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  1. #1
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    Default Volunteer incentives

    I just had an e-mail from a County Commissioner about the possibility of County wide incentives for our Volunteer Firefighters. His response was" If we give them incentives that they 'the volunteers' will not be Volunteers. Now I know there are plenty of Volunteers out there who receive a stipend for their services. My question is "How many of you out there receive nothing for your services????
    Thank you in advance for your replies,

    Jay Dudley, Fire Commissioner
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
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  2. #2
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
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    I guess it depends on what you call an incentive.

    In my volunteer county, the county waives the registration fee on our vehicle ($25) and reduces the tax on our primary vehicle by up to $250. They also supply us with uniforms & PPE. The county chiefs get $120 a year to partially offet the cost of using thier personel cell phones for county business. We do not get paid for training, calls, etc. I suppose you could call that an incentive?

    Where my fiance' volunteers in a neighboring county, the volunteers get $3 per call plus tax reductions and uniforms & PPE. They're not paid by the hour, nor paid for training.

    The information in this document is about three years old, but might give you some information about Virginia volunteer incentives.

    Hope this helps...
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  3. #3
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    Default Incentives

    Thanks...BoxAlarm187. The document you sent me was the exact document I've sent to our County Commissioner. They are exactly what we are trying to do here in Bonner County.

    Jay
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    Jay Dudley
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    leaves me out. The six of the seven departments in our county receive, nothing. I think the largest department gets help with uniforms, but that's it. We have the satisfaction of knowing we have helped the fatherland.

    Was very interested in seeing the tax help and registration fees on primary vehicles.

    Thanks for starting the thread.

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    Default No pay here

    Here, we do not receive anything for our service to the community. The only thing that we qualify for is a tax credit through NC, but unless you itemize and we usually use that up on other things, you actually get nothing. (dont know much about it because I dont do the taxes) Just like helping my neighbors and friends. Glad that some get semi-reimbursed for fuel and other things though! One of our depts in town pays their members per call and if I recall, they got into some trouble with their 501(c) status when the IRS found out they were paying their members. Dont know the details just heard about it.

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    We get some minimal incentives. Currently we get day care and college tuition reimbursements and a state tax deduction. This is in addition to the free fire/rescue training through MFRI. We also have a LOSAP program for retirement.

    There has been talk about a property tax credit, but that hasn't really gone anywhere.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    No monetary incentives to speak of. There is a statewide deduction you can take on your state income taxes, but it doesn't amount to much. There is also a new statewide program that will reimburse most of your college or vo-tech school tuition in exchange for a term of service with your local fire department or rescue squad.

    As far as the department goes, there are the occasional free supper on meeting nights, annual Family Day, Christmas party, and banquet. All PPE, radios, pagers, t-shirts, uniforms, etc. provided free of charge (Don't know if you'd call that an incentive, just stuff you need to have, I guess).
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    My township agreed to provide incentives in an effort to build up the membership of the all volunteer company. My company approached the township with a proposal outlining potential incentives. We came to an agreement with the township and they approved it. The members receive a reduction in permit fees, exemption from fees for rec programs, boat ramp permits and a few other items.

    We also receive LOSAP which was approved by the residents of the town not the township officials.

    Not sure if these programs have drawn members into my company, but over the years we have picked up some good members. The most difficult thing the members must understand is that they have remain in good standing throughout the year to receive these incentives.

  9. #9
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    Default Incentives

    Currently we pay $7.00 and hour for our Volunteers with all equipment provided. My main concern was to offer more incentives to attract more Volunteers. I must really be naive....I thought most Volunteers were paid something.Thanks for opening my eyes.
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    MembersZone Subscriber BULL321's Avatar
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    Hell I thought that the free t-shirt, sweat shirt and a place to wash my truck for free was an incentive, Oh well

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    We are given a free department t-shirt, sweatshirt, hat, winter and summer jacket with department logos. The department also pays into the state LOSAP program if you are a member in good standing.

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    Default Volunteer Incentives

    What I have done in the past is this:

    1. How much would it cost to have a full-time fire dept. in the community
    to provide 24/7 fire protection versus a FD manned by volunteers?

    An actual example: Currently, our volunteer FD pays $250.00 per year for
    workers compensation coverage for its volunteer members. A nearby
    career FD pays $24,000 per year for workers compensation coverage. I
    explained this to one of my township board members and he agreed that
    volunteers provide the service at a more reasonable cost.

    2. How much savings does your volunteer FD provide to the community in
    reduced fire insurance premiums, because of a lowered ISO Rating?
    If your volunteer FD was not in existence, your ISO Rating would be a 10.
    Since you have a VFD and this results in your community to have a rating
    of 8 or less, you are saving your community money, especially for
    commercial fire insurance premiums.

    Ask a member of your VFD, who owns a commercial property in your
    community, to go to an insurance agent and figure the cost of fire
    insurance coverage for a rating of 10 and then a rating of 8 (or whatever
    your rating is.) Then you will know how much the VFD saves the
    community vs. not having a FD.

    Fire protection is an asset, not an expense. You need to present figures, showing how much your volunteers save the community. Showing this will help to justify the minimal expense for volunteer incentives.

    If you make your employer money, it is easier to justify a request for a raise or bonus. In this case, presenting facts on how your volunteers save the community money to your elected officials will help justify the funding for volunteer incentives.
    Last edited by FIRE117; 10-24-2009 at 09:14 PM. Reason: Clarity

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FIRE117 View Post
    What I have done in the past is this:

    1. How much would it cost to have a full-time fire dept. in the community
    to provide 24/7 fire protection versus a FD manned by volunteers?

    An actual example: Currently, our volunteer FD pays $250.00 per year for
    workers compensation coverage for its volunteer members. A nearby
    career FD pays $24,000 per year for workers compensation coverage. I
    explained this to one of my township board members and he agreed that
    volunteers provide the service at a more reasonable cost.

    2. How much savings does your volunteer FD provide to the community in
    reduced fire insurance premiums, because of a lowered ISO Rating?
    If your volunteer FD was not in existence, your ISO Rating would be a 10.
    Since you have a VFD and this results in your community to have a rating
    of 8 or less, you are saving your community money, especially for
    commercial fire insurance premiums.

    Ask a member of your VFD, who owns a commercial property in your
    community, to go to an insurance agent and figure the cost of fire
    insurance coverage for a rating of 10 and then a rating of 8 (or whatever
    your rating is.) Then you will know how much the VFD saves the
    community vs. not having a FD.

    Fire protection is an asset, not an expense. You need to present figures, showing how much your volunteers save the community. Showing this will help to justify the minimal expense for volunteer incentives.

    If you make your employer money, it is easier to justify a request for a raise or bonus. In this case, presenting facts on how your volunteers save the community money to your elected officials will help justify the funding for volunteer incentives.
    Excellent advice which I intend to follow myself.
    Thanks

    Cogs

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    MembersZone Subscriber jsbrown205's Avatar
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    The only incentive I receive is a $200/yr tax credit on my state income taxes.

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    I would have to do some research but in my State, KY, I believe volunteer has a very strict meaning.

    A volunteer is someone that does not receive any aid from the organization, in which he/she is volunteering for, to perform any of the duties or tasks while in volunteer service.

    That is not exact word for word but I will try and find the statute.

    This means that if you FD supplies you bunker gear, pager, uniform, tools, workers compensation insurance, motor vehicle insurance while on calls or enroute, health insurance, death benefits, etc, etc, etc, you are considered an employee while you are there or performing activities.

    We receive an incentive based on the number of calls attended and number of training sessions attended. The more you do the more you get. But trust me it is still not a lot. It pretty much is to compensate you for your time and expenses you are out. It is not a paycheck but while at our department they are still our employees.

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    we get a tax break

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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    I just had an e-mail from a County Commissioner about the possibility of County wide incentives for our Volunteer Firefighters. His response was" If we give them incentives that they 'the volunteers' will not be Volunteers. Now I know there are plenty of Volunteers out there who receive a stipend for their services. My question is "How many of you out there receive nothing for your services????
    Thank you in advance for your replies,

    Jay Dudley, Fire Commissioner
    I'm in Illinois...as far as I know I get nothing out of the deal 'for my services'.

  18. #18
    Forum Member JayDudley's Avatar
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    Default ???

    Cappy.....I'm like our County Commissioners you say you receive no aid yet you say you are receiving "an incentive based on the calls and drills". That is what I'm talking about.....The incentives to give to our Volunteers. We give them their gear and pay them $7.00 and hour while on runs, training and other programs that we have. Granted that they can get a pay check for their services but we have many who do no put in a pay chit to receive their funds.
    Respectfully,
    Jay Dudley
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayDudley View Post
    Cappy.....I'm like our County Commissioners you say you receive no aid yet you say you are receiving "an incentive based on the calls and drills". That is what I'm talking about.....The incentives to give to our Volunteers. We give them their gear and pay them $7.00 and hour while on runs, training and other programs that we have. Granted that they can get a pay check for their services but we have many who do no put in a pay chit to receive their funds.
    I guess incentive really would not be a good word choce for ours. It is more of a per diem that is given at the end of every year, or rather calculated at the end of the year and given out in January. It is not a per hour earning. In our budget we have a set amount to be divided up among all of the firefighters. Basically adding up all of the calls and training the firefighter will get the percentage of the amount in the budget that he has earned. But the total amount handed out never is based on an hourly rate. If you pay by the hour, taxes have to be paid, not necessarily by the FD but by the firefighter. And the total given out never exceeds the alotted budget amount.

    I assume you supply workers comp and everything else needed to perform duties. If so they are considered employees while they are in service anyway so the commissions point may be mute.

    Here is how we determine the percentage for each firefighter.

    1 point given for calls per firefighter
    2 points given for training per firefighter

    Add up points for each firefighter this gives you total A

    Add up all points for all firefighters together this gives you total B

    Divide Total A by Total B and that gives you a percentage.

    Multiple the percentage by the dollar amount in the budget and that gives you what the per diem is for the firefighter.

    If you change the way they are compensated you may resolve this issue.

  20. #20
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    Default heres 2 pennies

    I have not posted in years but kept watching the threads. I will say I am a Deputy Chief in Eastern KY and I think this topic is very important because firefighters should get something for their service. It does not have to be much.

    Cappy05, your per diem is very similar to our per diem. But we go a little farther. I noticed on an earlier post you say your in eastern KY. What department are you on?

    here is our calculations.

    Each position is assigned points.

    Captain, LTs and Training Officers get 3 points
    Firefighters get 2 points
    Juniors get one point

    Each person gets their repective points added to there total for each call they are on. Say 60 calls for an officer is 180 points, firefighter 120 points and junior 60 points.

    For each hour of trianing attended they again get their respective points added to their total.

    So now you have total run points for each person I will say A to go along with the previous example

    You have the total drill points for each person which gives you B

    These two together gives you a total per person of C

    Add all of the C totals together and that gives you D

    Divide C by D and that now gives the percent which is multiplied by the amount given to us by the Bard of Trustees which this year I beleive is $5500.

    The Chief and myself get a small paycheck. And trust me when I say small. so we are not included on the per diem.

    Now the Chief has the final say in who gets the per diem. In our SOGs it states that to receive this you must have attended at least 50% of all drills and put forth effort to make all calls. If you are caught laying out on the lame calls you could loose part or all of your per diem.

    Again I have been reluctant to post for years because most questions are answered given enough time or become a petty argument. Now I am afraid i will get hooked again but I think this is important enough to say my 2 cents.

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