I have been in the fire service some 15 years, and have continually argued against the antiquated belief in residency requirements. I do however, try to keep an open mind to other opinions. If you support or detest residency, tell me why.<br />Definition: Residency Requirements= being restricted to living within city limits to keep your job.<br /> Just Curious<br /> FYRDOGG
I can speak first hand on this issue. I had to move into the township that I worked in when I got hired. Our simple politians thought it would be best for the tax payers to have the fire fighters live within the township. They couldn't be more wrong! I have heard all the reasons why they thought it would be best but none of them added up. Everything from we would spend our money in our township, we might get called back in or we could possible pesuade votes in the local elections. These are just a few of the reasons. Here's what really happened, we were always trying to buy thing else where when possible. Our career fire fighter have never been called back in the histiory of the department. And we sure tried to pursuade votes alright but not to the benefit of the same politian making us lived where they wanted us to, not where we wanted to. My feelings here are obvious but thankfully our union was able to get the residense policy removed by state legislation without letting certain people know what was going on. It's a funny thing what you will agree to or put up with when you are trying to get hired as a career fire fighter. Oh that reminds me all the older fire fighters that were on before the policy didn't have to move back into the township they were just grand fathered. We also lost several quality people from applying to our department because of the policy. Well I guess I have vented enough, one final thought, if a fire department is thinking in these terms, then the rest of their decision making is probably in the same terms, selfish and antiquated. After 10 years I am leaving this department and starting over with an other department that I know is progressive. Hopefully someone will read this and save themselves 10 years. Think about it. Thanks. <img src="rolleyes.gif" border="0">
Our department is combination (17 career / 30 volunteer) in a 6 square mile community of 33,000 people. All firefighters (career or volunteer) must live in town. We have several levels of response, the most common being a "still" alarm, which is responded to by the on-duty career, and authorizes volunteers to respond if they wish. Stills accounted for about 1580 calls in 2001. The response levels above the "still" authorize the off-duty career to respond as well as the volunteers. These calls accouted for about 250 calls in 2001. The residency requirement does make some sense, as off-duty recalls are frequent, and our department relies heavily on the off-duty career firefighters for Monday-Friday daylight working incidents.
Our community is predominently residential, and very few volunteers are available during the work week. Almost all work outside the community, and very few can leave work for calls. We don't currently have the room for volunteers to "bunk-in" or even "hang out" comfortably in our present station (built in 1929), but we're building a new public safety building set to be completed in 2003 which will change that. As such, we are exploring "opening the boundaries" for the volunteer department. Most of our neighboring departments, which are almost all volunteer, allow members to live anywhere, as they are usually just as short handed weekday daylight as we are. But due to the severe lack of volunteers during the week, and the reliance on off-duty career response during these times, we will likely retain the residency requirement for career personnel. When the new building is complete, we may have some form of "shift" available for volunteer staff in lieu of responding from home when called.
As far as taking a position in regards to our department, due to our frequent recall of career FF's, I would side with retaining residency requirements for career, but allow volunteers to live anywhere, with restrictions on how far out of town they can live and be authorized to respond directly to a scene.
Just a note on the career residency requirement in regards to hiring - we will accept applications from anywhere. Successful candidates brought onto probation have up to 2 years to move into town. But the incentive is there in the form of overtime to move in ASAP.
Some career departments (such as Pittsburgh, which borders our community) require residency even to apply. I strongly believe that they are missing the boat on a lot of excellent firefighters out there who would move just about anywhere to get a career FF job. And if you don't recall those FF's, what difference should it make where they live? As long as they show up for work and do a good job, where they sleep off-duty shouldn't be a concern. You don't see big businesses limiting where their best and brightest employees happen to live when they apply for a job; why should the fire service?
Re residency requirements? "The only people who shouldn't get to choose where they live are incarcerated criminals."
Ummm.....I'm confused? How does "Residency Requirements" fall under the Sub-Heading of Ladies & Support Auxiliary? Is that 'Auxiliary' as in Volunteer-Based Fire Departments?
I'm sorry if I sound like I'm trying to be a smart-***** - I really don't understand the connection.
The dept I work for is also paid and volly. When I was hired on the residency requirements were plainly laid out by one of the Capts. who stated that when you are no scheduled you ARE a volunteer. In writing it says you are supposed to live in the city limits however, it is not a big concern if you live just outside the city limits in the county.