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100% Volunteer firefighter training

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  • 100% Volunteer firefighter training

    I am the chief of a small rural 100% volunteer fire department and I am having trouble getting my people to show up to training which all we require is one meeting a month, I always get we are volunteer you cant make us do anything and my board of directors is split on how they want me to handle it .
    I say if they don't come to meetings and calls we don't need them.
    But I get lip from community members and some of the board.
    How would you handle this?
    I'm at my wit's end .

  • #2
    You might want to review state requirements. For example, here in Kentucky we are required to get 20 hours per year once we've completed the initial 150-hour volunteer certification. If we don't get the 20, we lose our certification. The department must have 50% certified members to be eligible for state aid of $11,000 per year, so we are justified in holding people accountable for getting training.

    “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
    ― Hunter S. Thompson

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    • #3
      We do not have anything like that here in TN but I know ISO says for our class9 we have got to have 12 hours a year minimum.
      And we got some of our board that says ISO does not matter.
      I just don't get it if you sign up you should do what you signed up for

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      • #4
        not a volunteer,

        But do the people that do not show up for training, show up for runs?
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdEH...e_gdata_player

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        • #5
          We just had to go through cutting those who did not meet training standards. We lost several, all of which were pretty inactive. Might show up 3 or 4 times a year and run two calls. The people who got cut are ticked, and I think the board is kinda ticked that we lost 10 or 12 names off the roster. But now we dont have to pay insurance or dues on them and theres no chance of them just showing up on a big scene.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by fire49 View Post
            not a volunteer,

            But do the people that do not show up for training, show up for runs?
            no they dont show to calls out of 42 runs last year they showed to maybe 1 call

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            • #7
              Originally posted by latham1601 View Post

              no they dont show to calls out of 42 runs last year they showed to maybe 1 call
              But I'll bet they're first in line for the T-Shirts.

              But you mention a problem for a good many of the volunteer departments around the country - inactivity. It's a mixed blessing - we don't want a lot of calls, for obvious reasons, but it's the calls that most people signed up for. We run around 120-130 a year, but a third or so are medical. I've had some nice one-on-one conversations with the only other person to show up for scheduled training.

              I've often said that my own department would be vastly different if we were taking in a worker a week instead of half a dozen (maybe) per year.

              I know of a department that keeps their requirements low so they can claim more active members because there's a financial benefit to them.

              That said - what are you doing for training? Is there a specific area you focus on? Is there a specific area you should focus on? Are you doing this training where the public can see you? Moving water or doing hose advancement in the town square will generate public interest (and bring out your prima donnas).

              How about OSHA requirements? That's eight hours right there. I run an annual training session, on a Sunday because a lot of folks in this area are working on Saturdays, at which I bring in "outside" presenters on the various OSHA topics. In the end, the participants get a certificate and have heard someone besides moi speak on topics they need to hear. The challenge is usually finding speakers, but over the five or six years I've run the sessions I've gotten everything from a staffer at a local ambulance to the regional representative for a major air pack supplier. The session is open to all fire departments - I've had upwards of eighty firefighters attend.
              Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

              Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by latham1601 View Post
                I am the chief of a small rural 100% volunteer fire department and I am having trouble getting my people to show up to training which all we require is one meeting a month, I always get we are volunteer you cant make us do anything and my board of directors is split on how they want me to handle it
                The only time they volunteered was when they came down and filled out the application. Once they did that, they became non-compensated employees of the department, and agreed to follow the rules and regulations of said organization. And if they don't like the rules, there is the door.....
                Originally posted by latham1601 View Post
                I say if they don't come to meetings and calls we don't need them.
                But I get lip from community members and some of the board.
                How would you handle this?
                I'm at my wit's end .
                So when they get hurt and OSHA asks you to produce their training records, what are you going to do? If they die at a call, and the attorneys ask you to provide the documentation that they were properly trained to the job they were performing, what will you do?

                you're the chief, which means much of this will fall on your shoulders. It's not an easy role, but someone needs to be the bad guy, and all the officers get their authority delegated from you

                There are a couple of questions I would ask:
                1) are the training sessions mandatory?
                2) are they scheduled on a regular basis (every tuesday, every other thursday, on the 3rd mondays, etc)?
                3) What are the department's rules and regulations say about activity, especially about training requirements?
                4) are the scheduled training organized? or are they a last minute thing where an officer picks something to work on out of the blue, and they end up run like a disorganized **** show?
                5) assuming they are mandatory, what are the consequences for breaking the rules? because if there are no consequences, it's just like the rules don't exist in the first place.

                As volunteers (and I've been one for the better part of 20 years), people will have lives outside of the department, and the department shouldn't be first priority, but it needs to be A priority, at least somewhere in the top 5. All FDs require sacrifice and dedication, and if your members can't understand that, than it's time to show them the door.
                If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

                FF/EMT/DBP

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