1. #1
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    Default Retirement for volunteer firefighters?

    I know what you guys are thinking. How can a volunteer firefighter receive a retirement on something he does not get paid for? I do not how other states work, but in Mississippi the state retirement system falls under a company called PERS. Obviously when one becomes an employee of a police, fire, or sheriff department (or any other government position), you are enrolled into PERS. I am enrolled with PERS as a 911 dispatcher for Vicksburg/Warren County. However, also being a volunteer firefighter through Warren County, I am not enrolled with PERS.

    The reason the question was brought up is to somehow give something back to volunteer firefighters who put in so many years of their life into protecting their community. A volunteer firefighter is on a department for 30 years and decides he wants to spend the rest of his days with his grandkids and fishing. So on his last day the department has a BBQ and gives him a nice watch and wave goodbye to him. But can it be possible for somehow that person also receive some sort of retirement pay?

    Of course a person would have to meet certain requirements to get retirement. You just cannot spend 5 years and expect to get something. So do any of you know of such a system exist or how this can be done?

    Thanks everyone. Stay safe.

  2. #2
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    Default Calling Harve.........

    The State of Maryland has a program for volunteers. I don't know much about it but I bet Harve could fill you in on it...........
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    It's becoming much more common.

    After 10 years, our volunteer personnel are eligable for a retirement account. They get $300 per year plus some bonus money for officer positions deposited into a CD. Once they "retire" they receive the cash accumulated.

    The first year was expensive, but after that, it's fiarly inexpensive. We usually add one or two new members a year at 3K each plus the yearly contribution for those already enrolled.

    My last department had a LOSAP account setup for members after 5 years of service.

    I know the Bloomington, MN, which is a city of almost 90,000 and is served by an all-volunteer department, pays thier members about $300 a month if they retire if they serve a certain time period, which I beleive is 15 or 20 years.

    It just makes sense to do these types of things as volunteers are much cheaper, even with incentives, than paid personnel.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 06-11-2009 at 09:44 AM.

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    It is very easy to set up a retirement system. All you need to do is contact a financial planning person, or Someone like MetLife to set it up. All it takes is some money

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    Colorado has a plan that varies by department and years served, some are 20yrs others have a 10yr,15yr and 20yr plan with amounts from $90 -$200 a month. The bad side is you get those hangers on that think they are due their retirement for past preformance.

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    The dept pays into a fund here in Arkansas. Don't get much, but it is something.

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    As posted, what you're proposing isn't all that uncommon.

    Here is a link to Bedford County, Virginia's LOSAP program for volunteers.

    This is an article from the now-defunct National Fire & Rescue magazine about programs offered in several different states.

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    Setting up a such program for a vol FD would potentially be an eligible SAFER grant project.

  9. #9
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    Talking You Rang??...........

    Sorry I'm Late........ Dang Flood Rescues.......

    Anyway, Maryland has a number of Counties with "Length of Service Award Programs" more commonly referred to as "LoSAP" A few that I know a little about:

    Prince Georges County - A member may start collecting benefits after getting 25 years active service credit AND reaching Age 55. Starting Benefit is $250.00/month. Anyone exceeding 25 years service credit gets an additional $4.00/month for each extra year. Anyone receiving Benefits is elegible for a $5,000.00 Death Benefit also. Anyone actively earning points who reaches age 70 and does not have 25 years credit may qualify for a lesser amount monthly. Last, when County employees get a cost of living increase in their salary, LoSAP members get an increase in their checks equal to 50% of the COLA that the work force gets.

    Anne Arundel County - A member gets $250.00/Month after 25 years and age 50.

    Frederick County - $200.00/month after 25 years service and age 60.


    About 19 or 20 of Maryland's 23 Counties have programs, most of which have variations of the 3 mentioned above. It is IMPORTANT to note that each program is independent of the others, and all of them are operated by County Governments. Several folks have mentioned to me over the years that we should have a Standard, Statewide, System. I do not agree. The current system of Counties operating independently allows people to earn points in more than one location at the same time. You'd be suprised...............

    All systems operate on the basis of each volunteer organization tracks the accrued points for each of their members. Points are given for Calls, Training, Meetings, Station Duties, etc. A list of Members and their points tally is submitted to the Local Government on an annual schedule. There are audit procedures and other checks and balances built into the systems to ensure the accuracy and integrity of the numbers.

    Look up www.FireCommission.com for PG's LoSAP details. there is a 42 page "Book" that you can download.......
    Last edited by hwoods; 06-11-2009 at 11:42 AM.
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    We have a Length of Service Awards Program (LOSAP). It's basically a retirement system. We get a couple of hundred dollars per month after 20 years of service.

    A year of service is defined as a year in which you get 60 points in the system. Points are given for calls, training, meetings, being an officer, military time and collateral duty. You have to get points in at least 4 categories and there are maximums in each category. In addition, since the program is run by the county, years spend in another county don't count.

    It's not much, but every little bit helps and it's a little incentive for people to stick around.

  11. #11
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    We have some that retired just a few years after they joined.

    Or so it seemed.

    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

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    In North Carolina, all vollies receive a type of "retirement". After 20 yrs of service and hitting the age 55 you will receive $167.00 a month until your death. Each Dept. pays $10.00 a month for each member, until they "retire". My chief advised me the other day that 28 years ago when he first started, the retirement fund paid $100.00 a month. So as you can see it gone up a whole lot in the last 28 years. Oh well, is not like you get into this line of work to get rich. Hope this helps.

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    In Georgia, the state firefighter's pension fund is the same no matter if you are paid or volunteer. Most departments pay the dues for members, and full retirement is 20 years at age 55.

    Retirees draw almost $1,000 a month as of right now.
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    California did have a Volunteer Length of Service Award system as well. Per the CalPERS site, its no longer active.

    UPDATE/ADD-

    Volunteer Firefighters' Award System
    On October 14, 2007, Senate Bill 581, Statutes of 2007, Ch. 651, was signed by Governor Schwarzenegger and became law on January 1, 2008. This legislation provided for the transfer to the board of the California State Firefighters' Employee Welfare Benefits Corporation (CSFEWBC) administration of the Volunteer Firefighters' Length of Service Award System (VFLSAS). The CSFEWBC assumed Award System administration on March 1, 2008, and has contracted with Hicks Pension Services for the daily operations of the Award System.

    For additional information regarding the Award System, please contact Ms. Amanda Colwell, Administrator, Hick Pension Services via email.

    Dated: 10-17-2008

    http://www.calpers.ca.gov/index.jsp?...ard-system.xml
    Last edited by CALFFBOU; 06-12-2009 at 03:04 AM.

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    Wisconsin made a statewide retirement fund in 1999 for volunteer firefighters as part of the Wisconsin Retirement System. The WRS is for full time employees but in 1999 they added volunteer firefighters and EMS workers for a smaller amount. They can add into it as much as they want but the State will only match a certain amount per year, I believe it is $300.00 a year but don't quote me.

    http://www.legis.state.wi.us/LaB/rep...Highlights.htm
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    I believe we get $60,000 after 20 years of service here in Kansas.

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