1. #1
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    Default Question for the fulltimers regarding volunteering at "home"..

    ....can you volunteer on your hometown EMS or fire department? Are there union rules against it? Personal rules against? I have some associates that while their union allows them to volunteer, they don't because when they leave the station they want to "just get away".

    I am not trying to start anything. I am doing a personal review/research, that I hope to turn into (maybe) a worth while article to submit to publications.


    Thanks!


    (Sorry I also couldn't find any other polls regarding this subject. There is A LOT of the FT. vs. Vollie though!)

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    There was an IAFF resolution against it. However, it is up to the individual local to decide whether or not to enforce it. There are also some City's the do not allow members to work at other departments in the contracts.
    Jason Brooks
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    Our Local discourages it, but definitely doesn't enforce the rule. I'd say maybe 10% of our career guys volunteer somewhere.

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    We have it in our contract that we can't volinter, part time, paid, nothing anywhere else regarding supression. We can do EMS outside.

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    I know the IAFF says it's a no-no, but we have many of our members who volunteer in thier off-hours. Our local doesn't really care. In fact, of the 10 men on my shift at my station, 2 of us are volly chiefs and one is a volly deputy chief.

    The deputy chief and I both volunteer in counties without any paid personnel at all. The other chief on my shift is a volunteer station chief in a combination department that does have a IAFF local, but the career and volunteer staff get along pretty darn well for the most part, so neither local says anything about it.

    Of the 500 personnel on our department, I would estimate 15% volunteer "at home".

    BTW, we're in a right-to-work state, so no contracts to abide by.
    Career Fire Captain
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    Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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    When last I heard, the IAFF and its locals aren't a regulatory agency. They can discourage, advise against, lobby against, etc. but they can't say yes/no. The career dept SOPs/Rules-Regs can.

    I worked for a smaller department (150 personnel) and currently work for a large dept (800+ personnel). Neither of them prohibit volunteering officially. It is expected you won't wear your "paid" gear or uniform, or act under the authority of your career dept while off duty. I can't remember them all but there are also stipulations such that if you get hurt or killed while volunteering you can't collect workers comp, and other certain benefits.

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong: Isn't the IAFFs opposition to vollys is they take away potential jobs from career FFs? For example a city keeps it's volly/part-paid department so they don't have to hire a full time paid. Where I used to live in rural West Texas the population density is so thin almost have to have paid guys volunteering.

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    Please take the time to read my previous postings and it will explain everything. Don't be a scab!
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    the department were i'm paid is combination. We have several on the vollie side who work f/t elsewhere. As for those of us who are paid 3/8 volunteer elsewhere, the union says nothing. Simliar to a previous post no work comp if hurt on vollie. The only request the chief has is if he calls our vollie dept for M/A we come into work and not on the M/A engine. It actually make more sense finncally anyways with minium call back time so who wouldn't.

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    I always thought the IAFF had a by-law or resolution against it. It is not in our local contract. Many guys work EMS, maybe one or two secretly do volly. Our department does not transport, though we have been pushing for it for years now. "Two-hatting" is frowned upon heavily around here, and those reported will most likely end up trial-boarded. My personal opinion is that what I do on my own time is my business. But I do see the IAFF's point, considering that our city manager is trying hard to turn us from a full-time to a combination department.

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    From time to time there are members of other locals who are found to be volunteering at one of the 11 deparments my IAFF local represents. My local's president will caLL the other locals's president and the issue gets addressed....

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    Quote Originally Posted by agavegrove View Post
    Someone correct me if I'm wrong: Isn't the IAFFs opposition to vollys is they take away potential jobs from career FFs? For example a city keeps it's volly/part-paid department so they don't have to hire a full time paid. Where I used to live in rural West Texas the population density is so thin almost have to have paid guys volunteering.
    I have been told through the good ole grapevine that one reason is presumptive illness legislation that some states have. Being a one hatter makes it rather easy to tell where you got the illness. If you two-hat then both departments' insurance agencies will fight tooth and nail not to pay you benefits. Each side saying you got the "cooties" on your other department. Not a good situation to be in.

    Also look into your pension/retirement rules. You may not get a full pay out because you were not "on the line" but at your "hobby."

    The laws vary from state to state so take some time to look into it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithA8 View Post
    Please take the time to read my previous postings and it will explain everything. Don't be a scab!
    I did. It didn't explain much. You're gung ho about the IAFF. Great! But what works in the Northeast doesn't necessarily work in the West. Culture, traditions, economy, demographics, history - all different. So before you start biased name calling, as you've done in some other posts, keep in mind we're looking through two different pair of eyes. And come shift change tomorrow, none of this discussion will matter because it'll be business as usual - to get on the truck and do our job.

    So back to the original poster.
    ....can you volunteer on your hometown EMS or fire department?
    This is quoted from one of our rules/regs. I've omitted the city's name:

    "This regulation does not prohibit employees from serving as volunteer firefighters in other communities. However, Firefighters volunteering for other departments will not be considered acting in the course and scope of employment for the City [city omitted]. Fire Department employees are considered in course and scope of employment for the purposes of being eligible for benefits bestowed by the City of [city omitted] only as described herein. Firefighters performing compensated or uncompensated activities in the course and scope of employment by others, as independent contractors, or as self-employed persons are advised to seek information regarding benefits available to them resulting from their performing services on behalf of the other agency and/or to make arrangements to meet their needs from personal sources."
    Last edited by agavegrove; 03-15-2008 at 10:18 PM. Reason: add original post

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    Quote Originally Posted by agavegrove View Post
    I did. It didn't explain much. You're gung ho about the IAFF. Great! But what works in the Northeast doesn't necessarily work in the West. Culture, traditions, economy, demographics, history - all different. So before you start biased name calling, as you've done in some other posts, keep in mind we're looking through two different pair of eyes. And come shift change tomorrow, none of this discussion will matter because it'll be business as usual - to get on the truck and do our job.

    So back to the original poster.


    This is quoted from one of our rules/regs. I've omitted the city's name:

    "This regulation does not prohibit employees from serving as volunteer firefighters in other communities. However, Firefighters volunteering for other departments will not be considered acting in the course and scope of employment for the City [city omitted]. Fire Department employees are considered in course and scope of employment for the purposes of being eligible for benefits bestowed by the City of [city omitted] only as described herein. Firefighters performing compensated or uncompensated activities in the course and scope of employment by others, as independent contractors, or as self-employed persons are advised to seek information regarding benefits available to them resulting from their performing services on behalf of the other agency and/or to make arrangements to meet their needs from personal sources."

    Being in Fort Worth, you should know the answer.. check with your local!!...

    http://www.firecaptain.com/html/why_not.html

    How many volunteer police, garbagemen, utilities workers, contractors, etc...volunteering their profession or trade in your volunteer community?

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    Default IAFF and Volunteering

    According to the 48th IAFF Constitution and By-Laws (2006). Article XV (Misconduct and Penalties) Section 1, E. "Advocating or encouraging any labor or any other rival organization, or acquiring or maintaining membership in any such organization including volunteer fire departments or associations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithA8 View Post
    Please take the time to read my previous postings and it will explain everything. Don't be a scab!
    If you are going to use such strong words, you ought to use them properly. A scab is someone who crosses a picket line, not someone who works fulltime in a union shop but works (or vollies) on the side at a non union shop. Bottom line is that a full time union FF who vollies on his off time is not a scab.

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    Default Definition according to Merrian-Webster

    Main Entry: 1scab
    Pronunciation: \ˈskab\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Middle English, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Swedish skabbr scab; akin to Old English sceabb scab, Latin scabere to scratch more at shave
    Date: 13th century
    1: scabies of domestic animals
    2: a crust of hardened blood and serum over a wound
    3 a: a contemptible person b (1): a worker who refuses to join a labor union (2): a union member who refuses to strike or returns to work before a strike has ended (3): a worker who accepts employment or replaces a union worker during a strike (4): one who works for less than union wages or on nonunion terms
    4: any of various bacterial or fungus diseases of plants characterized by crustaceous spots; also : one of the spots

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    My understanding is the IAFF is okay with it if your home is in a district covered by a volunteer department and you are a resident there. I know our V.P. is a volunteer BC because he lives in the middle of nowhere. Many members of our neighboring city with all IAFF members live in a rural area and volunteer for that department. I think the guideline is meant to keep cities that have the call volume and income to justify a paid department from running their cities with volunteers, or replacing some staff with volunteers. I don't think it is meant for small departments with few calls and an even smaller budget that cannot afford to pay full time firefighters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by localtrainer75 View Post
    Being in Fort Worth, you should know the answer.. check with your local!!...

    http://www.firecaptain.com/html/why_not.html

    How many volunteer police, garbagemen, utilities workers, contractors, etc...volunteering their profession or trade in your volunteer community?
    While my thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Brothers Collins and Dean, I still fail to understand why there would be any assumption that FWFD would be responsible for paying LODD benefits when the men were not on-duty at the time of the event.

    When I am volunteering, there is no expectation from my family or my brother and sister volunteers that there would be any financial compensation from my employer. While the scope of the activity mirrors what I do at work (firefighting), it doesn't make any more sense for my employer to pay death benefits for this any more than it would if I was killed in a wheat thresher accident.

    Furthermore, Virginia's presumtion law covers and provides the same benefits for both career and volunteer firefighters, so should I be diagnosed with a cardiac condition and/or cancer, there isn't a burden of proof that falls on my employer. Simply being a firefighter is proof enough.

    In one of KeithA8's previous threads, a poster made mention of there being a "moral obligation" to volunteer in an area that doesn't have the financial means to support a career department. That's my case. We don't have career staff, and won't for a long time, so I think I would feel pretty guilty if I quit my VFD and listened for them make requests for manpower, specially trained individuals, etc, and I wasn't there to provide the services needed. I do feel as though I have an obligation, and I'm not ashamed of it.

    I wonder for how many decades this disagreement will go on for?
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  19. #19
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    Box,

    I can't speak for other places. Here, the issue was to eliminate the doubt for presumptive cancer and the heart&lung bill. There could be, no matter how slight, a fight as to who should pay out their part of the deal, should multiple jurisdictions be involved.
    Particularly with my city's past history, if they can create doubt and save money, they will do so at our expense. My Local felt it was in our members best interest to keep us from being members of other departments for this very reason, and this reason alone. The leadership felt that it would be an unneeded stress should a member become ill, for that member. I happen to agree with that position.

    Never mind the fact that we have strict city residency, so no one lives in a volunteer jurisdiction.
    Last edited by jasper45; 03-16-2008 at 04:49 PM.

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    It all depends on where you are at:

    The aforementioned amendment to the IAFF constitution was put forth by locals from the NE that they reported were volunteering and preventing the addition of paid members. In some of those places the locals are very aggressive in removing those members from the locals.

    In the mid-west most career firefighters start out as volunteers in their home communities, and then go to the "city" to work. Here it is not uncommon to see IAFF local presidents that are volunteer firefighters in their hometowns.

    In many places that have IAFF locals in the midwest and auto-aid agreements with volunteer departments, guys usually won't ride their volly truck into the "city". Especially if the career department is using volunteers to prevent overtime usage.

    This won't change around here unless the city's were to put strict residency requirements in for their members, city limits. Until then, many departments like mine will only have 15% - 20% of their members live in the city in which they work. As long as they are still living in their home community, many will continue to volunteer, whether the IAFF or the city stands for or against the practice.

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    The IAFF does not put this suggestion out for the sole purpose of protecting career positions. However in some cases it is there for that reason. The main reason is to protect its members from being denied presumtive health care. If you feel an obligation to your volunteer dept than there is plenty for you to do without puting you at risk for denial. For example - you could become the training officer, run some fund raisers, do the clerical/business side of things, maintain equipment, basicly keep the air pack off of your back and you're good to go. If your in a situation that your village will burn down without you than your community needs to address its manning issues. Either hire a dirver or tighten up your mutual aid agreements. What happens when your at work or on vacation? They get it done without you don't they? You may not be as valuable as you want yourself to be. Your main concern should be you and your family and protecting your benefits.
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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    Your main concern should be you and your family and protecting your benefits.
    It's the USA. Shouldn't you be concerned about having the "right" to make your own choice?
    "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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    There has been several good reasons to volunteer and not to volunteer on your off time. The best reason against volunteering was presented by jasper45;

    Box,

    I can't speak for other places. Here, the issue was to eliminate the doubt for presumptive cancer and the heart&lung bill. There could be, no matter how slight, a fight as to who should pay out their part of the deal, should multiple jurisdictions be involved.
    Particularly with my city's past history, if they can create doubt and save money, they will do so at our expense. My Local felt it was in our members best interest to keep us from being members of other departments for this very reason, and this reason alone. The leadership felt that it would be an unneeded stress should a member become ill, for that member. I happen to agree with that position.

    Never mind the fact that we have strict city residency, so no one lives in a volunteer jurisdiction.
    In Jasper's case the local enacted a rule in order to protect it's members based upon previous actions of the city, add to that the city's residency requirements and you can see why there really is no issue in jasper's area.

    BoxAlarm presented some the best reasons for volunteering;
    When I am volunteering, there is no expectation from my family or my brother and sister volunteers that there would be any financial compensation from my employer. While the scope of the activity mirrors what I do at work (firefighting), it doesn't make any more sense for my employer to pay death benefits for this any more than it would if I was killed in a wheat thresher accident.

    Furthermore, Virginia's presumtion law covers and provides the same benefits for both career and volunteer firefighters, so should I be diagnosed with a cardiac condition and/or cancer, there isn't a burden of proof that falls on my employer. Simply being a firefighter is proof enough.

    In one of KeithA8's previous threads, a poster made mention of there being a "moral obligation" to volunteer in an area that doesn't have the financial means to support a career department. That's my case. We don't have career staff, and won't for a long time, so I think I would feel pretty guilty if I quit my VFD and listened for them make requests for manpower, specially trained individuals, etc, and I wasn't there to provide the services needed. I do feel as though I have an obligation, and I'm not ashamed of it.
    Ultimatley it should be a choice based upon what is best for you, your familiy, and your community both the one you work in and the one you volunteer in. I understand the IAFF's position in some cases, particulary the NE, it is simply looking out for it's best interest, after all it is a special interest group that's what it does.

    Now to the KiethA8's and the TBad1557's out there. Do any of you do any side work? Drive trucks? Home Improvement? Welding? Electrical? Lawn Care? Are you a member of that occupations union? If not your a SCAB! If you are how does it feel taking jobs away from other potential union members, SCAB? You twist it how you want, blindly follow the IAFF, and spout rhetoric all day if you wish. The truth of the matter is that the two-hatter issue is not a national issue it's one that should be addressed by each local and each individual.

    For the record I don't currently volunteer I choose not to, not because of a presumptive health care bill (neither that state I work in or reside in has one), not because of the IAFF, not because of our contract (we don't have a contract I work in a right-to-work state ), but because I made a decision that I would rather spend time with my daughter before she starts school than volunteer or work a second job. When she starts school (this fall) I may choose to volunteer or I may not, but it will be a decision I make.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KeithA8 View Post
    If your in a situation that your village will burn down without you than your community needs to address its manning issues. Either hire a dirver or tighten up your mutual aid agreements. What happens when your at work or on vacation? They get it done without you don't they? You may not be as valuable as you want yourself to be. Your main concern should be you and your family and protecting your benefits.
    While I know it's semantics, I live in an state (well, a Commonwealth, actually) that doesn't have villages or townships. Speaking from my prospective as a VFD chief: as with almost every jurisdiction in our state, we are a county-based fire department, I have a 72 square mile first due (responding from one station). I don't think that we have any occupancies that will burn down in my first-due if I'm not there. However, our department works as a team. Are there going to be fires and other emergencies when I'm at work? Sure, and I know that they'll be handled promptly and professionally by the members that are still available. However, I know that I'll try to make myself available when those members are at their respective jobs. We look out for one another.

    It's not that I have some kind of superiority complex that the VFD will fall apart if I leave. I enjoy my role at the volunteer station, and honestly, living in a right-to-work state, my union membership doesn't have a lot of bearing on my employment anyway.

    As for being there for my family, I'm no longer married, have no kids, I'm an only child, and go have dinner with my parents every week. Unfortunately, that part of your argument doesn't apply to me.

    My new membership card for the National Volunteer Fire Council came in the mail today.
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    Bones42:
    It's nice to think that we do live in a free country. And yes you can do what ever you want to do on your off time in some locals. However if an employee has a non-compete clause in his contract and he decides to quit his job he can not go work somewhere else doing what ever it he does without violating this clause. He will in fact be sued by his previous employer for breaking that contract. An example of this is: pro sports, radio personalities, scientist, ........ Isn't it a free country for them too? If your contract has language stating you can't - then guess what? You can't! Do you see why these contracts have this language? Lokk at Hartford - The city not the union wanted this in there contract to protect its interests and minimize costs.

    jlcooke3:
    You bring up a good point. If you portray yourself as a hardline card carying union member and do a trade that infringes upon another unions living then you should look in the mirror! I absolutely agree with you. In most cases that is not the deal. Some brothers I work with are card carrying members of other trades. Lets face it, the fire service as a whole is a poor paying career and it's employees have been moonlighting forever. There is nothing wrong with that. Just be careful what you decide to do. I personaly sell mortgages. There is no mortgage lender local at this time. If one organizes I'll rethink my moonlighting job.

    If you decide to run with the volys think about the impact that has on your e-boards ability to bargain your next contract in good faith.
    IAFF member, Love this job! Remember the oath!

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