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Do you think vol. FF's get a fair reputation?

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  • #16
    The unfortunate part of the volunteer fire service, and any other organization, is that as the old saying goes, you are only as strong as your weakest link. Likewise we are only as professional as our most unprofessional link.

    Personally I have always lived by 'don't judge the whole based on one member' but unfortunately, for the tax paying public those are the images of unprofessionalism by one or two members are the images that stick and that opinions are formed off of.

    Take a look at your organization, identify who the biggest screw-up is and then decide if that is the image you want conveyed to your citizens. I'm willing to bet it is not. Now you just have to figure out what to do about it and that has to be resolved by your membership body as a whole.

    Hey George, you forgot arguing over the color of fire apparatus

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    • #17
      George, I've seen some of the stuff your talking about, I was a volunteer for 12 years.
      I've seen some crappy volunteers, and some vol depts with really crappy attitudes. I've often seen some really on the ball volunteers, many of whom went on to full time paid careers. But I have also seen some very well run Depts with professional attitudes. I understand some of the problems facing volunteers today ,but my opinion is that they are not unsurmountable, at least in most cases. Some Depts are truely lost causes, I guess not much can be done about that, but others are trying their hardest to crawl into this new millenium. Geeze what a speech! I thought us paid guys were supposed to hate volunteers?

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      • #18
        I have a mixed response to this topic because part of me says, "Who cares what people say about vollies?" but then I hear all that negative stuff about Vollies like we are undertrained, overweight, and we shouldn't be trusted on a scene. That really sucks the espree de corps out of working with paid firefighters. Are all paid firefighters The Big Evil? No!!! Should we not discuss this prejudice against vollies? Sure if we want to specialize in denial. I think a topic like this is good because it brings some of the fire service's dirty laundry into view and we can all work on cleaning it up. Sure, vollie firefighters aren't beat up and our stations aren't burned down but it really tears you up inside when you are considered less because you aren't paid.
        I had a lot of respect and admiration for a paid fire chief who was an excellent instructor and seemed to be very nice. But then I overheard something that he said against vollies and how we just aren't good enough for him. Now sure, words aren't supposed to hurt but they do. Now I don't feel so great about that chief and that's just sad because if volunteer firefighters were considered equals then we wouldn't have to deal with nonsense like that.
        All of you that think vollies should just shut up and not talk about this probably don't want to solve a very obvious problem I guess.

        [ 07-10-2001: Message edited by: Michelle Latham ]
        Probie Name: HurryUpMichelle!!

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        • #19
          Hey Smoke286; What's the matter? Please answer the question. What did I write that was not true?

          Trainer-Yeah, I forgot that one. All apparatus should be BFD cream.

          George
          PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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          • #20
            George, I think you hit it RIGHT SQUARE ON THE HEAD! Look at what some of the biggest posts are about...
            Which dash light
            , for cryin' out loud.
            And then we'll (using the "royal" we) sit around and trash one another or this dept. or that "no good chief".
            There's a saying I heard awhile back that I use quite often... "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got"!
            We can't (or shouldn't) wonder why we get a "bad rap". As Pogo said,
            We have met the enemy, and he is us!
            SOAP BOX MODE = OFF

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            • #21
              Sorry George, havent checked this thread in a while, I dont really disagree with anything you say, all of those problems you list are legitimate. I guess I just feel your being a tad too negative. People are trying out there after all. But then again if there were more people with your no nonsense attitude in the volunteer service, perhaps it wouldn't be in the state it is today. Hope your able to get it straitened out, for everybody's sake.

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              • #22
                There is often a vast difference in volunteer and career departments. However in my 28 years experience in the fire service I have dealt with volunteer departments that are as professional or more professional as some career departments. I also find that "most" career firefighters were volunteers to get started. Some of them forget where their roots are and begin to blast volunteer departments or members. This is where the name calling and such comes from. The response given to your question is a prime example of someone being a baby and being resentful. The resentfullness usually comes from the fact that a lot of volunteer departments have deep pockets and therefore can get all the "toys." How many normal sized paid departments can do that?

                I am proud to say that I have been a volunteer for 28 years and served my town proudly. I was also a career firefighter for 21.5 years.

                The difference between paid and volunteers is a pay check which should have no bearing. ***You do not have to be paid to be professional.**** I consider my volunteer department as well as those I Have worked with to be very professional. In fact, I miss being a volunteer and even though I am busy with a new job and "retired," I am in the process of joining the "Land O Lakes" VFD here in Florida. Volunteers serve their community proudly and provide a service that a lot of communities can not support as a paid service due to the tax base. Some operate on yearly budgets of less that $100K.

                However, conversely, there are volunteer departments that do not act as I describe above and that is where the bum wrap comes from.

                But I can assure you....my volunteer department was not and is not a "bunch of drunks"

                Stan Mettinger
                Retired
                09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
                ------------------------------
                IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
                "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
                BMI Investigator
                ------------------------------
                The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

                Comment


                • #23
                  Why are we constantly argueing over which is better, career or volunteer. We both do the same job. What happens when a career dept. and a volly dept. have to fight a structure together. Are they going to put their differences aside or are they going fight it out on the fire scene. The only difference is that career fire fighters get paid and volly's dont. Its the same job.

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                  • #24
                    I have been volunteer and now I'm paid. So I have seen both sides of this topic.I tend to agree with the comments about volunteers being their own worst enemy. Jurisdictions that rely totally on volunteers need manpower. Sometimes they aren't too picky on the candidates they choose. I believe that this is the root of the bad reputation theory.
                    The fires are just as hot for vollies as the paid firefighters.
                    LODD for volunteer firefighters is just as painful as LODD for paid.
                    Some smaller jurisdictions cannot compensate volunteers or their families for injuries or LODD. Therefore the sacrifice may have greater consequenes.
                    Keep on and don't worry about the comments.

                    [ 07-16-2001: Message edited by: joejoe33 ]
                    joejoe33

                    Comments and opinions are mine and do not represent the agency or IAFF local that I am affiliated with.

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                    • #25
                      dont let a couple of over jealous idiots who are professional firefighters get you down. There is nothing wrong with vollies, they get the job done just like the paid guys do.

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                      • #26
                        This should NOT be a paid vs. volunteer discussion. This should remain a discussion about what vol. depts. can do to improve their public perception.

                        Please do not turn this into something that it is not.
                        PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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                        • #27
                          I guess a good start to improving their reputations would be to have more people like George in their ranks , and less with Burin Down The House's attitude. You think?

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            some good points in there, george. bottom line, we are our own worst enemy (enemies). The political nonscence that revolves around the volly 'aura' is another way we continue to cause problems, and at the same time, put the peoples live we sworn to protect in danger!!!!

                            i've seen bad companies on both scales, the paid and volly fireground, and it (their overall performance) is usually judged on an individual basis.

                            yes, being a volly is fun, it can be! It is alot of work however, and a sh*tload or responsibility!!! Just cause we don't all get a paycheck, doesn't mean it isn't a job. Paid or vollunteer, we all put our lives on the line everytime we get on the big (insert color here _____________) firetruck, and go to someones call for help.

                            Be safe!

                            [ 08-03-2001: Message edited by: toneloc177 ]

                            [ 08-03-2001: Message edited by: toneloc177 ]
                            May God bless all the people and families who have lost
                            their lives on 9-11-01, to those also lost on Flight 587, and to the rescuers who responded to both.

                            "I'm not saying it's right, i'm just saying (the way it is)."

                            FDNY-EMS - Still New York's Best!

                            e-mail always accepted @
                            [email protected]

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                            • #29
                              You're absolutely correct Smoke286, more people like him would surely change the view of the word volunteer in the eyes of any pro!! Wait a minute...... I bet he would think twice before he attained his nationaly certification FF I, FF II, or his Instructors and not get paid one dime for it!!!!!!

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                              • #30
                                NOT going to bite on this one boys and girls

                                Train safe Work safe Play safe

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