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  1. #1
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    Question BIG vs small Departments ?????

    Im originally from a very big city, now that I have moved to a rural area in another state I have joined the fire service and have been involved for aprox. 5 years. I feel that I may be missing out on allot due to it being a small vol/paid dept. I know that I get allot of hands on and fast experience to due to man power shortage, but the room for advancement, speacialized teams, and etc are not in the near future. What is your opinion on staying with small dept. or moving to bigger city dept. I consider myself to be a good firefighter with lots of training and credentials and take my job VERY serious. Don't want to loose out on what could of been

    Current Assigment: 12 Stations / 1 paid station (1 capt. 1 firefighter per shift)aprox 90 volys. Decent pay and benefits, good training, no honor guard, no official technical rescue, no entry phiscal agility test and the possibility for growth exsits in a distant future.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber prymtym's Avatar
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    Question

    I know a few guys in your (near) excact situation, department wise. They are always talking about walking on egg shells and feeling like they are one election or one scandal away from losing their jobs. I read the +/- reguarding your current job... What about the job you are "Missing out" on? What are they?
    I was going to say that you are lucky to have the job you have, but luck has nothing to do with it. You earned it. Maybe the grass is not always greener.
    Still, I wish I had your problems, but I think I'd like the problems of a "Big city" firefighter even more.

    Good luck!
    KC
    "PHILIPPEANS 4:13"

  3. #3
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    Smile Thanks

    Thank you for the reply. I agree with you and am very thankful to be paid for the field of work that I love, and yes I worked very hard to obtain the job. In refrence to whats missing, here are a few examples of my concerns: Having the ability to know that you can work towards a certain position (rank). Having a firm foundation and accountibility for good and bad work. The ability to obtain and work in speacialized fields (RIT-Tech Rescue- Water Rescue. Have a sound retirement.Having a crew to have dinner with instead of just one guy. I want to experience everything the fire service has to offer and dont know what I will mis by staying with small dept. It is a good dept. and Im proud to be in it. I know the greass is not greener on the other side, but where it is watered and nurtured!

  4. #4
    former FH.com member
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    Default

    Go big, you won't regret it.

  5. #5
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    " Go big, you won't regret it."

    Truer words were never spoken. I worked for a little FD, now I work for a big one- best move I ever made. I could go on for hours about the benefits of working for a larger agency. There are countless opportunites and far more suppression work.

  6. #6
    IACOJ Agitator Adze39's Avatar
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    I work for a department with currently 140-150 guys in the union roster and we're understaffed but still have a big union. I wouldn't want to work for a department where I felt I could lose my job at anytime. I also like the possibilities of progressing my positon/pay to driver, officer, mechanic, fire marshall, etc.
    IACOJ Agitator
    Fightin' Da Man Since '78!

  7. #7
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    Default

    more important to me than big or little is working for a department where you feel invested in the community. i love the city/neighborhood i live/work in. that said, i understand guys who like living in rural areas or even the (i shudder to think) suburbs. I do, however, think being a firefighter is about more than fighting fire. I still believe in the ideal of it. Part of that ideal is being a positive part of your community, at work and home. So first decide where you want to live, then you'll know where you should work.

    p.s. - (bigger really is more fun, though.)

  8. #8
    Forum Member Smoke20286's Avatar
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    There is certainly more room for advancement in a large Dept. Plus a lot more people to work with, and for the most part a larger variety of calls. Larger Depts tend to have a reputation (deserved or not) of being more professional
    A'int No Rocket Scientist's in The Firehall

  9. #9
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    Default THANKS for the advise

    I have been giving this issue allot of thought for aprox 2 years. I think that I will take everyones advise. I got a call from a department this morning that I put an app in 2 weeks ago for and they advised that the chief wanted to set up an interview with me, I accepted and will go in March and test my fate. It is a mid size department in Atlanta. I have visited the department before applying and was impressed by the apperatus and the personell looked very proffesional. I have asked around and people say it is a great dept. Thanks for all the help, sometimes an outside voice from an unknown brother can really motivate!!!






    Go big, you won't regret it. (Words to live by)

  10. #10
    Forum Member cellblock's Avatar
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    I work for a small FD. The best part about being the only person working during a 12 hour shift? No fighting over the TV remote. If I want to watch Stargate SG-1 then the TV is going to be on Stargate SG-1. If I want to watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy then that's what is going to be watched.
    About once a week I have a partimer who comes in for a 12 hour shift and I have to be courtious and share the TV but when he goes to sleep I get the remote and the TV is all mine. (Note-parttimers are allowed to sleep on night shift since they often have "real jobs" to go to the next day. Fulltimers like me can't sleep so after my chores are done I'm channel surfing all night.)

  11. #11
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    I work for a very small, unionized department. Being on a small dept. has its advantages. More diversity in assignments, ie: being able to do engine, truck and squad work. Being able to go to school without having to jump through a million hoops. My personal opinion is that around here in Southern Cook County, we need to start combining departments. The staffing is too low and the fire duty is well above average. Big dosent always mean better. I know of many large departments that dont have the wages and benefits I have. You will have to see what works best for you.
    IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

  12. #12
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    Default Smaller Departments

    I work for a department that is combination career/volunteer. We are in a rapidly growing area, and for the most part...those of us that are career have grown up in the area that we are employed. There are several large department near by that we could work for, but it is a good feeling to work on your own home turf. We run an everage of 6000 calls a year, and have very nice equipment and working conditions. There are 5 of us on a shift, and generally have a good relationship with the volunteers. I can see the benefits of working for a larger department, but every individual has to make a decision about what is best for them.

  13. #13
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    I'm employeed by a volunteer department in an area that although is out of places to build - Newer housing developments "Pop-up" monthly. Houses here range from $290,000.00 up to $850,000.00 with the average price in the mid $300,000.00 range

    We have 5 fulltime Firefighter/EMT's - 2 per shift from 6am to 6pm 4 day on / off schedule and me Monday to Friday 4p-12a - Main responsibility is BLS but we do staff the apparatus much to the disagreement of the volunteers.

    Like CELLBLOCK The nice thing about being alone is the TV but I spend most of my night cleaning up after the volunteer members of the company that TV is sometimes un-herd of. - On the downside we have no chance for advancement and like one other posting we could always be one election or scandal away from being fired.

    Unions are popping up through out our county....There 21 independent companies with career staff - two of which have unionized but no details are available as to what lead to the formation.

    I've often pondered working for a larger department....I love my job now but I'm sure there is always room for improvement.

  14. #14
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    Talking Thanks

    BD6413 I am not to far from your predicament. I also agree there is some strong points to being small. I think you hit it when you said "I've often pondered working for a larger department". I want to check it out while I have the opertunity. I will make sure to repost the outcome of my eperience. I have that interview and have been contacted by other depts, if I get the oppertunity at one I will make sure to let everyone know, I think there are alot of firefighters in our situation.....

  15. #15
    Junior Member
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    Question

    What do you consider big/small?

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber resqcapt's Avatar
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    Cool

    Go big bro! I wanted to but waited too late and got used to the above-average pay and just plain got older. My advice to all young guys, go big while you're young. I regret it every day, don't be like me.

    Later,
    Steve
    IAFF Local 2665
    "Leather Forever"
    FTM-PTB-EGH-RFB

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