1. #1
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    Question Volunteer to Paid-per-Call

    Our Fire District is looking into going from strictly volunteer to Paid-per Call. What are the problems & benefits any of you guys have come across in this change over?
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    We are considering doing this for our volunteers. The benefits would certainly be: better response to calls, more attendance to training (giving a higher level of proficiency to the department overall) and it should be a morale booster. Also a great recruiting tool.

    On the flip side, we have discussed: taxes (10-99 or the like) do you pay equal or base on certification level, budget impact, limits to what you can earn, will it cause friction with the local governing body, and could it have a negative effect on some of your members' morale?

    Glenn Rainey
    Colington FD

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    achief15 made a good point. About two years ago the company i belonged to went to a paid-per-call system. At $1 p/call it's not much but the reasoning was it would cover or at least help defer costs incurred by memebrs for wear and tear on their vehicles and on personal clothing that might get damaged while at a scene. Running just over about 500 calls per year this meant that even with a top responder they aren't breaking the $600 mark which would require a 1099-MISC tax form to be filed.

    Benefits have been that it's a great incentive for active members to stay active and come to the daily fire alarms. It's also a gerat to get a check around the holidays (our district tallies the count November to November).

    The district also requires that members make a minimum of 25 calls before they are eligible to recieve the payout and they make us sign off on the total amount at the end of the year.

    The parts that have been tough about it are when do you get the $1 -- what i mean by that is we assign firehouse "credit" for different things. If a fire call comes in right now, whoever responds to the house gets credit, howver we also give credit if you are in school/training at the same time as the call or if you are out on firehouse business (picking up supplies, dropping off equipment, running errands, etc). The district wants us to only give the $1 to those who were physically standing in the firehouse by the termination of the alarm. I'm not saying this is good or bad but it has meant that we have had to account for our personall during calls in a different way that we previously had.

    Also surround departments in our same township receive anywhere from $2-4 p/call so that's raised a few questions as well. hope that helps.
    stay safe,
    wpw

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    Quote Originally Posted by achief15
    ...could it have a negative effect on some of your members' morale?

    Glenn Rainey
    Colington FD

    How could going to Paid-per-Call negatively effect morale?
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for your replies! What attendence to training/meetings do you mandate, if any, to be eligable?
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    Quote Originally Posted by achief15
    On the flip side, we have discussed: taxes (10-99 or the like) do you pay equal or base on certification level, budget impact, limits to what you can earn, will it cause friction with the local governing body, and could it have a negative effect on some of your members' morale?

    Glenn Rainey
    Colington FD
    We are discussing these same issues. Some feel FF with certs, should be paid more. Others think this would hurt the feelings of members that have been around since the walls were raised with no current certs.

    The only way we can do this is by increasing our levy.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bfranse
    What attendence to training/meetings do you mandate, if any, to be eligable?
    Right now the only requirement to get you cash is to meet the minimum of 25 calls responded. Our Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) however does have requirements in order to max out the earnings for the year; offhand i'm not sure what those requirements are.

    The bottom line for us is that it's a good way to encourage memebrs to respond on a day to day basis especially when the people with the solar powered pagers need a little motivation in the middle off the night.

    As far as paying some people more per call based on their training level I that might be a little confusing. My .02

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    A possible negative aspect that might affect morale would be everyone getting the same amount (no matter how small) for responding on a truck or just showing up at the station just prior to call termination. Why should Joe keep getting paid the same amount as Steve when Steve's on the first-out everytime and Joe waits to hear the truck respond before showing up?

    A department out my way does a point system. I'm not entirely sure on the details, but points are awarded for responding on calls and responding to calls. Points are awarded for training, meetings, etc. Things are weighted differently depending on what's deemed more or less important. At the end of the year, everyone's points are added up and a check issued to each member. The point system does away with the conflict between training and calls (you still get points for training whether you make the call or not).

    I was kicking around a similiar plan for recording attendance levels, rather than counting only meetings and call response. We have a few people that are there anytime a truck needs to be worked on or a meeting date, but then seem to miss a good chunk of calls because they're at work or something. I think the should get credit for their other contributions as well.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Fargo2722
    The bottom line for us is that it's a good way to encourage memebrs to respond on a day to day basis especially when the people with the solar powered pagers need a little motivation in the middle off the night.
    Solar powered pagers!!!!! I am using that at this weeks meeting!
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fargo2722
    As far as paying some people more per call based on their training level I that might be a little confusing. My .02
    It's all confusing. Every year our county puts on a Basic FF school. To get most of our new people (who are so green Kermit the Frog would look at them & say "WOW are you green!!!!") to attend, I had to "ask" them with little room to tell their new AC no.

    I think paying more for certs would incourage people to attend FF I / II, EMT & First Responder classes as well as the Basic class. Our District will pay the cost of these classes, its getting people who already give up alot of thier free time, to give up even more. Our membership is small enought that we can't make people pass a Basic FF or hold a yearly Rookie school. We do have a Drivers Training Program & several yearly training programs (basic pumps, advanced pumps, live burn & this year SCBA) along with our tri-monthly trainings.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fargo2722
    Right now the only requirement to get you cash is to meet the minimum of 25 calls responded. Our Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) however does have requirements in order to max out the earnings for the year; offhand i'm not sure what those requirements are.
    If you could, I'd like to know more about your LOSAP. We haven't even thought about a program like this. Something that might increase the ranks of "the lifers".

    Thanks for your .02! Be safe brother.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    Quote Originally Posted by SilverCity4
    A possible negative aspect that might affect morale would be everyone getting the same amount (no matter how small) for responding on a truck or just showing up at the station just prior to call termination. Why should Joe keep getting paid the same amount as Steve when Steve's on the first-out everytime and Joe waits to hear the truck respond before showing up?
    I agree. Any thoughts on what would be fair? Some guys never make the first truck because they live to far. I wouldn't want to punish them to the point that they stop showing or to where they hear the p@@p has hit the fan over the radio & then respond to the station. I know no system will make every one happy. Just looking for the middle of the road with out getting violated by a Winnebago

    [QUOTE=SilverCity4]A department out my way does a point system. QUOTE]

    We use a point system now for a yearly stipend. Points are awarded for meetings, trainings, special events & calls. Individuals points are weighted, officers get more then FF, Probies get no credit, instructors that teach a class get more, special projects get more. The amount of stipend the Fire Board approves every FY is then divided by the total points awarded for the year to determine the value of the point. Each year at an appreciation dinner each member is thanked and given thier check. The money is a really nice thing to have right before christmas for most of us. But telling some one you get a point for coming to a call, unfortunatly doesn't seem to have the same motivational factor as $$$$.

    Quote Originally Posted by SilverCity4
    I was kicking around a similiar plan for recording attendance levels, rather than counting only meetings and call response. We have a few people that are there anytime a truck needs to be worked on or a meeting date, but then seem to miss a good chunk of calls because they're at work or something. I think the should get credit for their other contributions as well.
    We use a log book that members fill out when they come to the house to work on trucks, clean, work out & even drill on thier own. The log book is reviewed by the Chief & he awards points at his discretion.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    our pay is based on both certifications and senority. Some people can earn $12 or more per call. We also get paid for all training and meetings at an hourly rate which is 1/2 your per call amount. So if you make $10 per call you will earn $5 per hour for drills and meetings. In May we will start a sleep in program where we will staff the station from 10pm to 6am Mon-Thur and on Sat and Sun we will work 24 hour shifts. During this time whatever your per-call rate is will now be your you hourly rate. So using the example above you will be making $10/hr during your shift.

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    [QUOTE=malana1]our pay is based on both certifications and senority. QUOTE]

    What is the struture of your plan? Could you start @ the Base amount & then the amounts for the different Certs? And your struture for Seniority? How many years equals x?

    Thanks!
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    We get paid $4.12/call but have a mothly payment of $65 to be on call for FF and $130 for Capt. We also get paid for drill attendance which is required 50% attendance for 6/mo period, extra work ie;truck and station checks when assigned, and fire prevention activities that get paid min 4 hrs. The drill attendance and extra work is $5.54/hr. We also have a 2 duty crews consisiting of 3 FF at 2 stations and the get paid $15/hr for 9 hrs. After 20yrs. of service and you turn age 50, you collect a pension that grows every year. This was set up back in 1947 when the dept. started and with that we have to pay in $72.00/6mo towards our pension. The rest comes from investments.

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    Once out of drill school you will be FFII, Haz-Mat Ops, Emt-B. then you go on prbation for 1 year which you make $5 per call. After probation is over you jump to $6 per call plus .$50 per cert. So after probation you will make $6 plus $.50 x the 3 certs you have which is $7.50 total. Each addition cert you have is another $.50. An AA degree is worth another $.50 and a BA gets you another $1, any graduate degree is $1.50 extra. If you are an officer you get a couple bucks more depending on rank. We also get a stipend to be acting company officer or a lead medic. Our chief is full time and his starting pay is around $68,000/yr. Finally we earn $.50 per five year increment of employment. We have 4 full timers who work four 12/hr days Mon-Fri from 6am - 6pm, they start at $35,500.

    We have duty shifts on nights and weekends and so our house is staffed 24/7. It works out to be around 70 duty shifts monthly. We get paid hourly to staff the station during our shift.

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    There was a volunteer dept in a county where I worked as a paramedic that did this. The county agreed to pay the members $5.00 per call. This was roughly ten years ago. It worked fairly well as most members were donating their service checks back to their dept's treasurers. A "kitty" was set up as a separate account and this allowed the dept to be able to afford other items as they came available. I know of one agency that was able to purchase a new Hurst combi tool and a used power unit in the first year from the kitty fund.

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    We went to paid per call on the Ambulance several years ago thinking that we would get a lot better call response but so far the only thing that has changed is that we get a little money. We are still short handed on calls, We still have low turnout to training, and we still have trouble getting new members. We get $5.00 for signing up to cover a 12 hour shift and $10.00 for every call that we go on. It normally adds up to around $1500 to $2000 for the guys on the higher end of the calls taken and the rest of the crew is normally around $1000 or less a year. We figured it up as to what we made an hour for the calls taken and it came to around $0.13 an hour. Total for the entire crew runs around $25,000 a year.

    The check at the end of the year is nice. But we havnt solved any of our problems. I wish that the money that everyone got was put into our budget.

    Unless you are paying a pretty good amount of money things wont change much.

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    We're making the transition right now.

    We have gone to a billing Company. Everyone who is on a call that gets paid, gets $10 for the call.
    Thats more than before.

    All calls won't be paid, so the more calls you make the better your odds.

    Also,
    We're gonna pay everybody for the first few months. Then we're gonna enforce the minimum meeting attendance and minimum training standards clauses in the By-Laws.
    Give 'em a taste of the dough then make 'em get the training and come to meetings to keep getting it.
    This plan is not "official". But it will work with our crew.

    This allows each person to get some reward and increases attendance and certifications.

    I'll post back how it works out.

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    Default Paid per call

    At our department here, we get $2.50 per call, weather on scene or station standby, or training, cert or no cert. Our provincial gov't gives us vehicle registration free of charge with a red VFF marked plate. They are also trying to pass a bill now to allow volunteer firefighters an automatic tax deduction between $2000 and $3000.

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    Our department recently redid our reimbursements

    Before you got as follows
    FF -$7.00
    IFSAC1 - $8.00
    IFSAC2 - $9.00

    now it's a blanketed $7.50 per call.

    A local department has $150 per run. They then divide the number of firefighters into that and wala, your amount.
    EX: $150 with 10 firefighters making the run
    $15
    $150 with 25 firefighters making the run
    $6

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshball
    Our department recently redid our reimbursements

    Before you got as follows
    FF -$7.00
    IFSAC1 - $8.00
    IFSAC2 - $9.00

    now it's a blanketed $7.50 per call.
    What was the reason for the restructuring of your reimbursements?

    Quote Originally Posted by joshball
    A local department has $150 per run. They then divide the number of firefighters into that and wala, your amount.
    EX: $150 with 10 firefighters making the run
    $15
    $150 with 25 firefighters making the run
    $6
    I like the idea of a lump sum per run. Might be a cure for those solar powered pagers.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    Has any one that has gone to paid per call experianced an increase or decrease in members responding per call, member retention or over all membership?
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    Ours is as follows:

    Probationary: $6.50per hour
    Entry Level I&II $7.50 per hour
    FFI Cert: $9.00 Per hour
    FFII Cert: $9.50 per hour
    Company officers: $10.00 per hour
    Asst: Chiefs: $11.00 per hour
    Chief: Not sure...

    We get paid for all training, meetings, drills and runs. Also for fire prevention programs ect...

    We don't get paid for things like parades, station tours ect...

    They treat us as parttime employees of the city so we get W2's at the end of the year. They pay us quarterly. All the volunteer dpts in our area are pay something, though the pay differs from something like $10 per run to a neighboring dept who pays something like $16.50 per hour....

    Our town is 2900 people with a service area of about 6000 when you include the rural and summer visitors.

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    well one way that we do it, were not really payed per call but we have this thing at the end of the year called a clothing allowance. theres a set amount of $$ like around $200 or $300 i think and then you combine your calls and drills and other events percentage and you get that amount. so say the total is $100 (just to make it easy) and you make 87% of calls and drills combined then you get $87. nothing big but its nice like u guys said to get a check around the holidays.

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