Is it Ethical to Mandate Volunteerism?
I've been thinking about this for awhile. I LOVE the volunteer service, as I love serving my community and helping people in need.
My department is a combination department in a couple of different ways. We have EMS integrated into our department (EMS calls are about 90% of our calls epr year), and we have paid EMS First Responders, however all of the firefighters are volunteer.
At night there is obviously a hinderance of turn-out (this mostly pertains to EMS calls), so my department has mandated that certain members MUST respond overnight from 2200-0500 for any EMS call that comes out. We call these "Squad Nights". Please accept my apology if this is common knowledge already.
Generally a person assigned to these nights have been in the department under 5 years. There are three slots per night, every night, and they are all filled (Driver, EMT, Aids Person).
I can understand mandating a certain amount of calls per year, and a certain amount of trainings, but mandating a certain time-frame in which certain members MUST respond?
Take into account a lot of people work the normal hours of about 9am-5pm, so it's understandable as to why people don't respond. And don't get me wrong, I've done a lot for overnights. When I wasn't working full-time and worked part-time at night I would do many, many overnight calls.
There's an obvious hierarchy of responsiblities:
1.) Family and Friends
My question to you, the Firehouse community, is: Do you believe it's ethical to mandate VOLUNTEER work?
This Is Not the Boy Scouts!!!
The volunteer Fire Service is a different breed. Like Bones42 said, "You volunteered to join. In doing so, you agreed to follow the rules of the department. Ya, its that simple. Oh, you can also volunteer to quit."
I always talk at our volunteer orientation nights. You volunteer twice: Once when you join, and then again when you leave. In between, you have responsibilities, such as gaining and maintaining certs, making field days, and yes, God Forbid, stand duty.
That being said, your agency should have a scheduling officer, and you provide a set number of days or nights you are available. A schedule is made up, and then you know when you are "mandated" to be in the house.
The public demands no less.....