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  1. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by L-Webb View Post
    To me it seems that a county with only 11,000 people wouldn't have the tax base to pay for any paid firefighters.

    I was expecting a population of more like 50,000 or so.
    It does seem a little odd. My department covers ~3X that number without any career firefighters. And 24 police officers?!! (now 14)

    Of course, we don't know the whole story either. Does the city provide fire protection for the entire county? Is that the population of the entire county or just the city? Are there any special industries in the area that require such staffing?


  2. #82
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    If your opinion is that we're not good, nothing I say is going to change that opinion. Many members of the forum obviously disagree with the way that Tree68, LaFireEducator, and I do it. That's fine. But, I put up this challenge. If I dismiss every member of the department who isn't an interior firefighter, where do I find the 20-or-so new interior guys to replace them?

    ..................

    And, to be clear, if my chief (at work) told me tomorrow that I had to replace half of my staff with volunteers, I wouldn't accept the interior/exterior difference. They'd all have to be interior, as that's how we have to operate with our 3-man engines, trucks, and heavy rescues.
    I think that it seems like we're kind of discussing two parallel issues in one discussion, but some are doing so as if they are a single issue.

    The discussion started out addressing the idea of adding a volunteer component to a career fire department following the layoff of a significant number of personnel. I think some of the comments are being misconstrued as being "anti-volunteer" in general, rather than being viewed in context.

    The discussion was quickly steered towards combination departments that are predominately volunteer and/or have long established history of being combined. Both of which are a much different situation.

    I think we can all agree that the most ideal situation is for all firefighters to be "full-service FFs", however the reality for such a goal is that it's not feasible for some departments. I think most are willing to concede that there are some fundamental differences between the operation of career fire departments vs the operation of volunteer departments. A prime example of that difference is the tendency of career departments to deploy "full-service FFs" and volunteer departments to deploy an array of personnel from "full-service FFs" to those with more limited capabilities.

    In a situation like what started this discussion, I think there is much more to the discussion than it simply being a "we don't like volunteers" thing. For one, there's the fact that people (our brothers) are losing their jobs in favor of what could be described as "cheap labor". Essentially the same thing as an employer getting rid of senior (aka more costly) employees in favor of new (aka much cheaper) employees to do the same work.

    Additionally, there's a certain "discriminatory" aspect of the action given the likelihood that similar replacement of employees with volunteers in other departments is not happening and possibly not even being considered.

    When you look at the operational aspect of this, there's going to be a problem in the transitional phase because manpower will be lost, but the "replacements" likely won't be ready for action for a while yet. In fact, you may not even know if you will really have "replacements" at that point.

    Additionally, the administration pushing the change is likely to not be as in favor of following a "uniform training standard" for all firefighters as the remaining career staff would be. The obvious reason for this would be that you will likely have a harder time finding only "full-service" volunteers rather than volunteers in general. So, without such uniformity, the department will be forced into operational changes that may move backwards rather than forward.

  3. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    I think that it seems like we're kind of discussing two parallel issues in one discussion, but some are doing so as if they are a single issue.

    The discussion started out addressing the idea of adding a volunteer component to a career fire department following the layoff of a significant number of personnel. I think some of the comments are being misconstrued as being "anti-volunteer" in general, rather than being viewed in context.

    The discussion was quickly steered towards combination departments that are predominately volunteer and/or have long established history of being combined. Both of which are a much different situation.

    I think we can all agree that the most ideal situation is for all firefighters to be "full-service FFs", however the reality for such a goal is that it's not feasible for some departments. I think most are willing to concede that there are some fundamental differences between the operation of career fire departments vs the operation of volunteer departments. A prime example of that difference is the tendency of career departments to deploy "full-service FFs" and volunteer departments to deploy an array of personnel from "full-service FFs" to those with more limited capabilities.

    In a situation like what started this discussion, I think there is much more to the discussion than it simply being a "we don't like volunteers" thing. For one, there's the fact that people (our brothers) are losing their jobs in favor of what could be described as "cheap labor". Essentially the same thing as an employer getting rid of senior (aka more costly) employees in favor of new (aka much cheaper) employees to do the same work.

    Additionally, there's a certain "discriminatory" aspect of the action given the likelihood that similar replacement of employees with volunteers in other departments is not happening and possibly not even being considered.

    When you look at the operational aspect of this, there's going to be a problem in the transitional phase because manpower will be lost, but the "replacements" likely won't be ready for action for a while yet. In fact, you may not even know if you will really have "replacements" at that point.

    Additionally, the administration pushing the change is likely to not be as in favor of following a "uniform training standard" for all firefighters as the remaining career staff would be. The obvious reason for this would be that you will likely have a harder time finding only "full-service" volunteers rather than volunteers in general. So, without such uniformity, the department will be forced into operational changes that may move backwards rather than forward.
    Agreed. IMHO, you've summed it up pretty well. There are few on here that are greater Proponents of the Volunteer Fire Service than I am, BUT, I absolutely do not condone replacing Career Firefighters with Volunteers or using Volunteers as Pawns to extract more concessions from Labor.

    Adding Volunteers to an existing Career Operation is a bit difficult in the best of times, but when those Volunteers are expected to take the place of Career folks who have been Fired, It ain't happening.

    For those who feel that a Fully Career Department is the only way to go, I would ask what sort of Funding you would try to get to provide for a Career Department in Slope County, North Dakota - Population 767 or Arthur County, Nebraska - Population 444. If you can pull it off there, you'll be in great demand in Loving County, Texas - Population 67........... My Rand McNallay shows a suprising number of Counties across America with a Population of UNDER 1,000. I have a gut feeling that their Tax Bases aren't too great.......
    Last edited by hwoods; 08-11-2010 at 12:56 PM.
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  4. #84
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    In a situation like what started this discussion, I think there is much more to the discussion than it simply being a "we don't like volunteers" thing. For one, there's the fact that people (our brothers) are losing their jobs in favor of what could be described as "cheap labor". Essentially the same thing as an employer getting rid of senior (aka more costly) employees in favor of new (aka much cheaper) employees to do the same work.

    Nobody likes to see anybody lose thier jobs. I know it will be hard to beleive, but I don't like seeing firefighters losing thier jobs. It recently happened in the career department next to us to both the curent and last recruit class. It also saw demotions of Drivers back to Firefighters, Captains back to Drivers and Batt. Chiefs back to Captains.

    However, the reality is firefighters will lose thier jobs because many places can simply no longer afford paid staff, or are being forced to reduce thier paid staff. It's the just the reality of the times and in many places, will be the reality for the future.

    Additionally, there's a certain "discriminatory" aspect of the action given the likelihood that similar replacement of employees with volunteers in other departments is not happening and possibly not even being considered.

    In this case, and many others, other departments have taken a hit.

    The bottom line is in most cities, the fire and police departments, along with public works, represents the majority of the employees in cities of this size. The only way to make significant cuts in the budget are to lay off personnel from the largest departments, which are fire and police. While laying off from the libairy may be an option, even if you cut them by 50%, you likely have only reduced staff by 2 employees. It's the same with the engineer's office, assessors's office and most other departments. The staff simply does not exist there for you to trim a significant chunk of muncipal payroll.

    Because of this the options are basically to run with the reduced staff, consolidate, or develop a volunteer/reserve program. Running with reduced staff creates safety and operational issues. Consolidation may not be an option. And yes, a volunteer/reserve program may not replace the capabilities of those laid off career members, but will provide some of the capabilities needed to support interior operations.

    When you look at the operational aspect of this, there's going to be a problem in the transitional phase because manpower will be lost, but the "replacements" likely won't be ready for action for a while yet. In fact, you may not even know if you will really have "replacements" at that point

    No disagreement there as any transistion represents certain problems.

    The reality is that these cuts are likely permanent, so you are transitioning to a new structure for the fire department. Can much of this be overcome with effective planning? Yes. Will planning eliminate all the issues? No. But if an plan is develop that address recruiting a systematic training, it can be done. I am not going to promise that all of the new volunteers will transistion from exterior support personnel, including vehicle and pump operations, which should be the intial focus, but I would suspect that a fair number will, given time.

    As far as the issue of recruiting, we disagree on the number of bodies available, and as I have discussed before, the most critical element of recruiting and rentention in a situation such as this is the attitude of paid staff towards the volunteers. If they are hostile and unwelcoming, and are uncooprative when it comes to training the volunteers, the program will fail. If they are welcoming and understand that a combo, not a fully career department, is the department's future, the transistion has a probability of suceeeding.

    Again, the role of outside influences, such as the union, will have a significant impact in what happens.

    Additionally, the administration pushing the change is likely to not be as in favor of following a "uniform training standard" for all firefighters as the remaining career staff would be. The obvious reason for this would be that you will likely have a harder time finding only "full-service" volunteers rather than volunteers in general. So, without such uniformity, the department will be forced into operational changes that may move backwards rather than forward.

    Again, why is this so critical?

    The fact is the full-time staff in any combo department is likely to be trained to a higher level on average than the volunteer component. Why? because it's thier job. They train on-duty. They are generally sent to academies for entry-level training. They are available to be sent to outside training during the week, while being paid, while the majority of the volunteer component are at thier full-time jobs.

    There are vebn differences in training levels in full-time FDs. One could argue that all members should be Haz-mat techs in a department that responds at that level. Same with departments that offer technical rescue, including water, where not all members are trained to the same level.

    If the career component in a combo department is not trained to a higher level, the training staff or training officer needs to be fired.

    That being said, can the volunteers achieve a reasonable standard of training? Yes. Maybe FFI over a period of one-year and FFII over the second year. This can be delivered through weekly training if need be. Possibly a shortened Driver/Operator class tailored to thier response area. Basic EMS. basic technical support, and if a member wishes, more in-depth training.

    The bottom line here is that somebody being paid to be a firefighter should almost always possess a higher level of training than a volunteer. It's thier job to train and they have the opportunity to train far more often than a volunteer.

    As an example, I expect the volunteers on my department to possess a higher level of training than the volunteers on my all-volunteer department. Why? Because we have the resources in the form of a full-time training officer and full-time captains to draw on which the members of my VFD do not have. We offer much more in-house training, primarily because of those full-time positions. And we have more funding to send them to schools and purchase training resources. Simply put, there are many more opportunties, both in-house and outside the department and i expect our volunteers to use them. If they don't, I have no issue in letting them go.

    I never said throw new volunteers out there like seed. I did say train them to an acceptable level where some of them will, down the road, have the ability to operate interior and some will posses the ability to assist on the outside, either in active exterior operations or support roles, such as rehab and bottle change.

    I really don't see this as taking a step backwards. if anything, it would have the potential to give them more bodies in a structured task-assigned enviroment.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 08-11-2010 at 01:30 PM.

  5. #85
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    Adding Volunteers to an existing Career Operation is a bit difficult in the best of times, but when those Volunteers are expected to take the place of Career folks who have been Fired, It ain't happening.

    So back to the original discussion - What are the options?

    Is there a point where we will see this happening simply because the liklihood of the laid off career staff being brought back is so small?

  6. #86
    Forum Member L-Webb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Adding Volunteers to an existing Career Operation is a bit difficult in the best of times, but when those Volunteers are expected to take the place of Career folks who have been Fired, It ain't happening.

    So back to the original discussion - What are the options?

    Is there a point where we will see this happening simply because the liklihood of the laid off career staff being brought back is so small?
    In my mind your only options are to raise taxes, or to use some sort of grant... which is only a short term fix.

    So if you can't use volunteers, then you must cut back service.
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  7. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    My post wasn't directed at any single member of the forum.

    Why the guilty complex? I never accused you of that, nor did it enter my mind.
    No guilty complex; given the timing of your response along with your quote below, I made a guess that you were in part talking about my postings.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Yes, I know what I'm about to say has been hashed and re-hashed on here a million times, but it flat ****es me off when the guys on the job want to bash the VFD's who are doing the best they can with the personnel and resources they have.

    I was not “bashing” volunteers. I was “bashing” a philosophy that says we can put guys on rigs who can’t, won’t or aren’t able to perform a given task on a fire ground, for any reason.



    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    If your opinion is that we're not good, nothing I say is going to change that opinion. Many members of the forum obviously disagree with the way that Tree68, LaFireEducator, and I do it. That's fine. But, I put up this challenge. If I dismiss every member of the department who isn't an interior firefighter, where do I find the 20-or-so new interior guys to replace them?
    I don’t know, but if you have a scenario happen in which your few interior guys are trapped, the only thing anyone else will be able to do is listen to them die.
    And I know I’ll probably get the same song and dance, yet again. We have mutual aid, we have this we have that. Well, five minutes can be an awful long time when you’re out of air, or you’re burning, etc… Never mind the fact that RIT, especially with the way the majority of the fire service utilizes it, is not going to really save anyone. The fact is that if a rescue becomes necessary, it’s going to be your guys already engaged at that scene who will probably be the factors in whether the lost/trapped members survive. If all you have left, or even if the majority left are non-interior, they’re dead.

    What value do they then have at that scene? If you’re comfortable with that kind of planning, so be it. I’m not.


    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    We don't have the option of career firefighters. We don't have the tax base.

    Never once did I advocate putting career members on a volunteer department. Never said it, never thought it. I am strictly concerned with training and competency. There is no excuse in the world to have anyone on a fire scene who isn’t trained properly, and I will never be convinced of it. If you have exterior only members, maybe they should check on the real reason it is they are there. They are not really doing anything to help their brothers out.
    I don’t care if they want to pump the majority of the time, or they're this or they're that. You never know when that member might be all that stands between life and death. To think otherwise is foolish, and dangerous.
    Last edited by Jasper 45; 08-11-2010 at 02:26 PM. Reason: spelling correction

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    In a situation like what started this discussion, I think there is much more to the discussion than it simply being a "we don't like volunteers" thing. For one, there's the fact that people (our brothers) are losing their jobs in favor of what could be described as "cheap labor". Essentially the same thing as an employer getting rid of senior (aka more costly) employees in favor of new (aka much cheaper) employees to do the same work.

    ........

    However, the reality is firefighters will lose thier jobs because many places can simply no longer afford paid staff, or are being forced to reduce thier paid staff. It's the just the reality of the times and in many places, will be the reality for the future.
    I think we'll just have to disagree on the "affordability" front. I don't believe that it's an issue of no longer affording paid staff across the board. I think there's often other factors involved.

    Additionally, there's a certain "discriminatory" aspect of the action given the likelihood that similar replacement of employees with volunteers in other departments is not happening and possibly not even being considered.

    In this case, and many others, other departments have taken a hit.

    The bottom line is in most cities, the fire and police departments, along with public works, represents the majority of the employees in cities of this size. The only way to make significant cuts in the budget are to lay off personnel from the largest departments, which are fire and police. While laying off from the libairy may be an option, even if you cut them by 50%, you likely have only reduced staff by 2 employees. It's the same with the engineer's office, assessors's office and most other departments. The staff simply does not exist there for you to trim a significant chunk of muncipal payroll.

    Because of this the options are basically to run with the reduced staff, consolidate, or develop a volunteer/reserve program. Running with reduced staff creates safety and operational issues. Consolidation may not be an option. And yes, a volunteer/reserve program may not replace the capabilities of those laid off career members, but will provide some of the capabilities needed to support interior operations.
    You're not actually addressing my statement with this response. Yes, other department are taking hits also. However, some FDs are likely taking hits that other departments aren't taking because the FD is the only one where people think that using volunteers instead is the solution.

    When you look at the operational aspect of this, there's going to be a problem in the transitional phase because manpower will be lost, but the "replacements" likely won't be ready for action for a while yet. In fact, you may not even know if you will really have "replacements" at that point

    No disagreement there as any transistion represents certain problems.
    ..........

    Again, the role of outside influences, such as the union, will have a significant impact in what happens.
    Actually, the union is more of an integral player rather than an outside influence.

    Additionally, the administration pushing the change is likely to not be as in favor of following a "uniform training standard" for all firefighters as the remaining career staff would be. The obvious reason for this would be that you will likely have a harder time finding only "full-service" volunteers rather than volunteers in general. So, without such uniformity, the department will be forced into operational changes that may move backwards rather than forward.

    Again, why is this so critical?
    This has already been explained to you. A career department is structured in a fashion that everybody has the training/ability to perform the core functions of fire ground activity. As such, you don't have to search the fireground for somebody to advance a line or search for victims.

    If you inject less capable personnel into the mix, then you no longer have the ability to assign anybody present to a task, you now have to find the right somebody for the task. This can be a huge issue when dealing with time sensitive matters.


    There are vebn differences in training levels in full-time FDs. One could argue that all members should be Haz-mat techs in a department that responds at that level. Same with departments that offer technical rescue, including water, where not all members are trained to the same level.
    Sure you could make the argument, however you wouldn't be making a proper comparison. Stuff like Hazmat & Tech Rescue are not necessarily the "core function" of a fire department like actually putting out fires is. As such, having people who specialize in these additional areas that may occur less frequently, but require significant training makes sense.

    Having people who do not possess "advanced training" in an additional area of services provided by the department is not the same thing as having members who lack "basic training" and/or ability to perform "basic, core functions" for the department.


    That being said, can the volunteers achieve a reasonable standard of training? Yes. Maybe FFI over a period of one-year and FFII over the second year. This can be delivered through weekly training if need be. Possibly a shortened Driver/Operator class tailored to thier response area. Basic EMS. basic technical support, and if a member wishes, more in-depth training.

    The bottom line here is that somebody being paid to be a firefighter should almost always possess a higher level of training than a volunteer. It's thier job to train and they have the opportunity to train far more often than a volunteer.
    And we're back to the problem I mentioned - delay of getting "replacements" ready to fill the void. Two years is certainly a reasonable amount of time for a volunteer to obtain FF1 & 2 training and certification. However, that still amounts to 2 years in which you don't have an comparable replacement in place. Additionally, there's no guarantee that person will be available when needed like an employee would be.

    I never said throw new volunteers out there like seed.
    You didn't say it directly, but the mindset of just add volunteers to replace them kind of implies it.

    I really don't see this as taking a step backwards. if anything, it would have the potential to give them more bodies in a structured task-assigned enviroment.
    I'm sure you believe that.

  9. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Adding Volunteers to an existing Career Operation is a bit difficult in the best of times, but when those Volunteers are expected to take the place of Career folks who have been Fired, It ain't happening.

    So back to the original discussion - What are the options?

    Is there a point where we will see this happening simply because the liklihood of the laid off career staff being brought back is so small?
    The options are pretty limited. We'll assume that raising taxes to maintain staffing is not an option since it would've been done. Beyond that, the options are pretty much 1) operating with less personnel and 2) doing something different - like becoming a combination department.

    While it's a real possibility that the cut staffing will never return, it's also a real possibility that adding volunteers to the mix won't be the "fix" some may expect it to be - something you pretty much refuse to acknowledge.

    In my city of about 24,000 people, prior implementing a part-time FF program (5 years ago), residency was a requirement to test for the department, but prior training was needed. The prior two tests (for full-time positions) had 23 and 4 applicants respectively for the first step and 12 & 2 respectively upon completion of the last step. Should we really expect significantly better results for positions with no compensation?

  10. #90
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    Posted by LA
    The only way to make significant cuts in the budget are to lay off personnel from the largest departments, which are fire and police.
    Really?
    We have 71 fire personnel, there are 40 on the PD. Both departments account for 11% to 12% of the City budget combined.

    The School Department..
    Number of Schools: 9
    Number of Students: 5,923
    Number of Teachers: 506
    Student:Teacher Ratio: 11.71:1

    The schools account for over 55% of the budget.. and they feel it's not enough.

    DPW gets 25%

    City administration, the library and social services account for the remainder.
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  11. #91
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper 45 View Post
    ...
    I donít know, but if you have a scenario happen in which your few interior guys are trapped, the only thing anyone else will be able to do is listen to them die.
    ...
    And not having those "non interior" guys will leave the same result. If you don't have the guys...you don't have the guys. No one is or has talked about replacing interior guys with exterior guys. The exterior guys are EXTRA manpower. And that's a good thing.

    Not sure why anyone would argue against EXTRA manpower....and yet they are against it on this thread.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    And not having those "non interior" guys will leave the same result. If you don't have the guys...you don't have the guys. No one is or has talked about replacing interior guys with exterior guys. The exterior guys are EXTRA manpower. And that's a good thing.
    Actually, there has been talk (of sorts) regarding "replacing interior guys with exterior guys". In the discussion of what this thread started over, career positions ("interior guys") are being eliminated and the call for volunteers to replace them includes the use of "interior guys" and "exterior guys".

    Replacing a career position with volunteer personnel is not a one for one situation. Since volunteers will generally not put in the same amount of hours "on-duty", you probably need at least 3-4 volunteers for each career position lost due to the "availability" issues common for volunteers. As such, the aggregate result is likely to be a loss overall for "interior guys" on calls.

    Regardless, given this specific situation being discussed, having "exterior guys" performing tasks that the lost career personnel would've been performing does amount to "replacing interior guys with exterior guys".

    Not sure why anyone would argue against EXTRA manpower....and yet they are against it on this thread.
    The argument isn't about being against "EXTRA manpower".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    And not having those "non interior" guys will leave the same result. If you don't have the guys...you don't have the guys. No one is or has talked about replacing interior guys with exterior guys. The exterior guys are EXTRA manpower. And that's a good thing.

    Not sure why anyone would argue against EXTRA manpower....and yet they are against it on this thread.
    Actually, there has been talk (of sorts) regarding "replacing interior guys with exterior guys". In the discussion of what this thread started over, career positions ("interior guys") are being eliminated and the call for volunteers to replace them includes the use of "interior guys" and "exterior guys".

    But here's the situation:

    The career "interior" guys are gone. Laid off and likely never to return.

    We are not replacing them. They have been let go.

    The fact is the department is now 10 men short and the choice involves running without those slots and not bringing on volunteers to support the remaining career staff or bringing on volunteers which initally can be trained to support the remaining career "interior" guys, and long-term can be trained to operate interior.

    The choice is really very simple. Do we operate with a very short staffed career department relying on callbacks - which may not even be an option if the city is in that bad a shape - or mutual aid for additional manpower at major incident, or accept the fact that the positions are gone and take the opportunity to change the structure of the department.

    The fact is not like we have decided to take them off the roster and replace them with volunteers. That decision has been made and it's out of the fire department hands. The decision now is to decide how the department is going to deal with the reduced staffing.

    And even if those positions are brought back 5 years from now, is extra manpower, even at the support level, a bad thing?

    There are no "right now answers". None. But the volunteer option will allow the volunteers, or at least some of them, to grow, with time, into interior members.

    Again, is running short staffed and throwing pennies into the fountain wishing that those positins will come back really the answer?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    Posted by LA


    Really?
    We have 71 fire personnel, there are 40 on the PD. Both departments account for 11% to 12% of the City budget combined.

    The School Department..
    Number of Schools: 9
    Number of Students: 5,923
    Number of Teachers: 506
    Student:Teacher Ratio: 11.71:1

    The schools account for over 55% of the budget.. and they feel it's not enough.

    DPW gets 25%

    City administration, the library and social services account for the remainder.

    I didn't include them beacuse in many places, the school system is independant of the city and funded off a seperate budget, and probably a seperate tax.

    That is the case here, and everywhere else I have lived in NY and VT.

    Take away the school, like it is in many places, and both PD and FD will be a much higher percentage.

  15. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Take away the school, like it is in many places, and both PD and FD will be a much higher percentage.
    Sure. However in my city, the FD is only around 10% of the city's budget.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    Posted by LA


    Really?
    We have 71 fire personnel, there are 40 on the PD. Both departments account for 11% to 12% of the City budget combined.

    The School Department..
    Number of Schools: 9
    Number of Students: 5,923
    Number of Teachers: 506
    Student:Teacher Ratio: 11.71:1

    The schools account for over 55% of the budget.. and they feel it's not enough.

    DPW gets 25%

    City administration, the library and social services account for the remainder.
    If you figure out how to get the money/waste/crap out of Public Education/Schools - let use know.

    In my area - over 70% of my property taxes go to schools.

    Now you ask the question - which is more important, the teacher little johnny sees each day of the Fire Dept you never see?

    (its been my expierence people 'do it for the children' without demanding good accountability but demand more for everything else)

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    Actually, there has been talk (of sorts) regarding "replacing interior guys with exterior guys". In the discussion of what this thread started over, career positions ("interior guys") are being eliminated and the call for volunteers to replace them includes the use of "interior guys" and "exterior guys".

    Replacing a career position with volunteer personnel is not a one for one situation. Since volunteers will generally not put in the same amount of hours "on-duty", you probably need at least 3-4 volunteers for each career position lost due to the "availability" issues common for volunteers. As such, the aggregate result is likely to be a loss overall for "interior guys" on calls.

    Regardless, given this specific situation being discussed, having "exterior guys" performing tasks that the lost career personnel would've been performing does amount to "replacing interior guys with exterior guys".



    The argument isn't about being against "EXTRA manpower".
    This is I think a core disparity in the discussion.

    Many of us looking at this don't see 'replacing' positions. We see those career positions as simply being gone. It doesn't matter what you do with volunteers, they will not be there. It means you go from 24 career to 12. The choice is add volunteers or POC or something or roll with 12 total FF.

    Therefore, to most of us, this is a question of do you want that manpower or not, even if they are not 'fully capable' firefighters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Actually, there has been talk (of sorts) regarding "replacing interior guys with exterior guys". In the discussion of what this thread started over, career positions ("interior guys") are being eliminated and the call for volunteers to replace them includes the use of "interior guys" and "exterior guys".

    But here's the situation:

    The career "interior" guys are gone. Laid off and likely never to return.

    We are not replacing them. They have been let go.
    WRONG! Dress it up however you want to, but if you lay off personnel and bring other people in to do the work they performed, then you HAVE REPLACED THEM!

    The fact is the department is now 10 men short and the choice involves running without those slots and not bringing on volunteers to support the remaining career staff or bringing on volunteers which initally can be trained to support the remaining career "interior" guys, and long-term can be trained to operate interior.

    The choice is really very simple. Do we operate with a very short staffed career department relying on callbacks - which may not even be an option if the city is in that bad a shape - or mutual aid for additional manpower at major incident, or accept the fact that the positions are gone and take the opportunity to change the structure of the department.
    Well, the choice really isn't as "very simple" as you think it is.

    Additionally, if the money isn't there to use callbacks, then what makes you think the money is there to pay for gear, training, insurance, etc for those new volunteers?

    The fact is not like we have decided to take them off the roster and replace them with volunteers.
    WRONG AGAIN, that's exactly what would be happening. The guys didn't just decide to leave on their own, they were TOLD TO LEAVE!

    That decision has been made and it's out of the fire department hands. The decision now is to decide how the department is going to deal with the reduced staffing.
    Correct.

    And even if those positions are brought back 5 years from now, is extra manpower, even at the support level, a bad thing?

    There are no "right now answers". None. But the volunteer option will allow the volunteers, or at least some of them, to grow, with time, into interior members.

    Again, is running short staffed and throwing pennies into the fountain wishing that those positins will come back really the answer?
    Maybe not, but there's also no guarantee that hanging up the "help wanted" sign for volunteers will be the answer either.

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    The city has a population of 11,000 plus the fire department covers 90 square miles of county unsure of the population but pretty sure it is more than the city. The area outside the city is a fire protection district that contracts the city for coverage. They run about 1500 calls a year plus they house and respond the moblie air truck to any structure fire in the county.

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    They have been a combo department but have had a hard time keeping volunteers. The other big issue is the insurance companies have said that they will be raising rates because of this. Even if they are able to get volunteers they would have to have 30 to replace the 10 paid people because of ISO and it's rating system.

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