1. #1
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    Default career vs. volunteer

    I'm currently looking for information on how switching from a career FD to a volunteer FD affects a city (economically, socially, insurance costs, etc). any assistance would be appreciated...

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    ROFLMAO! Oh dude, why don't you just ask who believes in God and which religion is best????
    "The more we sweat in training, the less we bleed in battle."

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    My county just went from all volunteer to a combination system , has left a bad taste in a lot of volunteers mouths for theres things the deputy chief has done horribly wrong. But the greatest ting is he mainly hired alot of the volunteers that applied and were qualified.

    The county is very happy about it , better response times , for a while alot of community memebers bitching about response times saying its not the volunteers fault its the systems fault. Theres times where they'll have to triple tone just for a vehicle accident.

    I was on one of the busiest departments in the county around 100 calls a month more or less at times but always around 85 - 130 . And i transfered to the second busiest and moved right behind it , well i stop in my other department from time to time and theyve gone down from 26 members down to 14 and 4 are leaveing because they were just hired by the county from that one department , so theyre going to have a very tuff time getting response out of that station.

    I dont know if this is anything your looking for but I figured I'd type away.
    " We are not extraordinary people , we are people caught in extraordinary situations. " Chapter 1 IFSTA Manual

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    Also career is better all around , volunteer people do not have the training at all times , people have jobs and families and firefighting is more of a hobbie than a job. I do not look down on volunteer departments because I am one , but its just a lack of things from people at times.
    " We are not extraordinary people , we are people caught in extraordinary situations. " Chapter 1 IFSTA Manual

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    Originally posted by mcleoud151
    ROFLMAO! Oh dude, why don't you just ask who believes in God and which religion is best????
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Originally posted by firepimp
    Also career is better all around , volunteer people do not have the training at all times , people have jobs and families and firefighting is more of a hobbie than a job. I do not look down on volunteer departments because I am one , but its just a lack of things from people at times.
    Well that just depends on the departmnet. There are many volunteer departments that train a heck of a lot more then the average career departments. There are career departments who's training sucks compared to the average volly department. A department that has a training night of four hours a week trains as much or more then the average career department that has one hour a duty day set aside for training.
    Be for Peace, but don't be for the Enemy!
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Two things........

    Also career is better all around , volunteer people do not have the training at all times , people have jobs and families and firefighting is more of a hobbie than a job.
    With a subject like this, how did I guess it would come to a statement like that?!

    Secondly, this 1 post guy is looking for info on the opposite of most places... unless it is worded wrong the question was regarding going from career to volunteer. Not very familiar with that arrangement or how it would happen but somebody saw a reason to ask.

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    Originally posted by DennisTheMenace
    Well that just depends on the departmnet. There are many volunteer departments that train a heck of a lot more then the average career departments. There are career departments who's training sucks compared to the average volly department. A department that has a training night of four hours a week trains as much or more then the average career department that has one hour a duty day set aside for training.
    very true I guess in my neck of the woods people are just lax , we do alot of training and alot of drills and such I thik its great , but its so hard to get people to show alot of times , and alot of theyre responses at times are what if I dont show what are they gonna do " dock my pay " " fire me ??" cause I guess theyre to that point of been doing it so long and not caring anyways lets get back on track and give this guy some info he can use.
    " We are not extraordinary people , we are people caught in extraordinary situations. " Chapter 1 IFSTA Manual

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    Default Re: career vs. volunteer

    Originally posted by PTBlaw
    I'm currently looking for information on how switching from a career FD to a volunteer FD affects a city (economically, socially, insurance costs, etc). any assistance would be appreciated...
    Never heard of that actually happening anywhere.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    me neither.
    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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    That makes three of us...

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    Default Re: career vs. volunteer

    Originally posted by PTBlaw
    I'm currently looking for information on how switching from a career FD to a volunteer FD affects a city (economically, socially, insurance costs, etc). any assistance would be appreciated...
    Talk to fieldseng2.. their department is fighting something like that right now. It really seems backasswards to go from Career to Volunteer. Typically if the area is big/busy enough to constitute a full-time career department, switching to a 100% volly would probably create major issues.

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    I would like to request this thread close before this gets completely out of hand.

    For the record, all of the animosity of career firefighters towards the vollies is because of situations like this. Cities see the inexpense of volly dept's in neighboring communities, and figure why not save X millions of dollars a year, and career goes volly. Will it work? Maybe, maybe not. If it doesn't, what is this community left with? If it does, then sobeit. But how many brothers would lose their jobs?

    If you want the issues, you ought to research the logistics of this new volly department (who would be in charge, how would he/she be elected to craft this dept), the effect on the ISO ratings of the town and hence, the spikes in homeowners' taxes, the interest from potential vols, and what would happen to response times, training, and services provided.

    One is no better than the other, except to the brothers losing their jobs

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    I have heard of towns dropping their 2-6 paid guys from a psudo-combo department, but never switch to a volunteer department from a fully minimally staffed career department. Well they might have done that in Chernobol.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    [QUOTE]
    If you want the issues, you ought to research the logistics of this new volly department (who would be in charge, how would he/she be elected to craft this dept), the effect on the ISO ratings of the town and hence, the spikes in homeowners' taxes, the interest from potential vols, and what would happen to response times, training, and services provided.
    QUOTE]

    I am a law student doing research for a paper and figured it would be best to start gaining information straight from the horse's mouth (mainly firefighters themselves). it's a strange situation for communities to switch from career to volunteer but it does happen. How would I start finding the effect on the ISO ratings of the town and the spikes in homeowners' taxes, etc. from your quote above?

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    HANG ON, SIT DOWN, BUCKLE UP and GO FOR A RIDE !
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    Every Sssssssssshhhhhhhhhhh hes a lawyer . Damn I knew it was a trap.
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    Talk to fieldseng2.. their department is fighting something like that right now. It really seems backasswards to go from Career to Volunteer. Typically if the area is big/busy enough to constitute a full-time career department, switching to a 100% volly would probably create major issues


    As soon as I saw this post I thought to myself......"SELF....this has got to be someone from my city administation.......lol"



    I don't know if this person is serious, joking, or what. But, no offense to volunteers anywhere....I was one for 6 years. In this part of the country it is not common for volunteers to man stations around the clock...they usually respond from home. Taking that in consideration, no one can argue that response times would be delayed versus a staffed firehouse.


    PTBlaw.....these are the compromises you have to be willing to sell to your community if you are considering this:

    1) A possibility of higher property damage due to the delay in response, 2in/2out, and the vital operations that MUST be done simulataneously at any fire.

    2) Decreases the chances of survival if a victim is trapped in a structure for the same variables listed in #1

    3) Increases risk of firefighter injuries/deaths. Fewer personnel on the scene would mean those on the scene have double or triple the responsibilities. More stress, quicker fatigue, and the possibilty of someone taking a greater risk than necessary. (read #1)

    4) If you provide EMS...this could decrease the chances of patient survival during a stroke, heart attack, OD, or any other life and death medical emergency.

    #3 could very likely take a big bite out of the community's check book due to the possibilty you could be liable for doing this in the 1st place.

    I don't have the numbers, but insurance rates would most likely increase, if you are a public official...you better pay attention to public opinion....I would think very few communities that have a paid dept. would appreciate you getting rid of a manned firehouse and implementing volunteers....as a tax payer and registered voter in my city... I will definately remember you come election time.

    My city is growing/developing like crazy....demands for service keep going up..and there are no signs of it slowing down..I don't understand why my city officials are considering this.

    If money is an issue..I suggest working with your firefighters. Ask them what could be done to 'supplement resources' without compromising their safety or the public. Alternative sources of revenue might be something you want to explore.

    No matter how you look at it...going from an all paid force to volunteers ....is a reduction in the level of proection you provide to the community...this has nothing to do with the professionalism of the volunteers ...Unless you find fully trained,fit for duty personnel to man the firehouses for free 24hrs/day....this is just an all around bad idea that is doomed to fail and may come back to bite you later.



    fieldseng2
    Last edited by fieldseng2; 03-10-2005 at 03:47 PM.

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    Would be curious if the original poster could mention a few places where this has happened in the past, as I have never heard of it happening either.

    Guess we gots a foursome now .. who's teeing off first ?

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    I have a question...other than saving money at the expense of public safety..

    Why would a community want to do this in the first place?


    PTBlaw..I would be curious to your findings...I'd appreciate it if you could email what you findout...


    fieldseng2

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    Default Candidates interviewed for fire district task force [Salem, OH]

    Fire task force sees few full-time spots
    BY RYAN GILLIS Journal Staff Writer

    SALEM - The proposed joint fire district could be manned by as many as 40
    trained firefighters, only two or three of those will be full-time employees.

    At the first meeting of the task force commissioned to develop a working plan for the joint fire district, Chairman Greg Oesch said he would recommend at least two full-time positions, a chief and a fire inspector, and possibly a third administrator to assist when those individuals are not available.

    Oesch said council had envisioned a department serving the fire district consisting of 35 to 40 men. However, the exact number and how those men would be paid has yet to be determined by the task force.

    One possibility is that firefighting personnel be paid as part-time employees of the fire district. Another is that they would be paid each time they respond to an emergency.

    Currently, the Salem Fire Department is staffed by 16 full-time employees. Members of the Perry Township Volunteer Fire Department are paid each time they respond to an emergency.

    The board which would be established to govern the fire district would also be assisted by a paid, appointed clerk. Oesch said some research needs to be done to determine how the clerk is paid, suggesting the salary could be set based on the budget established for the fire district.

    While the task force was established to develop a working model and examine the feasibility of the joint fire district, Oesch said the final decision on how the department is manned and how those employees are paid will be determined by the fire district board.

    Task force members placed a high priority on determining the personnel structure and costs, followed by the district's insurance and other fixed costs.

    The city has pledged $400,000 annually toward the fire district's operation and an additional $200,000 for the first three years to cover start-up costs. Those township's current fire levies would also fund annual operations.

    Those levies include two continuous levies generating a combined $44,000 annually and a five-year safety levy which is divided between the township's police and fire departments. Perry Clerk Susan Johnston, who also serves as the task force secretary, said the fire department's share of that levy is about $58,000 annually.

    Johnston added that levy is currently in the first year of collection since approval.

    The fire district board has the authority to place tax levies before voters if the money contributed by both entities is insufficient to cover the new department's costs. They do not, however, have the ability to impose taxes.

    Oesch also said the goal of the task force was to develop a working plan that did not require funding from additional levies. "We are going to work with the dollars that are available," he said.

    One question for the task force to consider is establishing the fire district department as its own entity or integrating it with the two existing fire departments. Oesch said council has envisioned the fire district department as a totally new entity.

    "It will become an entity of its own, and I think the intention right now of city council is that everybody will be able to apply for jobs, but there will be no integration," he said.

    The task force also reviewed inventory lists from the city and township departments. Members have proposed an arrangement where equipment, including vehicles and turn-out equipment, and facilities will be leased to the fire district for a small fee.

    The task force will meet Sunday to tour the buildings and examine the equipment of both departments. Committee member Frank Zamarelli will be calling the chiefs of both the Cardinal Fire District, located in Canfield, and the Western Reserve Fire District, in Poland, to arrange tours.

    John Reid will begin research into Insurance Services Offices (ISO) ratings, which are used to determine insurance rates for property owners. Phillip Suarez suggested it would benefit the committee to know what the fire district's ISO rating would be before presenting the plan to council and trustees.

    The lower the number the better for ISO ratings, and currently, the city's ISO rating is 5, while the township's is 6. Oesch said the Cardinal Fire District's ISO rating is 4.

    HOPEFULLY WHAT THEY WILL REALIZE WHEN THEY TOUR THESE OTHER FIRE DISTRICTS THAT DO NOT HAVE PERSONAL AT THE STATION IS THAT THEY HAVE ALL THE "TOYS" AND SAY THAT THEY HAVE GREAT RESPONSE TIMES, BUT WHAT THEY DON'T SAY IS THAT THEY BASE THE TIMES ON THE PD BEING FIRST ON SCENE, ONE PERSON BEING ON SCENE OR An ENGINE WITH PERSONAL WITH NO EXPERIENCE, ITS GREAT TO SAY THAT YOUR ON SCENE 83 PERCENT ON THE TIME WITHIN SIX MINUTES, BUT IT IS NO GOOD IF IF ITS ONLY ONE PERSON OR THREE WITH NO EXPERIENCE, AND WHAT THEY LEAVE OUT IS WHAT THE H--- HAPPENS TO THE PERSON WHO NEEDS HELP THE OTHER 17 PERCENT OF THE TIME THAT THE DEPARTMENT TAKES LONGER THAN SIX MINUTES.
    Last edited by searching247; 03-10-2005 at 11:13 PM.

  22. #22
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    Smile The View From Here...............

    FIRST, Thank you to all who have posted, and, in doing so, kept this from evolving into a "One group bashing the other" type of situation. That we can discuss, without bashing, speaks highly of those who post here. Are there areas where Volunteers can replace Career Firefighters? Yes, I think there are. Would I recommend such a move? Absolutely not. I think the main point here, is to understand that the public at large is always interested in money, but rarely interested in apparatus staffing issues, until the Fire is at their house. We, Too, should be very interested in Cost Effective Service Delivery. There are several ways to have a Cost Efficient Fire/Rescue/EMS Operation. One thing to do is work at getting everyone on board with the idea of taking on as much work as you can do with your organization. If you don't do EMS, Start. Who does your community call for a tree blocking the street in a storm? Take on that role as well. Do you pump out flooded basements? Why not? Take on the responsibility of being the "One stop shopping" Organization. Make your current operation into the "Emergency Services Department" for your jurisdiction, and sell, sell, sell. No Community can do this with 2 people on an Engine, but, those who are proactive like this tend to have 5 and 6 on each piece. There is no reason that a FD that has poor career staffing should continue with it. Get Volunteers. A Combination Department tends to have the best of both worlds, Better conditions for Career members, and Volunteers to ensure staffing levels that others dream about. If your Department isn't already the best that it can be, Do something. Now. Let me leave you with this:

    Town 1. Storm rolls thru, wind blows a tree down blocking the street, FD responds right away, with 2 Career and 3 Vol. FFs, tree is cleared to restore traffic quickly. A few minutes later a house Fire is reported, and away they go, 5 on the piece.

    Town 2. Same Scenario, FD Dispatcher tells caller "We don't do trees"
    2 Career FFs continue to sit in station. House Fire comes in, off they go, 2 on the Engine.

    Note that both Towns have 2 Career FFs at the station, both have the same salaries, benefits, costs, etc. In essence, both have similar budgets. Town 2 just paid overtime for Street Department crews to go do the tree thing. Town 2's citizens are griping that the street was blocked for 2 hours. The resident who had the Fire is mad because 2 guys showed up and stood outside, waiting for 2 more to show up for a backup. I think you see where I'm going with this.

    I'll tell you real quick, I'd live in Town 1. Crime, Schools, etc, I could care less, Just as long as when I call 911, the problem gets fixed quickly.
    Last edited by hwoods; 03-11-2005 at 07:23 PM.
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    Also career is better all around , volunteer people do not have the training at all times
    Am I missing something or did he just diss himself????

    Never heard of a department going from career to volunteer....Most of times it is usually the other way..
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    taking all bets.....how many replies does this thread get....closest bet gets ummm.....my dirty sock and some dog food (a dead horse ground up into little pieces)

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    Perhaps one of the PG County, Maryland boys or girls could help out on my point. It is on a smaller scale, but hasn't PG 'removed' the paid personnel from stations before? I could be wrong, but I believe I heard it trumpeted about before.
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