1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Paid or Volunteer?

    If your department is paid per call, say $10.00, not per hour, per call, are you defined as paid or volunteer?

    No one receives benefits and everyone works "regular" jobs.

    Keep it clean, guys.

    LHS*, no need to post here, I WON'T be reading your posts.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I guess if you ran over 60 calls in a year, Uncle Sam would say your paid. Many juristictions have looked at the per call stipend idea, I think most were afraid it would invite the arson for profit at a new level.

    False alarms, rubbish, brush... would these all qualify? Let's face it, there is always one loser in the bunch who will try to fill his pocket, given this opportunity. Problem is, 99% of the real brothers will suffer because of it.

  3. #3
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Stratford Fire Company # 1 Stratford, NJ is 100% Volunteer 100% of the time...We receive no Compensation for our responses --- We just show up...Do the Deed...Check Our Names in...And Go home or back to work and to me payment enough is knowing I Might have helped or did help someone through a difficult situation --- I Might be wrong but if you receive say $ 10.00 per call aren't you a Paid Firefighter ? or Paid On Call ? and not a Volunteer ? I'm not trying to start anything here but I am curious

    Check us Out --

    OVER-ALL CHAMPIONS 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, and 2000 !!

    ***The Opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect those of the Department to which I am a Member ! ***

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I seem to remember this topic causing a big ruckus a few months ago but here goes anyway!

    We receive $6.00 per call. EMS call or fire call, onscene for 15 minutes or 15 hours, it's six bucks. It's basically a gas money stipend.

    I still consider myself a volunteer. To me, a paid firefighter makes a living at it. At around 300 total runs a year and being available for about 75% of them, I definitely don't make a living.

    Besides, I didn't join to become rich

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Correct me if I'm wrong but if you are 100% volunteer then you are not compensated at all. Now, that point made, does your department cover you with workers compenstation or provide you with turnouts or anything like that? Being 100% volunteer would be that you provide 100% of what you use. You would buy your own turnouts, helmet, badge, uniform and everything. So, in some ways you are compensated, not monetarily but you are compensated.

    Stay safe,


    If in doubt - Call us out

  6. #6
    Nick SBFD 6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Your situation would fit the "Paid on Call" category I would think. We used to do that, now we are on the towns pay scale, you are paid based on your years in the service. We also get yearly step increases, merit raises and cost of living so I would call ourselves "part-time employees" no longer paid on call. What do you think?


  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The last Department I was on Did that and Our Official Title Was Paid Per Call Volunteers

    Firefighter C.M. Baker

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    What is your definition of a "paid" dept.

    If you are contractually obligated to be on duty and get compensated for it, you are considered a "paid" f.f.
    If you are not obligated to perform (the operative word is OBLIGATED) your duties you are a volunteer. Regardless of getting a stipend, or bunker gear or whatever, if you still have the option of going to a call or not...THAT makes you a volunteer.

  9. #9
    Craig Powell
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The 10 or 6 dollars you are receiving is considered a reimbersment of your expenses. So, you are not paid on call. Paid on call is if they paid you a salary or by the hour while on duty. Your reimbersment in most cases are considered tax free since you already paid taxes on it. The reimbusment is usually classified for gas to and from the station. On the regards to the workmens comp and the turn out, They are not quote giving this to you it is a tool for the job it still belongs to the department. The workmens comp is in most cases a must depending on what state you are in. It is only a benefit if you are injured its not health insurance!

  10. #10
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Actually This Department Paid you 10 Dollars for the First Hour of every Call and 6.00 Every Additional Hour

    Firefighter C.M. Baker

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Who gives a flying flip if you are volunteer, career, or paid-per-call. I know I take more pride in doing a good job than I would in calling myself a volunteer... and I'm sure our citizens would agree.

    We're a combo. department split 50/50 between career folks and paid-per-call firefighters. We receive a "gas stipend" for every run we make. It varies from $5 an hour for MVAs without extrication to $15 for the first hour of a structure fire ($10 for every hour after).

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We looked at giving our volunteers a stipend for gas, etc, but found it could create some problems with their volunteer status. The idea we came up with seems to work really well. Our department has an association, to which the city "donates" $12.00 per call, with a cap at $6000.00 annually. All the volunteers are members of the association and they vote on how the money should be spent. It has been used for family cookouts at the station, jackets they liked better than city issued, donations to fallen firefighters families, and this year they plan to use some of it for a 4th of July fireworks display. The money can be used for anything the firefighters desire.

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In my Dept., volunteers have an incentive based system that pays a minimum of $5 per run. In order to qualify for the incentive, you must attend 50% of the monthly business meeting, attend 50% of training sessions each year, perform 30 hours of detail work, and attend 1 combination drill between ems and fire each year. If a run last longer than an hour, then you receive additional credit for lengthy incidents.
    This system insures that everyone stays current with training, and those that only want to make fire runs don't receive a dime if they don't comply with the additional requirements.

    Steve Bohrer, FF/Engineer
    Campbell County Fire District #5
    Alexandria, KY

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    This is a very confusing topic just because OSHA is involved. But here is the way that OSHA defines whether a firefighter is paid or volunteer. OSHA says that a BONAFIDE VOLUNTEER is a firefighter that receives no money or bonus at the end of the year for fire runs, no form of reimbursment, and provides all of the equipment and uniforms needed to do the job. If you receive any form of pay, whether it be money or a trip or such, if your department provides you with any PPE or uniform, then you are not, by OSHA standards, considered a BONAFIDE VOLUNTEER!

    This discussion comes up with RIT and whether volunteers have to use RIT to obide by OSHA standards. Well the way that they word it, most volunteer department will have to use it.

    Hope this helps in your question.

    Captain James Collier
    McMahan Fire Rescue
    KCTCS Area 6 Instructor

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    Personally, I don't care what OSHA says about Volunteers vs. Paid Fire Fighters. I am a Volunteer. Yes my department provides PPE, but this is done through fund raising activities that I participate in, and yes we are given some money from the townships we cover, but they pay us based on the number of calls we run, our response time, etc. So if 5 of us stop showing up and our response time goes down then we get less money that year from the townships. I don't get paid to get up at 1am and go on standby for 4 hours, or to leave my family during Christmas dinner to go put out a stove fire, I am only given equipment to help me do the job I volunteer to do. To me a paid Fire Fighter is someone who is given money, or another form of compensation to perform their ff duties...not including protective gear and equipment that is necessary for them to do their jobs. Do most departments work the way we do? I have been to several paid departments and believe it or not many of these departments use volunteers to help out at fire scenes because they cannot afford to hire additional paid members. The rescue squad I am on is a paid for service department...but they also have per diem and paid members during the day. I volunteer about 15 hours per month with this department, and just like my Fire Department, I only recieve protective gear and equipment. In the long run, does it matter if you are paid or volunteer? Not really. We are all doing a great job out there and we all love what we do. That is the most important thing.

  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    First of all, thanks for all of the replys. Several were very imformative.

    First of all, let me set the record straight by stating for the most part, I don't care about what our departments title is. We have a job to do and we do it. The reason for this question is this, when applying for grants and such it is unclear to me what we actually are.

    The funding we receive is a stipend for gas and such. I have ruined many new $60 shirts on structure fires. This was a way for our town to compensate for these things. I definately do not do it for the money, we do not run that many calls so a man would starve to death trying to survive on it.

    To answer some of the statements about false alarms, etc. it has not been an issue and hopefully will continue. I have been a member for around 6 years now and have never had the first thought of anyone doing this.

    We are not required to respond to calls. For this reason we consider ourselves volunteers. We are provided PPE, so the arguement OSHA has would retract the last statement.

    Never the less, for pay or not, I will be there when the alarm goes out, night or day, so long as I am not out earning my "normal" living.

    This was not intended to cause a heated arguement, just wanted to know what others in the same situation classified themselves.
    Running less than 150 calls per year, and only making 80% of them, I am definately not in it for the money. Most of the money goes back into the firehouse anyway. Most of us donate the money back if not by check with the things we buy.

    Don't we do it 'cause we love it? I do!!

    Peace my brothers, and be safe out there!!

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