1. #1
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    Unhappy Low moral with Federal Firefighters?

    As a Federal firefighter for some years (over 10), I can speak with some experience on this matter of low morale among Federal firefighters.

    First of all, I personally hate guys that NEVER ever complain. They are simply happy with whatever happens. They never try to make things better or improve things. They don’t want to make “waves” or hurt their reputation(s) with the gold badges.

    Federal firefighters have LOTS of things to complain about which affect morale...

    On average, we make 30% less pay than City/County firefighters (unless you live in the Southern USA). On top of that we work a 72 hour week vs a 53 hour week. I think that working more hours for less pay is a good start for why we have low morale.

    Add to that the fact that our O/T rate starts only after 56 hours and not over 40 hours. Then compound that with the fact that a GS-04 Step 1 firefighter has a lower hourly wage than any other GS-04 Step 1 Federal employee. Further compound that with the fact that we are the ONLY Federal workers who don’t get a penny extra for working on Holidays, Nights or Sundays.

    Where I am now, we have several issues that affect morale. Management refuses to put 4 guys on the engines; resulting in not only violating several laws but putting us firefighters at an increased risk. They claim they have no money in the budget to pay the overtime.

    How about the 16 year old engines that we drive/operate. They are not maintained or repaired by the base motor pool as required. They are not a priority for repair as they are required either.

    We live in fire stations that were built as temporary quarters in the 1940’s. All are infested with cockroaches, rats and termites. Just try and get a light repaired or drain fixed through base maintenance, it is a joke!

    We can't strike. We can't negotiate our wages or our benefits. Our retirement sucks and really can't compare with a City/County firefighter retirement.

    We have guys leaving all the time after using the Federal fire service as a stepping stone to start a career with a City/County fire dept.

    Management does what they want when they can get away with it. The Union does what they can. And me? I am just trying to wait out my 9 years until I can retire...

  2. #2
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    Post Your an idiot

    I had 11 years in as a Federal Firefighter and was a Captain in a Couthern California Base. I was not happy and made the Big move to a City Fire Department and started my career all over.

    You are just affraid of working outside the gates really because you have those little voices that tell you that your not good enough to be a City Boy. Well I know from experiance that the City boys are really no different than you Feds. I was one for 11 years.(Remember)

    Cowboy up and make the move. No I couldnt roll my Federal retirement $$ righ on over in my area. but there are places you can and I think now I could have if I waited longer no matter, I took my TSP and other Fed Retirement money and put it into real estate and it worked out grat for me. By the way I have made more in retirement in a City system in 7 years than my 11 with the Feds so the risk is actually worth it. At least it worked out for me.

    YES, I think that you are right in that there is a moral issue in general with the FEDS and I really dont think that it can be fixed, too big a system, but there is also problems whereever you are FEDS/City/County whatever, the biggest plus I have to admit is the reduction from a 72 hour to a 56 hour work week. What a relief and actually have some days off. With the feds as you know, it seems you are always working and on rotation.

    I had a couple of Federal navy Firefighters here this last summer for some training that I use to work with and they were both captains in the navy. Sme thing, they were sooo amazed at the bigt shiny engines and whatever, they also thought they were substandard to us Me now City Boys) it is soo stupid you guys are not any different than us, My dept has issues as any body out there. I use to work on an active DOD FD and we kept up our training and certifications so we were up to speed wit the local County Fire boys. If your dept is slow as is most miliarty bases then work on mutaul aid aggreements and increase your trianing stuff if you are going to stay there for your entire career.

    but I would recommend you move on if at all thinking about it. If I could do it soo can you, belive me. Just th first step is the biggest.

    Good luck and stopping whinning about it change it.

    Eric Taylor
    EX Federal Fire Captain-MCAS El Toro
    Now a City firefighter and Loving it in Utah 2002-Over 5800 calls
    Front line since 1983 and still going strong

  3. #3
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    hello, fellow federal firefighters. Not only do i have roaches and rats at my station,but i have leaking roofs,electrical problems, and old and broken equipment. Started testing for municipal departments.
    Last edited by fire101; 03-18-2003 at 06:15 PM.

  4. #4
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    I know I can't speak for all departments, but my current department has top notch equipment and apparatus. I have, however, worked at other places that did not. But, our fire stations are in desperate need of renovation or replacement, but who's are not? Heck, the aerial platform barely fits in the bay. New stations are in the works. It is just a matter of funding. The most common problem I have seen with Federal departments is this; Low call volume and type "A" personalities. When you get about 20 guys together in a station that has maybe 2-3 calls a day or less, they start to get cranky and screw with each other. Add to that all the old "could have retired three years ago" guys who are bitter from being passed over for promotion, and you can see where this leads. It is the same, if not worse in many city departments. I have been around a few that would put most federal departments to shame.

    As far as pay goes, there is just no other department within 800 miles that can match the gross pay we get. Yes, the hours can be long, but the overtime is sure nice. What is the difference in working our one Federal job and making the same money you would normally make with a lower paying municipal job and a second job on your days off? Don't get me wrong, I would love to work for a civilian agency again. Working for the Federal Government entails headaches many municpal guys will never know, but that is the same for ALL Federal jobs. If I was to quit now and go to work for a municipal department, I would lose nearly $15,000 dollars a year.

    I know there are a few crab-apples out there who don't believe it, but there are Federal departments out there with excellent equipment, training, and good working environments. If it wasn't for a few jokers making trouble, the one I am in now has a pretty good future. I like to call it the "five year plan", all the jokers will be retired within the next five years. All we can do is lay the ground work for the future and try to work around the idiots. But wait, isn't that what is being done in city departments too?
    IACOJ Military Division
    NM Office
    ------------------------------------
    "There are three kinds of men: The ones who learn by reading, the few who learn by observation, and the rest of them who have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

  5. #5
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    I heard the veteran hospital fire departments are the best to work for in the federal gov( 24/48 hrs.). Do the va hospital firefighters make the same amount of pay we do? any feedback?

  6. #6
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    I believe they make the same as a 56-hour week DoD firefighter does. All they really are is a 56- hour GS employee, they just work 24 on 48 off, instead of 4 eight hour days and 1 twenty four. One of my buddies just left to go to a V.A. fire department. I have heard they run a lot of mutual aid, and some places see quite a bit of action. Having never worked for one, I don't really know if it is true.
    IACOJ Military Division
    NM Office
    ------------------------------------
    "There are three kinds of men: The ones who learn by reading, the few who learn by observation, and the rest of them who have to pee on the electric fence for themselves."

  7. #7
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    I'am testing for municipal fire dept., hopefully I'll get on some day.
    Last edited by fire101; 03-20-2003 at 08:00 PM.

  8. #8
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    Devildog

    You said it all I have nothing that I can add (are you here?), but the pay I get for the work I do is equal (hehehehehe)!!!
    Stay safe, stay low and stay away from all that glows

    Bobby

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