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    Default Thinking about volunteering

    Hey everyone

    I've recently been wondering what else I could be doing with my life in addition to working as usual every day. I'm in banking, so obviously my line of work isn't very exciting. I'd really like to help the community or make some sort of difference somehow, but I also want to be involved with something exciting at the same time. This pretty much led me directly to volunteer firefighting.

    One of the guys I work with is a volunteer for a neighboring township and I happen to know the Chief in my city's department, so I've been able to get a lot of good information from both of them. I came here for sort of an outside opinion, however. I'm not a big guy, I'm only 5'7" and 140 lbs, but the guys that I've talked to said it really doesn't matter how big you are. I've been involved with sports all of my life, and in fact, I'm a goaltender for an inline hockey team for a couple months in the summers, so I'm a little used to wearing lots of gear while trying to move and contort as fast as possible.

    I'm also a little concerned about my eyesight. It's pretty bad, but the guys said that vision isn't too important since you can't see most of the time anyway and that you also don't need great detail vision in the first place like a pilot or a police officer would. I know that my training will help to show me if I'm right for this too, but I'm a little worried that my physical shortcomings will hold me back somewhat. I'm also bad with ladders and heights, but I'm going to start spending more time working on that fear. I've been wanting to take care of that for years. Well, sorry for the long novel, but I thought I'd just give a little background with my questions. I'm looking forward your input.

    Thanks,
    Mike

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    Welcome to the board. Your best bet to finding out information is to do searches and read, read, read.

    For your shortcomings the only one I'd be worried about is ladders and heights. I hated heights as well but when your in this profession you have to get over it. Thankfully my instructors didn't use the "kick in the pants" technique and let me take my own pace. I can now climb a 3 section extension ladder with a tool with no problems.

    As for your size treat it as an asset. We have two small women on our department and they are great for confined space rescue. Each of us has our tallents.

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    I am 6'1 and 155 lbs. That makes me pretty lanky. I also have bad vision. None of these things holds me back. Today many stations do not have enough people to be really picky. I also do not like heights, but if you take your time you can get over it. The ladders are actually quite safe when used properly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianB35 View Post

    As for your size treat it as an asset. We have two small women on our department and they are great for confined space rescue. Each of us has our tallents.

    ARRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

    The biggest BS argument on the board!

    Question: How many confined space rescues have the two female firefighters you mention completed in the last 10 years?

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    Quote Originally Posted by randsc View Post
    ARRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

    The biggest BS argument on the board!

    Question: How many confined space rescues have the two female firefighters you mention completed in the last 10 years?
    Rand,
    Size has its downfalls on either side of the spectrum, I personally am a big guy (6' 2" and 250LBS) and trust me in this profession, there are times I wish I was one of the little guys. Climbing through tight spaces, even in a structure fire scenario canb be a bit challenging. I also realize that being a big guy can benefit me alot in this job. To answer the original posters question, I have seen plenty of little guys come through the department in my day and as long as you are in good shape you'll be fine, of course there will be some obsticles to overcome, but that is the nature of the beast. FYI I have crap vision too, just were your contacts/glasses when you need em and it'll work out. Stay safe.
    Gary
    Firefighter/EMT-B
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    Leather Forever......F.O.O.L.S.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TRFirefighter25 View Post
    Rand,
    Size has its downfalls on either side of the spectrum, I personally am a big guy (6' 2" and 250LBS) and trust me in this profession, there are times I wish I was one of the little guys. Climbing through tight spaces, even in a structure fire scenario canb be a bit challenging. I also realize that being a big guy can benefit me alot in this job. To answer the original posters question, I have seen plenty of little guys come through the department in my day and as long as you are in good shape you'll be fine, of course there will be some obsticles to overcome, but that is the nature of the beast. FYI I have crap vision too, just were your contacts/glasses when you need em and it'll work out. Stay safe.
    Don't misunderstand me; I don't think the original poster is too small.

    I don't even know that there is such a thing as too small, though I know for sure there is such a thing as too weak, and the two are related.

    My problem is with the confined space argument. It has been brought up time and again on these forums, often with specific reference to female firefighters, and it is amost always bogus. It is often advanced by people whose departments probably do one or two of these a year. That is certainly the case here. We wouldn't use our 6'6", 270 lb guy for that job, no. But we would use someone strong enough to do it, and we wouldn't hold the job until the smallest of us could get there.

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    I agree, the confined space issue is kind of a mute point. You will be hard pressed to find a department that runs alot of these calls. My career FD runs almost 14,ooo calls a year out of 6 stations and I think I can remember 6 calls for this in the past 4 years. My vol. FD runs about 1000 calls a year and maybe have run this twice. In the tech rescue end of things we run more high angle than anything else. Stay safe.
    Gary
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    Quote Originally Posted by TRFirefighter25 View Post
    I agree, the confined space issue is kind of a mute point. You will be hard pressed to find a department that runs alot of these calls. My career FD runs almost 14,ooo calls a year out of 6 stations and I think I can remember 6 calls for this in the past 4 years. My vol. FD runs about 1000 calls a year and maybe have run this twice. In the tech rescue end of things we run more high angle than anything else. Stay safe.

    Granted, but there are other jobs the small guys excel at. We have one member, used to be assistant chief, who is about 5'6" and maybe 110 lbs. We don't do confined space rescue, but he's the best on accessing the patients during extrication at an MVA. Break out the rear window and in he goes, car upside down, crushed, whatever, and he can maneuver around inside better than most. How many MVA's do you go to?

    He can also stretch a 30 minute SCBA cylinder for about an hour. Small build, less air consumption.
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream and I hope you don't find this too crazy is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeP37 View Post
    Hey everyone



    One of the guys I work with is a volunteer for a neighboring township and I happen to know the Chief in my city's department, so I've been able to get a lot of good information from both of them.

    When you say my city dept, do you mean you live where you have a full time dept or what? That could be a bit of a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc View Post
    Granted, but there are other jobs the small guys excel at. We have one member, used to be assistant chief, who is about 5'6" and maybe 110 lbs. We don't do confined space rescue, but he's the best on accessing the patients during extrication at an MVA. Break out the rear window and in he goes, car upside down, crushed, whatever, and he can maneuver around inside better than most. How many MVA's do you go to?

    He can also stretch a 30 minute SCBA cylinder for about an hour. Small build, less air consumption.
    Very good point, that had slipped my mind. As regarding how many MVAs we go to it depends which department, My paid department I do not do many at all because of the fact I am a truckie. They generally do not need a 102' tower ladder at a car accident. My volunteer department we do quite a few. We have 2 of the busiest high speed stretches of road in the state that run right through our coverage area. Last year we ran almost 90 confirmed MVA's w/ extrication. Small build guys do come in handy in this situation even though we try to refrain from sending guys in the car, can be a major safety risk with the combustion factor in play. Stay safe.
    Gary
    Firefighter/EMT-B
    -------------------
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    Leather Forever......F.O.O.L.S.

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    Thanks for the input and sorry about the multiple posts. I'm not used to this whole approval thing, heheh. Anyway, yeah I'm willing to work hard to get over my ladder/heights problem, but I'm sure it'll take time like anything else does. I just don't want to be a liability to my department. "Oh, we have to get this guy over his fear of heights before he'll be much good to us." Actually, I'm perfectly fine with heights as long as I'm secured in some way. Planes and high roller coasters don't bother me a bit, in fact, I like them both a lot. I only get nervious when I'm in situations where I can have a brain fart and slip off of whatever I'm standing on. As for the size thing, it is what it is unfortunately. I wouldn't say that I'm weak and I'm definitely in good shape and very agile, but there's only so much that a 140-150 lb guy can do and I realize that.

    Quote Originally Posted by dday05 View Post
    When you say my city dept, do you mean you live where you have a full time dept or what? That could be a bit of a problem.
    We don't have a full time department so to speak. We do have two or three full time paid firemen and then the rest is made up of volunteers.

    Thanks again,
    Mike

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    Well since they haven't been on the department for 10 years I can't answer that. Now on the time they HAVE been on the department one has done two and the other none. However, we have trained for confined space that uses a 18"-20" tube with packs and guess what they do great!

    Lastly, I don't know who ****ed in your wheaties but if you don't have a positive comment to make to someone who wants to join keep it to yourself!



    Quote Originally Posted by randsc View Post
    ARRGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

    The biggest BS argument on the board!

    Question: How many confined space rescues have the two female firefighters you mention completed in the last 10 years?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincyone View Post
    The LAST thing we need is a couple of vollies performing a confined space rescue. It would take 2 hours for them to figure out how to do a z-rig.
    Oh really? And every career firefighter is an expert at this type of rescue? Please. Just as there are highly qualified career firefighters that are experts at confined space rescue there are also highly qualified volunteers that are also experts at confined space rescue.

    Your blanket statement about all volunteers is really foolsih and uneducated.

    FyredUp

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincyone View Post
    Blanket statements are the result of facts...YES, my statements are 100% true.
    Cincyone that is not correct. My volunteer department protects a town of 100K and has 10 fire stations. We have our own technical rescue team all state certified in Confined Space, High Angle, Trench, Collapse, Underwater, and Ice rescue. we currently have 14 members of the team, each with a cert. in all of those categories. We are designated by the state as the counties tech. rescue team. Yes we have career departments in our area, and guess what, they call the lowly old vollies to come do the technical rescue. I realize we may not be the norm in training when it comes to volunteer companies. All of our firefighters are required to meet the same standards as our career firefighters in the state,Fire1 - Fire2 - Vehicle Extrication - and atleast 1st Responder, although most of us have our EMT's. I work for a career department in the state and when you get hired and go to the academy you get Fire1,Fire2, Extrication, and EMT-B. Same thing you get at my volunteer departments academy. Stay safe
    Gary
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    Leather Forever......F.O.O.L.S.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincyone View Post
    The LAST thing we need is a couple of vollies performing a confined space rescue. It would take 2 hours for them to figure out how to do a z-rig.
    Thats gotta be one of the most ignorant statements I've ever heard. I know plenty of vollies that would probaby beat your ***** all around the fire ground.


    Go back to your career fourm and play hero there tough guy
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianB35 View Post
    Well since they haven't been on the department for 10 years I can't answer that. Now on the time they HAVE been on the department one has done two and the other none. However, we have trained for confined space that uses a 18"-20" tube with packs and guess what they do great!
    Really? What kind of weight can they pull back out the tube after them?

    Lastly, I don't know who ****ed in your wheaties but if you don't have a positive comment to make to someone who wants to join keep it to yourself!
    I didn't make any negative comment to the original poster. I made a negative comment in response to your post. The confined space argument for small (often female) firefighters is made on this board all the time, and as anyone who has actually done it can tell you, is basically complete horse-shyte.

    In an environment where you cannot move about much to gain leverage, raw upper-body strength matters more, not less.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincyone View Post
    Pure drivel, Wannabe..
    Wow. Thats it?????

    Weak man. Weak. Come back when yah got something better
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincyone View Post
    Ok, Its the simple fact that you're a wanna be. You get your panites all in a wad when you're called on it. Why dont you just try acting like a "male" and NOT a little girl. Its not my fault you have insecurities..If you did NOT you wouldnt have even responded to my replies. *** Muncher
    HAHAHA. Alrighty pal. I'm not getting my panties in a bunch princess. But if thats what you want to think keep than so be it. I find it amuzing that you gotta come into a vollie fourm and bash us to give your sad little life some sort of satisfaction. It's really pathetic man. Like I said go back to your career fourm and try and be a hero there because your not fooling anyone over here. Have a nice day.


    Just on a side note. What was your reasoning for getting out of the forces???
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Default Great Idea

    I think volunteering is a great idea. Before you jump in whole hog, check with your friend who is the Chief and see if you can come and observe a few training sessions or even join in to see if it's something you may be interested in. Keep in mind that once you are on a call things change a little thanks to the adrenaline. As for size and eye sight, don't sweat it. You may be expected to know about a lot of things, but you don't always have to do everything. We have people on our Dept. who know about interior attack, but will never go in. There are always people who are needed to be outside with a hose, holding ladders, running the pumps, BA control, traffic control and the list goes on. So don't worry about what you can and cannot do, you'll find your niche.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincyone View Post
    Pure drivel, Wannabe..
    So profire1...get tired of your old name that most certainly did not describe you?

    Why don't you try to act like a professional firefighter instead of the immature *** you always sound like? You are quickly becoming little more than the annoying hum of that nat that simply refuses to go away.

    It really is a shame that your life is so meaningless that this behavior is all you have.

    FyredUp

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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    So profire1...get tired of your old name that most certainly did not describe you?

    Why don't you try to act like a professional firefighter instead of the immature *** you always sound like? You are quickly becoming little more than the annoying hum of that nat that simply refuses to go away.

    It really is a shame that your life is so meaningless that this behavior is all you have.

    FyredUp
    I thought the exact same thing. Especially when I read about her/him/it bragging about not getting much flak when it joined because of it's "vet" status. Although I don't really call someone with four years and 1 tour a vet.

    Must of gotten banned contrary to what it thought.
    Last edited by ndvfdff33; 05-26-2007 at 09:48 PM.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    ndvfdff33, blow him off, he's not worth it. He's posted in other forums just to get people's goat. He's a "professional" horn blower.


    Quote Originally Posted by ndvfdff33 View Post
    HAHAHA. Alrighty pal. I'm not getting my panties in a bunch princess. But if thats what you want to think keep than so be it. I find it amuzing that you gotta come into a vollie fourm and bash us to give your sad little life some sort of satisfaction. It's really pathetic man. Like I said go back to your career fourm and try and be a hero there because your not fooling anyone over here. Have a nice day.


    Just on a side note. What was your reasoning for getting out of the forces???

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    Quote Originally Posted by randsc View Post
    Really? What kind of weight can they pull back out the tube after them?
    By themselves, they can do about 150 lbs., but they have this thing call a rope. They tie it to the backboard and others who have more more strenght pull it back. I also forgot that one of the members on our RIT team is about 5'7" weights about 1/2 I do and he can do plenty of things in small spaces. I should have added him along with the two others I listed.

    I didn't make any negative comment to the original poster. I made a negative comment in response to your post. The confined space argument for small (often female) firefighters is made on this board all the time, and as anyone who has actually done it can tell you, is basically complete horse-shyte.
    In an environment where you cannot move about much to gain leverage, raw upper-body strength matters more, not less.
    Umm hmm, you are entitled to your opinion but we've had guys with "plenty" of upper body strength get stuck because they were to big to fit in some placed and had to be helped out.

    You can keep your horse manure and continuing bad attitude, we'll keep doing things that work.
    Last edited by BrianB35; 05-26-2007 at 11:04 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrianB35 View Post
    ndvfdff33, blow him off, he's not worth it. He's posted in other forums just to get people's goat. He's a "professional" horn blower.
    Yeah well now that we pretty much got it pegged out as someone I'm not even worried anymore. Thanks for lookin out for me though. I am stubborn sometimes and don't know when too stop.
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

    Ryan

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cincyone View Post
    Blah, Blah, Blah, irrelevant nonsense. Blah, Blah, Blah, hate filled diatribe. Blah, Blah, Blah, self loathing that this is all I have left in my meaningless life.
    Wow Profire you finally said something true!!

    FyredUp

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