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View Poll Results: Should paid full time FF's ever join a volunteer department?

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  • Yes, they are an asset to volunteer departments and should be allowed to join!

    106 83.46%
  • No, the IAFF is your union, listen to them and stay paid only!

    21 16.54%
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  1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber Farmun's Avatar
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    Default Full Time and for free?

    I am a professional firefighter with 5 years of paychecks under my belt. However, I started out as a volly and...

    I just joined the local volunteer department. Yes, I am an IAFF member. Yes I know the IAFF frowns upon profesional FF's volunteering.

    My feelings: there is no way possible that every FD in the county can become paid. Some localities (such as the one I joined) have no chance of ever being able to afford full-timers. What do you guys/gals think?


  2. #2
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    Imho, full timers should be able to volunteer, if for no other reason than it is their free time, and they should be able to use their time as they want. Many career people start as vollies, and it would be too bad for the volunteer fire service to lose a member every time he/she started getting a paycheck.

    My .02
    There goes the neighborhood.

  3. #3
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    I am a volunteer and have an application in trying to get paid at a different department. If I get lucky enough to get on as a career ff, I will still stay on as a volunteer at my local department. I think paid guys should have the right to choose. Even if they don't run alot of the calls, the knowledge and experience gained from running countless calls is priceless when that information is passed on to the vollies that may only see a couple hundred calls a year.

  4. #4
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    Dearest Farmun,

    Just be careful out there while you volunteer. Our pensions only pays for 2.5% of salary per year for off duty full disability. This is versus 60% minimum, tax free, for a work related. The only cash you will get is the 2.5% from the pension fund. That is due to the fact that the city, our employer does not pay normal disability to the state. It is paid to our pension fund. Just a little something to think about.

    Your brother.

    P.S. So what buggy are you going to get.

  5. #5
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    Exclamation None Of The Above

    I DON”T CARE!

    Here’s another tidbit, the IAFF doesn’t care what “non-members” think either.
    Why bring this crap here?

  6. #6
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    Default Minor rant

    Total BS. Talk about crap. Why does it seem that when we add a paycheck, and union dues, that we must also close our minds? Of course, I am just a lowly non-member, almost not even cool enough to hang around with, so I'm pretty sure noone cares what I think about this subject either.
    There goes the neighborhood.

  7. #7
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    I am a Career Firefighter / EMT as well as a Volunteer in another state diffrent from where I work. I started as a Volunteer 18 years ago and have utilized the knowledge I gained as a Volunteer to get where I am Today.

    Basically I haven't forgotten where I came from. -- Now I'm not as active of a Volunteer as I probably should be but with my little guy starting school this week I'll be able to handle the day calls {I'm assigned to Night Tour 6p-6a} So being home during the day is a bonus especially to my company. -- I'm not an IAFF Member as are 19 out of 21 Houses in my career area {They too are Volunteer Companies with Supplimental Career Staffing} So I'm not versed with IAFF "Rules" I just do what I enjoy doing both for a living and for a career. -- It makes no sense for Career Personnel not to be volunteers if they so choose

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexfd5
    Dearest Farmun,

    Just be careful out there while you volunteer. Our pensions only pays for 2.5% of salary per year for off duty full disability. This is versus 60% minimum, tax free, for a work related. The only cash you will get is the 2.5% from the pension fund. That is due to the fact that the city, our employer does not pay normal disability to the state. It is paid to our pension fund. Just a little something to think about.

    Your brother.

    P.S. So what buggy are you going to get.
    Not true in NJ. There was legislation passed several years ago that allows for full LODD benefits for career members killed while operating as volunteer.

  9. #9
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    All (9) of the Career Firfighters I know got their start as Volunteers.

    If they had not been Volunteers I do not believe they would have had the qualifications to get on their respective departments or at the very least done as well as they did on their entry exams. Most of them will tell you this!!!

    I also know for a fact that our Volunteer department provides them with a greater opportunity to attend some of the more "Glamerous" training programs which are offered outside of the fire academy programs. Ie Firehouse Expo, National Fire Academy, Seminars hosted by area Departments as fund raisers, and other Fire Service conferences and programs.

  10. #10
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    George,

    What might be true in NJ may not be true in many other states. I am not speaking of LODD, but rather total disability. I am certain that I could not support my family on 20% of my current salary (for that matter it is kinda tight on 100%, but that is another issue.) Each person has to determine what the disability laws are. For our employer 1% disability is enough to cost someone their job. Sounds crazy but it is true.
    I'm not saying they should not volunteer, but atleast look at the risk versus benefit if something bad were to happen.
    Like many others I started as a volunteer. It was a great base of skills to help me into the career I am in now.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber lenny91's Avatar
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    Default

    I'd love to have a full time FF on our dept. We have a full time paramedic that joined our ambulance squad and he has been a real asset.

  12. #12
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    Lexfd5;

    Volunteer members in the department I belong to are covered under State mandated workmans compensation.

    Because several of the members of my department have well paying jobs as well as the varying lifstyles associated with this, the department through its fundraisers has purchased supplimental coverage for the workmans comp policies.

    The last firefighter to go on workmans comp (Broken Leg) collected $1,640 a week TAX FREE!!!!!!

    I thought for sure we would have had more guys "taking the flop" after that one but it hasn't happened.

    Protecting our people and families should be our 1st priority!!!!

  13. #13
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    We are all volunteer, and are also covered by workers comp. I always wonder if I get hurt on the fire ground, what will they base my wage benefit on. We do not get paid by the fire department at all, and the comp provider says they'll use our regular job pay to figure our benefit. I am a bit skeptical of this claim as it does not say it in our policy, and the company says they won't write it that way, but that this is the state rule. The good part is that noone has had to try it so far.
    There goes the neighborhood.

  14. #14
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    Default Union should allow volunteers

    I am a volunteer firefighter/emt in FL. I have been a vollie for over 15 years now and also serve in the USAF, hence the reason I have not gone paid.
    A few years back I sent a email to the Union asking about why they didn't allow vollies in there and how much more beneficial it would be, both by dues paid in and number of voters when it came time to vote in local, state and federal elections. Have a fire union with one giant voice by all accounts would get whatever the firefighters paid/volunteer what we needed to get out job done and safely.
    Well, lets say the letter I can back from the President, wasn't exactly encouraging and basically told me to shove it.
    Why does the Union not see the benefits, the NVFC has and they get stuff done. Imagine one union, one voice.

    Lt Chuck

    PS Letter unpon request can be forwarded.

  15. #15
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    rossco, If you get injured on the job you are covered based upon your total wages. They do a look back to all your employers for the previous year and make the avg from that. Maine treats you pretty good for WC (BTDT many, many, many times )
    27 years and still having a great time in the back of the truck :-)

  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber jthomas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lexfd5
    Dearest Farmun,
    Just be careful out there while you volunteer. Our pensions only pays for 2.5% of salary per year for off duty full disability. This is versus 60% minimum, tax free, for a work related. The only cash you will get is the 2.5% from the pension fund. That is due to the fact that the city, our employer does not pay normal disability to the state. It is paid to our pension fund. Just a little something to think about.
    Your brother.
    P.S. So what buggy are you going to get.
    That's what I call double-dipping! You get workers comp AND a portion of your pension? If I get hurt while a vollie, I get NOTHING from the paid job, unless I PURCHASED additional disability insurance. I guess that's one of the drawbacks of living in the "real world" outside the civil service.....

  17. #17
    the 4-1-4 Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jthomas
    That's what I call double-dipping! You get workers comp AND a portion of your pension? If I get hurt while a vollie, I get NOTHING from the paid job, unless I PURCHASED additional disability insurance. I guess that's one of the drawbacks of living in the "real world" outside the civil service.....

    Nor should you get anything from your "real job". Most of OUR pensions are tied into our "non-real jobs", paid for by our own salaries.
    The real drawbacks of not being in the "real-world" is, HAVING to work two jobs to get by, being told where you can or can't live, pay raises that are less than cost of living, etc...
    Double-dipping? Hardly, it's called getting what you have earned. You can't afford to get hurt while being a vollie? Don't volunteer.
    Last edited by jasper45; 09-23-2005 at 11:21 PM.

  18. #18
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    jasper45...

    Testify Brother, TESTIFY!! Hallelujah!!

    While I don't have the burden of residency, thank God, I do share your other concerns.

    In Wisconsin, unless the law has changed very recently, Worker's Compensation is paid to volly firefighters at the pay rate of the closest full time fire department. For many this would mean being injured would cause a temporary pay increase, for others a financial hardship. I agree with jasper in that if you can't afford the cost of being injured as a volly you probably shouldn't be one.

    Before the attacks begin, I am a two hatter, a mercenary 10 or 11 days a month and a scab the rest. Depending on the day I have to pick which side of me to hate!! (Psssst....In case you can't figure out what I just posted it means I am both a career and volly firefighter)

    Lighten up Francis!!

    FyredUp

  19. #19
    MembersZone Subscriber Farmun's Avatar
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    Good information...

    However, I must say, who CAN afford to get hurt? I don't know too many people who could comfortably afford to be permanently disabled. Yes, yes, some have more savings than others but I am 26 years old. Who has enough savings at 26 to afford to never work again? Not too many. That is why it is a risky business. Course everything that everyone does has some degree of calculated risk.

    Matt

  20. #20
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    i started our volunteering 10 years ago and moved up to partime on a combo on one department and then about 5 years ago joined another vol department and about 2.5 years ago got a career job and i am a iaff member.since i have been career my other 2 departments still provide about 90% of my training since the city never seems to have any money for that kind of stuff.

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