1. #1

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    Apr 2007
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    Default Which department to join?

    I am considering joining a VFD in my area (Pennsylvania). There are actually several departments in my township and I'm trying to figure out which one to join and what the expectations are about proximity to where you actually live.

    There is one department just down the street from my house, but I don't ever see them doing much. Their building is kind of shabby. Then there is another department about 10 minutes away, with a brand new building, nice web site, I always see them around, basically, they seem to have their act together more than the others. Is there anything wrong with me wanting to join the second department even if it's not the one I live closest to? but i want to be a part of something that is active and healthy.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    XRaysJL's Avatar
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    Talking What to join?

    I should say that there are some volunteer departments that require people live either live within their district or live within a certain amount of driving time. When there's a emergency, they may not want to wait for 15-20 minutes (Just off the head number). They want people who live close to them so they can roll ASAP.

    Now having said that, is there a problem with joining both departments? Will they both allow you to also volunteer at the other? If so, then you "MIGHT" also be helping out your community better by having a faster response time and that particular department might also be in need of personnel (I don't know that whole situation).

    But the bottom line is you need to talk with both of the departments in your area.

  3. #3
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    You may actually be surprised, It just may be the same dept. Just with 2 stations. Alot of depts will have two stations, but only use one. The other just has equipment and storage in it, usually to help with ISO ratings. And very rarely may run out of it

  4. #4
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    On the other side of the coin, maybe it is shabby and darkened because the department does not have enough newer members, to get some excitement back and to work on getting funding resources to lighten and brighten the station and the membership.

    Just goes to show that Bells, Whistles, and newness sells.....As does being active in the community and in and around the station.

    Talk to both station chiefs and then decide.

    STILL STANDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. #5

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    Thanks for all the great advice. I will talk to both stations. I'll ask them what they expect of me, what future plans they have, how will they support my training.

    Does anyone have any advice on questions that I may not think of? Maybe things you would have liked to know before you joined? I better preface this by saying I have absolutely no VFD experience and neither does anyone in my family. So I'm pretty clueless about this stuff.

  6. #6
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    When you see some members around these stations, stop and talk to them. Most likely they can answer your questions. Which one you can join may depend on residency requirements. Ten minutes is pushing it for a response time to the station. I live too far from the dept. I belong to so I have to stay at the station during my 12 hour shift. As the others mentioned, the "shabby" station my be the same dept. and it may be used for storage or a secondary station. Again, stop and talk to these depts. and get a feel for them. They can fill you in on their application process and requirements.
    S.Davis
    EMT-B/FF1/ARFF

  7. #7
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    i agree go talk to the chief but also get to know the members an other officers at both departments. Im not saying to base your decsion on the members but those are the people you will be running calls with so maybe that will help you decide because i know people from other departments but i wouldnt change for anything all of us get along so well with each other and it makes volunteering even better...

  8. #8
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    In my township, we have 2 departments (3 including small borough). My department has 3 stations, a new Main Station and 2 smaller Sub-Stations that each house an Engine. The other Department has 1 Station with 3 trucks. The small borough also has one station with 2 trucks. If you are interested I'd recommend talking to them. Each one has it's own character and charm and you really won't know where you'll want to run until you stop in and talk to the people. Call volume, doing QRS and whether the departments have any specialties (Diving, Confined Space, trench, high Angle, Structural Collapse) will also play heavily in your choice. If your interested in becoming an EMT running with the station that may do QRS is a much better choice than running with one who doesn't. Good luck, have fun and when you do join pay attention. What area of Pennsylvania are you in?

  9. #9

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    I am in a township just across the river from the City of Pittsburgh.

    Thanks for all the input. I'm going to talk to the two departments and see what happens. There are actually 3 departments (the are separate organizations here) but the one is over 10 minutes away and a buddy of mine who is a volunteer in another township said that would be pushing it for response time. I live within 5 minutes of the other two.

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