Why register? ...To Enhance Your Experience
+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 27
Like Tree3Likes

Thread: Impressive (I hope) rant

  1. #1
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    9,936

    Default Impressive (I hope) rant

    Why is it volunteer firefighters in many areas MUST fundraise to survive as a fire department? Clearly the excuse is given that there is no money, yet streets are maintained, law enforcement supplied, local government functions are funded fully. By this I mean I have yet to see a DPW, police department, or local government run a fundraiser for operational expenses and new equipment.

    What I am about to say, with no doubt in my mind. will anger some of you to extreme measures. Some will call me names and question my dedication. Well, so be it, I have been a volunteer/POC FF for almost 37 years and I have worked too many fundraisers and frankly I hate having to do them. Let me give you the latest example. Last year my #1 POC FD needed to replace a 38 year old pumper, the chief went to the village board for funding, mind you they have a fund they supposedly put money into every year for fire apparatus, and they would only match what we would supply out of our fund raiser money. WHY? They had enough money on the fund to pay for the entire truck, heck it only cost $26K! To further add to my frustration and now anger over fundraising is I was having a talk with the village clerk about funding the FD and we talked about fundraising and I ased why we had to fund raise when no other vllage department did? She said so you can buy equipment. I said why doesn't any other department in the village have to do that to buy equipment? She had no answer. WELL I DO! We are suckers, plain and simple. We have become part of the age old "Vollies fund raise" mind set and it is expected of us to ease the budget and hence the tax burden. WHY? Why do we give of our time for little of no pay to offer a life and property saving service to communities that can't pony up the funding for essential equipment? Don't get me wrog I love the fire service but the camel that has broken the fundraising straw foe me is the same village that couldn't pony up $26K for a used engine has spent over $30K for a new pick up and is planning on spending $78K more for a new dumptruck in the same year for the DPW. I am not coming here just to bitch, I am going to a village board meeting to raise these very same questions. Why have we been promised for over 5 years a new station and NOTHING has moved forward, why can the village afford over $100K for village DPW trucks but is gagging on funding $26K for a used fire engine, and in fact only coughs up half of that? Why are we always treated like a red headed step child that barely gets the leavings?

    I hate fund raising, I always have, but I have done it because it was in the job description for firefighter on my POC FD. I am afraid that is going to change very soon. Perhaps those that choose to rip me over that on this FD should look at their training and call numbers...Let's compare!
    FF715MRFD likes this.
    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


  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3,891

    Default

    Tell us how you really feel


    We'll one solution is either run for whatever office that votes for funding or support people that will run

    Once in office vote to fund the fire department

  3. #3
    Forum Member WVFD705's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Woodson, Texas
    Posts
    149

    Default

    I don't guess I have an answer other than that is the way it has always been. And volunteer firefighters at volunteer fire departments have always found a way to make do with what they have.

    We do get a budget from the county now (I think that started <10 years ago), and between that and grants have been able to supplement fundraising some, but it is still necessary. Giving an ultimatum of "fund us or else" isn't something we are prepared to do by any means, because "or else" is still a choice, and many of us remember back to when we had no fire department or when having one was a new concept around here, and it was still struggling just to exist.

  4. #4
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    9,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Tell us how you really feel


    We'll one solution is either run for whatever office that votes for funding or support people that will run

    Once in office vote to fund the fire department
    I was a village bard member at one time. So I did try to work it from the inside. Right now 2 board members are former fire department members.

    One member of the board has promised multiple times during elections to get us a fire house and better fund the FD, another has promised multiple times to get us a firehouse. So promises have proved to be empty, multiple times. I have heard next year for over 20 years.

    I am just tired of being taken advantage of when what we do is so important.
    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

  5. #5
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    9,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WVFD705 View Post
    I don't guess I have an answer other than that is the way it has always been. And volunteer firefighters at volunteer fire departments have always found a way to make do with what they have.

    The old adage that "just because we have always done it that way" doesn't make it right or even appropriate. In fact I will go as far as to say it is one thing to fund raise to get a fire department up and running and another entirely to have to do it to keep the department open.

    We do get a budget from the county now (I think that started <10 years ago), and between that and grants have been able to supplement fundraising some, but it is still necessary. Giving an ultimatum of "fund us or else" isn't something we are prepared to do by any means, because "or else" is still a choice, and many of us remember back to when we had no fire department or when having one was a new concept around here, and it was still struggling just to exist.

    Again, IF the community values the FD then FUND IT, if they don't value it enough to fund it then explain why you should risk your life or financial well being for them? Sorry, I am as dedicated to the fire department as the nexy guy but the truth is simply this, there are so many hours in a day, and so many days in a week, and so many weeks in a year, and the time spent fundraising is time taken away from training, maintenance, public safety education, inspections, and pre-planning. If you have to put fund raising efforts above those items then your priorities are askew.
    To me the funniest part is we have people that are all for fund raisers and it seems that is their only reason for being on the FD because they can't seem to make it to training with any regularity, or to actual calls with any regularity. You tell me which is more important...attendance at fundraisers or at training and calls. believe me i know the right answer.
    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

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    3,891

    Default

    Well stack the deck with your members that will vote for sure

  7. #7
    Let's talk fire trucks! BoxAlarm187's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    3,283

    Default

    Makes me appreciate that our fundraising goes directly back to the membershing for things such uniforms, meals for special events, and the like.

    Our county has purchased our vehicles, turnout gear, insurance, and fuel since 1981. They also built us a $5M station in 2011. That being said, we did put $20k of our own money into the CAFS pumper we have on order, and we put about $45k in to the new firehouse - purchasing things that our membership wanted and the county didn't deem a "necessity" - completely understandable.

    Have you ever gotten a straight answer who all of the other agencies get a higher funding priority than the fire department?
    Career Fire Captain
    Volunteer Chief Officer


    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    1,139

    Default

    Any community that refuses to at least fund the basic costs for running a fire dept. doesn't deserve fire protection. It is totally outrageous to ask people to risk their lives, and then fund them like they were a bucket brigade.

  9. #9
    Forum Member Snarff's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    77

    Default

    My volunteer company is very fortunate with what the county buys us. We are a combination department county buys trucks and basic equipment (ladders, hose, hand tools.) They pay for the building and the fuel and turnout gear.

    That being said we do not really have a lot we "have" to buy. We still do fundraising mostly through a yearly fund drive letter. With that we buy any extra equipment we want on the trucks (struts, saws, Tic,) anything that is not hand tools or ladders we buy. We also spend the money on creature comforts like furniture, internet, things the county will not pay for.

    With all this I guess we would not really have to do a fund drive or at least not as an aggressive one. But you come to our station we have the best outfitted trucks in the county and example is our ladder truck. The county has 4 ladder trucks ours has 2 chainsaws 2 K12's the other three in the county only have 1 chainsaw each. We are the only ladder company to have a hydra ram. These are just a couple of examples.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Jefferson County, NY USA
    Posts
    2,279

    Default

    The only reason we fund-raise is to keep our banquet hall open. And getting rid of it has been discussed.

    The members that are only in it for the fund-raising is a throwback to a time when volunteer fire departments were social centers of the community. Many were social organizations that happened to fight fire. Some still are.

    Our fire district can, and does, provide all we need. We'll be seeing a new pumper within a year (paid for by reserves - ie, savings), and the chief has a budget of around $15,000 for everything from hose to radios to turnouts.

    I would submit that many volunteer fire departments raise money because they want to - it involves the community (or some portion of it). It's fun, and it brings pride. When it stops being fun, they find other ways (like taxes). Many communities take pride in the fact that donations/fundraisers paid for their new rig. Granted, the money is probably coming out of the same pockets, but somehow it's more fun if you stand to win the big raffle in the process.

    A lot of it has to do with local laws and attitudes, too. Witness the folks in areas served by subscription fire departments who have voted down a fire protection levy, sometimes multiple times. These are the same folks who scream bloody murder when the FD doesn't put out their fire because they haven't paid their fees.

    In this area, fewer and fewer fire departments are doing major fundraisers, like bingo and field days. Fire districts have been formed where there were none before, and the need to fundraise has diminished.

    But so have the number of firefighters. One might argue that the diminishing of the community/social aspect has resulted in a decrease in the number of people who want to be in the fire department.

    But let's face it, even if your socially-based fire department had 100 members, I'd be willing to bet that less than a quarter of them would have been considered "firefighters" by current standards. The rest were yard breathers, if they showed up at fires at all.

    So our number of firefighters really hasn't diminished, at least not as far as one might think when membership drops from 100 to 25...

    We've had two fire departments fold in the past few years. One merged into the other department in their township, the other just closed their doors and contracts with the next town. Neither ran more than a few calls of their own per year. Both were very small and very rural.

    If fundraising still has a purpose, it should be for special projects, like introducing a service (hydraulic tools, perhaps) that does not currently exist, and for things to benefit the firefighters, both of which have already be mentioned. There should never be a need to hold a bake sale so they have enough fuel to make it to the next fire...
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,673

    Default

    My department fund raises to pay the costs of our buildings. Town provides an operating budget for equipment and bonds for a replacement truck every 5 years. Our two stations are owned by the companies. Each company fund raises to pay the costs of their building. We basically "rent" space in each firehouse to the town to store their fire trucks and equipment, that they let us operate.

    I have to agree with others above....if a community is not willing to provide for it's fire protection....well, that says something about that community.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  12. #12
    MembersZone Subscriber voyager9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Southern NJ
    Posts
    2,007

    Default

    I'll weigh in my thoughts, though I've never had to deal with fund raising in my current department since we're a district.

    I don't think there is a reason the FD couldn't be funded by the township. The problem is it sounds like it currently isn't, and migrating that direction would require effort and a willingness to give and take. Migrate the fire company to a district, or a agency under the township and you have to be willing to give up some control (and probably increase your administrative overhead). I think it would also require a referendum by the voters?

    In the current organization, it sounds like the township does fund "something" for use by the FD? How is this fund defined and managed? Is there anything on paper that states how much the town will pay in and what the funds must be used for? I would think that since the township is required to provide fire protection, and has outsourced that protection to the Fire Company that it would be worthwhile to draw up a contract or something similar. Something that states that the FC agrees to provide protection and the township agrees to provide $XX,000 per year to the fund where expenditures are controlled by a committee of township and FC (or maybe Township, FC, and citizen?).
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

  13. #13
    Forum Member HuntPA's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Northwest PA
    Posts
    472

    Default

    We have had this discussion before and I will again bring my area into this. My area is different than yours. There is no DPW, municipal police, or any of that. We have a 2 person township road crew that takes care of roads, sewer plant, and the like. The sewer plant is paid for by user fees. The township average fleet age is close to ours (2 - 30 year old trucks, 1 - 30 year old grader, 1 - 20 year old truck, 1 - 10 year old loader, 1- 3 year old truck, and a new backhoe). They raise funds for the equipment through township clean up days where they take in all trash, separate out the scrap metals, and charge per load. This nets them a couple thousand a year. They also have dumpsters available at $3/bag on the honor system. That nets them another $2k-$3k a year.

    The community playground is maintained completely through volunteer effort and funding.

    Police coverage is through the state police. Call them and they will be there in anywhere from 5 to 50 minutes.

    There is no municipal water or hydrants. The sewer is only in the village as the rural nature makes it cost prohibitive to expand to other houses. Again, the user fees fund the operations.

    We do have a fire tax (one of the highest in the county). We receive anywhere from $16-$18k a year. That pays for our gas, electric, garbage, sewer, phone, and insurance. Anything more than that needs to be funded through our own efforts.

    People have a very strong sense of community here and will help out as much as they can - financially or through time helping. Having the fund raisers definitely helps with the sense of community and we have surveys that show this. It also helps as those that can afford to give can as well as those from other communities can also give to help as we help in other communities.

    Do you go to the municipal government meetings? I mean go regularly and often. I go so often that they appointed me as the vacancy chair since I knew as much about what is going on as one of the supervisors. When you are there often, they start to treat you like you matter because they realize that you are there and not just for one meeting to speak your mind and not come back.

    I also make sure that I am there when they talk about the yearly budget and I understand what all of their monetary obligations are and where all of the money goes. Believe me when I tell you that there is not any left over, and most often not enough (so we get by with less anti-skid, gravel for the roads, or replace another clutch on a truck rather than updating).

    Through teaching, I have been to places like yours and understand what you are saying. What I am saying is that there are places that fundraising is a necessity as there just is not enough tax base to support further levied support. In those places, fundraising is necessary. And if done right, it does help the community as a whole.

    Don't get me wrong, if I could wave a wand and have the tax base necessary to fully fund the fire department, I would probably go down to a couple dinners a year just to let people know we are still around, but that would be it. Unfortunately, my wand doesn't make that happen, and when my 2 young boys see me try they try with wiffel ball bats and someone gets hurt.

  14. #14
    Forum Member WVFD705's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Woodson, Texas
    Posts
    149

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    The old adage that "just because we have always done it that way" doesn't make it right or even appropriate. In fact I will go as far as to say it is one thing to fund raise to get a fire department up and running and another entirely to have to do it to keep the department open.

    Again, IF the community values the FD then FUND IT, if they don't value it enough to fund it then explain why you should risk your life or financial well being for them? Sorry, I am as dedicated to the fire department as the nexy guy but the truth is simply this, there are so many hours in a day, and so many days in a week, and so many weeks in a year, and the time spent fundraising is time taken away from training, maintenance, public safety education, inspections, and pre-planning. If you have to put fund raising efforts above those items then your priorities are askew.
    Our situation is different than yours. We are similar to what HuntPA described much better than can I. We make more money in a fundraiser than our small town makes all year from taxes and fees. The town has no employees or DPW. They don't have the money. The county is better off, but not just a whole lot better. It is about all they can do to keep the hospital open, and Obamacare may be the death knell for it. It isn't like your situation where the money is there and no one is giving it to us. The money just isn't there because the tax base isn't there. Lots of people and families living at or close to the poverty line.

    To me the funniest part is we have people that are all for fund raisers and it seems that is their only reason for being on the FD because they can't seem to make it to training with any regularity, or to actual calls with any regularity. You tell me which is more important...attendance at fundraisers or at training and calls. believe me i know the right answer.
    If the department needs fundraisers to operate, I will have to disagree on which is more important.

    After seeing what others have to deal with in the form of local governments, and what we are currently having to deal with at the state level, I'm not sure right now I don't prefer fundraisers. Tax dollars always come at a high price, and generally politics among other things is included in that price tag. We have to deal with fundraisers, but we don't have to deal with all the crap that comes from doing business with local governments.

  15. #15
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    9,936

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WVFD705 View Post

    If the department needs fundraisers to operate, I will have to disagree on which is more important.

    Seriously, you have got to be s h i t t ing me with this comment. If you honestly believe fundraising is more important than training, and even showing up for calls, all I can do is shake my head and say WTF! You can have all the money in the world but if you don't have trained firefihters that will respond when there is a call what the hell is the point? Are they a fire department of a social club doing fund raising?

    After seeing what others have to deal with in the form of local governments, and what we are currently having to deal with at the state level, I'm not sure right now I don't prefer fundraisers. Tax dollars always come at a high price, and generally politics among other things is included in that price tag. We have to deal with fundraisers, but we don't have to deal with all the crap that comes from doing business with local governments.

    You can prefer them all you want. I prefer not wasting people's time with fundraisers when we could be training or maintaining equipment. Time is precious and people have only so much to give. Fundrising is another stressor on that time.
    People can call me a mercenary, or whatever, but the truth is simply this, services including the fire department are a responsibility of the local government, unless the FD is a privately owned company.
    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

  16. #16
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,673

    Default

    If the fund raising is what puts fuel in the trucks....it is necessary. You can train all you want...but without fuel to run the trucks....that training won't be used. Without the fundraising to buy the gear, tools, and hose....your training won't be used.

    Apparently, in some areas.....that is the case.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  17. #17
    Forum Member HuntPA's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Northwest PA
    Posts
    472

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    If the fund raising is what puts fuel in the trucks....it is necessary. You can train all you want...but without fuel to run the trucks....that training won't be used. Without the fundraising to buy the gear, tools, and hose....your training won't be used.

    Apparently, in some areas.....that is the case.
    Chicken or the egg? Is it better to have well trained personnel with no apparatus, SCBA, and tools; or is it better to have all of the latest and greatest, but everyone is so burnt out on fundraising, that they don't take time to train or even respond? The answer is somewhere in the middle.

    We cannot train like we should because of time issues. One of those being time for fundraising. Say you have x number of hours a month you can give in responding, training, and fundraising. All 3 need done so that the department exists. That means that you are not spending as much time training as should be done.

    I will reiterate that in your situation where there is money (it is just appropriated to other departments that could easily be discounted as not as essential) there is no logical explanation why you should be doing fundraising for the essentials - trucks, gear, tools, etc. If you want extras like better station furniture, the latest and greatest tools, and the like, then I could understand you fundraising for that, but not the essentials. As such, I completely understand your frustration.

    In our circumstances the taxes keep the doors open, but for there to be anything behind those doors, we have to fundraise. And as I have stated before, we have several "members" that there sole purpose with the department is to give their time to help us raise the funds we need to keep going. It is their way of giving to us when they do not have the money to give that they feel we deserve.

  18. #18
    MembersZone Subscriber voyager9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Southern NJ
    Posts
    2,007

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    And as I have stated before, we have several "members" that there sole purpose with the department is to give their time to help us raise the funds we need to keep going. It is their way of giving to us when they do not have the money to give that they feel we deserve.
    And that is fine as long as there is no perception that those members are 'firefighters'. Having a 'finance' division of the fire company for the people who are dedicated to social and fundraising. If those tasks are critical to the operation of the department, as in some places they are, then having dedicated people to do them is not a bad thing. The problem comes in when you have members who only want to do fundraising but want to be called firefighters and put everyone at risk when they put on their gear.
    Quote Originally Posted by HuntPA View Post
    I will reiterate that in your situation where there is money (it is just appropriated to other departments that could easily be discounted as not as essential) there is no logical explanation why you should be doing fundraising for the essentials - trucks, gear, tools, etc. If you want extras like better station furniture, the latest and greatest tools, and the like, then I could understand you fundraising for that, but not the essentials. As such, I completely understand your frustration.
    +1, AGREE.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

  19. #19
    Forum Member WVFD705's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Woodson, Texas
    Posts
    149

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Seriously, you have got to be s h i t t ing me with this comment. If you honestly believe fundraising is more important than training, and even showing up for calls, all I can do is shake my head and say WTF! You can have all the money in the world but if you don't have trained firefihters that will respond when there is a call what the hell is the point? Are they a fire department of a social club doing fund raising?

    You can prefer them all you want. I prefer not wasting people's time with fundraisers when we could be training or maintaining equipment. Time is precious and people have only so much to give. Fundrising is another stressor on that time.
    When fundraising is what keeps the doors open, you have to have fundraising to have anything. Without that, you don't pass go and you don't collect $200. You can't have one without the other. Not saying fundraising is more important, but it is every bit as important. If a person wants to join the department and just wants to help fundraise, I'm all for it. If you don't like taking the time to do it, you should be for it, too. The more work those kinds of people put in at fundraisers, the more time you and everyone else that answers calls has freed up to train or work on equipment.

  20. #20
    Forum Member WVFD705's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Woodson, Texas
    Posts
    149

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    And that is fine as long as there is no perception that those members are 'firefighters'. Having a 'finance' division of the fire company for the people who are dedicated to social and fundraising. If those tasks are critical to the operation of the department, as in some places they are, then having dedicated people to do them is not a bad thing. The problem comes in when you have members who only want to do fundraising but want to be called firefighters and put everyone at risk when they put on their gear.
    The same standards should apply to them as to everyone else. I don't have a problem with them wearing t-shirts or whatever. But if they want to make calls like everyone else, they've got to put in the same effort as everyone else.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. NVFC - Impressive example of their work...
    By Bones42 in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 05-13-2010, 08:59 AM
  2. impressive fall.
    By frenchfireball in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 09-19-2007, 01:41 PM
  3. Rant
    By CaptainMikey in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: 08-09-2007, 05:17 AM
  4. Air Force One-Impressive Sight
    By Catch22 in forum The Off Duty Forums
    Replies: 78
    Last Post: 02-07-2007, 11:27 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts