Thread: WHY EVEN BOTHER TRYING?
02-09-2000, 01:04 PM #1Imaff4freeFirehouse.com Guest
WHY EVEN BOTHER TRYING?
On our dept.(all vol) we have some members that almost never show up for training or business nights but appear on the fire scence.
First I have a problem with this because I don't know their capabilities and present limitations.
Next what can or can't they do, what do they know or don't know.
I won't go in a structure with someone I don't know. As I've seen in other topics that our dept. is not the only one with low active involvement and getting hard to find new members.
So as other members have said "it's nice to see these inactive members show up to help",
Thats not right is it. But what can be done.
I'm only one voice/vote and sometimes only heard as a trouble maker. The last thing I want is trouble just the opposite I would just like to know that we are all on the same page or at least how everyone acted or reacted on the last training.
It's hard for me to put into words my concerns because I've asked myself this question a thousand times. And my opinion/answer is still the "IF YOU DON'T TRAIN YOU'LL MAKE THE SCENE INSANE".
Help me understand the others who think it's o.k.?
Changed user name from IMAFIREFIGHTER4FREE to Imaff4free
02-09-2000, 02:24 PM #2LMRCap1Firehouse.com Guest
Todd I agree with you. We carry 17 members on our Department about 11 active members. We have made an auto aid pact with our neiboring Dept. It gets more people on scene who we do work with a lot. Then we try to keep those that don't show up to medial tasks(gophers) course the truck operator usually has to show them where the equipment is. After the call we usually talk to them and tell them shape up or ship out. SOP's will give you room to stand on ours includes discipline and informs them training is mandatory and 20% of the calls. We have lost some to this but as you said it is important. We use to carry a roster of 30 people. It isn't easy to give someone the boot but we need to make sure that they can function safely.
02-09-2000, 02:33 PM #3Fyrebugg41Firehouse.com Guest
Oh Lord!! Are you sure you don't belong to my dept?!?! We have the same problem. Right along with this one.."I want new equipment but i don't wanna work for the money to buy it." Both the issues drive me insane. We also have people that never show up to trainings, meetings, special meetings, fundraisers, false alarms. But when we get a structure fire everybody and their brother is there. Until it's time to clean up of course. Though here, you must have EF (essentials of firefighting) within 18 mo. of joining the dept or you are kicked out. And if you don't get kicked out, you sure as hell do NOT enter a burning structure. Our accountability system has us using tag number and colors. We get one green one which is the scene tag you hand in once on scene. Then if the firefighter is SCBA trained/interior firefighter(Must have EF), you get two orange ones. Those allow 2 air bottles per person. It's a system that will work only if you make it work. And we even have to perfect that. But hey, it's a start. As for making people show up...if you get an idea, let me know okay. And i'll do the same!
~*That's why we're here, to help those in need, we're not here for money, fame, or greed..To help those fellow friends, who can't help themselves..We're volunteers because we care, because we want to help, to help others who are in need, not for ourselves*~
02-09-2000, 03:52 PM #4BURNSEMSFirehouse.com Guest
You for sure are not alone,, EVERY Dept has this occure in one way or another,, what you need is a progressive group of folks whom address this issue on a equal manner, You probably are not alone in your Dept,,, If you elect your Chief then work on Change,, Our Dept has a 50/50 Rule 50 percent of all Training and 50 Percent of all Calls,, and it works,,, if someone misses more than 50 % then a committee meets and talks with the member in question,, if there is a valid reason for not makeing Calls and meeting then the Chief or Asst chief can call a vote of members to place this person on Leave,, if no valid resons are found then a vote is made to dismiss the member,,, in my 6 yrs with this dept we have only had 1 Dismissed,,, I have found that there are two kinds of people in the Volunteer Fire Service,, one wants to be here no matter what and will do every thing necessary for the better of the Dept,,, and one likes the GLORY and dont want to work or help the dept,,, Dont worry about these folks ignore them and avoid them Do what you do best and work on those that you can help,, I know it takes a long time but with a little persistance it can improve,, it took six long years for us but now we are doing alot better due to some very dedicated folks who knew what was right and worked togeather to achieve it... it can happen just give it alittle time and use your energy constructivly...
Here today for a Safer Tomorrow
02-09-2000, 04:07 PM #5Imaff4freeFirehouse.com Guest
Our dept. does have sop's/sog's but maybe I didn't say it good enough there are members that think we need to keep all members so not to have a call when no one shows up. My problem is, IF ? we get new members how do you tell them these are the rules and this is what action will be taken if not followed. A new members first question might be how come I have to follow the rules and they don't. Leaves one doing alot of fast double talking.
As Fyrebugg41 points out I know I'm not alone.
If your dept. has been able to overcome this problem hats off to you and yours, please give me your success story with details.
Type at you later.
Changed user name from IMAFIREFIGHTER4FREE to Imaff4free
02-09-2000, 04:52 PM #6colfiremanFirehouse.com Guest
Good topic.at our dept you are told from the outset that you are required to attend 70% of practise.we however have two training sessions a week so as to aid the "shiftworker".i feel its kinda difficult to put a percentage on firecalls as you don't know when they happen.(common sense here).as officers we review every 4 to 6 months to see what the progress is and if there is some below the level they get a letter(positive one)and that they need to work harder to achieve the mark.hope this helps. Greg
02-16-2000, 10:55 AM #7Scott ClarkFirehouse.com Guest
The problem is not as complicated as you think. I have surveyed several firefighters on "why do you not attend drills or meetings"? The basic responses were;
1. They did not feel challenged by the departments training and felt as if they were not learning anything new.
2. They simply did not care for who was doing the training.
3. They did not like the style of training - boring, unsafe, disorganized, same old repetitious programs and not utilized in drill (feeling left out).
4. (The big one) The officers don't participate why should I?
1. Fighting over non-issuses.
2. One person always monopolizes the floor.
3. Negative politics, so somebody can gain personal success over group success.
4. Same issues, same problem, same people keeping the same issues alive. Nothing seems resolved.
5. Feeling of being the minority.
Some of these problems can be fixed by simply asking those whos attendance has slipped if any of these are of their concern. The problem may not be them, the problem may be your organization and how it operates. The only way you are going to find out for sure is ask. Then you will have some work ahead of you, but that is a different topic at a different time. Good luck.
If we stand united.... We will never fall.
02-17-2000, 12:20 AM #8Preston PriceFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with Scott. One thing that I am trying in our dept. is to make the training a little more exciting. Not just talk and NO BULL****. Talk to them as adults and not children. This is still not going to solve all problems but the ones that will return will be worth the extra effort. In our dept. we have 18 members with 6 active at this time. It is hard but as some of our members have said "how do you disipline a volunteer?" That is hard but there has to be a middle ground somewhere.
03-10-2000, 09:40 PM #9MFD3246Firehouse.com Guest
My department is 25 members, of which 3 are probies and 18 or so are active. Our Chief and T.O. have pretty easy-going policies, but strictly enforced:
1. Each member must attend 25% of calls and,
2. Each member must maintain 25 hours of traing per quarter (we train weekly, 2-3 hours/week).
Members in violation of this are placed back on probation and have their radio/pager taken back (probies are not allowed to enter a burning structure on our department). If the member hasnt got him/herself back up to par by the end of the following quarter, they are asked to turn in their turnouts and wildland gear.
I approve of our department's policies, and I have seen it carried out on members who get lax in coming to training.
I'm also happy to say our training is very good. I am currently in the State Fire Academy doing Firefighter-I, and I think my department's traing quality is on par with the Academy's
Have a good one!
03-10-2000, 10:46 PM #10J.B.GoffFirehouse.com Guest
If I can give a few words of advice. First of all I am the Recruit Coordinator for my department. We currently have 250 members running three stations and 28 pieces of apparatus divided into 5 Battalions.
Let me first say that no matter where you go, your going to have people like yourself that care and people that are in it for the lights and sirens and the benefits. However, you need to figure out exactly what the core problem is. In my travels, I have heard everything from "the chief is a jerk" to whats in it for me! Now both are legit complaints. Now a days volunteers are very "tangible oriented" and that is something that I had to "sell" to my board and senior staff. If you take care of your members than they will want to participate.
Now, your probably telling yourself, well this guy probably comes from a rich department. Well your right! And not to sound snooty, but we can afford to give our brand new recruits new gear and a full uniform thier first night. But with smaller departments the first thing you need to do is sell yourself to the community. Once your community loves you than the people that provide the service will love the "job".
How do you do this? Well, Email me and we will chat.
Bottom line? Make your members aware that they made a committment when they joined. That committment was to protect the community from harm. If they cant make that sacrifice such as you have explained give them an option. One thing that people dont understand is that believe it or not the volunteer force is dying, and thats because tensions grow to the uncommitted and than people split up and go thier own ways.
I could go on, but Email me and I will help you out. I have been there and solved that!
03-22-2000, 06:19 AM #11Firedogwi10fdFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with J.B. My department has 150 members, 4 stations and 11 firefighting apparatus, and 3 command apparatus. We have station traing every monady night. and if any officer feels that a firefighter is doing his job or not showing up to traning then there are taken off active duty. Even VFF have to remember that the life of each firefighter is in your hands, including yours. The made a committment and needs to stand by it or get out. It not worth the risk.
03-24-2000, 11:01 PM #12shenry32Firehouse.com Guest
In our vol. dept. (120members, 7 stations, 11 pieces) we require 16 hours per quarter. If they miss it they forfit our "incentive" money and if they miss hours a second quarter they are gone.
This is one thing that I'm a real hardass about, I teach alot of the training, if you don't have time for the commitment then stop wasting the cities time.
Kettering (OH) Fire Department
03-25-2000, 03:33 PM #13Les.HFirehouse.com Guest
The question is 'are they safe and do you need them'
A football team have to train on a regular basis. That's how they win games. Any player who does not turn up for training is dropped from the team and a replacement is found. No one is indispensable.
If you want to win in the game against 'Mr Fire' you have to play as a team - no loose cannons.
Train together, work together, play together, side by side. Not pulling apart. Kick arse if need be.
Good luck and stay safe
03-25-2000, 06:17 PM #14Lieutenant GonzoFirehouse.com Guest
You have to keep trying...if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem! It sounds like you have a bunch of glory hounds who are only there to put the wet stuff on the red stuff, but don't want to help when it is really needed...training, fundraising, fire prevention and education efforts. In time, these gloryhounds, like dinosaurs, will die off or retire, leaving those who are willing and able to do the job.
We boldly go where no one else dares...
take care and stay safe
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