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  1. #1
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    Question Career VS. Volunteer

    I am a volunteer fire fighter in Virginia taking a college english class. We are suppose to write a compare/contrast paper due monday and I was going to write it about the differences and similarities of career and volunteer firefighters. However I am a little one sided since I am not a career firefighter can anyone help me? I was wondering if anyone who has maybe done both career and volunteer could give me some comments on their experience. I would greatly appreciate it.


  2. #2
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    Default

    If you shoot me an e-mail, I will give you a few thoughts.

    dfdept@frontiernet.net

  3. #3
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Default

    To firegal2024, congrats. You have just opened a can of worms. Here in the forums, the career/vollie debate is a horse that has been beaten to death... resurrected... beaten to death... resurrected... well, you get the picture.

    To everyone else, God help this girl. She's new. She knows not what she does. Take it easy on her.

  4. #4
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    Feel free to drop me a PM and I'll share my perspective on this with you, as I (like many others) have been on both sides of vol/career. Just be warned this issue generates a TON of friction in open forums. Have a great day. -46

  5. #5
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    Unhappy

    Sorry guys I wasn't trying to stir up any friction and I know the severity of this issue. I am just looking to see what relationships are like, commraderie in career stations and things like that not neccasarily who is better or anything just the little things behind the scenes.

  6. #6
    Forum Member kghemtp's Avatar
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    Volunteer or career departments are neither better nor worse than the other... they are just different. Combination departments are right in the middle.

    Back in the day when volunteers were plenty, even some of our largest towns & cities ran call or volunteer departments. More people worked closer to home, such as in the same town that they lived. Over many years, work took people away from hometowns and away from an ability to volunteer as much as they might have once before. Other situations included a growing number of calls in a given day that made volunteer response harder, even in the best of departments with many people. The transition between volunteer & career is usually a tough one for the municipality to swallow, as you'll have politicians & townsfolk screaming about MAJOR increases in spending. The choice to go career is very often a result of frustration from decreasing volunteer numbers or increased delay in responding to calls.

    Today, you'll still find a great many towns running ALL volunteer fire & EMS (more fire). You will find even more departments that are combination, as towns will probably cover daytime shifts first because of the overwhelming majority of working folk who also volunteer do some variation of 9-5 for regular jobs. Again, it might come down to the consistency of response times or ability to cover trucks that makes town fathers push for paid departments in place of or addition to volunteers.

    The thing about career versus volunteer is that everyone goes to the same fires. A structure fire is a structure fire, whether downtown Boston or the smallest community in northern VT, NH, or ME. Training standards are the same, and the dangers don't change much. As for training, smaller communities might be harder pressed to get the funding for FD members to take academy classes and more formal training, so that can put them at a disadvantage from others.

    I'm not about to say one kind of department is better than another, so don't get me wrong with this. I AM, however, quite glad to have a fully-staffed fire/rescue department 24 hours a day along with a great call department that supplements the career folks. When the time comes that I move out of THIS community and into one that is not career, I am pretty certain to offer my time, knowledge (ok, it will be quick!), and abilities to ensure people get as quick of a response possible.
    ~Kevin
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    --^v--^v--^v--^v--
    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

  7. #7
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    Default

    One suggestion might be to visit the Volunteer forum and observe the pros and cons of being a volunteer. Then visit the Career/Paid forum and repeat step 1. This will hopefully prevent the "horse" from being resurrected yet again.

    You can do searches (the search button on the left of your screen) in these forums or you can ask questions. Just be aware that this debate is probably the single most debated issue in these forums. The heading of your post alone (Career vs. Volunteer) will invoke a lot of views if not responses to this thread.

    To everybody else, if this thread goes on, lets not resurrect the horse again. You regular posters and us lurkers have seen this before. Let's just leave it alone this time.

    Anybody else agree? This is, of course, just IMHO.

    P.S. Constructive and unbiased opinions work as proven above by Kevin. Hopefully if you feel the need to respond you can follow Kevin's lead.
    Last edited by scrapper; 03-25-2004 at 10:57 AM.

  8. #8
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    Default

    Thanks kghemtp for your reply!

  9. #9
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    Your right Scrapper, Thanks!

  10. #10
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    Default paid....volunteer

    Well...one gets paid for their service and the other doesnt.
    Rescue Squad 12 to FireAlarm!!.....Squad 12?.....Give Me The 3 Alram!!!!!!

  11. #11
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Default

    Without stirring the pot here, I'll just offer some of my experiance's as a career firefighter. Yes we get paid, thats the whole point of being career. It's all that I as well as my coworkers do for a living. We work together 24 hours at a time, averaging 49.3 hours per week over the course of a year. We answer alarms each day, the entire house I work at recieve's about 5,000 per year. These are all types including ems and fire as well as anything that could be imagined. These are probably all similar stories that any one can give whether they be a career member or volunteer. As a career member we worry about our pay, we worry about our pension's as well as health care coverage ..... just like every one else .... only differance being that this is included as part of our life being a career firefighter. Volunteers have the same concerns, except that their concerns over these issue's is seperate from the fire service, these issues generally are dealt with by their employer's since they donate their time to the fire service. We as career member's worry about union issue's etc. These in my opinion are probably the biggest differance between a career member and a volunteer. We worry about how to earn a living while a part of the fire service, we have to because it is our living. Just a few idea's, hope this helps a bit.

  12. #12
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    Default shaun191

    Hey Goffa, I figured that was you with the smart-as*ed comment. I guess some people never change, they just walk through life being irrelevant and never even know it.

  13. #13
    Forum Member firespec35's Avatar
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    Wow, my brothers I am truly impressed. I read the header on the thread and thought I was hearing the round 2890547 bell ringing "ding, ding, ding," but no y'all were professionals and came together and gave her what she needed.


    I tip my helmet to y'all
    Never Forget 9-11-01!!!!!!
    There wasn't just 343, the other 73 rescue workers deserve to be remembered too!!!!

  14. #14
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    Generally, the priorities of each group are slightly different.

    Like Jasper said, The career guys are concerned about pay, pension, etc. We volunteers generally don't have to worry about that but look for different "rewards" (for lack of a better word) that they want to recieve from their department. Maybe it's a department jacket, a Firefighter of the Year plaque at the annual banquet, etc.

    Each group's overall priority is the same though: taking care of our citizens when the have a fire, medical emergency, whatever.

    Let's face it, none of us, paid or volunteer, are getting rich off the fire service. We all do this for more than just money or t-shirts.

    It's the camaraderie and great feeling of helping our fellow man when they need it most.

    This is always the same no matter where you go or what type of department it is.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

  15. #15
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    Smile

    Thank you all so much, I think I have enough to write my essay. I wasn't sure where I was going to go with it before but now I know. You are all right, it has nothing to do with being career or volunteer it is the comraderie and looking out for fellow mankind. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

  16. #16
    Forum Member kghemtp's Avatar
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    Firegal, now don't ya be copying these dozen or so messages as your paper! However, I do think we covered most of it from various angles. Feel free to post your final draft here for us to see! Take care, and good luck. Now get writing!!!
    ~Kevin
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    --^v--^v--^v--^v--
    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

  17. #17
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    Default Both

    A lot of career guys in my area do both, work with one and volunteer their time when they're not working. Getting paid to do something that you would do for free is way cool

  18. #18
    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    looks good so far ............wonder who is gonna mess it up ?
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
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    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
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  19. #19
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Talking And Now........................... ......

    Originally posted by Weruj1
    looks good so far ............wonder who is gonna mess it up ?
    Certainly not me, but how many pages can this one go? You might need a LIGHTBULB before it's over.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    www.gdvfd18.com

  20. #20
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Default 2 cents...

    I think it is pretty safe to say almost all professionals
    had to get their start somewhere. From explorer scouts, to
    being a reserve, Paid Call, volunteer or military- someone had to start somewhere.

    Here are two good sites you might find more information-

    www.firecareers.com
    www.eatstress.com

    Good luck!

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