Thread: SAFER is out.

  1. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    You have paid employees volunteering back to the department even though federal labor law says they can't. If they get hurt while "volunteering", you're going to give them paid time off because they are paid civil service employees, yet LA worker's comp says volunteers aren't covered for this.

    So, in filing a claim, it would seem that your department would have to LIE and say that the injured FF was working and "on the clock" in order to receive a benefit he's not eligible for as a volunteer.


    I'll explain this again, because it is complicated.

    Under LA workman's comopensation, volunteer firefighters are only entitled to the payment of medical bills if hurt while training or at an incident. They are not eligable for income-related compensation.

    In the past, if a career member was hurt (and there has only been one case and the injury was minor) while volunteering his injury was filed with workman's comp as a volunteer. The member had to use his department sick time to cover his paycheck. If we had a situation where that ran out, he would no longer receive a paycheck.

    Now that we are civil service, one of the benefits under the law is unlimited sick time for any illness or injury on or off duty up to 364 days. If the member can return to even light duty for day 365, he I beleive, can then get another 364. If he cannot, he must be discharged. The only exceptions for this are acts that are "reckless and dangerous" such as skydiving and the like. To the best of our knowledge, there has never been a case in our area where an injury has been disallowed.

    The medical bills are still covered by workman's comp so his status as on-duty or volunteer at the time of the injury is irrelvant.

    No, we do not have to forge paperwork as the member in the past had to use his own sick time to cover his time away from work. That is no longer the case.
    I really don't think it's all that complicated.

    You have paid career firefighters in your department volunteering for that department while off-duty in violation of federal labor law. Not complicated.

    Said firefighter gets hurt while volunteering. You file a claim for him "as a volunteer", which is actually a LIE since his true employment status with the department is PAID and you can't be both paid and volunteer for the same organization. Not complicated.

    Since you filed the claim for him "as a volunteer", your department has admitted on a legal document that he wasn't being paid for his participation when he was injured. This shows that the department willfully violated federal labor law. Not complicated.

    Per your statement, a career firefighter can get 364 days of paid sick leave for an off duty illness or injury. Not complicated, but I find that extremely hard to believe.


    On a related note, if the information you presented here is true, your career firefighters have been MORONS for volunteering a single minute to the department off-duty.

    I say this not because they weren't getting paid for their time, but rather because if they got hurt while performing work for their employer "as a volunteer" they had to use their own sick time if unable to work and risked losing their job if they ran out of time before being able to return to work.

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    Ok, I keep reading this talk about letting a child burn up in a car and so on and not helping because you are off duty...

    When or where was this said??? Maybe I'm off base here but in my mind anyone would want to help firefighter or not. Is this what the world has come to?

    Just wondering

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    Per your statement, a career firefighter can get 364 days of paid sick leave for an off duty illness or injury. Not complicated, but I find that extremely hard to believe.

    That is one of the perks of civil service in LA.

    If the department has, and can utilize him on light-duty assignments, I beleive he is required to return to work in that capicity until being medically cleared for full duty.

    I beleive they receive full salery, including rank and incentive pay, less the 6K a year state pay.

    In some cases, he/she may be transferred to the workman's comp system, where they will only recieve 60% of thier base, exclusive of the 6K state pay.

    Again, much of this is new to us and we are still learning the new rules of the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    This back and forth is getting old, however i want to address just a couple of things.

    I hate people who preach one thing while they live another. If you have time to volunteer to another FD in another community you had more than enough time to fulfill your Pub Ed job as a volunteer


    I do very little responding with the other FD. I was asked to join so that I could assist the young firefighter handling training. I respond to maybe 3 or 4 runs a month, primarily as a safety officer, and to observe the operation to note training needs.

    I was able to accomplish most of my pub ed goals volunteering as I worked a shift schedule at the Ambo Service, but it meant very little time at home. The department decided they wanted to accomplish even more and relaized that the program was at it's limit with volunteer staff.

    The department also identified the need for someone to take much of the training load, as well as 3 or 4 administrative responsibilities off the Deputy Chief.

    The department also identified myself as the one for that roles as well, and realized that I could simply not assume those additional roles and tasks as a volunteer or even as a part-time member.

    The department decided that additional admin staff was needed. they made a choice. I'll let them know you disagree.

    I don't care what you tell your adminstrative staff. Your story has changed so many times it is amazing.

    So you had to stop being a volunteer in your department because your full time ems job and being a volly kept you away from home too much. But now you have a full time fire gig and you STILL CHOSE TO VOLUNTEER ELSEWHERE. Did the days suddenly grow more hours since you became a paid firefighter?


    Obviously your community can support more career staff because you have said it yourself. So money is not the issue in your case. It is pure obstructionism on your part

    Yes, we have the money. In fact, we probably have the funding to hire 1 or 2 more beyond the 3 we plan on hiring.

    The thing that irratates me the the attiude of your post which basically says, that hiring paid staff is progress and not hiring paid staff if the money is available and keeping a primarily department is somehow not marching forward, or even regression.

    Knowing how you feel, and what you have said repeatedly here, if I were a paid guy on your FD I wouldn't have a single damn thing to say to you that wasn't directly job related. I would view you as hostile to my livlihood. If there is animosity about having a mix of paid and volunteers you are deep in the mix of it...

    I know of several departments in my area that have paid staff on duty, some days, some 24's, and they manage to maintain strong volly or POC contingents. Paid staff was brought on to get the first rigs out faster and to eliviate pressure on the volunteers for lesser responses. A shame adding paid staff can't have the same success in Bossier Parish Louisiana.


    That statement assumes that hiring additional personnel will improve the delivery of services. And that is the only way gto improve the delivery of services. The fact is adding staff is not improvement if that money can be directed at recruiting and retention of a much larger pool of volunteer members, which is the case here.

    I never said it was the only way, you said that. The facts are in many places there is no more base for volunteers. What would you have those places do? Respond to working structure fires with 2 or 3 volunteers because that is all they have at 10 am on a Monday? You have to have the people available AND willing to join the FD. No amount of money will manufacture volunteers or make those join that have zero interest.

    The fact is we plan on spending about 160K a year for saleries and benefits. For that money, we will be adding 1 paid member around the clock. 1 member at a time.

    Compared to here $160K for three 24 hour firefighters is a bargain.

    Think of how many volunteers we could recruit and retain with that 160K.

    What are you going to do with the $160K? Start paying these volunteers? If you do they aren't volunteers anymore and infact become POC or part-time paid firefighters.

    There is no doubt in my mind that if that 160K was directed towards the volunteer base rather than 1 paid member at a time, we could easily increase the number of volunteers responding, given our demographics, by 4-6 per call, at a minimum.

    Why haven't those people already stepped forward? Come on spin that...

    Instead, we are spending it one 1 paid member per shift. To me, hiring 3 additional personnel is simply wasteful and extremly cost ineffective.

    So who cares what you think? Are you the Chief? NO YOU ARE NOT. He ahs decided he wants more paid people. Maybe he is more in tune thatn you are to the needs of the departnment and community. Or are you going to say he is worng?

    That being said, would I oppose 1 member being hired for a daytime only shift to help with mainataince and testing projects? No, because there is a demonstrated need in that area, as long as ther remaining 120K was directed towards recruiting and retenion. That would also releive some of volunteer responsibility with hose, pump and hydrant testing.

    Then hire maintenance people and not firefighters. Since apparently all your vollies want to do is the glory part of being a firefighter and go on calls. Funny how on my volly FD we all test hose, and we all maintain the station, and we ll do repairs, and we all work together. The picture you are painting of your vollies is not very flattering at all.

    I could even be convinced that hiring 2 might be a wise choice, however that would seriously hamper a serious recruitment and rentention program.

    Blah, blah, blah...prove it.

    Sorry bro but you have been drinking way too much union kool-aid if you beleive that hiring paid staff in our situation is the answer, because it is not. And it's not an effective in many other places where the demographics can still support significant or all-volunteer involvement. We are a community that falls into that catagory.

    First of all, I am not your Bro. I am a firefighter and I have earned every damn bit of that title on both sides of the page as both a volunteer and a paid firefighter.

    Secondly, I am not your chief. If I was you would not be on here spouting off and making my fire department look like god damned hooterville. Nope, can't stop you from posting but I could affect your employment status.

    Thirdly, of course you have a right to express your opinion if the chief asks. But once the decision is made you either get on board with it or man uop and shut up about it. Questioning your chief's decisions here on FH.com shows a complete lack or class, respect and understanding of the chain of command.

    Fourthly, I have told you I don't care what your FD does. What I do care about is your constant attacks on paid firefighters and how they destroy volunteer fire deaprtments.


    If that makes me an obstructionist, so be it. I want to see the department get the most bang for it's buck, which isn't by hiring. And yes, I also want to keep the department as much a volunteer organization as possible, as that is the best and most cost-effective way to deliver services in our district, as well as the fact that it is keeping the tradition of volunteering alive.

    As if there is any doubt about you being an obstructionist. Funny how it isn't by hiring in any position but yours. Hypocrite.

    Golly funny how you defend tradition here as an excuse tio maintain your volunteers but rip it to shreds any time anybody else mentions it as a reason for doing something.
    Your turn...spin it some more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itshotinhere View Post
    Ok, I keep reading this talk about letting a child burn up in a car and so on and not helping because you are off duty...

    When or where was this said???
    If I recall correctly, one incident of this was in a thread discussing an off-duty grab by two firefighters in Milwaukee(?) a year or so ago. There was an MVA, car on its side with occupants still inside when it started to catch fire. The two rescued the occupants and sustained some relatively "minor" injuries in doing so.

    Maybe I'm off base here but in my mind anyone would want to help firefighter or not. Is this what the world has come to?

    Just wondering
    No, it's just that way in LA's world.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Itshotinhere View Post
    Ok, I keep reading this talk about letting a child burn up in a car and so on and not helping because you are off duty...

    When or where was this said??? Maybe I'm off base here but in my mind anyone would want to help firefighter or not. Is this what the world has come to?

    Just wondering

    Here you go.


    http://www.firehouse.com/forums/showthread.php?t=109582 (This is just what we do.)




    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Outstanding...these guys (and others) did what needed to be done just in time. But, hey; minutes and seconds don't count, do they GreatEducator?

    On very rare occasions they do. My issue is those that act like they count on a regular basis and justify high-speed driving and blowing traffic control devices with the very rare occasion where they make a difference. And that includes justifying not putting on all your PPE as well.

    Great job. They did what the felt they had to do.

    Fact is if I was driving through Bossier or Shreveport and this happened in front of me, it ain't my problem. It's the city's.

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    Your turn...spin it some more.

    Actually I'll play some more.

    You beleive that hiring personnel is an answer. I beieve in many places it is not, and simply eats away at the volunteer base and down the line, feeds the career -staffed generated "need" to hire more paid staff and fade the volunteers out even more.

    It has happened and is happening here in areas that once supported strong vollie departments.

    The US spends more on fire supression per-capita than anyone else in the world, and ranks in high end of the middle of the pack in terms of per-capita fire deaths. Salaries are a huge part of that per-capita cost. Maybe we need to rethink that salary-laden delivery system as it doesn't seem to be working too damn well.

    Maybe we need to look at our system and redirect our resorces.

    Call that anti-career. I call it pro-volunteer.

    Hard to beleive, I never approached them about this position. they approached me and I almost didn't take it becaue of the pay cut the first 3-4 years. If taking it makes me a hypocrite, so be it. Doesn't really matter does it.

    I was putting in 20-25 hours a week at the fire department volunteering or working part-time, plus an average of 65 hours at my FT EMS job. I now work 45 scheduled hours plus another 4-6 a week unpaid at the station teaching or attending evening or weekend training, plus a couple of hours responding on off-duty fire calls. I still work 1 9-hour shift a week at my ambo job and very rarely a 24 on the weekend.

    Do the math. That will answer your question. I'm still busy, but not putting in 80-90 hours between the FD and ambo.

    That now leaves me a few hours to volunteer with another department and still be home now and then with my wife, which was my goal.

    Maybe having our career staff do what they do best - maintain and administer - and having our volunteers do what they do best - respond - makes us look like a bunch of folks from the podunks. Or maybe it makes it look like we understand how to properly divide labor. And by the way, a lot of our volunteers like to respond on those routine calls (which is why they hang at the station) and don't want to be "relived" of that responsibility by the paid staff. Maybe that's why we have so many involved volunteers - because we keep them involved on a daily basis and not just for the significant events, and they know that they, not the career staff, are the heart and soul of the organization. If that's a bad thing so be it, but it seems to work as we have more vollies show up than just about any department in the state. Sorta keeps thier skills up too.

    We actually have very few problems with paid and volunteer staffs. There are no issues because the paid staff was volunteer as we only have hired from within. that will now change with civil service and open testing.

    And I am hostile how? Where did I say that I wanted the current career staff fired? I said I oppose any new hiring. Is being honest that I have said that our department could not function without volunteers, and that they are far more important in our operation than the career staff hostile? Is it being hostile admitting that our career staff plays a supporting, and not the primary role in response?

    That being said, could we function without career staff? Yes, but likely not with the level of EMS delivery we currently provide and it would likely cost us 2-3 rating points as a volunteer staff could likely not mainatin the level of preplanning and testing required to maintain our current rating. On the plus side, our need for revenues would drop and we could decrease fire taxes, which right now sits in the midrange when compared to other area fire districts. I suspect we could still deliver pretty fair fire response, especially if 20-30% of the money spent on saleries was diverted into retention and recruiting. We would more than likley have to end providing fire protection to the State National Guard facility however, as that is fairly manpower and specialized training intensive.

    So all in all, if tommarrow the department decided to revert back to all-volunteer, I would not oppose it as it does have some benefits for the community. However, that is not going to happen.

    You asked about incentives. Yes, that may include paying people for calls and training. It can also include LOSAP. Station cover stipends. Station perks. It can also include cash incentives for recieving certifications and specialized training. It can be in the form of additonal uniform perks, leather boots instead of rubber, traditional helmets instead of salad bowls. Awards. Social events. Trips to conventions and trade shows. Sports teams. Competitive drill teams.

    People respond in different ways, and a smart package of incentives which hits all of those motivators will retain folks and will motivate them to respond more and seek additional training. It has worked in many communties and can cause the staff of a VFD to be more motivate and involved. And yes, it does cost money. But for the 60K we are going to invest in one man, I can utilze 3K in incentives on 20 volunteers. We have the staff and the demographics to generate more vollie staff. A comprehensive incentive package will do that. Imagine what 160K could do.

    Now, do I agree that there are suburbs and mid-sized cities where the demographics would not support a significant volunteer component? Yes, and I never said this would be practical everywhere. My issue is that we very often go right from all-volunteer to some level of career involvement without attemtping to save the volunteer department utilizing a comprehensive recruitment and retention incentive package, which would cost far less than hiring staff. If that approach is tried, and a legtimate amount of money is put into the ffort, and it fails, I accept the need to hire staff. However, if that step is not attempted, or not attempted in good faith, then the hiring of staff is nothing short of a betrayal of the volunteer staff. In many places, these incentives will motivate the members. Take Bloomington MN, which is a city of over 80K (and a daytime population of 110K) which is still protected by a VFD and relies heavily on incentive packages, which are not cheap, but far cheaper than paid staff.

    And no, IMO, 160K for 3 people is not a good deal. Not in an area like ours where the demographics supports volunteers. Here it's a waste of money.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 04-03-2010 at 11:18 PM.

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    AHHHH




    I would have done the same thing, if I ended up down in grady's burn unit so be it.


    My wife who is also a emt-firefighter would understand and would expect no less and would have done no less.
    Anyways sorry to get off topic

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    It'shot

    We all make choices. That would have been mine.

    It has been discussed to death and I stick to it.

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    LA,

    Perhaps your call volumes are less than some of the combo FD's I know. Or maybe your employers are more cooperative about letting firefighters leave 3 or more times during a shift for fire calls. I was a member of fire department with a large employer in town. They did not let there personnel respond unless it was a confirmed incident requiring a second page.

    I know volunteers that would respond for all types of calls, myself included. Others choose not to because it interferes with their job or family life. The on duty paid crew can easily handle those smaller, lesser calls, without the need of no more than a handfull of volunteers. The bigger incidents will draw even those vollie at work or at home with their families. Not saying the vollies can't and don't respond to lesser calls, this just gives them the option if it is truly inconvenient at that time.
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    We actually have no members that leave work. In fact, very few of them are employed in the district as we are a primary bedroom district.

    We do have a large percentage of our department that work shifts or nights, especially in other fire departments or EMS agencies. Luckily they are pretty well divided so there are almost always 5-7 members, at a minimum, who are either on in between days or multi-days off, and are available during the day.

    There will be days when volunteers at the station are limited, but as a rule, we can easily run a 4-person EMS crew with at least 2 EMTs and often a paramedic from volunteer rideouts at our Central Station.

    We can also often handle vehicle fires, alarm investigations and gas leaks and investigations with volunteer crews without having to tap into on-duty career (line or adminstrative) resources.

    Again, we could more than likely function quite well on the fire side without paid staffing. Consistant EMS response would be a little bit trickier.

    We run about 1400 calls a year, with a little less than 85% being EMS. We are seeing an increase of about 5% a year.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 04-03-2010 at 11:56 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    It'shot

    We all make choices. That would have been mine.

    It has been discussed to death and I stick to it.
    Not knockin you bro, not going to beat the horse either.

    Just wonderin

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    Please refrain from saying you live in Louisiana, you're embarrassing us.


    Also, learn how to write.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Your turn...spin it some more.

    Actually I'll play some more.

    You beleive that hiring personnel is an answer. I beieve in many places it is not, and simply eats away at the volunteer base and down the line, feeds the career -staffed generated "need" to hire more paid staff and fade the volunteers out even more.

    It has happened and is happening here in areas that once supported strong vollie departments.
    Is it truly the career staff's "fault" that these volunteer departments have faltered or could it be that these departments are following the trend of many other "strong" volunteer departments that are now struggling due to the overall decline in volunteerism?

    I have lots of once "strong" volunteer departments in my area that are now struggling or closed due to a dwindling supply of volunteers. How could that be happening since they've never had a paid person in the department to "push the volunteers out"?


    Maybe we need to look at our system and redirect our resorces.
    You mean like properly funding public safety instead of funding pet projects and other things aimed at getting votes in the next election?


    That being said, could we function without career staff? Yes, but likely not with the level of EMS delivery we currently provide and it would likely cost us 2-3 rating points as a volunteer staff could likely not mainatin the level of preplanning and testing required to maintain our current rating. On the plus side, our need for revenues would drop and we could decrease fire taxes, which right now sits in the midrange when compared to other area fire districts. I suspect we could still deliver pretty fair fire response, especially if 20-30% of the money spent on saleries was diverted into retention and recruiting. We would more than likley have to end providing fire protection to the State National Guard facility however, as that is fairly manpower and specialized training intensive.
    I'm a little confused by this paragraph in light of past statements. You say your primary responders are the volunteers and you have very few paid personnel working at any given time. So, why would you need to drop the Guard facility if you no longer had paid staff?

    If you could still maintain a "pretty fair fire response" with the volunteers, then why would it be harder to have a "pretty fair EMS response" since those calls generally require much less manpower per call?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    We actually have no members that leave work. In fact, very few of them are employed in the district as we are a primary bedroom district.

    We do have a large percentage of our department that work shifts or nights, especially in other fire departments or EMS agencies. Luckily they are pretty well divided so there are almost always 5-7 members, at a minimum, who are either on in between days or multi-days off, and are available during the day.

    There will be days when volunteers at the station are limited, but as a rule, we can easily run a 4-person EMS crew with at least 2 EMTs and often a paramedic from volunteer rideouts at our Central Station.

    We can also often handle vehicle fires, alarm investigations and gas leaks and investigations with volunteer crews without having to tap into on-duty career (line or adminstrative) resources.


    Again, we could more than likely function quite well on the fire side without paid staffing. Consistant EMS response would be a little bit trickier.


    We run about 1400 calls a year, with a little less than 85% being EMS. We are seeing an increase of about 5% a year.
    Why would EMS response be more of a problem if your volunteers are the primary responders for the department and EMS calls generally require less manpower?

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    It's only the first round and yes the first round mainly gives funds for hiring. Some area's do need to re-hire those who were laid off, specifically look at what is happening in Flint Michigan.

    I hope that the future rounds will include some funding for recruitment and retention of volunteer fire fighters as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    I'll explain this again, because it is complicated.
    Oh I know what you are saying. The fact is willful blindness does not release you from following federal labor laws. What you think is a clever play on the system will one day result in a major law suit.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Under LA workman's comopensation, volunteer firefighters are only entitled to the payment of medical bills if hurt while training or at an incident. They are not eligable for income-related compensation.
    True.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    In the past, if a career member was hurt (and there has only been one case and the injury was minor) while volunteering his injury was filed with workman's comp as a volunteer as he was off-duty and functioning as a volunteer member. The member had to use his department sick time to cover his paycheck. If we had a situation where that ran out, he would have no longer received a paycheck.

    Now that we are civil service, one of the benefits under the law is unlimited sick time for any illness or injury on or off duty up to 364 days for career personnel. If the member can return to even light duty for day 365, he I beleive, can then get another 364. If he cannot, he must be discharged. The only exceptions for this are acts that are "reckless and dangerous" such as skydiving and the like. To the best of our knowledge, there has never been a case in our area where an injury has been disallowed.
    So rather than paying them for hours worked you shuffle the paperwork and pretend they do not work for the department. You should read your worker compensation policy more closely. The part about illegal actives will disqualify them. This would be akin to not using your safety equipment. Workers Compensation will deny your claim.
    You use the Civil Service system you hate to your advantage when it suits you? Soak up the employees benefits from his full time job to cover the damages he incurred volunteering? Did you not state in another post that you would not stick your neck out for another, while not on the job, because it puts you family in jeopardy? That is exactly what you expect from the career fire fighters when they are off duty, are you not?

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    The medical bills are still covered by workman's comp so his status as on-duty or volunteer at the time of the injury is irrelvant. Volunteers working part-time shifts are treated as volunteers by workman's comp.
    You are wrong. Volunteer versus career claims would be as different as home owners and auto insurance. You cannot pay one with the other.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    No, we do not have to forge paperwork as the member in the past had to use his own sick time to cover his time away from work. That is no longer the case.
    It is no longer the case because of the Civil Service system you despise so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Per your statement, a career firefighter can get 364 days of paid sick leave for an off duty illness or injury. Not complicated, but I find that extremely hard to believe.
    I have to say he is correct, but he did not give the full story. If you are hurt or become sick and on the job you receive your current pay check up to 365 days, at which time you either come back to work or go on a job related disability. If it is not job related you have to tap you accumulated sick leave. After one year you come back or you are terminated.
    What LaFireEducator's department is doing, according to him, is forcing the off duty employee to use the benefits earned from his full time job to pay for injuries incurred from his volunteer service. In Louisiana your sick leave is an earn benefit. If you do not use your hours you can cash them in at retirement, to a limited extent.
    Here is the insult to injury. If you are off on a non-job related injury and you use the sick leave to cover your overtime hours, you normally would have worked, the department takes time and a haft to cover your regular overtime. You have 1.5 hours deducted from your sick leave for every hour of overtime you would have worked in that pay period.
    For someone who hates Civil Service he sure is milking it on all 4 tits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    [B]The US spends more on fire supression per-capita than anyone else in the world, and ranks in high end of the middle of the pack in terms of per-capita fire deaths. Salaries are a huge part of that per-capita cost. Maybe we need to rethink that salary-laden delivery system as it doesn't seem to be working too damn well.

    Maybe we need to look at our system and redirect our resorces.
    HUH!!! Sounds like the health care system. Maybe the federal government should address this by taking over this function as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    HUH!!! Sounds like the health care system. Maybe the federal government should address this by taking over this function as well.
    You would be tossed out on your arse... but then, that would be a plus!
    ‎"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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    You know, making a statement sugessting that a volunteer or POC dept that runs up a surplus should just hire more career FFs should go down in FH.com history as the stupidest post ever.
    Secondly, it seems to work in LAs neck of the woods so if you are 100's of miles away, its simply none of anyone elses business. There are some hard cores on here that simply will not admit that the old model of FF is not going to be economically sustainable for quite a long time, if ever. Combo depts will become more the vogue, partly through volunteers and probably more so with POC or part time. There was a model or study discussed on here a couple of years ago that an AVERAGE FD actually affected less than 5 % of the overall population in their demographic area in the citizens lifetimes. Try going to the taxpayer for a $50 or $100 tax hike to maintain or increase FF numbers when they are having trouble paying their mortgage.

  22. #97
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    Thumbs up Well...............

    I'd passed over this thread, till now. After reading the first two pages, and concluding that the next three would simply mirror the first two, I'd like to offer an idea........

    Let's get together somewhere, ALL of us, order up some liquid refreshment, and sit down together and hammer out a plan to operate a political machine that will represent the entire Fire Service in our Federal and State Capitols. After reading all of you for quite a while, I'm firmly convinced that we have the talent to do it..............

    We have nothing to lose. No Organization Represents ALL of the Fire Service, and even the IAFF, as well funded and connected as they are, get dumped on from time to time. The IAFC represents more Brass than a Bell Foundry, but has no interest in the Rank and File. The National Volunteer Fire Council is missing in action (or Lack thereof). Simply put, Nobody is looking out for US.......

    We, and I include myself, have piled up more stuff on this forum than a fleet of Dump Trucks could haul away. If we put all of that to a constructive use, the possibilities would be endless.................

    A Happy Easter to all..........
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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    Is it truly the career staff's "fault" that these volunteer departments have faltered or could it be that these departments are following the trend of many other "strong" volunteer departments that are now struggling due to the overall decline in volunteerism?

    I have lots of once "strong" volunteer departments in my area that are now struggling or closed due to a dwindling supply of volunteers. How could that be happening since they've never had a paid person in the department to "push the volunteers out"?


    Sad fact is in many of the departments around here the efforts are intentinal, and in many cases, it comes from the top.

    In one department, the Chief has stated openly that he wants to "rid" his department of volunteers. They are not made aware of training. They have been told by sdome of the paid staff they are not welcome. The Chief rountinly loses or ignores applications.

    In another, members wait a month or two to get a replacement radio even though there are plenty of spares. Turnout gear is not replaced. This comes from the staff.

    The fact is these communties have similiar deographics to ours. We have seen an increase in interest. We have more volunteers than we have ever had. So why are we doing fine and they are not? Before the influx of money they had plenty of volunteers. Now with the same demographic, they don't?

    It's because there is a desire in thier organizations to decrease the number of volunteers so they can justify increased paid staff. They want to create a need that isn't there. This is openly discussed in and outside of the the department by the paid staff. It's not a secret.

    Give folks a reason to join and in most places, they will. Will it cost some money? Sure, but it's still 1/10th the cost of a single career member. How many departments have tried an intensive volunteer compenation package? Not many I would bet. Look at Bloomington MN. It can work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Give folks a reason to join and in most places, they will. Will it cost some money? Sure, but it's still 1/10th the cost of a single career member. How many departments have tried an intensive volunteer compenation package? Not many I would bet. Look at Bloomington MN. It can work.
    You might want to find a different poster child for your cause. From the information available on their website, they are NOT a volunteer fire department. They are a POC fire department. It may not be a lot of money, but their members get paid per call attended, per training session attended and for "on-call" time. This sounds a lot like being an employee, not a volunteer member.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Is it truly the career staff's "fault" that these volunteer departments have faltered or could it be that these departments are following the trend of many other "strong" volunteer departments that are now struggling due to the overall decline in volunteerism?

    I have lots of once "strong" volunteer departments in my area that are now struggling or closed due to a dwindling supply of volunteers. How could that be happening since they've never had a paid person in the department to "push the volunteers out"?


    Sad fact is in many of the departments around here the efforts are intentinal, and in many cases, it comes from the top.

    In one department, the Chief has stated openly that he wants to "rid" his department of volunteers. They are not made aware of training. They have been told by sdome of the paid staff they are not welcome. The Chief rountinly loses or ignores applications.

    In another, members wait a month or two to get a replacement radio even though there are plenty of spares. Turnout gear is not replaced. This comes from the staff.

    The fact is these communties have similiar deographics to ours. We have seen an increase in interest. We have more volunteers than we have ever had. So why are we doing fine and they are not? Before the influx of money they had plenty of volunteers. Now with the same demographic, they don't?

    It's because there is a desire in thier organizations to decrease the number of volunteers so they can justify increased paid staff. They want to create a need that isn't there. This is openly discussed in and outside of the the department by the paid staff. It's not a secret.

    Give folks a reason to join and in most places, they will. Will it cost some money? Sure, but it's still 1/10th the cost of a single career member. How many departments have tried an intensive volunteer compenation package? Not many I would bet. Look at Bloomington MN. It can work.
    Some depts do it to themselves. I haven't seen this personally, but my more tenured officers have told me stories of friction with volunteers in the past. Vol. members eating dinner, throwing all their dishes in the sink, then leaving without doing any cleanup. Disobeying the command structure onscene and freelancing. Volunteers not doing any station duties or rig maintenance, saying that it's the career staff's sole responsibility since they're paid. Many other petty, territorial things as well. Matter of fact, the way I understand it is that your career staff is there mostly for station duties, admin matters (PPW) and apparatus maintenance, and for running the less desireable calls, whereas the volunteers mostly run the more desireable calls and working incidents.

    If you treat your volunteers like second class citizens, they'll return that practice in kind when the power shifts in their favor. If you think that vol. participation will remain strong indefinitely, recent history has shown otherwise. Population growth and negative changes in the economic climate are to thank for this. Do you want to drive a stake between career and volunteer at the start, or do you want the dept to evolve as a whole, with any member being interchangeable, with identical training and such?

    I also gather from your posts that your paid staff are basically volunteers that are paid for day work. For one, how are the other volunteers, that aren't compensated, taking this? Second, how do you mandate a career person to volunteer at the same dept when off duty? It's been established that it's illegal at the federal level. What you're doing will look like a significant mistake in hindsight if and when you're caught. Remember what I said when career staff will return the practice in kind? **** off but one of them, and they'll rat you out to the proper authorities. That'll cost the dept dearly in payouts, and will also show the need for more career personnel. If the volunteer participation is more than sufficient as you say, then why do you require (written or unwritten) that they respond for free off duty? Surely there are enough volunteers to respond that you don't need the career staff to do the same (illgeally at that). If your volunteer participation is adequate, you wouldn't need any paid staff to begin with. This obviously isn't the case. BTW, what happens to the career member if they don't volunteer off duty? Are the penalized in some fashion? Or is their work environment made undesireable so they'll quit and create a spot with someone who's "with the program"? Remember what I said about returning the favor whan the power and influence changes hands.

    If you need to hire daytime staff for clerical work, station maintenance and such, then do so, but make it a seperate, civillian job description, not that of a FF/EMT/medic. Then, they can volunteer to their heart's content off duty without violating any federal laws. The only reason that I see you making this day position that of a FF is that there really isn't enough to voulnteer like you say. This is a sign of the beginning of a downward trend of available volunteers in your area. You know what that means, more career staff at some point.
    Last edited by edpmedic; 04-04-2010 at 01:23 PM.

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