1. #1
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    Default Career and Volunteer both

    I have a question for all the Career guys. I am currently a POC/VOL firefighter/EMT on a dept serving about 6600 people. I have started applying for career jobs in the area. My question I have for you guys is, how is it viewed by other career members for a career guy to also be a volunteer in a different community. Are they considered scum for not trying to get full time where they live, or are they viewed as scabs for working as a volunteer POC in that community. I dont want to cause problems. I am just curious because I really dont plan on leaving my vol dept if I get on somewhere full time. Also we are union on the POC Vol dept, through the IBEW though not IAFF.

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    I think you'll find it varies by region, department, and person.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FireDawgEMT22 View Post
    I have a question for all the Career guys. I am currently a POC/VOL firefighter/EMT on a dept serving about 6600 people. I have started applying for career jobs in the area. My question I have for you guys is, how is it viewed by other career members for a career guy to also be a volunteer in a different community. Are they considered scum for not trying to get full time where they live, or are they viewed as scabs for working as a volunteer POC in that community. I dont want to cause problems. I am just curious because I really dont plan on leaving my vol dept if I get on somewhere full time. Also we are union on the POC Vol dept, through the IBEW though not IAFF.
    Okay, first of all be aware that in many career FD's this is a very big issue from the Union side. But there are also career Fd's that prohibit this from the admin side too. Then there are some FD's that simply don't make a big deal out of it.

    My advice, during your training academy and perhaps even during your probation go on a leave of absence from your volly FD or talk to your volly chief and tell him that you will not be responding until your probabtion is over and see what he wants you to do. I am sure you are wondering why no response during training and porbation, Well here's why, if you get hurt you can be fired from your career FD. If you are unable to complete your probation or training they can let you go and you have no recourse.

    Now for a little advice regarding being a two hatter.

    1) Don't ever say "That's not how we do it at my other FD."

    2) Don't bring up that you are a volly unless directly asked.

    3) Don't wear your volly FD T-shirt or jacket to work.

    4) If you own a wacker mobile with tons of lights and stickers don't drive it to work.

    Good luck,

    FyredUp

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    Default Career and Vol

    FyredUp makes sense. Where I work it is not frouned apon at all, quite the contrary, we are encouraged to join. I work in a not so nice section of the state so the guys on my paid department generally live 30+ miles from work. On my truck company of 5, four of us are volunteer somewhere else. Occasionally one of the usual sh*t stirrers at a union meeting will start raising hell about the paid/vol combination but it always shot down due to the fact of the amount of guys that are vollies at home. Both our Union president and Department Chief are active volunteer firefighters in there home towns so for me its not an issue. However I have buddies on less leniant and understanding departments who are always catching grieve and some even have to hide the fact they are members of vol. FDs. Usually it is not a problem but like FyredUp said, don't advertise it. I never wear anything with my vol. companies name on it to work, drive the wifes car when I do go to work so I dont catch **** for my dash light. Just dont want to give the grumpywiney old bastards that complain at every union meeting any ammo. Stay safe.
    Gary
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    Also check into your state's law on "Presumptive Heart, Lung and Disease Coverage." If your state has this and you get sick or have the big one, get ready to have both sides fight over whose coverage you are going under. Neither side will want to pay and you'll be stuck in the middle with the bills. How come some cannot understand that this is the reason why the IAFF discourages acting as a volunteer? The IAFF has fought hard in many states to get this coverage for all firefighters. The problem is if you are a two hatter both departments' insurance companies will fight tooth and nail to keep from paying your bills.

    Also, check into your pension benefits if you were to become disabled at a volunteer event. Our pension gives 70% of current salary if it is line of duty. The state volunteer side you get the state amount of coverage which is not that much ($535 weekly here) less what you might get else where (our pension is 2.5% of salary per year, vested once you have 5 years on.) Check the financial side before you make a decision. Many don't.

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    lexfd5 touched on it. And he is right. I understand your wanting to stay with your volunteer organization. You may feel you owe them since they trained you and got you into this profesion. This I understand. Many guys feel the same way. There is nothing wrong with staying involved with your volunteer dept. Even the IAFF agrees with this. BUT do not under any circumstance be an active firefighter with the volunteers. You could take an administration position, help them with training, do some fund raisers, mentor the new guys, be a positive asset without being a firefighter. Why? Well first off if your career job will be IAFF you will take an oath not to volunteer. Second and more importantly if you need to make a presumptive health care claim you WILL be denied by both depts. Then you will have a huge law suit to fight. Also don't jepordize the job that feeds and houses your family. I could get deeper into this but I'll leave it at that.
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    Well first off, my vol dept does not have positions that are not active firefighting or EMS positions within the dept. And I dont understand the oath with the IAFF to not volunteer. I know of several IAFF members on career full time dept's that are also active volunteers. And is it different if my current dept is Unionized Paid on Call, through the IBEW.

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    FiregawgEMT22,
    If your voly dept doesn't have those positions than either create them or offer your help in training, fund raising or any other activity they may need to be done. The oath thing will be explained to you when you get on the job. The IAFF members you speak of that run with the volys are what we call SCABS!!! They are breaking the rules and they know it. If they choose to ignore all the points I bring up than shame on them when they come looking for union representation when the city denies their benefit claims. I hope they sleep well at night knowing that they are cripling their negotiating team so they can exercise there right to do what they want on their "free" time. Lastly it is not different if your part-time job is union because all the priciples remain the same.

    You may get on a dept that looks the other way at these issues. Lord knows they exist. But it still doesn't make it right. They may haven't had it come up from the city at the negotiating table. BUT THEY WILL!!!! All city governments talk to each other on a national level (thanks to the internet) and they find out what works!
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    Ill just ask how is it a conflict of interest. I understand if I get hurt on the vol dept I can lose my job on the career, makes sense during probation. I also understand the claim problems if you have a heart attack or something. My biggest question is why the hell is it a conflict of interest. I dont see it. I dont understand how my involvment with my vol dept would be hurting the IAFF or other career depts anywhere.
    Last edited by FireDawgEMT22; 05-23-2007 at 08:27 PM.

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    Nice how you edited out the "union babble" part. It's all "union babble" until you are wronged and want to file a grievance.
    Some of our city commissioners want to go to a part-paid department, we are currently 100% career. If we were to be vollies or part-paid in the towns we live, then why wouldn't vollies or part-paid work in the city? There is the conflict of interest. Plus what the others said, your family could have one heck of a battle to try and get any benefits if something happened. We all say "that'll never happen to me", but it happens to over 100 of us a year.

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    FiredawgEMT22,
    I know this whole thing is new to you, so I'll go easy on you. For those who have read me write this a bunch of times before I apologize.

    Let me give you a simple but easy to understand analogy. Lets say you own a shop making wigits. Your shop is a union shop. The contract they have with you is about to expire and they are negotiating wage increases and better benefits. You are operating on limited budget due to energy and material increases. You can not come to an agreement so the union decides to go on strike. While they are on strike some employees of yours are working for your competitor across the street for a lesser wage and no bennefits because they have them through you. While at work one of them gets injured on that job across the street. He goes to the hospital and finds out he will be out of work for 3 months. In the mean time you settle your contract and everyone comes back to work except the injured employee. He is taking his sick time bennefits his union negotiated with you and you have to replace him with an overtime employee at time and a half his hourly pay. Should the competitor across the street pay for your losses? Yes. Will he? NEVER!!! Is this fair? Was it a conflict of interest?

    Now lets say you are the mayor of the city that has a union fire dept. One of your firefighters is volunteering in the town across the street. That firefighter gets hurt at a volunteer fire. He uses his sick time while he is out and you have to fill his position with a time and a half firefighter. Does the volunteer town write a check to the city suffering the loss? NO WAY!!! Is this fair to the tax payer in the city? NO! Is this a conflict of interest? Was the union hypocriticle when they asked to maintain their wages and bennefits when they did it for nothing across the street? YES!!! Do you see it now?

    How about when the guy on truck 2 suffers a heart attack? The city denies his claim because their position is that they are not the sole exposure to the risk that created that condition. Are they right? YES. How do you fight that? Will the volunteer dept take the hit? NEVER!!! How about the guy on engine 5 who gets lung cancer and he never smoked a cigarette in his life. Will he get denied because he volunteered for 20 dedicated years? YES!!! Can you understand the citys position on this? Sure you can - I can. I would do the exact same thing if I was the mayor.

    Do a little research on the whole Hartford contract. You will learn a lot.

    The bottom line is this - your little village will not burn down without you. If they will maybe it's time they go career. You don't have to leave them all together. There is a lot you can still do for them. You can still train them, be a secretary, treaserer, web master, fund raiser or anything else that does not expose you to the risks assosiated with presumptive health issues.
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    The problem KeithA8 is your analogy is flawed and flawed big time.

    You assume the only person who will get hurt off duty is someone volunteering at another fire department. WRONG. Suppose your shift mate on the engine roofs houses on his off day and manages to fall off the roof and break his leg. He isn't going to use sick time while he recovers right? Because he wasn't volunteering at another fire department. The fire department won't have to hire overtime to cover because he wasn't volunteering at another fire department. See? That is how your little story fails. It is in fact all smoke and mirrors.

    What about the guy who lays tile or paints cars or any number of other part-time jobs where they are breathing in funes that may be cancer causing. Will they to be denied benefits?

    It is not the Unions or the admins business what an employee does off the clock as long as it is legal.

    FyredUp

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    Fyredup,
    We've gone round and round about this before. It isn't flawed at all. The roofer is not a conflict of interest, Neither is painting cars. They do in fact have there own health risks and should be thought about when choosing a side job. You bring up good points. An auto body guy might find himself in the same pickle. But absolutly a volunteer will! So no holes in my story. The risk you take for side jobs or hobbies could in fact come back to haunt you. Choose wisely. One thing I never heard at a negotiation table is how a firefighter roofing on the side should not get a raise. In fact if he got a proper wage he might not have to roof on the side at all.
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    If YOUR local has such a hard time justifying YOUR staffing maybe there is a flaw in the way they negotiate. My career FD is bordered by 2 volly FD's and some of our guys are on that, including one of our chiefs. I volly in a community of 700 about 90 miles away. Several other members also volly where they live. It has NEVER been brought back to the members that we are causing problems in negotiations because of vollying. Not one time.

    You are entitled to your opinion. I just think your argument is flawed.

    FyredUp

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    I never said our staffing is threatened. What I said is that volunteering has come up. If it hasn't come up yet it will. Maybe not your next contract but it will. These city managers are all conected on how negotiations are done. This is just one reason not to. If you feel that the risk is worth the jolly than do what you want. You're going to anyway. Here in my state we're trying to fight for new heart and hypertension laws. This issue is a HUGE topic right now.
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    I'll be honest, I have never been big on unions.
    I editted that comment out because I didnt want to cause a problem over nothing. I worked UAW at an engine plant as skilled trades maintenance. The point I have is I dont see how anyone can have an issue with what you do in free time. Our comunity isnt big enough to go full time, so I dont see how it threatens FF's in communities that are. Also, the dept I recently tested for is not only Full time, but they also have POC volunteers.

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    FiredawgEMT22,
    Don't blame the union. The union is looking out for its members BEST interests and that is protecting your health, wage, and bennefits. Nothing more, nothing less. The union is YOU and your fellow members. If you don't like the rules set forth - change them. If the majority agrees with you then your fine. Take what I said and think about it. I've explained my point of view, the unions, and the citys. So think about it and come to your own conclusion. I'm not going to tell you how to think, niether is the union. I will do my part to educate you and you formulate your own thoughts. You may agree with me and you may not. The facts I bring out remain the same. Many new guys don't realize their impact on the job when they run with the volys. If you take a poll on this forum you will more than likely find most people disagree with me. If you took it in a nonbiased place you would find that most do agree with me. It's been proven in courts around this country most of the time (except MD). This is big news here in Connecticut because of Hartfords last contract. Area volunteer towns brought it to court and lost.
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    I appreciate youyr view point, and your willingness to share it with me. I dont blame the unions. I have seen problems with the UAW where I used to work. I have never been affiliated with the IAFF so I cannot form any kind of opinion on them. I just have ahard time grasping the concept that being paid on call with a dept serving 6600 people and running 800 calls a year would have any kind of impact on brothers serving 2-3 times that. I am involved in Fire rescue because I fell in love wiht it. Every aspect of it. Washing the trucks, hose testing, pump testing, driver training, EMS runs, fighting fires, Public relations and fire prevention. If you can name any aspect of the fire business I love it. If I get on a dept full time, I dont see how just 24/48 will be enough to satisfy myself. You may say I have no life. Well firefighting is my life second only to my family. Its not a hobby, its not a job. For me it is a way of life. I dont want to sound like some whacker punk, but I truly love this service and EVERYTHING associated with it.

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    FiredawgEMT22,
    I can definitly respect that. Don't lose sleep over this untill you are on an IAFF job. Untill then have fun and enjoy the job. I'm sure once you get on someone will take the time to go through all of this with you. Talking in a forum has its limitations. Be safe brother. - Keith
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    HB 339 amends the Workers' Compensation Act to provide that there exists a presumption that heart or lung disease in a paid or volunteer firefighter is occupationally related if he or she has worked as a firefighter for five consecutive years. The bill affects workers' compensation claims for both paid and volunteer firefighters.

    Here is the Commonwealth of KY Heart Lung law. Simple isn't it?

    Unless you are a two hatter. If you notice the worker's compensation claims wording. Which worker's compensation insurance company is going to pay your bills if you are a two hatter? I guarantee that the worker's compensation companies for both fire departments will fight each other tooth and nail to keep from paying.

    Everyone has mentioned injuries above and you are correct Fyredup they don't make a difference if it was from working as a volunteer firefighter or getting hit in the head with a golf ball. Any government that does not budget for overtime to cover these cases is no being prudent. The difference comes when you have the "big one," lung cancer or any other disease covered by presumptive laws. You'll be stuck in the middle with the bills while the two insurance companies fight it out.

    Even when they are done fighting it out where will you end up? I'd rather end up with my $41,352 a year (from my pension) tax free versus what the government would supply assuming I have any quarters paid into SSI. If you are young and don't have your 6 quarters in for SSI you get very little. If required number of quarters also increases as you get older (unless you are an illegal and they pass the new law.) If you are firefighter and don't pay to SS only a pension guess what you don't get any quarters.

    Another for instance here is if I were to volunteer on my days off and get hurt and disabled I would only get my pension payout, 2.5% per year served, $12,110. Any state or federal payments would deduct this amount from their benefits. I think I'll take care of my family and stay a one hatter.

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    Another for instance here is if I were to volunteer on my days off and get hurt and disabled I would only get my pension payout,
    So are you saying the vollie departments where you are at are not required to have workman's comp insurance?
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    I know my Vollie dept, (again Paid on call) has WC. they will pay the lost wages from your full time job if you get hurt doing the FD work.

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    Default career and volunteer

    we have a fireman that lives about 90 miles from his fulltime dept. he is a volunteer there, they barely get a hundred calls a year, they are all volunteer,and will not be hiring any fulltime people in the near future, how is this hurting the IAFF ????

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPFDRum View Post
    So are you saying the vollie departments where you are at are not required to have workman's comp insurance?
    They are required to have workers comp. BUT the payout is much less than if I were disabled on the career side. Step back and think if you could live on what state disability and SSI would pay you (think close to poverty level.)

    Also think about how hard it is to get workers compensation and how awful it is to get money out of an insurance company. Remember if you cannot get back to work you'll end up on disability and in my humble opinion government disability payments keep you at the poverty levels, you will not be able to maintain the lifestyle you are accustomed to.
    Last edited by lexfd5; 05-25-2007 at 09:16 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lexfd5 View Post
    They are required to have workers comp. BUT the payout is much less than if I were disabled on the career side. Step back and think if you could live on what state disability and SSI would pay you (think close to poverty level.)

    Also think about how hard it is to get workers compensation and how awful it is to get money out of an insurance company. Remember if you cannot get back to work you'll end up on disability and in my humble opinion government disability payments keep you at the poverty levels, you will not be able to maintain the lifestyle you are accustomed to.
    Well here in Wisconsin the WC pays out at the rate of the nearest full time career FD.

    FyredUp

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