Thread: Why do we volunteer?
11-05-1999, 08:53 PM #1F02Firehouse.com Guest
Why do we volunteer?
What inspired you to join? What keeps us doing it?
11-05-1999, 11:39 PM #2S-22Firehouse.com Guest
Several reasons for me. Of course at the top would be civic duty. I was raised to believe everyone should give back to the coummunity. Next, is family tradition. My uncle is the fire chief, and he has on the roster, 1 brother, 2 sons, 4 nephews (including my brother), and one brother in law. My father was a member, and another uncle was a member until he resigned for medical reasons. When my dad, was on a call I would ride my bicycle down to the fire station and wait for them to get back. So it was only natural I would join as soon as I could. I joined as a junior FF at 16. By the time I was 18, I had completed medical first responder, and Fire Fighter I.
The thing that really got my attention though, was when my own family lost our home to fire. My father woke everyone up and called the fire dept. As I followed my brothers and sisters out into the frigid cold night with no shoes. I could here the Siren on top of the fire station begin to wail calling our friends and neighbors to our aid.
That in the end is what it is all about. Not the glory, or the adrenaline, but helping people when they need it the most.
3 out of 4 Fire Fighters in this country are Volunteers!
11-06-1999, 08:21 AM #3FyredUpFirehouse.com Guest
Honestly? Civic duty is part, helping my neighbors is part.....but the rush of battling the dragon or getting someone out of a car wreck is a strong lure to the service for me. And NO I am not one of those guys with 78 lights on my car and never goes anywhere with out my FD shirt or portable radio. I am very professional in my behavior, but I am honest about the rush of doing a good job at a call.
My Dad was a volly and I spent quite a bit of time at the station when I was younger, I even thought at one time every guy grew up to be a FF, all my friends dads were. So I guess I came into it through family tradition and stayed cause I liked it. I am still a volly and a career firefighter too.
11-06-1999, 11:10 PM #4S-22Firehouse.com Guest
Oh yes I defiantly like the adrenaline too!
11-13-1999, 11:31 PM #5FF/EMT 19Firehouse.com Guest
Civic duty number one. If not us who? It truly amazes me what our guys go through everyday. The demands put on them everyday and watch them come through time and time again is undescibable. Since joining up I have met many firefighters and each and everyone are dedicated to what they do. I have not met a better bunch people anywhere.
11-14-1999, 09:01 PM #6meshaFirehouse.com Guest
What makes an individual join the armed forces, or the police forces. To put ones life on the line for his or her fellow human beings is one of the noblest sacrifices that one can make. So why should the Fire Service be any different. If you look at those people around you who have volunteered for the fire service and you look at yourself in the mirror, then realize that you and they are special and unique. Civic duty may be the reason people use, but the real reason is that you care about life.
Tim bennett, Walden Fire Department, Ontario, Canada
11-14-1999, 11:09 PM #7Phil4601Firehouse.com Guest
Why did I volunteer? To see what it was like. To see if what I saw on television is true. I grew up in the era or Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto, and like many people my age I was influenced by the experiences that were shown on the tube. My best friend and I joined our volunteer fire company when we were 16 years old. Ane I must admit, at that age with no other worries, the epinephrine rush every time the alarm sounded was one of the reasons that kept me coming back. But also the experience of the "old timers" telling stories, learning the do's and do not's, learning the equipment and building new friendships that have now lasted for years. Going to the fire hall was a positive place to be. Even if we were there shooting the bull, we were not out getting into trouble. As the years passed and I went to college, got married and started a family the reasons of epinephrine rush began to change to the attitude of giving back to the community where I grew up and planned to raise my family. It would be impossible for me to turn my head and look away when another person needed help. No matter if that person were my next door neighbor or someone that I have never met. I have literally taken care of both. Through inspiration of the volunteer fire service, I trained to become an EMT and then a Paramedic finally going to college to become a Registered Nurse working in Emergency Medicine. Being a proud member of a volunteer fire company is a two way street. I have gotten back just as much, if not more than I have put in and continue to do so. That's why I keep coming back for more. It works for me.
Stay Alert & Stay Safe
11-14-1999, 11:23 PM #8RomaniaFirehouse.com Guest
Why? I don't know, I have been asking myself that very question every night while I am working on the computer for my vollie gig. THese forums are my break from the real work.
Alan Romania, CEP
IAFF Local 3449
My Opinions do not reflect the opnions of the IAFF or Local 3449.
11-15-1999, 07:49 AM #9F02Firehouse.com Guest
Don't give up Romania.Sounds like if you left it would leave a BIG gap in your vol. dept.Paid firefighters can be a big asset to a volunteer dept.
11-15-1999, 01:09 PM #10Bob SnyderFirehouse.com Guest
I started for the adrenaline, went through a short phase of feeling noble, and now it's just something that I do without thinking about why. I know I'd miss it terribly if I wasn't doing it, but I don't know why that is, either. I guess I'm just addicted...
A few of us were having a discussion like this in our Social Quarters last week...one of our bartenders couldn't understand why we did what we did on "the other side of the street" (that being the Engine House...the buildings are separate). We kind of came to the conclusion that the volunteer fire company becomes a way of life, a sort of sub-community unto itself. You start out as an outsider on the fringe when you first join, and you stay in the short run if you gain acceptance. In the long run, after you've really become part of the "community", you can't imagine leaving voluntarily. By that time, it doesn't really matter why you started, and you probably can't really explain why you stay (and most people on the outside wouldn't "get it" anyway).
[This message has been edited by Bob Snyder (edited December 17, 1999).]
11-15-1999, 02:49 PM #11RomaniaFirehouse.com Guest
As bad as my last post may have sounded, I was a little frustrated at the time. Actually I continue to volunteer because of the amount of time, money, and work I ahve invested in the Volunteer Rescue Squad I now lead. I started in volunteering to get some experience and training. I did get both, but I also got soemthing else...friends for life.
Alan Romania, CEP
IAFF Local 3449
My Opinions do not reflect the opnions of the IAFF or Local 3449.
11-16-1999, 10:51 AM #12TigerFirehouse.com Guest
Want an interesting take on why firefighters volunteer?
Check out "Deep Play" in the September 1999 Edition of Fire Engineering.
It cuts through to the heart of the matter.
OnScene Marketing Services
"Mutual Aid for Marketing Your Fire Department"
11-17-1999, 11:44 AM #13jrj918Firehouse.com Guest
i started as a volunteer in "94" to play a part in my community.The WEST SIDE NUT CLUB which helps raise funds for west side improvements in evansville(they also contribute to the rest of evansville but mainly the west side)was not taking any new members.I heard that perry twp was needing members so i joined and boy did i love it!!!
now i am no longer a vollie I get paid for what i love doing.If it wasnt for being a volunteer i never would have found that out.It is my opinion that volunteers are needed and do just as good as paids
11-17-1999, 03:34 PM #14DED1645Firehouse.com Guest
Why? The biggest reason is when I was a kid and seeing the big trucks making all the noise and w/ the lights on, even then gave me a rush. Thinking of being older and being on that truck was a thought that didn't seem would come. Then talking to the guys in the department I saw a really big contribution to the community you lived in. The help the family and friends that you cared about most when they needed you. I can't say anything about tradition for I was the first in my entire family to join the service.
Presently Lindenwold,NJ(I'm not a member of any of this District's dept's.)
11-19-1999, 05:16 PM #15Kelly ToolFirehouse.com Guest
All very good reasons, I joined because like others because of my dad and growing up around it. I saw that I WAS needed, to help the community and the organization. If we all stand around and do nothing who's gonna fight the fire? And of course you gotta love that adreniline rush!
Put the wet stuff on the red stuff!
11-19-1999, 05:36 PM #16AffFirehouse.com Guest
If I didn't, who would? Besides, it's just plain fun! Also, after 6 years in the Navy, the structure and comraderie is familiar. Most important, civic duty and responsibility is and was always highly respected and expected in my family.
Stay safe...have fun...
11-19-1999, 11:46 PM #17STATIONTWOFirehouse.com Guest
[This message has been edited by STATIONTWO (edited November 20, 1999).]
11-25-1999, 10:57 PM #18craig7404Firehouse.com Guest
Well 22 years ago I joined because it was in my families blood.My oldest brother was at the time a assistant chief in the Dallas fire dept. and my father had just helped to form a rural fire dept. in northeast Texas and the middle brother had just completed the fire acad. in Dallas. At the time I was a 16 year old kid who was going to save the world from fire. Well 22 years later I'm still trying to save the world from fire but I do it as a volunteer for the same dept. that my dad helped to start(I have been there from the first meeting in the spring of 1977 but not an offical member until august that year as first a junior ff, then a firefighter, then a captain, and i still enjoy it as much today. Helping out friends and neighbors in their time of need is the reason I do it today.
12-14-1999, 01:14 PM #19Chief2Firehouse.com Guest
I joined 5 years ago when my daughter fell backward off of a 15 foor high ladder on a slide. I was in motion before she hit the ground, and I arrived what seemed like an hour later.
Problem was, when I got there, I had no idea how to help her, except to call 911.
The volunteers showed up, we talked, the rest is history.
I only realized what I HAD to do after something like this.
P.S. My daughter had NO injuries (other than a sore back), but my thoughts always turn to "next time".
12-15-1999, 01:49 PM #20MFD25469Firehouse.com Guest
Why I volunteer is a complicated question. I did it at first because I wanted to do something more with my life than sit at my computer playing on the internet all the time. I stayed in because I loved the feeling of helping people and of being somebody. Don't get me wrong...the adrenalin rush is too strong not to mention and I love every minute of it. But thats not my sole reason for doing what I do. I know I am still wet behind the ears...but I do hope to stay in for quite some time. I enjoy my duties and look forward to many wonderful years in the department. Right now I am just concentrating on dismissing the status of Probie! Such is life...
12-16-1999, 04:07 PM #21lunchboxFirehouse.com Guest
Hey that is a good question. why do I/we volunteer? Well I started out as voll. e.m.s. in my town some 15 yrs. ago, got out of that for a while, did my own thing ( but every time I heard the siren/whistle my blood would pump a little faster) i got married in 95 and moved across the street from the fire house ( by accident). My wife said she so that I missed it and urged me to go get a application and fill it out. So i did and the rest is history, as they say.
I am a vol. because i have seen the best and the worst in people and i feel that there is more good than bad. plus I get off on the legal hihg I get when the wistle blows.
morning and have a good day
01-05-2000, 09:26 PM #22Cntryb0y4uFirehouse.com Guest
hmmm the reason why i volunteer..well, to be quite honest with you all,i never had any of my family that was part of the fire dept when i was young, and i never did spend time around it when i was young either..and for those of you that have, im sure it really paid off when the time came u decided to volunteer.BUT in any instance, the reason i joined was basically because i get this natuiral high off makin makin somebody feel better, or doin what i can to help someone...as of right now, im just a fireman,and im still wet behind the ears myself, but i ride shotgun in the back of the ambulance more than i fight fires, plainly because where i am we dont have what you would say a multitude of 10-70 alerts.so, i spend alot of time helpin people in the ambulace ride to the hospital.I dont have my emt's yet, and i hope to get them soon, and im really pushin towards being a paramedic.yet i still as some of you absolutly LOVE that rush from a good raging fire.where i come from we dont have a lot of volunteers, and some are in it just for the glory and dont show up very often,so its up to just a few of us to get it done, so id say ive had alot of training in a very short time, maybe more than some at no longer than ive been in this fd..so,before i got driftin off in some far away land..hehe, ill just stop at i really love what i do, i love taking risks, and i really enjoy helpin out people in my community.to all of yall, i wish you only the best of luck, and of high hopes of letting the good lord bring us back home each nite =0)
01-06-2000, 01:14 AM #23Captain88Firehouse.com Guest
In the blood. My father was a volunteer firefighter for 20 years. I got on as an Explorer when I turned 15. I have been on the department for 11 years now. I took it a step farther and made it my career. I am still on the volunteer fire department in my community and just because i'm a career firefighter I haven't slacked off on making calls at all. I would still rather volunteer anyday than get paid for it, but I figured since I loved it so much that I might as well make a living out of it so that I will be happy with my job.
01-06-2000, 01:33 AM #24pvfr fyrfyterFirehouse.com Guest
joined because my dad already had done it and riding in those big red trucks with the siren was neat. because of a job i had to get out for 1.5yrs. but missed it so much i changed things to get back to it. once your in it makes you "insane in the brain" to miss it. the rush still occurs after almost 20 years of responding to the signal. pavlov's dog had nothing on firefighters/rescue members and others who start salivating at the sound of a siren or the tones on a scanner.
live life and remember that volunteers are the few, the proud, the crazy.
01-07-2000, 12:02 AM #25rems878Firehouse.com Guest
The reason why I voluntter and still do it? If you ask any of my friends they would tell it because I must be dumb!! But really they dont seem to understand that you actually get second family. ones that you would do anything for and they would anything to help you back.
I started when I was 16 and it's going on 16 years now. I joined about 2 years after my dad. Most of the teens in the town all seemed to started around that same time. Which was about 8 of us out us 8 there are still 6 of us in the dept.
Last year at this time I walked out of the dept. because of diffrences between me and the chief I didnt walk back in the fire dept.for about 2 months before I got a call from the President asking me what was wrong. I advise him what the problem was and told that I was resigning from my position as 1st Lt. and from the fire dept.During that time not being at the dept. it just seem like something was missing. It was that second family thing I guess and the friendships that I found over the years.
I am now back with the dept. after a year showing up if I want. and I am taking my 1st. Lt. position back!!! May be it was case of burn out but great to be back!! well except for the bingo thing!!!
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