1. #1
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    Question Does Your Deparment Allow?

    1. Does your department have rules or allow Paid and/or Volunteer members to join other deparments in your area?

    2. What is your personal opinion of members joining other departments?

  2. #2
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    Dickey's Avatar
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    Hmmmm......

    This is a hot topic in my area right now.

    My department does not have an SOG or policy that prohibits a person to be a member of another department, however it has been a rule of thumb in previous years, UNLESS that was your full time job. Let me explain.

    We had a guy several years ago that was on our department, and a POC department just to the north of us. He was the only one at the time that was on another department so it set a precedence. He was leaving our station to respond to the other department and got in a crash on the way there. Since then, we have not allowed anyone to be a member of another department, UNLESS it was their full time job. People like myself, and a couple other guys worked private fire service full time so we were ok. There currently is no written rule.

    Recently, the local IAFF at the full time department next door allowed their members to become a member of another department as long as it is not a "competing" agency, such as another EMS service. Recently several members of that department joined neighboring volunteer departments and its working well, so far.

    Here is my opinion. This is what I can see happening. If there is something big happening in the area, and you are on two different departments, which one will you respond as or with? I would assume most people would choose the POC department that paid the most either hourly wage, or whatever you get paid, if at all. What if I work for the full time department, respond on my day off with my POC department, both get called to the same fire and my full time job wants to call me in but I am already at the scene working for the other department? How local do you have to be to be on two different departments and what are their requirements to residency? How far out is too far?

    Another issue I have is now that you have guys wearing both hats, your resource base is smaller. Same group of people on two or more departments. It would benefit because that person might have more training or certifications that others which would benefit the smaller department that may not be able to afford to train that person to that higher level.

    So, my department has not made a decision yet as to if we will make a rule, policy, SOG prohibiting that or not.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

  3. #3
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    No issue.

    We do not have full time personnel that are members of another department, primarily because they all live within our district, which is not a requirement, but is an expectation.

    We have several volunteers & part-time employees who are career members with a couple of neighboring combo departments.

    We also have a few volunteer members who are fulltime mebers with a couple of area all career departments.

    We benefit too much from other FT departments to prohibit our FT members from volunteering elsewhere.

  4. #4
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    Cool My Department.....

    How my Career Department does it is that we allow for our Members to work Paid-Call, Volunteer or Reserves for other Departments. To us, it's really no different than having another Job, which as most of us know is a requirement to help pay the bills. We don't allow taking time off to work at the other Department, as leave will be denied. We also have Members that are assigned to Incident Management Teams for Campaign Fires; this is a different subject and really encouraged since the Department is reimbursed for the service of it's Members. The list of pro's and con's are the same for both subjects though.

    There is a list of pro's and con's to this:
    Pros:
    Personnel get experience.
    Personnel get training from an outside source.
    Personnel refine their skills and develop new skills
    Moral is increased when they go on "Good Calls."
    Lessons can be learned and shared with at our Department.
    Helps establish a solid foundation for all Levels (FFs, Eng, C.O.)
    Helps pay the bills doin' what we love.
    Allows our Members to serve the Communities they live in.
    Also provides us occasionally with ice cream, bagels and fat-free sorbet when they make the news or newspaper.
    Cons:
    Members could get hurt while performing at the other Department which could cause O.T. to be paid from our Budget.
    It could be conceived that a Union Member is taking the Job/O.T. of another Union Brother/Sister. This is totally false since with most Departments the O.T. is Rank for Rank and since the Member is a Paid-Call, Volunteer or Reserve the O.T. was already turned-down by the other Career Members.
    These lists are just a few reasons why to do it and why not to do it. They are complaints/compliments that I've personally heard and been involved with. I know there may be many more issues that may be added to both lists but these are the major topics that I've heard of.

    Again, this is just my thoughts and how my Career Department looks at the topic and I realize that this may not work for all Departments. Do what's right for your Customers (Internal and External), Department and allow your Personnel some freedom.
    "Be LOUD, Be PROUD..... It just might save your can someday when goin' through an intersection!!!!!"

    Life on the Truck (Quint) is good.....

    Eat til you're sleepy..... Sleep til you're hungry..... And repeat.....

  5. #5
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    Excellent post Mikey!!!

    Good points I didn't even think of.
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

  6. #6
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    Mostly volunteer (1 paid driver m-f daytime)

    We prohibit volunteering with any other fire depts in our county. We are silent for career FF who wish to volunteer with us.

    Our rules are simple for membership - must either live within or work a full time job within our township.

  7. #7
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    Being a volly department we don't care. When we have the "big one" we're going to call the neighboring towns anyway. Heck it took us over 40 minutes to get to the last fire I went on, which was in another state.
    FF-II/EMT-B/Incident Safety Officer/Photographer
    Lancaster Fire Department
    First run area (Fire): Lancaster, NH & Guildhall, VT (84.3 Sq Miles)
    First run area (Ambulance): Lancaster & Jefferson, NH; Gilman, Guildhall & Lunenberg, VT (185.1 Sq Miles)

  8. #8
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    In NYS you can only volunteer for one department by law. However, there are many paid guys who do volunteer. As for the getting hurt thing. One could easily go to work in construction, the oil fields or engage in other risky activities in their off time as well. I don't believe the getting hurt is a good argument.

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    Here, at least in Alberta, there is no problem with career FF volunteering in their own community. Back in my day, one Union VP volunteered in his own home town. Only rule as far as I know is they cannot respond during work time on career dept. My son will volunteer after Sept when they move to new house in bedroom community.

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