1. #1
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    Default Are Call Departments Eligible for SAFER?

    Sorry for asking what I am sure is an elementary question, but I'm finding the search function difficult.

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NewHampshireFF View Post
    Sorry for asking what I am sure is an elementary question, but I'm finding the search function difficult.

    Thanks.
    Call departments, implying the ff's get paid, would be eligible for the hiring portion of SAFER only. Recruitment & Retention is strictly for volunteer or combination (paid & volunteer mix) departments.
    Last edited by onebugle; 07-31-2008 at 02:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onebugle View Post
    Call departments, implying the ff's get paid, would be eligible for the hiring portion of SAFER only. Recruitment & Retention is strictly for volunteer departments.
    That's what I was afraid of. Thanks. Looks like that $8 an hour we just started paying out FFs could be costly.

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    Wink Hold it now....

    Quote Originally Posted by NewHampshireFF View Post
    That's what I was afraid of. Thanks. Looks like that $8 an hour we just started paying out FFs could be costly.
    Hold it there a minute friend...the glass is 1/2 full...

    You need to provide a bit more info here to get some great information from folks...

    You are paying your folk $8.00? Is that a per call stipend, are you Paid on Premise, and they get that as an hourly rate, and if so, are there some of your members that are volunteer force that supplement the crews?

    Read over the Program Guidance very carefully, look at what they are telling you, and hold that up to your department so see how it fits.

    And of course get a hold of Kurt or Brian- take a class and get a whole new perspective on grants

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    I think this is a call for lawyers.

    There are certain Federal rules that allow volunteers to be paid small amounts of money and still be considered volunteers.

    SAFER itself in its description of eligible programs allows for paying volunteers to attend mandatory training.

    Part of it might come down to how you define your Paid-On-Call program. Do you pay for every hour, training, included? What if they come down and do maintenance on the vehicles is that paid or volunteer?

    I ask these questions because my department is similar. We pay $10 to show up for a drill and $10/hr on a fire call. But we don't pay for required training, we don't pay for doing maintenance on vehicles, parades, community events, all of that is unpaid. Average firefighter gets less than $400 per year in reimbursement.

    We feel this keeps us in the guidelines of what could be considered a Volunteer Department. Attorneys that were advising on issues involving pay and hiring preference for city jobs felt the same way.

    IANAL, I would strongly encourage you to talk to an attorney and with the folks at FEMA. I don't think is completely cut and dried as 'you pay your guys, then they aren't volunteers anymore'.

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    The issue will come down to the definition of "Volunteer Department".

    FAQ's:

    Volunteer Department:

    An agency or organization in which no member receives financial compensation (salary, wages, or stipend per call) for their services other than life and health insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. We consider a department to be “mostly volunteer” if more than 50 percent of its membership is made up of personnel who do not receive financial compensation for their services.
    SAFER FAQ'S

    How do I determine whether I represent a volunteer, combination, or career fire department?

    A volunteer fire department is composed entirely of members who do not receive compensation other than a length of service retirement program (LSOP) and insurance. A career department is one in which all members are compensated for their services. A combination department has at least one volunteer, with the balance being career members, or one career member with the balance being volunteers. Also, if a volunteer fire department provides stipends to their members or provides "pay-on-call" for their members, the department is considered to be combination.
    SAFER PG Definitions:

    Volunteer Fire Department: An agency or organization in which no member receives financial compensation (in the form of salary or wages) for their services other than life and health insurance, workers’ compensation insurance and/or stipend per call. We consider a department to be “mostly volunteer” if more than 50 percent of its membership is made up of personnel who do not receive financial compensation for their services.
    One states no compensation at all including stipend per call, while the other states the opposite.

    In our area there is a difference between paid-on-call and stipend per call. POC is an hourly rate for each hour that the call lasts; stipend per call is a flat rate for each call whether the call is 5 minutes or 8 hours.

    Since they are paying an hourly rate implying salary or wages would make them ineligible for R&R, but that is my interpretation. The final say would have to come from the AFG for clarification or contact their FPS for more info.

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    Depends on what responses are paid for, but I'd say they're combination based on the guidelines. Per-call can't be considered career because there are no full-time payrolls, compensation depends on participation. Also not all-volunteer because of the per-call.

    Also by the 2nd response looks like $8/hour is the rate so it's not a stipend.

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    Thank you all for the replies. Here is a bit more information.

    We are a very small (17 member) department in a very small (1800) town. We have been volunteer for 105 years. The town traditionally "donated" a few thousand dollars a year to the volunteer firefighters association, which then distributed small (<$500) annual checks to the members.

    Our state department of labor found out about this last year (only 104 years late!) and had a cow. So as of January 1, we are paid $8 an hour for calls and meetings. Truck checks, community events, etc are not paid. In-house training is paid; academy training is not.

    We are just looking for a few thousand dollars for a recruitment and retention campaign.

    Thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    Depends on what responses are paid for, but I'd say they're combination based on the guidelines. Per-call can't be considered career because there are no full-time payrolls, compensation depends on participation. Also not all-volunteer because of the per-call.

    Also by the 2nd response looks like $8/hour is the rate so it's not a stipend.
    If the definition for combination per the PG is:

    Combination Fire Department: An agency or organization in which at least one active firefighter receives financial compensation for their services (including paid-on-call) and/or at least one active firefighter does not receive financial compensation for their services, other than life, health, and workers’ compensation insurance.
    I don't see how the department would be considered "combination" when it appears there is no volunteer component. I agree they are not career, but I do not see them as combination also. Hence, not eligible for R&R. Maybe I'm reading too much into it.

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