1. #1
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    Default What is "volunteer"

    Just a simple question for any paid or volunteer firefighter to answer. There are several members in my department that like to use the excuse..."this is a volunteer department"...when it comes to the unpleasant tasks or when certain requirements are mandated.
    So, in your mind, what is meant by being a VOLUNTEER?

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    Quote Originally Posted by LTscott351
    Just a simple question for any paid or volunteer firefighter to answer. There are several members in my department that like to use the excuse..."this is a volunteer department"...when it comes to the unpleasant tasks or when certain requirements are mandated.
    So, in your mind, what is meant by being a VOLUNTEER?
    I always tell them that you volunteer to join. Everything after that is mandatory.

    Of course, there are the exceptions.

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    While you may be a "volunteer" department, it is perfectly legitimate to have requirements that MUST be meet to stay active. These may include certifications, training (both in and out of house), continueing education, work nights, fundraisers and even response. The trick to avoiding problems is laying out all the requirements to a new member at the begginng, so that they are perfectly aware of what they will be required to do.

    Yes, we are volunteers. But there need to be requirements so that the organization will function effectivly.

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    we are (our department) part time city employees. We should be held to same standard as the full timers. What I mean by that is striving to keep on top stuff that may routine for the everyday FF. The excuse that we are only POC, Vollly etc .doesnt cut it ........... the fire still burns the same, cars crash the same not matter what deomgraphic area you live in. So train like it could happen TODAY !
    IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
    Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
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    I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
    "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
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    Quote Originally Posted by LTscott351
    Just a simple question for any paid or volunteer firefighter to answer. There are several members in my department that like to use the excuse..."this is a volunteer department"...when it comes to the unpleasant tasks or when certain requirements are mandated.
    So, in your mind, what is meant by being a VOLUNTEER?
    I have to say it means you don't get paid to stop what you are doing and help someone. That doesn't mean that you use it as an excuse to not train to certain standards or perform certain duties. If so then you are nothing but a glorified social club.
    I served with the local VFD where the Chief, when asked why we didn't have regular training or insist on the most minimal certifications as neighboring departments did, would say, "You can't make a volunteer do anything." By not wanting to risk running off many of the good ole boys who joined the VFD for the 10% discount from the local bar when wearing their VFD issue polo shirt, the Chief ensured that our fire scenes were often complete circuses.
    Just because you aren't paid doesn't make your job any less dangerous. You have to have some mandates and standards. With out them the dangers are multiplied.
    Stay Safe.
    Steve
    EMT/Security Officer

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    I should print this out and post it at my ambulance service. A few of us (the president of the squad included) have been trying to "get our act together" in regards to policies, procedures, etc...The board of directors and older member alsways come back with the "excuse" "we're only volunteers..."Paramedics? Nah, we don't need them...we're volunteers...we can BLS a code in..." Ok, I'm heading to the pub now for a drink...got my b/p up again thinking about this...
    The comments made by me are my opinions only, not of the Fire and EMS services I am affiliated with.

    I have lost my mind..has anyone seen it? it's not worth much..but it's mine

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeuitEFDems
    Ok, I'm heading to the pub now for a drink...got my b/p up again thinking about this...
    Make sure to wear your Squad uniform shirt. Maybe you will get 10% off your drinks while there because of it.
    Steve
    EMT/Security Officer

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    Quote Originally Posted by Plattsfire2
    I always tell them that you volunteer to join. Everything after that is mandatory.

    Of course, there are the exceptions.
    Ditto. And don't expect any pay.
    "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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    Quote Originally Posted by LTscott351
    So, in your mind, what is meant by being a VOLUNTEER?
    To me this just means I get to sleep in my own bed at night. But when called on I'm there.
    Piscataway Fire Dist #2
    Possumtown V.F.C.

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    Volunteered to do a job. Yes it was voluntary to join. However part of the job is keeping the building clean, keeping the trucks in order, and helping the department to function and grow. Yes it is volunteer. Its all part of the job. I would rather have ten guys that want to do the job than 50 guys who just show up. Volunteering to make a difference is something that we should take pride in. If you donít keep up all your doing is volunteering to kill yourself and others if you donít know what you are doing on calls where stuff is. If you want to go on calls you also need to help keep the build and fund raisers going.
    Training does not make perfect. Training makes permanent!

    IACOJ probie

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    Quote Originally Posted by LTscott351
    There are several members in my department that like to use the excuse..."this is a volunteer department"...when it comes to the unpleasant tasks or when certain requirements are mandated.
    Good God, actually saying that would get you ****canned (or at least publicly ridiculed) at my volly dept.

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    Time and time again I have heard the quote "we are JUST volunteer". To me it does not matter. When Mr or Mrs taxpayer has a problem and they dial 911, they expect fast, professional service. They don't want to see a bunch of bums walking into their house to help them. They pay for a service and deserve the best.

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    Angry

    Volunteering is by choice. Duh. Once you are a volunteer, you must keep up with the equipment that YOU use, the station YOUR equipment is kept at, and training everyone is expecting YOU to have. It's a package deal. If you don't want to help out around the station, don't. But don't come to calls either. If you don't want to continue your education, don't. But don't come to calls.(see where I am going with this?)

    It is also a safety issue. People trust us. They count on us to help them in disaster situations. If a rescue situation is in place, and an un-trained person goes in and gets in trouble, not only do we have to rescue the original victim, but you just created another rescue situation for yourself.

    Continue education so your fellow firefighters can worry less about you. Help around the firehouse to keep it clean and presentable. Take pride in what you do and do it to your best abilities. If you dont care enough to help in all areas, don't bother at all. A fire department is of no use if the equipment doesn't work because no maintanence was done. A fire department is of no use if the personel are not trained to handle the situation at hand.

    Volunteer all or nothing and take pride in what you do.

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    One of my assistant chiefs explains it this way - 1/3 of the people will do ANYTHING, because they are there to do the job WHATEVER it is, 1/3 of the people are never there, and 1/3 of the people just bitch about it...

    We have about 12 people that will respond to anything if they can be it a huge flippin fire or a simple non emergency responce for a little old lady that needs help after falling in the bathroom.

    I will run anything, I do this to help people.

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    I tell my guys that your right you don't have to do anything because this is volunteer. But then again, I don't have to have you here, because this is volunteer. If they wanna skip out of details because it is volunteer, then I don't need them.
    If they are dedicated then they will do what they have to (training, details, hydrants) to keep being a volunteer. Seems kind of harsh, but is that the kind of person you want backing you up on a hose line?

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    A volunteer is just an unpaid professional.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cashton
    A volunteer is just an unpaid professional.
    Not all of them.
    See; it's blanket statements like this that opens the door and invites the criticism.
    Why are you looking for validation for what you do?
    Volunteering is a personal issue. We all have our reasons for why we do what we do. Some do it for many of the same reasons, but I don't do it because I'm making a conscious decision to be "like a career firefighter". Unless you're on a volunteer fire department that runs 5 - 10 calls a day, then you cannot compare the two. And if you are GOING on 5 - 10 calls a day, then I take it that you don't have a day job.
    We are required to hit certain standards if we want to participate in fire suppression, vehicle extrication, hazmat and all the other disciplines. If you value your personal safety and the safety of your men/women, then you will train to a level that gives you a competent perspective to carry out your duties.
    If you don't want to put the effort in that will allow you and your department to deliver a quality product, then the fire department isn't for you.
    If you don't want to make an effort to improve the department, then the fire department isn't for you.
    Here is a little something that I did for IACOJ that might be appropriate here. Read it and pass it along.
    And if you disagree with it, I am sure that the Lions Club is looking for a few, good men.
    So, You Donít Have the Time?

    Many of you know that I draw from my experiences and training as a member of a volunteer fire department. That is especially true when dealing with the problems and the issues that face the small, rural volunteer organizations that are indicative of the majority of our nationís fire departments.
    I have no difficulties in exchanging thoughts and ideas with career firefighters and am quite comfortable when around them. I must admit that I love to sit and listen to the career men and women relate their experiences because many will answer more calls in a 30 day period than a lot of volunteer departments will answer in a year! It is not my intentions here to start a vollie/career debate; but to merely point out that, though our core values and goals are the same, our problems are distinctly different. Two that come to mind are recruitment and retention. That is what we will explore from the volunteer perspective.
    Not long ago, we discovered in our department that there seemed to be a core group of officers and veterans that gave a disproportionately larger number of hours-i.e. effort to the department than the others. I felt that it was important to send a strong message to the others in order to strengthen their commitment. So, what I did was; at a monthly meeting, I pulled out all of the officers and anyone with more than ten years on the department and asked them to leave the room. That left thirteen in the room. What I asked them next was; if this was your core group, who would be your officers? I had them ďelectĒ a chief, assistant chief, captains and lieutenants. It produced some very interesting results. Ironically, the ďchiefĒ that they elected is now a lieutenant with the department. It would not surprise to see him as chief somewhere down the road.
    So, we had their attention on the issue of not relying on the fact that the veterans and officers as they knew them would always be around. They had to start preparing NOW for the future of the fire department. Then, I had to tackle the issue of the ďperceivedĒ constraints on everyoneís time. It is not a problem that is ours alone but is one that is shared throughout the nation. It can destroy departments and hereís why:
    For the past several years, volunteer fire departments have been hit with an almost apathetic attitude in their communities when it comes to recruiting and retaining new firefighters. I donít have the time has become the mantra of young, able-bodied men and women who, when approached by their fire department will tell them in short order that they donít have the time. If they do join the department, they will only give you what time they feel is left over from their very hectic schedule and life style. I believe that selfish has replaced selfless in todayís society.
    Not long ago, my fire department had a few members who were well below the average for training hours, stating that they didnít have the time. I decided to take a pragmatic look at it, for I have always held that if it is important to you, you will make time. I also wanted to make certain that I wasnít being overly critical of our younger members.

    In a calendar year, there are (8,760) hours. From that, I will subtract as many time-consuming activities that come to mind on a daily basis during the year. Here goes.
    Most of us will work (2080) hours at our regular jobs in a yearís time. I will credit everyone with (80) hours a year in vacation time. I will even give you another (40) hours a year for sick time. If you work for my company, you get (9) paid holidays a year for another (72) hours. We have to sleep, donít we? Of course we do, so you all get (8) hours a night for a total of (2920) hours a year. Hey, we have to eat sometime. Most of us go through the drive-up for breakfast, but I will still give you a (1/2) hour for breakfast, a (1/2) hour for lunch and (1) hour for dinner everyday for the entire year. That adds up to another (730) hours. You get a night out every week to go to pool league, bowling, darts, canasta; whatever personal recreation you enjoy. You get (5) hours for it-remember, you have work tomorrow-and thatís (260) hours just for you! Church activities earn you another (208) hours. School activities twice a week will total (260) hours a year. Time with your spouse-thatís quality time-is good for (10) hours a week for (520) a year. Keep in mind that this time is for the two of you together, in the same place at the same time with no one else around. No; bedtime is not in these hours. Single folks get more recreation time, if they choose. What are we up to so far? Donít tell me. You probably belong to another organization such as Lions, Shriners, Masons, school board, village board, church board and that is another (3) hour meeting each week for a total of (156) hours. Now, letís see what we have for a total. (7326) hours! According to my math, that leaves (1434) hours. Under my plan, youíll get an outdoor activity each week for a yearly total of (416) hours. Do relatives ďdropĒ in once in a while? Iíll assume every other week for a total (104) hours yearly. Youíre probably taking classes one night a week for (4) hours, so that figures out to (208) hours a year. Have I missed anything? Probably, but I have left some flex in this scenario and have been more than liberal out of fairness. The total hours stand at (8054), leaving (706) hours for other activities. What about the fire department? If yours is like mine, you want (100) hours a year out of your members. That includes training and fundraising. You are left with (606) hours to do with as you would like!
    Still believe that you donít have time for the fire department? Granted, fire calls will come at all hours of the day or night and will undoubtedly interrupt some of your other ďscheduledĒ activities, but you have that (606)-hour cushion that you can tap into.
    Just think about all of the time that we waste on gratuitous activities; on activities that add nothing to our communitiesí quality of life. For (100) hours a year, you get immeasurable satisfaction in learning skills that will help you to help others. I donít see a down side! And besides; has TV really been that good lately?
    You can join the millions of couch potatoes in this country or you can join a dedicated group of public servants who can make a difference when the call for help comes in.
    Iíll tape it and watch when I have the time. Right now, I need to go to the fire station for a training session. Itíll take some time, but according to my math, I have plenty of it! Whatís your excuse?
    ChiefReason
    Last edited by ChiefReason; 11-13-2005 at 12:32 PM.
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    I bitch and moan sometimes and use that excuse "im a volunteer" but i dont say it to higher ups, i mainly say that around my one friend who i ride with, because shes a friend... for instance

    we wear full blown uniforms. boots, blue uniform pants (NO ems pants allowed), white long sleeve shirts buttoned down, tucked in... and i like short sleeeve shirts, so sometimes i'll complain and be like "ugh why cant we just wear short sleeve shirts, im volunteering and hafta be in full uniform" but i stll wear the uniform. i never really complained about all the duties, sure i hate cleaning and rig checks, but its part of what we do...
    Adam, EMT-B

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    I am new too the forum but have only one reason I joined too help people.
    Sure the training is long sometimes but it is needed and I am proud too say that I am a NYS EMT-B and a firefighter.

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    Default volunteer

    An idiot that runs into a building when on fire and not get paid. Yeah. I still enjoy it. I wish sometimes we were more appreciated!

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    I have heard several comments about how the trainning is too much an why do they make us do all this trainning and things of that nature and it gets me wondering. Why? How can you honesly ask why?? Okey here it goes and I hope i never have to explain this again, though im not that lucky. We are required to go through the trainning for our own knoledge so we know what were supposed to do in the field. It is not just that though it is also for the security of the department and for youself. If you were to respond to a scene and were not certified, the chances that you would know what to do are minimal and the chances that you or your department(or both) would get sued just went soaring through the roof. Ill admit it, I cant stand sitting in a class room for hours learning the propper way to bandage a wound, but one thing that I have actually done, is take out my walet and looked at the money in there, or in some cases lack of, and think: Is it worth is for me to leave this meeting and have the possiblitity to get sued, or is it better for me to stay in this relitivly short meeting and lower the chances of having a successful civil suit filed against me? I have always chosen the later. Im sure if you really think about it, you would rather not get sued also.

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    Call me selfish, but I see training as all about me. I see it as learning what to do when the hot, red stuff is all around me. I look at it as teaching me to keep my own butt safe and my partner's butt safe.

    Forget, for a moment, the idiots who sue for any reason. Who are they going to sue if you don't come out alive, and if you aren't alive does it really make a difference to you who they try to sue? Lawsuits may ADD to the fallout of a fire gone bad, but honestly, that isn't on my mind when I have ceilings and rafters falling in around me. Training is about keeping yourself out of dangerous situations and how to get out if you find yourself in one.

    Lawsuit prevention is DEFFINITELY a point to ponder, but I don't think it should be the driving force behind training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RadRob
    Call me selfish, but I see training as all about me. I see it as learning what to do when the hot, red stuff is all around me. I look at it as teaching me to keep my own butt safe and my partner's butt safe.
    The scary thing is when you run a call with another dept. You don't know how well trained the person(s) are. Especially in PA where FF deaths are usually are the highest out of every state, there is no set standard that a person must have essentials in order to start fire fighting. It is left up to the dept. to make that call...
    Last edited by jam642; 11-15-2005 at 12:53 PM.

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    Call me selfish, but I see training as all about me. I see it as learning what to do when the hot, red stuff is all around me. I look at it as teaching me to keep my own butt safe and my partner's butt safe.
    Which is exactly why you shouldn't have "hot, red stuff around you".
    But I agree that the first thing you need to learn is to keep yourself safe. Otherwise; you're no good to anyone else.
    CR
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    Default Im a Volunteer!

    At most, two days a week im at the station after work untill around nine o'clock or so. Thats three hours, twice a week.

    Bi-weekly meetings for about five hours every other wednesday.

    Monthly training on a Sunday for eight hours.

    None of this includes runs. If my math is correct thats 538 hours, i'll even be consertive and cut it down to 450 hours, which I know I do more than that. All for a whopping 1$ a year! I think ChiefReason's breakdown is very realistic.

    Why? Because I love contributing to my FD and my community. Most importantly, I like to play in fire and ring the bell on the big red truck....

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