The MAIN LINE is the official publication of the San Francisco Fire Fighters’ Local 798. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of Local 798 or the San Francisco Fire Department. Members are welcome to submit Letters or Articles for publication; however the Editorial Board reserves the right to review/edit any submitted material.
Pet Peeves, Common Sense, and Unsolicited Advice
By Mark Sikora
First, we don’t presume to know everything or have all the answers. Second, we are definitely not the protectors of the faith, or keepers of tradition, or watchdogs for what is right. Unfortunately, we have noticed that things which some firefighters consider common sense, or basic knowledge, are falling by the wayside. These lapses run the gamut from petty to down right dangerous. (We all make mistakes, this is not what we are talking about. Mistakes are always going to be there, all we can do is learn from them and minimize their occurrence.)

We have also noticed that when these lapses occur, they are not always dealt with. We believe this is for several reasons. Nobody wants to step on any toes and risk not getting a move up, and nobody wants to inadvertently offend anyone else. Basically, because of the lack of permanent promotions and the politics of the SFFD, the bosses, necessarily, are a little scared to offer up some constructive criticism. We have decided that, since most of us belong to the class of the lowest common denominator, H-2 firefighters, that we would step on the toes instead. So, in no particular order, here are some of the problems we have been seeing, and some of our pet peeves that we feel should be addressed. We hope that the people who fit the below categories wise up, and the people who are doing things “right” keep up the good work. And don’t be afraid to offer some help if someone needs it.

1. If you are driving a Chiefs buggy, an ambulance, or an RC buggy to a fire call, DO NOT park in front of the fire building. While engine companies have plenty of hose to get around obstacles, the trucks need to be positioned very carefully at fires. Take a note from most of the Rescue Squad drivers, park out of the way, and don’t block any hydrants.

2. Engine drivers also need to be aware that sometimes we need to let the truck companies in instead of, or before, we back down. Pulling off a supply then getting pinned in by the trucks jacks is embarrassing.

3. When you get to a new house, or are detailed to a different house for the day, be polite and INTRODUCE YOURSELF. This seems to be a huge problem with newer laterals. Come in and say “hi”, let everyone know who you are. You won’t make many friends by just walking in and grabbing a bunk, ignoring all your coworkers.

4. If you are on a detail, offer to take the nightwatch for the regular member who has it.

5. If for some reason you do sleep in the dorm, NEVER sleep IN someone’s bed. Sleep on top in your own bag and leave the bed the way you found it.

6. If you are unassigned at a house, offer to take the regular members details.

7. When you pour yourself a cup of coffee, ask around the table to see if anyone else needs a refill.

8. When you take the last drop out of the coffee pot, make a new pot.

9. If there is work being done around the firehouse, offer to help. This is especially true if you are a probie or newer member.

10. If you are a probie, act like one. Keep you ears open and your mouth shut. (This does not mean to not ask questions. Ask away, most people are glad to help, and some love to show off their knowledge.)

11. When you get your Scott on, close the compartment doors. Sometimes the rigs have to be moved, or other rigs have to get by on narrow streets.

We know that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Write in and offer up your own words of wisdom. Or, write in with your suggestions and questions. Maybe we can start a fire advice column. Just like that one in the San Francisco weekly with that Savage guy. We can address ours to “Hey @#$hole”.

Happy Holidays to you and yours. Have fun and stay safe. More complaints in two months.


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