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  1. #1
    C Montgomery Guest

    Post Volunteer Officers Commanding Career Personnel #2

    I have been reading this topic for a few days now and would like to add some items for consideration. First off let me explain my fire service background. I started as a volunteer for an all volunteer department within an all volunteer county. I was hired as a career firefighter in an all career department that was a 100% union firehouse. I was an IAFF member for several years until I applied for a management position and was promoted out of my local. I currently serve as Fire Chief of my all career Department and also serve as Fire Chief in my all Volunteer Department. Enough of my background, I did not want to be told to get out of the Career Forum. In regards to the original question, has anyone considered the term " Authority having jurisdiction"? In my opinion whoever is the AHJ of the incident would therefore be considered the person responsible for the decision making on the fireground. If a jurisdiction responds to an incident that would cause them to take orders from an officer (volunteer or career) from another jurisdiction then a Mutual Aid Agreement should be in place that outlines the questions of authority on this type of response. I know this because I have several Mutual Aid Agreements in place at my career department with both career and volunteer departments. There is no question on the chain of command due to the term Authority Having Jurisdiction is outlined in the agreement as well as several other regulatory documents such as OSHA and NFPA. If you are the officer of a career unit that is responding to an incident in a volunteer district you are in a bad spot. As the officer you are also acting as management to your firefighters, which means you have the responsibility as the employer to protect your employees. This means if you are told to accomplish a task that is given by someone in another jurisdiction (career or volunteer) that will place your employees under your command in an unsafe situation, you have the right to question this command. If you do not and something happens you can bet you and the incident commander will have some very tough questions to answer. The only advice I can give is please protect your troops. I have seen several near misses caused by the leadership of both career and volunteer departments. Again, If you feel that an officer of another jurisdiction is not qualified to render safe and prudent judgment during an incident you better make sure this is addressed in a Mutual Aid Agreement. The fireground is not a place to hash this out.


    Clifford Montgomery
    Fire Chief
    Blue Grass Army Depot
    Richmond Ky.

  2. #2
    CFD14 Guest


    A very insightful post.

  3. #3
    PA Volunteer Guest


    tkrzm ... so, just because a company is volunteer, they can't have the quality equipment necessary to adequately protect the community for which they volunteer? That doesn't seem to make sense.

    Let's do a little comparison here ... in the community for which I serve, the police force - 30 paid full time officers - has a budget of approximately $1,000,000 (give or take a few hundred). Our 100% volunteer fire department has a budget of $125,000. Do the math. As for better service ... I'm sure there are places where paid guys provide better service. I know for a fact though, that there are places where the volunteers provide just as good, if not better service. So, take it or leave it. We provide a service, and we save $725,000 a year. We work very well with the paid guys in the city. Sometimes we take orders from them - sometimes they take orders from us. We're all there to do the same job. I'm glad Canman24 can see past all of this crap and keep doing what he knows is right.

    Once again, regardless of our differences, Stay Safe.

  4. #4
    PA Volunteer Guest


    tkrzm ... I was wrong, sorry. It's not $725,000 it's, and I quote, "Billions" ... check it out.


    Any Questions?

    Nonetheless ... Stay Safe.

  5. #5
    dr inferno Guest


    PA VOLUNTEER: This is the career forum.If you want to pound your chest and brag about what a good job you do(for free) you would be best to do it where you will recieve praise from others who support your views. As for your thoughts on saving money I'm certain insurance companies have done studies to the contrary and have shown that if they had a CAREER department in the area their insurance losses would be reduced. So as like always a study is a play on numbers designed to be one sided and show whatever result is desired by the author of the report. Before you start I do not have anything against the volunteer service and even have friends who belong to volunteer departments. I just can't see any other organization taking orders from part time or volunteer people. Think about this police officers taking orders from auxilliary officers who are only there to help out with traffic control and security purposes? Not likely to happen. Nurses taking their direction from candy stripers? Once again not gonna happen. The fire service is so dated in its thinking though this kind of practice is common place and unfortunatly brings with it the animosity shown here in the career against the volunteer issues.

    C Montgomery: nice thoughts too bad the power trippers will get offended by some constructive critisism.

  6. #6
    Lewiston2Capt Guest


    I as a volunteer officer would like to state that I agree with everything that C Montgomery states in his post. I may be faced with the task of being OIC of a fire scene where Career FF are called mutual aid. I would only hope that some consideration is given (regardless of my pay status) to my request before a judgement is passed should the circumstance arrise. I personally would have no problem taking advice from officers with more experience, however freelancing is dangerous no matter where you are.
    Thank you for allowing me time to post on your forum.

    Shawn M. Cecula
    Lewiston Fire Co. No. 2

    [This message has been edited by Lewiston2Capt (edited 06-18-2001).]

  7. #7
    FyredUp Guest


    In this corner the closed minded protect the union at any cost career firefighters, and in this corner the we are the chosen ones, the volunteers.

    Did I sufficiently enflame both sides? I hope so.

    This argument probably started about 5 minutes after the first career department was formed and will continue til the end of time. And just because it has gone on for so long does not give it any sense of purpose or usefulness.

    Anybody wonder why the FIREACT was nearly killed? And why the resurrected FIREACT was and is for less money than originally asked for? Because of exactly the type of nonsense that started on the other post and has come over here to roost. We have no united front for the entire fire service, so we are politically weak.

    I would venture to guess that as many or more volunteer fire departments sent letters, e-mails and fax's to their congressmen to save the FIREACT as did career fire departments. Does that make them more important? No, but it does show they are part of the loud voice that the fire service can muster when we decide to work for our common good. Are we stronger apart or together? It seems to me to be a no brainer.

    By the way, for those who care, I am a career firefighter where I work and a volly where I live, 5 counties away from where I work. There are no paid personnel in my volly FD, when and if there ever are I will step aside.

    Take care all of my brothers and sisters, stay safe and let's all reach that ultimate goal together, retirement!


  8. #8
    tkrzm Guest


    Just an example: My town FD budget is 2.2 M
    1.5 for Career, .7 volunteer. Three all volunteer (free as some would say) depts who are Fire Districts who set their own tax rate, avg 2.8 M no career men 75% less fire combined, and equal in apparatus to the third largest career dept in the state. As for the saving of billions by the volunteer depts in Pa. I read the report and can agree with the rural and farm areas need for volunteers.

  9. #9
    ArmyTruckCompany Guest


    Volunteers in Pa. saving millions??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! NOT IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa!!!! My god, there are some volunteer departments there that spend money like it grows on trees!!! (OR in Taxpayers trees!!!) What I want to know is, why do some of these (so-called money saving) volunteer houses spend 400 or 500,000 on a new pumper, and up to 900,000 on a new ladder truck, when the one they have now is perfectly fine?? Oh my gawd!!! The 9 year old ladder truck with 13,000 miles on it got a scratch!!! CALL PIERCE!!! DON'T PUT IT OUT TO BID!! SOMEONE MAY OUTBID PIERCE!!!......Then there's the time-honored tradition of....."Hmmmmmmm...Company X just got a brand new Rescue truck...bigger than ours...We better nip that in the bud"....."Hello, Seagrave??.....We have us a problem here....." (ooops, don't put that one out to bid, either, we want Seagrave...and if someone finds out, we'll just write the specs around Seagrave!!) Volunteers may save in salaries and benefits, but certainly make up for it in overspending on non-needed items!!!!!

    "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

  10. #10
    CAPNJEFF1202 Guest

    Thumbs up

    Bravo Chief Montgomery, well said!

    Can't we all just get along?

    [This message has been edited by CAPNJEFF1202 (edited 06-19-2001).]

  11. #11
    Bishop10 Guest


    Greetings to all,

    In regards to the "Fireact", if it wasn't for the Fire Unions lobbying for this, the money would not have been reinstated. Volunteers have really no political pull nationally. As the old saying goes, "Money Talks, Bull**** Walks". I am sure that the volunteers did send alot of letters to their Congressmen, but letters only do so much.

    And if Bush didn't dislike the fire service (my own opinion), the 300 million dollars would have stayed in place. Let's see if Bush shows up at the National Firefighter's Memorial on Firefighter's Sunday in October. He showed up to the police memorial a couple of months ago, because he likes them. (LOL)

    Fyredup, give it a break on the "union protect at any cost" and volunteers are "the choosen ones". Volunteers were not choosen to be a volunteer. As you know, they put in an application with their five or ten dollars and they were excepted. As a career firefighter, you put your application in, test, placed on a list, and hope you get hired. And I agree with you, some things Career and vollies can work on together for the common good of the fire service (i.e. Fireact) But what hurts the vollies, in my opinion, is the NFPA 1720. That divides the two even further apart.

    Monty, I wouldn't kick you out of here because you are a Career Chief and a vollie chief. You brought up good points that did not offend anyone. The people that were told to get out were the ones who were the ones who could only see their point and no one elses.

  12. #12
    FyredUp Guest



    To quote Charlie Brown "Don't you know a sarcasm when you hear one?" I can't believe the point I was trying to make escaped you. The point is that is how we view each other. The Vollys look at the hard core "vollies are scabs" crowd as protect the union at all cost and the paid guys look at the vollies, when they aren't calling them scabs, as people who think they are the chosen ones.

    The idiocy of this whole topic is just unbelievable. The facts are this: 1) Seldom if ever do we put forth a united front as firefighters, hence on a national level we are politically weak. 2) Each year we struggle to maintain federal fire programs, such as the NFA, and of late the FIREACT. While the cops provide a united front and recieve BILLIONS, we are divided and recieve MILLIONS a paltry sum in comparison. Ever wonder why the cops have almost a free ticket to federal excess property we can't even get near? And don't tell me we have the same access as them, because I can prove we don't.

    I can already hear you saying but all cops are paid so their Union is what makes them strong. NO IT ISN'T, what makes them strong is the ability to put aside stupid territorial and other meaningless squabbles long enough to get what they need.

    I do agree with you on 1720. I said all along all that did was fan the flames of differences between the 2 and open the vollies up for attacks from the die hard career FF's. There could have been one standard that had exceptions in appropriate areas for vollies if needed. Response times may have been such an area. Some volly FD's have large areas and greater response times to those areas.

    All in all this whole argument just simply doesn't matter cause the vollies ain't going away anytime soon and the career FD's ain't leaving either.

    Get over it, move on, live with it, and just stay safe.


  13. #13
    CaptainWagon2 Guest


    As a Captain of a Volunteer Department that on occasion has had to use mutal aid from a career department, I find nothing discouraging or have had any negativity involving a volunteer as IC. If a career department enters our county then IC is established by the Vol. dept as is vice versa us into their county. But the best way we have found to deal with this situation is we talk directly to the B.C. or highest ranking career officer and THEY order their crews. Unless it is a mutual split of manpower. I must say I am glad we have yet to have to deal with any paid vs. vollie introduced on the fire ground and I think if this is a issue that occurs on the fire ground or any Scene...Then this isn't a Paid vs. vollie thing, it's a Mines bigger then yours thing. I'm just curious how the public would react to know what the fire service has hiding in it's shadows...Unsung Heros?? or Habitual gripers?? Maybe it just comes with the territory.

    I'm glad to work with either. As long as the job at hand has been accomplished

  14. #14
    WEBTEAM* Guest



    I canít believe the discussion here. Yes, there has been a problem for years with mutual aid in general. This should not be a vol. vs. paid issue. Every department has different SOG's then the next, and you must expect that on interior fires things can get a little hairy if your mutual aid departments do not consistently fight the fires from the inside. When I use mutual aid all of the Chief's become part of my command staff if necessary. GOD is the only true IC. Any IC that doesn't use all of his volunteer and paid resources is only hurting himself and his men.

    [This message has been edited by WEBTEAM* (edited 06-21-2001).]

  15. #15
    Bishop10 Guest



    Fryedup, yes, I do know sarcasm when I see it. I am not an idiot. The point I was trying to make upon your remarks were intended for the tunnel visioned individuals who would see either remark that you made (depending on the side, LOL) as being true. That's all. Nothing more or nothing less.

    I disagree with you on the "cop" issue involving federal funding. Everyone likes cops, don't like firefighters. Cops, in their opinons, serve a purpose.......prevention of crime. So give them what they want. Manpower, equipment, etc.... But anyhow, this isn't even the subject at hand.

    As for the Webteams response, keep God out of it. He (or she) is not the IC. Cheif's think they are god like, but they are not.

  16. #16
    CanMan24 Guest



    [This message has been edited by CanMan24 (edited 06-22-2001).]

  17. #17
    Bishop10 Guest


    CANMAN 24!!!!!

    Long time no see. Thought you got lost in the shuffle.

    Which words of wisdom are you speaking of? That God is not the I.C, that Chief's think they are God or that nobody like firefighters but loves cops? Your pick.(LOL)

    Canman, here are some words of wisdom......if you are going to critize, be constructive not get's you or no one else anywhere. And why the red face (anger one) next to your post?

  18. #18
    firefighter882 Guest


    What is the big deal???? Career taking orders from a volunteer, volunteer taking orders from career!! WHO CARES. As long as the job gets done, and no one gets hurt, what is the problem. There certainly are volunteer officers who get their positions by being "everybody's friend" but there are also many volunteer officers who work hard for their positions, take the courses, write the tests, and pay their dues, just like career fire fighters. I might add there are a fair number of career fire fighters who get hired and get their rank because they are the son of a former chief, or the brother of an officer. It happens.
    I do think that some people here should read "Fire Command" by Alan Brunacini. It is one of the best resources for Fire Ground Mamagement I have read. There are some good lessons to be learned from it. I do not believe he states anywhere in the book that volunteer officers are of a lower class that career, or that they should not command career fire fighters. That is just insane. Here is Brunacinis' definition of a FGC (Fireground Commander)- "The person who assumes overall command and control of personnel and apparatus at the emergency incident scene. He (or she) assumes the role of commander and manager, operating at the strategic level." Please note... it does not say MUST BE A PAID GUY TO QUALIFY!!! So to my fellow fire fighters, get over it. An officer is an officer is an officer. If he or she gives an order that is totally off the wall or unsafe, then you have a problem. Believe me, I have been in that situation with career and volunteer IC's. Until then, do your job, and if you don't like it.....QUIT!!!!!!

    Stay safe.


  19. #19
    CanMan24 Guest

    Thumbs up


    AMEN to that brother.....You pretty much took the words out of my mouth and summed it all up in a nut shell about how the Chain of Command SHOULD operate!! By the way.....Brunacini is a GREAT man, with that book being excellent!! I have met him numerous times at different expos and clinics, and he is a great conversationalist. I wish that ALL firefighters could think like him, maybe there wouldn't be all the hard-ons in the fire service. Hopefully your post will make some of the knuckleheads on here think a little!! Can I get an AMEN!!

    Be Safe,
    "We do this so others may live....And because we LOVE IT"

  20. #20

    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Clairton, Pennsylvania


    Drop the ego's, and do your jobs. Paid or Volunteer, work together to do what is right. Save lives and property, protect and serve, Ego's make me laugh. Who's better and who isnt. Whats right and whats wrong. WHO CARES!!!
    John Williams
    City of Clairton
    Fire / EMS

  21. #21
    Bri is offline
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 1999


    An IC is an IC. Doesn't matter if they are paid or volly. Where I work we are surronded by a lot of volunteer departments. Most of us drop the egos and work well together. Being career or volunteer does not make you better then the other. It is your training, education, exprience, and most importantly your ability to perform that counts.

  22. #22
    Senior Member
    Smoke286's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    St John's, Newfoundland , Canada


    I thought this thread had died long ago. In our jusisdiction aint no volunteer incident commanders. Firtst arriving Captain from our Dept takes over. I should add I've never heard of any complaints from any of the 10 or so volunteer depts in the area. I guess thats the way they want it. Dont blame them really, to the best of my knowlege there is no training for fire officers in any of the volunteer depts up here

  23. #23
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2000
    Stratford, N.J.


    Originally posted by ArmyTruckCompany:
    Volunteers in Pa. saving millions??? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! NOT IN MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa!!!! My god, there are some volunteer departments there that spend money like it grows on trees!!! (OR in Taxpayers trees!!!) What I want to know is, why do some of these (so-called money saving) volunteer houses spend 400 or 500,000 on a new pumper, and up to 900,000 on a new ladder truck, when the one they have now is perfectly fine?? Oh my gawd!!! The 9 year old ladder truck with 13,000 miles on it got a scratch!!! CALL PIERCE!!! DON'T PUT IT OUT TO BID!! SOMEONE MAY OUTBID PIERCE!!!......Then there's the time-honored tradition of....."Hmmmmmmm...Company X just got a brand new Rescue truck...bigger than ours...We better nip that in the bud"....."Hello, Seagrave??.....We have us a problem here....." (ooops, don't put that one out to bid, either, we want Seagrave...and if someone finds out, we'll just write the specs around Seagrave!!) Volunteers may save in salaries and benefits, but certainly make up for it in overspending on non-needed items!!!!!

    I have to agree with ArmyTruckCompany on this one....I'm in a Volunteer Department from South Jersey and the Same thing happens in this state with spending...It's out of control and on occassion some companies get jelous of other ones and truck purchases start {Example: A town near mine wants a Ladder Truck They have nothing over two and half stories high but their philosophy is "If we buy a ladder truck than our mutial-aid runs will increase" I have actually herd this from a member there}
    ***The Opinions expressed here are strictly my own and do not reflect those of the Department to which I am a Member ! ***

    Stratford Fire Co. # 1.."Any Job ~ Any Place ~ Any Time"

    Check us Out

  24. #24
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    New Bern NC


    The paid guys are going to love this. In New Bern FD The volunteers outrank the paid. You WILL take orders from volunteer officers. Our arrangement works on a staggered level the volunteers and the paid each have their own chiefs and capts and so forth. The volunteer officer always outranks the officer that is paid. However, a paid capt outranks a volunteer Lt. A firefighter or Specialist takes orders from ANYBODY wearing a yellow hat. It all goes down to responsiblity. Our charter staes that The volunteer chief is in charge and this has been held up by our Town Board of Aldermen. I have no problem taking orders from any one that is above me regardless of age or career status.
    We proved to the city manager just last year that the volunteer training was better than the paid. As long as the training is the same (and here it is) we are all firefighters at the scene. We are all taking the same risks and doing the same jobs. Our volunteers do not just direct traffic, we get up close and personal with the smoke and heat.

  25. #25
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Southern Maryland


    Chief Montgomery

    I believe your issue should be more with the leadership and the abilities of the officers
    in charge at an incident. I, like you have seen several near misses caused by the leadership of both career and volunteers. I've been both a career and volunteer for just over 13 years. I am a federal firefighter and we are surrounded by volunteer departments and have a pretty good working relationship with them. My concern when we run with the volunteers is that I may have to take orders from an 18 year old kid that may have just got out of firefighter 1 six months ago and the only fire thay have seen has been a few bails of stray burning in a burn building, but because they work hard around the firehouse they're appointed into an officer position. In that situation you have to do what you think is right fall back on your training and experience and watch out for you and yours. If you feel a situation isn't safe and someone may die as a result of being unsafe pull them out and deal with the B.S later reguardless if the orders come from a career or vollie officer. Going home at the end of your shift is the most important thing!!

    Staf safe

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