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  1. #1
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    Angry Problems with your Volunteer Association?

    I would like to hear from any other firefighters who have had problems with their Volunteer Firefighters Association and whether or how it was rectified. I belong to Volunteer dept. that has some significant problems with regards to harrassment, drinking and lack of required safety meetings and procedures. I've received no help from the Association even though I've repeatedly brought it to their attention.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    I don't know how your Volunteer Association works out there, but in our dept, they don't participate as a group in discipline and dept operations. The Chief and I handle all of the administrative and disciplinary aspects, and the "Association" as a group handles the charity/recreational fundraising and community awareness programs.

    First off I have to ask whether or not you have put your concerns to your Dept Officers, and if so, what was their response?

    If it was negative, and your dept has formal oversight from a district administrator or council, etc...then you may be able to get some help from them, but if you are one of those depts with little to no oversight, who vote as a group on absolutely everything, then you have to play the political game to win on issues like this.

    Do you at least have some by-laws or regulations to start from?

    If not, you will probably have to begin by finding a few like-minded individuals who won't mind speaking up on the topic (I recommend as a group so the they don't shoot the messenger). Dept Officers will usually bow to pressure if the numbers of supporters are the majority. If you have no bylaws, that may be the first step to encouraging change. Many depts resist spending the time to create and ratify them because of the work involved. Once you get some, the next and equally important is ensuring application and discipline. The axe is useless if no one sharpens it's edge. This is either going to be up to the Chief, or maybe in your case the group to decide they are willing to follow through on thier committments.

    I was frustrated with the way things were being run around here a little over five years ago. The problem ended up being that the old Chief was working several jobs, was burnt out, and didn't have the time to put these things into practise. After bitching for a year or two, the Chief finally told me there was only one sure way to get this stuff done, and the stripes were mine if I didn't mind the weight of them. Subsequently, I ended up doing it myself (and slowly recruiting help along the way), and the rest is history. We still have a few small issues to deal with, and the job is never actually done, but overall the ship runs pretty smoothly these days.

    Unfortunately, If you are part of a "Good Ole Boy" Station, where the dept runs by the seat of it's pants, I would suggest that if you can't find at least a little interest in change, you had better dig in for a long fight. Change in these atmospheres often only comes after the old guard either leaves on their own, or retires.

    Good Luck!
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

    IACOJ

  3. #3
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    Serpico,

    Tell your Assoc. to check out the new Federal Bill C-45 otherwise known as the Westray Bill. It holds management and Associations responsible for worker health and safety.

    Maybe it's time your association held new elections.

    CANFF2706

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by mcaldwell
    [B]I don't know how your Volunteer Association works out there, but in our dept, they don't participate as a group in discipline and dept operations. The Chief and I handle all of the administrative and disciplinary aspects, and the "Association" as a group handles the charity/recreational fundraising and community awareness programs.

    I'm not talking about a local Association but the Provincial and National Associations who have done nothing and in some instances took a direct role in the events, yet have refused comment.

    First off I have to ask whether or not you have put your concerns to your Dept Officers, and if so, what was their response?

    It was taken to the Officers and intially they were not even going to response to a written request. They subsequently did an end-around and intimidated the low timers into backing down. You see its the Officers that are the biggest problem. The couple that are reasonable have refused to take on the others so far.

    If it was negative, and your dept has formal oversight from a district administrator or council, etc...then you may be able to get some help from them, but if you are one of those depts with little to no oversight, who vote as a group on absolutely everything, then you have to play the political game to win on issues like this.

    It was taken to Regional District after meeting with no success internally. The Regional District supported the Officers despite being informed they were breaking the law.

    Do you at least have some by-laws or regulations to start from?

    There are some by-laws which concentrate powers with the Chief who is
    the biggest problem.

    I was frustrated with the way things were being run around here a little over five years ago. The problem ended up being that the old Chief was working several jobs, was burnt out, and didn't have the time to put these things into practise.

    In this case the Chief has a significant drinking problem and an old boy attitude which is what has been engrained in his Officer appointments

    Unfortunately, If you are part of a "Good Ole Boy" Station, where the dept runs by the seat of it's pants, I would suggest that if you can't find at least a little interest in change, you had better dig in for a long fight. Change in these atmospheres often only comes after the old guard either leaves on their own, or retires.

    I wish, but the only routes left appear to be the WCB with its incredibly long list of outstanding cases and the media.

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by CANFF2706
    [B]Serpico,

    Tell your Assoc. to check out the new Federal Bill C-45 otherwise known as the Westray Bill. It holds management and Associations responsible for worker health and safety.

    Thanks, I'll look it up.

    Maybe it's time your association held new elections.

    At the very least!

  6. #6
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    Our dept used to have the classic attendance problems..but we quickly rectified??** that problem and now have one of the stronger volunteer depts around here with 67 members...We made the rule that you must attend some much training,calls,meetings and fundraisers...or BYE BYE..its worked well and members now abide by these rules

    Also we used to have officers get voted in just because of who they are and who they know...now with "management change" if u will we've made it mandatory 5 years with level 1 ff completion

    Steve
    Capt/MFR
    KVFD

  7. #7
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    Unfortunately, things in this dept. have deteriorated to the point where heads have to roll. What the WCB fails to rectify the courts should through the afore mentioned Westray Bill . The majority of decent firefighters have left the dept. leaving only half a dozen members with any integrity, the rest are a disgrace to firefighters everywhere. The most alarming is the part the Volunteer Firefighters Association played in this matter. Unfortunately up till now they have closed ranks and refused to acknowledge their participation.

  8. #8
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    Hubbards District Fire Department
    http://hubbardsdistrict.tripod.com

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber ROOKIELZ's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, If you are part of a "Good Ole Boy" Station, where the dept runs by the seat of it's pants, I would suggest that if you can't find at least a little interest in change, you had better dig in for a long fight. Change in these atmospheres often only comes after the old guard either leaves on their own, or retires.

    Boy--You sure have THAT right. It took me 3 years and a firm, quiet talk with the chief to get on my first course. A guy that signed on in Nov. was offered it. That was when I said TWICE at a meeting that I was interested in taking that course. I was passed over and that was when I went for a little chat with the Chief. I was pleasent but firm and finally (everybody cheer!!) I have been signed on to take my FF level 1 PPE, and Fire Behaviour.
    I should probably mention that I am one of those female types but I don't generally experience trouble from my co-workers. So long as you are willing to get in there and do the job with minimal whining they don't care what sex you are.
    I would publically thank them for that but then I'd have to buy them each a beer.:lol
    I think the Chief occasionally tries to "protect" me. He's done pretty good, though. I'm sure he's had to do some adjusting to his thinking.

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