1. #1

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Aiken, SC

    Unhappy Wanting to get involved again. (kinda long)

    First off I will give some back ground. At the age of 14 I got in some trouble with the law and was given a choice. Juvy or join a volunteer organization of some sorts. I chose the latter and joined a volunteer fire dept. It was a clear cut decision as most of my family was members of another volunteer dept. The judge did state that I had to serve my hours at one where my family was not part of the officers. So I joined one about 8 miles from my home and washed trucks, cleaned hose, moped the floors and did most of the busy work that needed being done. At 15 I was promoted to "cadet" and was allowed on a few scenes but wasn't allowed in the hot zone. 16 came and by South Carolina law I was eligible for firefighter training at the state academy. At the time the cert was in 3 phases: 11-12 which was basic introduction to fire fighting. 11-21 which was basic interior fire fighting and 11-31 which was advanced interior firefighting. I took all 3 classes at night 4 days a week for 6 months and graduating with the highest score in the class. Well over the next 2 years I fell in love with fire fighting and was present at 90% of the calls that were toned out after school hours. Then came college time.

    4 years later I am home and ready to join back up. The problem is this. The dept. I used to be in is now a family run good old boy dept. I have been told by several of the old members that it will be useless to join try to join there as a lot has happened since I left and any "non family" are either given a hard time and forced out or are just generally not allowed in. The second problem is that the new standards have changed. Now I am told I will have to be re certified (FF1 & FF2) because the old training is no good and not accepted anywhere. That means hundreds of hours of class (which I don't mind) and a lot of my free time will be gone.

    So I think I may be stuck on the sidelines wishing I was back in the thick of things. Our county laws state that members can only join a dept. if they reside within its district boundary's.

    This really bothers me because I am truly passionate about firefighting. It is something that is in my heart and I love doing. I know for a fact that half of the dept. I used to be in are just there to hold the title of firefighter and not truly devoted to the job. I mean as a citizen living in there district I could call for change and an election but 80% of there members are directly related and the vote would change nothing.

    So what would you do in my situation? Moving is out of the question and joining another dept. is out because of laws.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2002


    Sounds like the county law needs to be changed.. and how do you know that the vote wont change anything until you try.. There may be more people in your shoes than you know of.. A lot of Districts in several areas have abandoned the old rules or laws that you must live in the district to belong to fire department as well as law inforcement.. especially in areas where people live on one side of the road live in one district and the people across the street live in another district... Won't know what can be done until your try. As far as training - that is constantly being updated.. Either you comply with the changes and go or you just sit back and dont go. If you choose to sit back and do nothing, than there is nothing you can do - so dont whine about it.. If moving isnt an option than its time for you to get off your butt and try to get things changed... Not saying it will be easy but you won't know until you try...

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    Maybe just try to go back to the department, give it your all, i mean you just heard from some of the old members, go and find out for yourself. You seem like you have your heart in it and you are willing to do all the requried training, give it a shot there.

  4. #4
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008


    Something important to remember is that, as volunteers, we must love what we do or else we wouldn't do it, I can't speak for everyone, but in my department, we get little to no incentive to remain active other than being among friends. This being said builds on my point of thought, we must love what we do, which includes not giving up when things get tough, as firefighters, paid and volunteer, we have to push ourselves through tough situations every time we respond, often seeing things that, in my mind, aren't meant to be seen by just ordinary people. You may not be pushing through an inferno or a really tough call, but the rock your up against is probably going to be tough, but, if you love it and want to do it, don't give up. Try to join, if they reject you, try to change the county ordinances, there is almost always a way around things, you just have to look.

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