RFA Bowling Night, Officer Bryan Lawrence Motorcycle Ride, and a Rant at the End of it All

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Hey all, the blog is still active. I have heard rumor of it getting shut down and that is not true. I have been busy. Very busy as a matter of fact. After all of the turmoil with the budget cuts, I have had to catch up on being a husband and a father on top of a little bit of travel. So I am writing this post as an update to several things.

First of all, the Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary (link) is hosting a bowling night this Friday. They need to know ASAP if you will be there. It seems as though we will have a great turnout already. More info:

The Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary is hosting a Family Bowling night for all union members including their families(including children). The event will be held Friday, June 13th from 7-10PM @ Hilltop Lanes on Williamson Road. The rate for bowling is $12.50/person (inclusive of shoes and unlimited bowling). Please respond to rfauxiliary@gmail.com if you will be able to attend and include the number in your party so we can give them a final count. Encourage all union members to come. You do not need to be involved in the Auxiliary at this time to attend. Feel free to forward to other spouses and union members. Thank you for all your support.

If you want, call me or let me know and I will let my wife know who is involved with the Auxiliary.

I would also like to note that the Roanoke Firefighters Auxiliary is a great place for your spouse to meet other spouses of firefighters, have fun, and get away from us occasionally.

Secondly, the motorcycle ride is this Saturday. The motorcycle run in honor of Officer Bryan Lawrence is set to begin June 14 at the Roanoke Civic Center. More information here (link).

Thirdly, I have been in a rut recently and I think a lot of other firefighters have been too. The take, take, take mentality of Roanoke City and OUR Fire-EMS Department has brought us to an ever increasing low. I don’t want to get into all the details, but if you look back at the most recent posts you will see what we have been through. I have bumped into Chief’s here and there and it appears as though they think this stuff has no effect on us. Of course it isn’t their fault because they were told to do it (right). The fact remains that our morale is at an all time low.

I have remained positive over the past 9 years that things will get better. I have always maintained a level of professionalism when someone contacts me about working in Roanoke. I have always shot them straight and told them the truth. That truth was usually that we have the same problems other departments do but that our FIREFIGHTERS make us exceptional. This thought was brought to mind in recent conversations with Chief Hoback. I told him that the statistics he used to close down Engine 13 were the same statistics we make happen. We are the ones who run the calls and get there quick and make a difference by mitigating the emergency. Not the “too lean” (by his account) administration. The truth is that we are in a catch 22. We can’t sandbag on calls or drive slower, that isn’t what we do. What we need is leadership in the Fire Department who will stand up and say that enough is enough and lay out a new plan instead of continuing on with Grigsby’s 10 year consolidation plan.

Lastly, on a measure of Safety on the job. Please make every attempt to work as safe as possible. Every year we get busier and have less firefighters to do the job. Administration now looks at Station 7 as a 5 person group. However, you are only 3 strong if the ambulance is on a call. Please remember not to over commit to anything so that we all may go home in the morning. I can tell you that while some others might not give a crap while they sleep in their beds at night, I do care. I have enjoyed working with each and every one of you and I would hate to see any of us die amidst all this bureaucratic red-tape bullshit that is going on downtown. The FIREFIGHTERS are the ones who know what is going on and who will ultimately pay for these budget cuts.

Solutions: I will give you the ultimate solution. Chief Hoback should *gasp* form a committee of Fire-EMS Department representatives and IAFF Local 1132 Officers to sit down and create reform of the Department. I wish I could say I thought that up, but actually it is pretty much stated in the Tri-Data Study. This committee should first rule to cast out the 10 year Grigsby plan and come up with a 5, 10, and 20 year plan to reform the department. This committee should be tasked with handing down tasks to other committees to research, develop, and implement in our department. Everything from dress, to response, to apparatus, to pay and benefits should be reformed. I will be the first to put my name in the hat on that committee.

I will be at the bowling night Friday night. I hope to see you all there.

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