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  • Late Nights, Early Mornings


    As a volunteer fire department, obviously everyone has other jobs, so, when the pagers go off in the middle of the night, it often means hardly any sleep for work the next day.

    A member of our department said last night after a structure fire that there should be something so that you could be late for work, or if need be, miss the day if you were out all night on a call like that that you are physically and emotionally drained.

    Just wondered what other volunteers thoughts were on this situation and if any of you have felt the same.

    ak

  • #2
    Depends on what is going on at work. Some times I have called in and told them I have been at a fire all night and will be in later in the day or not at all. Other times I have gone in and tried to stay awake. My employer is pretty tolerant, can't leave for a fire (about 1/2 hour from station), but they have let me take the day off as a sick day .

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    • #3
      There's a new law in Ohio that employers cannot dicipline or terminate Volunteer Firefighters or Volunteer EMTs who are late for or miss work because they were dispatched to a fire or other emergency.
      FTM-PTB-DTRT

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      • #4
        My opinion...No, employers should not give volunteers any special treatment or special time off just because they are tired and drained because they were at a fire all night. That was a choice they made. They can do whatever they like in their spare time and private life, but that should have no bearing on their paid job. They should be able to meet the expectations of their employer no matter what. If you can't, you shouldn't be there- just like the fire service. The employer should not suffer for what you do in your personal life. If you're tired and cannot come to work, or work efficiently, it doesn't really matter what you were doing last night...or at least it shouldn't. That's not the employers fault. If you're tired and it affects your work performance, not only should the employer not have to make exceptions or special accomodations for you, they should get rid of you. If you put volunteer firefighting higher than your paid career, why not become a career fireman?

        Don't get me wrong- if an employer wants to accomodate you, that's great, and a rather generous thing to do. I just don't think they should have to.

        One more thing- what if you were a career fireman and you went to a fire all night... would you be too drained to go another one a few hours later, or the next day?

        [ 07-23-2001: Message edited by: mamaluke ]

        [ 07-23-2001: Message edited by: mamaluke ]

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        • #5
          MARMADUKE,
          Did you know that if I'm hungover they can't punish me because I have a disability according to the ADA. Maybe we should all just get drunk after the fires so we can have off also.

          Comment


          • #6
            Mamaluke has a good point, yes we volunteers do make a choice when we go out on all nighters and lose all the sleep that we should be getting for the next day at work. It’s not out employer’s fault that we are not performing at 110% because we were out all night.

            Now with everyone thinking like that what would happen to 75% of the fire depts? in the US? I think that’s the right percentage, that’s volunteer. Now with such a large number of volunteer depts. there is bound to be some people needing help of some of those volunteers each night. But with mamaluke’s logic we volunteers need not respond because we will not be able to perform at 100% effectiveness at our place of employment.

            In the nineteen years that I have been volunteering there have been several times that I have been late for work and only five time that I have had to taken the whole day off due to a call. Those five days that I have taken off have been in the last ten years when I started driving a semi and felt that it was much safer to just take the day off than to drive an eighty thousand pound vehicle down the road and fall asleep behind the wheel. Oh wait a minute, according to mamaluke all us volunteers need to quit anyway and become paid firefighters so we don’t need to worry about this problem anymore.


            FYI Kentucky just enacted a law that also protects volunteer emergency workers also. The only “form” of discipline that an employer may hand out is to dock you of your pay for the missed time.
            The hardest fire to put out is the one that can be avoided by educating the public!

            Comment


            • #7
              Hmmmmmm....Pay the mortgage, or play fireman????? Thats easy....I like a roof over my head!!

              If that means leaving a scene early in order to get to work on time, or not going to an incident at all- SO BE IT!!!!
              "Loyalty above all else, except honor."

              Comment


              • #8
                i agree with sloepoke, and i`m glad to see that states are passing laws to protect vollunteers, i think all states should have that law! that way volunteers could go out and "play fireman" and not get in trouble at work for serving their communities for free. it`s to bad that ****es paid firefighters off so bad, but theyneed to realize that there will always be volunteers and most communities don`t have a need and can`t afford a career fire dept.

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                • #9
                  I think that as always common sense has to come into play. In my area we have a paid ambulance that can be in our district in 5-8 minutes. If it's at night and we get a B.S. EMS run, I don't go. I'm not going to hurt my job that pays the bills over that. Obviously, if it is a serious call such as an MVA with severe injuries and a large amount of manpower is required, that would change my thinking.

                  For fires, if I have training or something that is mandatory the next day then I might have to take a pass. It doesn't mean I like it, but I've seen many people lose jobs because they called in sick to go to calls and got caught. How do you explain it to your employer when you show up on crutches after you were supposedly too sick to move?

                  Along the same lines, if I have a family function that cannot be missed, I go to that. I am a VOLUNTEER. I give 100% when I can. In my eyes, family comes first and everything else is secondary.

                  Just my two cents.

                  Stay safe out there!
                  Tom

                  Never Forget 9-11-2001

                  Stay safe out there!

                  IACOJ Member

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    AN avid volunteer could argue both sides of this coin.

                    You have to admitt, family and job should come first, having had an employer that understands I have missed afew hours of work for calls. Although I have not called in to stay in bed. As some of the others here have stated it depends on the call. Over the years I have seen guys loose there jobs over it, for what??The better paying volunteer fire department??Need to feed the family first then play games.
                    Firefighter/CCEMT-P
                    May we ride into the darkness only to return as safe as we started!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Massachusetts also has a law stating an employer cannot disipline an employee in any way if they were on a fire call. They don't have to pay you if you leave work, ut they can't fire you. I had to use this law with my ex employer who threatened disciplinary action against me when I left for a 4 alarm structure fire.
                      HELL YEAH!!!
                      The comments made by me are just that. Not of the Fire dept or Ambulance squad I am on.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Mamaluke, why don't you just open the door to the career job so that the other folks can quit "Playing" firefighter and be a pro like you? I think that is foolish choice of verbage there. You know the same people that pay for your training are the ones that call and expect assistance when they need it. You don't just roll over in bed at night because "it might be a BS call" and the "paid ambulance will be there in 6-8" NO NO NO! How many times does the horrendus helluva call come in sounding like a simple BS run? A lot of times. I think every state should have a law to protect volunteers from being terminated. You should not expect to be paid the time you miss from work, but you should not be in danger of losing your job becuase you were out protecting and serving your community. Did any of you ever think that there ARE some people who DO NOT want to fight fire full-time? If you choose to go out on a call at all hours of the night, you should know the price you will pay for it. That is a personal decision. But those of you who will sleep through the call because it sounds like it is BS or you will be too tired for work in the AM, that is your choice, but hope it is not your family member dying or your house burning and everyone is going to sleep through it. I would want all the help I can get when I need it!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          cpr4u,

                          I need to clarify some things. First, by "B.S. EMS run" I meant minor laceration, patient assist into a chair, and other non-life threatening injuries. If it is serious (an ALS call), I'll go. I also should mention that the ambulance responds just a 1/2 mile from my home and I have yet to beat them there. I'm not medical so I have to go to the station and twidle my thumbs until they get back. If it's a structure fire, I'll go. When I was in college, I went to EVERY CALL at night. Then I got into the real world and found that my employers did not support me in my volunteer firefighting. I believe there is a law in our state prohibits employers from firing you due to going on a fire call. Does this mean I'm gonna test this law? NO. I'm on probation because I just took a new civil service job.

                          cpr4u, you are entitled to your opinion just as I am. But when the mortgage company and other creditors come knocking at your door, they won't care that you were out serving the public. I wish this were different.

                          You might think I am a bad volunteer because I "pick and choose" what calls to go on. I honestly never thought it would come to this. It doesn't mean I am proud to miss calls but my daytime job requires me to be alert and think clearly.

                          Stay safe out there!
                          Tom

                          Never Forget 9-11-2001

                          Stay safe out there!

                          IACOJ Member

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Where I work is very flexable with work hours. That helps when you are the chief of a small rural department. We don't run alot of calls that keep me out all night but it has happened. I do get some smart comments from time to time but my come back is that if some people can call in drunk I can miss a few hours for a noble cause. As far as the comments made about becoming a paid firefighter. If I move 30 min. away and take a cut in pay I could do that but then what good would I be to my department and the people it serves? Rural areas cannot afford paid staff. The funds are not there.
                            "Illegitimis non carborundum."

                            - Gen. Joseph Stilwell
                            (Lat., "Don't let the *~#%&S grind you down.")

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I guess I'm fortunant in that my employeer allows me or any vollenteer to roll to a call with no time lost. After working an all nighter not a big issue if I'm in a couple hrs late. As a matter of fact if any member gets toned out and does not respond they get quite upset about it.

                              We have approx 200 employees 6 of us are rostered members for different communities.

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