Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lloyd Ayers: The Philadelphia Fire Department Deception


I would like you to watch the worst testimony ever heard before a governing body.  The man you are about to watch is Lloyd Ayers he is reportedly the Commissioner of the Philadelphia Fire Department. I don’t think he is qualified to be a sewer cleaner.  No offense to the men and women in the city that actually do work in the city sewers.

Did you notice that he argued that familiarity with the run was not important?  The senior guy was unimportant.  The runs are preplanned.  But the learning curve for an entire fire local is not one year.  It may not even be two years.  But Lloyd being the bullshitter he is then says it is about familiarity with schools, businesses and  hospitals.  We  you don’t get familiar by moving people around.  One hospital is not the same as another but there are plenty of hospitals.  Who would you as a citizen want coming to your fire.  I guy who just got assigned with two other guys who might not be familiar with your home or office, or a team lead by a tenured firefighter who has been in the building numerous times and knows the layout like the back of their hand?

What Ayers is proposing is unprecedented in the fire service.  Transferring the most senior firefighters is a dangerous and frankly stupid thing to do.  Ayers looked like a fool in that video.   Now watch as a city council member just blows the commissioner out of the water.

Amazing isn’t it.  No former commissioner nor Fire Service leaders from other cities think this is a great idea.  If fact as the councilman is dumbfounded by the logic of this plan. Why you ask?  Because nothing in this plan is motivated to help the citizens of Philadelphia. Watch that first video again.  Listen as he chooses his words.  He is making it up as he goes along.  But what is really scary about Ayers and I guess his boss Michael Nutter (since Nutter keeps him in position) is they think they can drive fire from the city of Philadelphia.  No really they do.  Listen to Lloyd on the first video again,  Yes I know it is painful to watch the man talk but go back and listen to his logic about the partnership between citizen and the fire department.  He thinks he can drive the fire load to zero!  That line of thought alone give me reason to wonder about his ability to be a fire service administrator.

Fire is a random act.  A loose wire, a faulty switch or  a smoker who falls asleep.  You will never get the fire load to zero.  Lloyd KNOWS this but he pitches the lie that you can by education reduce the fire load to zero.  The reality is much of the really old housing stock in Philadelphia is burned out and since there are no new Highway projects (See the 1970’s and the second street corridor)  the fire load is down.  But to assume by moving firefighters around the city and doing more community outreach you can reduce the danger to the citizens is nothing short of foolhardy!

I once worked in the slowest section of Philadelphia when it came to fires.  Guess what area had the highest death rate?  Yep  the slow section of the city.

Lloyd Ayers is making up a false sense of fire safety by trying to tell you that he can reduce your chances of a fire to ZERO!  He is doing a head fake to get his way to punish the Firefighters for calling him on his poor leadership and absolute lack of knowledge.  Lloyd was not appointed because he was a great leader. He was appointed because he has influential friends and holds his position for the same SAD reason.

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Lloyd Ayers has a great idea!


Well not really but for some reason he sure thought it was a good one.  It was also one he pulled before.  In December 2011 Ayers announced mass transfers of the Philadelphia Fire Department Medics.  Now the same misguided hatred of the members of Local 22 has extended to the Firefighters also.

On November 1 2012 Commissioner Lloyd Ayers Issued General Memorandum #12-134  Here is that GM.

PHILADELPHIA FIRE DEPARTMENT
HEADQUARTERS
GENERAL MEMORANDUM #12-134 November 1, 2012
TO : All Officers and Members
REF/AUTHORITY : Deputy Commissioner Operations / Fire Commissioner
SUBJECT : FIREFIGHTER ROTATION – 2013
The Department will initiate an annual Firefighter (FF) rotation process that will facilitate the reassignment of approximately 15-20% of FF’s annually. This process will result in most FF’s serving in any given assignment for approximately five years. This change will ensure that all FF’s have equal opportunity to work in various assignments and acquire diverse skills. Rotation of FF’s will enhance their ability to achieve greater opportunities to facilitate upward mobility through the ranks, if desired. Additionally, by ensuring that all FF’s serve at least one rotation in the busiest battalions during their career, the on-the-job training that results from experience is more likely to occur.
This year’s rotation will include: 156 FF’s who have been in their current assignment for 10 years or more, 57 FF’s of Classes #183 and #184 who are in the same assignment since graduation, and 40 members from each of the graduating classes #186 and #187. The 2013 rotation will encompass 293 members.
The following year will include FF’s who have been in their current assignment for 8 years or more, members of classes #185 and Alpha Class who are in the same assignment since graduation and the remaining 80 members of classes #186 and #187.
This process of opening up assignments by including groups of FF’s with 5 years of service in the same assignment and those with less than 5 years of service will provide a sustainable model that will ensure that the average assignment duration for all FF’s will last approximately 5 years. This will ensure that all members have equal access to the assignments that they deem most preferable to them. Additionally, the Department will benefit from a wider number of FF’s with diverse experiences and opportunities to impact on Fire Prevention, Community Risk Reduction, and participate in the time-tested on-the-job training that enhances personnel development.
All rotating members must submit a memorandum through channels to Car 2’s Office, listing five (5) separate company choices (members should not list the same assignment with a different platoon choice [if applicable] for their next assignment). Members may elect to list their current assignment as a choice but should realize that the purpose of this rotation is to open up assignment opportunities and making such a choice would be considered a low priority for this process. The lists of assignment choices for this rotation are attached. All new assignments will not take effect until after January 1, 2013.
RESPONSIBILITY
It is the responsibility of all Company Officers/Unit Heads to ensure that all members under their command who are scheduled for rotation submit the required memorandum. Members are to list their five (5) choices in order of preference. Members will also list all previous assignments with the most recent listed first. All memos are due by 1700 hours, November 30, 2012. The Department will attempt to accommodate as many requests as possible with the goal of ensuring more members are afforded the opportunity to work in various areas of the city.
LLOYD AYERS
FIRE COMMISSIONER

These lame arguments about training are the same ones used when the Medics got transferred.  Here was Deputy Commissioner Ernie Hargett in December 2011 in a CBS report. “We thought it was good employee development to allow people to move around and work in different parts of the city.”   Obviously the folks at 3rd and Spring garden have not been listening to the fire radio much.  There is not a medic in the city that has not been dispatched to the other end of the city.  That is if there are units available.  So why do this again?

Simple,  Commissioner Ayers is upset that the people he presumes to lead don’t like his style or manner.  In fact he was so upset about the members telling folks that they were being put in harm’s way by the Ayers/Nutter plan for the department that he issued a different memo banning them from saying on any social media other than LinkedIn that they were proud members of the Philadelphia Fire Department.

So whats the big deal?  Well first of all many members have worked for years to get to a station they really wanted.  Once there they stay and learn everything about the area they work.  Shortcuts, Dead Ends, and buildings too.  These firefighters earned the name “Senior” firefighter. This is an informal term used by the firefighters for the guy who is the informal teacher and leader of the company.  He is also the confidant to the officer.  The guy who give the officer the heads up on each member making the once every three-year transition to a new officer smoother for everybody.  His knowledge and experience is the basis of the training for any new firefighter that comes into the company.

Ayers misguided plan is to transfer every senior firefighter from every station in the city.  The guy who can guide the truck to your house faster.  The guy who steadies the ship. If you look at the memo you will see that same comment about training.  But let me demonstrate the stupidity of this plan.

I know a firefighter who has been at his company over 10 years.  He lives close to the firehouse and is nearing the end of his career.  His name appears on the list of members that Lloyd wants to transfer.  Now for the record he does not work in what is a busy station.  This of course is by design.  He is ready to retire and wants to go quietly.  But under Commissioner Ayers plan he will need to transfer and somebody else will be put in that spot for “training”.  I can tell you from first hand experience this is not the place to go if you want vast experience in firefighting.  The local is a complex one with many tricky roads and other obstacles.  The new guy won’t know this.  That beibng said many of these members don’t want to leave these stations  they are there because they want to be.  Obviously Lloyd Ayers doesn’t!

This plan puts the people of Philadelphia if more danger than they already are.  It will as Union President Bill Gault said about the similar medic transfers, increase response times.  Time you need in a fire situation.

Moral in the department might bottom out, but this author is sure that is the intent of Commissioner Ayers.  He cares nothing about his men only his soiled reputation.  No amount of transfers will ever raise Lloyd to the level of some of the best commissioners the Philadelphia Fire Department ever knew.  In fact  I am pretty sure he just locked up the worst fire commissioner in the country with this move.

Let’s call him and tell him he is wrong again  215-686-1300.

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Police vs Fire: It’s Tone!


In the interest of furthering the argument that the Fire Administration in the city of Philadelphia is focused solely on controlling the argument about the treatment of its members, the following should add perspective.  I will now post the Directive issued by Police Chief Ramsey and the GM from Commissioner Ayers.  Red through and be amazed at the difference.

First the Police

PHILADELPHIA POLICE DEPARTMENT DIRECTIVE 119
(05-26-11)
SUBJECT: SOCIAL MEDIA AND NETWORKING
______________________________________________________________________________
I. PURPOSE
A. To establish a policy regarding use of social media and social networking by sworn and unsworn members of the Philadelphia Police Department.
B. The Philadelphia Police Department endorses the secure use of social media to enhance communication, collaboration, and information exchange; streamline processes; and  foster productivity. This policy establishes this department’s position on the utility and management of social media and provides guidance on its management, administration, and oversight.
C. In so doing, this policy sets forth expectations of police department employees with respect to their use of social media and social networking, and the direct effect such use has upon the reputation, perception and interests of the Philadelphia Police Department
and its employees.
D. As advances in technology are constantly emerging, this policy is intended to address social media in general, rather than singular form of social media or networking.
______________________________________________________________________________
II. BACKGROUND
A. Social media provides a contemporary and potentially valuable means of assisting the department and its personnel in meeting several police strategies, including, but not limited to, community outreach, problem-solving, investigations and crime prevention.
Social media also plays a significant role in the personal lives of numerous department employees. However, it must be formally and universally recognized that the personal use of social media has the potential to impact the department as a whole, as well as individual members serving in their official capacity. As such, this policy provides information of a precautionary nature as well as prohibitions on the use of social media by department personnel.
B. As members of the Philadelphia Police Department, employees are embodiments of its mission. It is, thus, essential that each member accept his or her role as an ambassador of the department. In doing so, each member must strive to maintain public trust and
confidence, not only in his or her professional capacity, but also in his or her personal and on-line activities. Moreover, as police personnel are necessarily held to a higher
DIRECTIVE 119 – 1
DIRECTIVE 119 – 2
standard than general members of the public, the on-line activities of employees of the police department shall reflect such professional expectations and standards.
______________________________________________________________________________
III. DEFINITIONS
A. For the purpose of this policy, the following definitions apply:
1. Social Media: On-line sources that allow people to communicate, share, and/or exchange information with others via some form of on-line or cellular network platform. Information may include, but is not limited to, text, photographs, video, audio, and other multimedia files.
2. Social Networking: Involves using such Internet or mobile formats as MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Usenet groups, message or on-line bulletin boards, blog and other similarly developed formats, to communicate with others using the same groups while also networking with other users based upon similar interests, geographical location, skills, occupation, ideology, beliefs, etc.
3. Internet: A computer network consisting of a worldwide network of computer networks that use the TCP / IP network protocols to facilitate data transmission and exchange.
4. Post (noun): An item inserted into a blog, or an entry to any type of computerized bulletin board, forum or social media site.
5. Post (verb): The act of creating, uploading, editing or adding to any social media outlet. This includes text, photographs, audio, video or any other multimedia file.
6. Blog: A series of entries, written by either one person or a group of people, in an online journal, usually posted in chronological order, like a diary. Blogs can allow or disallow comments on entries.
7. Comments: Responses to a blog post, news article, social media entry or other social networking post.
______________________________________________________________________________
IV. POLICY
A. It is the policy of the Philadelphia Police Department that all existing laws, rules, regulations, and directives that govern on- and off-duty conduct are applicable to conduct associated with social media and networking.
DIRECTIVE 119 – 3
B. When engaging in social networking, employees will strictly adhere to any and all of the following:
1. Existing federal, state, and local laws.
2. Policies of the City of Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Police Department.
3. Laws regarding public information on arrests, investigations, and personnel data.
C. Employees are prohibited from using their status as members of the police department to endorse any product or service without prior written permission from the Police Commissioner or his/her designee.
D. Employees are prohibited from posting images of police personnel working in an undercover capacity or identifying such personnel as law enforcement officers.
E. Employees are prohibited from using City of Philadelphia or Philadelphia Police Department property (on- or off-duty) to engage in personal use of social media.
1. For the purpose of this policy, City and Police Department property includes, but is not limited to, desk-top computers, lap-top computers, cell phones, hand-held digital or electronic devices (e.g., Blackberry phones), and digital storage media.
F. While in on-duty status, employees are prohibited from using privately-owned property to engage in personal use of social media.
G. Employees who are off-duty, and using privately-owned property to engage in the personal use of social media, do not represent the City of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Police Department, or any official position maintained by either entity. Under such
conditions, employees represent only themselves and their personal interests.
H. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy when engaging in social networking online. As such, the content of social networking websites may be obtained for use in criminal trials, civil proceedings, and departmental investigations.
______________________________________________________________________________
V. GENERAL CATEGORIES OF SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE
A. The Philadelphia Police Department recognizes two general categories of social media usage among employees:
1. Department-Authorized Use of Social Media.
2. Personal Use of Social Media.
DIRECTIVE 119 – 4
B. Department-Authorized Use of Social Media:
1. Department-authorized use of social media is defined as the employment of such instruments for the specific purpose of assisting the department and its personnel in community outreach, problem-solving, investigation, crime prevention, and other department-related objectives.
2. In addition to the rules and regulations set forth in Section IV of this directive, the following provisions shall apply to department-authorized use of social media.
a. Police department employees seeking to represent the department via social media outlets (e.g., individual or unit web page, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.) shall obtain express permission from the Police Commissioner or his/ her designee, prior to engaging in such activity.
b. Upon obtaining authorization, when engaging in social media networking, employees shall:
i. Properly identify themselves as a member of the department.
NOTE: In instances whereby proper identification poses a risk to officer safety or may impede the progress of a criminal  investigation, employees, with permission from the Police Commissioner or his/her designee may exclude department membership from their profiles.
ii. At all times, conduct themselves as representatives of the department and, accordingly, adhere to all department policies and standards of conduct, and observe conventionally accepted protocols and proper decorum.
iii. Observe and abide by all copyright, trademark, and service mark restrictions in posting materials to electronic media.
iv. Observe and abide by all existing City of Philadelphia information systems policies, including, but not limited to, “Internet Use and Access” and “Electronic Mail and Messaging.”
c. When engaging in department-authorized social media networking, department employees shall not under any circumstances:
i. Make statements about the guilt or innocence of any suspect or arrestee, or comments concerning pending prosecutions.
DIRECTIVE 119 – 5
ii. Post, transmit, or otherwise disseminate confidential information, including photographs or videos related to department training, activities, investigations, or any other work-related assignment, without specific and express written permission from the Police Commissioner or his/her designee.
iii. Conduct political activities or private business.
C. Personal Use of Social Media:
1. Personal use of social media is defined as engagement or participation in any personal social networking platform, including but not limited to, personally-owned sites, the sites of others (both known and unknown to the employee), news media pages, professional sites unaffiliated with the Philadelphia Police Department, or other information exchange forums.
2. In addition to the rules and regulations set forth in Section IV of this directive, the following provisions shall apply to personal use of social media while off-duty and using privately-owned property.
a. Employees shall neither express nor imply that they are; – speaking or acting on behalf of the police department.
– representing or presenting the interests of the police department.
b. Employees shall not use their rank, title, or position in a manner that would suggest that they are representing the interests or official position of the police department.
c. Employees shall not post any depiction or illustration of the Official Seal of the City of Philadelphia, or the Philadelphia Police Department name, badge, logo, patch, or patrol vehicle, so as to give the appearance of an official site of the City of Philadelphia or the Philadelphia Police Department.
d. In addition to the above provisions, when engaging in personal use of social media, employees shall not post any text, photograph, audio, video, illustration, or any other multimedia file related to, or depicting, any of the following:
i. Current, past, or pending departmental investigation.
ii. Criminal or civil proceeding pertaining to or arising from any matter
involving the department, including allegations of misconduct.
DIRECTIVE 119 – 6
iii. Brandishing of any weaponry (city-owned or privately-owned; actual or simulated), or any contraband (actual or simulated).
iv. Brandishing of tactical instruments (both city-owned and privately-owned), including but not limited to firearm, ASP, baton, OC spray, Electronic Control Weapon (ECW), and mechanical restraints.
______________________________________________________________________________
BY COMMAND OF THE POLICE COMMISSIONER

That is pretty clear and was issued in May.  Funny there are parts of the PFD memo that do not appear in this one.  Now on to the screed from Commissioner Ayers.

PHILADELPHIA FIRE DEPARTMENT
HEADQUARTERS
August 1, 2012
GENERAL MEMORANDUM # 12 -80
TO : All Officers and Members
REF/AUTHORITY : Special Investigations Officer/Fire Commissioner
SUBJECT : SOCIAL MEDIA AND NETWORKING GUIDELINES
The use of Social Media and electronic transmissions has become challenging for fire departments and their personnel throughout the country (e.g., Facebook, My Space, Twitter, YouTube, online blogs, email, texting etc.). The proper use of Social Media can be beneficial to the department, employees, and the public. However, improper use can potentially undermine the confidence of the public in the integrity of the Fire Department and its employees. There is no presumption of privacy when information is posted on Social Media websites and/or transmitted electronically. As per Directive #25, Discipline Policy, uniformed members of all ranks are expected to conduct themselves in a credible manner at all times, both on and off duty.
The Philadelphia Fire Department has recently developed a comprehensive Social Media Policy, which will be forthcoming in the near future. In the meantime, it is necessary to provide guidelines on the use of Social Media and electronic transmissions, and remind members of current department polices.
Effective immediately, all officers and members will adhere to the guidelines listed below on the use of Social Media and electronic transmissions both on and off duty.
Social Media Guidelines
• Employees are prohibited from using City of Philadelphia or Philadelphia Fire Department property to engage in personal use of social media.
• While in on-duty status, employees are prohibited from using privately-owned property to engage in personal use of social media. The only exception will be to engage in reasonable and necessary emailing or texting (e.g., text or email from a teacher/child care provider, or family member regarding an emergency).
• Employees shall not identify themselves as a member of the Philadelphia Fire Department on any Social Media and Networking site without prior approval of the Fire Commissioner. The only exception will be a professional networking site (e.g. LinkedIn). Postings will only pertain to professional networking and development.
• The use of cellular/mobile phones is prohibited while driving any department apparatus, responding to or operating on any incident scene, performing official duties, and during training (practical or classroom). The only exception will be for
official communication (e.g., to contact Fire Communications, chain of command or medical command).
• The use of recording devices—camera, video recorder, audio recorder, cell phone or any device with audio and video recorder applications—is prohibited while on-duty and/or at any incident scene without prior approval from the Fire Commissioner. The only exceptions are those persons/units (Visual Communications Unit, Prevention, and Fire Marshal’s Office etc.) authorized to do so. Under no circumstances will photo images, video, or audio of any incident scene, patients, bystanders, or first responders be posted on line.
• Employees are prohibited from posting on any Social Media site or electronically transmitting any information regarding the transport, treatment, or condition of any patient. This includes employees/members who were provided care and or transportation to a medical facility.
• Employees shall not post on any Social Media site or electronically transmit any electronic recordings (photo images, video, or audio) of Philadelphia Fire Department property or on-duty responses/activities without written approval from the Fire Commissioner.
• Employees are prohibited from posting on any Social Media site or electronically transmitting messages, images, comments, or cartoons displaying threatening or sexually-explicit material, epithets or slurs based on race, ethnic or national origin, gender, religious affiliation, disability, or sexual orientation, and harassing, offensive, discriminatory, or defamatory comments.
• Employees are prohibited from posting on any Social Media site or electronically transmitting messages, images, comments, or cartoons that foster or perpetuate discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, age, religion, gender, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation.
• Employees shall not post any material on the internet or via electronic transmission that may adversely affect the efficiency or effective operation of the department.
• Employees shall not post on any Social Media site or electronically transmit any information that is inconsistent with the duties, ethics and Oath of Office of a firefighter or paramedic, such as racist or sexist comments, inaccurate information, personal attacks, or rumors.
• Employees shall not post any information or images involving off-duty activities that may bring a member’s or the department’s reputation into question.
• Employees shall not post any photo, image, or video of themselves wearing any part of the official Fire Department uniform or displaying any City equipment without approval from the Fire Commissioner. The only exception will be a professional networking site (e.g. LinkedIn).
• Employees shall not post on any Social Media site any depiction or illustration of the Official Seal of the City of Philadelphia, or the Philadelphia Fire Department name, badge, logo, patch, or vehicle, so as to give the appearance of an official site of the City of Philadelphia or the Philadelphia Fire Department.
• Employees are prohibited from posting on any Social Media site or electronically transmitting any information regarding a Fire Department incident, ongoing investigation, or pending litigation (both criminal and civil actions).
Responsibility
Division Chiefs will meet with their respective Battalion Chiefs to develop and implement a plan for Company Officers to conduct station exercises reviewing the policies listed below. Battalion Chiefs will coordinate with Company Officers to facilitate the review of policies, and ensure a roster sheet is prepared for each company indicating member has reviewed the listed policies. Platoon “D” Division Chiefs will consolidate all memos and forward to FPSC Jeremiah Laster, Special Investigations Officer by October 1, 2012. Unit Heads will follow the same procedure for their assigned members.
• City of Philadelphia Social Media Use Policy located on the “T” drive, Social Media Policy folder
• Directive #57, Fire Department Wide Area Network
• HIPPA Web Training PowerPoint presentation located on the “P” drive, “H” folder, HIPPA Central and Web Training folder.
• Directive # 25, Discipline Policy
Failure to comply with Social Media and Networking Guidelines may lead to disciplinary action being taken against a member/employee.
LLOYD AYERS
FIRE COMMISSIONER
______________________________________________________________________

The difference in tone is amazing.  Right down to the last line where Commissioner Ayers feels it important to not e that failure to comply with his opinions will result in Disciplinary action.  There are glaring additions to the PFD GM that have no place in a “guideline”.  Why did the police not feel it important to address race and other ethnic and social behaviors?

Both policies restrict the use of department insignias and to have prior permission to set up a social media site for units.  Yet somehow when you read through the two documents you get the feeling that Ramsey will allow units to run sites and if a fire company asks permission to run a site the scrutiny from Fire Commissioner Ayers (if he does not deny it outright) will be intense.

There you have it.  The difference between leadership and oppression.  Oh and if you are a member of the Fire Service in Philadelphia Please don’t like this blog.  I would hate to be responsible for you being punished for your opinion.  Which is what Ayers has set up.

One more important point, Ayers sites Directive #25 and then follows that with the statement that all members must conduct themselves in a credible manner.  It seems to me that Ayers is in violation of Directive #25 himself as his credibility is in the trash.

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Biden Bull


Last week the walking gaffe machine Joe Biden stood before the International Association of Firefighters and spoke of Jobs and community.  Here is how the Politico phrased Joe’s speech.

“I just tell you, it’s nice speaking to an audience where — with not only whom you agree, but with whom you feel totally comfortable, with a whole lot of folks out there I grew up with,” Biden began.

In a sober speech to first responders — still in the shadow of last week’s massacre in Colorado — Biden told the audience of 3,200 that Republicans have a “different value set” when it comes to public employees and other working people.

“They look at your ranks and they see an easy place to cut budgets to accommodate their priorities — not just you but cops, public workers generally,” Biden said. “They just have a fundamentally different view. They just have a different value set than we do. They act like you’re the community’s problem — as if you’re not part of the community.”

Biden said the Republicans have a different value set when it comes to public employees!  Different from who many of the Philadelphia Firefighters I know asked. Biden said it was nice to talk to a group that he agrees with.  He must not have actually talked to any of the men and women who work in Philadelphia. Well you read what they wrote now it is my turn.
Just how out of reality is the Washington team with what is really happening in Philadelphia?  Biden spoke during his speech about the two firefighters killed earlier this year and chose to use those two good men to politicize the issue of Fire Department funding.  Obviously nobody clued Joe in on the real situation in Philadelphia.  Many recent Democrat Mayors have taken a pound of flesh out of the Police and Firefighters Unions.  Ed Rendell the ex-Governor of Pennsylvania and his hatchet man David Cohen (Now at Comcast Hmm…) took a pound of flesh from these two unions that were unable to strike.  Mayor Street was so insensitive he had a paramedic who was ill camped on his office doorstep for weeks and did not even acknowledge her.  The along comes Mike Nutter.  Mr smooth  he calls out Street when he wanted to close firehouses and said it was foolish.  Well he must be a fool because he closed multiple stations and has a “brown-out policy in which various firehouses in the city are deactivated for a shift.  The equipment is there just not enough firefighters to respond to an emergency.  The city will deny but people have died because of this policy.
These cuts and dangerous brownouts have been instituted by a Democrat Mayor in a pro-labor city yet the International up until last Thursday remained silent about all of this.  Why?  Because International President Harold Schaitberger has become nothing more than a tool of the Democrats and he wants his bed feathered with the money he is making.
Here is a little Economics 101 for you.  More jobs means more tax revenue.  Higher taxes means a shifting tax base (Like leaving the city or state for a place with lower taxes) Higher tax revenue means better conditions to keep up an effective public sector employment system.  A true unemployment rate of 14% for over 3 years does not bode well for any government. Yet that is exactly what the federal government has allowed to happen.
President Obama and his Jobs Committee have not met in over six months.  It seems the commander-in-chief is too busy campaigning to worry about how to produce more jobs. Which I think might be a good thing because the last time he tried to stimulate the economy the unemployment rate jumped to over 10%  and it is still not below 8.
For these reasons I am a Retired Philadelphia Firefighter for Romney 2012.  If your on Facebook check out the group.  But I would recommend  that if you have an opposing viewpoint you might not want to join the group.  Firefighters are known for saying what they think.  Here is a link to the page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/207360286058821/
Join the Fight!

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It isn’t adding up!


Today for the second time the Nutter Administration appealed the “binding” arbitration award that is mandated under Act 111.  This act banned police and firefighters from striking and has been in place for a long time.  But a few years back under the Goode Administration the finances of the city got so bad the State formed an agency called the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Agency (PICA).  PICA was given broad powers over city finances and taxation and approval of all budgets.  Now here is the catch.  The legislation also said the Arbitration panel had to consider the cities ability to pay.  But what is supposed to happen is that the city is by rule supposed to submit a 5 year plan.  This plan should include all expenses and revenues for the city.  Basically a five-year budget.

Now the city or Union has a right to appeal once any award.  This little tidbit is key.  The arbitrator gave an almost identical award to the firefighters as was given in 2010.  It was Nutter who appealed the 2010 award.  As Bill Gault the Local 22 Union President pointed out in a letter detailing the reasons the union filed a preemptive lawsuit to block any appeal.

Currently, the City is in breach of the PICA statute. Under the PICA law, the City is allowed only one “appeal” of the decision of an arbitration panel in the matter of Fire Fighter, Medic or Police contracts. (Because Fire Fighters and Medics, like Police Officers, are not allowed to strike to obtain a contract, PA Act 111 calls for binding arbitration with a neutral arbitrator to decide contract terms.)

The law allows for one appeal and that process was completed by a judge ordering both sides to the table again.  The result was an almost identical award. This current appeal is both illegal and immoral.  Now the city is once again using the PICA board as a tool to hammer the city unions.  Here is what Philly.com wrote while making a quote of a city administrator.

The city’s Budget Director Rebecca Rhynhart said the decision was based on the cost of the award –$200 million over the course of the plan. The city will file the appeal next week.

“We’re appealing because it doesn’t meet the standard of the PICA Act,” she said.

It does not meet the standards of the PICA act!  What does that mean?  Remember the 5 year plan?  Well the city was hoping to not have to honor the award and left it out of its last few 5 year plans.  So with that in mind it would not fit the plan submitted to PICA.  But the PICA board has never seen a proposed budget that included the costs of the award.  Why would that be?  The city admitted they sent the plan hoping to win a victory in the contract arbitration.  Here again from philly.com.

The city’s five-year financial plan which was submitted to the Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Cooperation Authority (PICA), the city’s fiscal watchdog today, assumes the city will be successful in its appeal, said the city’s Finance Director Rob Dubow.

“We anticipated the likelihood that it would not include the arbitration award,” said PICA Board Chairman Sam Katz, adding that “the absence of recognition of two sets of arbitration awards …is a cause for concern.”

It sure is Sam.  Why would the city falsely assume they would win the day and base their entire submission to the PICA Board and then use that false assumption to say that the award does not fit the plan.  You getting this?  Nutter set the award up to fail on purpose.  Any good budget takes a worst case scenario into account.  The men and women who work for the city are being dumped on by the Mayor and his Administration.

One more interesting fact, the IAFF Convention was in town this week, isn’t it convenient that Mike Nutter was in New Orleans and the march on city hall was pretty much a dog and pony show because the target left town. And the day after the march and the convention leaving town the city makes the announcement of the illegal appeal.  We have cowards in City Hall folks.

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Doing the Right thing!


Faced with a deadly situation Fran Cheney made a snap decision to aid a woman rapidly being overcome by smoke to save her life.  He did so by putting his own life at risk.  We talked about that rescue here.

But the story only gets better or worse, it depends.  The woman who was rescued wanted to thank Fran and both Fox 29 and 6ABC where there with cameras rolling.  It was a great scene.  The woman gushing over her hero and Fran as is his custom just saying you’re welcome and telling the camera he was just doing his job.  Up until that point he was, he was doing what almost every firefighter in the nation would do but there are those like Deputy Commissioner Hargett who feel he did something either wrong or stupid.  What it was a snap decision by a well-trained and motivated professional to save a victim.  The dangers of carbon monoxide are engrained in a firefighters DNA.  We know the risk.  It was a risk Fran Cheney felt he had to take.

For all you nay sayers out there and to Deputy Commissioner Hargett and Commissioner Ayers here is one of your predecessors comments on the tactic employed by Firefighter Cheney.

“Buddy Breathing” is a standard part of any firefighter’s inventory just like an axe or a ladder.  It’s a generally accepted firefighting tool used anywhere in the world.  To even suggest it was improper is absolutely insane.  That young lady would have died up there on the second floor if it hadn’t of been for Fran Cheney.  In times like that “proper procedures” is purely academic, and instinct takes over.  Thank God Cheney had the instincts he inherited from his Father.  If I was the Boss I would have had Cheney in my office the next morning and awarded him the Department’s Heroism Award on the spot.  Investigation – Don’t be ridiculous!!!

William C. Richmond

That is leadership.

What I will show you is an NFPA statement on Buddy Breathing.  Did you know that neither the NFPA or NIOSH endorse the quick connect buddy breathing devices?  Then they add this to the standard.

The practice of passing the SCBA facepiece back and forth between two users is considered unsafe because highly toxic air contaminants can enter the facepiece during the exchange of the facepiece.

One wonders if the NFPA ever heard of positive pressure self-contained breathing apparatus. Which is now a national standard and when you watch the video Fran mentions that effect when he spoke about passing the mask to the victim.   In the unreal world of government recommendations the victim dying is acceptable.  In the real world of fire and smoke, real firefighters don’t let innocent people die.  They do whatever they can to save them, that is important, especially to the victims.  Listen to this one after she meets her hero.

Oh did I mention that Fran gave his pay for that night (he was working overtime) to the fire victim saying she needed it more than him.

You can watch the reunion here: Hero Firefighter Donates OT To Woman He Rescued.

Once again, and this time I am including the entire company due to a good decision by the Lieutenant in charge of the company, who told Fran to go get the victim. Great job folks and continue to help the citizens of Philadelphia.

So will it be discipline or a medal?  You know what I think.  Stick a pin on his chest even if he doesn’t want it.

I do have a question for my PFD friends.  How many Heroism awards have been given out since 2006?  I really want to know.

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To save a citizen


Here is the scenario.  You have a job that involves saving people’s lives.  It is early in the morning and you arrive at a scene of chaos.  There is a fire in a home and people are trapped.  What do you do?  One firefighter went the extra mile to save a life and did what most would call a heroic act.  He ran into the burning dwelling and up the steps to get the trapped victim.  Finding the victim panicky and in distress he took his self-contained breathing apparatus off and put it on the trapped victim and led her down and out of the house.

This woman had been in the burning dwelling and probably already had severe smoke inhalation.  The firefighter who was hurt only 2 months ago at a deadly fire was fresh off the truck and willing to do anything he had to save a citizen of the city in which he works.  He knew he was going to eat some smoke getting out of there but to save this persons life that was a risk he was willing to take.  The result of this incredibly heroic effort?  The victim and the firefighter wound up in the ER with smoke inhalation.  Both are Alive!

So far I have been pretty vague about this but I wanted you, the reader to get the drama involved here before I talked about the players by name. The firefighter I am talking about is a guy named Fran Cheney.  Fran is the son of a firefighter and is zealous about the Philadelphia Fire Department.  He worked hard to get on this job and has worked hard since he came into the department.  The fire that Fran was injured at in April was the Kensington 5 Alarm blaze that claimed two good mens lives.  Lt Neary and FF Sweeney perished and FF Nally was partially buried whan a section of  the burning building collapsed on the building they were in.  Cheney was injured but able to extricate himself and Nally but they could not find the other two firefighters.  Most people would be inconsolable but Fran knows the deal and he returned to work.  Fast forward to early morning July 4th and the scenario we discussed.  As Fran was in the hospital being checked out this morning Deputy Commissioner Ernest Hargett (You remember smiling Ernie from earlier posts) came to see him and told him that was a “stupid” thing to do.  What a stupid thing to say at that moment! Call the Fire Administration Building and tell Deputy Commissioner Hargett who the STUPID one is, 215-686-1302 is Hargett’s number and you should call his boss Lloyd Ayers at 215-686-1300  let’s tell him that bravery should be rewarded not punished.  Just in case he has any ideas of punishing Fran.

Great Work Fran.

I think you all need to see their faces.  First Pic is a man who cares more about others than himself.

Photo via Fox 29

Now for a guy who cares about himself more than  others.  This is SMILIN Ernie

Yea thumbs up on sensitivity Ernie.  Telling a man who just saved a life he was being stupid?  What would you have done?  There are many in the PFD who would say NOTHING!

A fellow firefighter Ted Quedenfeld added a very interesting thought today  Here  is what Ted wrote to Fran.

After the tragedy at Jasper & York, I’m sure that Fran, like most survivors do in similar situations, asked himself “Why them and not me? Why was I spared?”

Fran…if you HAVE asked yourself that…..maybe last night was why. Get healthy soon Brother.

A great point Ted!

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