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  • #31
    Originally posted by GTRider245 View Post
    I have said this once and I will say it again. I am a proponent of volunteering, as I am both a career and volunteer firefighter. However, cutting paid positions and adding volunteers to make up the difference is a step in the wrong direction. Size of response area and call volume do no matter.
    Then I take you, since you beleive that laying off paid staff and replacing them with volunteers is "going in the wrong direction" that paid staffing is somehow superior to volunteer staffing?

    Sorry, i don't agree. But you are entitled to your opinion.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    • #32
      Or maybe modern life, with active children and two working parents doesn't leave a lot of time for volunteering. But Im sure its only the big bad paid guy, but you'd know since deep in the bayou Louisiana represents America.

      Then please tell me why there are well staffed volunteer fire departments throughout the country.

      The fact is in most communities, there are volunteers available, but the fire service isn't very good at recruiting or retaining them.

      We refuse to utilize incentive packages. We refuse to take college-level marketing courses to learn how to "sell" ourselves. We refuse to develop comprehensive recruiting programs rather than just throw up a few posters around town. We often refuse to offer flexible training programs rather than the once-a-week-Tuesday-night-training. We fail to tie into cooperative agreements with local child care centers.

      The fact is people still want to volunteer with the fire department, for any number of reasons (See Maslov). We just aren't very good at drawing them in and keeping them here.

      My last department in VT was pretty good at drawing people in and keeping them trained and active. My department here is also pretty good at doing that. We must have been and are just plain lucky.
      Train to fight the fires you fight.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post

        Then please tell me why there are well staffed volunteer fire departments throughout the country.
        There are some well staffed VFDs, the vast majority of them are not.

        The fact is in most communities, there are volunteers available, but the fire service isn't very good at recruiting or retaining them.
        It's like getting minorities to sign up for career FD entrance exams... if they don't want to volunteer, you can't force them.

        We refuse to utilize incentive packages. We refuse to take college-level marketing courses to learn how to "sell" ourselves.
        Some VFD's can barely afford to put fuel in the rigs or maintain them and buy adequate gear for their personnel... how do you expect them to send people to college, and in some rural areas, the nearest college could be 100+ miles away... and the courses may only be offered once or twice a year.

        We refuse to develop comprehensive recruiting programs rather than just throw up a few posters around town. We often refuse to offer flexible training programs rather than the once-a-week-Tuesday-night-training. We fail to tie into cooperative agreements with local child care centers.
        It comes down to money. I have known FDs who try and recruit at open houses, rented portable signs and billboards, posted on their FD's signs at their stations taken ads in the local paper, even made announcements during Sunday services... and they may get a handful of prospective candidates.. who back out once they find out the requirements.

        Day care centers get big $$$ to watch and take care of children during regular business hours... asking them to stay open after hours will be costly.

        The fact is people still want to volunteer with the fire department, for any number of reasons (See Maslov). We just aren't very good at drawing them in and keeping them here.
        God.. I hate when Maslow gets mentioned (I had enough of Maslow's hierarchy of need questions on promotional exams.. and it has nothing to do with the job!). He only studied what he considered "exemplary people".. a true study would encompass all social strata.

        My last department in VT was pretty good at drawing people in and keeping them trained and active. My department here is also pretty good at doing that. We must have been and are just plain lucky.
        Yup...lucky.
        Last edited by DeputyChiefGonzo; 08-08-2010, 09:29 PM.
        ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
        Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

        Comment


        • #34
          Originally posted by L-Webb View Post
          For some departments having support personnel makes all the difference in the world.
          For some departments having people that can actually fight fires and do whatever task is needed of them makes all the difference in the world.

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
            No, not for the sake of this discussion. There IS a difference between the two.

            It sounds like this department would still be run and managed by the career staff. Would it be a bad thing if the volunteer staff, over time, took over the management of the department, and the career staff?
            Yes, it would be a bad thing. If a volunteer staffed/run department was such a viable option, then it probably would've happened a long time ago.

            We are just about the last combo department in our area to be run by a volunteer chief, and it still works fairly well. We have a Deputy Chief who manages the day-to-day operation, but the Chief still sets policy, develops goals and objectives, and handles major disciplinary issues, including issues with the career staff.
            By your own admissions, your department is predominately a volunteer fire department and supported by career staff. This is significantly different than having a career department and introducing volunteers into the mix (solely due to financial issues) and then turning over management responsibility of employees (career staff) to volunteer personnel.

            Maybe they could, but I think you may find that finding sufficient personnel to volunteer to be a problem.

            Maybe.

            Maybe not.

            Develop a well-coordinated recruiting program Give them a reasonable a flexible training plan. Implement a set of incentives. Make them feel like a part of the department. Let the volunteers know that once the program matures there will be leadership positions available to them within the department. And make it clear to the career staff that this is now the direction the department is taking and being on-board is not an option.

            Assuming the demographics exist to provide a manpower pool, I'm willing to be it would work in most communities.
            And exactly what "demographics" would that be?

            What would be your solution for the communities that don't have those necessary "demographics"?

            Comment


            • #36
              Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
              Then I take you, since you beleive that laying off paid staff and replacing them with volunteers is "going in the wrong direction" that paid staffing is somehow superior to volunteer staffing?
              Yes, in general it is. Having a well trained group of an appropriate number of firefighters on-duty/in-station 24/7/365 ready to respond immediately is clearly better than having a pool of personnel ranging from untrained to well trained who are typically "off-duty"/not in-station with no guarantee of who (or how fast they) will actually show up for a call.


              Now please don't confuse this with meaning that volunteers specifically can't provide adequate coverage. However, in my experiences, career staffing has been superior overall to the typical volunteer staffing I've seen.

              Comment


              • #37
                Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
                Then I take you, since you beleive that laying off paid staff and replacing them with volunteers is "going in the wrong direction" that paid staffing is somehow superior to volunteer staffing?
                Don't put words in the brother's mouth. He said nothing about superiority.

                As another two-hatter here on the boards, I have to agree with him. It's not a matter of who's staffing is "better," there are certain issues that arise when you try to replace career staff with volunteers.

                As another poster pointed out, it's far different talking about replacing career members with volunteers in a career department than it is a volunteer department with career support. They're two completely different situations, and until you've worked in a career department, it's hard to understand the differences.
                Career Fire Captain
                Volunteer Chief Officer


                Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

                Comment


                • #38
                  Well...........

                  Here's the way I see it...... There are several "Myths" out there that, if you successfully defeat them, will, and should, go away. "Volunteers don't have the Training that Paid Firefighters do" is one. Not only should Volunteers be well Trained, they can be with few problems, IF Management is willing to work WITH them...... "Volunteers Can't respond quick enough".... They can if they are in the Station. Duty Nights (and/or Days Too) Can fix that problem. In our situation, we do not depend on anyone coming from home since Traffic and Call Volume are Crazy. We put Apparatus on the Street in 1 Minute or less. "Our Call Volume is too much for Volunteers"..... Now There is a real wrong answer. My part of the World has Totally Volunteer Organizations that handle in excess of 10,000 Incidents annually........ "People just don't want to Volunteer any more".... Wrong Again. I know a Volunteer who drives over 80 miles to help out in a VFD....... Lotta bad info on Volunteering out there that shouldn't be allowed to continue....... Places that have Volunteer Problems should fix them, and sometimes looking in a Mirror is a good start......
                  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


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by hwoods View Post
                    Here's the way I see it...... There are several "Myths" out there that, if you successfully defeat them, will, and should, go away. "Volunteers don't have the Training that Paid Firefighters do" is one. Not only should Volunteers be well Trained, they can be with few problems, IF Management is willing to work WITH them...... "Volunteers Can't respond quick enough".... They can if they are in the Station. Duty Nights (and/or Days Too) Can fix that problem. In our situation, we do not depend on anyone coming from home since Traffic and Call Volume are Crazy. We put Apparatus on the Street in 1 Minute or less. "Our Call Volume is too much for Volunteers"..... Now There is a real wrong answer. My part of the World has Totally Volunteer Organizations that handle in excess of 10,000 Incidents annually........ "People just don't want to Volunteer any more".... Wrong Again. I know a Volunteer who drives over 80 miles to help out in a VFD....... Lotta bad info on Volunteering out there that shouldn't be allowed to continue....... Places that have Volunteer Problems should fix them, and sometimes looking in a Mirror is a good start......
                    Right on the money Harve!!!
                    Jason Knecht
                    Firefighter/EMT
                    Township Fire Dept., Inc.
                    Eau Claire, WI

                    IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
                    http://www.cheddarvision.tv/
                    EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Harve, if only there we more VFD's that had the call volume and budgets that yall do in PG, the recruitment and retention might not be as big an issue for many of the others of us.
                      Career Fire Captain
                      Volunteer Chief Officer


                      Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by FireMedic049 View Post
                        For some departments having people that can actually fight fires and do whatever task is needed of them makes all the difference in the world.
                        Yes you are right. Having Support personnel enables the people that can "fight fire" to do so.
                        Get the first line into operation.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          In my world.. every firefighter has to be able to perform all of the tasks required. There is no "interior certified" and "exterior only" firefighters.

                          Do the job right or don't do it at all.
                          ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                          Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by L-Webb View Post
                            Yes you are right. Having Support personnel enables the people that can "fight fire" to do so.
                            You missed the point.

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Ok I guess I did. Whats your point?
                              Last edited by L-Webb; 08-09-2010, 01:19 PM.
                              Get the first line into operation.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by LaFireEducator View Post
                                Negative.

                                There is nothing wrong with compensating volunteers for thier time.

                                It's call motivation, and it's a critical part of keeping the team rolling.
                                I'm not a huge fan of internet posters quoting from the dictionary, but your comments beg for it.

                                From Dictionary.com

                                Volunteer --

                                1. a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.
                                2. a person who performs a service willingly and without pay.

                                You are enticing people to perform a job through (meager) compensation. I stand by my earlier statement. Those volunteers are just a much cheaper paid staff, in union terms, scabs. It's like the difference between an escort and a street prostitute. They both do the same job, but one of them does it for a whole lot less!
                                Last edited by MBarnes; 08-09-2010, 06:31 PM.

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