Sometimes it's easier for Lawrence Fire Department captains to battle blazes than answer simple questions put to them at the stations.
But they're trying to do something about it.
The Lawrence Fire Captains Resource Group was formed last month as an informal organization within the department. All 12 of the department's captains are participating and plan to meet monthly.
The goal, according to Capt. Larry Woydziak, the group's chairman, is to "encourage more productive communications" among the captains, Chief Jim McSwain, senior staff in the department and firefighters.
"The key phrase in there is productive communications," Woydziak said. "... We felt that there was a need for us to get together and start communicating so we could exchange ideas on how to handle our jobs and different department issues that come up."
Other officers in the group are Capt. Lloyd Hammerschmidt, co-chairman, and Capt. Joe Hoelscher, secretary. Together the men have more than 56 years of LFD experience.
Woydziak said the group's first goal is to improve communication among the captains. From there, they hope for a "ripple effect" of improved communication throughout the department.
McSwain said he applauded the captains' effort.
"I think it's a good thing," he said. "There's a lot of issues that are related to station activities. It gets them to be a bigger part of what happens. Rather than liking or not liking a decision, they are generating ideas that help us make better decisions."