1. #1
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    Default Why do VOLUNTEER firefighters think they should be paid?

    I've seen a few discussions going on about Volunteers wanting to be paid, well if ya get paid you aint volunteer no more. lol.

    We get re-imbursed most the time by the insurance company, but that money goes towards vehicle maintance and bills etc.
    Jeremy Cross<br />Mid County Fire Dept

  2. #2
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    Gee, does that mean that the Red Cross volunteers will want to get paid too? maybe everyone should get contracts and signing bonuses Come on, thought we were here to help.
    Bless all of our Fallen Brothers and Sisters. You will not be forgotten

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    Hmm. There's a provoking post title, if I ever saw one.
    Last edited by APG1; 01-29-2011 at 11:42 AM.

  4. #4
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    > It says VOLENTEER EMERGENCY SERVICES on my patch. VOLENTEER.

    Ummm...maybe it is time for some new patches...
    IACOJ Agitator
    Fightin' Da Man Since '78!

  5. #5
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    LMAO!

    I think since we are doing somewhat of a thankless job, we (sorry, i don't like speaking for the masses) have exhausted our 'lets do it for the community' attitude, and have replaced it with,

    'work night again? man i'm too tired from working my fifth job to go down there and put up with all the b/s at the firehouse.'

    '3 AM automatic alarm? should i go? ehhhhhh . . . . . . . . nah, i have to get up in three hours and go to work. i could use the sleep. (roll over and reset)'

    '. . .2364 Jepardy Lane for an aided case, mans hand stuck in toilet . . .'
    Not Peg Bundy's house again! I have to pick the kids up from school in a half hour, and if i get on that bus there's a good chance I wont be able to make it there on time.'

    It's tough to continue doing something for free. The trainings, meetings, cleanings, . . . calls! People are leaving the service for that reason. Volunteering isn't making that person money (duh).

    Here's a toughy - make money to pay - - - - or play volly and get - - - -.

    Should volly's get benefits like financial riembursment for responding to calls, yup. A pention, some volly's do. Benefits, why not. Property tax breaks, can I get a hell yea.

    Risking one's life is serious business, and like you all out there I'm more than happy to do it. Just daydreaming about the "Camelot" Volunteer Fire Department.

    Stay safe and be well you unpaid professionals.

    [ 09-07-2001: Message edited by: toneloc177 ]
    May God bless all the people and families who have lost
    their lives on 9-11-01, to those also lost on Flight 587, and to the rescuers who responded to both.

    "I'm not saying it's right, i'm just saying (the way it is)."

    FDNY-EMS - Still New York's Best!

    e-mail always accepted @
    toneloc177@firehousemail.com

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    Whats a "Volenteer"???

    I volunteer. I expect no compensation whatsoever, except maybe a thank you once in a while. But at the same time I do NOT expect the volunteer company to take advantage of me- by making things mandatory, like bingo, (we dont do that, but I have heard of companies where bingo nights are mandatory) mandatory clean-up nights, mandatory drills, etc. When the volunteer company starts paying the bills, then they can make things mandatory.

  7. #7
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    I for one dont think i should be paid, I knew it was a VOLUNTEER fire deptartment when i started. I just enjoy doing it. Our Cheif and our LT do not come to the small fires, because they have full time day jobs, along with some of the other fireman, but that is understandable. There are always the same 6 or 7 that respond to ever fire, but like i said, when somebody isn't there, they are not punished or scrutinized we just give them a hard time about missin the fire.
    Jeremy Cross<br />Mid County Fire Dept

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    I think pay for volunteers depends on the area and their unique situations.

    Our department is an older well established department with lots of history. We operate in a small village. Most of our members were born and raised in oru village. Thus, we have no problem getting commitment from our members for free. We do not provide any compensation.

    However, the town down the road (8 miles) is a whole different story. They have no problems getting members to attend fires, every one comes out for the glory. The problem for them is that they had no one comming to meetings and training sessions. To fix the problem, they started to pay for meetings and training sessions. Now they have a full crowd every meeting.

    A town on the other side of the county has a different problem. They have peole come to meetings, but no one comes to calls. Thus, they pay for attendance to fire calls.

    The point is that every department is different, and every area is different. You have to tailor your compensation, perks or incetinves to your market.

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    I agree with ya on that.
    Jeremy Cross<br />Mid County Fire Dept

  10. #10
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    The statements in this post really bothers me. If anyone thinks that getting $3.00 to $5.00 dollars per call / hour eliminates me from being called a volunteer is crazy. My department gets a twice yearly strippen based on the amount of hours you have accumulated over 6 months. This is only for fire/rescue calls and does not include all of the mandated training and work details we have to do. The last pay period I had 95 hours for which I received $503.50. That works out to $5.30 dollars per hour which is below the federal minimum wage of $6.15 per hour. Those 95 hours really should be doubled or almost tripled if you add the drill, detail, and funraising hours I also are required to do.

    My town recognized the value of the volunteers that serve the community. The amount of money they put into the rembersement account is far below the needed amount to have a full time staff. While our budget has been only allowed a 2-3% increase over the last few years, they have always made sure the strippen account is fully funded. We have received small increase is the amount over the years which allowed the amount per call to increase.

    If your community cannot provide this type of program, then don't chatise those of us that get something. If you disagree with me let me know but show some valid arguements against it. Please try and act like adults when commenting ( but don't worry I have a thick skin ).

    thanks for letting me vent.

    " the opinions expressed by me are by own and do not necessaryly represent those of my department or town"


    "Fire Prevention is our Intention"

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    Here we go again with these people who think they are better than everyone else because they run into burning buildings for free! how noble!
    Look, we are a "volunteer" department who is paid on call, I made over $2500 last year for "volunteering" my time. are you a better person than me? are your motives more pure than mine? hell no! If they came to us tomorrow and said they were stopping our paychecks, rest assured nobody would leave.

    Think of it as you're willing to donate your time, and the money is just a token of the towns appreciation.

    ps. just think of all the "UNPAID AND PROUD" weenie T-Shirts you could buy at $5 a call.


    -Nick

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    You are missing my point, if you are getting PAID, how are you a VOLUNTEER??? Sounds to me its more like a job with really flexible hours then being a VOLUNTEER firefighter.

    I dont care if you get paid $100/hr or $1.00hr, its still the same, if you get paid to fight the fires, you are NOT a volunteer in my book. If You dont agree with me on that, then get over it or die with it botherin you, i really dont care.
    Jeremy Cross<br />Mid County Fire Dept

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    13 yrs ago when I signed up, yes, I thought I would be donating my time. Thought it was great I was going to get paid also.

    Would I still be on the Department if I wasn't? Hard to say but it helps to justify the hours of paperwork and reports that have to be done, not to mention the politics involved.

    If they wanted to take my pay away would I still be around. Nope, I'd be out the door before my radio hit the desk.

    I look at it this way, 20 members on call 24/7/52. Tones go and I know a min of 15 guys are on thier way. For what we draw in wages as a group of 20 in a year wouldn't even cover the cost of 1 full time guy. Heck we have 3 full time constables and thier wages alone are more than my annual operations and captital budget. Would they be handing out tickets for free? No way.

    Do I consider myself or department volly. Nope. The official classification of the Department is "Part time, Un-manned."

    But face it folks, there are 2 classifications for firefighters. Career and Volunteer. Thats it! Under each of these are subclassifications. You don't see a forum for Seasonal Career, Part Time Career, Full time Career, Volly, Honourarium Volly, Paid Duty Volly, Show up 2 times a year but still on the roster volly, ect.

    Who's better? Who has stronger character? Who cares! I beleive we should all recieve some sort of renumeration, It doesn't work that way and I know it. But I know of a some unpaid volly departments out there with $400,000 Custom built pumpers and Rescue rigs and don't pay the staff, when a $250,000 commercial would do the same thing and they could pay the members a wage. And again there are departments that have to walk the ditch for bottles to afford enough gas to run the truck at the next fire.

    Something stinks when a community just put in a $400,000 ball diamond hire 2 staff to look after it and pays $6/hr for someone to work the hot dog stand. But will not fully support emergency services.

  14. #14
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    You are missing my point, if you are getting PAID, how are you a VOLUNTEER??? Sounds to me its more like a job with really flexible hours then being a VOLUNTEER firefighter.

    You volunteered to join. Regardless of compensation or lack thereof, not all activities thereafter are voluntary; indeed many are mandatory.

    Main Entry: 1volˇunˇteer
    Function: noun
    1 : a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: as a : one who enters into military service voluntarily...

    You're welcome to look it up in the dictionary yourself, http://www.britannica.com/dictionary...y&va=volunteer , but the definition of a volunteer does not include neccesarily serving without compensation.

    =========
    As far as I'm concerned, from an operational standpoint all fire service things should be referred to as Staffed, On-Call, or Combination. I.E., NFPA 1710 should be for Staffed Fire Departments, and NFPA 1720 should be for On-Call Fire Departments. Pay status doesn't matter, how you staff and/or respond does.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
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    *********************************************

    So where we are going with this is that we VOLUNTEER to sign up, but any compensation incurred is not frowned upon because we chose to sign up for the duty?

    (Kind of like signing up during draft time)
    May God bless all the people and families who have lost
    their lives on 9-11-01, to those also lost on Flight 587, and to the rescuers who responded to both.

    "I'm not saying it's right, i'm just saying (the way it is)."

    FDNY-EMS - Still New York's Best!

    e-mail always accepted @
    toneloc177@firehousemail.com

  16. #16
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    Well yeah, I mean "volunteer" is only a term. Like stated earlier there are two classifications, paid or volly that's it! We consider ourselves paid on call, meaning we recive compensation for the time we CHOOSE to put in. IF it makes it easier for people to understand, just substitute (spelling) the word VOLUNTEERwith the word CHOOSE

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    I'm probably wrong, but I think this topic was started for at least one or two of the following four reasons:

    1. Newly elected Chiefs whose terms start in July must now live up to their campaign promises and try to get their municipalities to raise firefighters stripends, LOSAPs, or 'pay per call' monies.

    2. New campaigns are kicking off and wanna-be Chiefs who, if elected, will take office in January are starting to make those election time promises to (among other things) get stripends, LOSAPs, or 'pay per call' monies raised hoping to get votes.

    3. It's convention time for some firefighter associations and this topic always comes up whenever it's convention time.

    4. Recent newspaper articles have given some coverage to court rulings where fire departments or their municipalities can receive monies from fire victims' insurance carriers for services provided and/or for equipment lost at fires. Some fire department leaders want to keep the insurance monies for the department and spend it as needed for equipment, while some members in those departments instead want the monies divided up among the responding members.

    Maybe I'm wrong, but that's how and why I think this topic came about.

    Now for my opinion:

    I think that whoever said that there are two kinds of firefighters "paid and volunteer" has been standing next to the exhaust pipe way too long.

    Whoever thinks that there are just "paid and volunteer" has never:

    1. Commanded a fire.

    2. Had to order firefighters into harms way.

    3. Had to order firefighters to stop a search and evacuate.

    4,5,6, and so on. Had to _______________ .(You can fill in the blanks).

    Just "paid and volunteer?"

    No, I don't think that what WE do can be, or should be defined as such.

    WE do what WE do because it's the RIGHT thing to do, not because there is, or isn't money involved.

  18. #18
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    Yes, this topic does get tiresome. To be paid or not to be paid? That is the question. Whether to suffer the firebrands and smoke, etc....

    The paid guys are getting that pay because it is their career, their job, their employment. It makes the money they live on.
    A volunteer may get paid a little bit for a run, but that does not make that person any less a volunteer. A volunteer generally volunteers because the place where that volunteer lives does not have paid employees for fire protection (yes, I know that there are departments that have combination paid and volunteer - but they decided to be that way) and somebody has to do it. I made that choice, like many others across the country, to volunteer my time. We get a whole $5.00 per hour for county-fire runs only (not in city or rescue) as a small stipend for clothing allowance or gas to get to the station. That whopping amount does not make me a paid firefighter, nor does it mean I am not a volunteer.

    Shoot, I would like it if I got more per run, and I would also like it if the department would spring for Pizza or fried chicken after drills or meetings. However, I just KNOW that if my department gave us food after drills or meetings that somebody out there would say we are not volunteers anymore because we are nourishment-compensated or some other crud like that.

    How about giving this topic a rest now, and
    unlike Frankenstein in the movies, let it die once and for all?

    The doc is out now, and taking a couple tylenol, too!
    General McAuliffe said it best, "Nuts".

  19. #19
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    B-N-E:

    Another reason this issue has come up for fire departments (around here anyway) is the money that FEMA is paying out to fire departments for their services during Hurricane Floyd. It's taken 2 years but money is starting to come in and some members want that money for their pockets, others want it to go for equipment, others want it to go for other things from softball uniforms to dinners to donations for bone marrow research.

    Like everyone else that was involved in Hurricane Floyd at the time, getting money never crossed my mind, it was just the right thing to do.

  20. #20
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    What does it matter if we are paid or volunteer. Full time part time paid per call or not paid at all. We are all here to serve and protect the lives and property of our respective Communities and that's what is important. I happen to be a volunteer and the only money the idividual members get is the $3.00 an hour for fighting forest fires from the State and you have to wait months for that and I don't think its every call we get it for as well. There have been many times where its only been for a couple of hours that the Firefighters who were on the call donated the money to our Fire Department. We don't payour members to work Bingo's, Dinners or other fund raisers we do.
    So like Dr Law said How about giving this topic a rest now, and
    unlike Frankenstein in the movies, let it die once and for all?

  21. #21
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    if your a volunteer then thats means that you dont get paid and if you do want to get paid then you should try to become a paid friefighter.
    David R.Horner
    GrandTraverse Fife Lake Vol.

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    I forgot about that FEMA money wrongWAY. Our solution to that problem was to divide it up equally among our companies and let them do with it whatever they wanted; pay members, pay electric bills, whatever.

    This topic may seem like a problematic old hat issue to some, but in some areas it's big news and BIG problems.

    For example (in addition to the other things already listed above);

    a) Volunteers are unfortunatley being dragged through the mud by some politicians that are seeking office in the November elections. Seems that the future of a few politicians may rest on his being for or against a new $500,000 engine purchase and an increase in stripends.

    b) Some politicians are promising tax cuts with massive cost cutting if elected this November and they point to volunteer fire budgets. "Just how much hose do they need?" one recently asked, "and do we really have to give them $100 each every year?"

    c) Another town wants to consolidate some of it's volunteer companies. Sounds good to John Q. Public, but the volunter firefighters are oppossed. Things have been fine for 100 plus years - why change?

    But beneath all the the political mumbo jumbo and behind the smoke and mirrors is the fact that the fire companies selected for closing and consolidation each has $150,000 plus squirreled away in CDs and etc that the town officials want to aquire. Is it really consolidation or stealing?

    d) Another town recently had a major fire requiring extensive hours of mutual aid. The insurance company made a payment to the fire department, and the business made a very sizable contribution, but none of the money received was shared with any of the mutual aid departments - that want a share.

    e) Also in the news around here is how some fire departments respond to activated alarm after activated alarm after activated alarm at the same place over and over. Finally able to impose fines - the fire departments are now finding that the fines are not going to the fire department budgets but into the city's general fund instead.

    So there are several types of 'pay' being discussed by volunteers in these parts. It's not old news, just a big rekindle, and to some it's an issue that needs to be discussed and one that can use input from others out there.

    Now regarding those emails I got:

    1. Hey, I didn't say paid is better than volunteer. I basically said that I see no distinction and used the word WE to show that. I honestly have never seen any distinction between paid and volunteer at fires - all I see is people breaking their asses. In my role as a former line officer I didn't see firefighters following my orders - I saw people; people with families, with hopes, and with dreams. I think firefighting is about people - WE people.

    2. Yes, I have been a paid firefighter; injuries caused me to hang it up. Yes, I am a volunteer. No, I do not get any money from volunteering.

    3. About 20 years ago a juvenile court judge sent me to serve community service with the local volunteer fire department. It was the best thing that happened to me. I met wonderful men and woman who taught me about life. It it wasn't for them I would have led a life of crime, been killed, killed, or would still be locked away somewhere.

    4. Jerk is spelt J-E-R-K not jerck. If you're going to email me with insults at least use spell check.

  23. #23
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    There are at least 4 volunteers I'd like to pay ..... to stay home.

  24. #24
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    I'm a volunteer, if they start paying, I'm out! I want the people to know that there are still good people in this world, and money has nothing to do with it!

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    I'm a volunteer, if they start paying, I'm out! I want the people to know that there are still good people in this world, and money has nothing to do with it!
    How noble. I'm really impressed. As if all the vollie vs. career crap on this forum isn't bad enough it's really sad when we have to knock other firefighters for getting chump change for devoting a big chunk of their life to serving their community. If my town can afford to pay us (and they can) I'll gladly take it. If I moved to a community that truly couldn't afford to pay I'd join anyway.

    Don't try to imply that we're not "good people" because our community gives us a few hundred bucks a year.
    _________DILLIGAF

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