I just wanted to post one last comment on this issue. While I am aware of all the different circumstances and could comment on all the issues laid out, I really did not comprehend the depth of the feelings everyone had regarding this issue.
With that beginning say, I appreciate everyone’s input and I WOULD LIKED TO APOLOGIZE TO ANYONE I HAVE OFFENDED. After re-reading the numerous opinions, I have discovered that there will never be total agreement when it comes to this topic, so it would be far more productive to try to work together and provide the best service we can to the people we protect.
This all just proves that, no matter how much you think you know, there is always more to learn. Thanks for the comments and once again, I apologize if I offended anyone. That was not my initial intent.
God Bless and stay safe.
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Thread: IAFF Membership
02-03-2005, 10:19 AM #41
- Join Date
- Apr 2003
- Covington, KY
One Last Comment
02-03-2005, 01:21 PM #42
I have discovered that there will never be total agreement when it comes to this topic, so it would be far more productive to try to work together and provide the best service we can to the people we protect.
- Join Date
- Jul 2001
- Not the end of the earth but I can see it from here...
Apology acceptedChief Dwayne LeBlanc
Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
"I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
— C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"
02-03-2005, 04:28 PM #43
I wanted to say one thing about this that just occurred to me. I am in a union (teamsters, not IAFF). if i do decied to try to become a career FF, cool, if not, no biggie.
while the previous aside isn't really relavent, I would like to say this:
As a union man, I have a job. It pays me about $35,000 a year. now I have that job, it's mine, it's what I am getting paid for. however, if I had 6 clients who needed my help at the same time, and someone volunteered to help me, then I would not turn them down. if it was a fellow worker whose shift was over, or just someone who was hanging out on his day off (which happened at my last job quite often), it wouldn't matter. but the last thing I would do is look down my nose at them, or demean them in any way.
to this day, I don't understand the insecurity paid FFs feel when dealing with volunteers. I trained for my FF1 alongside paid guys. I screwed up right next to them, and vice versa. just last week the paid guys had a structure fire in the city, and called several volunteer departments to help. we all put it out. there was no "I'm paid and because your not I'm better than you" or "you paid guys get paid to sit on your *** and watch TV." New Brunswick Fire Department had a big fire, and realized long ago that their neighboring volunteers were an asset, and use them frequently.
the biggest time I have seen problems is when a department is all paid and has nothing to do with their vounteer neighbors, and in a combination department where the paid crew does everything (which results in less volunteer turnout).
maybe i'm young and idealistic. I think all people are good people. who knows, maybe in a few years that will change. Chip, i wish you luck on becoming a chief officer soon.
and btw, most volunteers I know would considering any firefighter as part of the brotherhood, whether paid or volunteer. we both put the fire out using the same water. just food for though.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!
02-04-2005, 03:49 PM #44if I had 6 clients who needed my help at the same time, and someone volunteered to help me, then I would not turn them down. if it was a fellow worker whose shift was over, or just someone who was hanging out on his day off (which happened at my last job quite often), it wouldn't matter. but the last thing I would do is look down my nose at them, or demean them in any way.
But you mention volunteers or off duty personal helping me at my place of work. Not going to happen for several very good reasons.
Firstly if my employer requires more personel there is a mechanism in place by which he can do that. Its called overtime. I I or another of my brothers were to volunteer to stay back and do work for free, then the individual who should have been called in for overtime is going to grieve it, (quite rightly) Which means my union, will have to use my union dues to file a grievance against managment. This is illogical, and in fact my employer would not even dream of allowing it.
Secondly I have no interest in getting assistance from someone who I have no idea to what leve he is trained or what experience. again my employer would not even dream of allowing something like that.
This is not an issue for those of us in larger urban fire depts, and in truth we really don't care if a union brother wants to volunteer in another jurisdiction.Nor do we have a problem with volunteers. We however do attempt to show solodarity with our brethern in smaller and composite fire depts.
While your post may make sense to you in your locale Drparasite, it truely holds no meaning for most of us career firefighters who work in an urban enviroment, indeed many of my brothers will go through their careers without ever having met a volunteer firefighterA'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall
02-12-2005, 10:34 AM #45
- Join Date
- Feb 2003
Just my thoughts...
First, a full disclosure: I am a proud union firefighter in a mostly suburban/rural combination department with a total career strength of about 100 and roughly (very roughly) 100-200 ACTIVE volunteers (as opposed to just being on the rolls). I volunteered for a number of years before being hired. I no longer volunteer for a number of reasons, which are my own.
I don't have a problem with volunteer firefighters as a whole. As has been said, there are many small localities that simply cannot afford a full-time career department. I have met many volunteer firefighters who are at least as "professional" as any career firefighter I know, and I would be proud to work beside them on any incident.
I don't even have a problem with career firefighters volunteering, even if it is in my jurisdiction. Just don't join the union (I live in a right-to-work state). My problem comes when a union "brother" from a neighboring jurisdiction comes and volunteers in the jurisdiction where I work. Even worse, those so-called "brothers" are the strongest voices in the jurisdiction crying, "We don't need paid firefighters!" when the evidence clearly shows otherwise.
There are several career union firefighters volunteering in my locality who attempt to road-block any effort by the career staff to increase staffing levels or improve service. As a result, we are forced to work with two man engines, and we frequently wind up leaving ladder trucks sitting in the station. NFPA 1710 for us is nothing but a wishful thought. I doubt the rabble-rousing is even a concious effort by the volunteers anymore. It's as predictable as clockwork. They have a strong influence with the local government as well. They have a strong tradition of getting whatever they want. This makes our efforts that much harder.
As a result of this action by a few outspoken, incendiary volunteers, our local has been forced into a position antagonistic to the volunteers as a whole. In order to avoid any accusation of hypocrisy, we have had to adopt a bylaw barring volunteerism among our own members, to the unfortunate detriment of a few surrounding volunteer agencies that were a valuable mutual aid resource. We are investigating the possibility of pursuing grievances against these volunteers, however our own membership is torn on the issue.
I relate this story to illustrate my chief point: every situation is different. Some areas have career and volunteer staff that work very well together. Just not mine. There are all-career departments that I would not trust to put out a simple rubbish fire, and there are all-volunteer departments that I would love to have put out a fire in my own home. The unfortunate truth is that the reverse is usually true in my area. Volunteerism is on a slow, steady, tortuous decline. And it's kicking and screaming the entire way. My locality NEEDS full career staffing along with a serious reconsideration of its public safety plans. The volunteers are now accomplishing nothing but getting in the way.
02-13-2005, 06:09 PM #46
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
I am a career and a volunteer.
And right now I'm really glad I don't give a damn what anybody thinks.
02-14-2005, 07:07 PM #47
Plattsfire2, What if it was an issue in your dept? What if your fellow firefighters really didn't want you to volunteer. Would that make a difference to your decision?A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall
02-15-2005, 12:47 PM #48
- Join Date
- Oct 2000
I'm both a career and POC, so here's my take on it.
Chip, I don't see Covington giving up your position and filling it with a volunteer fd. If you are not comfortable with who may be called for mutual aid, train with them, or get the policy changed so you don't have to use them. Call Newport, FDBD, etc. You have a great fire school there, push to get a Mutual Aid class so you can aleviate your fears. There are some good firefighters in those Northern KY depts., and there are some duds. Take a good look and see if you can figure out if all duds are volunteers, and all good firefighters are career. I do not believe that paying dues makes your skills better automatically. The only automatic issue with paying dues is the tax deduction. I do not disagree that you could be surrounded with career departments. There should be alot of tax dollars around you. But, until the people who decide how to spend the dollars choose to buy firefighters, you get what you pay for.
Let me ask you this Chip. If you were outside the city limits of Covington at a gas station. A 20# fire extinguisher is hanging on a post 20 feet from you when a vehicle in the parking lot catches fire. Do you consider that you are in a jurisdiction protected by a union fire dept., and if you take action with the portable extinguisher, you may reduce the local populations perception of need for fire protection, thereby having a negative impact on the union fire dept? Or do you do the right thing, apply your professional expertise and skills and put the fire out?
I see it like this. The career firefighters where I volunteer are always looking for more help. They battle for more people every day, and I support them on that issue. But, when they are faced with an incident that is more than they have the people to handle, I pitch in because I don't want to see one of them killed or injured by their staffing levels. In the 17 years of progressing from all volunteer to the current combination dept, there has been less and less call for volunteers. But occasionally, we just need more people. And if those people are firefighters somewhere else who are willing to contribute to their community, so be it.
02-16-2005, 01:38 PM #49
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
To be honest with you, I do get some guff from certain guys on my paid dept. The thing is, I've watched about half of them start out from rookie status. Beleive it or not, I've never heard a rookie talk down about volunteers. It's usually guys who have been on a while. Which leads me to beleive that they are just repeating what they've heard from past fireman. I've always beleived that if any of them actually gave volunteering a shot, they'd probably enjoy it. But this is just a few isolated incidences in my little corner of the world. (Omaha)
Bottom line is, I really enjoy helping people. That will never change. So anybody who may have a problem with where I help people will just have to get over it.
02-18-2005, 09:37 AM #50
Don't get me wrong, I'm not disagreeing with you, I am just raising a point. If the majority of guys in your Paid Dept had a serious issue with you volunteering would you consider giving it up, or carry on regardless? ( I know for example some unions had trouble with members volunteering in the same jurisdiction, some laid off members felt that this act was preventing them from being hired on a full time basis - just as an example)A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall
02-18-2005, 06:08 PM #51
- Join Date
- Feb 2005
heres my 2 cents worth on the subject. for what its worth:
1 -the dangers of the job are great. paid vol what ever you call your selves. If i was in dangerouos job that killed at least 100 of us during the year. would i risk doing it on my off time.
2- the dangers dont end there the rate of cancer in the fire service is growing. Again i ask if the job i'm doing is a danger not only to me NOW but in the years to come. Di I want to put that to risk doing it in my spare time.
3- The dangers dont stop there. The injury rate amoung firefighter is very very high, If i'm in a job that getting hurt is inevatible woudl I wantt o do it in my spare time.
4- If I'm an employer(town, village,city) and I have salaried employes(Career Firefighters) and I'm paying the medical bills for them do i want them doing this in there off time. Like a basball player cant play basketball or bungee jump or even ride a motoecycle.
so the dertemaination of weather you shoud be both is entirely up to you.
02-18-2005, 08:52 PM #52
- Join Date
- Jan 2004
My Brother !
I would like to express my opininon if it's ok. I agree alot with what chief LaBlan replyed. He seems to be an inteligent and wise man. I am a proffesional firefighter who at one time volyed. Statistics show that aprox. 78% of firefighter deaths are vol. firefighters. The union is a geat thing but the lives that are saved everyday by fireifghters is the real point. We all work VERY hard to keep our communities safe and to feel a sence of pride that we are doing something that benefits man kind. One hour ago I was fighting a stuburn 3 acre brush fire, thankfully I had a fast response from our volunteers and we were able to contain it before it reached homes in the area. Your concern is genuine but please dont forget that these volys are putting there buts on the line right behind us and deserve some respect. As a proffesional firefighter we do have to aquire tons of training and that is a valid point. But I think the question should be, What can we do to better train and equip our volys to avoid loosing another brother (paid or not).For alot of us it may be a voly pulling us out of an inferno. Alot of firefighters enjoy doing something that not everyone can do (macho men). If a man is willing to do it for free, more power to him, I just pray that the training and equipment is in place so that we don't loose any more brothers.
104 Incidents Took The lives Of
American Firefighters In 2004
Career firefighters, those who are employed full-time as firefighters, comprised 29 deaths (27%) in 2004.
Volunteer, seasonal, and part-time firefighters accounted for 78 deaths.
Half of the firefighters that died in 2004 died from traumatic injuries such as asphyxiation, burns, drowning, vehicle crashes, and other physical injuries.
Being a union man is great, Not foregeting that there are brothers loosing there lives, takes presidence over any union or organization.
hope the best for you brother!! Were all family
02-22-2005, 10:30 PM #53
- Join Date
- Jan 2005
This makes me laugh I dont know whats funnier the part about you aint my bro or all of the guff he got about it. I know i dont volunteer where I live I live where I work.The crap about side jobs taking work from "real tradesmen" could easily be turned around. The screams would be loud if I was allowed to go into a factory for a hobby and work for free just to help them stay afloat.The IAFC has fought against measures that would make my career safer. That is how I determine who my bros are and who I can trust.If a mostly career organization put the screws to a mostly volunteer group then how would you feel. 32 F.D.s in my county 3 paid 28 volunteer.
02-23-2005, 07:40 AM #54
[size=large] The horse is dead![/size]"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
02-23-2005, 09:22 AM #55
02-26-2005, 10:25 PM #56
- Join Date
- Oct 2000
As long as you wear NFPA and OSHA approved steel toe boots....
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