Closed Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 Last
  1. #1
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Northeast Mississippi
    Posts
    25

    Default Beginning of the end . . .

    Here in northeast mississippi, the afg grants have been put to very good use. The majority of those funds went to volunteer department and literally transformed many of these department from a 'don't let the house next door burn' to departments that now arrive on scene in dependable apparatus, that safely make an interior attack and aggressively attack the fire. Today i was watching the new usfa administrator on firehouse.com and was concerned with his statement, "if the needs based approach continues there'll be a shift towards career organizations because the vast majority of those critical needs and capabilities will be met then we'll see a shift in the lions share of the funds based on needs approach going to career organizations . . . that is the position we are taking now." I hope this is not the beginning of the end of assistance to volunteer departments. Although a lot has been done for volunteers, there are still a lot of needs out there. Let you community and elected representatives know your needs.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long time no Sea
    Posts
    2,253

    Default

    Bingo! Just like I've been soap boxing about. We need to get this changed around.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Pinecroft, PA.
    Posts
    87

    Default

    I am getting tired of these glass half full complaints. I believe we just have to have faith and all will be taken care of. I for one am not concerned. These people in the end will do the right thing.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long time no Sea
    Posts
    2,253

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fightin23rd View Post
    I am getting tired of these glass half full complaints. I believe we just have to have faith and all will be taken care of. I for one am not concerned. These people in the end will do the right thing.
    Sorry you feel that way. We have been discovering that lack of exposure or apathy to issues like these, are part of the reason we feel this way. I'm sure urban populations and the fire service protecting them might not feel the same. When we respond with our concerns and then see the *confirmation* of these concerns, the issues we are worried about and that 'chiefb1 just highlighted; should we then carry on in the same manner that guarantees no satisfactory results? Sorry No.

    The reason why I'm certain that it's important to bring these issues up here is because of who is posting in this section. The grantwriters and fundraisers who have to know everything about their departments and often their neighboring ones as well. They are often the ones contacting their elected officials for their departments and have groomed these relationships with same elected governement representatives. These government representatives often contact the grantwriters back for feedback on issues. Hell I've even had them come knocking on my door at 8:30 at night to discuss issues.

    No, I may have it wrong, but I see this forum here as the ideal location as funding is the issue here. At this location. With those that communicate with their elected government apart from union representatives.

    Have faith that we'll get what we need and want? You gotta be kidding. Evidence is showing just the opposite result for our end. This location is our union.
    Last edited by jam24u; 09-01-2009 at 12:51 PM.

  5. #5
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    790

    Default

    Amen, Brother keep on preaching.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Golden City 1 hour south of fort smith
    Posts
    545

    Default

    Career departments are going to get more and more grant money because they got tired of volunteer departments getting a good portion. They got their ducks in order and the lobbyists on the pay roll. Yet all we do is complain and watch it happen. We need to fight for every penny we can get if we're going to keep it.

  7. #7
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long time no Sea
    Posts
    2,253

    Default

    We need to fight for every penny we can get if we're going to keep it.[/QUOTE]

    You know I don't blame the career departments. What should be considered is getting away from the forever claim of number of persons per district or persons per square mile arguement. How about totaling all the funding support received in a district and ratio that amount of funding per person. Per year for last 20 years. How much government support per person in particular districts. Those that have been getting the most in the past now have to go to the end of the line, and those that have received the less now go to the head.
    Rise in unemployment to double digits, goes to the end of the line now. Put the funding support to those areas with the least unemployment and see what results come out of that change for awhile. Value per dollar so to speak.

    How about those states whose residents contribute the most to charity. Mississippi contributes more money to charity than any other state. Maybe use that for a measurement for awhile. Why not? Interesting demograhics come into play when considering that one.

    My point about this is we might need to rethink about the way we measure who is the priority that needs funding first. Get away from the number of persons per sq. mile or many of the standard determining factors to fund one over another. The administration campaigned for change. I just see more of the same only in hyper drive.

    No I do not blame the career departments at all. No more than they can blame me for looking at this a bit different from the norm.
    Last edited by jam24u; 09-01-2009 at 01:32 PM.

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    69

    Default Gut Feeling

    Gotta love them politics, Ya know for some reason I have this gut feeling that you are going to see more and more volunteer departments disapering in another county about 20 miles south of us the town turned there volunteer department into a full time department. When I started seeing more and more threads on here about the afg cutting more and more funds from the volunteer departments my stomach just dropped. If it wasn't for the AFG grant we wouldn't have a brand new Class A pumper sitting in our station. Unfortunatly we kinda really on the AFG so we can update or antique fleet we have now. You kinda get to the point where you throw up your hands and walk away but you just can't do it. Hopefully someone up there on that high political ladder is looking at us volunteer departments.

  9. #9
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long time no Sea
    Posts
    2,253

    Default

    If all volunteer departments organized as a caucus organization, why it's membership would go to the head of the line as far as political influence is concerned. Then guess whose butts would get kissed instead of the kiss off. Unfortunately this would take some serious dollars to create and solicite those entities to lobby.

    I imagine we would end up just like the others (special interests) and the thought of that makes me kinda queasy and I've been squirrely enough lately.

    If I remember right, a 'volunteer union' was proposed once. I think it got lost due to lack of interest, proforma funding and creating a possible power situation within the volunteer fire service.

    For now my recommendation is to just keep our eye out for other areas of funding cuts in non urban populations and continue reminding everyone of our opposition. As I have stated earlier I'll keep contacting my state elected officials until they start to block my e address anyway.
    Last edited by jam24u; 09-01-2009 at 01:35 PM.

  10. #10
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    Umm, you mean organize in a caucus like the NFVC maybe? Become active in IAFC, CFSI? IAFF is all about taking care of their members and so are the other three but they only can get as much done as their membership demands. If you don't belong, no say in what goes on. Same reason I think all paid FFs should be part of the union. For one it's going to represent them in collective bargaining wherever that's in place, and two, can't change the organization from the outside if that's the opinion of a person.

    Reminds me, my NVFC just expired and I have to renew. Time to take my own medicine.

  11. #11
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Posts
    441

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fightin23rd View Post
    I am getting tired of these glass half full complaints. I believe we just have to have faith and all will be taken care of. I for one am not concerned. These people in the end will do the right thing.
    I don't think so Pollyanna. IAFF is primarily about union thug bosses taking care of union thug bosses. Throw a bone to the members funding their lifestyle on occasion to keep them blissfully happy.

    The change in the program needs to be more $ towards apparatus. The FD that have made the effort have mostly fixed TO gear/SCBA problems. The backlog of ancient pumpers/tankers still in service is outrageous.

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long time no Sea
    Posts
    2,253

    Default

    NVFC seems to be getting cut out of important decision making processes. Intentionally it appears, which again could be construed as an agenda of what this thread is about.

    Looking forward to the station grant announcements.
    Last edited by jam24u; 09-01-2009 at 04:27 PM.

  13. #13
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    Compared to how many volunteers there are their membership percentage isn't very high. Same with IAFC, there are more volunteer chief officers than anything else. But if one doesn't belong then one doesn't have a voice within the organization. 'tis a basic principle in effective networking.

  14. #14
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long time no Sea
    Posts
    2,253

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BC79er View Post
    Compared to how many volunteers there are their membership percentage isn't very high. Same with IAFC, there are more volunteer chief officers than anything else. But if one doesn't belong then one doesn't have a voice within the organization. 'tis a basic principle in effective networking.
    So true Brian. Unfortunately I don't see it changing much either. As firefighter Paul Comb's cleverly describes it in his cartoon showing a volunteer FF's head in a Vice which is labeled 'Ever increasing fire service demands on one end and Ever increasing full time job pressure' on the other end. The firefighters head is being crushed while the caption reads, "I'm not complaining-But this is starting to sting just a bit.", pretty accurately describes the status of the volunteer fire service now. I think that translates to low numbers of their participation with fire service associations too. The level of demands is taking a toll. I believe certain changes need to be done with respect to the volunteer service compared to the career service. As many believe these problems can be solved by funding, I believe a different approach can help take some of the pressure off. Maybe not ideal, but taking the pressure off in certain areas will help without the screaming for money to keep up.

  15. #15
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    Not much can be done about a personal money squeeze directly, a body has to take care of their families and pay the bills in whatever manner they can. Which of course reduces availability during all hours. We're doing more R&R apps this year in the hopes of offsetting the need to get part times jobs to help make ends meet. The more people work the less they are around to handle calls, the result is the increase in demands on everyone else resulting in faster burnouts. Some of which is related to training, after all you can't have any job and expect to do it well without training. This is definitely an area where the opportunity exists to work smarter not harder by using technology. Online training and CD/DVD based training has improved considerably and nearly everyone I've seen requires hands-on practicals to help drive home the point. Texas is one of the easiest states to comply with training requirements because of this. Every class includes tests and practicals with a certified instructor but reading the text and other things can be done on one's own time, which benefits those that read and comprehend more quickly. Minimum requirements should never be waved, but we have to start getting more creative in how they're met.

    That's why so many around here are doing shift schedules for volunteers also. It reduces the need for everyone to respond to every call, especially since only 1 crew is needed most of the time on alarms & EMS assists. Everyone comes out when the call is more severe, but at least a minimum crew is ready and known at all times instead of guessing "will someone else show up?" every time the tones drop. Current department does incentives per shift so if someone needs to help offset a PT job then they can run more. Same with pay per call. It's just the reality of the economy that puts people in that vice as responders and also the public which over most of the country can't afford fully paid personnel in house.

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long time no Sea
    Posts
    2,253

    Default

    I like the online training aspect. The practical often causes me to raise an eyebrow form time to time. When following up and checking my FF1 candidates training in practical skills and then see what occurs at testing wants to make me scream. I won't go into details, but want to see what is being trained 'hands on' the same as what is written and translated to testing. Firefighting for volunteers is not their job and these roadblocks can kill a departments training program results. Way different for a career candidate that I've experienced when it comes to certifications, and funding sources want those certifications. We've been over this ground before. Of course it may be different in God's Country (Texas. My Texas). Ever check how much U-Haul trucks costs differently between San Francisco to Austin then Austin to San Fran? From Austin to San Francisco it costs $900. From San Fran to Austin $3500. Many government factors come into play within this. (off subject a bit, but just a bit I wanted to point it out).
    When checking the surrounding counties here I have learned that out of the active volunteers, (4 counties) there are no more than 22 NFPA FF1 certifications. In our county there has been 1 certification within the last 2 years with 21 attending and 1 still testing. That is a horrible certification rate and after investigating why, have determined that the above is one of the reasons. Why would volunteers even want to put themselves through such a process? Now we learn that in a few years to even legally shoot water on a fire the FF will need to have his FF1 certification. To become eligible for funding/grants they want to see increases in numbers of certifications. I just learned a few minutes ago our major source of cash went from $9,000 to $1,800 and every other mutual aid partner experiencing the same. We need more than assistance, we need those on the other end to grab reality and be realistic when it comes to demanding compliancy. We're gonna be begging on the street more than we are now and here comes a government official sticking his hand in my begging cup, telling me I have to buy this to keep begging and that I have to get a diploma to be able beg for him and show him I'm getting my buddys to do the same.

    A crude comparison I know, but kinda accurate. A more detailed and complex system like yours above is workable as long as the other federal and state agencies take a break from PILING ON. I imagine my situation is a little similar to those towns along the Valley in Texas. Pharr, San Juan and Alamo. Starr county. Our towns are small. Very small and for them to meet the same requirements as a city are hard. Maybe unrealistic as time is proving, but that is what is being asked and there are way many more of them. Nebraska has 3 million population with less than a million in the 3 largest cities. Most communities are well under 5,000, but they make up the bulk of the population. It's the same across the nation.
    I know FEMA had warned us to get the training and when we didn't they began to require it. They warned us and we didn't comply. But efforts are going to have to count now and so is accepting of legitimate excuses.

    Sorry, I've been on this bandwagon too long.

  17. #17
    MembersZone Subscriber
    WJVaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    1,027

    Default

    tennessee passed a law this year mandating minimun fire service training standards then told almost half the counties they could be exempt because of financial hardships in those counties.
    It could be nice to be exempt but let something go bad and see what standard you are held to in court.

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Columbia, TN
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WJVaughn View Post
    tennessee passed a law this year mandating minimun fire service training standards then told almost half the counties they could be exempt because of financial hardships in those counties.
    It could be nice to be exempt but let something go bad and see what standard you are held to in court.
    We definately didn't "opt out" here in Maury County. We made a phone call requesting our representative not to take us out of this legislation. I think it's definately a step in the right direction, but I also agree with the others that volunteers are being "squeezed" out of the fire service due to higher required standards. Quality vs. Quantity= Hopefully we will see an increase in quality membership without a significant decline in the roster! Time will tell. As the volunteer organization we must be able to provide flexible training schedules and multiple opportunities for today's volunteers in order for them to complete required training. We are looking more rigorously at the high school population due to their availability and positive energy that they may bring to a department.

    Good luck everyone....it's going to be a difficulty road ahead!!

  19. #19
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Long time no Sea
    Posts
    2,253

    Default

    See these are all valued points to be taken into consideration. I hope when a 'standards' situation like this does happen, it does end up in a courtroom. Could be the tiny window crack that the volunteer service needs.

  20. #20
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    In some cases you have to stuff the egos of the existing members in the can. I've seen many with the attitude of "I had to do _____ so does everyone else", which is fine in some cases but there's a point at which inflexibility will kill the ranks. Demotivation is easier to pull off than motivation, and when there's a limited pool of people willing to run into burning buildings, blood, guts, and all sorts of other fun things that we do on runs we can't run anyone off. Doesn't mean we take everyone, just means we have to be open to providing things in a different manner sometimes. At the old dept when I was T.O I collected every drill I could find online and made up binders so between those and the other recruit related stuff we had some of the guys that were working nights coming in during the day to have trainings since they would miss the night ones. The combination of online class and hands-on practicals is the most efficient way we've have right now to get everyone up to speed so other than no computer or no instructor in the area to help out we don't have many excuses for not learning more about the craft. Ignorance kills in this business.

  21. #21
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Florida's Space Coast
    Posts
    204

    Default

    I'm guilty of not knowing how it will change in the future, but in Florida, volunteers must have a minimum of Fire 1 with State Certification to enter into an IDLH environment.

    That doesn't mean that we don't use, and appreciate many volunteers without Fire 1. With S130/S190 Wildland Firefighter Training, and/or EMT, etc, we find ( and sometime limit them) to activities for which they have been trained.
    Non-IDLH approved firefighters have distintive markings on their helmets, and we don't issue wildland gear or shelters until they have passed the required training.

    The newest guys/gals without any formal/certified training get local training to help role hose, fill air bottles, help with rehab, etc.
    Once they get Fire 1 (or State Standards) they can appreciate those "yard breathers" a lot more.

    We have they same problem though, in that many the volunteers that get or have the training, ultimately leave for a carreer position in a nearby community. The turn-over kills us, but in a way that is another service we provide... making combat-ready firefighters...

    While the economy is killin us all, it has one unexpected benefit....
    We have a number of volunteers who graduated fire school, but can't find a paid Firefighter position with all the budget cuts, so they join us to keep their State Standards current....

  22. #22
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    That's happening all over the place here. Which goes back to ye olde supply and demand theory. In PA normally one couldn't get into a regular academy until being hired by the department. We had the benefit in Bucks that the training center is IFSAC certified so all volunteers got those since everyone required completion of FF1 before being interior. TX only requires 70 for Intro plus a Live Burn to be IDLH. We didn't run recruit classes until we had a decent number since fallout always happens, so we changed to do the in-house like you guys have so they at least could help out on EMS runs, handle the hydrant, and change bottles. We found that keeping them running and interested for the few months before the next recruit class kept them from leaving to wait for the class to start and then never coming back. Once people are hooked they tend to stay. A lot of our FFs around here are paid with HFD and others in the area but still volunteer where they live. No one wants the tax increases to cover full career, and many realize the nice equipment and gear would go away to cover payroll since not everyone can have everything. Of course we pay per shift starting at $20 and it goes up $5 for EMS certs, E/Os, officers, etc so in a lot of cases members are staving off having to find PT jobs when the belt has to tighten.

  23. #23
    MembersZone Subscriber
    WJVaughn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Dickson TN
    Posts
    1,027

    Default

    "We had the benefit in Bucks that the training center is IFSAC certified so all volunteers got those since everyone required completion of FF1 before being interior. TX only requires 70 for Intro plus a Live Burn to be IDLH."

    Brian I taught a class up that way a while back that had some LE guys from Bucks in it. Those LE guys up there are serious about following the Union 8 hours and go home.

  24. #24
    FH Mag/.com Contributor

    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    Cypress, TX
    Posts
    7,288

    Default

    Yeah that's any job where people are getting paid by the shift and don't want to be there. Last software class I was in we had people bolting for the door in mid-instruction with the boss in the room, and it was earlier than they normally left the office anyway. Claiming that class times were posted as class times. Not the smartest thing to do with layoff rumors running around...

  25. #25
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    69

    Default

    From what it sounds like georgia is going to try and make it to where if you wanna make interior you must be at least FF1.They are makeing two levels, i think one is support and the other is where you actually fight fire. Now i don't know full details on it but i think it might go into effect by 2011 or 2012.
    Making it a little more strict when it comes to volunteer departments but I guess i can agree on this. At my volunteer department we have 3 members that are npq ff1 and the rest mod 1, im working on trying to get them all there FF1 hopfully soon. I can agree though on standerds and training for wanting to do this because getting your mod 1 here to me, it don't go really in depth like the FF 1 class does, so it is a good thing they are doing this.

Closed Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 Last

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Beginning your assignment
    By elmagnate0 in forum Probie House: The Place for Newbies
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-23-2009, 12:17 AM
  2. Beginning Investigator
    By SundayMoney in forum Fire Investigation
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 06-28-2008, 10:19 PM
  3. The beginning of the end...
    By Dalmatian90 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: 02-03-2003, 02:03 PM
  4. Third Watch...beginning to suck...
    By ThNozzleman in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 11-19-2002, 11:11 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register