1. #1
    Chief *
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Volunteer Fire Chief = Babysitter ?

    I am the Fire Chief of a small rural volunteer fire department is PA. We currently run about 100 fire\rescue calls a year and about 350 Ems calls. I was wondering if any other volunteer chiefs have found out that when you are dealing with a volunteer staff it is greatly difficult trying to enforce DOG's and rules and reg's. We are very short staffed and I dont want upset staff or in most cases they will tell you that they are volunteer and if you dont like it that they just wont show up next time. It also seems that when you do make a difficult call about something someone always whines and complains. Does anyone else have the same problems or is just me? If so how do you deal with the childish behavior?

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    My friend, you are not alone! This is happening all over the volunteer fire service, and it is very difficult to deal with. I have found that it is generally best to deal with each problem, and sometimes each individual, individually. But when push comes to shove, you have got to stand your ground, for everyone else's safety. If they do decide to leave, then did you really need them anyway?

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

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    You are also dealing with an age old management problem. No decision you make, whether having to do with fund raising, SOPs, or a call on the fireground will make everyone happy. I think those are the rules of life, someone has to complain about something!! Anyway, I agree with the former post, its a tough call but sometimes you just have to let a volunteer go for the good of the rest of the group. Someone with the attitude that they are a volunteer and you can't do anything to them is a liability waiting to happen and just makes the rest of the hardworking and conciencious vols look bad. Deal with them one on one but make sure they know that you or the officer on the call is in charge and there are rules and procedures in place for a reason! Welcome to management 101 boss!!

  4. #4
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It is a tough spot, and many of us know it well, I'm sure. I guess our Deputy Chief expresses our policy best:

    'We'd rather have 15 or 20 on the engine crew that know what they're doing, work as a team, and get the job done than have 50 people out there screwing around.'

    We always give people who are interested (and don't already have a bad track record with another area company) a chance, but if they can't cut it, they have to go...we're understaffed, but at least we can count on each other and other companies can count on us.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    You volunteered to join.
    You volunteer your time.
    After that, most things are not voluntary.
    Following the rules and regulations are not voluntary.

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