DCFD's presence at "State of the Department" address, and surprising reaction.

Firefighters gather on the steps of the American History Museum in DC, to organize their presence at Chief Ellerbe's "State of the Department" address.

Lt. Alvarado rallies the troops before the press conference.

Firefighters traveled from all areas (including outside the DMV)—via many different means of transportation—for the purpose of this demonstration.

Firefighters utilized social networking (Twitter, Facebook et. al) to garner support and increased presence from members and non-members alike.


Members proudly wore garments with the "DCFD" logo, which have been outlawed by Department order. Uniform regulations have changed five times within the last calendar year.

(I wouldn't want to face this crowd, either.)

Chief of Department Kenneth Ellerbe assumed his stance on the podium with a cool demeanor.

Multiple local news sources were present at the address; Fox5 presented the day's story on the 5 p.m. evening news.

Attempting to make several jokes during his presentation, Chief Ellerbe proffered a casual, carefree demeanor during his presentation.

Several firefighters had their children present in the room; all expressed the silent statement that Ellerbe's policy changes affected not only the firefighters, but their spouses and children as well.

Just prior to the 'question and answer' section, a pre-arranged cue brougt all firefighting members of the Department to attention.

Again on cue, all members performed a crisp about-face, turning their backs on Chief Ellerbe. Members were dismissed via vocal cues immediately thereafter.

Chief Ellerbe had no reaction, instead staring at his notes on the podium until the exodus was completed.

Completing the press conference, Chief Ellerbe presented the remainder of his Q&A to a mostly empty room.

Outside, firefighters gathered to show homemade signs and share their thoughts on the day's events.

District firefighters still staunchly oppose several recent pieces of Department order, including uniform policy regulations and rumors of changes to the shift schedule.

Lt. Alvarado speaks to members of the Washington Times, relating the day's events and the reasoning behind the firefighters' actions.

Firefighters gather to watch the 5 p.m. broadcast of their actions, featured by local news station Fox5.


  • Fern says:

    There a video anywhere of his speech in its entirety?

    • raisingladders says:

      There may be one floating around somewhere (as I saw many video recording devices being utilized throughout the speech in addition to the news cameras), although I couldn’t tell you exactly where to find it. Perhaps a copy would be available through a news agency or DC’s OCTO?

  • Julie says:

    Don't bother looking for it not worth listening too, it's all propaganda and bullshit. No facts to support it.

  • Reed says:

    Nice coverage of the meeting! Keep up the good work! Best of luck to you and the rest of the DCFD members! by the way, Love the comment cards! Classic!

    Reed. 358

  • FLFF says:

    Its nice to see the brother hood come together to fight against another chief trying to make a name for himself at the cost of his men.

  • La Forest Faulkner says:

    Does  DC employ any firefighters of color?  Is is a white on black issue?  Just wondering hwat is really going on. 

    • raisingladders says:

      Of course we do! Race is not the issue here—it’s our opposition to the Chief’s proposed changes that unites us.

  • DEMON27 says:

    This was put together in a day. It is unfortunate that more "colored" employees did not make it, but there were a few firmen of "color" along with women who are also fireman just in case you want to pull out the mysagony card as well as calling our good members racistst. This great department is bound by a passion, unfortunately not felt by all, but felt by the majority of men and women that proudly wear DCFD.

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Alex Capece

Washington, D.C. Firefighter and Paramedic

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