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  • How much $$$$ does vollunteering cost?

    sorry about the title, i couldn't think of a better way to phrase this.

    just out of curiosity, has anyone else noticed how expensive volunteering can be?

    I just bought myself a new EMS jacket, and I got to thinking, damn, I've spent a lot of money on both FF and EMS stuff. just as a quick rundown over almost 5 years:

    fire department/rescue squad t-shirts: 13 spanning 4 organizations, avg $8 a piece.

    job shirts: 3, 1 for a FD, 2 for 2 rescue squads: about $45 each

    leather FF boots: approx $215

    Blauer EMS jacket: retails for $270, I'm getting it for $89

    EMT belt and accessories: approx $25

    EMT pants: 2 pair, $30 each

    duty boots: first pair was $35, and 2nd pair was $70

    uniform shirt: $25

    that total comes to about $753, over 4 years. oh, and the department doesn't give any money towards this. and that's not including emergency lights (I know some people that have spent $500 on this alone) for a POV, novelty T-shirts, or items that have been lost/broken/destroyed during shifts (countless pairs of sunglasses, a couple watches, many stolen pens, etc).

    has anyone else had similar experiences, or am I the only one?

    oh, and I say this as a volunteer only, because many career departments provide their FFs with a uniform allowance, which helps pay for these items.
    Last edited by drparasite; 07-31-2003, 10:10 PM.
    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

  • #2
    Hi,
    I felt compelled to respond to your post since I was a volly ff and first response personnel for almost 3 years. I don't know where you're from but I think it is something that varies from state to state, province to province, or municipality to municipality. I never paid a cent to become a volly except for the cost of my criminal record check. My turnout gear was provided and so was my radio and in fact my training was also paid for. I received my first aid, FF1, and other training free of charge. The only stipulation that the department had when I joined was that you must attend %70 of the practices and meetings for 3 months before getting equipment and you must committ yourself to the department for a period of no less than 1 year in order to receive any free training. I was also poc or paid on call and got paid for some of the calls I went to. I do know that some departments in Canada have a split professional/volly team and the perks are different depending on what classification you are. Friends of mine who have volunteered with organizations not affiliated with fire departments or first response etc have paid money, like you, in order to volunteer. I know that fundraising is important too when it comes to smaller departments, they just don't have the funds to equip, outfit, and train all the people that would like to help out. Perhaps your organization could look into fundraising for a separate fund to help equip or outfit their volunteers Stay safe (sorry I got longwinded).
    Fire Haired Woman

    Comment


    • #3
      Most volunteer departments provide the same as a paid....my station provides the bunker gear you need, 1 t shirt, dress uniform, and wildland gear if you are cert as a wildland ff.....anything extra is up to you...however we will be getting a uniform issue from the county in the future..to include extra tshirts pants dress shirts jacket and polos......you dont have to buy anything you dont want though....
      Jonesy
      Fail to plan. Plan to fail.

      FL EMT-B
      FL State Firefighter
      Pro Board Firefighter
      Career Firefighter
      Local 2103

      Comment


      • #4
        Our fire department started from NOTHING six years ago, and all we had to start with was what we were able to scrounge from other departments.

        So as far as gear went, at that time we all had used bunker gear that didn't necessarily match. Some of us bought new helmets because we wanted them, and also because we didn't have enough used helmets to go around.

        We had a few pair of used rubber boots, so the people that they fit got them, and everyone else wore whatever they had, or bought their own.

        The FD bought gloves and hoods for everyone.

        Six years later, we have now provided our merry band of pirates with new structural bunker gear, new Nomex wildland gear, new boots, new helmets (structural and wildland), goggles, gloves, and hoods, and we now THINK we'll able to provide for any new recruits as they come along.

        I personally have bought a helmet, flashlights, gloves, and a folding hose wrench for myself, and many other things that the FD needed (usually not expensive things) from time to time.

        Oh yeah. All our people foot the bill for their own pagers, which cost about $10 a month each.

        I guess how much it costs depends on your personal committment and how needy your department is.
        Asst. Chief Bill

        International Order of the Fraternal Brotherhood of the Club

        Somewhere in or near north central Creek County, Oklahoma

        Comment


        • #5
          As was stated well above this is an extreme variable, but all the departments in our area provide all of our required gear. Structural fire fighting gear, jumpsuits, pagers, radios, uniforms, tee-shirts for officers and all our training free or charge.

          Our dept even has insurance for personnel equipment lost or destroyed while performing your duties.

          POV lights are optional and are not provided. A lot of the other things mentioned above are things that a lot of us bought when we first got into this, because they were cool. Nothing wrong with them, but realize very few of the items are necessary in the performance of your duties.

          I realize compared to a lot of departments we have it pretty good. We just had our Rural Board Budget meeting this week and they stand behind us 110%. If they can provide and we are asking for it we generally get it, if possible under current lid limits. Now it has not always been this way, but the last 10 yrs have been good to us.
          Remember,

          If you don't respond.....who will

          IACOJ EMS Bureau Member
          IACOJ Member

          Comment


          • #6
            i guess my original post was partially unclear. some of that stuff was optional, or rather an upgrade to what was issued (the leather boots, emt pants, etc). other stuff was stuff i wanted to get, an extra, but not a requirement, for use while on shifts (t-shirt, jobshirts, my survivor flashlight, etc).

            none of the 5 (i forgot about one when i initially counted) organizations i've been have ever given out t-shirts, usually members need to buy them. as for my uniform shirt, that's a quirks of my first squad, no one else does that. my current department will pay for a job shirt after 2 years but none of the others will. jackets are also paid for after 2 years (in my current department). the squads will also pay for you to get one or give you one after 1 year. and no organization that I am familiar with either provides you with or purchases duty boots.

            stuff that was provided for me by the dept: full set of turnout gear w/ rubber boots, EMS squad provide jumpsuits & jackets after 1 year, pager, fire departments provided both work and dress uniforms. courses paid for include FF1, EMT, EMT recert in both NY and NJ, PHTLS, ICS, among others.

            Friends of mine who have volunteered with organizations not affiliated with fire departments or first response etc have paid money, like you, in order to volunteer.
            I don't pay to volunteer. I know of one squad that does this (as membership dues) and that was one of the turnoffs to me when I almost joined there. I don't pay this money to the department, or anything like that (well, the exception being the t-shirts). it's all purchased through 3rd party vendors, and the items all belong to me. sorry if I phrased it unclearly in the initial post.

            I was just curious if others had similar experiences (whether it be t-shirts, survivor flashlights, special gloves, leather helmets/boots, etc).
            Last edited by drparasite; 08-01-2003, 09:48 AM.
            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

            Comment


            • #7
              DrParasite...

              I have had similar experiences.

              The first volly FD I was on 26 years ago had virtually nothing for turn-out gear. I bought my own boots, bunker pants, hood and my lovely wife got me a leather New Yorker for Christmas that year.

              Now they provide full turn-outs to include boots, full set of Bristol bunker gear, hood, gloves, 660 helmet, spanner wrench, wedges, door straps, ems gloves and sani-wipes, and pager.

              I have added over the years an xl-90 Streamlight, center punch, knife, gerber tool, Res-Q-Rench and an N6A-1 Sam Houston leather helmet.

              As far as t-shirts and sweatshirts go we buy our own. The first uniform shirt was supplied by the FD. WEe bought our own badges and name plates.

              So I guess I have paid some but it isn't a big deal to me.

              FyredUp
              Crazy, but that's how it goes
              Millions of people living as foes
              Maybe it's not too late
              To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

              Comment


              • #8
                We provide all of our members with the following, over time:

                When they first become active, each member gets a full set of structural turnout gear (coat, pants, boots, gloves, hood, helmet), a pager, a company T-shirt, and a company license plate for their vehicle.

                After some months of steady activity (they've shown us that they're not going to fizzle out), they'll also get a company golf shirt, parade uniform shirt, and a company job shirt. If they show the ability and interest in working on the front lines on brush/mountain calls (as opposed to working in support functions), they also get a full set of brush gear (shirt, pants, helmet, gloves, boots).

                With considerably more senority, they may eventually be issued a second set of structural turnout gear (usually, this happens when they're allowed to keep their "old" set when it's replaced...we try to rotate new gear into service for front-line people every 5 years or so), given a personal SCBA mask, or other perks. The Chief also gets a discretionary fund to buy the crew "Christmas presents" every December, and, as a result, most of us have company-issued Survivor lights, Res-Q Wrenches, sprinkler wedges, and other gizmos & accessories like these.

                All officers are issued portable radios, and chief officers are also issued mobile radios, sirens, and light bars, if they want them, for their POVs.

                Of course, all of this stuff belongs to the company and must be returned if someone quits for some reason (we don't always take apparel like T-shirts back, however). Although this may seem excessive, I think it contributes to the general feeling among our crew that the company values their services and, consequently, it's good for retention of members and gives an incentive for our people to be more active than they might otherwise be.

                Anyway, the answer to your question is: it doesn't have to cost you a penny to volunteer with us. Now, people like me, who want leather helmets, the luxury of having 3 sets of gear, etc., end up laying out our own money...but I wouldn't really have to.

                Comment


                • #9
                  the deparment i volly for will eventually provide me with all the gear that i will need, but as for right now i do have to provide my own work pants and work boots, etc.... once i am past my probation period i will be issued one pair of pants from them, and as time progresses and i get my certs i will be issued the rest of the gear i will need. i believe it is a matter of what YOU feel you need or want at some stations. obviously i can purchase many of the things i kind of need now, or if i can wait i will get them from the department.
                  <- Keepin My Mouth Shut and Ears Open...

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                  • #10
                    3 sets of gear??????????????

                    What in the world would you need three sets of gear for???? Even two sets of gear.....???I could understand structural and wildland but why multiple sets of one type???
                    Jonesy
                    Fail to plan. Plan to fail.

                    FL EMT-B
                    FL State Firefighter
                    Pro Board Firefighter
                    Career Firefighter
                    Local 2103

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a set in the firehouse which is where I usually respond. I have a set in my car to use when the firehouse set gets washed (yes, I wash it) or when I come across the scene between my house and the firehouse. I use a third set when I am teaching that does not have my department's name on it. Does everyone have multiple sets? No, only the officers have a second set as they are the only ones that may go directly to a scene when the need arises.
                      "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?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 3 sets of gear??????????????

                        Originally posted by jonesy0924
                        What in the world would you need three sets of gear for???? Even two sets of gear.....???I could understand structural and wildland but why multiple sets of one type???
                        I don't need 3 sets of gear, I just like to have 3 sets of gear. The first two are practical...having two sets means that you can tear down one set and clean it whenever you need to and still have a complete set to use while the other is drying out. If you have two, you generally take better care of both of them than you would one, simply because you can. Partly for this reason, the company tries to make sure that just about everyone who has shown that they're in it for the long haul gets two sets as soon as it is feasible, however this could take a few months or a few years for any given person, depending on the budget and how the rotation of new gear works out.

                        The third is strictly luxury & excess, I admit, and the company never provides anyone with three sets. There are a few people who have three or usually have three. I like to have an older "third" set to be used almost exclusively for training so that neither of the primary sets get all hogged up or damaged during drills and has to be taken OOS for cleaning or repair. The third set also becomes the second set when one of the other two is OOS for cleaning or repair, and it makes a nice warm set when kept in the house for those night calls in the dead of winter (why freeze if you can afford not to?? ). I got by on one set for years, then had two for some time and that worked well. I had three for a short time, and that was really, really handy, but, alas, I'm down to two sets right now. I'll pick up a third (at my own expense) again soon. Some people feel the need to load their cars up with lights and woo-woos and crap like that...I don't bother with that nonsense, but I feel the need to have just a little bit more gear, tools, and other useful gadgetry than I could possibly have use for, so I do. After all, it's my money and I can't take it with me.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dear Jonsey,
                          I am not sure of your time on the job .but multiple sets of gear are great...........when one is in the wash or OOS for something else ...then you have a fresh set ..........I also insturct, but when I do that I am NOT representing my department........so I just dont get your post
                          IACOJ both divisions and PROUD OF IT !
                          Pardon me sir.. .....but I believe we are all over here !
                          ATTENTION ALL SHOPPERS: Will the dead horse please report to the forums.(thanks Motown)
                          RAY WAS HERE 08/28/05
                          LETHA' FOREVA' ! 010607
                          I'm sorry, I haven't been paying much attention for the last 3 hours.....what were we discussing?
                          "but I guarentee you I will FF your arse off" from>
                          http://www.firehouse.com/forums/show...60#post1137060post 115

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                          • #14
                            Thanks for the insight on why multiple sets...I have been around fire rescue for 10 years in one way or the other and have never met anyone that had 3 sets and 2 sets was far and between....I usually wash my gear after every second structure fire or real dirty fire...i do it when i am not at the station and no i will have time for iit to dry...thanks
                            Jonesy
                            Fail to plan. Plan to fail.

                            FL EMT-B
                            FL State Firefighter
                            Pro Board Firefighter
                            Career Firefighter
                            Local 2103

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              It doesn't have to cost an arm & a leg, either...

                              I should also point out that having spare gear doesn't have to cost a bundle, either...

                              If you're patient and willing to take some time and make some phone calls, you can pick up perfectly good spares on the used or surplus markets. Sets (pants & coat) of used Nomex can go as low as $175 to $200 and sets of used PBI can be had for $300 to $350. In the surplus market (usually end-of-year closeout and sale of demo gear), you can often get PBI or Advance for less than $700 a set. You can get similar used/surplus deals on boots & helmets.

                              Of course, this is all on an "as available" and "first-come-first-served" basis, so you have to be patient and keep checking around until you find what you need. You also can't be too picky about the details (your pants might have yellow trim and your coat red-orange trim, you might not have all the pockets you like, etc.).

                              I'm working the used market right now looking for a third set of PBI. This involves both some internet shopping and hitting some of the shows & swap meets in the area, and it might take months to find what I need, but it's worth the time when a new set costs $1200++.

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