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Thread: Combo Fire Dept

  1. #1
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    Question Combo Fire Dept

    Im a full time firefighter on a combo fire dept, In the last 2 years the Vols, of my dept are doing less and less. For example the vols do not get in trouble for not doing their truck checks, they do not clean the station at all, but they do like it to wash their vehcials . They are not even required to ride the engine when we are short staffed (which is most of the summer and weekends).The Chiefs keep giving them more and more,(money)and the paid guys get less credit for the work we do. And we are expected to help with fundraisers on our off time. How as a firefighter can I fix this problem, Please remember Im not anti Vol. but at the same time the paid guys do all the repairs, house work and don't get a thanks. There are special SOPs so when they are here for training the are to take the call and we sit here (duty crew). but they still don't get up for the call. and we take it. What do I DO....
    Last edited by CFDENGINE512; 09-16-2004 at 09:20 AM.


  2. #2
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    I've got the same issue, different angle. The issue boils down to: how do you motivate those that aren't receiving paychecks.

    But that's more of the Chief's problem than yours. If y'all have an officer in the paid ranks, have him or her (note the political correctness ) speak to the Chief about it. We run paid during the weekday 6a-6p, and at shift change at 6p all scheduled volunteers are to be at the station checking the trucks. Cleaning the station is part of the paid crew's job, but I expect everyone to hold their own. Clean up after yourself, take out the trash when the can is full, etc, etc. We had poor communications between the paid officers and volunteer officers, which had to be bridged, so I sat down with all of them and cleared the air. Everyone is on the same side trying to do the same job, and everyone needs to realize that and work together. If the Chief is unwilling to do something, hit up the other officers on the volunteer side and work with them to get things cleared up.

    Another angle is if it's all written down in SOPs, bring that fact up. I've said that several times. Either change what's written or do what's written. But people can't agree that the SOPs need to be written the way they are but no one has to follow them. Leads to bad feelings, rumors, etc, etc. Communication is the key. It's all about respect.

    - Brian

  3. #3
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    IMO, combination fire departments are tricky to do. especially if you don't have clear SOPs for what paid staff do vs. what volunteer staff do.

    the other issue is are the paid staff suplementing the volunteers, or the other way around? and are their clean lines as to who is responsible for what?

    the reason i bring up the former is because with paid staff supplementing volunteers (ie, to boost daytime response), the volunteers are still a huge part of the organization, and will want to give 100%. when it's the other way around, and the paid guys are supplemented by volunteers (ie, the paid guys handle 80% of all calls on their own), the attitude changes to "let the paid guys handle it."
    For example the vols do not get in trouble for not doing their truck checks, they do not clean the station at all, but they do like it to wash their vehcials . They are not even required to ride the engine when we are short staffed (which is most of the summer and weekends).
    do they respond to calls from home, or do they do shift in the station? I'm a volunteer, and this will have a volunteer slant on it, but if you are being paid, making cleaning the house one of your duties during the down time ins't that unreasonable. and the volunteers, who are trying to contribute during their free time might not have the time nor desire to volunteer to clean up. everyone should clean up after themselves, but vacuuming and mopping the station?

    a lot of it boils down to what the rules are. I was in a combination department, where 2 of the paid guys (out of a 3 man crew) would take all the EMS calls in a 2 man rescue. I was even in the station once, and when the tones went out for an EMS call, (which turned out to be a car accident), i ran to the other side of the station (4 bays away), grabbed my gear, and ran back, only to see them pulling out in the heavy rescue. now that really made me feel like a "valuable member of the team." in my volunteer department, that would have never happened (exception being the truck was full with 6 guys).

    are volunteers more needy than paid guys? yeah, they are. as BC79er said, you got to motivate those that doesn't recieve a paycheck to be active. as much as some paid FFs will deny it, they are motivated by the paycheck. and if you ask them, would they do the exact same job, exact same hours, exact same work, for no paycheck? most would say no (although most would continue to do it on a less active basis). the paycheck is an incentive for them to keep doing it day in and day out. volunteers don't have that same incentive. they want to feel like they are part of the team. like they made a difference. or whatever motivates them to be active. and a good leader can motivate them to be active.

    if I was in your position, I would not help with the fundraiser during your off time, unless you were being paid to be there. if they mandate you to do that (without being paid), they are breaking the law.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

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    Thank you for your input, but to help give a better pic of what is goin on, these guys will make popcorn in the machine and leave a trail from one side of the station to the other side. We have guys (most of them )that will be on station and a call will come in and they will stand 2 ft from the truck as it pulls out. I have even asked them if they were coming and the just stand and look at me like im an idot for asking them to do something. We run an engine with no more than 3 people on it the truck has 4 seats too. At the end of the year basic ff will recive a check for 3500 dollars and officers get between 4 and 5 thousand dollars. Im sorry thats a bit much when we run with 2 guys in anengine because we have no money for overtime.

    I have no problem with mopping but when a pile of mud is left by a vol and I have to clean up after them numerous time its BS. Im also a vol. for a dept just west of here and i do the same work there as i do at my full time job. Its just hard to see the difference.

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    Default Paid Vs. Volunteeer

    I have been on both sides of this paid vs. volunteer thing. I have heard many volunteer guys say, leave it for the paid man. I think it is crucial for the department to continue to operate as a single entity. Many times it becomes a career/paid staff with one set of rules and the volunteer ranks with another set of rules. The Chief and officers have to make it clear that the paid members roles are to be regular members of the department with established duties. In the area that I worked, the paid members roles included driving the first due on every call and half of them held company officer level rank. When the volunteer's skills begin to erode from lack of use it can show up at a very crucial time. Training together both formally and informally to develop trust and strong leadership from the chief on down will aleviate most problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CFDENGINE512 View Post
    Thank you for your input, but to help give a better pic of what is goin on, these guys will make popcorn in the machine and leave a trail from one side of the station to the other side. We have guys (most of them )that will be on station and a call will come in and they will stand 2 ft from the truck as it pulls out. I have even asked them if they were coming and the just stand and look at me like im an idot for asking them to do something. We run an engine with no more than 3 people on it the truck has 4 seats too. At the end of the year basic ff will recive a check for 3500 dollars and officers get between 4 and 5 thousand dollars. Im sorry thats a bit much when we run with 2 guys in anengine because we have no money for overtime.

    I have no problem with mopping but when a pile of mud is left by a vol and I have to clean up after them numerous time its BS. Im also a vol. for a dept just west of here and i do the same work there as i do at my full time job. Its just hard to see the difference.
    You must have the only volunteers on the planet who don't want to make runs.

    As for maintenance and clean-up, people should obviously clean up after themselves in general, but if those duties are in your job description, you need to do them. Our volunteers are required to put the engine back in service after a run, but not to do a full point-by-point.

    As to what you can do as a firefighter, the answer is probably nothing. The situations you describe are the responsibility of the Chief. One thing I would suggest is that you make sure that your own conduct is not turning people off. I say this only because, as I noted above, your volunteers must be the only ones in the world who stand back from taking a run. Are you sure that you are treating them as full teammates? If you are, they should do the same.

  7. #7
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    This is an old thread but---

    HERE'S what you do................



    http://www.iaff.org/build/org/how.html

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