1. #1
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    Thumbs up When is a good time to honor / thank volunteers?

    Hey everyone!

    This is my first post on the board, and I hope you can help me out.

    I work for a rural EMS service and we rely heavily on response from our volunteer FDs. There are 7 stations in the county and they respond automatically with us on vehicle accidents, cardiac arrests, etc. We also call them for lifting assistance (once we're already on scene) and to pull out our vehicles (I got the Freightliner stuck in the mud last shift ).

    They often respond with AT LEAST 2 people, no matter if the call is in the middle of the night or if the sky is falling. Everyone at rescue really appreciates them and everything they do for us FOR FREE!

    Getting to the point.... We'd like to have some sort of "Volunteer Week" at our station where we could honor our volunteers and their families with food, games and other things. Is there a "National Volunteer Week" already that we could coordinate with, or should I just choose a date that is good with us?

    Also, does anyone have any ideas for things that they would appreciate? I already plan on having at least T-Shirts/Hats made...anything else?

    Thanks for any help you can give me.

  2. #2
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    There is a National Volunteer Week or day (I cant recall which) .......I would recommend National EMS Week in May ........? or Fire Prevention Week in the fall? Does the department have any parades or Christmas parties or picnics of that sort you can sponsor or buy dogs and buns for ?
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Weruj1
    There is a National Volunteer Week or day (I cant recall which) .......I would recommend National EMS Week in May ........? or Fire Prevention Week in the fall? Does the department have any parades or Christmas parties or picnics of that sort you can sponsor or buy dogs and buns for ?
    EMS week is what I was thinking, since that is what they help us with most.

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    The best time to thank them is just before you shut the back doors...a simple, thank you goes a long way towards keeping people happy. We had a captain who took over our company for one year to try & straighten it out (boy, did he have his work cut out for him)...EVERY call, he thanked EVERYBODY who came out...a simple gesture that made a difference.

    Your idea of having a volunteer recognition day is a great idea...all I could recommend is if possible, try to schedule it on a date when there isn't any other major event such as a multi-dept. training drill, FF competition, etc. going on (easier said than done I know). You don't want people to have to choose between training or a good time.

    Oh one more thing, recognizing the sacrifices of the volunteer's families (particularly their spouse) is a home run...recognizing the volunteers who respond 24/7 is key buy also recognizing the family member that picks up the slack when those vollies respond (getting the kids to school, yard work, finishing dinner, etc.) is key to keeping everyone happy. Remember, a happy volunteer (with a happy family at home) equals a responding volunteer. We have depts. locally that do this (mine is not one of them) & they are stronger depts. for it because the whole family is behind the dept. not just the guys/girls who volunteer as members.

    Just my 2 cents...hope it helps. Stay Safe...

  5. #5
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    I agree, it is nice to hear just a simple "Thanks, Guys!" before we part ways. A lot of times our local ambulance service will do that or get on the radio and give us a thanks so everyone hears it.

    Thank god we have a good working relationship with the local EMS service!

    Andy
    EMT-B
    Garfield Twp. Fire Department
    http://www.garfieldfire.com

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firescueguy
    The best time to thank them is just before you shut the back doors...a simple, thank you goes a long way towards keeping people happy. We had a captain who took over our company for one year to try & straighten it out (boy, did he have his work cut out for him)...EVERY call, he thanked EVERYBODY who came out...a simple gesture that made a difference.
    I'm glad to know the big thanks I send out on every call is heard. Most of our people do their best to thank the Vols. whenever they can.

    A few of us, myself included, used to be volunteers, so we know what it's like.

    Thanks for all of the input, everyone.

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    first thing is a simple thank you. you don't always need to say it (because it does becomes meaningless when you say it ALL the time), but when they come out at 2am, yeah.

    IMO, I would say buy them dinner. if they have duty crews, stop by with pizzas. or for a monthly meeting. nothing extravegant, just some food. you would be surprised how welcoming a free meal can be to volunteer FFs.
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    I work in a combo department, and our paid FFs are really good about thanking me when I am on a fire scene. I don't really know how I feel about that; on the one hand, it is very nice to be appreciated and thanked, and it is nice of the paid FFs to make the effort to say thanks. On the other hand, I consider firefighting one of my jobs--I just don't happen to get paid for it. It seems weird to be thanked for something I feel like I should be doing anyway.

    Our department's annual banquet is in late February, and we have a dinner and some of the city bigwigs show up. Both paid and volunteer FFs attend, and everyone is thanked at the same time. THAT I like.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrParasite
    first thing is a simple thank you. you don't always need to say it (because it does becomes meaningless when you say it ALL the time), but when they come out at 2am, yeah.
    I can't ever remeber when a thank you was meaningless. I have been in the fire service for 23 years and I still appreciate the thank you. And I would venture to say that the majority of vollys would say the same.

  10. #10
    capfiremedic
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    A smile, handshake and an honset "thank you" always worked for me, never wanted anything else.

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