News

Menlo Park fire district hires 20 firefighters this year

This is the 'most aggressive hiring effort' in decades, fire chief says

The Menlo Park Fire District hired 20 firefighters and firefighter paramedics this year, marking "the largest, single most aggressive hiring effort since at least the 1980s, if ever," Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman said Wednesday.

Nine of the new firefighters graduated from the San Mateo County Fire Academy this week and will soon be assigned to one of the stations in the district, which includes Atherton, East Palo Alto, Menlo Park and nearby unincorporated areas.

Fire District officials held off on hiring new employees during the economic recession, Chief Schapelhouman said.

The hirings bring the district's total force of captains, engineers and firefighters to about 88, he said.

"We've been working hard to catch up to where we needed to be on staffing by hiring the best qualified individuals we could find for this organization," he said in a statement.

"So far, I'm very happy with how everyone is stepping up, and the energy and excitement of new personnel who just feel proud and privileged to work here," he said.

The fire district spends about $4,100 on the hiring process for each candidate, including $1,402 for entry-level fire academy, $975 background checks and $900 on medical and physiological exams.

The district provides fire academy graduates with $12,353 in safety equipment, including uniforms, wildland firefighting equipment and breathing equipment, he said.

The starting salary for a Menlo Park firefighter is $173,779 with benefits, and $186,747 for a firefighter-paramedic.

The district's turnover rate is less than 1 percent, Chief Schapelhouman said, adding that most firefighters serve in the district for at least 30 years.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

18 people like this
Posted by Underemployed
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 1, 2016 at 12:12 pm

That is quite a starting salary. I never see these jobs advertised -- how could I apply? Does the district hire women? Doesn't look like it.


16 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2016 at 3:35 pm

pearl is a registered user.

Firefighters earn every stinking dime they make!!! I'm happy to pay their salaries any day. Thank you firefighters for putting your life on the line for us every single day. You, and your families, have my respect and support for the sacrifices you all make to keep us and our communities safe. ; )


9 people like this
Posted by Linda Craig
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Dec 1, 2016 at 4:05 pm

Note that the amount mentioned was Pay AND Benefits. It is broken down to regular pay, (i.e. base salary), and other additional amounts possibly such as overtime, and health benefits, etc. The normal hiring basic pay for a new recruit (including paramedic, etc) is somewhere around $100K. It is misleading to use that gross total.


Like this comment
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Dec 1, 2016 at 6:31 pm

pearl is a registered user.

Hi, Linda,

Thanks for the clarification.

Former Neighbor, Laurel G.


4 people like this
Posted by The Realist
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 2, 2016 at 9:37 am

Ha. Firefighters "earn every stinking dime they make" ... grocery shopping at the Safeway on Middle Ave. Can someone please explain to me why it takes 2 engine companies to go grocery shopping?


8 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 2, 2016 at 11:30 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"Can someone please explain to me why it takes 2 engine companies to go grocery shopping?"

Because they come from different stations. The engine company has to go together as they can't just send someone to the market in case they get a call while at the store.


22 people like this
Posted by Harold Schapelhouman, Fire Chief
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Dec 2, 2016 at 11:44 am

Our Fire Personnel work a 48 hour consecutive shift and they shop for food in order to eat just like everyone else. Depending upon crew rotation, that can mean they purchase food for three to six meals. Multiple units can shop at the same time depending upon coverage but they come from different fire stations or jurisdictions like Palo Alto.

Our fire units specifically park in front of the stores in the red zone, or fire lane, in order to quickly drop everything and respond to an emergency if needed. They also like to be close to their equipment in case an emergency, like a medical call occurs within the store or complex.

The crew shops together to maintain its integrity as a first response unit and because they always work as team. Our goal is to reach any emergency within 7 minutes, 90% of the time. That's takes into account 1 minute for dispatch, 2 minutes to get out of the station with the proper safety clothing on and 4 minutes of drive time.

We pay our personnel well to respond to any type of emergency, anywhere and anytime. Should you need our services, or if you have interacted with us before, you will find that our personnel are courteous, professional, knowledgeable, respectful and dedicated to solving or assisting you with any type of problem.

Our greatest currency is your trust. We value that over anything else because we need you trust us to enter your homes or businesses, to preserve your property or to risk ourselves in saving it. You need to trust that we will make every prudent effort to save your life, or a family members life if called upon.

Our code of conduct values duty, service, sacrifice, compassion and honor as core values in how we both operate and expect our personnel to conduct themselves. The information we presented to the media was intended to highlight the quality, effort and cost of what is required to find exceptional individuals to serve our communities and the lengths by which we painstakingly go to insure that investment in our employees is maximized for both the benefit of the public and our organization.


10 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 2, 2016 at 12:14 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

There is always some one who complains about fire personnel shoping at Safeway. Get over it. As the Chief explained they are first responders and need to shop and eat as you do. True in all cities.


9 people like this
Posted by Another MP Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 2, 2016 at 1:22 pm

Seriously, not a single woman? And with turnover of less than 1% per year, I don't see many women being hired in the near future. I would love to hear from the Chief why this is. How are the jobs advertised? How many women applied? Why do they fall short?


9 people like this
Posted by Pam J
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Dec 2, 2016 at 2:47 pm

I am quite proud of our renowned fire department. They have deployed to almost all disasters in the USA and abroad. Congratulations to the newbies!


27 people like this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 2, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Harold Schapelhouman

I have sent my thoughts on the subject of your personnel shopping at Safeway while on duty. it is POOR POOR public relations. NOBODY perceives this as a positive.

EVERY other citizen of our city shops for groceries on their own time. it is simply unconscionable that your people (earning what they do) are shopping on the clock......simply poor management and leadership on YOUR part, and a practice that needs to stop.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


6 people like this
Posted by practice makes perfect
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 2, 2016 at 4:22 pm

I told my boss I needed to go down to Trader Joe's for a quart of kefir and some quinoa, because I didn't have time earlier this week to shop.

You know how it goes... there was football on Sunday, softball on Monday night, poker on Tuesday. Always have to check out Keplers on Wednesday. Last night I needed to watch the Warriors, so that was out - no way I could take 20 minutes to shop last night, of all nights!

I must shop during work hours! I can't be expected to use my time off to shop!

It's so hard to plan ahead for those complicated shopping trips!

I know this will surprise you, but my boss had the most UNREASONABLE response!


16 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2016 at 6:22 pm

pearl is a registered user.

The firemen are shopping for food they will eat while at work during their 48-hour shift. They do not work from 8am-5pm and then go home for dinner, They are at work for 48 hours at a time; the food they shop for is not food they will take home and eat; it is food they will eat during their mandatory 48 hours at work.


Like this comment
Posted by practice makes perfect
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 2, 2016 at 6:50 pm

>The firemen are shopping for food they will eat while at work during their 48-hour shift.

Of course. Do they bring their dirty laundry, or are they expected to show up in clean uniforms? Heck, if they don't even have to plan for their lunch before they show up...

Per @Thiele-Sardiña, it's a perception thing. We already know they have something like a paid hour a day built into their contract to lift dumbbells and get some jogging in on a treadmill. I need to ask my boss about that one - I'm sure he's chill with that!


15 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 2, 2016 at 6:58 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"You know how it goes... there was football on Sunday, softball on Monday night, poker on Tuesday. Always have to check out Keplers on Wednesday. Last night I needed to watch the Warriors, so that was out "


Thankfully you would never meet the standards required of our firefighters - for them service come first.


35 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 2, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Roy bravely states "I have sent my thoughts on the subject of your personnel shopping at Safeway while on duty. it is POOR POOR public relations. NOBODY perceives this as a positive. "

It is noted that Roy has never held a position of military or emeregency service so it is understandable that he does not understand what 24/7 service entails.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 2, 2016 at 8:53 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Roy:

[part removed.]

Every other citizen of our district DON'T WORK 48 HOUR SHIFTS. What don't you understand about that? Do you want to start paying to provide food for our fire fighters so they don't have to go to the store? [part removed.]


10 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 2, 2016 at 9:08 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

No problem - for our firefighters service comes FIRST.

There have been lots of meals left uneaten in the MPFPD's stations when the call to service came during mealtime.

Even for the Roys of the world.


9 people like this
Posted by Cares about you, "Joe/Jane Citizen"
a resident of another community
on Dec 2, 2016 at 10:34 pm

Each and every Firefighter, male or female, regardless of which agency they work for are truly willing to give their life in order to save yours. Evens if you disapprove of them shopping for their food in order to have the needed nourishment to carry your limp body out of a fire, or the strength from lifting weights needed to lift and carry you down a flight of stairs while medically caring for you, or do laundry because your blood got all over their clothing while they rescued your torn apart body when someone crashed into you, or eat while on duty for anywhere from 48 hours on up. Now for the question of where to find out about a job application, REALLY??? If you desire a rewarding lifelong career serving others that takes many years of education and continuing education throughout your 30 year career that includes a respectable salary and benefits to support yourself, a spouse and children, then YOU look for it. You don't wait for someone to come find you [part removed].


11 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 2, 2016 at 10:48 pm

I have a very different opinion from Roy.

I think seeing the big red truck promotes a sense of community. The crews are seen interacting with folks in the stores; I've even seen them talking to kids, letting them sit in the engine and passing out helmets while talking about fire safety.

I think this is great public relations -- everybody loves a firefighter.

As far as calls go, they drop everything and go on their call. I've even returned items from their cart so they can leave and not have to worry about abandoning their cart of food.

I like knowing they are part of the community.


14 people like this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 3, 2016 at 1:19 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Pearl @Peter @Menlo Voter

I think the firefighters do a great job.

My contention is that they should not shop on the clock or with an $600,000 vehicle. There are MANY MANY relevant meal planning and shopping applications available (we use "out of milk" and "our-groceries" as a family) to facilitate this activity. Not to mention email. Quite frankly it's embarrassing that the district hasn't done something about it.

@Peter, while i may not have military or emergency service (and actually I do since I was a Plebe at the US Naval Academy) The relevant issue her is MANAGEMENT and MARKETING experience and THAT i have in spades. This is a perception problem, and therefore a management problem, and I think it is being handled VERY poorly by the Fire District and it's Chief.....

And BTW Peter without ANY relevant experience in running a School District you CERTAINLY were opinionated on how MPCSD should do their job.....kinda like the pot calling the kettle black.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" I think it is being handled VERY poorly by the Fire District and it's Chief....."

We simply disagree. I believe having the firefighters out of their stations doing building inspections, testing hydrants, training and shopping is beneficial to the community because it allows them to interact with the public and to become more familiar with current road conditions such as lane closures.


Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 3, 2016 at 1:34 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

Peter,

we do agree. everything in your list up until you typed "shopping" is good Community PR since it's job related.....

Roy


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2016 at 1:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Fascinating that Roy wants the firefighters to do their grocery shoping elsewhere rather than in Menlo Park.

And I note that the firefighters from Palo Alto's Station 1 on Alma also use the Menlo Park Safeway.

It is alwats great to our firefighters in our local stores and to watch the rapport that they have with the staff and the customers.


8 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2016 at 1:46 pm

pearl is a registered user.

@Roy -

The firefighters can't shop for groceries online because you have to choose a specific date and time you want them delivered, and someone has to be there to accept the delivery. Because of the nature of their job, the firefighters cannot guarantee they will be there to receive the grocery delivery at a specific time on a specific date.


Like this comment
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 3, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Pearl,

who said anything about shopping online? They can do it BEFORE their shift starts. The apps I mentioned would help them build the shopping list to do that with.

Roy


3 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2016 at 2:42 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

Great thinking Roy. I guess you want the district to pay overtime for shopping before shift. ANY work related duties must be paid for. I guess you are also going to send dletters to all San Mateo County Fire Depts./District tell them te same thing??? Get real.


11 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Dec 3, 2016 at 3:48 pm

pearl is a registered user.

@Roy -

Are you suggesting they take care of work business on their personal time off without compensation? And, even if they were compensated for taking care of work business on their personal time off, who says they want to spend their personal time off with their families, taking care of work business?!?
[Part removed.]

I've got an idea, why don't you get the shopping lists from the firemen at each of the fire stations, and do their grocery shopping for them?!?

Pearl


4 people like this
Posted by practice makes perfect
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 3, 2016 at 4:01 pm

Your food shopping for the week is "tak(ing) care of work business on (your) personal time"? @roy: "they should not shop on the clock"

Maybe 10-12 hour shifts are a better answer? Or 8 hour shifts, five days a week? Then they can pack a sandwich and some ramen in a sack lunch like so many other workers. But they wouldn't get an hour paid for exercise.


9 people like this
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 3, 2016 at 5:48 pm

It is common practice in many fire departments around the country for the firefighters to go shopping on duty.

I like seeing them in the grocery store, Starbucks, sandwich shops, etc. They are usually very engaging with folks around them. It maintains that community feel.

Seems that more people are fine with them shopping than not.


2 people like this
Posted by Interesting
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 3, 2016 at 7:31 pm

I note that none of the department's defenders has explained the lack of female hires. I feel a lawsuit coming on.


6 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 3, 2016 at 7:41 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

MPFPD has two female firefighters and would gladly hire more if there were any in the quailified applicant pool.

There are very few females in the qualified applicant pool because:
1 - Most females do not have the essential upper body strenmgth to pass the job specific physical proficiency test (for example, the ability to carry a fellow fallen firefighter from a burning building cannot be waived)
2 -Very few females have graduated from the required two year Fire Science program.

In an attempt to address these issues MPFPD started a number of years ago a Fire Explorer program and is beginning its awareness and recruitement at the 9th grade level.


9 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 3, 2016 at 7:56 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Roy:

you clearly haven't a clue about what is involved in doing the job. "It's management problem." NO, it's problem with a perception of a small number of people in our community like you that don't understand the job, the logistics or anything else about it and want to piss on our fire fighters for FEEDING THEMSELVES. God forbid they take 20 or 30 minutes to shop for two days food while on duty. Never mind that if a call comes in they will drop everything and respond and have to return and buy their food later.

People like you just piss me off. You and others like you are one of the reasons I left law enforcement. You have NEVER done the job and have ZERO understanding of what is involved in doing the job, yet you want to dictate how the PROFESSIONALS that actually do, how they do their job. How about I come start telling you how to run your company? How would you like that? Just becasue you're a "management expert" doesn't mean you know squat about anything else. You remind me of many of the wealthy people I have built houses for. Just because they are CEO's or upper management they think they know everything about everything. Guess what? You don't. Neither did they. And at the completion of construction, almost all of them told me it was much more complicated than they thought it was and they were happy they had hired a professional to do a professional job. I suggest you think about this in this case.

Bottom line: you have NO idea what you're talking about.


5 people like this
Posted by Scott
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Dec 4, 2016 at 6:13 am

Why do they work 48 hours straight?

Why is there no volunteer fire crew like other Suburban towns?


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 4, 2016 at 9:53 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Why is there no volunteer fire crew like other Suburban towns?"

Which suburban towns are those?


2 people like this
Posted by SteveC
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Dec 4, 2016 at 6:03 pm

SteveC is a registered user.

I suppose Roy and others have problems with law enforcement personnel taking meal breaks. That's right, cop get to eat also while, oh my god, on duty. They also are on call have have to respond if needed during lunch. Menlo Voter to correct. Too many people do not know squat about fire fighting, I don't and don't want to be a fireman, or law enforcement. Too bad, so sad.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 4, 2016 at 6:14 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Interesting point SteveC. During my time in law enforcement I never encountered nor ever heard a citizen complaint about our taking Code 7. I guess people just understood we had to eat, whether we brought our food or went to a restaurant.

People like Roy should be happy our Fire Fighters aren't going to restaurants for their meals. They buy their food and cook it themselves. And yes, even if they're in the middle of cooking or in the middle of a meal and a call comes in, they stop and answer the call. Often coming back to uncooked or cold food. And if the station is busy enough and they are running call to call THEY DON'T GET TO EAT.

When's the last time you didn't get to eat for a long period of time Roy?


5 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Dec 4, 2016 at 10:06 pm

pearl is a registered user.

Maybe watching the tv news of the firefighters fighting that Oakland warehouse fire, will give the consuming public a better appreciation for, and understanding of our firefighters and just one example of what their job entails.


2 people like this
Posted by Scott
a resident of Menlo Park: Menlo Oaks
on Dec 5, 2016 at 6:10 am

@petercarpenter
The suburban community i was remembering was Westchester County, New York. If my recollection is correct, thats where the Clintons live - probably similar property values and mix of professions to our fire district. When I was out East, it seemed pretty common - a tradition perhaps.

Here's a link to a Ted talk as evidence that I'm not making it up.

Web Link

I am still concerned about 48 hour shifts. Other high risk professions have firewalls to prevent sleep deprivation and its risks to the professional and to the public. this seems like an anachronism.


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 5, 2016 at 6:45 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Scott:

I think Peter's point is that we don't live in a "suburban community." As much as many living here would like to characterize Menlo Park and the surrounding area as "suburban" it's not. We are a large urban area. Volunteer fire services are not appropriate here.


5 people like this
Posted by The Realist
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Dec 6, 2016 at 11:22 am

@Menlo Voter @SteveC @pearl

No one would disagree that firefighters, like everyone else, need to take meal breaks during their shift. I understand that, and so does Roy.

What I don't understand is why firefighters must also go grocery shopping while they are on duty. If a shift is 48 hours long, that means there is 48-72 (or more) hours when firefighter are NOT on the clock.

Which begs the question: what, other than an unwillingness to plan and coordinate amongst themselves, is preventing them from doing their grocery shopping during that time?


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 6, 2016 at 11:30 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

It cost the District and its taxpayers nothing extra to have the firefighters move around the District during the 48 hour shift and much is gained from the firefighters being out and about rather than inside their stations.

I am not concerned that Roy and a few others take exception to this practice - nothing in life receives 100% support.


6 people like this
Posted by Roy Thiele-Sardiña
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Dec 6, 2016 at 11:42 am

Roy Thiele-Sardiña is a registered user.

@Peter

you and I agree almost always and have worked together to make our communities more vibrant and transparent on many civic projects (read ballot measures). but on this subject we disagree.

Peter, that you said I and a "few" others think this, is simply NOT the case. I was CONGRATULATED for speaking out by over 20 people at a social gathering this weekend, and I have received many more emails from residents thanking me, that are similarly outraged and against the practice.

The Fire District and it's leadership are simply out of touch with the feelings of the community. And while they feel their story is compelling, they are doing a HORRIBLE and INSUFFICIENT job of selling ("marketing") it. Nobody believes it to be true, and that goodwill & out in the community line is not selling.

Roy Thiele-Sardina


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 6, 2016 at 12:20 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Roy - The Fire Board has the most permissive Public Comment policy of any local agency:

"PUBLIC COMMENT #1

A fundamental element of democracy is the right of citizens to address their elected representatives. Therefore under Public Comment #1, the public may address the Board on any subject not listed on the Agenda. Each speaker may address the Board for a limit of three minutes. The filing of speaker cards is not mandatory, but is helpful in creating an accurate record. The Board cannot act on items not on the agenda and therefore the Board cannot respond to non-agenda issues brought up under Public Comment other than to provide general information. District policy assures members of the public the opportunity to speak to any regular or special meeting agenda item before final action. This opportunity to speak is during the public discussion of each agenda item and must be related to matters under consideration for that agenda item."

In my 13 years on the Fire Board not one single person has complained to me about this standard, industry wide practice nor has any member of the community ever raised this issue in one of the multiple public comment periods that we have during each meeting.

i think that you are simply fanning your own spark in hopes of attracting attention - a sad disservice to the firefighetrs involved.


5 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Dec 6, 2016 at 2:31 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Roy:

what don't you and your friends understand about the firefighters are on duty AND AVAILABLE TO RESPOND TO CALLS? What difference does it make if they respond from the grocery store, the station or some other location they happen to be when the call comes? As long as they get there in the targeted time frame, what difference does it make?


3 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 6, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

I would note that when an MPFPD firefighter is on a 48 hour shift they are "On Call" for every minute of the entire 48 hr period - no matter what they are doing or where they are when a call comes in. That includes when sleeping, when eating, when recovering from a difficult hours long emergency extrication, etc. - there is no Time Out during that 48 hours.

And when a call comes in they have 60 seconds to be in their apparatus and ready to roll. Try that sometime from being fully asleep or in the shower.


2 people like this
Posted by Interesting
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Dec 6, 2016 at 7:10 pm

I notice the fire chief in Oakland is female. Seems as though our local fire department has concocted standards explicitly designed to exclude women. Very sad to see, and I am surprised no one has successfully sued yet.

A quick online search suggests that other communities have more female firefighters, though the good-old-boy fraternity firehouse isn't exactly putting out the welcome mat for women anywhere


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 6, 2016 at 7:21 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

" Seems as though our local fire department has concocted standards explicitly designed to exclude women"

An interesting assertion by a totally uninformed person - would you care to document those concocted standards?


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 6, 2016 at 7:39 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

For those interested in facts:

Web Link


14 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 6, 2016 at 8:11 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"While it is known that firefighters must be in excellent physical shape, many of us are unfamiliar with just how difficult and detailed the qualifying tests are. Being familiar with these difficult tasks breeds further appreciation of this heroic occupation."


There is nothing "concocted" about these standards:

"Physical Fitness Tests for the US Fire Department

It goes without saying that firefighters have a tough job with intense physical demands. Physical fitness tests, like the CPAT (Candidate Physical Ability Test), are what qualify firefighters for the position. This test measures cardiovascular endurance, as well as both muscular strength and endurance.

CPAT Tasks

It goes without saying that firefighters have one of the most physically challenging jobs in the country. The eight tasks outlined in the CPAT are the minimum requirements needed to become a firefighter. These tasks are simulations of what a firefighter might encounter while on the job.

This standardized test must be completed in at least ten minutes and twenty seconds, and is comprised of eight different events:

1. Stair Climb

This portion of the CPAT requires the tester to wear a 12.5-pound on each shoulder, replicating the weight of a high-risk pack (the hose bundle). The participant then warms up for twenty seconds at a rate of 50 steps per minute on a stair climbing machine. After the warmup, the tester immediately begins the times portion of the test, lasting three minutes with a 60-step-per-minute stepping rate. This test is designed to mimic the climbing of stairs, while carrying the high-risk pack in full protective clothing.

2. Hose Drag

The tester prepares by placing a nozzle attached to 200 feet of hoseline over the shoulder or across the chest. The participant can run or walk while dragging the hose 75 feet to a drum, making a ninety-degree turn, an continuing for 25 more feet. The tester must then stop in a marked box and drop to at least one knee, then pull the hose until the 50-foot mark crosses a finish line. This task replicates dragging an empty hoseline from a firetruck to a building (or other fire scene) while avoiding obstacles and remaining stationary.

3. Equipment Carry

This task involves two makeshift saws and a tool cabinet, imitating a storage cabinet on a firetruck. This event tests the participant's ability to take power tools from a firetruck, carry them to an emergency scene, and return them back to the truck. The tester is to take the two saws from the cabinet (one at a time), place them on the ground, then pick them both up (one per hand), carry them 75 feet to a pre-positioned drum, and return to the start point.

4. Ladder Raise & Extension

This task is used to test the participant's ability to place a ground ladder at a firetruck and extend it to a roof or window. The tester walks to the top rung of a ladder, lifts the unhinged part from the ground, and carries it up hand over hand until it is anchored against the wall. He/she must then immediately advance to the next ladder and, standing with both feet in the marked box, extend the fly section until it stops, then lower it back to the start point.

5. Forcible Entry

For this task, the participants must use a sledgehammer to hit a measuring device in a target zone until it activates the buzzer. Feet must remain outside the marked box at all times. The forcible entry test measures the candidates ability to use force to open a locked door or break down a wall.

6. Search

Candidates must crawl through a tunnel maze (approximate measurement 3x4x64) with two ninety-degree turns and several obstacles. Also, two sections of the tunnel have reduced dimensions. This task simulates searching for a victim in a random space with limited visibility.

7. Rescue

The tester must drag a 165-pound mannequin 35 feet by the handles on the shoulder of the harness. He/she then completes a 180° turn around a drum, then drags the mannequin 35 more feet to the finish line. This part of the CPAT imitates the removal of a victim (or injured partner) from the scene fo a fire.

8. Ceiling Breach & Pull

The candidate must remove a pike pole (six-foot pole with a hook and point on one end) from the bracket, then place the tip of the pole on a 60-pound door in the ceiling. He/she must then push the tip three times while remaining in the pre-determined boundary. The pike pole is then hoked to an 80-pound ceiling apparatus and is pulled five times. A set is composed of three pushes and five pulls, repeated four times. This task imitates breaking and pulling down a ceiling to check for fire spread."



4 people like this
Posted by No Concerns
a resident of another community
on Dec 9, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Menlo Park Fire District is the benchmark for other departments to follow. I appreciated reading the positive post by many of the citizens of the area. There was a few post that expressed concern about shopping while on duty. Shopping on duty is an excellent opportunity for the crews to get out to the public and interact. The members of Menlo Park Fire are always professional, well attired, and approachable. I certainly wouldn't want my firefighters to remain behind closed doors all day.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Dec 9, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Actually the next time I see MPFPD firefighters at the grocery store I am going to both thank them for what they do for us and I am going to pay their grocery bill.


4 people like this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Dec 9, 2016 at 3:20 pm

pearl is a registered user.

@Peter -

Peter you are a class act. Thank you!!! ; )

Pearl


2 people like this
Posted by OneShot113
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 27, 2017 at 9:15 am

Started reading these comments. How could you possibly complain about firefighters grocery shipping while on duty? These are the men and women that show up, at your very worst hour. They leave their families for 48-96 hours at a time, to be ready, any minute day or night to save a life, put out a fire, and every single man or woman in the Menlo Park Fire Department does it with care and compassion. Knowing one of the newest firefighters personally, these people (YES menlo has a few WOMEN FIRE FIGHTERS) have worked REALLY hard, to educate and train themselves to be ready for your worst nightmare. Car accident, stroke, heart attack, broken bone, water accident, you name it. They earn every penny they make, and deserve to be thought of as heros, full of bravery and commitment to serve YOU. Yes, they exercise, watch TV, and grocery shop while on the clock- but any of that is stopped when the tones go off. Next time you see a firefighter in the grocery store you should ask them how they are, tell them thank you for serving your community and smile at them. Because in that moment- they are away from their families, ready to serve yours.


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Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jan 27, 2017 at 11:45 am

To: OneShot113

Well said. I couldn't agree with you more.


3 people like this
Posted by practice makes perfect
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 27, 2017 at 12:03 pm

"Maybe watching the tv news of the firefighters fighting that Oakland warehouse fire, will give the consuming public a better appreciation for, and understanding of our firefighters and just one example of what their job entails."

Yes, it does.

Instead of personal shopping on 'company' time, perhaps spend that time working to assist with inspections and code violations would be far more beneficial to public safety.

To those that think that 'work time' spent at Safeway or Starbucks is good PR, take a look at what qualified PR professionals charge per hour, and what firefighters are paid per hour (hint: firefighters get paid more.) Do your food shopping on your time like all of us, and spend those hours at work teaching kids at a school about fire safety, or performing safety inspections or any of a myriad tasks awaiting their understaffed departments.


1 person likes this
Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2017 at 12:26 pm

pearl is a registered user.

@practice makes perfect:

"Do your food shopping on your time like all of us...."

I am so embarrassed for you!!! You obviously don't get it!!!



1 person likes this
Posted by practice makes perfect
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 27, 2017 at 12:34 pm

Pearl: do you shop every day for food? Or do you plan ahead and shop every 3 days?

I would think a union pension worth millions to each and every firefighter, and a great annual salary, would be incentive enough to plan ahead and spend work time doing 'the job'. Hiring 20 new firefighters, they were clearly understaffed - spend that 'shopping' time doing work. Shop on your own time like every other job around here.

But maybe I "don't get it!!!"


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 27, 2017 at 12:52 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

practice:

I happen to shop every day for food and I know many other people that do as well. So, what's your real point? These guys and gals are there for 24 to 96 hours without a break so, if they go to the grocery store while on duty so what? They have a radio and they're available to respond if a call comes in. They'll drop they're food and go handle the call. That call might just be to save your butt. You're welcome.


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Posted by pearl
a resident of another community
on Jan 27, 2017 at 2:44 pm

pearl is a registered user.

@practice makes perfect:

Comparing when we civilians shop, to when first responders (firemen) shop is like comparing oranges to apples. You're right, you "don't get it".


5 people like this
Posted by Tub
a resident of Menlo Park: Belle Haven
on Jan 27, 2017 at 2:54 pm

A short 20 year career with millions in salary and many more millions in pension, and we pay them to shop for their food on a 24 or 48 hour shift? They have the next 5 days off but can't plan ahead for food?

I agree with Roy - it's tone deaf. The union guys support it, birds of a feather and all that. Defend the union pension brethren to the death. If we're going to going into debt over these pensions, they can bring a bag of groceries to work in the morning. They don't support other unions, do they?


2 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Jan 27, 2017 at 6:03 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

Tub:

I'm not a "union guy." I'm someone with common sense. Complaining about firefighters grocery shopping on duty is STUPID. Their shopping on duty has ZERO effect on their job performance. given that fact, what's your REAL objection? Jealousy over what they earn? If that's it, just say so. Skip the nonsense about shopping on duty. Jeeze.


4 people like this
Posted by Questions
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Mar 21, 2017 at 3:49 pm

I am horrified to read on the other thread that Menlo Park firefighters are the top paid in the entire state, if not the country.

That is obscene. Then they graciously serve shoulder to shoulder with their counterparts at fire disasters around the country that do make far less, for the same job.

Should ours be the top paid in the state or country?

What are they doing extra to earn that level of pay?


1 person likes this
Posted by Home
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Mar 21, 2017 at 4:41 pm

What are they doing extra to earn that level of pay?

Shop?


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 21, 2017 at 5:00 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"What are they doing extra to earn that level of pay?"

Usually being deployed away from home for 4-10 days at a time and with the costs being fully reimbursed by the State or the Federal government.


1 person likes this
Posted by MP Resident
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Mar 27, 2017 at 12:07 am

Residents in a hospital are on call for 36h. When was the last time you saw a resident shopping for groceries while on shift? Oh sure, it would be great public relations for them to interact with the public. I'm not sure how much better of a job they would do. Or for that matter, how much the public would care. Oh, and they save lives, too, and deal with death far more often than our MP firefighters.

Now one might respond that residents have a hospital cafeteria to go to. Oh, what a novel idea. Have food brought to the firefighters.

Our public services in Menlo Park are totally out of whack with reality.


2 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Mar 27, 2017 at 6:56 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Hospital cafeterias serve thousands of people a day.

A typical fire station has 3-7 people - not an economically attractive food service opportunity.


1 person likes this
Posted by Zephyrab
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 14, 2017 at 10:45 pm

Having firefighters is a complete waste of money in the first place- There aren't any fires. Even for EMT, the FF go, sit and wait for an EMT that makes less money. These guys retire with 60% of pay after 20 years and full benefits- So at 42 they go do something else. It's outrageous. In Santa Cruz there's 10 FF that make over 300K with OT and benefits. They get paid to sleep !! Pasadena TX has a population of 250K and a volunteer FD- GET RID OF THESE GUYS. Fire safety, sprinklers, Sheetrock etc etc .... We don't need this complete waste of money. When was the last time you heard a house burned down. Sit on these guys and reel in their union. I'm getting to hate FF.


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Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 15, 2017 at 8:38 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

zephyrab:

no fires? Really? And you KNOW this because? You're a fire fighter? You're on the board? [Part removed. Please comment without negative characterization of other posters.]


1 person likes this
Posted by Zephyrab
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 15, 2017 at 9:00 pm

It's not an opinion, it's fact. I'm not surprised FF's like you won't like my opinion. We don't need these guys. Expand EMT service, sell most fire engines and cut budget- Go with volunteer FD. There aren't fires any longer. Read this-

Web Link


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2017 at 9:27 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Go with volunteer FD."

You must be kidding!

In a community that cannot entice people to be CERT volunteers to show up once every 3 month s you really think we could staff a volunteer fire department 24/7 !!!

i have been a volunteer firefighter and I know what kind of community is required to create that culture - it does not exist in our community.


3 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 15, 2017 at 9:39 pm

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

zephyr:

sorry. First of all I'm not a fire fighter. I'm just someone that believes in facts. You've presented NONE. Your article presents an OPINION. Not to mention its written by someone in Florida. Hardly an accurate comparison. If you want to argue actual facts, present some. Our fire fighters actually fight fires. There may not be many, but when there are, by god, they're fighting them. The majority of the work our fire fighter do is responding to traffic accidents and medical calls. So what? Most all of our fire fighters are EMTs and those EMTs get to calls much faster than the EMTs in the ambulances. I know, I've had to call them. Our fire fighters were there ten minutes before the ambulance got there. Those ten minutes are EXTEMELY important.

Volunteer fire fighters? Those are great in suburban environments where the fire department doesn't respond to medical and major traffic accident calls. We don't live in that type of environment. We live in an URBAN environment where our fire fighters are responding to medical calls frequently as well as major traffic accidents.

Again, I ask you, do you have an FACTS to support your contention or are you just trolling?


5 people like this
Posted by Zephyrab
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 15, 2017 at 9:54 pm

Per the Washington Post, since 1986 there's 58.5% fewer fires and since 1980 there's 49.3% more firefighters. The FF unions are way too strong and our government officials need to reel these guys end. Cut the budget 15% a year for 3 years and give the teachers a raise and spend money on more needed services.


3 people like this
Posted by Zephyrab
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 15, 2017 at 10:02 pm

I'd be curious exactly how many fires there were in Menlo Park last year. They probably won't tell you- It would be embarrassing. Go like the Central Fire in Santa Cruz- Cut their pay 7% and forced them to repay some benifits. It's the way this is going and that's a good thing. Fire Depts are a huge waste of money !!


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Fire Depts are a huge waste of money !!"

Until YOU need one and then they are priceless.


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 15, 2017 at 10:09 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Zephyrab - Will you notify the Fire Department not to respond to your address?


6 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 16, 2017 at 9:48 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

zephyr:

I hope you never have to call the fire department for help. I have had to when my wife had a medical emergency. I had fire fighters there in 2 minutes. They immediately began administering care. You do realize all fire apparatus have EMT's and Paramedics on them don't you? It was another 7 or 8 minutes before an ambulance arrived. Personally, I'll take the 2 minute arrival of our fire fighters over the 10 minute or more response of an ambulance. How long do you think you'd wait for the arrival of volunteer fire fighters?


7 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 16, 2017 at 5:54 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"A vehicle slammed into a tree with a victim trapped inside the car just east of the entrance to the Stanford Linear Accelerator located at 2450 Sandhill Road in Menlo Park around 4:30 this morning.

Menlo Engine 4 arrived on the scene at 4:35 am and reported that the motor compartment was on fire and a male victim in his twenties was trapped inside the vehicle. Firefighters knocked down the fire by 4:38 am.."

How long do you think it would have taken 3 volunteer firefighters to get to Station 4 and even begin responding to this call?

Far too long !!


1 person likes this
Posted by Zephyrab
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 17, 2017 at 2:41 am

Zephyrab is a registered user.

Thanks for making my point- Why would you need a huge fire truck and firefighters when someone has had an auto accident ?? Send EMT and their smaller truck. Sending a huge truck is plain stupid. Many firefighters aren't EMT. Also how many FF's are home sleeping, but "on call" and making OT pay due to union requirements ?? Reel these guys in now !!!


1 person likes this
Posted by Zephyrab
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 17, 2017 at 2:56 am

Zephyrab is a registered user.

A little dust and smoke don't constitute a fire, contrary to what the FF wants you to think. [Part removed. Please don't speculate on what happened.]

In the future, one fire extinguisher for every 1000 sq ft in the home and a mandatory 20 minute class when you close escrow on fire safety.

Get rid of the fire departments and give the teachers a raise and spend on other more needed issues. Save about $10 million dollars a year, just in Menlo !!


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2017 at 7:16 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"Why would you need a huge fire truck and firefighters when someone has had an auto accident ??"

Because, as in this case, all that extra equioment was required to extricate the person from the smashed car.

"Menlo Truck 1 personnel used specialized extrication tools consisting of the "Jaws of Life" spreaders, cutters and rams to first cut the top off the passengers compartment and then used a technique that rolls the dash board back to free the pinned and trapped victim.

The difficult and challenging extrication took 15 minutes."

Without that specialized equipment and the highly skilled firefighters who knew how to use it the outcome would have been quite different.


5 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2017 at 9:16 am

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

Connecting the dots.

This article is on the Fire District's accelerated hiring to fill the gaps in staffing created by the District's self impossed hiring freeze during the economic downturn.

Another article in the Almanac is on the Fire District's 2015 compensation - which included a lot of overtime, much of which was the result of the hiring freeze induced staff shortages.

Hopefully in tomorrow's Almanac article on the District's 2016 compensation someone will connect the dots between the self imposed hiring freeze, staff shortages, 2016 overtime and the District recent accelerated hirings.

Here is the District's 2016 compensation report:

Web Link

I am sure that most readers can connect the dots.


4 people like this
Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 17, 2017 at 11:22 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.

"A little dust and smoke don't constitute a fire, contrary to what the FF wants you to think. "

From this article: Web Link

"Chief Schapelhouman said firefighters located the vehicle and victim just east of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, and quickly worked to extinguish the fire and rescue the victim."

"The driver suffered from SEVERE BURNS and extensive trauma as a result of the crash, and had to be extricated using the "Jaws of Life" cutters and spreaders, Chief Schapelhouman said."

How do you suppose the victim sustained those sever burns if it was just " a little dust and smoke" genius?


1 person likes this
Posted by Zephyrab
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 17, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Zephyrab is a registered user.

At this point, it's really important to seperate EMT (as they have in many areas) and keep the FF Union seperate, as they are the real problem. I'm actually in favor of expanding EMT service and scaling back on FF, eventually having a 50-50 professional volunteer FD. We don't need these guys, there aren't any fires and the union is way out of control. Our govt officials have sold the farm dealing with them. We need professional negotiators dealing with them.

After 911, all FF got labeled heros- Those guys were heroes, but not these guys in the suburbs. Statistically being a FF is as dangerous as being a cashier. That includes the ridiculous inclusion FF have in that... You'll love this- When a FF gets cancer or dies of a heart attack, it's considered an on the job death !!! Absurd- Cut back on FF and give teachers a raise- The balance of savings to be spent on Planned Parenthood, Girls and Boys Clubs, Drug Rehab, etc


4 people like this
Posted by Peter Carpenter
a resident of Atherton: Lindenwood
on Apr 17, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Peter Carpenter is a registered user.

"After 911, all FF got labeled heros- Those guys were heroes, but not these guys in the suburbs. "

Wrong again - you are in a hole and should quit digging.

"The Menlo Park Fire Protection District proudly sponsors the CA-TF3 Urban Search and Rescue Team. It operates under the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As the sponsoring agency the Fire District has the responsibility of managing the team making sure it is able to respond to any incident it is requested to do so. CA-TF3 is a specially trained and equipped 80 person Urban Search and Rescue Task Force consisting of 18 participating agencies and 60 civilians. There are a total of 220 members in all that are available to respond. Menlo Park firefighters and paramedics rescue specialists, emergency room physicians, structural engineers, heavy equipment specialists, canine search dogs and handlers, hazardous materials technicians, communications specialists, and logistics specialists. This unique technical rescue team responds with 70,000 pounds of prepackaged search and rescue tools and medical equipment to conduct around the clock search and rescue operations at domestic and international disasters, both natural and man-made.

World Trade Center 9/11/2001 On September 11, 2001 the United States was attacked by terrorist. Many Americans lost their lives during these attacks. Many Firefighters, Policeman and EMS Personnel lost their lives while trying to save others. The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) lost over 300 of their own personnel including most of their command staff. At 11:00 am on September 11, 2001 California Task Force 3 (CATF-3) was put on alert. Preparations began for their eventual September 18 activation.

Since September 11, 2001, CA-TF3 as a team has been deployed twice to Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Ernesto. Members of CATF-3 have been deployed on the Incident management team to Hurricanes Charlie, Francis, Ivan, Dennis, Space Shuttle Recovery and the Greensburg Kansas Tornado.

Hurricane Katrina was one of this nation's largest and most devastating disasters. CA-TF3 sent an 80 person type one team, a 15 person swift water rescue team and 6 Incident Support Team (IST) personnel. Members were deployed for up to 21 days. Some members of the IST were in position three days prior to the storm making land fall. "


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Posted by Zephyrab
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Apr 18, 2017 at 4:27 am

Zephyrab is a registered user.

I just wish everyone that reads this, Wil go to Web Link
In 2015 in Menlo Park, there were 14 FF making in excess of $299K. A great deal of this is from OT, but more FF's won't make the budget go down. In fact if will continue to go higher and it's a ridiculous expense.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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