1. #1
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    Default Religious Question

    Hello All,
    My name is Zach and over the past few years I have been pursuing a career in the Fire Service. Just finished a Basic Fire Academy in Spring, now looking towards Paramedic School once I achieve enough hours. However, as much as I want to pursue a career in the fire service, there is one obstacle I'm still unsure about. Religion...I happen to be a Christian who observes the Sabbath(basically a day of rest) on Saturday, which means that I'm to abstain from work from Friday sundown, to Saturday sundown...As for myself, I feel the preservation of life comes before the Sabbath, otherwise who else will keep care of those in need on the Sabbath? Although I admit, IF I do eventually get a job, I will definitely swap every shift I possibly can in order not to work on Saturdays, but obviously I wont be able to get every single one swapped. Which is fine, I'm willing to work on the Sabbath, as long as I don't receive pay(that or i can just give back the pay for that day to the fire service/donation). Problem is other than reporting to a Call, I realize there are other responsibilities during a shift, whether it be washing the engine, filling out paperwork, doing fire inspections...etc...
    So my question is, do you think it would be reasonable for me to avoid those certain duties on Saturdays, apart from when the bell rings? I of course am willing to perform such duties any other day of the week...
    So please Comment, honest opinions, I wont be offended!
    Thanks for reading,
    Zach

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    NO Seems like it would be very hard to pull off.
    FF/Paramedic

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    There are many religions that observe periods that one is to be at rest. In Israel the elevators stop on every floor during that time, because to push a button would be work. I have heard they are not to spit on the ground on the Sabbath because that is brick making. But if they were to be invaded I guarantee you they would be fighting on the Sabbath. If there was an earthquake I guarantee the hospital staff and emergency workers would be working on the Sabbath.

    I recommend you talk to your pastor or a clergy member and find out what is allowed in you religion. You may be surprised. You don’t want to have a conflict between your beliefs and your job, because years from now it could cause problems you will regret.

    I will tell you right now the trade/taking every Saturday off thing would be hard to pull off. And if you were my firefighter and you took that much time off it would be a problem. Getting through your probationary period would be next to impossible, as well as later on training and being a team member with your crew. Depending on the schedule of the department you get hired with that could mean you would miss three out of four weekends in one month on a Kelly system. A lot of places do most of their training on Saturdays.

    You are right, if you come to work, you will be expected to work. We will make time for people to have prayer time and to observe holiday’s the rest of us don’t, but to ask to be at work and not do anything but respond to calls every Saturday would be pushing it for most departments. But if you could find a way to make that happen at my department you would probably find everyone else saying they were the same religion to not work. Hope this helps.

    Good Luck, Capt Rob
    Last edited by FFighterRob; 01-17-2010 at 06:46 PM.

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    During college, I briefly attended a Seventh Day Adventist university, which observed the Sabbath very strictly from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown. Although I am not SDA myself, I learned a little bit about their religion. There are specific jobs (healthcare, public safety, etc.) that the church allows them to work during the Sabbath. I am not sure if they put off any duties until after the Sabbath.

    Loma Linda, California is a large SDA community. In fact, they used to be one of the only cities in the US that delivered mail on Sundays instead of Saturdays due to the Sabbath.

    I would suggest contacting their department and ask how they accommodate the Sabbath. Their website can be found at
    http://www.ci.loma-linda.ca.us/asp/S...sage/index.asp
    Good luck and please post what you find out. I'd be interested to hear how that works.

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    I believe that you won't be punished if you take a job that requires you to work on certain days to provide for you and your family. I don't think God would want you to go hungry or chance losing said job in order to observe the Sabbath. I think it's a choice one needs to make, before entering the fire services. Getting every Saturday off around here would be near impossible, and even if you could, administration would step in and inquire what's going on. You'll miss training, a lot of it usually. Operations around the house aren't always a big deal because usually when administration is off, there are no inspection calls or school outings and such. I think you would need to be up front and honest about this before ever applying, just to make sure you're not wasting your or the departments time and money for the application process.

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    Default Work Duties

    You have to remember that fire fighting and EMS services are provided 24/7. That includes Saturdays.

    While you may have the opportunity to switch shifts, etc. to avoid Saturday work, you need to realize that you are getting into a profession that works Saturdays.

    Good luck in your endeavors.

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    Point of order... Sabbath observation would encompass two days on some FD work schedules.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    I'm the least religious person I know, so take this for what its worth. Ask your church if they allow that type of profession to work on Saturdays. If they say no, then you need to either find a new career or find a new religion. Because you can't be a firefighter and not work saturdays. It isn't possible.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Ok, as a Christian I understand where you are coming from. But as it has been stated fires don't take a day off, nor emergency calls. And if you enjoy the job like you should (you should enjoy whatever you do, whether its emptying portapotties or firefighting) I wouldn't really consider it work if its fun.

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    I've never heard this come up in over 26 years of service. I believe I've worked with people from every conceivable religious affiliation. The only time I've heard religion come up has been with regards to wedding rings and medallions on a necklace. It's a safety issue but it has always been left to the discretion of the individual wearing it.

    And to reiterate Cap's post, my regular break day is Saturday but by the time I get off Saturday morning, I've already worked 12-16 hours into the Sabbath.

    Interesting topic. Let us know what you find out. Best of luck in your career.

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    Thank you all for your comments everyone, really appreciate it... I'm currently calling around Loma Linda to see how they work around the issue haha, if they do at all, I'll be sure to keep you all posted. I know it sounds like a wackjob religion and a little hardcore...but its what I believe and I really don't want to compromise it if at all possible. As far as speaking with my Church I know their answer would probably be the same as what I came up w/...the only time you actually work on Saturday is when a Call comes. Otherwise nada... Its just frustrating when you find something the you truly have a passion for and want to achieve...and there is a blockade at every corner, I just question whether or not to stop, drop and walk away right now...or lay down the facts in the Chief's interview haha...Grrrrr, Thanks again everyone

    If anyone would like to add anything to the Conversation, please post!

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    Ok, If I'm doing my estimations correctly you would work a saturday about once a month if im doing my math right. And you will either work the friday morning to saturday morning portion or the saturday morning portion to the sunday morning portion. This is on a typical schedule I am familiar with. So, basically you would be working half of the saturday and not the whole saturday. And if it is the friday night portion you would spend most of that time sleeping anyway. If you get the saturday morning portion you would work about 8 hours of the saturday.

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    Default Sabbath Observation

    As a Christian myself I have studied this issue very thoroughly. In all of my study I have found no Sabbath obligation under the new covenant to either Jews or Christians, only an obligation to gather together regularly (Hebrews 10:24-25).

    Don’t get me wrong, the principle of taking one day to rest is one I firmly believe and practice myself with my family. But there is by no means a legal requirement or commandment for Christians to follow or a punishment for not observing the Sabbath (which was death for Jews under the law).

    I think it would be extremely hard to fulfill your religious requirement being that to technically observe you would need to never work Fridays or Saturdays. We had a Jehovah's Witness who refused to put up the flag because of his religion and have noticed it gave him a bad reputation...
    Last edited by robafloyd; 01-25-2010 at 10:20 PM.

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    I'm honestly not looking for a Religious debate, Robafloyd. However, the Bible like any other piece of writing is interpreted in various different ways, I happen to interpret it in a different way than you do, all I'm looking for is various points of views of how to work around the issue, not compromise/change my faith. I dont have an issue working on the Sabbath as long as my duties from sundown to sundown are of only for the purpose of the preservation of life, not shining the chrome on an engine. I would be willing to shine the chrome on an the engine 6 days out of the week if it would allow me to be a firefighter and still observe my faith
    As far as showing patriotism to my country, I have no problem with doing that.

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    I know this is kind of on the religious debate side. But Jesus healed on the Sabbath so you as a Paramedic would be following in his footsteps if you did the same. As far as menial work, isn't there somewhere where his disciples take some grain or something of the like on the Sabbath and some folks look down upon it but Jesus does not? Someone might have already said this but I'm just throwing it out there. Sorry I don't know the verses as well. I'm much more of a generalist with this stuff. Good luck.

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    *DISCLAIMER*: I dont mean to sound like a heartless *****.....But.....

    I have to go to work on Christmas Day. Easter Day. I am expected to work. Now granted most of the time we are on "Holiday Routine", and usually just check out the rigs in the AM, do the housework and then are free for the rest of the shift except for the bells, but we are expected to work if necessary- If something needs to be done- clean the bathrooms, vacuum the Captain's Office, whatever.....We do it. Period. I signed on with the full knowledge that I had to work nights, weekends, holidays.....Rotating shifts...I signed up with the full knowledge that I might have to work my wife's b-day, my son's soccer game days, or my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. I signed on with the full knowledge that I might have to work those days, do the housework, help maintain the apparatus, clean the saws, polish the chrome, or paint the hand tools. I have been in this business for 20+ years in my own FD. I also have buffed with many, many other Fire Departments. In all this time, and all these other Departments, I have never, ever heard of a FD accomodating someone in a fashion which you are inquiring about. I have been part of companies that have attended services at a local church on Christmas or Easter, I have also allowed members under my command to slip away for an hour so that they could take their car and attend services on a Sunday.

    In addition, I can honestly say that I dont think I know of ANY firefighters or company officers that would stand by this request without being extremely ****ed off. Myself included. Bottom line- God might want to forgive you for not doing work that day, but I wont. You signed on, you work, period. We, being your co-workers, are not here to pick up your slack.

    As was mentioned, your probation period is where you need to shine. And when I say shine, I dont mean the chrome, I mean YOU need to shine. You need to be a shining example of what it is to be an exemplary proby.....You need to get to work 2 hours early, be the last one to sit down to dinner and the first one up and into the sink for the dishes....You need to be studying the rig, your local, your SOP's and Procedures, study study study.....You can be fired at anytime for any reason during your probation, without due process and without hesitation. This is not the time to bring attention to yourself.

    I would highly advise against trying to do shift exchanges or mutual exchane of tours each and every saturday. Not only will guys get tired of it, they will start to grow weary as you will be labeled "doesnt work weekends." Remember, you will only be required to work certain periods of time.

    My recommendation to you is that if you really want to do this job, you need to learn to live with working during your sabbath, or if it will bother you THAT much, then you need to find another job. If it bothers you THAT much, then why not practice your own personal sabbath at a different time? Say for example you are scheduled to work the 24 hour period from 0800 Sat to 0800 Sunday? Work on Saturday to Sun, then go home and practice your sabbath. Does God really require you to do it then, or will he be satisfied with the comprimise of doing it Sunday??? I think he would be ok with it. Your heart and intent are there.

    Sorry if this is not what you wanted to hear. As stated, I dont mean to sound like a *****, but I am just stating cold, hard facts. Good luck to you. For what it's worth, this is the best career anyone could ever hope to have the honor of receiving a paycheck for......I honestly think that God will forgive you. And I am sure everyone agrees with me on that point.
    Last edited by FWDbuff; 01-26-2010 at 07:51 PM.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I too don't want to sound insensitive but..

    If you tried to pitch the idea that "Saturday is the sabbath, I'll come to work and answer calls but nothing else" its going to make you look like someone trying to get out of doing work. While to you it may sound like a good way to reconcile your religious views with the work of a firefighter it's not going to go over well with your crew. There is lots of work related to maintaining readiness that needs to be done that is just as important as going to the call. No one is going to be happy when their working and your sitting quietly in the lounge. So then the other option is trying to get all Saturdays off. That's going to be near impossible and will quickly agitate your coworkers.

    The basic problem with all of this is God runs on a 7 day week, firefighters don't. You can have your day of rest in your firefighter's week, but it won't always sync up with God's.

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    Default Religious observances

    You might want to keep in mind that Loma Linda University Hospital is Seventh-Day Adventist run ...and to my knowledge they do not shut the doors to their Hospital for Sabbath. Good luck with your inquiry.
    Respectfully,
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    I'm going to throw a little religous perspective that I take at you. I figure God made certain people able to perform a certain job, to basically be his hands here on Earth. You can consider it the same as when he sent Jesus to do a job here. As firefighters and paramedics, we are the healers and helpers. It is our calling and how he made us, and we are essentially his hands.

    If God didn't want us doing our calling, no one would get sick, injured, or have a fire on the Sabbath. That's not the case.

    As far as washing and polishing the chrome, that is part of ensuring we are prepared to take care of our patrons. Keeping the engine clean and doing truck checks is part of how we make sure our trucks are rusting and rotting out underneath us, and making sure everything is on the truck that needs to be. It's part of taking care of those whose care we've been entrusted with. It's not just busy work. Imagine a rusted out, dirty truck arriving at your door. What would you think? Part of our job is portraying a professional imagine, which causes people to relax and knowing that the guys that care enough to take care of their equipment are going to take care of their problem.

    The mindset that polishing chrome and cleaning your truck is work that's unrelated to saving lives is a problem to me. Preachers, Preists, Ministers, etc. all prepare for their job, and I bet some of them do it on the Sabbath. Whether it be studying the Bible for a sermon, having a service on the Sabbath, picking clothes to wear, or any number of things, they can be considered to be "working" on the Sabbath if you get right down it. However, they are "working" to prepare for their calling.

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    Well thanks for the opinions everyone, I really don't take offense, I've been told the same various times before...thanks for the input, much appreciated.
    BTW called Loma Linda, have yet to hear a response

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    Please post LL's reply. I'd never really thought about it so it would be interesting to hear if/how they accommodate people.

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    I am a devoted christian as well, you only work one day of the weekend and I work either Saturday or Sunday and the other one is my day of rest, I feel I am in a position that allows me to serve God's people in an extraordinary way and I think he cares more about our hearts and fufilling the purpose of his commands rather that being legalistic about them.

    Hope this helps

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    Default Loma Linda

    As last stated...Loma Linda University Medical Center is still open and the only difference you'll notice is when you receive your food tray. There are some things that the Hospital does not supply.....meat, black pepper and coffee to name a few. They pass out what's called dinner cuts or veggie burger.
    As for working they...the Seventh Day Adventists' say you can work if the job is a life saving job...i.e. Hospital, Doctor, Nurse and Firefighter.

    I hope this answers you question....
    Respectfully,
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    Sounds like you need to ask someone in your church,

    YOu do not know any other 7th day firefighters???????????


    2) Essential and Emergency Work. In order to uphold the sanctity of the Sabbath, Seventh-day Adventists must make wise choices in matters of employment, guided by a conscience enlightened by the Holy Spirit. Experience has shown that there are hazards in choosing vocations which will not allow them to worship their Creator on the Sabbath day free from involvement in secular labor. This means that they will avoid types of employment which, although essential for the function of a technologically advanced society, may offer problems in Sabbath observance.

    The Scriptures and the Spirit of Prophecy are explicit about our duties as Christians to our fellowman, even on the Sabbath day. In the modern context, many employed in occupations involved with the saving of life and property are called upon to deal with emergencies. Arranging for regular weekend work requiring the use of the Sabbath hours for gainful emergency employment or accepting work only on weekends in emergency occupations to augment the family budget is out of harmony with Sabbath keeping principles given by Christ. Responding to emergency situations where life and safety are at stake is quite different from earning one's livelihood by routinely engaging in such occupations on the Sabbath which are often accompanied by commercial, secular, or routine activities. (See Christ's comments on rescuing oxen or sheep from ditches and helping people in need. Matt 12:11; Luke 13:16.) Absenting one's self from God's house and being denied fellowship with the believers on the Sabbath can have a chilling effect on one's spiritual life.

    Many employers in so-called essential service areas willingly make accommodations for Sabbath keepers. Where such is not granted, members should review carefully Biblical principles of Sabbath keeping and in that light examine the type of activity, environment, requirements of the job, and personal motives before committing themselves to working on the Sabbath. They should ask of the Lord as did Paul on the Damascus road, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" When this attitude of faith prevails, we are persuaded that the Lord will lead the believer to discern His will and supply strength and wisdom to follow it.

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    LLFD Update:
    Called into the FD for Loma Linda and they directed me towards the EEOC.gov, title 7, basically the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Which in part requires an employer despite the occupation to allow their employees to be able to observe religious practices which ever it may be (ex...bible study, time for prayer, meditation etc...) So they basically said they do not make any major accommodations other than that of Title 7. So they don't specifically give them every Saturday/religious observance off. Although I'm sure that they are a little more accepting and more willing to trade shifts/work around certain issues considering the community they are stationed in. BUT I do realize no matter where I would get hired,their will always be obstacles religious or not. part of having a JOb.
    Overall though, in case any of you are wondering haha, my decision at the moment is to continue pursuing a career as a Firefighter as long as my body holds up. And I will do my best to work around the Sabbath, and of course if I'm scheduled I will do my part in the firehouse. I'd go into my whole mental process as to why I came to that conclusion but I don't want to bore you haha. Thanks for all your support/critical feedback/ and advice, its been a big help...
    Now I gotta figure out how to make them see past the fact that I'm an asthmatic...suggestions? haha
    Thanks again guys

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