1. #1
    Brian Pratt
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Career FF's who also volunteer

    I am a Career FF who also volunteers in my home town.(Not the city I work in). I take a lot of grief over this and some of the "brothers" down-right hate me now. Has anyone had this same experience or have any advice?

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have 1 member who's also on a paid dept. and I know 2 others who volunteer at home.I'll have to ask if they catch any flack.I can see where your coworkers might have a problem if your vol. dept. is part paid.You might be taking someones union job.Our dept. is very rural and will never become paid.My feeling...they need to understand that vol. depts need all the help they can get and paid firefighters can help alot.However, if your volunteer position is in any way eliminating a paid position you have a conflict. Were all in this together.Some do it for love of the job.The lucky ones get paid doing a job they love.

    [This message has been edited by F02 (edited December 14, 1999).]

  3. #3
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    It's common in our area to have career FFs who volunteer. The Deputy Chief of my volunteer company is a career FF with the Reading (PA) FD. Besides being skilled and experienced well beyond most of the rest of us, he's a great technical resource for the entire volunteer crew. There are quite a few city career FFs on county volunteer crews. At one time or another, I've also volunteered with career FFs from Harrisburg FD, Chambersburg FD, and Letterkenny Army Depot FD (all in PA).

    I (along with a few other county volunteers) also belong to an investment club that was established by (and most members are) career FFs from the city of Reading which meets in Reading Engine 1's quarters. No problems there (other than disagreements over what & when to buy & sell).

    The only issues that ever come up are in rendering mutual aid to the City of Reading (the Deputy Chief can't go on calls with us in the city due to Department/IAFF rules), but this is extremely rare, since there are closer volunteer departments that are higher on the city's run cards. I guess that this is part of the reason that I don't understand all the volunteer/career animosity that sometimes comes out in these forums. Where I'm from, career and volunteer crews get along fine and work together regularly.

    [This message has been edited by Bob Snyder (edited December 14, 1999).]

  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We have 2 active FDNY firefighters in our all volunteer department. Absolutely no animosity at all. They are both well liked and respected for what they can give to the department. I wish we had more.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I wish the IAFF would support more career guys in vollie departments. Their experiance and abilities can be an asset to any dept. I do see the unions balking at this because of a benifit liability, but if they where to get behind legislation mandating full workers comp, paid by the city, this could be remidied. Also, who covers the expense of a career guy working on the side as carpenter when he cuts his fingers off or falls of the scaffolding, crashes his motorcycle or the parachute didn't open?(sorry, off topic)As far as them being worried about vollies taking union jobs, they are not, we are not working full time with-out representation (scab) or belong to another organization. Besides, who is in a better position to represent a department if it does go career than the IAFF if they have people inside.

    Stay safe...

    [This message has been edited by Aff (edited December 14, 1999).]

  6. #6
    Truck 2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    If your a payed firefighter make sure where your volunteering has the insurance to cover you and your family! Don't end up like the two guys in Texas. Our City layed off 17 men about three years ago by knowing the volunteers would come into the city to cover for their stupidity! If the vollies had refused the payed guys would think a lot more of them. How would you feel if I went to your employer and told him I'd do your job for nothing!

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    We don't have that problem here. We are a combination dept. With 7 of us being firefighter\engineers,and one more being the fire adminstator. When we are off duty we freely volunteer for the dept by our own choice. This eliminates any division between the career and volunteers. As volunteer's no one is paid. This way we get to run more of the calls,and do more than just drive and pump the apparatus! As for workman's comp the city covers each volunteer based off of each individual's full-time job! It has works great. It has also helped that all of us started as volunteers. Sounds like your brother's have never volunteered,or have forgotten where they came from! Plus, what you do off the clock is your buisness!

    Buckle-Up and Stay Safe!!

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Good question. I have been a volunteer with two different departments for about seven years and have seen exactly what you are going through. What some firefighters are forgetting is that we are all here to do one common job....to save lives. We have five career firefighters on our department, including the Chief, and we all get along great because we are all treated as equal. To me, that is what really matters anyway! So, if you have have a volunteer that cant get along with a career firefighter or visa versa, tell them to get over it!!!

    Be safe

    Chris "T-Bone" Ridgell

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Feb 1999
    Roswell, GA, USA


    I've noticed that in larger cities, with no noticable threat of losing jobs to volunteers, the career FFs are more likely to be involved in volunteer FDs. The VFDs I ran with just outside of Houston, TX routinely mutual aided with the city, in and outside of the city limits. And frankly, it appeared that a respectable percentage of daytime responders in many of these VFDs were off-duty career FFs.

    On the opposite side, a small city I lived near in PA did not allow their FFs to volunteer with the surrounding FDs. It was a necessary self-preservation move by the union, for the city council frequently brought up about reducing the already undermanned shifts and routinely calling in VFDs. NONE of the vollies I knew were willing to go into the city in such a manner. We did respond with specialized equipment if needed, or extra engines for major fires, but this was only after off-duty shifts were called first.

    And, I feel the remark about the career FF working as a carpenter, etc. was not off-topic. Using the possibility that a career FF might get hurt at a VFD is a weak excuse. Many career and vollie FFs engage in activities that might cause an injury, including driving to work.

    Rick Reed
    Do it right, do it safely, do it once.

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