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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Pensacola, FL

    Unhappy Paid vs Volunteer Issues

    Sunday we got a mutual aid call from dispatch, our department is a combo, paid & vol...anyway...our paid engine rolls first on a MA call, and while they were enroute, before any other engine was able to get 10-8, the assistant chief of the vol. district Cancels them. Nobody's on scene, no other engines have even acknowledged the alert...and the guy cancels them. I'm sitting at the station listening to this on the radio and I'm boggled. Granted it was just a stove fire, but by the time the first vol unit arrived got there, it could have been fully involved. Fortunately a neighbor put the fire out before units arrived, so all they hadda deal with was smoke. One can easily see how this situation could have turned very bad.

    I'm a volunteer. We're supposed to be saving lives, not going on blankety blank power trips. I don't persoannly care whether a fire truck is loaded with paid or vols, I just want the blasted help on scene so I can put out the fire and save some lives. When people forget that they forget what it's all about.

    I know several in print and video media who I could give this nifty insight to and they'd make serious hay out of the ongoing problem of paid vs vol bullheadedness...but I fear that doing so would tend to make the entire fire service look bad. but if we don't get the problem solved before someone gets hurt or killed, the resulting media massacre will be worse...

    Here's what I'm thinking of doing...first going to the Vol Asst. Chief and talking directly with him about my concern that he may be putting his pride out for a fall, and if that convo fails take it to the media and let the dogs loose. I don't want people in my city to die for someone's bullheadedness and I don't mind making a mess if it means saving lives. But I'd appreciate some input about how to go about it, cause it ain't an easy road to travel.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    May 2002

    Default Been There

    We experienced a similar situation in my area several years ago. But it was not a paid vs. volly issue, more of a power play enacted by a newly named county-wide fire chief.

    Our department has been in existence since the mid-70s. We sit about 1/2 mile from county line. Our initial response area stretched for about 12 miles northward inside our neighboring county to the city limits, and 8 miles south into our county to a neighboring department's response area.

    When our neighboring county established a county-wide fire department, and built a station just outside city limits on our side, we stopped getting calls in that area. Problems keep escalating, and
    several times I had a few "conversations" with their new county-wide fire chief. But it never seemed to help.

    The straw that broke the camel's back was a structure fire with people inside about 1 mile from our station. Actually their trucks had to drive by our station to respond, and we didn't get a call to respond or assist in any way.

    Shortly after that, we drafted a letter that we planned to send to all persons in our neighboring county that supported us financially or with manpower. This draft was presented to the county-wide fire chief, with a promise that it would be mailed if a meeting was not scheduled to address this issue.

    To make a long story shorter, the meeting was held, and we are now listed on their dispatch's 911 display as an automatic aid department. Which many times we are the only department to respond in their area.

    Now this may be kinda drastic. We tried to have the issue resolved many times, but it never seemed to work. I would suggest that you try to schedule a meeting with your neighbors, not just the officer involved, and explain your concerns and offer a solution. Allow them time to digest your ideas, and for them to offer a "counter-solution".

    This is diplomacy on a local level, and like it or not, it is the civil way to handle this situation. But when diplomacy fails, (read Irag and Saddam), then drastic measures are necessary.
    Grant me the strength to change things I can, accept what I can't, and to know the difference.

  3. #3
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Dauphin County, PA


    This is not a paid vs. volunteer issue. This is one chief being a frickin' idiot.

    Stay Safe

  4. #4
    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Somewhere between genius and insanity!


    Yaya...what PA Volunteer said!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber ff7134's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002


    Sounds like a power tripping Chief!!!!!!
    AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

    IAFF Local 3900

    IACOJ-The Crusty Glow Worm

    ENGINE 302 - The Fire Rats


  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2003


    ya know fellers--- affore id be unrolling my rope-
    I might jest hear the other fellers aside of it.
    Pa always atold me "theres atwo sides to any story---
    and then somewheres in the middle --- theres the truth"

  7. #7
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....

    Thumbs up What He Said.....

    Farmun has the right idea on this, and I agree, this is not a paid/volunteer issue. We have a problem with mutual aid here in Maryland as well. In the entire mid-atlantic region, there is one county that stands out for their lack of willingness to do their job. They have a well deserved reputation as a parking lot construction outfit due to a lack of aggressive leadership. From the rank of Battalion Chief on up it's "you can't go in there, that building's on fire" which translates into they are paranoid over NFPA and OSHA compliance issues. The people in the fire stations, paid and volunteer alike, are great guys and gals who are frustrated to no end by managements lack of _________ (insert something). This becomes a mutual aid issue when they fail to run mutual aid from one adjoining jurisdiction because that jurisdictions people will put the fire out without question, and in spite of the responsible juridiction's attempts to keep them from doing so. To sum this up with an example, the county that is afraid to put the fire out has at least 2 2nd alarms struck for fires in single family homes each month. Their aggressive neighbors have not struck a 2nd alarm for a single family home since October 1989!!!! Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.


  8. #8
    Member TheOldSchool's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2003


    Idiots abound in both types of departments. I live in a suburb of Baltimore that is serviced by both Volunteer and Paid and I'm glad for both. Knowing the training that both receive and in most cases thier dedication to the saving of lives and safeguarding of property I think I'm pretty lucky.

  9. #9
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Division 24


    It is hard to believe that in 2003 there are still "turf wars" amongst neighboring departments. I will say that I have a hard time taking orders from some volunteer officers. Not because they are volunteers, but because of the cockamamie way that some are appointed to their positions. Elections or being appointed by the Chief dosent cut it in my view. I am not an officer but am certified as one. I would expect that someone who is barking out orders is trained to do so. There are plenty of volunteer officers with that training and experience. There are also departments that rotate chiefs and or officers like a set of tires. Competitive testing and basic requirements are needed to become an officer in every paid/combo department in my area, not just being popular.

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber CJMinick390's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Sitting on my Laa Laa waiting for my Yaa Yaa


    Thank you "The Old School."
    Chris Minick, P.E., Firefighter II
    Structures Specialist, MD-TF 1

    These statements are mine and mine alone
    I.A.C.O.J. Building crust and proud of it

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2000


    SOunds like someone's gold bugles went to their head in a big way!!!!

    keep your head down and your powder dry.
    Lt.Jason Knecht
    Altoona Fire Rescue
    Altoona, WI

  12. #12
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002

    Default What to do...

    Something to do....document, document, document. Put
    it on paper. If it keeps continuing, maybe invite
    the media in on the incident.

    Second, If I was the Captain on one of the responding
    units, I would have continued in untol someone was

    Remember what Chief Bruno says..."Egos eat brains."

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Illinois-where pertnear is close enough!

    Default Explain this for me, please.

    When we are dispatched to a call, I always went straight to the scene for size up and assessment. Often times, I would 10-22 our responders after this. Cars called in on fire were actually over heated and I couldn't see snarling traffic.
    In this case, did the AC get to the scene, do a "proper" size up and assessment, determine that the neighbor did a great job of extinguishing the fire and the department's response wasn't needed?
    Unless this AC had a history of this type of behavior, it appears to be isolated and on the surface, may not have been such a "bad" decision.
    I mean, if you are really talking some kind of a power trip here, the AC would do it on a regular basis.
    Then I'd say you have a whole lot to worry about.
    Egos will find their way into our politics. That is a fact. But thumping and bumping chests won't solve anything.
    Dialogue is the only thing that will fix this. That, and a well-placed halligan bar!
    Take care and stay safe.
    Visit www.iacoj.com
    Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
    RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

  14. #14
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2003


    ya know---Chief Reason sure said what I was atrying
    ta say -- ceppin he said it with a lot purtier words.
    Fellers can be kinda quick ta start a pecking party.

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