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Thread: multiple departmens?

  1. #26
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    Department policy here is no other departments, exception being the military reservists. I agree with the policy.
    Other places might not have the issue we have with employee relations (workman comp), I can see a real problem on trying to differentiate and process injury claims. Not so much the day to day stuff, like a burn, scrape or even a broken bone, etc... the long term stuff, such as presumptive cancer or heart & lung.
    Budgets being what they are, when a member is unable to continue their work as a firefighter, here, due to a line-injury, it is almost impossible to get the injured member their due compensation; I have watched it first hand, multiple times. One, which involved a truck company falling off a roof due to fire conditions, in front of a good chunk of the world. Pretty clear cut, in many opinions, yet the city fought for years to deny the line-injury claim-and won.

    I don't want to get into an entire debate on the merits of it. We still allow smoking, and other hobbies such as skiing and hunting, etc... I personally don't care if a member wants to volunteer or work part-time somewhere else as a firefighter. It's a condition of employment here, fine. The union's advice, based on past practice with workman's comp is to agree with the city position, so it was never fought.

    It's been a tough issue for some, here. More than a few got their start with some of the bigger part-time departments in neighboring counties. Once hired, they wanted to keep their membership where they started. It's just one of the many negatives going on today's fire service.
    Last edited by Jasper 45; 05-16-2013 at 11:03 AM.

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    My town does not allow us to be volunteer members of other departments. We can work Per Diem EMS though.

    The reason is, my town does not pay FF's.... Only EMS.... Two of our neighboring towns do pay FF's....

    Some members would wait for the other town to be called MA before responding to a fire in their own town.

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    I'm career with the US Forest Service and volunteer with the local department in town.

    Personally I can't imagine volunteering with two seperate departments. It is enough of a time juggle just volunteering with one. I won't / can't respond to wildland incidents that I may get called out for from my paid job. I had to get permission from my employer to volunteer (outside employment requires clearance) and the volunteer department understands this and has similar restrictions on their own small paid staff, some of whom volunteer in the nearby communities they live in.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcdonl View Post
    My town does not allow us to be volunteer members of other departments. We can work Per Diem EMS though.

    The reason is, my town does not pay FF's.... Only EMS.... Two of our neighboring towns do pay FF's....

    Some members would wait for the other town to be called MA before responding to a fire in their own town.
    Easily handled with a policy from the original volly FD. My personal policy, used by the few that volly on both FDs I am on is whoever pages first owns me for the incident.

    Frankly, if your guys are waiting to get paged MA to get paid it says more about them and their motivstion than anything else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    I'm career with the US Forest Service and volunteer with the local department in town.

    Personally I can't imagine volunteering with two seperate departments. It is enough of a time juggle just volunteering with one. I won't / can't respond to wildland incidents that I may get called out for from my paid job. I had to get permission from my employer to volunteer (outside employment requires clearance) and the volunteer department understands this and has similar restrictions on their own small paid staff, some of whom volunteer in the nearby communities they live in.
    It isn't that big of a deal. I am career in a suburb of Milwaukee and a POC FF on 2 volly FDs out where I live. Both volly FDs know that on the night before I have to go to work at 0100 my pager gets turned off. Other than that I have no restrictions placed on me.
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  6. #31
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    In the volunteer dept, that I am a member of (not the adjoining fire district that I volunteer at), there is a stipulation in the bylaws about volunteering in other organizations. As long as it is not determential to the volunteer FD, a member can be a member of other emergency services organizations.

    I had that put in our dept's bylaws, because of a VFD I was a member of years ago.

    We had a volunteer who:
    1) Was our volunteer assistant fire chief
    2) Volunteer driver for the regional ambulance service
    3) Volunteer diver for the regional search and rescue
    4) volunteer reserve sheriff's deputy

    He wore four hats, was on four rosters and like my fire chief at the time said "if something bad happens (plane crash, tornado, etc.), he was was good to nobody". Four emergency organizations would be calling him at once, but he could only be with one agency, not all four.

    In my own experience, I was the assistant fire chief in the community I worked in, which experienced a 500 year flood. I also served in the National Guard, that was activated for that flood. Of course, I could not be with the both the fire dept. and my activated Guard unit for the same incident.

    Look at your roster. How many belong to multiple agencies, such as search and rescue, EMS, police/sheriff reserves, etc? Those members may not be available for your FD either.

    Best to have a policy. You spend money training, outfitting with bunker gear and providing retirement benefits for members, that you already know that will not be available during a large incident.
    Last edited by FIRE117; 05-17-2013 at 03:49 PM.

  7. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by FIRE117 View Post
    In the volunteer dept, that I am a member of (not the adjoining fire district that I volunteer at), there is a stipulation in the bylaws about volunteering in other organizations. As long as it is not determential to the volunteer FD, a member can be a member of other emergency services organizations.

    How do you define detrimental? Because frankly that seems full of loop holes to me. Let's say I volunteer for FD A where I live, and FD B 5 miles down the road. FD A has your policy and there are 2 of us that volly to FD B. On any given day FD B has a working structure fire and we respond to fight that fire as members of FD B. While at this fire FD A is paged out for a structure fire and has a low turn out for the call. Theoretically, you could say that is detrimental to FD A. But how is it different than if I was out of town on vacation? You don't expect every member to make every call do you? Further, in the 2 years I have been a member of 2 Volly FDs it has happened exactly 3 times and all three times my home FD was called for mutual aid by my second FD.

    I am training officer at both FDs and I train both FDs as much as possible the same. Both Chiefs see me as an asset and as a quasi-liason between the FDs. These 2 FDs work together amazingly well and in many cases it is almost a seamless operation when we are together. So for me I see as many advantages as disadvantages to allowing multiple agency volunteering.


    I had that put in our dept's bylaws, because of a VFD I was a member of years ago.

    We had a volunteer who:
    1) Was our volunteer assistant fire chief
    2) Volunteer driver for the regional ambulance service
    3) Volunteer diver for the regional search and rescue
    4) volunteer reserve sheriff's deputy

    He wore four hats, was on four rosters and like my fire chief at the time said "if something bad happens (plane crash, tornado, etc.), he was was good to nobody". Four emergency organizations would be calling him at once, but he could only be with one agency, not all four.

    Okay so what if you have a guy that is ONLY a member of your FD but also volunteers at the church, coaches his son's little league team and his daughter's soccer team, volunteers at the food pantry, and helps build homes for Habitat for Humanity?

    Not exactly the same but if he is coaching his kid's teams he can't just leave them, especially if he traveled out of town. Same thing with any of his volunteering, sometimes he may be able to drop what he is doing and respond and other times not. Would you tell him his volunteering was detrimental?

    To me the issues of attendance for calls more often revolve around softball, pool league, ice fishing, hunting, trap shooting, and drinking. AND, of course family.


    In my own experience, I was the assistant fire chief in the community I worked in, which experienced a 500 year flood. I also served in the National Guard, that was activated for that flood. Of course, I could not be with the both the fire dept. and my activated Guard unit for the same incident.

    So does your FD view the National Guard as detrimental to the fire department? It must because you weren't available to respond.

    Look at your roster. How many belong to multiple agencies, such as search and rescue, EMS, police/sheriff reserves, etc? Those members may not be available for your FD either.

    A few ems, a very few multiple FDs...no dive team members, no search and rescue members, no police/sheriff reserves.

    Best to have a policy. You spend money training, outfitting with bunker gear and providing retirement benefits for members, that you already know that will not be available during a large incident.

    What if by being a member of 2 different FDs you have the opportunity for MORE and VARIED training not available at your home town FD?

    Again, you seem to be shooting yourself in the foot here by using your National Guard enlistment as an example of not being available during a major incident, and then saying if you aren't available for a major incident you are a detriment to your department.
    I think above all this is a local issue to be determined by each individual fire department.
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  8. #33
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    For a number of years I was an affiliate of a neighboring department. They ran an ambulance, my department did not. I am an ALS provider and being an affiliate allowed me to practice on their ambulance as one of their own. There were the occasional conflicts when they came into our district (part of their primary territory) and I ended up doing patient care both as a first responder and as the medic in the ambulance. In general, though, things worked themselves out.

    During portions of that time I was chief - but the assistant chiefs could, and did, step up if I had to leave the scene to transport a patient.

    We now have an independent NFP ambulance, of which I am a member as well. Because they are normally staffed with a paramedic, it's gotta be a pretty messy call before I have to assist with a transport.

    I was the closest affiliate to that department - all of the others they've had lived a significant distance away, so there would be no chance (save a statewide "y'all come") that they'd be on a scene where both departments had responded.

    We have another wrinkle here as well. Both departments in the township are under one fire district - technically all the FF's in both departments work for the district. Thus it's no big deal if we respond with the other department, and that does happen
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I think above all this is a local issue to be determined by each individual fire department.
    What I was trying to describe, was the situations that have occurred on the VFD's that I have been a member of. I started firefighting in the mid-1980's and have been a member of several FD's. Four different dept.'s are used in my examples. Currently, my volunteer dept. does not mutual aid with the neighboring fire district, so there is no conflict there. Each has their own "select" mutual aid partners.

    As for being activated for the flood, while being assistant fire chief, the fire chief and 2nd assistant chief handled the command for the dept.. Still I was in an awkward situation.

    As for "determential" membership with our department, here is an example: We have one member that works for a state park. She is on their wildland firefighting crew. We do not respond as first due or mutual aid to this state park. Therefore, we do not see her involvement at the park's wildland firefighting crew to conflict with our FD.

    On the other hand, we have large portions of state conservation acres in our first due and in a neighboring fire district (mutual aid). If she worked as wildland firefighting for the state conservation and wanted to be a member of our FD, we would have to aknowledge that she would have to respond as state conservation, not our with our FD. Since we have only so much money for bunker gear, we would offer the membership and gear to someone else, in this case.

    As for being in other volunteer positions, you need to count on your volunteers being able to respond to major emergencies, with your agency. If they are going to be responding with an adjacent FD, you just as well have issued the bunker gear to someone else.

  10. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by FIRE117 View Post
    What I was trying to describe, was the situations that have occurred on the VFD's that I have been a member of. I started firefighting in the mid-1980's and have been a member of several FD's. Four different dept.'s are used in my examples. Currently, my volunteer dept. does not mutual aid with the neighboring fire district, so there is no conflict there. Each has their own "select" mutual aid partners.

    All of the departments I am on are either involved in MABAS, a multi-jurisdictional, multi-state mutual aid association, or have county wide mutual aid agreements in place.

    As for being activated for the flood, while being assistant fire chief, the fire chief and 2nd assistant chief handled the command for the dept.. Still I was in an awkward situation.

    See, to me this is well, kind of silly. Are you a full time paid member of this department? Do you have a schedule you are expected to be available for? If not then any response is in fact the luck of the draw, just like any other volly FD. The truth is people work out of town, go on vacation, go to events out of town, go visit relatives, go shopping in the big city, or whatever and are unavailable. By your definition any time someone is not available for a call they are a detriment to the department. So maybe you should assign their gear to someone else.

    As for "determential" membership with our department, here is an example: We have one member that works for a state park. She is on their wildland firefighting crew. We do not respond as first due or mutual aid to this state park. Therefore, we do not see her involvement at the park's wildland firefighting crew to conflict with our FD.

    On the other hand, we have large portions of state conservation acres in our first due and in a neighboring fire district (mutual aid). If she worked as wildland firefighting for the state conservation and wanted to be a member of our FD, we would have to aknowledge that she would have to respond as state conservation, not our with our FD. Since we have only so much money for bunker gear, we would offer the membership and gear to someone else, in this case.

    Ridiculous. Her job is no more a detriment than anyone else's job. Unless you expect me to believe that no one on your FD works out of town and is unavailable at times. Or works a job in town that may not allow them to leave due to work committments.

    I see this scenario you paint as perhaps a HUGE detriment to your department. I know a volly FD near me that used to have a DNR Fire Control person as a member. In the spring and fall he was VERY busy responding to wildland fires so he wasn't available much. But you know what? he had his ear to the ground about grants, surplus equipment and training and passed that knowledge on to his volly FD. So you tell me, was he a detriment or an asset?

    Both of my volly FDs are fully aware that I am a career firefighter in a suburb of Milwaukee and that at 0100 on the night before I go to work the pager gets shut off and that I will be gone for those 24 hour shifts. They also know that when I am am around it is a 99% chance that I am responding. Add to that that I plan and run the training programs and help with seccing equipment. They see me as an asset despite the fact that I can't meet some insane ideal of being there 24/7/365 and having no life outside the volly house.


    As for being in other volunteer positions, you need to count on your volunteers being able to respond to major emergencies, with your agency. If they are going to be responding with an adjacent FD, you just as well have issued the bunker gear to someone else.

    Once again, whoever pages me first gets me first. I guess I don't see why that is so hard to understand. In fact I have one of the highest response records as well as one of the best records for attending training. All despite the fact that I work a 56 hour work week as a firefighter 100 miles away from where I live and teach part-time for the tech college. So if they want my bunker gear they can have it.
    Being a volunteer firefighter does not mean they own your life. It means you give them what you have. For some that means making damn near every call, for some it means far less. I work out of town and will continue to do so until the day I retire or the VFD says "Hey, if you are around town for 56 hours a week we will pay your bills." Because I don't think that will happen they can either accept my availability, which is pretty damn good, or they can tell me to turn in my pager. There doesn't seem to be any clamor amongst the chiefs or troops for my pager, so there it is.

    Further, unless you have a waiting list you simply can't afford to turn away good people who want to volunteer.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 05-18-2013 at 01:46 PM.
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  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I think above all this is a local issue to be determined by each individual fire department.
    You say this, yet find a point to argue with nearly every person in this thread. If it works for them in their area, why not just let them handle it the way they see fit?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    You say this, yet find a point to argue with nearly every person in this thread. If it works for them in their area, why not just let them handle it the way they see fit?
    Look, I don't care what any other FD does. Pay me the same courtesy instead of spouting nonsense about being involved in other things being detrimental, saying that isn't acceptable, and using examples of other FD membership, and a conservation warden. Then excusing himself because he is in the National Guard, even though he has an example where he wasn't available during a MAJOR Emergency in his own area because of being called up by the Guard.

    And before someone jumps my *** I am NOT ripping on his being a member of the Guard or the national Guard in any way. I appreciate all branches of the military and the members of each that have provided me the freedom that I enjoy every single day.

    Frankly, both of my volly Chiefs know of my membership in the other department. Neither has seen it as a problem. Both know whoever pages me first gets me first. To me it is so simple that i don't understand why that is an issue to anyone else here. Both Chiefs know I am a career firefighter and will be completely unavailable 10 to 11 days a month when I am at work. Both Chiefs also know people have lives outside the fire department and will not be available 24/7/365. They expect you to respond when you are available. Which I do. Sorry if that doesn't meet your's or anyone else's standards here.

    Frankly, give me statistical data of how many times your FD has been at an incident when your second department got a call, and vice versa. Because as I have said in the time I have been a member of both I can recall three instances where I have been at my #2 FD and my #1 FD got called. The funny thing is all 3 were for mutual aid to my #2 FD. Maybe the occurence is higher elsewhere, but without any numbers it seems like a hollow excuse.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 05-19-2013 at 02:03 AM.
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