Now because enough of a push was made all 3 of the FDs I was and am on supply Survivor lights, webbing, and well, they always supplied helmets, but you could buy a traditional if you wanted to.
Obviously your experiences with fundraising are far different than mine. I don't like doing it either, but I do see the long term benefits of it for OUR department. I can't claim to know the funding intricacies of either of your POC departments and the challenges that you all may face.
That being said, I see where you're coming from. However, I don't think that either of us, no matter how much you and I travel and instruct at different departments, can necessairly relate the fiscal situation that different rural departments across the US face. I understand that it's a philosophical matter to you, as it is with me - I just would hate to see a department get judged because they make the decision to fight fire (exterior, transitional, or interior) even if they don't have "everything they need" because the local elected officials don't provide the funding that we (on the outside) feel that they should be.
As passionate as you are about fighting for what we deserve with local elected officials, I firmly believe that there are some political subdivisions that will never give the FD what we deserve, no matter what kind of arguement we make. Once their mind is made up that the local VFD is just a "nice to have" agency, it's sometimes takes acts of God (figuratively or literally) to change their minds.
It's funny, really. The taxpayers would scream if their fire levy was raised a few dollars a year, but they'll gladly buy a chicken dinner, or attend a dance, or whatever fundraiser a department holds.
Then, again, fundraising can bring in money from folks who wouldn't otherwise be involved in paying for fire protection in a given community. There's one department in Maryland that holds one or two major concerts every year - name bands and all. They can draw from most of the DC metro area, and undoubtedly bring in a substantial part of their operating budget by doing so. Since I don't know any details of their operation, I can't say what part of their annual budget the fundraisers makes up, but I suspect it's significant.
Most departments here have quit doing bingo, but once again, it was a method of bringing in outside dollars and relieving some of the load on the local taxpayers. Some bingo players did so seven nights a week, rotating among the many games held in the area.
We're fortunate to have a substantial amount of seasonal residences in our fire district - and they pay for the privilege. It's been estimated that upwards of of 90% of our assessed value is within a few hundred yards of the river. Donations from such residents funds half the cost of operating the fireboat.
Should we have to fundraise? Heck no. But in many areas such fundraisers also serve as a method of community outreach, keeping the fire department in the public eye. And in many areas, the tax base is simply not there to support the needs of the fire department.
As for cops and highway crews? We have no local cops - it's the sheriff and state police. Several villages fund part-time police operations. And a nearby town recently laid off all but two of it's highway department, leaving snowplowing and other maintenance of county roads to the county. If they need a town road paved, they'll contract it out. And you'd be amazed how many years you can get out of a specialized piece of equipment - while we're faced with the planned obsolescence of our equipment by people in ivory towers. If the cops had to replace their pistols every 10 years by fiat, we'd be hearing about it.
One could argue that firefighting is inherently dangerous no matter how many bells and whistles you have. Of course it is. But good gear, good radios, good training and good equipment will get you all that much farther, more efficiently, and best of all- (hopefully) SAFER.
I do know of an organization not far from us- about 15 years ago they had a newly elected Board of Supervisors who, for some unknown reason turned into a bunch of cheap bean counters. They slashed way back on training, equipment and morale. When most of the guys needed new bunker gear (purchased a while back under the previous regime) and the new guys said "No" they said "ok, fine." They all turned off their pagers. When the local fishwrap found out about it, the new guys had no choice of course but to but the new gear. But I do admit that wasnt a situation of not having it, just one of them refusing to spend it.
I know there are dirt poor communities that have trouble funding municipal services. But don't give me the BS that my #1 POC FD should fundraise to buy necessities when the village has no trouble buying a used street sweeper, new contractor grade rider lawn mowers, and a $37K truck with a V plow for the DPW, or a new squad car for our part-time police force every 5 years or less, and better radar than the county sheriff's squads have. We needed to replace our 1974 Mack CF (big mistake in my mind, I think we would have been miles ahead refurbing this rig) and the chief found a used engine for $26K. The village would only fund half of the cost, we had to pony up $13K from our fundraiser money to complete the deal. WHY? It is obvious they have no problem spending money on other areas of the village. WHY is because we are stupid and fundraise so they think they don't have to fund us properly.
doing fund raisers to basically support the day to day operations of a fire department is akin to feeding a stray dog.
How many of you guys that are doing fundraisers are doing so as the fire department and how many are doing them as the fire association? Both VFD's that I have been on have department associations. While the members are the same, they are technically 2 separate entities. The associations are there to support the department in whatever form they see fit.
I know it's not a huge difference when the money is ultimately getting spent on the members in some way shape or form, but there is a difference.
We have been through this before (several times).
When the local government can afford to fully fund streets, dpw, police, parks, etc., then there is no excuse to fully fund fire.
When the situation is like ours (there is no dpw, sewer district is funded through user fees and the only employee is also a township roads employee, local police, or any other services other than basic roads) and even the roads department has to do fundraising and has an average fleet age as old if not older than ours, fundraising is a fact of life. There is not enough tax base to support what you are stating should be.
My township fundraises through garbage collection and clean up days. These fundraisers are used to help maintain the equipment they have. On the average winter day, the 2 employees are driving a 1997 and 1999 F800's to plow snow. The grader is an 87. The loader, roller, and other dump truck were all bought used. The backhoe and F550 were purchased new. This was done through increased taxes (simultaneous as an increase in fire tax) to a point where everyone realizes that to go higher would be counter-productive.
In your circumstances, yes, fundraising should be for luxuries (new leather recliners, etc). If I want my house to be protected by a local department, I volunteer my time and pay a higher tax rate for it than most, but I still have to do fundraisers to be able to operate. You are more than welcome to come and visit and see why what I am saying is true. We always welcome visitors. We can also take you to another 20 to 30 departments that are in the same boat as us within an hour drive.
Fortunate enough to have portable radios issued to each member. Definitely not affordable since we've changed over to 700.
We are issued WT's, I have a mobile in my truck i bought, since I respond to many calls POV and my WT will not reach the repeater on the edges of the district. To purchase your own radio you must have written permission and not be a probationary member.
I work for 2 differnt Departments... One of the departments I work at All of the Officers are supplied with a radio, otherwise the Radios are housed in the station/trucks for use on scene. At the other department I work for most people have a radio that was supplied to them via the dearptment; however the cost of their radios were much less since they are on VHF rather than the 800s.
Though, I generally agree with much posted above, if it is essential to the job function, you shouldn't have to "fundraise" you should be supplied it via the dept./twp/city budget.
I bought my own radio before i joined the fire department. I have my own brush truck and the dept. wanted me to be able to communicate with them on an incident. Once i joined i did not need my own radio anymore but i still use it. I bought the same one that the dept. uses as it was the one that our comms guy recommended-a cp200 xls. The dept. issued me a pager but I live a ways out of town and the handheld radio keeps me in touch better, especially now that we have "upgraded" dispatch and the pager does not work so well anymore.
Isn't the failure to have comunication equipment an OSHA issue?