Thread: Vol Info

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    Default Vol Info

    I am considering applying to a vol dept. I want a full time position on a paid dept and have also recently applied to a few paying depts. I really am eager to begin training in fire fighting tactics and feel getting on a vol fire department would be a good way to get my hands dirty. I also just passed my state EMTB exam. My question is this. Is it wrong to go onto a vol fire dept, get free training and leave once a paid dept comes calling? Any insight and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks !

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    Default Well...

    Quote Originally Posted by panic66
    I am considering applying to a vol dept. I want a full time position on a paid dept and have also recently applied to a few paying depts. I really am eager to begin training in fire fighting tactics and feel getting on a vol fire department would be a good way to get my hands dirty. I also just passed my state EMTB exam. My question is this. Is it wrong to go onto a vol fire dept, get free training and leave once a paid dept comes calling? Any insight and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks !
    ...if you are asking the question, you know the answer, don't you?

    It would be wrong to take advantage of a volunteer company to get training and immediately leave, if you weren't giving them something in return.

    As a practical matter, however, it may be quite a while before a paid department "comes calling", and the vollies will make good use of your EMT cert if they run EMS.

    I would just be up-front with the volunteer chief. He WILL be called as part of the hiring process with a career department.

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    Depending on the department, it might be coming out of their budget and then if they provide you a class and invest in you and then you leave, thats one less person that could have gone that is going to stick around longer then you.

    I agree -- if they run EMS or 1st responders, use that to keep up on your EMT skills and even after a paid dept comes calling, stick around and help out that department. You might be able to pass on something you learn there to the members that might not otherwise get that type of training.

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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by panic66
    I am considering applying to a vol dept. I want a full time position on a paid dept and have also recently applied to a few paying depts. I really am eager to begin training in fire fighting tactics and feel getting on a vol fire department would be a good way to get my hands dirty. I also just passed my state EMTB exam. My question is this. Is it wrong to go onto a vol fire dept, get free training and leave once a paid dept comes calling? Any insight and advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks !
    Yes, it is wrong to leave once you get a paid job, IMHO. Most departments operate on a constictive budget, and must make every dollar matter. Doing that robs them of hundreds of dollars.

    But if you get a paid position and stay with the Department, i dont see anything wrong with that. I know a number of people who have chosen that route.
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    Thats kinda what I thought. So I guess the best thing to do is go on the Vol Dept, get trained and gather experience from them. Hope for a paid job. Once on paid job, continue to offer vol assistance.

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    Default But again...

    Quote Originally Posted by panic66
    Thats kinda what I thought. So I guess the best thing to do is go on the Vol Dept, get trained and gather experience from them. Hope for a paid job. Once on paid job, continue to offer vol assistance.
    ...make sure your Chief knows what you are up to, or you won't GET that paid job.

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    Quote Originally Posted by randsc
    ...make sure your Chief knows what you are up to, or you won't GET that paid job.

    Could you please explain that?
    Do a little dance, make a little rum, Italian Ice! Italian Ice!

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    My thoughts are mine alone and do not represent the thoughts of any Organization to which I am affiliated.

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    Yes I fully intend to explain to them my reasons for joining. Which are the stong desire and need to begin training.

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    Its nuts! I feel like a kid on X-Mas eve!! haha

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    Default It's simple

    Quote Originally Posted by tbonetrexler
    Could you please explain that?
    If you join a department just for the training, fully intending to leave as sson as you can get a paid job, you had better tell the Chief. Because no paid department is going to hire you without talking to that Chief, and how do you think he would like it if the first time he heard that he might be losing the rookie he spent thousands of dollars training was when someone called for a reference? You think he would offer a good recomendation?

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    There are a good number of paid departments that will never bother to call the volunteer department. There are also a good number of paid departments that don't care if you were a volunteer before that or not.

    My suggestion is to check with the volunteer department you are planning to join. Tell them what you want to do, and what your plans are. In my area, FF1 training is free and does not cost the member nor the department. Gets you trained to FF1 level. That is not the case everywhere so check and see what the situation is with YOUR department. It's no cost to join mine so we would probably be happy to have you, even if it's only for a year or two.
    "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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    I'm with Bones.

    We hire many kids who wish to move on to a career dept eventually, but the process takes years. I don't mind giving them the basic training in the mean time, as long as they are up front with me, and keep me up to date on thier hiring progress. We actually use it as a recruiting tool for many of our kids, and we have helped several kids move on to F/T FF, EMS, and LEO jobs over the years. It helps our recruiting cycle to show the success stories, and I'm always happy to see a kid arrive out west as a ski bum, and leave a few years later as a professional in one of the emergency services.

    The basic FF1 training is cheap/free around here, but I would be upset to spend a lot of expense and effort/wages on a technical certification just to lose that person within a few months.

    Just be honest. Some departments are clambering for volunteers and will take almost anyone, while others have a waiting list.
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    This reply may not even make sense But here goes anyway!




    There are Depts. out there that will hold you to a certain "length of service".
    Like signing a contract to stay with them for "X" amount of years after you have taken your classes and gotten your cert(s) (on the Dept's dime). Now if you decide to pay your way, and still need the gear, well.... I dunno... I guess that depends on each individual organization.

    I have a hard time letting a "new guy" come in, even though he is paying his way so he can get his training in our gear, and then staying a couple of months till his ship comes in, whether he makes his intentions clear or not..

    NOW.... Before anyone thinks that I am bashing new "fullies" I am not. To tell you the truth it makes me happy to see a guy catch a break, and be able to make it to his "big time"!

    I am looking at it from the standpoint of wear & tear on gear that is expensive to repair, and costs even more to replace. Not to mention the investment that each Dept makes in other areas, all on a limited budget...
    Let's face it guys not every vollie Dept has the priveledge of being able to operate on a multi-million dollar budget!

    Wow! What the heck happened there???

    Anyhow, I apologize for rambling and or any offensive comments, (if any)
    but I would definately make the "powers-that-be" very clear as to your intentions, and I also STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to stick around well after you have hit your "big time"....
    Giggity - Giggity!

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    Default My opinion

    panic66, I know of a major city department in far western Upstate New York that only hires volunteers with so many years experince (I don't remember how many). That is how that city was able to eliminate it's recruit training and I beleive it has a Lt in charge of training instead of a Batt. Chief. It depends on the surrounding volunteer departments in its county to train it's members to NFPA FF2 and NYS EMT-Basic to provide it with a personel pool to draw from. Of course that means any one who lives in that city must either move out or find a department that allows non-resident members.
    Also, I have heard of many firefighters being two-hatters (vollie and career). That may just depend on the paid departments or your union rules.
    I do feel that if you are up front with your volunteer department and you put in the effort to becoming a good member of that department, you should'nt have any problems. That is just my personal opinion. Don't be surprised if politics or egos raise their ugly heads, though.
    Best of luck.
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    Quote Originally Posted by randsc
    If you join a department just for the training, fully intending to leave as sson as you can get a paid job, you had better tell the Chief. Because no paid department is going to hire you without talking to that Chief, and how do you think he would like it if the first time he heard that he might be losing the rookie he spent thousands of dollars training was when someone called for a reference? You think he would offer a good recomendation?
    Even if you tell him, your probably not going to get a good recommendation, because you are just using the department for free trainning.

    How about this.....just dont do it. If you join, join to stay.
    Do a little dance, make a little rum, Italian Ice! Italian Ice!

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    My thoughts are mine alone and do not represent the thoughts of any Organization to which I am affiliated.

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    We've had two of our guys leave to go full time since I joined; and one who tried to go (went to college, ended up working for ULC? I think). There was never any secret that all three were actively looking for full time positions. All three went to college for FF and brought back, and shared, what they learned. All were very enthusiastic FF's around our hall which is very good for moral.
    I had absolutely no trouble bringing FF's that are actively looking to go full time, as long as they're up front about it.
    Only time I'd be against it would be in the event that they are filling a suit that someone else could be in; we could use a few more guys so it's not like one guy looking for full time would be taking up a locker that someone else is looking for.
    Cheers.

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    Default thanks

    thanks for all the helpfull info everyone!

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    I had to leave my department not to take a paid firefighting job but for family health reasons.
    Believe me,it's hard to leave knowing that they spent beaucoup amounts of money training you to know which end of the Halligan to hand to your officer but if you get a paid job locally,no one holds it against you.Who's to say that you WON'T come back to rejoin with even more experience and skills?That's what I am doing in a couple more months.
    Last edited by doughesson; 10-27-2006 at 12:12 PM.

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    Default to panic66

    Panic,
    As a Chief of a volunteer fire dept., let me say this, it looks really bad for someone to pull something like that on a VFD. Maybe some depts dont mind it, but mine does for one. You dont want to burn any bridges. Besides, in Ohio, most VFD's only require a 36 hour class and paid depts require 240. I dont know about your state. Most VFD's won't even pay for 120, let alone a 240 class. We have in the past and currently are right now, but each member must sign an agreement with us for a minimum of two years after.

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    I actually spoke with a guy who is on at the Vol dept in question. He is also on a full time career dept and comes back to help the Vol dept every once in awhile. Thats what I feel I would end up doing. I feel I would "owe" them at least that for the time/money spent training me etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by panic66
    I actually spoke with a guy who is on at the Vol dept in question. He is also on a full time career dept and comes back to help the Vol dept every once in awhile. Thats what I feel I would end up doing. I feel I would "owe" them at least that for the time/money spent training me etc.

    That's great you feel that way. The problem is, I think, most people don't think the way you do. If the vol. dept. feels you are genuine then they might consider taking you on. Most people just join to get the training and then leave the vol. dept. high and dry. I hope you stick with it.

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    Panic just to let you know, if you get a career fire job, most likely there will be a union, and there's a good chance it will be the IAFF which doesn't want their members being a part of a volunteer dept., which is BS. My self there is nothing wrong with a career firefighter remembering were he started with a volunteer dept. and to continue to help and support that dept.

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    Here is my 2 cents. In the volunteer world we know that this may happen. It has happened. If we can get some good work from these people then ok, it is cool. There are some paid departments that frown on its employees being members of volunteer departments. Luckily I am not on one of those departments. The few people that have done this in my department have spent several years with us anyway and we have wished them luck in thier endeavors. It is hard enough to get volunteers anyway so it works out. If the department they are applying for contacts the Chief for a reccomendation he is honest about that persons performance as a member. As far as training costs we keep that down as much as possible. The three paid firefighters we have are sent to out of state schools but are tasked to teach what they have learned. The cert classes are given through the University of Kansas and only the testing costs. It is about 30 or 40 bucks depending on the cert. If you wish to be an EMT or First Responder as a volunteer the cost of the class is up to you. It is not a requirement. The paid guys got their EMT class paid for since it was required. The recert classes are taught through the County EMS and is at no cost. We also happen to be lucky in that since we have two county paramedics on the department as well as the EMS Director. We also have the Certification/Instructional Programs Manager for the Kansas Fire and Rescue Training Institue as a member.
    Vintage Firefighter: The older I get, the braver I was.

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    Panic, I know you are a Rhode Islander. I'm applying to many of the Depts. you are. I started volunteering with my Dept. 6 months ago. I told them up front I wanted to go career and that I was there to learn and to help the dept. You ride from week one which means your already paying back with your time. Our dept doesnt run where the members do the work and probies only train. We're rolling hose and stretching line, were cleaning and taking out the trash. You are actively giving back as they teach you. I think that Im going to find that I wont be able to just up and leave my Volly Dept if and when I get on. I would like to continue in some capacity even after I get an offer, if Im lucky enough to get one. As for applying for career jobs, I made sure I spoke to the chief again about it before I even put my Depts. name on an application. To do otherwise is just wrong. IMHO

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    Default Certify & run

    A department in our county had this very problem. To deter people from taking advantage, they began spacing out their payments to the students for taking the training and getting certified over a number of years. I think you had to be active on the department for 3 years to receive the full amount.

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