1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Attitudes: volunteer vs full-time

    I am a full-time F/F of 13 years, and during this time I have spent the last 6 years of my days off working for my local volunteer fire dept. At first I was excepted into the volunteer dept. with open arms. I had been asked to help in the upgrade of there training classes. As time progressed and the upgrades to the next level of training became complete I started noticing a segregation of attitudes' focused around the fact that I was a full-time F/F with another dept. I am interested in hearing the views of others that might be in similar hostile working environments.

  2. #2
    Aerial 131
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I find your situation interesting as I started as a volunteer 18 years now and then became a career FF 8.5 years now. I find my situation almost opposite of yours.

    I have only had problems a couple of times with members of the paid department and my being a volunteer. They were mostly resolved. I honestly think they might have been jealous of how far I had advanced in trng and my capabilities.

    In my volunteer department there are many of the firefighters that find it unbelievable that I manage to do both departments. Probably I can, because the chiefs for the entire area have worked hard at having everyone on the same sheet of music when we have incidents together(which is fairly often).

    I will retire from both some day and I will be very proud of having served for both departments.


  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The problem that I have is the professional firefighters that volunteer in another union house. If you want to tick in a volley house fine, but don't tick in a union house. Would you like it if your shift commander told you not to come in today because there was enough volunteers around and they didn't need you? You just lost a days pay! Ask the Brothers in Howard Co. Md and the Brothers in Prince George's Co. Md how they like so called brothers coming from DCFD and other jurisdictions in to volunteer at their stations.

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The problem I had was similar, but in reverse
    I was a volunteer firefighter from 83 to 94 at which time I joined a much larger urban paid dep. The change in the attitude of my volunteer "buddies" was immediate, even before I was actually hired I began to feel a kind of reverse discrimination, a general attitude that I must be looking down my nose at them because they were volunteer. I was an officer in that dept. At fire scenes, all of a sudden every decision I made was because I was trying to act like a "professional" which seemed to be a bad thing to my brethren.
    I never understood the attitude I believe in retrospect that there was an underlying feeling of inferiority on their part. I was welcomed with open arms in my new dept and never looked back since. perhaps that would be your best solution Paris, if they dont want you there, its their loss.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If you'll take a word from a volunteer, let me say we've had no problems. Many career firefighters volunteer in my county, my Chief in my volunteer department is a truck company captain with a paid department.

    They are welcomed into the volunteers because they are here for the same reason the rest of us are - to serve the community.

    We have no issues in this area with unions because there are no union departments with volunteers.

    I understand that some career and/or union folks have issues with volunteers because of the potential threats to jobs in some areas. I also understand the staffing issues. I have heard the arguments and seen some examples (exceptions) of career folks that think they know more just because they get a pay check or volunteers that think they know more because they've sat on their butt at the firehouse for 30 years.

    I think a lot of these things are regional (union stuff), and many deal with personalities or personal opinions and preferences.

    Bottom line - we all do what we do because we love it and we want to serve the communities we live and work in. Some are lucky enough to do it for a living. Some choose to make it our second job.

    I'll always believe that if we all made the effort we could work side by side and work to eliminate the issues - perhaps that's a bit too optomistic, but I can hope.

    Susan Bednar
    Captain - Forsyth Rescue
    North Carolina Strike Force 1

  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Would you like it if your shift commander told you not to come in today because there was enough volunteers around and they didn't need you? You just lost a days pay!

    And just where, pray tell, are there unionized fire departments that can tell people to take a scheduled shift off 'cause they have enough staffing?

    Might have a point if talking about fewer oppurtonities for overtime, but we're not looking at losing normal workdays. You're not losing a day's pay...just not gaining a day of overtime. Same way you wouldn't get the overtime if they had sufficient career staffing.

    Gosh, imagine that -- government providing services in a cost effective manner, not just the one that creates the most jobs.

    These career--vollie debates always seem to take on strange lives, a mix of fear, jealousy, and mistrust by a vocal minority on either end...and a vast middle ground that just seems to get along day in and day out. Just another part of this thing we do.

  7. #7
    dr inferno
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Onelick, I hear what you are saying but if that kind of stuff is going on you should add a clause to your contract that does not permit contracting out to non union members to staff the full time trucks. If guys come to calls as volunteers on a paged out basis then thats different.(Composite department) As well as it requires your municipality to call union guys in for overtime if you have a minimum manning clause.

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