Rockbridge Emergency

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countyresident

Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby countyresident » 2008 Jul 29 14:45

CC:
I agree with what you have said, it is truely a waste of taxpayer money for every agency to have the same equipment (i.e. brush truck). If we are to have a regional system then that is what it should be and I agree that the equipment needs to be acquired and placed based on need and not the wants of the fire/EMS agencies. Taxpayer money has been wasted simply because the fire departments buy what they want rather than what they need, what data do the fire departments use to justify these purchases?

Change is very difficult and I will leave you with some thoughts on change that I hope will put everything in perspective.

"When you are up to your rear end in alligators, it is hard to remember that your purpose is draining the swamp." George Napper

"When patterns are broken new world's emerge."

Truckie

county

Postby Truckie » 2008 Jul 30 22:00

Hi county,

Good posts, thank you. Again, we agree on most concepts.

The one concept that I cannot embrace is having fire EMS folks from our area "heavily" involved. We have some competent volunteers but, only a couple of of them are "well versed." The services will certainly need some input. We will just have to be careful how much and whom is involved.

Duplication of services comes from the old days of individual thinking and each house taking care of its district. Those days are long gone but, those mindsets remain steadfast and ingrained. One of my biggest complaints is that there is no thought going into these types of decisions and no County/City intervention in the make-up of the system. Here again, neither government has a clue; so it's just as well.

county, you seem very close to the government. You could do your part to encourage the County to get in on a fire chief deal... if one happens. The County will bit*h about the money, they'll want too much control etc., etc.... and City probably likewise. Herein lies the entire problem, past, present and potential. Hire a competent w/man and turn h/him loose.

countyresident

Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby countyresident » 2008 Aug 01 10:43

Truckie:
Thanks for the feedback. Let me clarify my statement about fire/EMS being heavily invovlved. I agree with your statement concerning fire/EMS personnel in the county. The point I was trying to make is that firefighters know firefighting and they should have input, same is true for the EMS agencies. The government officials do not know what is best for the fire/EMS nor do business owners. The fire/EMS personnel have to have ownership in the changes that will come, those changes are going to have the biggest impact on the providers but there will be an impact on the users.

I am not close to the governement but these principals are just good basic business objectives, government must be run as a business and currently I do not see that happening. If a person ran their business like the local governments are run then they would not have any customers and would be forced to close. Just a thought on my part.

dodger5

Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby dodger5 » 2008 Aug 04 00:41

dang, i go on vacation and this thread blows up!
glad to see the input and interest from new people, although I don't think that everyone has the good of the community in mind with their posts. Kinda reminds me when everything gets crazy in a volunteer setting.....REMEMBER WHAT WE ARE HERE TO DO....help the citizens!
anyhoo, this thread never bores me and it has been quite entertaining to see the last few pages!

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Wise One
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Firefighter shortage ?

Postby Wise One » 2008 Aug 04 13:26

States addressing volunteer firefighter shortage

I can see how this might be a real problem in some places, and that it requires action. Maybe these actions would help.

On the other hand, I'm almost always opposed to addressing public problems via the mechanism of tax exemptions. Why? Because they are inefficient, are often inequitable - and can often be "gamed" by the unscrupulous and powerful.

Indirect incentives relying on the tax code built our truly horrible tax system, at all levels of government. Every single exemption, taken in isolation, had a good original reason -- but the result for the total system is far less than the sum of its parts. The tax code, because of exemptions and preferences, is an abomination of complexity that hurts us all in a thousand ways. Don't get me started.

If there is a public problem that can be solved with money, I will always favor direct expenditures because they can be targeted efficiently, are reviewable by the electorate, and are auditable. If firefighters are under-compensated, let's pay them more and pay them directly!

The costs, in either case, are paid by the taxpayer.

With direct payments, we know the cost, we can target payments to those who should receive them, and we maintain responsible control for the taxpayer. With tax exemptions, the taxpayer still pays but in the form of higher general taxes because the exemption has reduced revenue and must be compensated by raising tax rates. The costs of exemptions are hidden from public, are not auditable, and are often susceptible to gaming and fraud.

Worst of all, tax exemptions become the currency of political corruption, as those who would receive them do favors for politicians who will grant them, and politicians use their vote as a weapon to secure those favors.

:director: End all tax exemptions and preferences. Period. :director:
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

dodger5

Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby dodger5 » 2008 Aug 04 19:40

WoW, I finally got an avtar...and I am on FIRE!! (Thanks, Stonewall)

Wise One,
Paid is the way to go!

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Stonewall
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Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby Stonewall » 2008 Aug 04 23:06

Happy to oblige, dodger5.

I've been nailing Avatars on people who don't do it themselves.

Of course, one can do it for oneself any time, especially if the avatar I choose arbitrarily displeases.
(click: User Control Panel, Profile, Edit avatar)

Or delete them ... Avatars are optional.
Thanks for your posts! Stonewall, your administrator ... just an "empty suit."

dodger5

Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby dodger5 » 2008 Aug 05 06:37

Stonewall,

I am quite pleased with your Avtar choice for me!! I will love the flames and squeeze them and hold them tight!

(my flames need a little love with all the negativity on this thread....I don't want my flames to be afraid)

Engine Dog

Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby Engine Dog » 2008 Aug 08 13:43

First off, I want to say THANKS to LFD for their ALS program. Most of the county departments can not fund nor have the personnel to run such. Some struggle to just get by, yet the county government says they are over-funded. At least a couple of them do. As said before (a few pages back) the current volunteers keep on getting the job done. No matter what it takes. The county/city government's know this and just ride it out. They know that the volunteers will do their job no matter what. The NEW board of Supervisors say, "give us a chance, we WILL move forward". Well ... lets get started already! There is a lot of work to be done, and it will not happen over night. Do they really know how far behind our volunteer system is? Does any of them know what it takes to be a volly? Hardly! And then you have the old board, that wanted to keep LFD in the City and have the county departments run to the city limits. :naughty: WTF were they thinking? Or were they? Once again, they were looking at numbers and not service. Anyway, keep after them, maybe it will get better.

Be Safe out there!!!

Engine

Stonewall,
Thanks for the Avatar. I had not had time to look for one, but this one is nice!
Last edited by Engine Dog on 2008 Aug 08 18:33, edited 1 time in total.

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Wise One
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Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby Wise One » 2008 Aug 09 16:00

It gotten a little quiet on this topic here.

Did LFD's own lawyers tell them to shut up, lest they screw up their case?
"If your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like Donald Trump."

Engine Dog

Fire Hydrants

Postby Engine Dog » 2008 Aug 11 14:02

There is going to be a meeting Tuesday evening with the County Public Service Authority (PSA) and the fire chief's. The county is going to establish a "fire hydrant usage" policy. Seems they want the VOLUNTEERS to jump through more hoops before using a fire hydrant to put out your house when it is on fire. Depending on how thick the policy is, will result in how long the fire will burn before they can put it out. Two months ago they told the fire departments that they had to regulate how much water they used. The fire departments have to send in a report to PSA on how much water they use each month. This is the kind of thing that makes volunteers not want to volunteer. What will they think of next?

ED

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Coondog
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Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby Coondog » 2008 Aug 11 17:16

I don't know what the problem is!

All one need do is determine the quantity of flames according to either cubic feet or hectares, calculate according to a pre-established per gallon (or liter) of water ratio, allow for 1 barometric standard deviation and apply accordingly. :violent5:


Coondog :joker:

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Neck-aint-red
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Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby Neck-aint-red » 2008 Sep 03 12:08

Wise One wrote:It gotten a little quiet on this topic here. Did LFD's own lawyers tell them to shut up, lest they screw up their case?

It sure looks like this may be the case. With lawyers, mum's the word. That is, until they get to court and can start charging the client by the word and the hour! The sad part is that, win or lose, the taxpayers of Lexington get stuck with the bill.

Truckie

Brief

Postby Truckie » 2008 Sep 15 14:11

Sorry to all that we have been silent. Personal time has been limited and 'things' are sort of in a lull.

Engine Dog,
Thank you for coming to this post, your input is welcomed. Also, we appreciate your kudos for our Medic program; the LFD is proud to serve the citizens. Please continue your involvement with this post.

Neck-aint-red,
Thank you too for posting.

The LFD does regret that the taxpayer will shoulder the City's legal fees. The LFD, however, will carry its legal fees from Mrs. Osburg's funds... we truly regret that circumstance also.

Over the long term, the taxpayers will be the benefactors of this case...this is the LFD hope. Several untoward behaviors on the part of the City have been exposed. The fear of the LFD is that reaping such benefits may be dependant upon -the taxpayer- getting involved when this case is over. Based upon the concern and interest we've seen from the public thus far, the LFD is scared to hold its breath however. The LFD is doing all that it can for protection of the public interest... but, we need help. No one seems interested enough to get involved and confront the business-as-usual conduct of City government.

The only interesting development since my last post has been that the City became silent with the LFD post going before Judge Moon. The City stated that it was fed up with the LFD and several City leaders even stated that they were personnally angry with the LFD and its leadership.

After several weeks of City silence and antagonism, a covert call was made to LFD officials by a council man/woman. The LFD was informed that the "City is willing to negotiate a settlement" with the LFD. This call came after the City had met with its retained and expensive NOVA attorney. The LFD can only speculate what advice the City received from its council. However, indications were made that the City was informed that it has no legs under its case... and that 'things' are going to surface that the City would prefer remain unknown to the public.

The LFD attempted to do the gentlemanly thing and talk with the City. The City continued to make self-serving demands. The LFD attorney advised to cease talking with the City, allowing him to conduct any negotiations as the City obviously did not take its 'sign' to do the right thing. So, that's where we are and nothing new has occurred outside of the City refusing to do what is right for the protection of its citizens... only of itself.


On another note, the LLSC continues to self-destruct. Crew (non)leadership continues to do the wrong thing. We understand that several members stepped up to the plate in the attempt to address the serious deficiencies within the LLSC operation. This confrontation resulted in a melee and with several Crew members resigning... the wrong members, I might add. The Crew cannot stand to lose trained personnel, especially while allowing an untrained observer to run around their meeting room and threaten other members.

I will admit the above as being secondhand information. I invite any LLSC personnel to post the truth about that confrontation and the events that ensued.

ALSO -- The LFD would like to invite those separated trained personnel to come join its operation. Ply your medical talents from a red truck and receive the proper operational guidance from experienced LFD Medics. Yes, you will have the additional expectation to train as suppression personnel... this is for your safety more so than for promotion of LFD operational success.

As for the PSA, I don't know what they're thinking...? I suppose the vindication of them always brick-walling the area's FDs is this fact -- seems to find its diminishing funds, they should have cleaned their own house a little sooner, hummmmmmmmm? Guess they found out that all that 'lost' money wasn't going inside the bellies of fire trucks.

And what about the County GIS man? The LFD is installing MDS (Mobile Data System) in its apparatus to better serve the public and increase the safety for fire fighters. The GIS man, Mr. Grim, refused to give the contractor the GPS data for mapping of any sort and even for fire hydrant locations. Thank you to the NEW County administrator for getting Mr. Grim straight in short order. See what we're dealing with folks!?

Engine Dog

County

Postby Engine Dog » 2008 Sep 17 21:12

Truckie, WTF with the county GIS? Why not give you all the needed information? Once again, county government taking a dump on fire and rescue. County government has trained him well. Don't you all have a member that works for county government - in Emergency Management? Looks like that would give you all some pull..... So, what happens when the county departments go to this type of system? Will they receive the same rashing from the county? Crazy!! But, keep up the good work at LFD!

Truckie

Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby Truckie » 2008 Sep 18 00:14

Engine Dog,

Grim was crying "homeland security" and citing that to the vendor. Thing is this vendor has gotten information from the County prior for other projects not related to the LFD... Grim and this actual vendor rep. are even acquainted. No go, Grim wouldn't give up the information.

Again, many thanks go out to the NEW County Administrator, Ms. Collins, for her prompt and direct handling of this issue. Maybe there is hope...?

The LFD wants the County fire / EMS departments and B.V. to come on board with this system. Several are expressing interest, however funding is an issue. The LFD has paved the way with the software etc. thus reducing costs for other departments wishing to get involved. The LFD encourages others to participate and will offer any help that we can to them... under the table or not... this computer system is a matter of public and firefighter safety.

As for our member that works for the county government... that relationship is very estranged. We do have to wonder if he and Grim are pals though...?

Thanks again for the kudos Engine.

countyresident

Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby countyresident » 2008 Oct 27 13:46

Truckie:
With vacation and work issues I have been traveling a great and no time to read or respond until now. I have to say that the month long vacation was a great enjoyment.

I am not sure what you are speaking of in reference to the mobile data systems, sounds to me that this is a high price gadget, but since I have no knowledge I will wait until someone explains it to me. My question is very simple, why can't this be done all at once on a regional basis, sounds like the county and cities may get a better financial package if they all went in together. In these very unstable economic times this appears the best way to proceed, funding in the future is going to be very tough at the state, and the local level, we must all work together and be creative in respect to funding for at least the next two and possible four years.

I do not know these people you are speaking of that work for the county but you say the realtionships are estranged, would it not be appropriate for you and the fire department try to reestablish the relationship and work together for a better outcome that will benefit the citizens, is that not who you are ultimately serving? Each side should be able to sit down and explain what they want or need, and work through the issues. The county employee may be aware of some guidance with the framework of national security that you as firefighters may not be, and so the estranged relationship.

Hope that everyone continues to move forward and do what is best for the citizens of the region.

Truckie

The Mobile Data Terminals Part 1

Postby Truckie » 2008 Oct 29 11:22

countyresident wrote:Hope that everyone continues to move forward and do what is best for the citizens of the region.


Hello County,

Glad you enjoyed a welcomed vacation... I'm jealous!

The MDTs... they are an expensive "gadget," yes. However, I'd better describe this system as a tool. An especially useful tool in our volunteer system.

What we're talking about is laptop computers mounted in the apparatus. These computers contain vast information and the LFD computers will even be linked among one another, can share data, and they're linked with the communications center i.e. EOC.

Rather than attempting to eloquently explain this thing, please allow me to simply list many of its capabilities.
The EOC will dispatch an emergency call... or routine call... or even administrative issues that receive an incident number (e.g. pumping a basement, public education at a school etc.). The information will be transmitted directly to our system upon the dispatch.

When the personnel load the apparatus to respond to the alarm, the following information will already be displayed upon the laptop screen (ideally and hopefully), at the ready for the fire officer and crew to read... the incident address, a map of the specific location address pinpointed upon the map. The best response route mapping... meaning if a street is closed or its 3 p.m. and the route involves passing a school... the mapping system is capable of diverting the response route to facilitate those issues, response time and safety.

Pertinent incident information will be displayed. This info includes special hazards, occupancy issues and hydrant or water source information. If a hydrant is out of service, the system will tell us that providing the County did its job updating the mapping. Exposure problems and their hazards will be displayed. The mapping includes storm drains and routes, water main routes and available GPM from a water source.

Incident preplans can be programmed into the system. An extremely useful tool.

The Emergency Response Guide (ERG) is programmed into and linked with the system. The ERG is the primary immediate book utilized for hazardous materials incidents. The ERG helps responders identify the material using placard numbers and/or product names, gives emergency actions, tasks and procedures, precautions and lists evacuation areas.

Once the hazardous product is identified by the emergency personnel, the computer will link the ERG information directly into the specific incident. Evacuation areas will be immediately displayed on the mapping, showing exactly all the structures, areas, storm drains and other man-made hazards, topography etc. involved. The weather conditions are real-time and the program gives considerations to how the weather, wind etc. will factor in the spread of a hazardous chemical or substance.

This information can be transmitted across the system though the wireless link... to include police etc, anyone linked onto the system. Feedback is immediately transmitted such as who didn't evacuate, special issues, the progress of the operation etc. This tool alone is a HUGE advantage that will certainly expedite a critical situation and very likely save lives one day.

The apparatus will be linked wireless. The officers can type in orders and send them to responding crews... or just chitchat if they wish.

Command can keep incident benchmarks and records with the key strokes. Notes can be made. Planning and incident predictions are facilitated by the incident management program.

The personnel accountability system can be most effectively managed at an incident. The computer can even contain the exact personnel riding upon specific apparatus per response, their duties, health records, incident health records and exposures, activities and times involved etc.

Equipment and maintenance can be tracked per individual apparatus, then linked into the master record system. A damaged piece of equipment or other data can be logged in for future reference... making such issues not dependant upon one's memory to recall or get lost in the melee.

Available and committed resources can better be managed. Special resources can be managed such as private contractors who can provide heavy equipment, lumber etc.

Report templates can be accessed at the incident and data entered on the spot. The web can be searched from the apparatus and useful information obtained. Government sites and data can be linked, on-the-spot and in real-time.

GPS is real-time... an important issue when calling aeromedical or special resources, which can find an incident utilizing the GPS location. Through the wireless linking, the commander, other apparatus et al can see, on a map, the exact location of an apparatus. While responding etc., the apparatus is shown real-time on the route map... useful when trying to find turns, proximity to the incident and routing. The Command can locate approaching apparatus and estimate its arrival time or change its route. Each apparatus can see one another, facilitating safety... one example is when two or more apparatus are approaching the same intersection from different directions, lessening the chance of a crash.

Another advantage is that other jurisdictions utilizing a like system can share one another's data. For example, Staunton (I believe) has this same system. Another big fire or other incident requiring their, or our, help... the information is available at each other's finger tips.

Oh, another plus for sure, on those 30 hour babysitting incidents such as interstate, big fires and haz-mat can turn out to be... we can even play a game of pinball to break the bordom.

County, I hope that I've explained this system to be a valuable tool and dispelled it to be an expensive toy. This sort of computer system is not that rare. Although, usually only found in larger fire and police departments. This system will certainly be unique in our area.

You can see "why" its crucial that the county et al GIS people do their job and make the information available. The system updates data whenever we wish or automatically monthly.

Truckie

MDTs Part 2 Other Answers

Postby Truckie » 2008 Oct 29 19:47

As for Mr. Grim and his initial reluctance... well, the general opinion is that 'he' suffered from one or a combination of issues. He is the one whom failed to understand the parameters of Homeland Security legislation. Such regulations never intended to block emergency agencies from obtaining this sort of information... actually, the legislation aimed at facilitating the transfer of information between entities. The other was simple stonewalling. As mentioned, the vendor and the LFD have separately obtained info in the past from the County... what was the problem this time? Thanks again to Mrs. Collins for getting this straight in short order.

Why have the other departments not signed on? That is a million dollar question, and one not unique to many issues across our local governments and agencies. B.V. is going, only not with the wireless linked capability, which is a shame. Glasgow EMS has shown interest. South River is showing interest. What everyone needs to ensure is that they stay with and coordinate with the LFD system. The vital issue is for everyone NOT to do "their own thing" concerning this. The system needs to be compatable across the board.

A couple of notes:
The LFD bought this system from donated funds, NOT taxpayer coffers. The City would have never given the money... and folks berate the LFD for this court issue thing... we're fighting for the public safety and general matter principles. The LFD wishes others would see that as the case.

We were as frugal as possible buying this system too... saving funds at every possible turn. We paid much less than the system will prove it's worth.

About the "estranged" person working for the County... you'll have to ask him. This is not an LFD issue, well, not so much anyway.

Your hope is also our hope. Please feel free to ask further questions County... always enjoy hearing from you.

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Juggler
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Re: Lexington-Rockbridge Emergency Services

Postby Juggler » 2009 Jan 25 14:29

When I saw the piece below in the newspaper, I was reminded of a thread that appears to have fallen asleep on this Forum. Does this mean the fighting is over?
On January 21, 2009, ROBERTA ANDERSON of News-Gazette wrote:LFD Wants To Settle Suit Out Of Court

Lexington Fire Department chief engineer Ronnie Williams brought welcome news to City Council last week.“It is our wish to settle the lawsuit out of court,” Williams said after settling himself in the “hot seat” before Council.

Williams was referring to the lawsuit filed by the Lexington Fire Department against the city last summer in federal court. The lawsuit was filed after Lexington City Council passed an ordinance reaffirming the status of both the Lexington Lifesaving Crew and the Lexington Fire Department as departments of the city.

The legal action alleged defendants City Manager Jon Ellestad and City Attorney Larry Mann conspired to take a $199,000 contribution bequeathed to the Lexington Fire Department and deposit the money instead in the city’s general fund. Council then formulated the new ordinance to “access and control” the fire department’s property “in a self-serving fashion,” the suit stated.

Williams last week said that the fire department’s attorney, Harry Brown, had rejected a counter-offer from the city last August to settle the lawsuit out of court without the knowledge of the volunteer members of the department. “He didn’t tell us,” Williams said. “We apologize.”

Williams went on the point out the time constraints on the volunteers that limit their ability to monitor the complicated legal process of a lawsuit.

The offer from the city last August included a pledge to hire a full-time, paid chief to oversee the operations of the fire department and rescue squad, beginning July 1, in return for the acknowledgment by the fire department that it is a department of the city and the department’s agreement to drop the lawsuit. The offer also includes the right of the fire department to spend proceeds from the bequest, including payment of attorneys’ fees incurred prior to settlement.

Williams asked that a negotiating committee, to include representatives of the fire department and City Council, be formed to resolve the differences, as well as move forward with planning to hire a paid fire and rescue chief for the city of Lexington. The committee should also include representatives of the rescue squad, Williams said.

Williams added that the fire department members would feel most comfortable negotiating with Councilmen Jim Gianniny and Frank Friedman, a request Council readily agreed to.

Newly seated Councilman Bob Lera had two questions for Williams. Yes, he was told, Brown is still in the employ of the fire department; and yes, Brown had had the authority to reject the city’s counter-offer to settle. “That’s all I wanted to know,” Lera concluded.

With the air cleared, Council moved forward with a request from the fire department to allocate payment of $46,800 for new GPS equipment that the department has already installed in its trucks. The money will come from the bequest fund. Council had previously refused to pay the bill without further explanation from a department representative about just what the equipment is to be used for.

Williams and a representative from the equipment’s software designer described the GIS system as a preplanning tool that enables firefighters to access information about a destination, such as hydrant locations, emergency exits or the location of any hazardous materials prior to arrival at the fire. Ellestad noted that Lexington can be an extremely complicated city for volunteers who are not from the area, such as college students, to navigate with all of the one-way streets, hotels, motels and colleges located here. “Preplanning is one of the things that can save both lives and property,” Ellestad said.

Williams assured Council that there would be no more large purchases to be funded from the bequest and made by the fire department without prior Council approval.


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