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    Default Daytime staffing

    My department has an issue most of the time through out the weekdays with having members available to respond. With the way everyone works there just aren't enough people available, maybe 3 or 4 during the day if that. I came up with an idea but still trying to sort it out before I mention it to anyone. I've been trying to do some research for something like it but haven't had much luck. So curious if anyone has anything like this or what your thoughts are. I was thinking of something like having some parttime positions for monday through friday dayshift. The money isnt there for full time positions with benefits and everything. I was thinking of something similiar to the way our jailers office operates.( little background on that in KY we have elected jailers in each county. in my county we dont have a jail we use a regional jail. So our jailer is basically just a jail transport. When we arrest someone we turned them over to the jailers office and they trasnport to the regional jail.) The Jailers office has a a trasnport officers on call for 12 hour shifts, 5a-5p, they are paid for 8 hrs. So if noone is arrested during a shift then that office sits at home and draws 8hrs pay but is required to be available during that 12 hr period. My idea is having either a 12hr or 10hr shift during the week days with 2 positions, one for an apparatus operator and one as a firefighter. Get 8 hrs pay put be required to be available during the entire shift, and maybe require that you spend a certain number of hours at the station but can be home or do whatever the rest of the time. I thought of doing it like having the 5 shifts for 2 positions and have members sign up for the shifts each week or hiring 4 part-time people and rotate it each week say A and B work 3 days this week, while C and D work 2 days then the next week C,D work 3 days and A,B work 2 days.

    Sorry if it sounds a little confusing Ive been working it out in my head for a couple days and this is the first time I've actually tried putting in text and expaining it. Thoughts, suggestions, similar experiences all welcome.
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    Also anyone know if the SAFER grant could be used for funding part time hires? I've found some info on that but has anyone done it?
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    If you're already paying your folks (ie, "paid-on-call"), it could be a simple matter (assuming that funding is available) to pay at a lesser rate for in-station standby.

    A department I know of in Michigan works that way. A couple of firefighters are on-duty, in-station five days a week, and they have people in-station overnight seven days a week. They get paid a reduced rate (purely for sake of discussion, let's say it's $8.00 an hour) until the tones drop, at which time they get the full response rate (again, only for sake of discussion, let's say it's $12.00 an hour).

    It seems to work for them - but they also have a fairly large cadre of younger folks, some of whom may work for several municipalities.

    If you don't already pay your firefighters, keep in mind that you can't pay someone for some of their time and expect them to volunteer at other times.

    Around here, daytime staffing is a problem, as it is in many areas. Many of the jobs that used to provide folks with daytime availability (farms, mills/factories with 24 hour schedules, local businesses that let people go for calls) no longer exist here or are rare at best.

    One option some of the busier departments have chosen is to employ a laborer/caretaker during the weekdays. Said employee is also a volunteer FF and when the tones drop, away he goes. One department has employeed a paid driver 24/7 for years. At least there's someone to get a truck underway.
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    We do not pay per call all volunteer. We do have 1 paid person M-F dayshift who is the city code enforcement officer and handles all administrative things for the fire department. She is paid from the FD budget. When the position was originally created 5 years ago it was created with the idea in mind to have someone there through the weekdays to gurantee a driver was there. I was the first person hired but went to the PD in 09 for more money. So with noone certified to drive etc. interested in the job someone was hired to do code enforcement and admin work, so now back to square 1. We do have members who work for the other city departments who were always allowed to respond to fire calls but with some budgets cuts and not enough manpower to cover them when they are taking a garbage truck to the landfill or working on a water leak they are not available to respond much.
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    We have one career FF/Medic 24/7/365 and one career FF/EMT Monday through Friday 6am to 6pm. During these hours, if there is a fire call, and a volunteer driver does not show up for the pumper, the career FF/Medic or FF/EMT will drive the engine, and the other one will follow in the ambulance. If a volly driver shows, they will both hop in the ambulance (which has two SCBA, a 6 foot hook, a can and a set of irons) and they will act as a mini-squad company on the scene and augment the engine company or perform VES or open the roof.
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    One city I know of, recruits its volunteer firefighters from the city employees. Since most of the city employees (water, street, sanitation, wastewater, etc.) work M-F daytime hours and are around the (smaller) city, they are available to respond to fire calls during weekdays.

    If a call comes in, the city workers respond as the fire dept. and are still paid from their regular dept. (water, etc.). This may work, if you are in a city.

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    We are "paid on call" department, but M-F we have a FF/EMT on station for 10 hrs a day they are paid. They have to wait on a "paid on call" person to show up to drive them. My goal would be to have at least 1 FF/EMT and 1 EMT to be on station so the bus makes it out the door quicker, and ensures the ambulance is covered during work hours. I do like the idea of maybe having the responders on station at a reduced rate then when the tones drop they recieve the full pay of the run.

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    Chances are if you don't have the volunteers responding now, they won't be avaialble to hang-out for a call at home even if you pay them.
    You will likely be paying personnel that would already be available and be responding anyway, so you would not be increasing your manpower.

    In my opinion, the best answer, at least short-term, would be automatic mutual aid, especially if your neighbors are in the same boat. I have quite a bit of experience with this, and yes, it does work.

    Another answer may be cross-training with the surrounding departments and allowing them to to respond to your station if they happen to be in your area and a run occurs, or they work in your response area. Again, I know of several areas where this has been used to augment daytime manpower.

    Just out of curiousity, what is your annual operating budget? The amount of that budget may determine the feasibility of your idea.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 02-22-2013 at 05:29 PM.
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    There are several departments that I am aware of, both fire and EMS, that pay crews to be on duty. Some of the FDs pay an hourly wage of $10 or more for crews to be in quarters ready to respond. Some of the EMS squads pay an hourly stipend varying on level of training from $1 to $3 and hour standby, whether at the station or at home ready to respond. They of course must do the squad and equipment checks while on duty. If they get a call then they get paid call rate for those calls.

    The FDs have no problems getting either young guys looking to break into the fire service, or retired career firefighters looking for some extra income, to work those shifts. I have to say I disagree with LA and his saying that if you pay only those already available will sign up. You may have to broaden your membership requirements to allow those outside your area to sign up to work them. Think outside the box and you may find more people than you can handle wanting to sign up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    There are several departments that I am aware of, both fire and EMS, that pay crews to be on duty. Some of the FDs pay an hourly wage of $10 or more for crews to be in quarters ready to respond. Some of the EMS squads pay an hourly stipend varying on level of training from $1 to $3 and hour standby, whether at the station or at home ready to respond. They of course must do the squad and equipment checks while on duty. If they get a call then they get paid call rate for those calls.

    The FDs have no problems getting either young guys looking to break into the fire service, or retired career firefighters looking for some extra income, to work those shifts. I have to say I disagree with LA and his saying that if you pay only those already available will sign up. You may have to broaden your membership requirements to allow those outside your area to sign up to work them. Think outside the box and you may find more people than you can handle wanting to sign up.
    My statement was based on the experience of my combo department.

    About 8 years ago we added a M-F daytime shift, which was available to our volunteers. The possibility of working that shift after meeting specific EMS and fire training requirements did not bring in any new members based on that.

    Since then we have added several daytime weekend shifts. To fill the need we have allowed members from the neighboring two departments to work those shifts if they agreed to volunteer with us and attend training. With only a couple of exceptions, the only time we see those folks is when they are scheduled to work. So by broading the base, unless you follow through on the request that they make runs as volunteers when not on the clock you may end up with some mercenaries that you only see when they are being paid.

    How much money is available in the budget for this? How much will you be able to pay them per hour or shift?
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    My statement was based on the experience of my combo department.

    About 8 years ago we added a M-F daytime shift, which was available to our volunteers. The possibility of working that shift after meeting specific EMS and fire training requirements did not bring in any new members based on that.

    Since then we have added several daytime weekend shifts. To fill the need we have allowed members from the neighboring two departments to work those shifts if they agreed to volunteer with us and attend training. With only a couple of exceptions, the only time we see those folks is when they are scheduled to work. So by broading the base, unless you follow through on the request that they make runs as volunteers when not on the clock you may end up with some mercenaries that you only see when they are being paid.

    How much money is available in the budget for this? How much will you be able to pay them per hour or shift?
    Frankly, your calling them mercenaries is just as insulting as calling all volunteers scabs. It is also just as meaningless.

    What is the point of offering paid shifts? To ensure staffing, it is that simple. Your abysmal example is nothing more than **** poor follow through of the rules your FD established. It is more your leaderships fault than those hired to fill shifts. As soon as those hired stopped meeting the requirements you established they should have been called in and reminded of their obligation. If they continued to not comply with your rules they should have been let go. Don't blame their failing to follow rules solely on them, when you were to weak to enforce the rules.

    I am not surprised that your FD has added the idiotic stipulation that these people who are helping you cover shifts for pay are being forced to volunteer back on top of that since you force your full timers to do the same. Funny that you say you have difficulties with your program while around this area people are beating the doors down to try and get those jobs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Frankly, your calling them mercenaries is just as insulting as calling all volunteers scabs. It is also just as meaningless.

    What is the point of offering paid shifts? To ensure staffing, it is that simple. Your abysmal example is nothing more than **** poor follow through of the rules your FD established. It is more your leaderships fault than those hired to fill shifts. As soon as those hired stopped meeting the requirements you established they should have been called in and reminded of their obligation. If they continued to not comply with your rules they should have been let go. Don't blame their failing to follow rules solely on them, when you were to weak to enforce the rules.

    I am not surprised that your FD has added the idiotic stipulation that these people who are helping you cover shifts for pay are being forced to volunteer back on top of that since you force your full timers to do the same. Funny that you say you have difficulties with your program while around this area people are beating the doors down to try and get those jobs.
    It does not sound like the poster is talking about actyually hiring folks as a job, but more in the line of offering them a very small level of compensation to be available, which is a world of difference.

    I have asked the poster on 2 occasions what kind of money is currently available for this program as I suspect the "pay" will not be in-line with a "job" but will be more of a supplementary stipend.

    The intent of our part-time shifts were not to provide "jobs" to non-members but to provide another set of hands for the district's daytime janitorial, maintenance and testing needs as well as a bit of supplementary income to our volunteer personnel, hence the requirement that they apply as and respond as volunteer personnel when not working one of our part-time shifts. There was never any intent to hire non-members as employees. Unfortunately, we were forced to reach out to these other departments when we started having problems filling 2-3 weekday shifts on Saturdays and Sundays, but even then, we viewed the slots as merely supplementary income for the personnel.

    There are several fire districts that do hire part-time personnel from other departments and have no requirement that they volunteer. They are also paid much better than out volunteers as they intended as actual "jobs", and are advertised as such. Again, that was not the intent of our slots.

    In this case, the fact is that is somebody from outside the district boundries, if is close enough to come in for a day slot, they are also likely close enough to respond in as a volunteer member of that VOLUNTEER department. If they wish not to do that, but only show up when there is money on the table, I stand by my statement that they are mercinaries and I personnally have no need for them in my VOLUNTEER fire station.

    As far as our full-time jobs, when we post one we do get quite a bit of attention. As far as the daytime "positions" they are not advertised outside of our membership.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 02-25-2013 at 05:41 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post

    I have asked the poster on 2 occasions what kind of money is currently available for this program as I suspect the "pay" will not be in-line with a "job" but will be more of a supplementary stipend.

    Similar to the volly/POC ems services around here that pay $1 to $3 an hour standby time. Funny thing is there ARE people that have that as their only job.

    The intent of our part-time shifts were not to provide "jobs" to non-members but to provide another set of hands for the district's daytime janitorial, maintenance and testing needs as well as a bit of supplementary income to our volunteer personnel, hence the requirement that they apply as and respond as volunteer personnel when not working one of our part-time shifts. There was never any intent to hire non-members as employees. Unfortunately, we were forced to reach out to these other departments when we started having problems filling 2-3 weekday shifts on Saturdays and Sundays, but even then, we viewed the slots as merely supplementary income for the personnel.

    As soon as you offered them pay they became employees. You really need to look at this more closely. Frankly, YOUR FD created the situation by involving out of district firefighters money to fill in for your lack of staffing. How they view the money is none of your business. Whether they decide to use that as their entire income or to supplement another job is irrelevant to the work they do and the pay they receive.

    The requirement to volunteer is BS and just more of your FDs idiotic position creating an illegal situation with your full timers. You know the one where you extort them to volly back when off duty of they are punished in subtle ways like being denied training opportunities, or being froze out by wonderful firefighters like you. To be brutally honest if i was applying for one of those jobs and you told me about the volly requirement I would first say are you serious, and then laugh and say forget it when you said yes.


    There are several fire districts that do hire part-time personnel from other departments and have no requirement that they volunteer. They are also paid much better than out volunteers as they intended as actual "jobs", and are advertised as such. Again, that was not the intent of our slots.


    Again, how the pay, whether called pay, stipend, or standby pay, is viewed or used by the firefighter is not your business. Because basically you are saying you wanted these part-timers to fill slots but they aren't really employees even though you expect them to act like your full timers and volly back like them. So which is it? They ARE employees working for the FD or they aren't?


    In this case, the fact is that is somebody from outside the district boundries, if is close enough to come in for a day slot, they are also likely close enough to respond in as a volunteer member of that VOLUNTEER department. If they wish not to do that, but only show up when there is money on the table, I stand by my statement that they are mercinaries and I personnally have no need for them in my VOLUNTEER fire station.

    And I stand by the statement that YOU and any of your career guys that volly back are SCABS by true definition. You are working for free at your place of employment which is a direct violation of federal law despite what your cracker jack box attorney says. All it will take is one disgruntled employee to raise the issue with the federal labor relations board and the back pay issue will break your districts financial back. Good luck with that.


    As far as our full-time jobs, when we post one we do get quite a bit of attention. As far as the daytime "positions" they are not advertised outside of our membership.

    Then how did your so called mercenaries hear about them?
    Again departments around here have no problem at all finding eager firefighters to work part-time. While your area does. Hmmm....I wonder why?
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    I wish we had the luxury of having 8 to 10 guys...Our daytime staffing is usually 2 or 3 members!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefDave22 View Post
    I wish we had the luxury of having 8 to 10 guys...Our daytime staffing is usually 2 or 3 members!
    Then during the day you don't have a fire department, you have an understaffed single engine company.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Again departments around here have no problem at all finding eager firefighters to work part-time. While your area does. Hmmm....I wonder why?
    Actually neither do we.
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    To the OP ...

    I would be very careful about stepping into the world of paying, or even slightly compensating people in a volunteer fire department.

    It changes the motivations for people being there. It changes the dynamics f the fire department and can start the department down the slippary slope of paying a little more or a few more people.

    Even a simple points system for the volunteers can change the dynamic of the department, not for the better.

    I would suspect that if you are having issues, the departments around you are having the same issues. Work togther on ways of solving or reducing the problem that does not involve paying members.

    Again, automatic aid, recriprical response agreements and the like may go a long way towards providing additional manpower. Try them first, and if that doesn't work, then go to compensating people, but IMO, that should be Plan B , not Plan A.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Actually neither do we.
    EXCEPT they aren't following your rules are they? So you don't really have what you say you want do you? AND you speak derogatorily about them, on this international website, calling them mercenaries.

    Sounds perfect...
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    To the OP ...

    I would be very careful about stepping into the world of paying, or even slightly compensating people in a volunteer fire department.

    Nonsense, people that are there to serve the community are not motivated to be there for the money. both of my POC FDs pay per call, one pays for training, meetings, and maintenance.

    The truth is you are not able to separate the difference between paying your normal vollies, and paying people to staff the station during times when few if any vollies are available. They are a different animal. Frankly, as a citizen I don't care if the people that show up in the big red truck or ambulance are your home town hero vollies, or your enemy mercenaries All I care about is are they there quickly, are they skilled firefighters or EMTs? None of the crapola you want to stir about mercenaries and not vollying back. If the vollies could handle it all why did you take a paid job? Why do you have career firefighters? Why do you have a paid chief? That's the problem, you complain about paying people while you merrily skip to the bank cashing your FD paycheck.


    It changes the motivations for people being there. It changes the dynamics f the fire department and can start the department down the slippary slope of paying a little more or a few more people.

    You mean like taking what HAD been a volly pub ed job and making it a paid position? Frankly Bobby, your hypocrisy is just freaking ridiculous. YOU can be paid full time for YOUR FD job but vollies shouldn't be paid anything? You have ranted consistently about what a waste of money your career guys are and that you don't want them to hire any more. Now you extend that to not compensating volunteer/POC FFs.

    Even a simple points system for the volunteers can change the dynamic of the department, not for the better.

    Get over yourself, in the 36 years I have been with my current #1 POC FD only 1 person has ever asked about the pay and that was because he thought we were full time because guys were at the station all the time doing something in those days. Otherwise most everyone looks at their once a year paycheck as like a Christmas club, not as a crucial means of income. Being paid has not done a thing to change the dynamics of the FD, no matter how much you wish it to.

    I would suspect that if you are having issues, the departments around you are having the same issues. Work togther on ways of solving or reducing the problem that does not involve paying members.

    Especially if they do pub ed.

    Again, automatic aid, recriprical response agreements and the like may go a long way towards providing additional manpower. Try them first, and if that doesn't work, then go to compensating people, but IMO, that should be Plan B , not Plan A.

    If the departments around them are having the same problems how is paging the neighboring department that doesn't have enough of their own people solve your problem? All it does is further stress the entire area's lack of manpower.

    Funny thing is I look at you like I look at a lot of retirees around here. They love our new republodictator governor and cuts he makes and attacks on public employee Unions because they got their's so screw everyone else. You are EXACTLY those guys with your don't compensate your vollies to try and improve membership numbers, or response numbers, But "LORDY LORDY, don't you be knocking my all important pub ed job." You know the one that can't document saving one single person from a fire or emergency medical call. Pub ed could go away tomorrow and few will notice other than in October during fire prevention week. If no one shows up when the tomes drop odds are people will die at some point. So you tell me which is more important?
    By the way, I pray to God you have spell check in any documents you send out to the public or to your governing body. I know it makes me a nit picking bastard but your spelling is simply atrocious.
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    Nice personal attack.

    I am going to leave it at that.

    have a nice day.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 02-26-2013 at 05:17 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Nice personal attack.

    I am going to leave it at that.

    have a nice day.
    And your calling people MERCENARIES is all well and good because you said it. THAT, YOU HYPOCRITE started the personal attacks. So take your sanctimonious, holier than thou, attitude and shove it.

    I am having a nice day pointing out what an absolutely ludicrous example of "I got mine, screw them" type of person you are.

    We all get it, you are a self loather, you hate people getting paid to be firefighters and yet you get paid to be a firefighter. the battle within yourself must rage on and on. No probably not, because hypocrites can always justify there stance that something is evil unless it benefits them and only them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    And your calling people MERCENARIES is all well and good because you said it. THAT, YOU HYPOCRITE started the personal attacks. So take your sanctimonious, holier than thou, attitude and shove it.

    I am having a nice day pointing out what an absolutely ludicrous example of "I got mine, screw them" type of person you are.

    We all get it, you are a self loather, you hate people getting paid to be firefighters and yet you get paid to be a firefighter. the battle within yourself must rage on and on. No probably not, because hypocrites can always justify there stance that something is evil unless it benefits them and only them.
    It may possibly be the bloodsucking mercenary in me but that is gutbusting funny and true.
    Oh also alittle aside, went on a bit of a road trip the other day and packed nearly 50 lbs of stuff along with my regular go bag in case I encountered any accidents or other emergency situations rather than drive on by like some would if they weren't on the clock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    .. hence the requirement that they apply as and respond as volunteer personnel when not working one of our part-time shifts.
    You do realize that your requirement is completely illegal.

    You might want to check out the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    Or ask the folks in Maryland, who got nailed big time for it. In their case, it was found that because the fire departments are county-wide organizations, their paid personnel who lived and volunteered in another part of the county were indeed volunteering for the same people who were paying their wages.

    They don't do that there any more.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    You do realize that your requirement is completely illegal.

    You might want to check out the Fair Labor Standards Act.

    Or ask the folks in Maryland, who got nailed big time for it. In their case, it was found that because the fire departments are county-wide organizations, their paid personnel who lived and volunteered in another part of the county were indeed volunteering for the same people who were paying their wages.

    They don't do that there any more.
    He doesn't care because the law firm of Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe that represents Bossier Parish told them it isn't illegal.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  25. #25
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    You suggested that a volunteer department pay folks from adjoining areas that have never displayed an interest in volunteering for them. Yup, mercinaries. Now, if they agree to respond as a volunteer as part of that VOLUNTEER fire department when not on the clock, as a condition of employment, fine. No problem. But IMO, if they wish to work part-time for a volunteer department I damn well fully expect them to volunteer with that agency.

    You may not like that, but that is how I feel.

    As far as "I have mine, screw them" you couldn't be any farther off-base.

    Yes, I do believe that the best delivery model for firefighting in non-urban areas is volunteer. Not career. Not POC, but non-compensated volunteer. It allows for true community-based and communit- delivered fire protection at the absolute lowest possible cost for the taxpayer. It's services being delivered by folks living in the community for the community. In most small towns this model is utilized successfully every single day.

    I realize there are times that POC departments must be used, especially in busier small-community departments, and yes, there are advantages such as higher level of accountability in reagrds to training, appearence and run requirements. The obvious disadvantage is the cost and the draining of resources that could be spent on other areas of the operations. While not the ideal model, it certainly is a far superior model to career personnel from a budgetary standpoint. I have served on two POC departments during my career.

    The final model is the partially or fully career FDs. I fully realize that there are a need in some communities for career staff, however, that being said, I fully support making every possible effort to retain a 100% volunteer department in a situation where a volunteer organization is having response issues and is contemplating adding career staff.

    This isn't about preventing others from being hired as firefighters, but that being said, it is not the job of the fire service to emply folks. It is the job of the fire service to deliver services at the lowest possible cost. if a VFD can increase response through far lower cost incentives to retain or recruit volunteers, as compared to going the much higher cost route of hiring staff, they have a responsibility to the taxpayers to choose the lower cost option.In addition, there are significant changes to the dynamics of a volunteer department when some career staff are added that can have significant impacts on the level of volunteer membership and involvement that can lead to the need to hire additional career staff, where it may not have otherwise needed, significantly increasing the cost of fire protection to the taxpayer. I have seen those organizational and cultural changes and seen the impacts, and it's not cheap to the taxpayers.

    And yes, AMA and recriprical response agreements can redue the need for hiring staff, which in theened, is better for the community, in many cases, than assuming payroll expenses.

    There is no battle within me. The department feels that they needed somebody in my position to deliver public eduation as well as handle pre-planning, training and admin roles that the Deputy Chief was handling. I have no issues with our career staff orther than i feel that the addition of asecond shift firefighter was not warrented, but instead 1 or two of the three positions hired could have been assigned to day shift, rather than 24-hour shifts, and the remainder of the funding identified for those positions could have been used to support the volunteers. The simple fact is we have plenty of volunteers and the community did not need all three hired positions. if you consider that "I have mine" fine, however, I see it as simply not spending money on payroll that truly was not needed, due to our volunteer base and response. Again, it's not the role of the fire department to generate jobs if there are other alternatives to providing services.

    By the way, we have seen the impacts of adding asecond shift member. there has been a significant decrease in volunteer response to overnight EMS calls as in the majority of the cases, that manpower is no longer needed. That, in a volunteer department where activity is critical to keeping the membership involved, is a very, very bad thing and may end up having some long-term concequences.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 02-27-2013 at 09:22 AM.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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