What consequence would fellow officers administer to this?

ncfd4303

Member
May 20, 2010
163
Corning, NY
The other night we were dispatched to fill in to the adjacent city for a structure fire. I had a firefighter respond to our station, then jumped on a truck and rode to the fill in station. about 45 minutes later, said person tells me that they have to go because they are tired (its 2200 hours), I, OIC, say, "we're all tired." Said person replies, "no I'm tired. I took Seroquel a little before we were called out". I asked what that is and was told that it is a sleep aid by him, come to find out that is not what it is for, but a severe side effect of it is drousiness and "should not drive or operate machinery". Here's what ensued:


Me- So you took a sleep aid and responded to a call?


Person- No.


Me- Oh, so you responded to a call, THEN took a sleep aid?


Person- No. Not that either.


Me- Then what did ya do? You did one or the other.


He then began to mumble and copted an attitude. One of the other guys that was about to leave, so I asked him to drop him off at the station to go home.


Am I over reacting to this or should i really be as bent out of shape as I am about this? And what do you think a fair consequence should be? Said person has been in for about 6 weeks now, no classes or official training.
 

cutiger

Member
Jun 11, 2010
370
SC
You should not allow him to drive any department vehicle for at least 3 months. I would also put him on some sort of probation for at least 6 months.
 

cutiger

Member
Jun 11, 2010
370
SC
colby4601 said:
Toss him then. That is absolutely ridiculous. There is no excuse for it whatsoever.
Agreed he should be gone.
 

Stendec

Member
May 21, 2010
816
It's common sense that he shouldn't have done it, but do you have a written policy addressing the use of medications while "on duty?" Was the medication actually prescribed to him, and was he using it in accordance with his prescriber's instructions? Does he take it out of demonstrable medical necessity? Did he demonstrate any actual impairment? Was he "assigned" or "on call" so that he should have known beforehand that he would be responsible for responding to calls? How have other past similar situations been handled?


The nice thing about probation is that you can pretty much toss anyone for anything, but it's wise to make certain that you are on firm legal footing and not setting yourself up for litigation or setting a precedent that could have unintended consequences down the road. If you pitch him outright, after he did the right thing and explained his situation, it might cause people in the future to shut up when the truth would save them. Dental procedures and minor, outpatient surgical procedures can be a real minefield when someone has been under an anesthetic or taking pain relievers and then is expected to work in the near future. You can't really say with any certainty, without demonstrable impairment that can be articulated, that they need to be off for 6 hours, or 8 or 24 or 48. I have a high pain tolerance coupled with a high tolerance for Schedule 2 painkillers, so I've literally gone from a procedure room back to work, whereas other guys get their teeth cleaned and collapse for 2 days or can't parallel park after taking a Benadryl.


I'd talk to your agency's legal counsel or HR person before dropping the knife on him
 
May 21, 2010
1,176
NJ & IA
How is he driving if he is only 6 weeks in?


Our dept regs require that a member be on for one full year (in addition to completion of FF1) prior to clearance to drive vehicles. Until then, vehicles are only to be driven with an officer or a member that is cleared to conduct driver training. "in training" members ARE NOT to drive vehicles to calls even with an officer present. They can drive back to the house, but not from. If he has experience somewhere else, 30 day suspension, letter in file, 90 day probation. If this is a new member, kick him to the curb, and write a letter to area depts warning them of this individual's clear lack of a brain.


If this person used a radio to communicate with you, that too, is an offense, as radios are to be used for public safety/emergency traffic.


Side note: I dealt with a lady two hours ago that took a combination of prozac and seraquil, coincidentally. She claimed that she took 42 seraquil's and a few prozacs 1.5 hours before we were called (by her daughter).She is a frequent flier and was looking for attention (that is not what she took, it is unclear what combination/how much meds she took, however i had to practically scream at her on the way to the hospital to keep her awake), but Seraquil is dangerous!


Side effects include drowsiness (definitely), death (ours would have been dead had she taken the claimed dose long before i showed up), and an increased heart rate.
 

StriketheBox

Member
May 23, 2010
220
Midwest USA
Well, when I was a Captain, which only lasted 9 months, I had a similar situation. Actually, I had multiple situations. I attempted to get things done and our jerk off chief and his "friend" who just happens to be the one he appointed as Dep. EMS Chief, blew it off, told me I am too harsh, and ran me out of my position over the next 3 months. I long to be on a dept that leadership is just that. I cant wait to move, so I can try yet another dept.


Had a girl, who likes to kiss major ass, on PNB one day. Ambo got there a min or so before I did, I got on the job, took command, walked in and saw her "compressions" not even showing on the monitor. i told her she needed to step it up or get off the chest. After 3 more times of telling her, she gets off, only to go and complain to the same EMS Chief. I get told I was picking on her. She has been an EMT for all of 2 years. Now, she got a full time job at the same dept. I on the other hand, did not. Told me I wasnt qualified enough. Of course, this coming from a chief with no officer training, isnt a D.O., doesnt take any sort of command...I could go on and on.
 

chfdbigbad

Member
May 22, 2010
265
Cincinnati, OH
It sounds like the person is new to the fire service. and more than likely younger. He probably didnt understand A) this is a hurry up and wait job most times, B) while common sence, responding to a call impaired by an narcotic is not accetable under ANY circumstances. he probably thought that it was a quick fill in and that he would be home before it kicked in.


That being said, if this was his first infraction I would make it clear what the departments rules are as far as responding and drug use. I would also extend his probation period out and let him know if it happends again then he is gone. end of story


As far as the lying and arguing is concerned that is unacceptable, Period.
 

unlisted

Lifetime VIP Donor
May 20, 2010
7,333
NA
Forget all the other nonsense- on his application did he mention his BIPOLAR disorder at... all? Or any other disorders? I know on our application forms it asks all sorts of medical questions.. even as basic as "sleeping issues"


Probably the real reason he got the attitude.. he is bipolar. Yes, that medication is used for off label use, but its one of the last meds tried for insomina, which he claims its for.. Most its uses are for :

is an atypical antipsychotic used in the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar I mania, bipolar II depression, bipolar I depression, and used off-label for a variety of other purposes, including insomnia and anxiety disorders.


Also, lets give him the benefit of the doubt- it is used simply for sleeping aid- he lied to you by not telling you when he actually took it.


I would suspect he is just there for the "title" of "fireman" and once he realized it was going to be a very boring "fill in" he grew bored and looked for a reason to leave.


I'd say send him the rest of the way out the door- for good.
 

smokeeater

Member
May 20, 2010
35
Canal Flats, BC Canada
So he responded to the station in his POV to fill a truck company transfer....Did he respond 10-18 (lights)....If so, then he is DWI...I would of had a PD/SO/SHP come and do a impairment test right then and there... form his statements that he took the meds and is now on the job... But at 6 weeks in the dept... He sould of 1 not be allowed to run calls until his rookie training is done(usually 6 months)...learning trucks and equipment...2 should not be responding to anything what so ever until after EVOC training and after 6 months or more on the dept...


In my opinion it was neglegent to have such a new FF as u so called him with no training and opens you and your dept. up to huge liability....at this point he is only a member...


It took me over 6 months to be able to run calls and use red lights for me and my dept. and that was after all the training and testing including EVOC.
 

ncfd4303

Member
May 20, 2010
163
Corning, NY
Just to "clean" some grey areas and clear it up:


Said member DID drive his own vehicle, with lights on, to our station.


Said member did NOT drive a dept vehicle to the fill in station, just rode.


Said member did NOT inform me of what he has injested until said person felt the side effects.


Said member was NOT on the engine crew, but rather a support vehicle with the rest of the green horns.


We practice mostly an on the job training attitude, but new members have 2 years to complete either FF1 or scene support Ops.
 

ffemt045

Member
May 24, 2010
198
belmont NY
Sounds like its just a bad situation and a poor choice. I assume you are running with a volunteer dept. Im not really sure how you could disipline a person who is not abusing a substance. Its not like he had non perscribed items on him or in his system. Nor does it sound like he took the meds to get high. I think he should be instructed on better decision making and the effects that a poor choice like that could have. Its really no different than one of us working a few shifts and still running out the door when the pager goes off and we have had no sleep. Just my 2 cents.
 

TCO

Member
May 21, 2010
808
Malvern,Pa
Sounds like lack of common sense on his part. i would toss him before he gets himself or someone else hurt or killed.
 

Stendec

Member
May 21, 2010
816
Just a cautionary note - tossing people for medical issues can be filled with problems. He may or may not be bipolar, but even that may not negate his ability to do the job. Off-label use of drugs is so common that you can't tell a person's diagnosis by the drugs they take. Did he have to have a medical exam before you took him on? If so, and the use of the medication was shown to be appropriate.................on the other hand if he concealed a condition and use of medication, you'd have clear sailing in discharging him.


Did he actually lie to you at the time, or conceal information, or is it possible that the questions were phrased ambiguously?


He may or may not have been "DUI"- it's not my area of expertise, but i don't believe that there is a per se rule when it comes to drug usage like there is in regards to alcohol. Without actual impairment, he may have been perfectly legal.


Another unintended consequence might be that by firing this guy, people stop taking medications that they actually should be taking, risking medical complications and performance issues.


Seriously, tread lightly, this is dangerous ground. The percentage of people using prescription medication that may have adverse psychomotor effects and the number of person taking prescribed psychoactive drugs in our population is huge, particularly in fields like LE. If we flat fire everybody who comes to work with those types of medications in their bloodstream, something as simple as cough syrup, we'll be decimated. And with the number of vets returning from overseas and the heightened sensitivity to disaster and combat mental health, we will see an upturn in applicants with recognized medical syndromes appropriately treated with medication.


And if you do dismiss him, under NO circumstances "spread the word" to other agencies: everything you own will wind up his. If he tries to get on another department, and they call you as part of a background check, and you tell them that he was associated with your agency from one date to another date, period, nothing more, end of story, a smart background checker can read between the lines. But if you actively disseminate allegations about his performance without being asked or having the appropriate releases, I'd get a lawyer on retainer first. Yours may be a private, volunteer organization, but I doubt that shields you from the expectation of professional conduct.
 

cpdchief

Member
May 22, 2010
99
Mobile County, AL
ncfd4303 said:
New members are on a 6 month probationary period. Said person is 6 weeks in...
With him being on probation, and it sounds like he lied... goodbye. no doubt about it. I would not be nearly as mad if it wasn't for a lie. I hate being lied to.
 

Doug

Member
May 23, 2010
1,151
Maryland
ncfd4303 said:
The other night we were dispatched to fill in to the adjacent city for a structure fire. I had a firefighter respond to our station, then jumped on a truck and rode to the fill in station. about 45 minutes later, said person tells me that they have to go because they are tired (its 2200 hours), I, OIC, say, "we're all tired." Said person replies, "no I'm tired. I took Seroquel a little before we were called out". I asked what that is and was told that it is a sleep aid by him, come to find out that is not what it is for, but a severe side effect of it is drousiness and "should not drive or operate machinery". Here's what ensued:

Me- So you took a sleep aid and responded to a call?


Person- No.


Me- Oh, so you responded to a call, THEN took a sleep aid?


Person- No. Not that either.


Me- Then what did ya do? You did one or the other.


He then began to mumble and copted an attitude. One of the other guys that was about to leave, so I asked him to drop him off at the station to go home.


Am I over reacting to this or should i really be as bent out of shape as I am about this? And what do you think a fair consequence should be? Said person has been in for about 6 weeks now, no classes or official training.

Did you allow him to drive home? I'm not a lawyer, nor will I play one on here, but it seem to me that if he had a sleep aid (or medication with similar side effects), that may possibly put you in a bit of a bind, as well (similar to the bartender who allows the drunk to drive home).


I think your best bet would be to consult with an attorney experienced in these matters. A legal professional will be able to explain your options much better, and in further detail, than most any of us on here will.
 

FireEMSPolice

Member
May 21, 2010
3,429
Ohio
My God..I love how everyone is quick to fire him :roll:


He is a probie. I have seen veteran firefighters and LEO's do worse. I would put something in his file, give him a stern talking to in a meeting with you (as the OIC) and an FD Officer and move on. If you dont have one, you should draft some sort of SOP regarding responding or doing FD business while medicated with something that could make you unable to do your job.
 

TCO

Member
May 21, 2010
808
Malvern,Pa
se.


ok i checked into the medication, drowsiness is a side effect the medication is used to treat another disorder,before you do anything i would look into speaking to the company attorney
 

embe78

Member
May 20, 2010
68
NEW JERSEY
FireEMSPolice said:
My God..I love how everyone is quick to fire him :roll:

He is a probie. I have seen veteran firefighters and LEO's do worse. I would put something in his file, give him a stern talking to in a meeting with you (as the OIC) and an FD Officer and move on. If you dont have one, you should draft some sort of SOP regarding responding or doing FD business while medicated with something that could make you unable to do your job.
right on he is so green honestly he probably realized he screwed up and trying to get out of it give him a good dressing down and put it in his file that way is continues to screw up you can throw it against him . We have all done stupid stuff and screwed up . believe me the ones that do stuff like that sometimes end up being your best members once you strighten them out
 

spike91

Member
Jun 11, 2010
192
New York
Get the truth out of him, chew him to the bone, and make sure it doesn't happen again. Could've been an absentminded mistake, I know I've taken Melatonin (sleep aid, non-prescription) with the intention of going to sleep within the hour, gotten a call and ALMOST respond before realizing that I'd already taken it. Could've been an honestly stupid mistake, no sense in tossing him for it.
 

Station 3

Member
May 21, 2010
3,395
Edinburg Texas
He should go forth in front of the Chiefs cabinet and they should review his actions and they should take the proper actions in dealing with this mis hap since it was in my eyes a serious offense since he drove Code 3 under the influence of a controled substance knowingly and intentionaly. And was inside or around city premisis (fire station) which should have some sort of city guide lines or protocols with City Employees/Volunteers using stimulants or depressants.


Just my .2


Thats what my Volly dept would of done ;)


And yes i know i suck at spelling :?
 

unlisted

Lifetime VIP Donor
May 20, 2010
7,333
NA
Stendec said:
... Off-label use of drugs is so common that you can't tell a person's diagnosis by the drugs they take.


... How true- if you look at my medications I take regularly you would think I am going through chemotherapy and have some severe allergies. The latter one is true- but the first med I make mention of is for very severe pain management. (and god damn, is it ever a godsend!)
 

Klein

Member
May 22, 2010
966
Texas
give him a stern talking to about common sense with his meds. just because he took them doesnt mean he is DUI but tell him that if he has taken it, he knows he will be drowsy shortly after and that he should not run calls hence forth until it has worn off. have a sit down with the kid and educate him.
 

dustymedic

Member
May 21, 2010
633
Columbus,OH
Talk to your department's legal consul. Make sure he doesn't file a American with Disabilities complaint against you. There was a problem around here a few years ago in that alcoholics & drug addicts were being allowed to live in public housing for senior citizens because they met the definition of handicapped. He needs to go because of his lack of common sense, but make sure he doesn't claim he's being discriminated for what ever medical condition he on the medicine for...
 

cutiger

Member
Jun 11, 2010
370
SC
cpdchief said:
Why is everyone focused on the medication? I can overlook a mistake, but not a lie. Lying to an officer while on probation should be grounds for immediate dismissal.
Because the medication caused him to be impaired. Therefore him driving from station to station was a danger to others lives. The lie is a serious problem also but a lie in my opinion should be a secondary issue.
 

unlisted

Lifetime VIP Donor
May 20, 2010
7,333
NA
NPS Ranger said:
Just don't smoke it in front of the shift supervisor. :lol:
I don't want anything smokeable.... I think the US border patrol would take some minor issues with that stuff, regardless if I had a doctors note. :p


I made sure I use /have prescribed medications I can cross international borders with without issue. The stuff I use is approved for both USA, UK, and Canada. (and lots of other countries)
 

mfdbenji

Member
May 21, 2010
161
Castleton, Vermont
FireEMSPolice said:
My God..I love how everyone is quick to fire him :roll:

He is a probie. I have seen veteran firefighters and LEO's do worse. I would put something in his file, give him a stern talking to in a meeting with you (as the OIC) and an FD Officer and move on. If you dont have one, you should draft some sort of SOP regarding responding or doing FD business while medicated with something that could make you unable to do your job.

+ 1
 

cutiger

Member
Jun 11, 2010
370
SC
What you don't understand is we are jumping on him because he is a probie. This is supposed to be his period of proving that he can do the job with out fucking shit up. Well at least that's how it is around here.
 

unlisted

Lifetime VIP Donor
May 20, 2010
7,333
NA
The medication I can see past- outright lying to the officer in command is what I have a major issue with- more so since he seems to be (from previous posts) one of those "adrenalin seeking" fire probies. (you know the type, if it ain't exciting, its not worth the call to them..) I am also wary simply for what that medication is normally used to treat... I would be quickly asking for a note from his doctor clearly stating what medications he is normally taking, what they are used to treat, and if he is medically fit to perform stressful fireground duties at a moments notice.. (on call)


Come to think of it, I had to get paperwork filled out by my doctor when I signed up to basically every public safety dept I have ever worked for/ vollied @.. does your department do this as well?


Take me for example: Yes, I still run calls at times when I am on meds, but again, I don't work fireground anymore, I work on the support/ rehab unit with the FD. (I also vollie with a EMS agency) The officers and chief/ people in command know what is wrong with me medically, and what types of medications I am on. They also know I will not put myself, or anyone else in jeopardy if I do not feel "fit" for duty. So what if I only make 60-70% of the calls? We normally end up sitting around anyways after getting everything set up at scene... and the EMS agency, well I mostly do admin stuffs now.


If this probie owned up saying "oopsie- I forgot I took my sleeping pills right before this call"- rather than lying... Than sure, minor reprimand, ask him to get some documents from his doctor, and send him home via a co worker.
 

Stendec

Member
May 21, 2010
816
cutiger said:
What you don't understand is we are jumping on him because he is a probie. This is supposed to be his period of proving that he can do the job with out fucking shit up. Well at least that's how it is around here.

There are plenty of ways of handling problems without drama or immediately going to negative reinforcement. His role as a trainee/probie/new guy/fresh meat is to fuck shit up, it's part of the learning curve. I'd be grateful if a guy with 6 weeks on the job and no formal training knew how to operate a fax machine.
 

Jarred J.

Lifetime VIP Donor
May 21, 2010
11,596
Shelbyville, TN
do you have to hit pound three times to act as a "pause" before you enter a long distance access code?
 

ncfd4303

Member
May 20, 2010
163
Corning, NY
I appreciate the feedback, really.


One piece of info that I forgot to add, is that said person is in their 30's...said person is not a 16-17 year old "kid". Hell, in my opinion, I think our 16 year old has more common sense.


I'm more worried about what could have happened if we were requested to the scene to roll hose/vent/mop up, and all of a sudden, said person falls over and is unconcious, which is where it could have landed because of the side effects that this certain medication can cause. And no one would have known why. I'm not really upset that I was lied to about what the drug is used for, some people could be embarassed about depression/bi-polar problems, and maybe thats why he didnt disclose it, which is fine and all (HIPPA), but to my knowledge, no other officer is aware of any medical conditions. But as an officer, I would like to know if someone has medical or psychological problems that can impair their ability to perform, or if a situation arises, that we would need to shelter them from. I.E. if they are treated for depression and we show up on a fatality, should said person really be there? If not, I know to make them stay behind at the station.
 
May 21, 2010
1,176
NJ & IA
well...if he submitted medical records that the time that he joined your dept, then someone has to know about his reason for medication, what ever it may be.
 

Gordo

New Member
Jun 15, 2010
4
I recently became a leuitenant in numerous volunteer EMS agencies in which I volly for, and find this topic very interesting. On one hand, you are a volly agency in which getting fired from such company would not be the end of the world for this individual, as opposed to if it was his livelyhood. However, you feel that possibly removing said member from duty due to his medical conditions, some of which may have been listed on the application, may lead to legal consequences, so the question still arises, what do you as a manager of this organization due?


In the organization in which I am the high level manager, I would immediately, on the scene, advise him that he is suspended for 30-60 days and he will be called to have a meeting within a week with myself, as well as the president and chief of the organization. At said meeting, the issue that occured will be discussed in detail including the problems and concerns that you have both with the actions said member performed as well as future concerns you now have about said member. These issues can be discussed and further disciplinary actions will be taken at a later time.


In the second organization I am a officer of, I would immediately suspend said person for 30-60 days and require the turning in of key and radio. An emergency board meeting will be caleld in which the member will be permitted to tell his side. A formal letter will be generated detailing the incident. Following the board of directors meeting, either the member will be removed fro mthe agency or the said member would receive a harsh counseling or remediation if you will, about both the problem that arose and the attitude. The corret attitude for probies is that they "should be seen, and not heard."


Please keep us posted what ends up happening in this case.


Gordo
 

TheZach

Member
Jun 5, 2010
316
Kalamazoo, MI
Ok, I'm going to jump in here.


First off, firing someone because they are bi-polar or taking medication is just stupid. This is going to cause your other firefighters that you don't know about that take medications for mental health issues to go off their medications and you don't want that - trust me.


Second off, letting a firefighter have red lights on his POV after six weeks into his probationary period is stupid. Hell, IMO probationary firefighters should not have them at all.


I don't have any experience in these matters but what I would do is give him a real ass chewing about using medications that cause drowsiness and then running a call, as well as driving after taking medications. Hes new, hes learning and I'm sure everyone makes mistakes when there new.
 

ncfd4303

Member
May 20, 2010
163
Corning, NY
Termination isnt being considered because the might have a mental disorder, its on the table because they took a medication that impairs their ability to work safely. If they drank then responded what would you guys think then? Should said person be terminated then? And why? Because they were impaired and could cause unsafe conditions? Isn't this on the same page here?


Point is, the person was impaired by a medication, and that they knew what the side effects were; therefore making it a reckless decision. This is a volunteer organization and therefore no paycheck will be taken away. At the time said person applied, the application was a one page piece of paper, last week a new format, 6 pages, was voted in to replace the old application, and the process as well. And per the By-Laws, this year the By-laws are due for a revision, or should I say a complete overhaul, as the last person, thats right a person, not a commitee, copied, I mean created them.


As far as probationary members having blue lights, I don't agree with it. Being new, and not knowing how to control your adreniline (sp?), combined with inexperience, responding with lights can make a dangerous situation worse. But, it is up to the chief to issue the card. I have talked with him about it and he seemed receptive to considering different alternatives and more conditions for probationary members.So we'll see where that goes.
 

Forum Statistics

Threads
54,308
Messages
451,246
Members
19,278
Latest member
RalphK

About Us

  • Since 1997, eLightbars has been the premier venue for all things emergency warning equipment. Discussions, classified listings, pictures, videos, chat, & more! Our staff members strive to keep the forums organized and clutter-free. All of our offerings are free-of-charge with all costs offset by banner advertising. Premium offerings are available to improve your experience.

User Menu

Secure Browsing & Transactions

eLightbars.org uses SSL to secure all traffic between our server and your browsing device. All browsing and transactions within are secured by an SSL Certificate with high-strength encryption.