1. #26
    Back In Black
    ChiefKN's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    The Nice Part of New Jersey


    Unless they are in some way preventing you from quitting, it's "ethical". It may not be "right", but I dont see any obvious ethics problem.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

  2. #27
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2009

    Default Duty Shift

    With the state of the economy, expect volunteers to be "required" to perform certain duties.

    A small career FD where I live is reducing its career personnel from 14 to 11. Government entities (cities, etc.) are hurting financially and will be looking to use volunteers to fill-in the gaps or for extra manpower/staffing.

    Does your FD pay you for calls? Does the FD have other benefits, such as a retirement program? If the FD is requiring you to perform shift duty, without pay and/or benefits, you should ask if some type of renumeration can be made in pay and/or benefit(s).

    IMHO, it is ethical to require a volunteer to perform a duty shift, but some type of renumeration should be made, if the practice is long term. You are saving the community from hiring full-time personnel to do what you "volunteer" to do.

    I do think that only requiring the newest members to do this duty is wrong. ALL members should be doing the shifts.
    Last edited by FIRE117; 08-19-2010 at 11:47 PM.

  3. #28
    Forum Member
    Blulakr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010


    Our district recently implemented a policy where the officers share 'duty time'.

    We have a paid chief and all others are volunteers. The chief is the duty officer during the week (24x5hrs) and the remaining 7 officers rotate duty on weekends. No pay, stipend, reimbursement, perks etc. We have an officers pickup that we take home. We must remain in the district and able to respond at all times. Holiday weekends are 3 day commitments.

    Having an officer on duty at all times assures that a qualified person capeable of IC duties will be responding.

    It is a pain in the arse but it has a definate upside. Guaranteed 24\7 response. Not long ago it was not uncommon to have no response simply because no one was in town and available.

    At times I am bitter about being a volunteer that is required to give up so much personal time but the improvement in community service is obvious so I\we just deal with it. I often perform my other firehouse chores such as apparatus maintanance on my duty weekends since I have to be there anyhow.
    My wise and profound comments and opinions are mine alone and are in no way associated with any other individual or group.

  4. #29
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2010


    Regardless if it's a bogus rule, the Department does have the authority to do it, even for volunteer departments. We may not agree with it, but it's the Chief's/Officer's/Board of Trustee's decision to make.

    It's good that you want to volunteer for your community, but you signed up for this. Nobody made you, it's part of the job that you volunteer for. Saying you'll be on the department and not going to do the schedule is like volunteering for the Red Cross and saying "But I won't do disaster relief". It's part of the job.

    I understand opposition to this; I'm a volunteer myself, and I used to do the unpaid duty crew shifts with the ambulance in my home town. But I also understand why a Department would want to implement it, and I would even support it in some cases, such as (like has been said) the same 6 guys running all the calls, or faultering response times. We sign up for this job (because that's what it is, even though we're volunteers) and we have expectations that have to be met.

  5. #30
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Bossier Parrish, Louisiana


    In a broad sense, the entire Volunteer Fire Service is that way in most states. You volunteer to a department but you are required by state law to be trained to a certain level of competency (Usually FF I or above).

    Just as a point of information, most states do not require any training for volunteers. A few require a minimum course of less than 32 hours. In fact there are 10-12 states that have no mandated training levels for career. This was determined by the Indiana Fire Training Authority several years ago.

    As far as the issue at hand, mandated duty nights do pose issues. Most departments use them to guarantee coverage, but they can also drive members away.

    Do they work? I guess it depends on who you ask.

    We have sleeping quarters in our main station and allow members to volunteer to ride-outs. Most nights we have 2-3. Some nights we have 4-5. Every once in awhile we have none and the lone career guy is alone, except for the parish medic crew housed in our station as well.

  6. #31
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Sep 2010


    I am from a Vol/Career fire Dept. We make around 3000 runs per year. We require 3 trainings per month, 32 hours ride time or 20 % of runs for the month. Our training division offers 8 trainings per month. Our guys receive a small reimbursement fee for everything they do. We want our guys to show up for training. " Train like you fight---Fight like you train "

  7. #32

    Join Date
    Jan 2009


    In my department, a rural, all-volunteer department, we try to set the attitude that participation is like a part-time job. We use an interview process for candidates, the candidates are given copies of SOP/SOGs and a booklet called "Guide for New Firefighters," and they sign a statement indicating their receipt of them and pledging their intent to follow SOP/SOGs and be an "active" member. We do not have a duty schedule. Our officers operate as though they are supervisors in a workplace. We encourage, teach, coach, mentor and, when necessary direct and mandate. We're fortunate, I suppose, that we have high-quality members who are both farmers and non-farm individuals who are committed to the job as though they were being paid. They accept direction and follow policy because it is presented properly, and because it is implemented for their safety. The best way to recruit and retain active volunteers is to work at having something for them to do (so they don't lose interest), and to recognize and reward them for their efforts.

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