1. #1
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    Default Volunteering/School/Work?

    I am currently looking into moving back to my hometown and attending my small college there to get an associates degree and then begin firefighting/emt courses. My issue here is I would like to volunteer for a small department down the road from my hometown but with going to school and trying to work 40 hours a week is this possible? Do most workplaces let you go to call if you are scheduled to work if you are a volunteer firefighter? If so, do I need any kind of certs to volunteer or do I just show up and say I would like to volunteer? Once again I thank you all for your input on all of my questions it has been a GREAT help for me!

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    I can't speak as a firefighter but I am a manager at a local grocery store and I have to say as much as I would personally be okay with a volunteer firefighter leaving to take a call while they were at work I can say that wouldnt always be possible. If you are put on a schedule at work, your employer expects you to be there and to work your full shift and there is no telling if you would be leaving for an hour or you wouldnt be back for the day. Like I said, I cant speak from a firefighters stand point, but that is from an employers point of view and how they may see it. It would all more depend on where you go to work. If you are working in retail running a register up at the front it would be much harder for you to leave than if you were working somewhere where maybe the workload wasnt as high or somewhere where maybe one or two other guys would be able to pick up the slack of you not being there. I would ask an employer if they have any policies regarding this. Not nessisarily firefighting policies but just policies on emplyees leaving before the end of their scheduled shift.

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    I thank you for your reply especially coming from the employer standpoint. Thats exactly the thing I was thinking about is if I were to leave I would need someone to pick up the slack. Another thought I had too was if I had to go on a call multiple times during a week or so it could throw off paychecks and possibly make paying the rent difficult but I'm not for sure on that aspect it was just a thought. I really want to do this but I am trying to think everything through thoroughly before I make the decision to move back and start.

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    well if your talking about moving back to your home town and doing this maybe an option you could look into if your worried about being able to pay the rent and other bills is to move back in with mom and dad until you get your school done, which is what I have decided to do. It is hard enough working full time and trying to go to school full time and then throwing in the idea of volunteer fire work too? I've been there for the first one and its not impossible but it is difficult.

    Keep in mind if its something you want to do, like anything else, there are going to be some sacrafices that have to be made. Some are less desirable than others but if its worth having and worth working to it shouldn't be easy.

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    Look at it this way.
    Work pays the bills today. Without it you can't even afford the gas to get to the calls.
    School sets you up to pay the bills tomorrow, without it see item 1.

    Those should be your priorities.

    It might be one thing if the chief called you and said, hey, this one's really hot and we're short handed, do you think you could get off work and maybe come help out. On the other hand if your intention is to leave work every single time there is a call don't expect many employers to put up with that long. If you're going to leave school every single time there is a call don't expect to keep your grades up much.

    The best advice I can offer to you is figure out how many hours per week you're going to need between work and school, figure out how many hours you need to add to that for sleep/homework/life, then figure out what's left.

    Once you have that number go down to the department, talk to the chief, tell him how much time you have available to volunteer and ask him what you need to get started. He can help you decide if there's a place in his department for someone who can dedicate the amount of time you can right now and let you know what kind of time it will take up front to get any training and certification out of the way that the department requires.

    Good luck.

    Eric

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    I couldn't agree more with the paying the bills part Eric! That is the truth! I am hoping to get into contact with that dept. her shortly. Raiderpower, I have thought about moving back in with the parents but I would like that to be a last option but you gotta do what you gotta do. Oh, RaiderPower does your username have anything to do with Texas Tech? Cause I am currently a student there and we say Raider Power lol.

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    haha it actually has everything to do with tech. i went out there for a year and loved it. i keep meaning to get back out to lubbock for a football game one year but just havnt done it.

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    oh I see yeah it can be fun but Lubbock just isn't for me I miss good ol Abilene Texas haha

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    I would check to see what the employers policy is on it or if they even have one and then maybe be selective if they do let you do it so as to not take advantage of it. Fire alarm, trash fire or something small or you know there are a lot of guys going to be there maybe don't go but if you have a structure fire or something were the manpower would be needed you can justify that.

    For the volunteer part, get with the department since most will put you through whatever training is required minimum. Some may make you pay your own way for anything extra like specilized rescue or more, but then again you have to find the time to get the training around your schedule for school and work.

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    I am still in high school and if we get toned out they allow us(3 seniors all on different departments) to sign out and go to the call. I went to the station and asked to join. They had to vote me on. Also for schooling I take Fire Science class at the community college once aweek. All paid for by the station.

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    I work 50 hours per week at an insurance agency, but I still have time to hang out with friends, and I stay at the station a good deal.. I say go for it, it may be difficult at first but you will adjust

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    Most volunteer departments understand that you have work, school and family commitments.There are none that I am aware of that expect you to be able to leave work to make runs. They do expect you to make a reasonable number oif runs.

    Most do expect that you will be able to make a majority of the scheduled training, or if you can't due to work, be able to attend some other form of training in it's place. I know my current department has a evening and day training program. My past department had day and night training programs as well. If for some reason that is an issue, we will allow substituted training, such as one-on-one or documented computer training, or outside training to fill some of the void.

    I am sure that most departments would not have any issues with your scheduling needs. If they do, they are probably awfully well staffed and don't need folks or very short staffed as nobody can meet their expectations.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 02-06-2011 at 03:50 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ccarlin52 View Post
    I am currently looking into moving back to my hometown and attending my small college there to get an associates degree and then begin firefighting/emt courses. My issue here is I would like to volunteer for a small department down the road from my hometown but with going to school and trying to work 40 hours a week is this possible? Do most workplaces let you go to call if you are scheduled to work if you are a volunteer firefighter? If so, do I need any kind of certs to volunteer or do I just show up and say I would like to volunteer? Once again I thank you all for your input on all of my questions it has been a GREAT help for me!
    As a Marine I work anywhere from 40 hours to 60 hours a week. I am also finishing my bachelors degree, and I have a wife and two children with yet another one on the way. I have to do 48 hours a month at the station, usually two 24 hour shifts on Saturdays. I don't get to leave work to go to calls, which we don't get called out unless it's something major burning. Anyway, to answer your question, yes it's possible, if you're willing to sacrifice some of your personal time to do it. If you make the commitment follow through with it, the firefighting community is a small, small world and your reputation can follow you to different departments.

    Other than that, go for it, and have fun.

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