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  1. #41
    391HD
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Indeed an interesting topic!
    I joined the volunteer fire service in the early '80s at age 18. Back then, "America was burning", namely here in the north, the use of wood burning heating sources created most of the problem.
    Since that time, call volume has drastically been reduced.
    I think today, it is difficult to retain young, new members that go through all of the training, only to use their skills on several occasions during the course of a year.
    And for seasoned veterans like myself, as time goes on, you discover exactly who the fire service is exactly for: the insurance companies. Every fire dept. in this country, throughout time, was organized through either the direct of indirect influence of an insurance company somewhere. Even today ISO standards still play a big role in how the fire service operates and acquires equipment. And who is benefiting? The insurance companies of course. The taxpayer is either paying a higher premium, or supporting the fire service for bigger, better equipment.
    The idea of civic service and helping out the community just doesn't do it for me any longer. I have long decided, that I WILL not risk my life, attempting to save replaceable property for an insurance company. As far as life safety, the only person that I responded to trapped in a burning building, was dead long before we were even notified, and this problem needs to be addressed with public safety education and a community based smoke detector placement/maintenance program.
    I agree with other posts, that regionalization is the way to go. I have now shifted my focus toward EMS, and feel that I'm providing more of a community service.


  2. #42
    WOODMAN
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    For D.Schwwer,

    So foe putting my two cents in but correct me if I am wrong,Your dept has kicked someone
    off or is going to for not making a percentage of the alarms?
    I am not to sure that they can unless buried
    in the department by-laws allow for it or the
    town has some crazy ruling to that effect.I
    know that the state has no such ruling that I know of unless it got passed at the convention at Wildwood,which it self is a waste of time,
    I would take a person who can give us any amount of time then no one.Good luck.

  3. #43
    FFTrainer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    Woodman --

    About the only thing in NJ policies regarding percentages is the 60% rule for earning your exemption with the State Relief Association. In that, there is no grounds for dismissal due to low percentage you simply don't get credit for the year you were below 60% so it may take you longer to earn your 7 years for exemption. Not to mention this is for overall participation not just alarms.

    Unless they only show up at the station 1 time per year, I think you have a hard time kicking someone out. In today's volunteer situation, people have their own life issues such as work, kids, family illness, etc. I know alot of guys that would love to give more time at the station, but it's just not possible so they do what is possible for them and that is all I ever ask for.

    PS, there Woodman, I read another post of yours -- watch out for those goats man!!!!

  4. #44
    George Wendt, CFI
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    39, are you kidding me? You cannot be serious. The insurance companies?

    We go in and put the fire out to stop the fire and save as much "replacable property" as we can because mixed in with the "replacable property" is usually irreplacable property. Stuff that no insurance company in the world could replace. Photos of deceased family members, precious antiques, fruits of someone's labor. These are things that may have no value to your cold heart, but to our customers, no price tag can be placed on them.

    I'm glad you have found a niche in EMS, because your usefulness to the fire service is over. Burnout is a terrible thing.

  5. #45
    Fireguy57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    For anyone:

    A company can actually kick members out for not meeting a specific number of calls?

    WOW!~ Most of our station would be kicked out.......

  6. #46
    WOODMAN
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink

    For Fireguy57

    You can not truely kick someone out for not showing up,but you can make life hard for them so they dont show upIt sort of depends
    on the company makeup I guess.I belive if the show up at all the can be of some use to
    me on the fireground other companies don't
    have any use for them.

    For FF Trainer,
    You are correct about that 60%rule which I
    dont care for myself,but I have had my run ins with those boys in East Orange and the whole convention thing is a pain trying to cover the town when everyone goes to Wildwood
    When floyd came last year is was bad enough and we did not all the problems some towns did.But sometimes I wished I could toss some people off but can't so I live with it.
    The pig was harder to get then the goat

    [This message has been edited by WOODMAN (edited August 23, 2000).]

  7. #47
    WOODMAN
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Wink



    [This message has been edited by WOODMAN (edited August 23, 2000).]

  8. #48
    D.SCHWER
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs down

    True, my company has outdated by laws on attendance. And it not a yearly percentage, it quarterly. If you fail to maintain 25% over a 3 month period the membership committee without a company vote put you on probation for 3 months, where you need to maintain 25%. Then you are taken off active status and have your gear and pager pulled and need to wait 6 months before appling for membership again. You can appeal but in my case I was blown off with no hearing.

    What is really stupid is that day time calls go against me while I am at work. Up until my inactivation I had attended all mandatory drills including my annual live burn, and attended 36 hours of schools over my probation period and for a 5 month period had maintained 24%

    Then the fire company turns around and places a sign out in front for members needed. Go figure

    It gets more complicated, I am a fire commissioner now and the fire company did not support me. Can you spell POLITICS.
    If there is anyone from my fire company reading these posts, take note you have to change with the times.


    ------------------
    The views and opinions expressed herin are my personal views and opinions and not those of any organization, department I may belong to or represent

    [This message has been edited by D.SCHWER (edited August 23, 2000).]

  9. #49
    Brian Dunlap
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    For Dave S. {Erial},

    you hit the nail on the head my friend when you say POLLITICS !!! That is what the Volunteer Fire Service is somewhat based on these days {I'm sad to report } There are individuals out there who get into power in the fire company and pretend to run a business of dollar signs and messed up rules....Instead of what we are actually here for...Protecting life and property...I had the chance and even considered joining with a Gloucester Twp. Company when I moved to the Township a year and a half ago but after finding out that even after being an active firefighter for 10 years I would not even be allowed to wear an air pack for six months at one company, not allowed to ride the ladder truck at another company, all the while being required to maintain a percentage that was just not going to happen...the word they have to remember is VOLUNTEER We give what we can when we can In our area I'm sure you see signs in front of alot of the halls asking for volunteers...Yes people join but find out the rules and quit or get tossed out ....No wonder our county can't keep it's volunteer roles up....Did you ever see attendance at a Camden County Firemen's Association Meeting ? Now I haven't been to one in a few years but when I was attending regulary it was low because in general the morale in this county is low....I'm quite happy with my company in Stratford our rules are easy to live by and our chief is a fair man...

    One other question I ask you why would calls during the day count against a member of 8-6 when there are paid firefighters in the station ? Sound like some rules need to change...When we are working our chief drops the percentage completley during you set work hours and takes no credit away while you are at work......

  10. #50
    WOODMAN
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    For D.Schwer
    I would if I was you would be to contact your
    county rep.to the state firemans assoc. every
    county in NJ has one and make an appeal to him if he blows you off take it to the next level which is to the office of the president in East Orange.State laws and rules
    state their is no minium of alarms that need to be made unless you take into account the
    60%rule which does not apply here.
    The president of the state assoc.to which every dept.belongs to is Frank Bachino,not
    sure on the spelling of the last name,if you need some numbers email me or FFTrainer one of us will get them.
    I heard of stuff like this happening years ago but that is when departments had a waitinglist to got on a mile long.
    Good luck and let me know if you need any help.

    Tom


    ------------------

  11. #51
    FFTrainer
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Woodman and D. --

    Keep this website for reference. It has all the contacts you need in our good old East Orange office.
    http://www.njstatefiremensrelief.com

  12. #52
    WOODMAN
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Great news,I just got a sour taste with those
    knuckle heads since last year's convention
    and old Frankie boy has not spoken to me since then,but thanks for the link and hopefully Mr.D. can get his sitution fixed.

  13. #53
    wrongWAY
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Here's my 2 cents on some EXCELLENT issues that have been raised:

    First; It's my opinion that the State of New Jersey should again pass legislation raising the age limitation for membership into the New Jersey State Firemen's Association. All across the State there are individuals, some only pushing 50, who responded to fire department membership drives and joined up, only to be "too old" to get a line number and become State Exempt. The State of New Jersey needs to address those statutes again.

    Second; We've been filing NFIRs since 1994; and while they're sometimes a big pain in the neck I have found them to be packed with usefull information. For example: Using our annual figures, the breakdown year after year since '94 shows that the number of fire calls we receive from 6 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday is almost equal to the number of fire calls we receive from 6 pm to 6 am Monday through Friday AND on weekends. The numbers will vary from month to month, but when the smoke clears on December 31st our NFIRs show that everything for that year equals out. I understand that this may not be true for your department; but in our case, annually speaking, a typical weekday job that prevents a volunteer from attending weekday fires will not in itself prevent that volunteer from making his or her percentage of fire calls a good one.

    Third; LOSAPs, the Length Of Service Award Program (a 401K type plan) for volunteer firefighters will be appearing on the November ballots in several New Jersey towns. If passed by the voters, a volunteer will be required to attend X% of fires, drills, meetings, and etc to qualify for his or her LOSAP. LOSAPs can be one way to clear out the "dead beats" in any volunteer fire department. Introduce and pass a department by-law allowing the department to drop any member that fails to meet the LOSAP requirement 2-3 years running, and have the Mayor and Council make that by-law an ordinance as well.

    Just my 2 cents.

  14. #54
    Dr. Law
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I am a 'newbie' here, but going on 10 years now as a VFF. Our society is not changing, it has changed.
    My department is a small one, and I was put on two days after making an off-hand dumbass remark while watching few respond to a daytime call. I said that if they would put a brass pole outside of my 3rd floor office window, I could slide down it and be over at the station before anybody else. One of my secretaries was a firemans' wife, and while I never had it confirmed that she told her hubby this, I do have my suspicions. As I said, that was almost ten years ago.
    Our little town has employers who realize the value of volunteers and with one exception, let all go to calls on work time.
    We have been blessed in this respect.
    We have also been blessed to have a strong 'retired' volunteer group that will also come if more manpower is needed.
    Not everybody can become a firefighter or volunteer ambulance member. It takes a certain dedication and possible insanity to do some of the stuff that we do. Our department 'drafts' members some of the time. If they can make the committment, fine, if not, we do not think any worse of them. Sometimes we have people who want to get on and then find the time and effort committment more than they thought. Again, not everybody can do this.
    I fear that the increased training requirments that are being forced on us will take more out of service than puts people in on our all volunteer outfit, again, because of time and effort required.
    Currently, our department has requirements for minimum hours of training and meeting attendance. Due to insurance reasons, we are probably going to be forced to let those people go who do not come to training sessions even though they are good on the job. That is going be a hard thing considering we are already a small department.
    Training, however valuable, cannot be the instrument of precluding volunteer organizations across the country. There needs to be a happy medium met of training vs. a practical reality check of the ability of the public to give time to volunteer.
    I do not think that the "Age of Volunteers" has totally died out yet, but without some careful thought and planning, the "Age of Volunteers" can be killed.

  15. #55
    ENGINE18-3
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    To answer the question - probably. (I know that is basically dodging the question.)
    Now to all the people that called my generation the "me first generation" (I am 19) Thats part of the problem all (I know I am going to catch flak for this one) the "old" guys look at you like you have 3 heads and like E-ONE trucks when you suggest progressive (there that "P" word) and Ideas for the company. I have to admit I wouldn't of joined my Company if my Dad wasnt a member and if I hadnt of grown up at the firehouse. What is needed is better and more active recruitment to get the "me 1st generation" involed in the Fire Service. But we also need more tolerance for the "me 1st generation" that does get involved.

    ------------------
    FF Greg Grudzinski
    Oaklyn Fire Dept.
    Station 18-3

  16. #56
    LHS'
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Is the age of volunteers dying out? I think so we only had enough people to send 5 rigs mutual aid and then only 77 showed up at a haystack fire at 2 am.

  17. #57
    SRFD1604
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I feel the age of the volunteer is fading out in some communities, I have been a volunteer for 13 yrs and am currently on a dept. that is starting to hire proffessional firefighters, this is due to the growth of the city not the lack of dedication on our members. I have seen on other deptartment and ours at times that the so call bull**** call no one shows up then when a structure call comes in, everyone wants to show up. Our chief highly encourages recruitment and family events. Face it the fire service is a brotherhood regardless if your paid or volunteer and we're all proffesionals.

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