1. #1
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    Question Reasons You Volunteer

    I am writing an article about why people volunteer in the fire/rescue/ems service, and would like to hear why you first became a volunteer-- and what keeps you motivated to continue.

    Thanks.

    MJWeiner

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    Default Wouldn't do anything else

    I got motivated to join the Fire Service after growing up watching episodes of 'EMERGENCY' -- I also had family members in the Fire Service while I was growing up and that was an influance.
    Stratford Fire Company # 1
    New Jersey State Firemen's Convention Champions - 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000

  3. #3
    SFDny15
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    I am a third generation volunteer firefighter. The main reason I do it is that I was born into it, and I have not known or loved anything else. I also enjoy helping people, although the main reason is family tradition.

  4. #4
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    I wasn't born into it. The only thing my family has used a hose or an ax was to water the garden or split fire wood. Two years ago. I decided that my grades weren't goin to get me into Virginia Tech. So there went any future in architecture or vetinarian school. I had alot of friends on the department and i could see that they loved it. I decided that i would try it, and today i plan on persuing it as a carrer.
    Burgess Wills
    Firefighter/EMT
    Windsor Vol. Fire Department
    Chuckatuck Vol. Fire Department

  5. #5
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    someone has to. i am a third generation firefighter and i felt that this is the best way to continue on a noble tradition.
    NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
    IACOJ Attack

    Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

  6. #6
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    Since I can remember, I have loved everything about the fire department - the loud, red trucks, the friendly fireman, the honor, courage and committment required. I grew to love it even more when I was finally old enough to become a firefighter - the close community at the station, the excitement of taking calls. I am the first person to become a firefighter in my family, and there is nothing I would rather do.

  7. #7
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    Chicks Dig Firemen

    Where else do you get to cut and break things that don't belong to you.

    Truthfully, to help people, and kids. There is nothing like the looks
    little kids give you. Firemen are like superheros to them.

  8. #8
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    After a tornado hit a small town near my house my parents purchased a scanner. I was only eight years old but I started litening to the scanner all the time. When I was old enough to join the volunteer fire department I did just out of curiosity. It wasn't too long after I joined when we were dispatched to a grass fire near a residence. We saved an elderly lady's house and a some items in the yard. She came up to me and another firefighter and was so thankful that you could see it in her eyes. That's when I new that I was making a difference and this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
    Brian Cook
    Asst. Chief

  9. #9
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    I originally volunteered because I had friends in the department. I thought they could use some help from time to time. I figured I could direct traffic, roll hoses, clean stuff up, make sure things work etc. Next thing I know I've been trained, I'm going into burning buildings, I'm helping trauma victims, I even occasionally help sick people, although sick people make me sick, something I can't stomach. I can handle amputations, bashed in heads, etc. Vomit once and I'm done. Now I do it for the sense of pride and the feeling that I can make a difference.

    Unfortuantely, many in the community don't appreciate what they have, until they need it. Some people look at us as a bunch of cowboys in big red trucks, that sit around a swill beer to all hours of the night. I'm considering a public awareness campaign to show the number of hours of time we put in. Might even go so far as to put a dollar value on the service we provide.

  10. #10
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    I'm a fourth generation firefighter.

    I have ties to firefighting from both sides of the family. So ofcourse i was raised with firefighting parents. I wanted to do the job that my family in the past have done, and done well. I'm in my dad's company. The thrill of maybe saving a life one day also influenced my decision...and i'm only 15.
    Firefighter, Volunteering since Oct 2001

    CCFA 05-04, best overall class for 2005
    "GOOD GAME!"

  11. #11
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    My girlfrend, at the time, was a firefighter and I went to the fire house a couple of times and got interested. I couldn't get enough of an adrenalin rush at my full time job, so i decided to go into burning structures. I did not think i would like it at first, but now it's like an addiction. I did not know then what propels a person to enter a burning house, forsaking everything else, but after I rescued a 7yr old girl from a house fire I felt the gratification of her family members and satisfaction of feeling that I helped someone.
    M.

  12. #12
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    It was a good idea at the time, now almost 18 years later I can't imagine life without being a volunteer. My father was a volunteer with the same dept I am in and of course, Emergency on TV was also a big influence.
    I think we all may be a bit crazy doing this for free but it sure is satisfying helping others and we are all motivated by that desire to help out.
    Good luck and stay safe!

  13. #13
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    Thumbs up A desire to help others in my community

    I had always had an interest in Emergency Services. I, too had grown up watching Emergency. But, I never got involved until I moved to my current town. I grew up on a farm, and mistakenly thought if I didn't live in town, it wouldn't be any use to volunteer-everything would be done before I could get there. But I finally volunteered, and wouldn't give it up for anything. I love helping people in my community. I think being an "outsider" actually makes it a little easier for me-no baggage as to knowing the people well. To know I have made a difference in someone's life is the best feeling in the world.
    "Illigitimi Non Carborundum"

    "The views expressed by me are solely my own, and in no way reflect the views of any organization which I belong to."

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    Why I joined the local VFD.

    Heck if I really know. I also grew up watching Emergency, but never had the desire to be a fireman.

    Enlisted in the military as a cop and after 20 years of being a military policeman I've finally retired. One guy I worked with was a member of the VFD and after hearing him talk about it for a while I went with him to the station on a training night.

    Well, for whatever reason the bug bit me and the rest is history.

    After making a couple of medical calls where people died (my 1st run was a motorcycle crash where 2 people died) and more med runs on elderly people I figgured it would be a good thing to get my EMT cert, so now I'm in class to become a EMT.

    I really enjoy helping people in need and the satifaction you get just knowing that you made a difference helping somebody is such a great reward.

  15. #15
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    I don't know... I suppose if I ~ had ~ to have a reason; I just want to be able help my friends, neighbors, and fellow community members in the time when they may need help the most. Good and bad happen alike; but overall I enjoy going out. Even though I'm only 19; I can say the five years spent as a volunteer has been the best time -so far- of my life. Maybe I can tack an extra fifty years of service on to that...

  16. #16
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    Wink

    I joined to help our small community years ago. I was a big fan of the EMERGENCY T V show. I still enjoy it even though we run alot more calls than we use to. 17 calls in 1991, 166 calls in 2001.

  17. #17
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    I first got involved with our small community VFD out of concern with finances, lost our biggest contribator. Did not want to see our department go under and have to rely on the County Fire Department which is at least a 20 min. drive away versus our department which is under 1 mile away ( County VFD is wonderful just the time factor). Was voted in as a Board member. Then a FR course started. In past years I had came upon a few MVA and being there and not knowing what to do was awful. On top of that my husband is like Tim Taylor, an accident waiting to happen, I always felt the need to have 91 already dialed when he started one of his projects. Took the course and ended up joing the VFD as a FR. Then I don't know (wish I did) but so many of our VFD guys lost interest, maybe they where working or just too busy but the bottom line is that they weren't responding to some calls. So I started attending the fire meetings to learn a few things that I could do to help out if enough men did not show. Such as run the pumper, this would free at least one man. So I guess my volunteering is out of need. If enough manpower does show up for a call then I take the roll as a FR and stand back. Help with getting the air tanks refilled, SCBA mask ready for the next call and the rigs ready to roll again. Make sure water or other drinks are avalible. What keeps me motivated? The adrenalline rush plus even though there is not a "duty to act" there is a commitment I feel I made when joing the department. They have invested time and money in my training.

  18. #18
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    In the November issue of FireRescue Larry Davis’s Rural Command column cites a study performed in the early 1970s by the International City Management Association. This effort assessed the value of rural fire departments in preventing property loss. Their finding for small rural communities (populations less then 5000) was that fire loss would be the same whether or not the town had a fire department! Financially the citizens would actually be penalized, in that they would be paying for the support of the fire department through taxes and the premiums of fire insurance.

    In an honest and candid reflection, who among the members of our state’s volunteer departments could deny this is the situation for their department? While the fact that one is reading the Fire School’s newsletter indicates a commitment to the profession that we call the Fire Service, we know that we are a minority. The great majorities of volunteer fire fighters do not join or continue to be associated with their department to obtain and maintain the skills that prescribe a professional firefighter or company officer. They are members for the same reasons others in their community join the Kiwanis or Rotary, or organize a social club. For the desire to belong to a group, or have a place to join in a regular card game!

    In the judgment of this writer, this is in the moral and ethic sense fraud. Especially in the atmosphere produced from the Trade Towers, to assume the mantle of “firefighter”, to be one of your town’s “bravest” and not make the efforts necessary to obtain and maintain the skills that prescribe a professional firefighter or company officer is to actively practice deceit upon their community, upon their fellow members, and upon themselves. This holds immensely more so for a department’s officers whom practice the “wet finger” approach to leadership. This occurs when the Chief refuses to risk his popularity by mandating and supporting the rigorous training, SOPs and other components that is necessary for their organization to truly earn the title “Fire Department”. Then there is the issue of legal fraud that is committed when the requisite paperwork is filed with the State Pension Fund. When a half hour of watching a video becomes two hours of training. When all members are credited for participating in a training session when in truth half of them sat around and played cards!

    Here in the “heartland”, in the small towns where virtue is said to reside, in the state that claims to be the “Last Best Place”, we have this Great Lie. It smolders, just like the hold over fire, waiting to claim its next home, or business, or life.

  19. #19
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    Default Love helping people.

    I liked Mike W's comment about chics digging firefighters because my girlfriend enjoys the war stories after a fire. I enjoy her enjoying it!

    The reason that I am a volunteer firefighter is first of all to help the people in my community. My dad also played a part in my interest in firefighting because he's been a volunteer for quite a few years. Helping others in their time of need is the greatest thing, I believe, that one human could do for another, which as a whole I see as the tradition of firefighters. Its also great to be a brother in the "brotherhood."

    Mr. badkingjohn, I gave my reply to your trash in the "Pride, Good and Bad" forum. Read it. It might do you some good and everyone else a favor.

    _____
    Gone, but not forgotten - Our Fallen

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    I grew up watching Emergency. Funny how others were influenced by that TV show too. When I was in first grade we were told to write down what we would be doing in the year 2000 as adults. I put down that I would be a fireman. Then childhood passed and I forgot about it. Humorous thing is, I lived all my life on the same street in a suburb of Greensburg. Bought the house 4 doors up from mom and dad. 70 yards away, across and open field is the Hose house where I am now Captain. I went to college in Philadelphia, then Law school in Harrisburg and then moved home. Being gone for about 7 years of school, I was out of touch with the local goings on. When interviewing for a position with a local law firm I met a guy in the firm (senior partner) who eventually hired me. During the interview he jokingly said that being part of the fire department was a job requirement for being a lawyer at the firm. I knew he was in the fire department, but didn't know he was a Department Captain at the time. I must confess that at the time I was a recent law school graduate, and all I wanted to was to start making money so I could eat something other than pasta and hot dogs. (them years were lean) Well, 7 years later he's an assistant chief, we still practice law together, and now I'm a captain at one of the city's 6 companies. Funny thing about it all is how I really joined. I was hired at the firm in November of 1995. At a christmas party for the firm that year I found myself talking to someone I had known all my life. What I never realized was the guy had for 6 years been the state fire commissioner. Jack ASKED me to join Hose Company No. 1. It seemed absurd to say no, so the rest is history. I still remember the first time I pulled a lady out of a car after a difficult extrication. She looked up at me, smiled and said thank you.... After that I was hooked. But I must honestly confess that I really do enjoy being legally permitted to break stuff too. LOL
    If you can keep your head about you, while those around you are losing theirs, then you will be a man my son.

    Rudyard Kipling.

  21. #21
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    Who volunteered? A guy handed me a paper and said sign here. Next thing I knew I was riding a fire truck. That was 20 years ago, guess I liked it.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Default In a word, 9/11

    I was in high school one day, and they tell me I have to take the ASVAB test. I say fine, it gets me out of class but I don't want to go into the military. A recruiter from each branch was there talking to the kids, and the recruiter from the Marine Corps was there, and kept talking to me, and talking to me. A few weeks later he had me talked into joining. I started researching it, and fell in love with the idea of helping my country. Well, to shorten the story, I didn't go, but still wanted to, especially since I read a quote by President Ronald Regan that stuck with me. He said "Some people live their entire lifetime and wonder if they ever made a difference to the world.... Marines don’t have that problem". After reading that quote it stuck with me, and I knew I had to do something to make a difference. After 9/11 that desire burned even more. After that I looked up to FireFighters SO much, but it still didn't click. On 9/11/02 I was driving home from work at around 10am. I drove past the FD in the next city, which is next to the grade school that my daughter (in kindergarden) attends. I saw the children in the playground and heard Taps playing so I pulled over and watched. The Fire Dept had their hand on their chest as they were putting the flag at half mast. I started to cry, and then I saw my daughter, with all the rest of the kids go over to the fence facing the Dept, and put their hands on their chests. I'd never felt more proud and started to bawl, right then it hit me. As soon as I got home I looked out dept up online, and went to the firehouse the next meeting night and signed up.

    God bless America

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    What if you called 911 and nothing happened? Without volunteers, nothing would happen.

    Be sfe. Roll Fire!

  24. #24
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    Default Because I feel I have to

    I didn't realize the Emergency! series had such an influence on so many. My mom still laughs at how I was glued to the TV when the show was on. My Emergency! lunchbox from when I was in the 1st grade is on display in my kitchen today. Growing up in a town of about 1000 people, there are those that contribute and there are those who sit back and bitch about those that contribute. I have a tremendous sense of pride in my community and serve on several free gratis boards and organizations, the VFD being one of my most gratifying. Where else can the town's butcher, fertilizer dealer, mechanic, water superintendent, retired janitor, insurance agent, farmer, etc., who would normally have nothing in common, drop everything when the fire whistle blows and come together to help aid their neighbors, and often times, their own family and friends. And when it's over, have a few laughs as we head back to work, ready for the next time we're called upon to serve. Yea...after 19 years, I still get a rush at times, but when I sit back and think about it, I realize that it's the people in the community that I do it for. And as someone previously mentioned, giving the tours of the station and doing the fire prevention classes at the schools makes it all the more special, especially when you see those kids on the street and they look and point at you and say "I know you..you're the fire chief". I can't say I'd want to do it for a living, or forever, but God has blessed me with an (most of the time) understanding wife and two beautiful boys whom I cherish more than anything and a wonderful community to let them grow up in. I just want them to enjoy that community growing up the same way I did. And it takes people from all walks of life like us to make that possible. And hopefully when I'm gone, our sons and daughters will have the same sense of pride and respect of our fellow man that we do. That is the best legacy that any of us can leave behind. Happy Holidays brethren!

  25. #25
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    Default Because I feel I have to

    I didn't realize the Emergency! series had such an influence on so many. My mom still laughs at how I was glued to the TV when the show was on. My Emergency! lunchbox from when I was in the 1st grade is on display in my kitchen today. Growing up in a town of about 1000 people, there are those that contribute and there are those who sit back and bitch about those that contribute. I have a tremendous sense of pride in my community and serve on several free gratis boards and organizations, the VFD being one of my most gratifying. Where else can the town's butcher, fertilizer dealer, mechanic, water superintendent, retired janitor, insurance agent, farmer, etc., who would normally have nothing in common, drop everything when the fire whistle blows and come together to help aid their neighbors, and often times, their own family and friends. And when it's over, have a few laughs as we head back to work, ready for the next time we're called upon to serve. Yea...after 19 years, I still get a rush at times, but when I sit back and think about it, I realize that it's the people in the community that I do it for. And as someone previously mentioned, giving the tours of the station and doing the fire prevention classes at the schools makes it all the more special, especially when you see those kids on the street and they look and point at you and say "I know you..you're the fire chief". I can't say I'd want to do it for a living, or forever, but God has blessed me with an (most of the time) understanding wife and two beautiful boys whom I cherish more than anything and a wonderful community to let them grow up in. I just want them to enjoy that community growing up the same way I did. And it takes people from all walks of life like us to make that possible. And hopefully when I'm gone, our sons and daughters will have the same sense of pride and respect of our fellow man that we do. That is the best legacy that any of us can leave behind. Happy Holidays brethren!

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