The Wayne Township, Indiana Volunteer Fire Department, whose 500 members have been termed the "biggest volunteer fire department" in the world, will be "merged" into a new combination department that takes over January 1, 2000, the Indianapolis Star/News reported Wednesday.
View the complete story online: http://www.Firehouse.Com/news/99/8/4_wayne.html
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08-04-1999, 03:16 PM #1
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"World's Largest Volunteer Department" To Go Combination
08-04-1999, 04:39 PM #2LWO132Firehouse.com Guest
This is the wave of the future. Volunteer companies can no longer handle the volume of calls. Dedicated members should be the first ones hired. I'm sure many will apply. Fire Dept.'s should respond right away. NOT 3-6 minutes after alert. Or sometimes NOT at all! Tax payers deserve quick adaquate responses.
08-04-1999, 05:35 PM #3Scott AlfordFirehouse.com Guest
I hope that this isn't being done as a "knee-jerk" response or because it is the "wave of the future". Even the largest paid departments with the largest budgets can't meet every call in the time that they would like to and they, too, often need help locating a call. Every emergency does not include a fully involved building. I agree that the taxpayers deserve quick, adequate responses, however, the volunteers also deserve support from the taxpayers, not the shaft. My hat is off to the volunteers, stand proud and work with your residents. It is times like these that prove what "Professional Firefighter" means and it has NOTHING to do with a pay check. Hopefully the taxpayers and their trustee are truly working for the betterment of all citizens.
08-04-1999, 09:43 PM #4George RobertsonFirehouse.com Guest
As a member of The Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Dept. I am proud of the job in which we have done. But it comes a time in which you must move to the next level. The choice to go to a combination department was not a sudden decision. It has been a long time coming. The department did over 8000 runs last year. The community has a right to adequate fire protection and the only way to do that is to have the firehouses staffed 24 hours a day. In our current system we can not acheive that. We are a very proud department and I am proud to have served them to the best of my abilities. But I see the need for change and I will be with this department and support it in any way possible.
08-05-1999, 02:19 AM #5Brice L. JonesFirehouse.com Guest
Hello. I too am a proud member of the Wayne Twp. Fire Dept.. I regret the decision made, on the assumption of "professional". If you were to look up the meaning of "professional" in the dictionary, it doesn't mention anything pertaing to a paycheck. It reads, "professional: 1)of or having to do with a profession; appropriate to a profession 2)engaged in a profession 3)making a business or trade of something which others do for pleasure 4)person who does this 5)undertaken or engaged in by professionals rather than amateurs". I understand the people have a concern, and I do agree that it must be addressed. I too am an elected official in my hometown, and understand the township's position. I do hope that the people realize that just because someone receives a paycheck, doesn't mean they can't get lost or pass an address. We are all human, and there is no way to change that. As far as our response times, I would like for the people to compare ours with IFD or anyone elses. I imagine that it just may surprise you, how quickly we do respond. Just because we are volunteers, doesn't mean we don't take our positions seriously. I too have family in Wayne Twp. to think of. Wayne Twp. Fire Dept. is not ran like most volunteer fire departments. Everyone that is going to be on duty must sign up at a minimum, 7 days in advance. While on duty, you stay at the station you are riding at. Most volunteer departments, respond from home to either the scene or to their station, causing a big delay in response times, not Wayne Twp.. I feel that Wayne Twp. Fire Department's Board of Directors, Chief, Membership Division, and Recruitment Division should assume most of the blame for this happening, due to they saw the problem in past months and have done little or nothing to remedy the situation at hand. Now then the general membership is the ones receiving the recourse for their lack of actions. In closing, I will serve the community as long as I possibly can and hope that this is the best option for the people in that area.
08-05-1999, 11:12 AM #6Kip HathewayFirehouse.com Guest
Its a sad day in Wayne Twp. Indiana. Change is not always good or for the better of the community. As a volunteer I know how it is to feel the worst and see the best of things in people and how we better ourselves through helping others in need. I must ask the elected officials of wayne township, Indiana their position on " popularity contests" a comment that was made at the meeting to decide the changes of wayne township fire department and really hurts me to hear comming from and elected group of people who is to be trusted to oversee our local community. let me tell you everything in life is at some point a popularity contest, just look at our current voting system. The people of Wayne Township do deserve to know how the fire department is handling itself, just fine as a matter of fact !!! Has the Wayne township fire dept ever failed to respond to an emergency call in a reasonable time or not at all ?? Has the Wayne twp. fire dept. ever failed to provide emergency services when called upon to do so ?? I would answer " NO " without a doubt in my mind we have always responded to every call ever time in a reasonable time and provided the Highest level of service. Just because the word volunteer is in the name of a fire department dosent mean it is any less professional than a paid dept, as a matter of fact with a little more polishing and effort from the right people any volunteer dept could staff itself 24 hrs a day. To date Just having 3 people on station as a crew is the the best ?? for any department ?? probably not. But only having 70 or so paid people available at any 1 time is even worse when compared to a Department of wayne townships size 500+, and we all know when called upon" people come out of the woodwork to respond " :-) In closing I would just like to say that the people of wayne township deserve to hear from both sides of the issue before any decisions should be made, this should be done in an open forum for the good of all who are concerned.
08-05-1999, 11:45 AM #7Lt_JohnFirehouse.com Guest
I am volunteer Lt in a combination department. We went combination in 1987 at that time we had over 50 volunteers - today we have 27 career and 35 volunteer firefighters and officers.
Over the last several years we have experienced a tremendous amount of change as more full-time staff members have been added. That is not to say that all change is bad. The reality is that 75% of our calls involve EMS and the day time hours are becoming increasingly difficult to cover. Last year we ran 2,400 calls out of 2 stations.
I think that the Wayne Township Fire Dept should accept some of the change. I have found, as president of the volunteer association, that it is sometime better to help with the change than to fight it. This is certainly not to say that you accept everything but if you are a participant in the change you have a better shot at influencing the outcome.
I certainly wish them luck in the future and I hope that all of the dedicated volunteers will continue to participate -- I know from experience that the department will still need and use you in the future.
08-05-1999, 03:55 PM #8LadderCo13Firehouse.com Guest
Thumbs up to the board for finally seeing the light. Not knocking the volunteers, (I use to be one myself), it's about time the department went paid. It has nothing to do with professionalism, but everything to do with response times and staffing. Not just when the first alarm goes out but when extra companys are needed also. Financial responsibility and accountability is also long overdue. As far as the largest volunteer fire department in the world, is this fact, or just what Wayne Township claims? How many of the 500 volunteers actually live in Wayne Township? How many don't even live in the county or state? If everyone was pulling their weight everything would be fully staffed 24 hrs a day. Such is not the case.
08-05-1999, 04:29 PM #9K AFirehouse.com Guest
--everything to do with response times and staffing--
Most of the time they run crews of three, like most every other department in the US. They don't run from home to the station they run form standbys at the station. So response time will be similar.
--Not just when the first alarm goes out but when extra companys are needed --
I bet 500 volunteers will always beat 77ish career firefighters. What is more when someone says Structure fire or Extrication you'll always have more people.
If only 15% of the vollies show up they win. Figure 1/3 of the career staff will be on duty at any time and only 5% of the vollies need to attend to accomplish the same staffing.
Is it really an improvement or an erossion in fire protection? Sounds like just plain politics...agendas,...etc. The end of the day most calls do not need outstanding response times. EMS is another matter and they do that well. Most EMS calls are a social program and not an emergency. Taxis could be dispatched to 80% of the calls and no one would be under served.
I bet simply changing management would have accomplished more than paying for fulltime staffing. The end of the day they admit a career solution by itself will not be the answer, they will continue to need volunteers to make up for what their budget cannot afford, adequate career staffing.
08-05-1999, 05:49 PM #10cra539Firehouse.com Guest
I looked at the various postings here with great interest. As someone who has been a volunteer for 18 yrs (with many yaers as an officer) and paid for 12 yrs, I feel able to look objectively at things. The scenario involving Wayne Township is one that is going to happen more often in places throughout the country. What i notice most often when these scenarios happen is that volunteer members of the dept get emotional. I do understand they feel their prior committment to the dept may have been for naught, but it really wasn't, they have done good for the dept and their communities. However, there comes a time when someone must sit back and look at the big picture here, theres a reality that must be faced and hard decisions have to be made. Members must take a step back and realize what they are saying-It can appear that while on one hand they say thier way is the answer, and on the other hand appear to give reasons that may be selfish. An example of this would be to use the excuse that the volunteer system is still the answer because of tradition ( family has been in it for years,its what we always had, etc.)or some other reasons that really have no bearing on providing service. I applaud Wayne Township for taking a stand and wish them luck. I wish Wayne Township would show some appreciation for the services provided by the volunteers and work with the volunteers to provide for a smooth transition.
08-05-1999, 11:38 PM #11KNOBMANFirehouse.com Guest
VFD's need help. Alot of them can't keep up with the steady pace of calls and training that is needed for todays fire service. The citizen need staffed fire station 24 hours a day 365 days a year!!!! Nobody want to call 911 to report an emergency and hope the vollies will come! At least I wouldn't. Vollie world firefighting is hit and miss. You might have some for this call but not with that call. I agree 10000% on staffed station with PROFESSIONAL-EDUCATED-FULL-TIME-FIREFIGHTER! I would not like someone coming for an emergency to my home who does this as a hobby....HECK NO! Thank you for your time K.M.
UNION AND PROUD OF IT!
08-06-1999, 01:14 AM #12AffFirehouse.com Guest
Well Knobman, you have completly missed the point of the postings, considering that you are a so called professional (if only career people can be proffesionals)and in the minority. If you haven't realise it, a vast majority of departments are volunteer and have been doing a great job since this country was founded. I find it hard to believe a department such as Wayne Township, with a call volume of over 8000, isn't staffed with very dedicated and trained Proffesionals. (note the capitalization for respect) I find it an insult that in your narrow mind, I am not a proffesional or educated. Education: FFII, EMT-I, high angle/low angle, confined space, trench, and elevator rescue, adv. auto, bus, and truck extrication, rescue diver and emergancy watercraft operator to name a few, most provided by the volunteer fire department and city. I belong to the fire department because I care, I golf for a hobby.
08-06-1999, 01:40 AM #13DDFirehouse.com Guest
It looks like Wayne Twp. is missing Harold Stoffer.
08-06-1999, 02:28 AM #14Mike Oden Jr.Firehouse.com Guest
Well Knobman, I'm not sure what your problem is, but I have worked with both paid and volunteer firefighters and there is no difference in the professionalism. That is a mind set and an attitude. Most of your paid firefighters in small towns come from volunteer departments. You need to thank all of these individuals for putting their life on the line to save people like you instead of set at home mouthing off like you are. Thanks to all volunteers out there.
08-06-1999, 01:55 PM #15TKirkFirehouse.com Guest
Knobman I think you are really missing something. I have worked alongside of both Paid and Vol FF for about 17years, and the only difference I have seen is one of them gets paid and the other doesn't. Yes there are inexperienced people in both types of Dept. But there is also a lot of experience and training in both types. I have worked with several Depts that have Vol FF that are Paid FF on a different Dept. The Vol are not just a bunch of guys that jump on a truck and call themselves a FF. They go to the same schools, attend the same training, and risk their lives just like the Paids do.
The Depts I have worked with set up a schedule to make sure that Fire/Rescue/Amb service is always provided for their communities. This consists of giving up time with thier families, skipping that vacation, or giving up the overtime income that they could have had.
There are both Profesional and Amatures in both types of Depts.
08-06-1999, 04:45 PM #16Greg ShupingFirehouse.com Guest
I have also been paid and volunteer. I found that I did a better job and trained more as a volunteer, because I was doing it at my own pace, not the pace of the department. Voluteers almost always train more, at least that has been my experience. And if paid guys are so much better, then why do you watch these videos of the big city guys never wearing SCBA's! My hat goes off to the Volunteers of Wayne!!
08-06-1999, 06:06 PM #17RKenny BFDNYFirehouse.com Guest
Good Luck on your next promotional test, I hope they add a new point category for ignorance, just for you!!!
[This message has been edited by RKenny BFDNY (edited August 06, 1999).]
08-06-1999, 08:11 PM #18KNOBMANFirehouse.com Guest
sounds like you ALL are a bunch of cry baby little pansies! you get a few hours of fire school and you are gods gift to firefighting. what do all of ya'll do for a living? what ever it is that is your proffesion! i fight fire at least 10-24 hour shifts a month. i train for a min. of 2 hours a shift, except for sunday. i work out every shift for 2 hours if possible. i am a PROFESSIONAL FIREFIGHTER! all of ya'll are just mad because you can't have my job. yes about 70% of the u.s. is covered by some type of volley company, but only 40% of the population is covered by VFD's. so 60% of the population is covered by YES--PRO FIREFIGHTERS! get mad cause i tell the truth, half of you so called firefighter don't get any fires or any calls any way. so go wack out on the 100 calls you do get a year, jump on your brand new 400k dollar engine that you don't need and have fun! K.M.
making an opinion on this board on how you feel will get the vollies ticked off!!!!! grow up wanna bees.......
UNION AND PROUD OF IT!
[This message has been edited by KNOBMAN (edited August 06, 1999).
[This message has been edited by KNOBMAN (edited August 06, 1999).]
08-06-1999, 09:02 PM #19AffFirehouse.com Guest
I'll score you on one point, yes I would like to be a career firefighter, but thats where it ends. As far as training, our department trains 4 times a month for 4 hours, not including specialties. All this training is conducted by Anoka-Hennipen college by certified fire instructors, both career and volunteer. For working out, I do that on my own, don't need a paycheck to motivate that. Calls; 1600+ and growing, with the new $400,000,(with no grossly disproportionate payroll expense, our city can afford 2! http://www.firehouse.com/interactive/boards/smile.gif) Most importantly, an opinion is fine, along with constuctive criticism, but degrading a particular group isn't conductive to an intelligent discussion of issues.
08-06-1999, 09:59 PM #20EFD701Firehouse.com Guest
I thought this message thread was to discuss the situation in Wayne Township, Indiana. If you want to fight the career vs. volunteer battle, please take it to another board. (BTW, I'm a career officer)
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