1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb Protecting Volunteer Firefighters

    I am a Volunteer Firefighter in upstate New York. On Monday the 29 of November at 1:00pm my Dept. was called to a working fire at a residence. so i went knowing that i had to be at work in an hour. I was on the first team in and we put the fire out. one of my family members called my work and let them know about my situation. The supervisor on said that it was alright and he understood my situation, and for me to come in on tuesday. so when i went to work on tuesday my supervisor fired me. he said that the fire co does not pay me this co does. and fighting fire is not an excuse for missing work. i feel that i should not have been fired. i lost my job but i feel great about what i did.

    Joel Chouinard
    Middle Falls Fire Dept.

  2. #2
    Kelly Tool
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey man great for you! I mean that it is a shame you lost your job because your supervisor is, sorry to say,an idiot. Any one that helps the community is an asset. I would have done the same thing in your shoes. Put it this way, if I hired people for my company or business I'd rather have firefighters because if there was an emergency at work I'd rather have people that deal with this stuff and know what to do! Good luck, hope you find another job soon.

    Put the wet stuff on the red stuff!

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    hey thee i feel for you at losing your job.is their any recourse you have legaly?
    does the state of N.Y have any laws protecting us vollies.might be something to check into.I will say that this sort of issue would be best brought up with your employer before a call.

  4. #4
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Sorry to hear about your problem. Still, these are the sorts of things that people need to work out with their employers ahead of time. In a perfect world, employers would be happy to accept lost productivity in exchange for their employees' community service. Some employers are happy to do this...the vast majority are not.

    You should check into the law in your state, but I'd bet you won't qualify for protection if you haven't prepared yourself. PA has a law "protecting" volunteers from punishment at work, but there are strict conditions the volunteer must meet, documentation required to make a claim under the law, etc. In the end, the law has few teeth, and the only real protection is to work things out with the employer ahead of time.

    I would also encourage people to be reasonable about this issue when they approach an employer. I have considerable latitude with my employer (I'm management myself) to respond to calls in situations like this, and we've worked out the ground rules. I would have had no problem doing what you did. However, I won't make myself late for work for non-emergencies like a "trees on wires" call or a "washdown" at an MVA. I'm hard pressed to justify (to myself) being late because of an AFA, given the 99.99999999% chance that it's false. I guess that all I'm saying is: be realistic.

  5. #5
    Jim M.
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Joel, (1) if you are positive that this is the only grounds your employer has for firing you, and (2) you still want to work for these losers, and (3) you are willing to get in the middle of a really messy mud slinging contest (that might impact your future job hunting prospects), you might want to consider going public. Check your local paper or TV station to see who specializes in community interest stories and give them a call. BE SURE YOU'RE RIGHT that this is the ONLY reason your employer had or your ex-employer can hang you out to dry. Bob's comment is the most appropriate - talk this over in advance with your new employer and that will help you decide which calls you can afford to respond to. Best of luck with whatever you decide.

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I know where your coming from. I love firefighting also. BUT... That doesn't pay the bills and that doesn't put food on the table. Proirities need to be set or you will most likely loose another job in the future if you don't put them in the right order. Don't mean to dump on you, but you need to except reality and employeers today won't tolerate things of that nature. I too lost a job for that reason and I paid for it. I don't want to hear of anyone else making the same mistakes. The volunteer fire service is a great thing, but again it finacially won't do a damn thing for you. Also in respect to another reply. Don't go public w/ anything... You were pretty much wrong for missing work. Don't turn this in to something it's not meant to be. I'm sorry if you don't agree w/ my opinion, but I've been there and done that. The most respectable thing you could do would be to speak to your boss like a gentleman and explain your position. Then again it all depends on how much you really liked the job anyway.

    David DeCant
    Originally Mantua,NJ
    Presently Lindenwold,NJ(I'm not a member of any of this District's dept's.)

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey that sucks but i have a feeling that if it was worded that you were fired because you wre providing a service to the comm. then you just might have some recourse. Also way to go with being a V.F.F


    morning and have a good day

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It's a tough call I would really have to think about going to that call if there was only an hour before work.
    I have been told time and time again that your family comes first since I have been in the vol.fire service and even though you like to be at every call (myself included) you just can't make them all I would hope most employers would be a little sympathetic if you were at an alarm and unless you had a perfect record at work I don't think it would be a good idea to go to the media .
    What kind of work did you do and have you ever missed work before to go to an alarm?


  9. #9
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Sorry to hear,
    I have missed work too to vol. my time at a scene. The state of WV has laws to protect Vol. from that very thing. Just like the others, I would check into NY laws to see if that would apply there too. Stick in there and thanks for Volunteering your time also.

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