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  • Can you volunteer in two States

    I am currently a member of a volunteer fire department in Upstate New York and an Out of State member in Prince George's County, Maryland. Recently my fire department informed me I can not be an active vounteer firefighter in two volunteer departments and showed me a New York State law where it indicated I can't be a volunteer in two departments. Being its a NYS law book I am assuming it is within New York State you cant be a volunteer in two departments. If there any requlations anyone knows about prohibiting what I currently do ?

    Thanks

  • #2
    First off I am not a lawyer and I am not a resident of New York, however I would say that New York law does not have any force or effect outside its state lines. I would not imagine they would be able to regulate your status as a memebr of a department outside their state line. I would imagine the law states that you can be only a member of a single department. Since Newyork cannot regulate departments outside its state lines one could make the argument that you are within the law becasue you are a member of only one department within the jurisdiction of the state of New York.

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    • #3
      I'm not aware of any laws prohibiting volunteering in two states. The law that you were shown is a NY state law. NY State doesn't have any jurisdiction outside of NY and can't prevent you from volunteering in another state. It would have to be a federal law to prevent that. We have people in Maryland that volunteer at two departments in the same state.

      If I had to guess, the law was probably put there to prevent collecting any LOSAP or equivalent from multiple departments.

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      • #4
        Unless the law specifies that you cannot be in two NY departments at once, then you are still in violation.

        My guess is that this law is to prevent someone from being a member of two departments that are very close to each other and could end up at the same incident. Being that the two departments you are on are so far apart, this would not be an issue.

        You called yourself an "out of state member" in the MD department. If this is different from an active member, or whatever terminology the law uses then you are OK. You could also get the chief from your MD department to write a letter to the NY department saying that you are not an active member, even if you function as one when you are in MD.

        Is your NY department out to get you?

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        • #5
          I would bet this has to do with the State Relief Association. You can only be associated with a single department in the eyes of the Relief. I'm not a lawer, and not in NY, but I would imagine you can join as many VFD's as you want, but can only be a member of Relief Association at one of them.

          I would ask for a copy of the law and find out exactly what it says, and what it refers to.
          So you call this your free country
          Tell me why it costs so much to live
          -3dd

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          • #6
            You cannot simultaneously be a full member of two volunteer fire departments in NYS. That has nothing to with out-of-state membership, nor with being in a career-staffed department and a volunteer department.

            Even within the state, however, it is possible to run with more than one fire department. There are several methods for doing so. One is simply documenting ahead of time that the 'receiving' department accepts your services. This formalizes what can happen in you arrive on a scene in another district and ask the OIC if you can help (ie, if he/she says yes, you're covered for insurance purposes).

            Another way is to become an associate of a department (not an associate member). This usually has all the trappings of becoming a member (application, acceptance), but without the whole membership thing. The department of which you are an associate usually has to make some changes in their by-laws for it to happen.

            Nowadays, the second department is going to want to know you're qualified, with all that entails.

            There have been several young FF's from our county who have attended the fire science program at a community college south of here (but still in-state) and bunked in at departments in that county (including running calls) while still a member here.
            Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

            Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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            • #7
              Thank you all for your input in this matter. I currently have a phone call into the Lawyer for FASNY as well as some other NYS OFPC guys to help guide me.

              Thanks again

              Comment


              • #8
                And.........

                Just so you know, We DO NOT Have any such Rules in Maryland. You can belong to 50 VFDs if you want, it's perfectly legal here...... You know where I am, You get a chance, stop by, I can tell you a bit more on this.........
                Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                In memory of
                Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                IACOJ Budget Analyst

                I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

                www.gdvfd18.com

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                • #9
                  My department is in Upstate New York and we've had problems with this law..... the way we get around it is vote people in as "mutual aide" members this makes them the same as a regular member in every asbect but they can't vote in our meetings.... IDK how it works with out of state departments... but thats how we work members of other departments who wanna join our department.....

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                  • #10
                    No you can't.

                    I'm fairly certain the secret service or perhaps the postal police will arrest you.
                    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                    "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                    "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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                    • #11
                      Uhhhhhhhhhh, Maybe................

                      Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
                      No you can't.

                      I'm fairly certain the secret service or perhaps the postal police will arrest you.
                      I Dunno, I'm somewhat unsure whether to be somewhat confused as to the implications of the Code of Internet Spying as it relates to this Topic. If the Internet Police see this thread and pass it on to the New Yerk State Volunteer Fire Department Membership Compliance Committee there could be some actions referred to the Youthful Authority to Have Other Observations. (YAHOO for short). The problem with this is that we would have a bunch of YAHOOs reading these Threads and commenting........ Oh Wait........ Nevermind.



                      Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                      In memory of
                      Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                      Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                      IACOJ Budget Analyst

                      I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.

                      www.gdvfd18.com

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't know which / how many states have laws like this but I know of a number of members on my dept that are on at least 1 other department.

                        Example "John Doe" is a LT for a full time department in the city north of me,
                        Assistant chief in the small vol dept to the west of us.
                        FF2 in our vol dept.
                        To our south he is a capt on a mixed paid and vol.

                        We also have some guys that live here seasonally and volunteer in other states. I personally have no problems with it but I am sure there is some departments this wouldn't fly.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If you didnt say nothing, they would've never found out. Next time, keep your mouth shut and you wont run into these problems

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