jokesters!!!! It was all fun.... If u can't have fun @ the station, stay home.... Just look how much money is being spent on an investigation that could have outfitted 1 or even more firefighters.... This guy needs to grow up!!!!!!
Dave Tolliver Dave Tolliver Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:38:13 PM You know what they say, if you can't handle the fire...
Wayland Slater Wayland Slater Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:45:56 PM Let's see, I've had my boots filled with gravel, dirt, paper shoved in the toes. Yes, it can really anger you, especially when there's not a spare pair around and you are on a large "worker". One day I had to run a full arrest outside in 20 degree weather without a coat because someone tied my coat sleaves into knots. I knew the culprits. They did think of themselves as jokers. But they claimed they had the same thing to them. When I confronted them about it and that took care of it. Never happened again. There's a fine line between joking and just being mean. I never thought of it as harassment. If this was a one time occurance, even though you don't mess with someone else's gear, I couldn't call it harassment. But it there were other things done, then something has to be done. If you feel like it is harassment then it's harassment. Enough is enough.
Kevin Carnes Kevin Carnes Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:46:31 PM There are three things that should never be messed with. 1) A persons family 2) a persons gear 3) a persons boots. Violation of this unwritten policy should be dealt with swiftly at the station level....... That being said... this guy needs to man up and grow a pair filing for harassment is fruitless and pointless beyond being a vindictive jerk.
Helen Stauverman Panicucci Helen Stauverman Panicucci Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:48:52 PM Makes you wonder...how long he was on the job...who did he P. O. This guy needs to grow tougher skin!
Jeff East Jeff East Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:50:28 PM He will never make it , if wet boots trips his trigger.
Flo Bolsega Jr. Flo Bolsega Jr. Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:52:17 PM Sallyboy !
Helen Stauverman Panicucci Helen Stauverman Panicucci Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:52:38 PM No kidding! He definitely needs to learn to take it! He may be a big whiner!
Chuck Harley Chuck Harley Sunday, September 02, 2012 3:52:42 PM Sounds as if there are a few "firefighters" out there that have never worked in soggy boots before...Can't see that delaying a response. If you fight much fire, you are going to get wet and your gear is going to get soaked, and water ends up in your boots many times, but that should not slow a firefighter down! Water fights are a common practice in most departments and clothes along with shoes get wet and life goes on. Water in boots is a rookie prank and if your department never had this happen, that would be strange. To launch an investigation and suggest disciplinary action and legal prosecution is the most rediculous thing I have ever heard! What would be the charge? Is there anything in the rules and regs that prohibit this? The volunteer that is claiming harrassment might as well go on down the road because he will never fit in with a group of firefighters anywhere!
Glen Potter Glen Potter Sunday, September 02, 2012 4:05:42 PM He should count himself lucky if it was actually "water"! :D
Cam Millett Cam Millett Sunday, September 02, 2012 4:12:00 PM well...if that fire fighter was on his way to my house for a fire, I would hate to think things were held up due to other firefighters lack of respect for fire gear....just not called for, not sure it calls for a harassment case, but certainly a meeting and a STERN warning!
David Harris David Harris Sunday, September 02, 2012 4:12:33 PM NEVER mess with anyone's gear. And if they mess something up on it, let them fix it themselves. Only way they're going to learn.
David Harris David Harris Sunday, September 02, 2012 4:13:20 PM Oh! And Janet, you can be proud of Mike because he is also pretty good at cornhole!!
Chris McGuire Chris McGuire Sunday, September 02, 2012 4:16:54 PM It sounds to me like a Joke, & I know it was a Joke if the Firefighter that got his boot full was a ROOKIE. I also think that it is a Good way to deal with stress. A little Fire House fun NEVER HURT NOBODY.
E- Hoot Gibson E- Hoot Gibson Sunday, September 02, 2012 4:39:23 PM Or the Saran Wraped stretch across the top of the commode.
Jim Parker Jim Parker Sunday, September 02, 2012 4:57:05 PM Some one needs to sleep in the dumpster and catch that water waster.
Eric Stoll Eric Stoll Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:02:20 PM Give me a Break! What a waste of Town funds!
Karen M. Castorino Gudjohnsen Karen M. Castorino Gudjohnsen Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:05:34 PM Chuck I hear all the stories Eric tells me at his station ..All the silly pranks and like you said that is all in being a Firefighter...It is all in fun and this person is just not going to enjoy being a Firefighter if they can not take a silly prank that is all in fun..Firefighter are a special group of people and they know when to be serious and know and love to have fun ...
Tim Cook Tim Cook Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:11:52 PM Gear is OFF Limits.....PERIOD! I'm OK with low level FH pranks but gear is a NO GO. Do it here you'll get time off
Jim Riseborough Jim Riseborough Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:12:12 PM It's not fun when you mess with someone's PPE, you should know that.
Jim Riseborough Jim Riseborough Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:14:06 PM Again, shouldn't mess with a guys PPE, it's off limits, taught in every class I teach.
Jim Riseborough Jim Riseborough Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:15:02 PM And if the house that burns down cause a firefighter wasn't ready is a joke too?
Steve Peal Steve Peal Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:17:19 PM It was a prank get over it!
Chris Caywood Chris Caywood Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:30:05 PM Firehouse pranks is all it is. You don't where your heart on your sleeve and you better have thick skin
Jim Doodle Ramous Jim Doodle Ramous Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:39:23 PM GEAR is OFF LIMITS...find the pranksters and suspend them for a month. Next time they're gone for good. Get the point across firmly and not with just a slap on the wrist.
Mickey Barfield Mickey Barfield Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:47:57 PM What a wuss!!! The town has hired an investigator to look into it; sounds like a whole town of wusses!!!! Is wusses the plural of wuss??
Mike Whilden Mike Whilden Sunday, September 02, 2012 5:56:39 PM Needs to be kept at the station level. This guy overreacted. Sad but not unexpected these days.
Gary Guy Gary Guy Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:06:39 PM As a Captain and a Station Officer, ANY "prank" involving PPE will land your butt in hot water. I have no problem with my guys acting like high-schoolers when in the station and out of public view, but pranks involving PPE is OFF LIMITS. I don't know if I would classify it as "harassment", I don't know the history between the accuser and the accused, but none the less, leave the PPE alone.
Warren Glazer Warren Glazer Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:17:42 PM And this guy is a Fire Fighter? Suck it up Butter Cup! You won't last long if you are this worked up over a little water! We get wet all the time! Sometimes very wet! I bet he has not been to 5 fires! GOD BLESS THE USA and THE FIRE SERVICE we sure need it! And someone please get Butter Cup some dry boots, and some dry towels and some power for his little feet! Man UP BUTTER CUP!
Cindy Dowdy Cindy Dowdy Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:24:40 PM It could be harrasment depending on what other things have been pulled on him. I know that sometimes they like to play jokes on each other.
Jimmy Hise Jimmy Hise Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:41:44 PM to steal a phrase from a fellow firefighter, this just shows more of the pussification of the fire service. this type of thing has been in the fire service for many years, and is part of growing up. Be a man and remember this for the next young guy or girl you get to pull a prank on. If you can't, maybe you should go arrange flowers or something like that.
Jimmy Hise Jimmy Hise Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:42:37 PM oh I'm a retired firefighter with 31 years of service.
Lynn Isley Lynn Isley Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:47:28 PM sounds like someone cannot take a joke. what at wuss!
Chad Helms Chad Helms Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:50:47 PM Really?????
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:54:42 PM Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:55:41 PM Sad to see you condoning bullying in any workplace
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:56:30 PM William Parkerson Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace ... yourself in their shoes?
Chad Helms Chad Helms Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:58:05 PM I agree mike. Should have lept that in house but that is a tall order in the era of fear and favortisim.
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:59:17 PM OK for you, it was brought under control. but as you say If you feel like it is harassment then it's harassment. Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace ...
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 7:00:22 PM Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace ...
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 7:01:12 PM Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace ... a prank is harassment
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 7:02:18 PM Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace ...
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 7:07:33 PM Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace ... Whoa there, thats harsh Kevin Carnes, your own comments should speak to you. Can you hear yourself? Do you believe your opening statement? Perhaps you could acknowledge the putdowns. Why not try to be kind to your workmates and "brothers in arms" today.
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 7:10:43 PM An apology, a change of attitude by managers and perpetrators, some reconcilliation, all these things could change the situation and ward off the financial cost that looms so large in your vision. Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace ...
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 7:12:11 PM ...or be taken to court for a judgement. Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace ...
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 7:12:48 PM Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace ...
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 7:18:44 PM Shelly Smith ... Sad to see people condoning bullying in any workplace ... Be brave Shelly, you can change the world. There is no need to accept bullys. Rick, Gibbo, Jim, and all the others need you to show them a little respect... and maybe today they will return some respect to you. ....no need for putdowns. Have a great day!
Rene Irick Rene Irick Sunday, September 02, 2012 8:48:42 PM not condoning bullying. I am a frim beleaver in respectful wrok place, no one said that this was a on going thing, if so it should have been taken to the cheifs be handled by the chiefs, not a lawyer for the city. If the cheif don't take care of it then thier not doing there job. but if it was all in fun than let it go, you'll get your chance .
Kris Willcock Kris Willcock Sunday, September 02, 2012 9:03:26 PM A joke yes but every min counts. so yes I agree that he should be prosecuted. when you take an oath.
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Sunday, September 02, 2012 11:11:08 PM Well, Rene, you know it obviously was not fun for the volunteer whose gear was interfered with. As for the cycle of payback you are suggesting, this only perpetuates the culture of bullying which appears endemic not only in Richmond but in Firefighter Culture.
Scott Monthony Scott Monthony Monday, September 03, 2012 3:29:40 AM I agree Mark! Sure it's great to have fun and joke around, but causing a brother or sister to either take a lot more time to get out on a call or to be unsafe on a call should not be condoned....
Sharon Yon Sharon Yon Monday, September 03, 2012 5:14:46 AM how bout plastic wrap over the commode when you go to the bathroom! haha.. vaseline on the door knob.
Bill Snyder Bill Snyder Monday, September 03, 2012 8:02:16 AM this is typical of low brow fire fighter mentality - in the volunteer services this happened if you win and election and the low brows aren't happy. It has in our department and I am sure others. Still sucks
Georgia Z. Reymann Georgia Z. Reymann Monday, September 03, 2012 9:46:02 AM If their house catches fire will a few seconds delay to dump water be so funny!
Kurtis Goossen Kurtis Goossen Monday, September 03, 2012 12:35:22 PM You gotta be kidding me. My pops was a career firefighter and I think he would just roll his eyes at this little puss. Man up or get lost.
Eric Stoll Eric Stoll Monday, September 03, 2012 3:02:41 PM Let the facts come out....
Mary Criner Kingery Mary Criner Kingery Monday, September 03, 2012 5:56:26 PM you got to be kidding me that would not delay response dump the water and get your butt in gear, try handcuffed to a chair and then talk to me about harrassment
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 6:37:07 PM There is a huge opportunity here for the people involved in the reported bullying in Richmond (and for firefighters everywhere) to have some real courage -show true git and character- to break the cycle of violence, payback, fear, emotional blackmail; these are all real experiences. If any one raises an issue of harassment, then it is real. The perpetrators may have made the error of considering their behaviour to be harmless, just as some commentators here seem to be doing. It is time to change our culture, to be considerate of others and to let go of payback. Whether you are a in a FD, like Bryan Sullivan, or just wish you could be, like John Lonsbury, maybe with your view colored by your dad's experience of bullying in days gone by, like Kurtis, I hope you day turns out to be rewarding and satisfying and that whatever you do or say does no harm but rather, inspires and encourages whoever you encounter. From across the wide Pacific I'm a great believer in the American Dream!
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 7:01:51 PM I have to disagree with you Chuck Harley and Glenn Potter and say that I believe your view has been carried here from the age of fear and selfish interest. I'll say again that anyone, whether they are paid or not, has a right to be in a workplace that is respectful, safe and happy. A person whether new to the job or perhaps a faithful servant over many years deserves to turn up to the job and know that their personal property and their efforts at work will be respected. This is the responsibility of everyone, including Chuck & Glen and Karen. Maybe the Golden Rule could come into play here if you find it useful. You guys should enjoy your day. :)
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 7:36:14 PM Jimmy, so many of the posts here seem to suggest that its OK to bully someone, because the person being bullied can learn to be a bully themselves and go on to do it to someone else, like its payback. As a perpetrator, bullies as they describe themselves in these pages, don't expect their target to retaliate, because they describe their actions as being "in fun" but expect that the response will be harassment of another person selected as "the victim". Its not OK for older or longer serving people to bully young people. The fun and hilarity of "pranking" is one sided. By definition, "pranking" is bullying. I reckon a real man, a person with integrity, would put an end to actions in a fire station that are crossing the line of welcome and respect for other people.
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 7:48:54 PM Flo Bolsega hows your day going? Why not ease up on the name calling and understand that whatever was intended by the workers in Richmond, they were in fact bullying a fellow American. I know you would not wish harm on anyone.
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 8:09:16 PM Helen Stauverman Panicucci you sound like you have been around the world a bit so I imagine you might be able to put yourself in the situation of a Firefighter who finds their gear interfered with by people whom they out to expect to be able to trust. On the report that Firerescue1 has given us there is no suggestion that the firefighter who has complained of harassment was a new volunteer or had provoked anyone. On the contrary, I think that taking a look from a different point of view you might see the possibility of a fire department where every member makes a positive contribution and respect and integrity makes everyone stronger. We can all be heroes and I know that the town of Richmond will be stronger for the way they are making a better America. And I love America.
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 8:19:49 PM Bob, I imagine it may not have been the water per say that has been an issue. Perhaps the betrayal of trust, absence of respect, blinkerred outlook, caused some offence. A firefighter (nor any worker) should not expect this to be part of the contract. It is bullying after all. harassment by any name really. I know, with a little reflection you will brighten the day of everyone you meet - maybe even save a life!
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 8:20:37 PM Mickey Barfield RUOK? I'm wondering why you are engaging in such vehement name calling?
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 9:02:44 PM Again, Kurtis, I think its great that you are proud of your Pop's firefighting career, I imagine he's had some big days on the fireground. It does take a certain integrity to be a true hero. My view of a hero is someone who puts the concerns, wellbeing, safety and life of others before themselves. This makes a person a hero. By the way, I reckon you could be a great volunteer firefighter too alongside every member at the Richmond fire station. They will work out how to live and work together just as I am sure you could be part of that change.
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 9:25:22 PM Dennis, why would you think this is an expensive investigation? This will save money, save lives and improve the work practices (ability to fight fires) of Richmond FD. And surely there is no need to choose a victim to have some fun. Would a "jokester" fill their own boots with water or freeze their own keys? A prank is only funny on one side. A prank implies a victim. Pranking is bullying. A Firefighter who interferes with another firefighter's PPE is a bully. Name calling as I have seen amongst some commentators here is bullying. This positive response by Richmond may end a cycle of destructive behavior and could lead to change that ends the unspoken, undercover culture that retards the potential for volunteer fire services to be leaders in our community. I hope you are having loads of fun in Holtwood!
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 9:29:25 PM Steve Peal, a prank is bullying. A prank is harassment. RUOK? Have you ever been bullied? This is a question we could all ask each other. If we answer it honestly it may change the way we behave at work and at home.
Steve Peal Steve Peal Monday, September 03, 2012 9:34:01 PM Yes ive had pranks played on me and i have been bullied it a BIG difference.
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 9:44:08 PM You know, Chris, things could change soon in Knoxville, Tennessee. Whether you wear your heart on your sleeve or not, every American has the right to a safe and respectful workplace. That's why Richmond and I'm guessing Knoxville too are standing up for every citizen. This way every one can be strong, no matter whether their skin is leathery or silky smooth. If things are tough for you where you are make sure you get in touch with your Mum or maybe phone a friend. And look out for the new guy on the team; he may be just the friend you are looking for......
Chuck Harley Chuck Harley Monday, September 03, 2012 9:45:03 PM Ian, I will admit that over the 47 years I have spent in the fire service, including 30 years as a paid professional firefighter/paramedic serving the citizens of Dallas, Texas, there have been a lot of changes, especially with the interpretation of harrassment. I do not recall a single firefighter being harmed or a response delayed because of a simple prank played on them at the station. In fact, most members expected to be on the receiving end of a prank every now and then, or would feel left out of the group if they weren't. Now, if this person was being "picked on" or "bullied" he/she would have a reason to complain, but from the story published, not very much info was released as to that happening. I still think it is rediculous that city administration has gotten involved and going to extremes on what appears as a simple prank. It is obvious that no harm was intended as all it would take is dumping the water from the boots. No damage was done to the boots as they do need a washing every now and then and that is usually done with water. And, you may have a good point in your response about respect...maybe the members pranked him/her because he/she had not earned their respect or they did not respect the job he/she was doing. Regardless of the reason for pranking him/her, you can bet he/she feels like a loner now...
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 10:02:05 PM I'm trying to understand your response Mike. Many of us have commented, but I'm wondering if you have access to more information than given in the Firerescue1 report? I guess if workers have done the right thing by everyone, they have nothing to fear. If we fear an investigation or prosecution then we may protest about its usefulness. Let’s be fearless, then we will see whose actions or reactions have been fair. I think Marian Anderson's decision is fair. What's sad to me is seeing how easily people tolerate and condone harassment as "fun".
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 10:13:50 PM I'm feeling like your response is harsh Jim but then the actions of bullies in our communities are harsh too. Sanctions against perpetrators may be in order but we look for a new, fairer way of behaving and thinking and I would hope any Captain would also work on education and build their team in constructive ways.
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 10:45:57 PM And my point is Chuck that a culture change is past due here. It is in the Captain's grasp to take his company into the age of respect and concern for all. No brother should be left behind, this is the heart of the matter. This will make a stronger community for every citizen where firefighters discover themselves to be heroes everyday because they no longer bicker and squabble over whose turn it is to be victimised. I wonder how well things will be resolved in that fire department compared to yours or my experience? We could all make a difference to people who feel the need to bully and to include a person who appears to be alone in the place we work. In Richmond, this week a firefighter was bullied but that might just change for the good because of conversations people are having.
Ian Shelton Ian Shelton Monday, September 03, 2012 10:50:15 PM OK, I appreciate your honesty, I imagine that by comparison with water in bunker boots, its possible for bullying to get really bad.
Jim Riseborough Jim Riseborough Tuesday, September 04, 2012 4:50:07 AM Chuck Harley what happens when he dumps the water from his boots, and it gets his bunker pants wet, and he gets 2nd or 3rd degree burns cause he spent a bit more time rescuing the child in a house fire? Should he just chock it up as a prank. You dont mess with other firefighters PPE, how easy is that to understand?
Glen Potter Glen Potter Tuesday, September 04, 2012 5:15:14 AM Based on numerous times we went through fully involved trailer homes (potato+toaster oven) and then out into 100+ temps outside and had to wring our socks and clothes out, it's not likely to result in steam burns. You go squish ... damn! ... haha ... pour the water out ... run your run and then figure out who the payback goes to. If it gets as far as hazing, it's up to the boss to decide whether it is too much, not the press! These events (firehouse, flight-line, office) are usually centered around an individual that is either held in high esteem or held in very low esteem by his fellows. A guy that would take it to the press rather than to his Captain (or just take it), sounds like the latter. If this kinder-gentler age of firefighting is against that, then the house would be very specific against that. Training issue. These are all just opinions guys.
Mike Whilden Mike Whilden Tuesday, September 04, 2012 12:26:28 PM I respect your opinion. You obviously come from a different background than I do. That's what makes the world go round. I hope this department can reslove these earthshattering issues and get on with it.

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