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Thread: Missing Calls

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    Default Missing Calls

    First off I just want to say that I know I'm not going to be able to make it to every single call. But I recently joined my local volunteer department about a month and a half ago. I have loved every minute of it and it has been something I wanted to do since I was little. Now that I'm on the department I find myself making up excuses to stay home and just sit around so that on the off chance we do have a call I can go, I'm 18 and I know that I should be out hanging out with my freinds, especially on the weekends. I feel bad and like I'm letting my department down whenever I miss calls. Is there anything I can do to help me get over sitting at home waiting for call and not being sociable or is it something that will just come with time once the newness goes away?
    Thanks.

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    i just joined a volunteer dept too, 18 as well. i dont think you are wrong, because you want to go do something you love and at the same time you want to hang out with your friends. maybe hang out with your friends within a certain amount of miles/time from the firehouse this way if you are out with friends you get a call you can go. we cant always make it to every call even if we want to but its a little different then being paid and actually being at the firehouse obviously because you know in that time you will get called. volunteer is different so dont hold up your life for it but im sure compromising could definitely help. maybe certain days a week you designate as days to stay home go to calls and the other days you go out. just think of it like being paid and having a certain shift, you wouldnt be able to respond if you werent on shift right

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    yamaha189,

    I am almost 55 years old, just shy of 37 yars as a volunteer firefighter so I can speak from experience.

    LIVE YOUR LIFE! Look you will be 18 years old ONCE and ONCE only in your life time. Go out with your friends do the things you do. If you are available go on the call, if you aren't because you are out of town hanging with friends, such is life.

    It is really this simple, any volunteer fire department that expects you to make every call is insane. People have jobs, families, and lives away from the volly fire house. Am I saying you should slack off and not respond when you are available? NO I AM NOT! But to be afraid to go do anything else in your life because the tones might drop is well just a little over the top.

    Enjoy your life kid because regret is a Mother Fracker and once time is gone, it is gone. Be dedicated to the fire department but don't make it your whole life...
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    yamaha189,

    I am almost 55 years old, just shy of 37 yars as a volunteer firefighter so I can speak from experience.

    LIVE YOUR LIFE! Look you will be 18 years old ONCE and ONCE only in your life time. Go out with your friends do the things you do. If you are available go on the call, if you aren't because you are out of town hanging with friends, such is life.

    It is really this simple, any volunteer fire department that expects you to make every call is insane. People have jobs, families, and lives away from the volly fire house. Am I saying you should slack off and not respond when you are available? NO I AM NOT! But to be afraid to go do anything else in your life because the tones might drop is well just a little over the top.

    Enjoy your life kid because regret is a Mother Fracker and once time is gone, it is gone. Be dedicated to the fire department but don't make it your whole life...
    Thank you. That's what I need to hear. That's what I've been struggling with, the time and age. I keep telling myself that i'm wasting what little time I have left in my highschool years sitting and waiting for a call. I just enjoy being around the guys at the firehouse and learning evrey single time I go up there, I just kept thinking what if there is a big call tonight and I miss it. But I think I'm starting to work over it. Everyone stay safe tonight, I have a Prom to go to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by yamaha189 View Post
    Thank you. That's what I need to hear. That's what I've been struggling with, the time and age. I keep telling myself that i'm wasting what little time I have left in my highschool years sitting and waiting for a call. I just enjoy being around the guys at the firehouse and learning evrey single time I go up there, I just kept thinking what if there is a big call tonight and I miss it. But I think I'm starting to work over it. Everyone stay safe tonight, I have a Prom to go to.
    You have your whole life ahead of you...enjoy it.

    Have fun at Prom, I am so old I can barely remember mine!! LOL!!
    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

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    Fyred Up gave good advice. At my unit, its usually just us old married guys that respond on Friday or Saturday nights. No one resents the younger guys for being out doing their thing.

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    It always bugs me if I miss a call - but I don't lose any sleep over it. If I'm home, I'll go.

    And sometimes, there are those calls you can be glad you missed.

    The only people who bug me are those who just wave to you on your way by. Usually they say they'll be there for the big ones, but they don't show up for them, either...
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    Another thing you can do is set aside a certain time to make yourself availalble, and the other times for going out and having fun. If you know a certain number of your dept. has commitments, make yourself availible at those times and go out when there are plenty of others around.
    Our dept has an in/out board in the turnout room so we know if someone's going to be out of town or something for a few days. Sometimes we might have half a dozen guys going to FDIC for the day, or at the county fair for 4H, so the rest of us know that manpower might be thin, and we'll stick around if we can.
    conrad427 likes this.

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    I agree with the general sentiment here. I myself am just barely out of rookie status and used to find myself waiting around for the call. For me it was a balancing act with my farm and family. At times I would have to stay in the tractor and watch the engines go by but I had to get a crop seeded to support my family. I respond when I can. The asst. chief actually yelled at me last year when my family and I was at the lake. The dept. got paged out for a grass fire and I checked in on the radio asking if they needed me to drive the forty miles back to the station, he said " Jeeez, enjoy some time with your family dummy! We will manage one without you!" That kind of set me straight. You will probably never feel good about missing one but you have to live your life, if you don't you will end up like me! I farm, ranch, spend time with the family, volunteer to fight fire and when I have free time I work for the Department of State Lands fighting fire for money!

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    I think some of this goes away as you get more time in. New members are naturally excited to participate and gain experience and knowledge. That needs to be encouraged to a point. Finding the balance between fire department obligations and family/personal life can be tough and can take time. I still struggle at times to get the right balance.

    As far as missing calls, to some extent it depends on the call volume. For us, we run enough calls that you can't be expected to make them all, and if you miss a "good" one, another "good" one will come along.

    We try to schedule people to make sure we have coverage and the right people at the station, or at least close by. We understand that people have lives and can't be there all of the time. What will get you in trouble though is saying that you will be there and then not showing up and not letting somebody know you can't make it.

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    20+ years as a second-generation volunteer firefighter here. 39 years old Married with three kids.......

    Let me say something here and now:

    **You are going to miss calls.**

    Let me say that again so that it is crystal clear:

    **You are going to miss calls.**

    You will miss little ones, and yes (GASP!) you will miss big ones in the course of living your life. What are you going to do when you get a full time job- tell your boss "GOTTA GO!" Do this often enough (and once could be often enough) and you better learn to schit money because thats all the coin you will have because you will suddenly find yourself on the outside of your job looking in..........

    What are you going to do when you get a girlfriend and are out on a nice date? "GOTTA GO!" Do this often enough and you better have a good relationship with your hands because thats all you are going to get!!!

    What are you going to do when you are at home alone with the kids and the pager goes off?

    You need to live your life. Not only now in your youth- having fun on friday and saturday nights, but you will also need to live your life as a responsible adult in the future- you will need to make car and mortgage payments....gas/electric and water bills.....credit card bills.....put food on the table....The Volunteer Fire Department does not do this for you, your ability to earn income does this for you; which means the VFD will have to take a back seat to both your job and your family obligations.

    Get used to it kid.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    I agree with the general sentiment here. I myself am just barely out of rookie status and used to find myself waiting around for the call. For me it was a balancing act with my farm and family. At times I would have to stay in the tractor and watch the engines go by but I had to get a crop seeded to support my family. I respond when I can. The asst. chief actually yelled at me last year when my family and I was at the lake. The dept. got paged out for a grass fire and I checked in on the radio asking if they needed me to drive the forty miles back to the station, he said " Jeeez, enjoy some time with your family dummy! We will manage one without you!" That kind of set me straight. You will probably never feel good about missing one but you have to live your life, if you don't you will end up like me! I farm, ranch, spend time with the family, volunteer to fight fire and when I have free time I work for the Department of State Lands fighting fire for money!
    I don't know what you're talking about, your life sounds awesome!

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    Thanks everyone for your input. I've only been on the department for about 2 months now so I think that there is still just a lot of excitement there for me to get worked up about. Our department averages about 80-100 calls, majority of them being EMS.

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    Live your life. I've been a volunteer for almost 9 years now and I've missed my fair share of calls. It happens. If your department is like mine (small number of active members), just let an officer know you won't be around so they don't have the expectation of you showing up. You'll have plenty of time to make calls. Enjoy life, enjoy your friends, and go the hell out haha
    "If it was easy, someone else would of done it already." - Lt. Ray McCormack FDNY

    - Firefighter 1 / HAZMAT Ops / EMT-B

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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanK63 View Post
    Live your life. I've been a volunteer for almost 9 years now and I've missed my fair share of calls. It happens. If your department is like mine (small number of active members), just let an officer know you won't be around so they don't have the expectation of you showing up. You'll have plenty of time to make calls. Enjoy life, enjoy your friends, and go the hell out haha
    For real though, you will drive yourself nuts..

    I used to like stare at my pager waiting for a call, dread missing the big one..

    I've been in/to quite a few fires.. Doesn't make them any less exciting...but you get used to it..
    RyanK63 and 19firefighter84 like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    yamaha189,

    I am almost 55 years old, just shy of 37 yars as a volunteer firefighter so I can speak from experience.

    LIVE YOUR LIFE! Look you will be 18 years old ONCE and ONCE only in your life time. Go out with your friends do the things you do. If you are available go on the call, if you aren't because you are out of town hanging with friends, such is life.

    It is really this simple, any volunteer fire department that expects you to make every call is insane. People have jobs, families, and lives away from the volly fire house. Am I saying you should slack off and not respond when you are available? NO I AM NOT! But to be afraid to go do anything else in your life because the tones might drop is well just a little over the top.

    Enjoy your life kid because regret is a Mother Fracker and once time is gone, it is gone. Be dedicated to the fire department but don't make it your whole life...
    I have to agree with FyredUp here, but I am 3rd generation, almost 62 years old, with 44 years of service come 7/14.
    Stephen J Bourassa
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    Quote Originally Posted by yamaha189 View Post
    Thanks everyone for your input. I've only been on the department for about 2 months now so I think that there is still just a lot of excitement there for me to get worked up about. Our department averages about 80-100 calls, majority of them being EMS.
    Relax. You wouldn't even be qualified to ride by 4 months in at our place........Take deep breaths....IN...OUT....IN.....OUT........
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    I've been a member of my company for 6 years, and I joined when I was 14 years old. I've missed MVA's, AFA's, Working Structure Fire's, and working multi alarm commercial structure fire's. If you can come up with the type of call, I've missed it. But its because I did not let the Fire Company tie me down. I went out with my friends, If they wanted to go camping for the weekend, we went camping for the weekend. Although the Volly Department is a great place to meet people and become a member of another family, its Volunteer for a reason. No one can tell you that you HAVE to. Your on YOUR time, not theirs.

    With that being said, I was a member of a ladder company for those six years. Toward the end of last year into the beginning of this year, I was getting my *** busted pretty hard for not being around. (Mind you, I was in the process of a move, had a new girlfriend, and went full time at my paid EMS job.) I explained to every one of them that I have a life, and I cannot be around like I was when I was 16. I can't make every call. Yes I re-set the pager at 5AM for a worker because I know they will get out with a crew, and I have work at 0630, I also know if I miss work, I can't pay the bills...

    The ball busting became too much for me, as when I wasn't there they were on my case, and when I finally had the time and made a fire or whatever type call it was, they harassed me there too, saying why even come around if your not going to make more calls, etc. So I Left. I joined the Engine Company, which is in the same house. (Weird right? 2 companies in the same house, both Volly?) I get text messages from the captain notifying me of training, meetings or get together, and if I don't make calls, I still get those messages. If I make a call, everyone is happy I had the time to come out and help. Everyone is appreciative of each other and understands that we have lives outside of the volunteer fire service.
    Firefighter 1/ PA EMT-B

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    It's important to maintain a balance in life. You need to have your friends, your job, and your family. Your no good to the department if your burned out from doing it 24/7 or if your in a funk because you had a bad call and no one to talk about it with.

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    I have been a member of our department for 28 years, I am currently 58 years old. Our old and highly respected chief always told us family comes first, enjoy your life, hang with your friends, but defiently respond to calls when you are avaible.

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    The missing calls thing has always struck me as kind of funny. As a career firefighter I was around home more days than the average guy working his 40 hour work week. Heck 3-24 hour shifts in 9 days, so I was home 6 out of 9 days, unless I was off teaching for part of the day or off on some other adventure. It often seemed I would be home for my 4 days off in a row and nothing would happen, I'd go back to work and in that 24 hour stretch both of my volly FDs would run 2 to 6 calls in that day I was gone. So it wasn't that my available time was lower than anyone elses, it was just purely the luck of the draw tht I missed those calls. And that is just how it is.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
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    It's funny how calls come in waves.... or will hit a particular shift more than others....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Byrne View Post
    It's funny how calls come in waves.... or will hit a particular shift more than others....
    We get calls in threes around here. On topic, I missed a MVA fatality today because I was at the lake.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FF-Andy View Post
    We get calls in threes around here. On topic, I missed a MVA fatality today because I was at the lake.
    We have that saying about the runs coming in threes around here too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Daniel Byrne View Post
    It's funny how calls come in waves.... or will hit a particular shift more than others....
    I was visiting a station in Lexington, KY some years ago and mentioned the three's thing. A couple of the FF's thought for a moment and then wholeheartedly agreed.

    The sad part about missing calls here is that I've probably missed more in the past two weeks due to being out of town than some of our members will make all year.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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