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If you all remember after 9-11, fire/rescue/ems were 3 of the most loved professions, now with the crunch of gas prices and a ever declining economy and taxes in some states being raised we are becoming less and less liked. Here in my area (Florida) we have crews being openly verbally assaulted in grocery stores and restaraunts. By assaulted I mean, " why are you all here why are you not working or sitting at the station". "Why are you all driving fast with lights on wasting fuel that we are paying for" "Why is there 2 fire trucks at the same residence, wasting our tax money on pay and fuel". Our Chief informed us they are now fielding more than ten calls a day of complaints asking why we are not laying people off, and staying put in the station until a call is recieved.

Apparently we are not allowed to leave to refuel,shop for groceries, go out to eat in our territory, or respond code 3 to a call. Due to the rising fuel costs. We all work extremely hard to achieve our certifications to do these careers we love, we do all we can to preserve the lives of the citizens in our communities as well as their property, and all of that is forgoten when money gets tight in the community. and with all of this we still respond as quick as possible and still give the best care we can, because despite what people say and what they do, this is what we love to do.

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LOL! I'm not in the civilian EMS field right now, so I haven't seen this phenomenon, but I can't say I am surprised. This was going on at one place I worked as far back as the mid 1980s. Rural hospital-based county-funded service. We were a political pawn to be pushed and pulled between the county commissioners and the hospital administration. Both wanted to be our boss, and both were constantly passing down policies that conflicted with the other.

Busy bodies and do-gooders in the community would call in and complain anytime they saw an ambulance at any local business, including the grocery store or a restaurant. Restaurant owners would literally call in and complain about us using a county vehicle to eat at the competition's business. That was a real change from the urban system where restaurant owners complained about us eating at their restaurant! :lol:

So the county commissioners decide that we are forbidden from using the ambulance for anything that is not immediate official business, including picking up food, because "we're wasting the county's gas." We want to eat? We either have to eat hospital food (which we frequently miss because we're on runs or busy in the ER during mealtime), or else we can take a walkie talkie, and go get our food in our own POV. Then, of course, if a run comes in while we're getting food, we have to race three miles back to the hospital in our POV and pick up the ambulance to make the run. Sort of defeats the purpose of full-time EMS, doesn't it? :roll:

So, the hospital and the county reach a compromise. If we are going to miss a meal because we are out of the county on a transport (about half our patients were transported 60 miles to the big city hospital instead of to our hospital), we were to eat while we were out of the county. OUT OF THE COUNTY! There were TWO ambulances in the entire county, but if we wanted to eat, we were encouraged to stay OUT OF THE COUNTY for an extra 45 minutes to an hour to eat, so that our ambulance would not be seen patronising any businesses INSIDE THE COUNTY WE SERVE! We did this for about a year, until finally, someone from our county was in the big city and saw our ambulance sitting at Red Lobster for an hour one day and called their county commissioner to complain. And, quite predictably, the county commissioners were livid about it and flat out denied that we were only following their policy and demanded that the hospital discipline us, which of course, they did, even though we were following their orders. Within a couple of months, all the full-timers left for greener pastures.

But yeah, nosey neighbours and community politics are nothing new. It exists everywhere. It's only worse in some places than others. And, as you observe, I certainly don't see things getting any better for us as the economy falters.

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If you all remember after 9-11, fire/rescue/ems were 3 of the most loved professions, now with the crunch of gas prices and a ever declining economy and taxes in some states being raised we are becoming less and less liked. Here in my area (Florida) we have crews being openly verbally assaulted in grocery stores and restaraunts. By assaulted I mean, " why are you all here why are you not working or sitting at the station". "Why are you all driving fast with lights on wasting fuel that we are paying for" "Why is there 2 fire trucks at the same residence, wasting our tax money on pay and fuel". Our Chief informed us they are now fielding more than ten calls a day of complaints asking why we are not laying people off, and staying put in the station until a call is recieved.

My dear Floridian,

EMS/FDs have had their budgets scrutinized by the public over the last couple of years with the tax reform. When the public realized how much propaganda they were fed last year with the tax based public services and unions crying their heart out that there would no longer be any Fire or Rescue if Amendment One passed, what did you expect would happen? The tax payers have been paying for some seriously inflated pork within these departments. There are still a lot of people in Florida who are retired with a limited income who really can not afford more of their savings going to increased taxes.

It is also getting scrutiny from the public as they see their public service trucks trolling the restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores. Some of this could be avoided it they wouldn't make it so obvious that some want Dunkin Donuts' coffee and some want Starbucks. It doesn't take much observation to see big fire rescue trucks moving from one shop to the next. The same when grocery shopping....driving across the street because the other store has a better bread?

In my neighborhood alone, I can watch 12 different trucks make more than one stop just for different coffee brands within a couple of hours. I, too, get amazed when I see all the trucks from one station house go to the grocery store "to try to decide" what to get for dinner.

The public may also be aware that somewhere in those elaborate Fire and EMS stations, some very new, there might be a big kitchen with a refrigerator, microwave and stove. Don't make the people of Florida out to be stupid.

You can always do what the rest of us do that know our work may not allow us to dine...bring a back up meal of some type. If your station has a refrigerator, plan ahead, stock up and chill until the economy eases. You are just being held accountable to doing your part as public servants funded by tax payers and helping the problem, not becoming part of it.

It has put the number of response vehicles to one medical call under more scrutiny. Parts of Florida are notorious for no less than 3 vehicles with 4 being the norm much of the time. This may finally be the catalyst that finally revamps the system in some areas.

If you do just a quick google search you will see the fuel costs is a big topic nationwide for EMS and FD as well as PD.

The part that does sadden me is there will also be less trips to the schools and some public events to teach children about FD/EMS. Think about that and pack a couple meals to go.

Signed,

Another Floridian, home owner, tax payer and one who has been part of Florida's EMS system long enough to know how pampered and spoiled we have become in some areas.

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At my station we do bring our own dinners and lunches, we rarely eat out, and I agree with the fact that the public education will take a major lose do to cut backs on leaving the station on non call related trips. And there are stations that tae advantage of their jobs by driving all over the place. i just hope the few who are trying to make a difference dont take all the abuse over the ones who are taking advantage.

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At my station we do bring our own dinners and lunches, we rarely eat out, and I agree with the fact that the public education will take a major lose do to cut backs on leaving the station on non call related trips. And there are stations that tae advantage of their jobs by driving all over the place. i just hope the few who are trying to make a difference dont take all the abuse over the ones who are taking advantage.

Having a newspaper write how you are doing your part to conserve would be your best PR now. Just be careful not to have the truck photographed by the reporter in front of Starbucks on the same day the article runs.

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Having a newspaper write how you are doing your part to conserve would be your best PR now. Just be careful not to have the truck photographed by the reporter in front of Starbucks on the same day the article runs.

Plus 5 for a damn fine idea! Definitely a winning public interest story. If your chief doesn't take that idea and run with it, he's an idiot. :thumbright:

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Actually I'm all in favor of the increased scrutiny of Fire and EMS, especially Fire. Yeah, you guys. I'm not even going to get into the amount of waste that happened post-9/11, and while it is blasphemy to some, it was still waste.

And I mean waste, I don't mean, oh someone got a new engine or ambulance when the old one would do, I mean, millions upon millions of dollars, spent on crap if not just put into somebody's pocket.

Fire and EMS departments over the past couple of years have basically opened their arms for every single cent federal 'Homeland Security' grants and donations have thrown at them, and now, with the rising cost of fuel and healthcare costs, OMG, play time is over and you actually have to start spending the money wisely instead of paying for the walnut, brass, and stained glass artwork in the kitchen.

Not to say that all cost cutting measures are warranted, for instance,

New York City's cost cutting measures was to remove our "Gator" units from the beaches this summer. They were little six wheeled tractors manned with overtime EMT's that didn't use a lot of gas and were really good on the sand. Now a line unit, big, hulking, diesel ambulance is going to be the one driving across the beach. And they tell me Bloomberg used to be a businessman.

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I feel like the lone voice in the wilderness sometimes. But as I have been saying Fire, Police and EMS are going to have to get used to doing things differently. We are going to have to ask ourselves are the big rigs really necessary. It always seems the bigger the ambulance the more likely it belongs to an FD that does not even transport. The days of a 100' ariel responding to a chest pain and burning $40 worth of diesel are coming to an end. The city I work in is considering dropping their Paramedic responses do to increasing costs of fuel.

Taxpayers are getting bent over by fuel costs and are trimming back their lives. They see these massive rigs driving around town and they are going to question is it necessary to be going somewhere that is not on fire. SSM is also responsible for a ridiculous amount of fuel wasted, sorry Jack but your little program is looking very outdated right now.

Tighten your budgets boys & girls it's only going to get worse.

P.S. If the public only saw some of the kitchens I have seen in FD stations they would explode with anger. $8,000 commercial grills to cook for ten guys. :roll:

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We have already been directed to cut down on unnecessary trips, which is fine with me, really. :) My partner and I stopped at the grocery store on our way back to the station and picked up a few things for dinner. We have a grill so that's our plan if the public allows us LOL (at least it's a gas grill and takes 2 seconds to turn it off). I believe bringing food from home or purchasing it while returning to quarters will only promote healthier eating, which I think we can all agree is a good thing.

I think the public has a right to question the big red trucks 2 or 3 fold responding to every medical call when 1 ambulance would suffice. As a taxpayer, I don't see the need for it and quite frankly it cheeses me off. The Po Po have a harder time of it IMHO. They have to remain visible to the community or people would bitch there's never a cop around when you need one.

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