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  1. #1
    John Donahue
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Drug Testing Volunteer Firefighters

    Our department has run into a problem that I'm sure others have come up against. Do we or can we test the volunteers for drugs? I would like to hear from any volunteer department that has a policy or has tried and run into problems.

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  2. #2
    BVFD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Never heard of this, but very interesting. If the FF's are considered employees of their jurisdiction, then they probably don't have much of a choice in the matter. Myself, I'm all for it! Remember, the only difference between vollies and career is the paycheck. We're all expected to do the same job, and face the same problems. Safety has got to be the concern in either type of dept.

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    Learn all the jobs, at some point you'll have to do them

  3. #3
    721
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    What type of drug abuse is the largest problem with volunteers, or even paid firefighters. If it is not on top, I am sure that alochol is near the top of the most abused drug. Drug testing does not check for that, unless perhaps they go to the drug test drunk.

    I'm not sure that I see the value of testing a volunteer or paid firefighters for drugs, which he/she may pass with no problem, yet they respond to the next call drunk or start their shift after drinking and/or drink on shift.

  4. #4
    BVFD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    I was not stating that alcohol abuse is okay, and alcohol IS the most abused drug all together. However, there is no test that I am aware of that can detect alcohol after a relatively short time. So when alcohol is suspected, it needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis. This can be checked by a blood test at the local ER. Let's not give up all together just because when can't check everything. And to all of you union guys out there, please don't get upset with me over this opinion. I'm just concerned about everybodys safety!

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    Learn all the jobs, at some point you'll have to do them

  5. #5
    DD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I am a volunteer who could support drug testing, provided:

    1. everyone is tested, from the top of the food chain to the bottom

    2. no individual is targeted without very good reason

    3. the department has a lot of money available to pay for the testing

    4. you are willing to lose good, drug free, members, who are opposed to the testing

    5. the department has a good lawyer and the
    people in charge like being sued

    This is a very tough thing that you are considering. I do have to take drug tests at
    my job. I am a member of the United Auto Workers Union. Testing has helped get the druggies out of the shop. It has also caused
    a lot of problems. Many people do not like
    being required to submitt to the testing on the grounds that they feel it violates some of their rights.

    If Big Brother (politicians) are pushing for this, they should get in the front of the testing line. I would be glad to follow their lead. You could not go too high up the
    political list or there may be no one left to run the government.

  6. #6
    Captain Hickman
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Before jumping into deep water, CYA, call your attorney. Develope an Operating Procedure to cover Random Testing, not only for drugs but alcohol. Then if you have someone which test positive, be ready to offer some kind of counciling or rehab program. And, make sure that prescription drugs are covered. If the person is worth saving you had better be ready to spend some money.

    In our department our City has a ramdom test policy. Everyone knows up front that they are subject to testing at any time. Although they have not really started the program, since the City Attorney is still working on 'fine tuning' it. We do test anyone, of our own department, anytime they are involved in a accident, motor vehicle type, while they are responding to an alarm. Even if they are in their own private vehicle responding to an alarm, they get tested. That's just to COA, Cover Our ***..ets.

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