1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question What is it about us?

    I have been in the volunteer fire service for about 20 years and there are a couple of questions that I can't seem to answer.

    1. Why would someone go to the trouble to join a volunteer fire dept. and then never pull they're duties, train, go to calls, or even just hang around the station? It seems to me they were wasting they're time in the first place. I can understand(but not simpathize with) someone not doing the boring stuff like training and duties, but to not do nothing seems idotic!

    2. Why does it seem that it is easier to get a man to risk his life to save someone elses property than to get him to learn how to save his own butt! I know as a rule, the volunteer firefighter is a great and giving human being, but it seems every department I know of has a problem getting there members to train. Shoot! To me, it's a great opportunity to play with the toys when no ones life is one the line if nothing else.

    I done griping now.

    Kevin Sink
    Fair Grove Fire Dept.
    Thomasville, NC USA

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Well I can see were your coming from with question number 1. We just did a recruit class two years ago for more part timers and these were all kids. They come in the door and they think it is the greatest thing to play firefighter. They do not realize the risks they are taking, they just think its "neat" They come in the door with the two year college degrees and think they rule the world. The problem with the youngins is they still live at home, never have had a full time job, and do not understand the requirements to do the job. When I started out @ the ripe age of 18, I literally lived at the barn. I enjoyed the **** out of it. I still do. These younger people don't understand PRIDE< BROTHERHOOD
    Frank Ricci

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The younger people nowdays are mostly just looking for a little excitement are when they firgue out there is work involved in it they drop out. We have had a bunch do this in the last few years. They like seeing the lights and the fire but they don't like the heat and work. I to am a fire station junkie and send a lot of time there. It is fustrating to me as commanding officer to get gear for the new folks and spend time training them only to have them quit showing up for training after a few months but still want to fight the fires when they don't know how to do it the right way. Plus with the cost of ppe and pagers and radios it to expensive to give them the equipment and it not get used, then when you ask for it back they say we are not quitting just not availible of the time. It can make you mad. But then there is the one who stays active and you feel better.

    Good Luck And Be Safe
    Craig Lambert
    Harmony Consolidated
    Volunteer Fire Department

  4. #4
    Kelly Tool
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Answer 1: Because people end up becoming occupied with other things, In my Dept. I've seen this happen as i grew up, people started having families, moved away, or they got lazy. I'm more saddened when this happens rather than mad because it means, a lot of times, that you are losing a good FF.

    Answer 2: Becasue being a FF means being a hero! Ha Ha that is what people believe. They don't realize that they can be in danger and when they have a hose and SCBA they are invincible. (This is probably the same reason FFs are still getting hurt)

    Theres my 2 cents

    Put the wet stuff on the red stuff!
    Visit our Dept. Schodack Valley

  5. #5
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In my opinion, the root of both problems is the misconception that people have of the fire service in general, the actual nuts & bolts of fighting fire, and the lifestyle of the fire fighter. Most people who come through the door looking to volunteer think that they're about to walk into an episode of "Third Watch", "Emergency" or "Firehouse" (anybody remember that short-lived show from the mid-70S???) or, even worse, right into "Backdraft". In many ways, these shows help us in getting people interested, but they also hurt us by giving these people entirely the wrong expectations. When their underestimate of the work and overestimate of the excitement don't come true, they often just fizzle out. I hate when that happens, because it means that we've failed to take their enthusiasm and build on it in a constructive way.

    Of course, there are also those people who just want to drive around with the plates and lights on their vehicle so that they can be a "big shot", at least in their own minds. They will always be around, always be a waste of resources, and always need to be disposed of when they show themselves. My station has attendance and training/certification requirements. Consequently, a "poser" like this won't last long in our system, and, as equipment officer, I personally take pleasure in sending that "turn in your s**t or else" letter to a "poser" at the first opportunity.

    As for the experienced people who don't protect their own butts...we sometimes just get into bad habits. For example, I admit it...I find SCBA clumsy and constraining. I always use it initially and I ditch it at the earliest opportunity. Sometimes I ditch it too soon. I've got to keep reminding myself to stay on air about 5 minutes longer than I think I need to, just to be safe. We tend to get comfortable with the surroundings of the fireground and we tend to relax in ways that we shouldn't. That's one of the big benefis of training for experienced people...you've got that training officer or facilitator there to remind you that you're on that ladder pulling a dummy out the window above the fire floor with your mask off and nobody heeling the ladder (not that I might have done something like that last weekend, or anything). We all have to stay sharp, and we all can do better...and we all have to be reminded of that sometimes.

  6. #6
    El Capitan
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Yep! There are lots of wannabes out there until they realize the work involved. (You mean I actually have to sweat and get dirty?)

    You will go through a lot of those to find the few that are there for the right reasons.
    Let them know up front what is expected of them and dont be afraid to let them go if they dont meet the standard. (Yes, you can fire a volunteer) If theyre not doing the job they are not an asset to your department. They are only using up valuable gear, equipment, and time. Tell them to find another hobby and move on to the next one. There are a few good ones out there, but they are hard to find.

    Barbers Hill VFD

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    All you old timers think it is us young ones that arn't dedicated? Wel I have some news for you. You are wrong. Big time. The company I was on Last Year had five people over the age of 25, the other 15 of us were younger. And the older guys never showed up. There are a lot of dedicatied young people out there. And I think that A blanket statement like the one you are making are way off the mark!

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I agree with most of the above posts. People join a fire department seeking thrill and excitement, and when they find out how much work it takes to be safe, they want out. You get the occasional few that join as a status symbol as well.

    Regardless of age, the people that succeed in the fire service have a love of helping others. There is no other way to explain it.

    Regardless of why you do it, be safe!

    Captain Scott Lambert
    Seminole Trail Volunteer Fire Department

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