My dept is all volunteer we are looking at a way to hire 1 full time pd fireman to have at the station so we know the equipment will be ready and reports will get done. The things are getting done now just not as good as they could I guess I could say we are just getting by. We have 40 fireman and 2 satellite stations a total of 18 trucks to care for and population of 8000.
Also our dept does no medical calls at all. Our average for 1 year is about 140 calls between mva and fires.
I just wondered if any other volunteer depts have done anything like this and how did you fund it? Did you hire from within? How did you convince your local government it was a need not a want? Any ideas would be great
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03-14-2012, 10:41 PM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
How to go about getting 1 full time pd fireman?
03-14-2012, 10:58 PM #2
A couple of the fire districts in the county have laborers (or some similar title) who are also volunteer firefighters. When the tones hit, they magically change into firefighters. The rest of the time they're taking care of all the other stuff that needs to be done - servicing trucks, filling SCBA tanks, paperwork, etc.
They are M-F 8-hours-a-day folks.
So far, they haven't had any FLSA issues that I know of.
At 140 runs a year, going with a 24/7 firefighter might be overkill, especially if you don't have a lot of money to put into it. The daytime-only position might be a minimum wage thing, possibly even part-time (ie, less than 40 hours a week). Depends on who you want to hire for the job, and whether they require enough income to support a family, etc.Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.
Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.
03-14-2012, 11:31 PM #3
- Join Date
- Jan 2007
I was going to say what tree said. I don't know about the legality of it, but I know it is very popular for volunteer departments that need someone to take care of things around the firehouse to hire these laborers. They are essentially janitors, truck/equipment checkers, and secretaries. They are volunteers there as well, so they jump on the rig if a call were to come in while they were working.
You could probably sell the idea as a retention thing. It lightens the load for the volunteers, helping to retain people. You can also sell it as improving efficiency and ensuring the equipment that the district has invested lots of money in stays in good repair.
03-14-2012, 11:53 PM #4
The other officers of my volunteer department and I have gone back and forth with our city council on this very issue for the last 2 years. I would say I am at the point of being able to convince anyone it is needed.
First thing to consider is like most volunteer departments, you are more than likely low on manpower during the day when most guys are at work (these days out of the response district). It doesn’t matter if you have 5 fires a year or 500; someone has to respond to them.
Other things to consider are those issues that have nothing to do with responding to calls. In our situation we had a full time fire position taken from us when the city combined police and fire into public safety (another topic for another thread). This gave us someone to respond in the on duty public safety officers; however the day to day operations suffered. No one was there to check trucks, maintain the stations, perform hydrant maintenance, update pre plans or interact with the community. These duties now fall on volunteers, normally during training hours that are already too limited. If your department is concerned with ISO, use this as a catalyst for your daytime personnel.
Now to the topic of pay status. What we found after hours of discussing the matter is that one part time position filled by multiple people would be better for us than a single full time spot. Like Tree already mentioned, this would more than likely be a low paying spot for a full timer. We will take our figures we came up with as an example: $35,000 a year for the single spot. What this will give you is a less than desirable salary for a full timer once you factor in benefits. However, that same amount can provide a very appealing part time salary for personnel who may work full time somewhere else; in our case roughly $12 an hour working 8-5 7 days a week. You can also cover it with as many people as you want.
Experience matters so much more when working alone. That minimum salary full timer would more than likely have none if any, and very limited knowledge of your area and procedures. Having some of your current volunteers work the part time spot would allow you to put a body in the station without having to worry about that person not being supervised. It would also allow you to take advantage of any full time guys who work at other departments but need something to do on their days off.
That is about all I have right now, I am sure more will come to me as I think about it some.
03-15-2012, 12:13 AM #5
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
18 trucks and only 140 runs??? If I were a taxpayer I'd be ****ed.
I think a fulltime position would be a waste of time as well. I'd divide the volunteers into 3 or 4 groups and assign each group a task to maintain for 3-4 months. You could have a group that runs the trucks and equipment, a group that does housework, and a group that does reports and plans training. Every 3-4 months they switch. That way everyone gets to know how things run, and you don't have your eggs in one basket. Put your officers in charge of the group. You can require a minimum amount of hours a period at the members convenience, and pay them a wage. Plus you wouldn't need to worry about a pension or insurance.
03-15-2012, 10:58 AM #6
Quite honestly if you cannot administrate 140 runs per year with 40 members, your Chief and/or the line officers need a swift kick in the azz. Does the Chief delegate responsibilities? Does he have a good Executive Officer (Deputy or Asst Chief) that makes sure things get done (obviously in your case no......) Sorry I just dont see the need for a paid guy for 140 runs per year and quite honestly as a taxpayer or official of your community I would be ****ed if you guys even publicly broached the subject.
And 18 vehicles for three stations and 140 runs a year? Seriously? Sell a bunch of the vehicles and use that money to hire a part-time administrative assistant if you really and truly feel you need help with paperwork."Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
03-15-2012, 11:47 AM #7
FWD took the words out of my mouth. It sounds like a leadership change my be warranted, not adding paid personnel to the staff.Career Fire Captain
Volunteer Chief Officer
Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!
03-15-2012, 12:44 PM #8
- Join Date
- Mar 2012
We have 3 stations 1 main station that is in town with a population of 5000 then 2 satellite stations that are 15 miles to each way to the east and west each station has its own pumper tanker and brush truck. The main station is a city and County dept. in 1 house we have 3 Pumpers the city pumper canít leave the city limits and therefore we have to have a county pumper to take to county fires. And then we have a spare that stays at the main station unless we have equipment problems with one of the other pumpers. We then have 3 brush 1 tanker a suburban and 1 rescue at the main station. The rest would be out of service antiques that we keep for PR events. I say we have 40 firemen thatís over 3 towns that are covered under one county district fire dept. we are fine on fireman at night but during the day there are days we have next to no coverage. Most members have kids and family events to tend to also its hard to retain members when most of the time at training all we get done is truck checks and maintenance. Our board feels that if we had a Monday through Friday 8-5 to take care of things then we could train when we need to be training and also do things to work on lowering out ISO to benefit the tax payers.
03-15-2012, 12:59 PM #9
Between two engine companies, and air/light/power unit and two ALS ambulances, we do 1800 runs per year....We do have one career FF/Medic 24/7 and one EMT/FF 6am to 6pm 7 days per week; who do no vehicle/equipment maintenance (other than truck checks or replacing lightbulbs or chainsaw chains) or administrative paperwork (other than the EMS Trip Sheets...) That being said, we manage to do 1660 more runs per year than you guys.......How in the hell do we manage to do that? Damn.....??????
And if the engines are city/county owned, let the City and the County worry about the vehicle maintenance. You guys dont need a career man, you need a new set of line officers and administrative staff who will make sure stuff gets done along with all the requisite training........"Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
03-15-2012, 11:43 PM #10
- Join Date
- Jun 2002
- Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....
Guess I have to disagree with the mainstream here. You have a Station in Town, one 15 miles away in one direction, and one 15 miles out in another direction. Between all 3, 140 runs per year. I have no problem seeing a need for a Weekday 7 to 5 position here. I also fail to see where you have too many vehicles, I'd probably have several more Engines and a Ladder Truck on top of what you have. (And Yes, FWD, they'd be Black over Yellow) If nothing else, you and those who provide your Funding need to understand that what you are doing each day isn't really important. What IS important is what you must be capable of doing. Anytime, Anywhere, Under any Conditions.Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
In memory of
Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006
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I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.
03-16-2012, 08:30 AM #11
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
While i fully understand the value of having a daytime firefighter to handle much of the "routine stuff", I also have been involved in much busier volunteer departments which more than adequately took care of the day-to-day stuff that you mentioned without a paid member.
Yes, I see the value of having a paid man to shuttle a truck to the shop for work, or be able to hang out and wait at the station for that repairman who is now 2 hours late without having to worry about getting back to the job or the business. And yes, those are important considerations. That member can also handle the rountine admin such as entering fire calls and taking care of other routine reports as well. As far as response, if that one paid member is going to make that much of a difference, you probably have other issues that need to be solved.
I guess my overall feeling though is that type of run volume simply does not justify paid staffing. It would seem to me, based on my experiences, that a department with that run volume should be more than able to run with all volunteer staffing.
If you do o with a paid man, i would echo GTs recommendation that you utilize multiple part-time personnel as it will, in the long run, be much cheaper, and as he stated, can be spread out among your volunteers as an incentive. That is how we handle the day-time firefighter slot at my combo department and it works out very well.Train to fight the fires you fight.
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