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  1. #1
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    Default Do you think vol. FF's get a fair reputation?

    Do you think that volunteer fire fighters get a fair reputation? As a volunteer I have heard all kinds of "unfriendly" things about us. Things like you're not a real fire fighter, you're just playing fire fighter, you're just a group of drunks looking for a new club, professional fire fighters get paid, and countless others. Now we may not get money for what we do but we are always there 24\7 and we always do it "professionally". I have a relative of mine who is both career and vol and he told me that the worst thing I could do while trying to get into a career company was to tell them I'm a volunteer. Now I'm not trying to upset any one and all the career fire fighters I know are great people, it just seems to be the powers that be don't much like it if you freely give your time and maybe even your life for someone else, but it's ok if you do it on there "clock". I just wondering how my brothers and sisters saw this subject, thank for your thoughts.
    RDS3604

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    Are you a bunch of drunks looking for a new club?
    Are you just playing firefighter?

    Those could be true statements about career or volunteer departments. Look into the mirror. Are those statements true? If they are, then do something about it. They aren’t then forget about it.

    Don’t get caught up in that ******ing contest.

    You will reap what you sow.
    Do your job, do it right, and be proud of it.

  3. #3
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    The only difference there is between us is-
    career="paid professional"
    volly="unpaid professional"

    We all bleed the same, and we all are in search of the same goals---protection of life and property!

    I feel the same as TriTownship 600.

    [ 07-07-2001: Message edited by: ceno2749 ]
    Opinions stated are mine only and do not reflect those of my companies.

    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB-KTF

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    here we go again, grow up

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    Don't let the elitest bastards get you down.
    Just think if the "PRO" was on vacation in your town and had a accident would you be "Good enough" to cut him out of a car? Or pull his fat ***** out of his hotel? Yup, that's what i thought and i would say "NOT BAD FOR JUST A HOBBY EH?"

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    rds3604 I don't know how long you've been on this forum but every couple of months a newbie comes along and starts a thread like this. We then spend the next couple of weeks on a "them vs us" trash-a-thon. STOP THIS MADNESS NOW!
    "My friends, watch out for the little fellow with an idea." - Tommy Douglas 1961.

    Tender 9 - old, slow, ugly, cantankerous, reliable!

    All empires fall, you just have to know where to push

  7. #7
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    There was recently a large scale incident in the county I reside that can be read about on this page, about a man trapped in a cave in pennsylvania. This incident is the best example of what firefighters really are. Groups of men and women, some receiving pay checks and some not, coming together to do one thing, save the lives of those we swore to protect. To the people whose lives and property we protect and save, it doesn't matter who gets how much, it matters that we get there and do our job. I'd like to give my thanks and prayers to the men and women, paid and volunteer who worked in Mount Joy, PA to save a man they didn't know, you are all proffesional firefighters and rescuers in my eyes and your communities.
    FF/VRT R. Patterson
    Lanco. Station 63
    Lanco. Station 311

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    I understand where he's coming from, but the thing not to forget is "paid" or "volunteer" we are all in it for the same reason. Theres good and bad on both sides but were here for the same purpose to save lives and property and paid is no better than vol, and vol is no better than paid.
    like fireline said "stop the madness!!!!!!!!

  9. #9
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    LIKE 2749 SAID THERE IS ONLY ONE DIFFERENCE
    CAREER IS THAT THEY ARE PAID AND WE ARE NOT.

    a VERY GOOD FRIEND AND CHIEF SAID TO ME ONCE.
    " VOL. OR PAID WE ARE ALL PROFESSIONALS"..

  10. #10
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    Before I say anything, I AM a vol. FF.

    The reputation that the vol. service has has been earned. The worst enemy of volunteer fire fighters is not the IAFF. It's not NFPA. It's not the big city depts. It is volunteer fire fighters.

    Look at this board and the Volunteer board. We are killing 100 + FF per year. We are having regulations that the majority of vol. depts. can't meet shoved down our throat. We are serioulsy underfunded to the point where there are actually vol. FD's in rural areas running with little to no PPE. There are a million issues that directly affect the vol. FD ability to protect their citizens.

    But what are some of you idiots worrying about? Parades. T-shirts. Water barrel races. Wet downs. Pushing a freaking truck into the station. Playing games on the radio "signing in a new apparatus". Give me a break! Did you join the vol. FD to play or to learn how to be a fire fighter and to protect your citizens in the most professional and effective way possible?

    Many vol. depts. have a bar nicer and bigger than any gin mill in town. We have a vol. FF getting arrested for arson somewhere in this country every few days. For crying out loud don't you get it?

    I know, the cry-babies will say, "It has to be fun or people won't join!" or "You are just being mean. We need an outlet for our stress". Or any of the other nonsensical themes that run through here.


    In all honesty, in my younger days, I played these games, too. But the older and more experienced I get, the more I realize that we would get more people to join if we STOPPED all the good ol' boy BS and concentrated on; professionalism, training, safety, educating the public about fire safety and providing quality emergency services. The rest of that stuff makes us no different than a glorified bowling league.

    [ 07-07-2001: Message edited by: George Wendt, CFI ]
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  11. #11
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    I am a vollie and I agree that we are our own worst enemy. We have guys/gals that join the department to "hang out." They'd rather be drinking beer (Not that there's anything wrong with beer ) than helping someone out. It frustrates me to no end. Kick them out you say. Well, we have a manpower shortage and just the POSSIBILITY that they may be able to drag their lazy a--es to a call keeps them there.

    As far as the paid/unpaid thing, I don't sit around and say waaaaa I wish I were appreciated more. I just do my best and who cares about that stuff. I guess if you have a job that you hate or if you want to be a paid guy it might be different.

    rds3604,

    Don't worry about being a volunteer and getting a job in a paid dept. I've heard of a lot of departments that would welcome someone that has proven they can do the job. Plus you may have a great deal of training and that adds up to possible $$$ they can save. If someone tells you no way you're gonna work here because you are a vollie, GO ELSEWHERE!

    Stay safe out there.
    Tom

    Never Forget 9-11-2001

    Stay safe out there!

    IACOJ Member

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    Thank for the responses, I didn't realize this was such a topic here, I just started in the forum. I heard a lot of good points and I agree that we are our own worst enemy sometimes. I don't let it get to me I've been doing this 10 years and don't really care about how others may look at us, just was wondering if it was the same all over. Thanks again and sorry about this one
    RDS3604

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    Geeze George, coming on a tad strong arent you? I am a paid firefighter with an urban Dept, and even I dont think Volunteers have THAT bad a reputation

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    Geeze George, coming on a tad strong arent you? I am a paid firefighter with an urban Dept, and even I dont think Volunteers have THAT bad a reputation
    OK, fair enough. Which part of what I posted is not true?
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    If you present yourself and your department as professional when you are around the public then there should never be a problem with reputations. This also extends to working with mutual aid departments, police departments, community organizations, schools, etc. The only people that give us bad reputations are the fire fighters involved in the organization. The problem is not with paid vs volunteer fire fighters, it is with the public. Educate them and they will respect us as we respect each other.
    Never forget those who went before and sacrified to make us better and stronger as a fire service and a nation. 09-11-01 forever etched in time and our memories. God Speed Boys!

  16. #16
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    The unfortunate part of the volunteer fire service, and any other organization, is that as the old saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Likewise we are only as professional as our most unprofessional link.

    Personally I have always lived by 'don't judge the whole based on one member' but unfortunately, for the tax paying public those are the images of unprofessionalism by one or two members are the images that stick and that opinions are formed off of.

    Take a look at your organization, identify who the biggest screw-up is and then decide if that is the image you want conveyed to your citizens. I'm willing to bet it is not. Now you just have to figure out what to do about it and that has to be resolved by your membership body as a whole.

    Hey George, you forgot arguing over the color of fire apparatus

  17. #17
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    George, I've seen some of the stuff your talking about, I was a volunteer for 12 years.
    I've seen some crappy volunteers, and some vol depts with really crappy attitudes. I've often seen some really on the ball volunteers, many of whom went on to full time paid careers. But I have also seen some very well run Depts with professional attitudes. I understand some of the problems facing volunteers today ,but my opinion is that they are not unsurmountable, at least in most cases. Some Depts are truely lost causes, I guess not much can be done about that, but others are trying their hardest to crawl into this new millenium. Geeze what a speech! I thought us paid guys were supposed to hate volunteers?

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    I have a mixed response to this topic because part of me says, "Who cares what people say about vollies?" but then I hear all that negative stuff about Vollies like we are undertrained, overweight, and we shouldn't be trusted on a scene. That really sucks the espree de corps out of working with paid firefighters. Are all paid firefighters The Big Evil? No!!! Should we not discuss this prejudice against vollies? Sure if we want to specialize in denial. I think a topic like this is good because it brings some of the fire service's dirty laundry into view and we can all work on cleaning it up. Sure, vollie firefighters aren't beat up and our stations aren't burned down but it really tears you up inside when you are considered less because you aren't paid.
    I had a lot of respect and admiration for a paid fire chief who was an excellent instructor and seemed to be very nice. But then I overheard something that he said against vollies and how we just aren't good enough for him. Now sure, words aren't supposed to hurt but they do. Now I don't feel so great about that chief and that's just sad because if volunteer firefighters were considered equals then we wouldn't have to deal with nonsense like that.
    All of you that think vollies should just shut up and not talk about this probably don't want to solve a very obvious problem I guess.

    [ 07-10-2001: Message edited by: Michelle Latham ]
    Probie Name: HurryUpMichelle!!

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    Hey Smoke286; What's the matter? Please answer the question. What did I write that was not true?

    Trainer-Yeah, I forgot that one. All apparatus should be BFD cream.

    George
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    George, I think you hit it RIGHT SQUARE ON THE HEAD! Look at what some of the biggest posts are about...
    Which dash light
    , for cryin' out loud.
    And then we'll (using the "royal" we) sit around and trash one another or this dept. or that "no good chief".
    There's a saying I heard awhile back that I use quite often... "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got"!
    We can't (or shouldn't) wonder why we get a "bad rap". As Pogo said,
    We have met the enemy, and he is us!
    SOAP BOX MODE = OFF

  21. #21
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    Sorry George, havent checked this thread in a while, I dont really disagree with anything you say, all of those problems you list are legitimate. I guess I just feel your being a tad too negative. People are trying out there after all. But then again if there were more people with your no nonsense attitude in the volunteer service, perhaps it wouldn't be in the state it is today. Hope your able to get it straitened out, for everybody's sake.

  22. #22
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    There is often a vast difference in volunteer and career departments. However in my 28 years experience in the fire service I have dealt with volunteer departments that are as professional or more professional as some career departments. I also find that "most" career firefighters were volunteers to get started. Some of them forget where their roots are and begin to blast volunteer departments or members. This is where the name calling and such comes from. The response given to your question is a prime example of someone being a baby and being resentful. The resentfullness usually comes from the fact that a lot of volunteer departments have deep pockets and therefore can get all the "toys." How many normal sized paid departments can do that?

    I am proud to say that I have been a volunteer for 28 years and served my town proudly. I was also a career firefighter for 21.5 years.

    The difference between paid and volunteers is a pay check which should have no bearing. ***You do not have to be paid to be professional.**** I consider my volunteer department as well as those I Have worked with to be very professional. In fact, I miss being a volunteer and even though I am busy with a new job and "retired," I am in the process of joining the "Land O Lakes" VFD here in Florida. Volunteers serve their community proudly and provide a service that a lot of communities can not support as a paid service due to the tax base. Some operate on yearly budgets of less that $100K.

    However, conversely, there are volunteer departments that do not act as I describe above and that is where the bum wrap comes from.

    But I can assure you....my volunteer department was not and is not a "bunch of drunks"

    Stan Mettinger
    Retired
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
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    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  23. #23
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    Why are we constantly argueing over which is better, career or volunteer. We both do the same job. What happens when a career dept. and a volly dept. have to fight a structure together. Are they going to put their differences aside or are they going fight it out on the fire scene. The only difference is that career fire fighters get paid and volly's dont. Its the same job.

  24. #24
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    I have been volunteer and now I'm paid. So I have seen both sides of this topic.I tend to agree with the comments about volunteers being their own worst enemy. Jurisdictions that rely totally on volunteers need manpower. Sometimes they aren't too picky on the candidates they choose. I believe that this is the root of the bad reputation theory.
    The fires are just as hot for vollies as the paid firefighters.
    LODD for volunteer firefighters is just as painful as LODD for paid.
    Some smaller jurisdictions cannot compensate volunteers or their families for injuries or LODD. Therefore the sacrifice may have greater consequenes.
    Keep on and don't worry about the comments.

    [ 07-16-2001: Message edited by: joejoe33 ]
    joejoe33

    Comments and opinions are mine and do not represent the agency or IAFF local that I am affiliated with.

  25. #25
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    dont let a couple of over jealous idiots who are professional firefighters get you down. There is nothing wrong with vollies, they get the job done just like the paid guys do.

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