the time to quit, or at least the time to reevaluate whether or not you want to a member is when it ceases to be fun, or when your desire to be a member of the department ceases to be there.
I know, I'm going through the same thing right now. instead of quitting, you mght want to try a 4 or 6 month leave of absence, and see what your feelings are after the break. see if your feelings are the same.
First of all ignore the worthless comments of fiNEWBIEre.
Secondly, listen to DrParasite.
I have been a volunteer firefighter for 27 years and the feelings you have are real and true, because I have experienced them myself. I also have been a career firefighter for 13 years. I believe there are 2 major reasons why people want to leave the volunteer fire service, 1) Frustration with either lack of progress or lack of leadership, 2) time constraints due to busier lives.
The first one is a true killer and it is one of my major frustrations. But believe me it isn't only a volunteer problem. It occurs as much on the career side as it does volly.
What can we do to combat that? We as chief officers need to utilize our people to the best of their ability. We need to make them feel valuable and a part of the team. I do that by giving people responsibilty and the authority to carry out the tasks that they seem interested in. I also feel it is my job to prepare my officers to someday take over my position. I don't feel threatened when I see my officers develop skills and confidence, I feel successful in my job.
As for your particualr situation, I think maybe it is time for you to step back a bit and recoup a while. Maybe it is time for you to leave, or maybe this was just a temporary kick in the gut. Only you know that and time will make it easier to decide.
I have several friends on other departments that after many years of service just walked away and never looked back. They knew the time was right. I have also had friends that just stepped back for a while, some taking official leaves of absence and others just meeying the bare minimums of membership requirements. they chose to stay.
Good luck and though this may sound sappy follow your own instincts on what you need to do for your sanity and health.
I'm a little more curious on the rules/bylaws/etc of the Board. Didn't think it would be a legal thing to have outgoing person appoint their replacement.
As for quitting/leaving, it just let's the "good ol boy system" continue to win. Take a break if you need it, but continue the fight.
I say DONT QUIT!!!!!! We need you, sit back and let the poges do the work but damit man you know how hard it is to find a good people?
Did you know with all the fire fighters in the U.S.A. alone 75% of them are vollys? these 75% go out and work a 40 hour or more week come home to get called out to a fire thats right there is cool and being a full time fire fighter and a volly. Donít slash on a person with your holeyer then thow union smut I belong to the same union
Originally posted by fiNEWBIEre
That's just 12 years that a qualified, professional has been with out a job. Of course you should quit, you should not "volunteer" to be someplace you aren't wanted!
You want things to go your way? Become union, we'll make sure you are comfortable in your job.
This is a new world, volunteers just don't cut it any more, I applaud your choice in quitting!
Please stop posting you are giving New Jersey a bad name!
BTW: Where are you in NJ? New Jersey has a very rich history of volunteerism in the fire service with many towns and even cities still 100% volunteer or suplemented with volunteers.
I agree with Bones42, to quit now would let the "good ole boys" win. I would just step back, lay low some, (still make runs) and then get back in the game. I hope it all works out for you. And do make sure and take a look at those by-laws.
NCKSFIRE, This may souond harsh but forgive me. I am in the some boat as you for the last 16 years. What you are doing is being done because YOU want to do it and YOU know it needs done. You are doing these things because you have the respect, dedication, and pride for you dept. Keep you head up don't give the people the satisfaction of quitting. Until things change realize that if things are going to get done do them. I would rather do things myself than have them not get done and make my dept. look bad. Don't go around with the I want thanks attitude or I need to blow my own whistle. Raise hell, be a thorn in peoples side and tell them to kiss you *** if you do something they don't like. If they don't like what you are doing they can help. If they don't help forget them. It took me a few years to realize that this the attitude that I had to develope to survive the b.s. Remember F@#$'em.
NCKSFIRE, Maybe you could approach this gentleman and tell him what your intetnsions would be as a board member. Let him know that you have no plans to raise taxes, that's why you've been writing grants. Tell him what your ideas are for the board. Ask him what he would like to see happen. Praise him on his years of service and dedication. Find out what it would take for you to get on the board some day, even if it doesn't happen now. He may already have someone in mind for the job, but don't go down with out a fight. Good luck.
An outgoing board member does not appoint or hand pick his successor.
The other board members submit a name to the county board. Often times, the county board will not go against the recommendation of the other board of trustee members, but if there is enough public dissent over the selection, the county board will review the candidates and make their selection. Of course, party affiliation might have a little something to do with it, so look at the make up of your county board. If it is controlled by Democrats or by Republicans can make a difference too.
I am speaking of how it works in Illinois. But I would find it unusual if handpicking replacements were allowed anywhere.
We are talking about fire districts; not royalty.
Oh; and we won't be hearing from fiNEWBIEre anymore.
Hang tough there brother! The board may be where the politics are, but the board isn't the Fire Department. The Fire Department is where the rubber meets the road. The Fire Department is who takes care of your community, not the board.
Remember, that as the training officer, you get the opportunity to help mold tomorrow's firefighters. You get to help train the department of the future, the folks that will still be there when us old-timers are retired, or dead and gone. You have an awesome privilege, but also a tremendous responsibility to help "raise" the next generation. Anyone who give the job a Training Officer their best has my respect and best wishes.
Rainbow Lakes Fire Rescue
do whatever you feel is right
Ok, let me get this striaght just so I have clear picture.
1. The Board is not elected by the community. If that is true, how
are they selected and by who. The board member being allowed
to pick his successor sounds awfully fishy to me.
2. The chief went to your employer and told him to pressure you
not to try to get on the board. Well I am not a lawyer but I sure
would bet that is illegal and technically, you could probably
have a basis for a legal action against the chief.
Ok, it sounds like you are up against a brick wall dude.. and the wall is called "fear of change". From what you have said. the board and chief is afraid that someone new will see how they have mismanaged the organization and quite honestly, short-changed the citizens of at least part of the fire district. My advice is hang in there but give up any hope of being on the board as there seems to be a coordinated effort going on to keep ya off.
You might want to think about consulting a lawyer about the chiefs actions... just to let him know that he has to stay within the bounds of legality.
I find it hard to believe the the outgoing commisioner gets to pick his replacement unless you're a privately owened fire company. If the department is run by the town or village, the commisioner would have to be elected. If you want to position, then go for it. You will never have 100% support. Look at all the morons that voted against Bush.
You shouldn't let the opinions of other members of the fire company sway your decision as to whether to continue volunteering or not. You're volunteering for the community, not for the other members.
If they don't appreciate you, then cut back on your duties. Nothing says you have to be so involved.
It tried that and got as much grief as I was getting before.Quote:
instead of quitting, you mght want to try a 4 or 6 month leave of absence, and see what your feelings are after the break. see if your feelings are the same.
Seems I'm not the most popular FF in my disfunctional department and over the last few years have really stirred up a few of the rank and file with some things I've posted here at firehouse.com or said at training. It got so bad that I was seriously in danger of losing my paid firefighter job. So I decided to turn off my pager and let some things cool down. I had alot of personal issues; spouse lost her job, landlord problems, health issues...ect. I was tired and needed a break. It was time to take some personal time off from the volunteering.
Last week, at our department monthly meeting somebody, under new business, one of the firefighters wanted to know why I wasn't running volunteer calls lately. The chief pointed out that in the past 3 months the only calls I had run had been during my 12 hour paid shifts. I was sitting there being told that after being verbally threatened by my fellow FFs on scenes or simply ignored by others I was still expected to get up on my days off and go on calls as a volunteer. I was told by the chief, who had found every opportunity to write me up at work for the most minor infractions so as to have a case built when he was ready to fire me, that the public had come to depend on my services. A paramedic from a private ambulance service that works my district says that he had overheard that I would be fired from my FF/EMT job after Christmas but now the FFs want to know why they should get out of bed to come back me up on calls during my paid shift when I'm 'taking time off' from volunteering. "How would you like to be working one night and get paged out for a house fire and nobody else responds because you turn off your pager and aren't going to back them up on your days off?" Of course there were those who weren't worried about me not being around. "Let the fat F**k stay home. I don't want to be on a call with him anyway."
So we have a membership list of about 30 people but only 12-15 of us are really active and nothing is said to those who have red lights and t-shirts but only show up for the annual x-mas party. We have an Assistant Chief who has not attended a business meeting or run calls in 6 months but nothing was said of that. Yet somehow the fat as*h*le who got tired of feeling like he was Rodney King at a Klan rally and took some time off is the bad guy? I can't win for loosing.
Tonight I ran my first 2 volunteer calls in 3 months. First was a fire alarm. I got a tanker and was canceled enroute due to a false alarm and went back to the station without seeing anyone. Second was a medical call where I arrived POV a couple of minutes before the 2 paid guys got there in the pupmers. I worked the patient along with the 2 paid guys and 2 other volunteers until we handed him off to the private ambulance crew. A couple of the FFs on scene actually talked to me and one didn't say a word but just stood there with his usual angry stare. The hardest part of the call was when one of the FFs who had been causeing me so much tension came up to me and thanked me for finally running a call with them again. It was SO difficult for me not to tell him to GET BENT. Something tells me it's gonna be awhile before I get back to running calls like I used to, if ever.
Ihave to tell you first off it sounds like you were writing about my situation minus the "planning board"..mine is falling under general, I think it is more out of jealousy or a "who does he think he is " attitude from the good ole boys.
I started out in a more aggressive and updating dept. it is what got the urge to do things burning ina member everyone wanted to better the dept. and themselves (after all we are truckies ..wink).
after about 7 years I moved over an hour travel time south(hardest thing i had to do leaving the bros).the new dept. oh sorry its a company were right out of awe shucksville with the good ole boys..(not intented to be malicious to the south just a term)..anyway, I was a 7year vet if you will and saw more fire than any 8 members there combined, so when I saw the laid back and lack of progress I jumped on it as well it is what my crew had always done see it fix it get it done. At any rate without giving you more nightmares of my "companies" issues the bottom line is simple the good ole boys are scared!!!..Maybe not of going to work (and a few are) but of change ..why?..because that means more time a learnin less time hangin..they reject it and they let friendships get in the way of what is truly right cause like change they are affraid they might hurt someones feelings..so its easier to attack repent or push aside the person who is the get it done guy.
Quit!!!!..Iam there brother I can stand it anymore either I sit back and think what the hell am i doing this for....My only advice and it may be wrong right or indifferent but I have really gone over it ..you can try the simple approach as mentioned and take a leave..but that will only clear your head not the dept. 6 months from now they still will be well lets just say rocks in the frozen ground...the other way is to find the next most easy to get to dept. near you and join them..look for one willing to learn but may not have the tools or know how..or an aggressive one..don't quit !!!!!
Why? well if your good ole boys are anything like mine and chances are good they are..when they see the sister dept. or other town getting results from your efforts and they are still the johnnie be goods..you might make a dent in a stone head..if not let them ponder away in it at least you are still what you are and hopefully now appreciated for and recognized for it . The big picture if you stop doing your best..quit ..or become one of the down trotten you lose and they still are deaf dumb and blind.
I am in the same boat as you, I have 13 yrs. in the vol. fire service. I try to keep up with the latest training and to take refresher classes when available. Our chiefs have not had any training in 12-15 yrs.. we have no training programs,old scba's(not dependable), and no preplans, the list goes on and on. I have offered to do some preplans and post the training classes when they become available through our county. Still nothing,I even told our chief that if it were not for the big red trucks down stairs that we could be the Rotary club. I don't think he understood. I have tried to get them to apply for a grant to get some of the equipment needed, and was told that the only way to get a grant was to fill the right pockets. They did put in for a grant a couple years ago for leather boots for everyone, now that is a necessity. Not radios for the interior crews or new scba's, but leather boots? This took place right before elections. I could go on and on, enough is enough.
GOOD LUCK and KEEP YOUR HEAD UP
I know where you're copming from, NCKSFIRE. I was once in a similar boat to the one where you find yourself now. The specifics were different, the circumstances a bit less black-and-white, but the underlying issues - favoritism, organizational inertia and poor leadership - were essentially the same. All I can tell you is what I did and how it turned out.
I dug in, fought the powers that were, ran for offices (and managed to win...barely), tried to convince, cajole, and, on occassion, even threaten, in order to turn people around to new ways of thinking, and basically just tried to be the constant voice of change in the hopes there would be some indication of progress on the horizon. When all that failed, I left. I decided that I'd join a different fire company, and I made it a point to look around for one where the prevailing attitude was better aligned with my view of the fire service and how it should be run. I found one nearby, and I've never regretted the decision to become a "free agent" and look for a new home base in the fire service. Some people seem to feel I've let the community down in some small way by going elsewhere, but the only thing I regret now is not declaring my "free agency" sooner and avoiding all the ridiculousness I went through before I turned in my gear and started over. If I'd stayed there another year or two, I'd be out of the fire service entirely by now. Instead, I'm about as happy as a clam.
Maybe you have this option, maybe you don't...but I think there should be limits to how much anyone should be expected to put up with before they pack up and look for greener pastures.
I stuck around trying to change things in my little dysfunctional department but it was like trying to stop the earth from rotating. After years of not getting anywhere, I was burned out and had ****ed off just about everyone in the department with my bad mouthing their responding drunk to calls without bunker gear, never holding or attending training and not participating in mutual aid drills or meetings so when something big happens we have no established way of getting additional manpower should we need more than the usual 8-10 people who usually did most of the calls. They bitched about me being the only active EMT in the department and my turning off my pager for a couple of months when I felt I needed time off from volunteering. So they finally got together at a monthly business meeting and voted to expell me. No problem. I turned in my O2 tank and other medical supplies I was issued along with my radio and pager and bid them farewell. When it stops being fun or you don't feel like you are making a difference it's time to quit.
Now, when there's a fire or they are doing CPR on someone, I'm just another face in the crowd standing there looking and talking on the cellphone or taking pictures.
While I am sorry to hear you left your department I certainly understand why you did. You may differing points of view than the rest I dont doubt your dedication to the place. You have shared many stories with us and you may have made a descion that may have saved your life.
Hey I read all the replys and I have figured out a route to our dilemmas.
How about we all put our homes for sale find a town in rural New Mexico or Arizona and start our own Dept. cause between us it would run like a fine oiled machine.
Or better yet organize as a federal unit that is flown into troubled vollies by homeland security wink.
As far as the issue with radio or gear purchasing a little insider to make them fold ..mention it on record that it is a life safety issue and even though your a vollie you are considered an employee under any town via NFPA and OSHA.. also and this dependson states but in most cases if you can the dept. to back you of course..if you go to a meeting with the town and all resign by law they have 2 weeks to fill the dept. or mandatory hire or go paid..best part you get first pick for town resident and qualifications. I had to do that in my first dept. which was awsome but the town didn't want to buy us a new tower..when we all tossed our pagers on a table at a town meeting they had a bond the next day for 500K AND WE GOT THE NEW 102' SIMON DUPLEX 2000 GPM
I believe a certain person stated she already did tried that, and didn't meet with super results...... ;)Quote:
Originally posted by BigShow3840
How about we all put our homes for sale find a town in rural New Mexico or Arizona and start our own Dept. cause between us it would run like a fine oiled machine.
What's all this talk about quitting? Giving up; throwing in the towel?
The only reason that you don't enjoy it right now is because your department needs fixed. You don't give it up; you change it.
Many here have very similar stories to tell. I can tell you mine in one sentence; I went from a new member that the good ole boys hated to chief of the department and now to president of the fire district's board of trustees.
How did I do it? One firefighter at a time. The trustees at the time were appointed and they were the top three of the good ole boys. When I got on the department, there were 25 members. I was the ONLY one who was NOT a good ole boy, nor did I want to be. Hell; at one time, the trustees wanted my head on a platter, because I was instructed by the chief at the time to send letters to some of the good ole boys telling them if they didn't start coming to meetings/training, they would be considered to have resigned. And believe it or not, that's where it all started for our department. Seven good ole boys resigned and seven new guys got on. I started working with them; got them to thinking like me; got them into training classes and they became the core group that would dramatically change the department. When I made chief, the trustees at the time told me that they were thinking about appointing someone else, but they'd see how it goes. At that point, I knew if I didn't do something about them, I wouldn't last long and the department would regress. So we started a petition drive to have the trustees elected rather than appointed. It was put on the ballot and passed overwhelmingly. Then the election was held. None of the trustees ran for office. Boom! We got three new trustees; just like that. And things started to get a whole lot better. And when I stepped down as chief so I could run for trustee, it was the last phase of a plan that had started 20 years earlier. A friend of mine just went through the same thing. They will elect their trustees in the fall.
It's all about getting everyone on the same page. When you put everything on the table, you find out very quickly that many feel and think the same thing; they just don't like to say it. But when you put the plan together and it calls for drastic change, you have to follow through or it will be worse than it was.
So, if you decide to stay and fight for change, stay focused and don't stop short of your goal. See it through. It will be well worth it.
Giving up is giving in to a system that has outlived its usefullness.
Best of luck in any regard.
Talk about hitting the nail squarely on the head.Quote:
Originally posted by FyredUp
Frustration with either lack of progress or lack of leadership,
Nothing like having Chief officers who think they are leaders when in fact they micromanage things.
In my department it's not about you're skills/qualifications, it's all about who you are and if the Chief officers like you.
We have a guy with qualifications & knowledge/skills on our department greater than 90% of the officers, but since the Chief officers do not like him he is shunned and ignored.
It's time to quit when you start feeling like...