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    Help needed…. What is an active member? My department is re-righting our by-laws and currently an active member is anyone who pays $1 per year and wants to stay on the department. There are no training requirements in the SOP that say you must attend a percentage of trainings to be considered “active”. For example a former chief of the department who for some reason has not been at a training for year’s shows up for the “big one” drives one of the tankers and causes $1,600 damage to the transmission. That was the last call he made with the dept. and 16-months later he is still called an active member with full voting rights. My question is what determines an active member on your FD, do you have the status of honorary member? What can they do? I guess my big problem is a 35 year member that has not made an emergency call for 6-8 years and only a handful of meeting can still vote on the officers in Dec. Any help would be great.

  • #2
    Active Members must attend at least one training session quarterly. Of course, to maintain interior firefighter you need a lot more, as well as annual (or bi-annual) re-qualification on the trucks you drive.

    Town also has a Length-of-service award plan that requires a minimum of 15 points per month. Kinda long formula, but basically make 2-3 training sessions a month and make about 20% of calls in our district and you shouldn't have a problem meeting it.

    We also have:
    Veteran Membership -- can be a mix of "active" and truly retired members. The "active" veterans basically maintain certification in a very narrow range, say being qualified to be a driver/pump op on one or two pieces, and don't attend most training or even calls. But even that can be a big help when low-staffed during the day freeing up a more heavily certified FF for another task.

    Associate Membership -- non-emergency responders who help with clerical & fundraising work.

    Neither Veteran or Associate can vote for Chief or Line Officers.

    Fourth catergory is Inactive -- effectively, it keeps you in a "holding" pattern. Inactives don't respond, may occassionally help out around the station. But when their life situation allows them more time to go active again, they can be moved from Inactive to Active by the Board of Directors. If you're dropped from the roles entirely, you have to complete the application process from scratch again.
    IACOJ Canine Officer


    • #3
      What is an active member?

      I guess everyone has their own requirements, but we go by the Texas Pension System (or whatever it's called) for volunteers soley for the pension portion. They define active member as one that makes 25% of the calls and 40% of the scheduled training.

      If you are retired or not participating in the pension we have no requirements.

      For example a former chief of the department who for some reason has not been at a training for year’s...

      Yep, we got guys like that too. And the chief won't say don't do it because (fill in any number of reasons...)

      do you have the status of honorary member?


      What can they do?

      Tell the public they're honorary members.

      ...can still vote on the officers in Dec.

      I agree, we have the same situation and it is BS.

      Why should somebody that offers no productivity for the department have a say in who leads that productivity?

      "Because we don't want to hurt their feelings that's why and besides it's just one vote, what difference does it make?" Is what we're told.

      Problem is, eight or ten of these guys show up ONLY when it's time to vote for either officers or big expenditures and you know the rest...

      Any help would be great.

      Sorry I wasn't able to help, but hopefully someone else can help us both...
      It's only my opinion. I do not speak for any group or organization I belong to or associate with or people I know - especially my employer. If you like it, we can share it, you don't have to give me credit. If you don't, we are allowed to disagree too (but be ready to be challenged, you may be on to something I'm not). That's what makes America great!


      • #4
        Thanks guys thats what I am looking for. Just a little more history on the dept. 35 members, 145 total calls last year fire and EMS we do not run an EMS we first respond.


        • #5
          For us, you must maintain 8 training hours each quarter to be "active." If you become inactive, you just need to make up the hours that you are short. In addition, drivers must take a VFIS (insurance)refresher class that is 4 hrs and complete a driving proficiency test annually. That's after they take the initial 8 hour VFIS course. You also have to have an 8 hour HAZMAT awareness refresher annually to go to HAZMAT calls (which include fuel spills and gas leaks.
          These are my opinions and not those of the organizations for which I work and/or volunteer.


          • #6
            My state requires a minimum of 36 training hours per year to remain active. You really NEED to have training requirements. If you don't you open yourself up to major liability.

            Imagine this...Johnny No-Show comes to 'the big one' and gets injured or killed. Mr. OSHA and Mr. Insurance and Mr. Family Lawyer are going to want to know if he was trained to do what he was doing when he got hurt.

            They are going to want to know when the last time he trained in that was. They are also going to want to know why someone with less training than that new guy who just walked in the door and can't go into a fire was allowed to be put in such a 'perilous' situation.

            Regardless of the outcome this will be messy, what would be even worse would be if Mr. No-Show gets someone else hurt in the process...someone who does show up and deserves to be there (and go home).

            How do you get support for this? Go to your insurance company or a lawyer, have them write you an opinion and take it to your board. When they see $$$ it may make a difference.

            As for honorary members etc. we don't have them. I would suggest that you define their status as non-active and not allow them any voting rights. It makes no sense. Invite them to the annual dinner, picnic and Christmas party but leave them home on election day.
            Susan Lounsbury
            Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
            Griffith Volunteer FD


            • #7
              The Vol. Fire Service

              180 years ago they had the same problem from one of the charter members in 1851 one of the X Chiefs killed the horse that pulled the hose cart...So they kicked him of the department after 50 yrs of service to the town...
              Later that year the that chief died, His family ae the Fire Dept. did Not show up...

              His wife and kids question that??? after 50 years of service did not mean a thing...

              There will allways be some oldtimers at the station. and were fighting fires when you were still ****ting in you pants...And in my eyes. Demand your respect...even if they never made LT.
              You still call them CHIEF....

              Someday you to will be an old-timer and maybe we learn something from your years of service.

              So on that note have a nice day CHIEF



              • #8
                Captian......CHIEF... I beleave the question was if you attend training once a year should you be able to drive the engine and run the pump? Is 30 min's a year training on pump ops allow you to pump a working fire?
                I understand the respect thing and I will lisen to everyone of them during a debate young and old.


                • #9
                  to; Fire827

                  If you took my reply the wrong way I am sorry... this is an open forum...and yes I fully understand the trianing issue... But most old-timers know there getting too old for this job and sit back and watch...
                  They will try and help when they can... also something I forgot about, how about a Fire/Police Company. In your Dept. a lot of FD's have them...this way they still keep there respect...

                  This is not you at all, It JUST Burns my butt, When I here probies talk down on some of these men...


                  • #10
                    What do you mean by fire/police co.


                    • #11
                      Captain... I wholeheartedly agree with you on the respect issue BUT, I don't care how long you've been doing it, you MUST stay current on your training or you're more of a hazard than an asset. My company has an active member with about 35 years of active service and when I say he's active, I mean he puts 80% of the department to shame when percentages come out. He is the first one to show up for drills, the first one with suggestions for drills and basically one of the best all around members we have. If we had 10 more like him we would be in FAR better shape than we are currently. Just as you said, it really burns me up when these "know-it-all probies" talk down about him or disrespect him. Although, I must say that I personally believe that probies are about 1 step lower than whale $hit and really need to remember that until they prove themselves, they just need to sit back, shut-up, and learn.

                      Fire827... My department's bylaws currently state that any firefighter that does not make 60% of training drills in a year MUST attend Firefighter 1 again in the next year or be kicked out. This, to the best of my knowledge, has never been enforced but, I think somebody had their head on straight when they wrote it. We also are currently "retooling" our bylaws to better fit today's situation. We do run fire and EMS transport. My company alone did approx. 900 runs with the department showing a total of approx. 2800 for last year (5 companies). Good luck with it and PLEASE post anything your dept. comes up with and I'll be glad to do the same. Take care and stay safe all.

                      [ 08-01-2001: Message edited by: Eng522ine ]
                      Stay safe all.


                      • #12
                        Thank you Eng522ine...I will be more than glad to post what we end up doing. Here is what I am hearing from quite a variedly of departments 50%-80% participation excluding calls. After all you might have the worst luck in the world and every time you clock in the words come blasting over the pager “dispatch be advised, flames visible”. Been their, done that. I would like to clarify something since we have touched on the subject of rookie. I am starting my eleventh year as a FF and seven and one half as an EMT. I am under the average age but I do fell I can see both sides. Now for the older guys on the department we have the same type of guy you were talking about. His name is Tom and I think he is around 73 years old here is what he does……03:00 hours you receive a report of a vehicle on fire in the roadway, I get up and get dressed find my keys and my glasses and out the door I go. About the time I reach my car I here “dispatch 802 enroute” now how in the h*ll he gets over to the station, unlock the door, and gets the truck on the road so fast. I thing it’s great if every department should have five Tom’s after all if you need to know anything about the truck or how we do something theirs nothing like asking a 50 year veteran that has kept a 75% + activity level every year.

                        Eng522ine thanks for the input

                        Stay Safe,


                        • #13
                          To FIRE847


                          They are mostly made up of old-timers, wife's/girlfriends or boy friends Now,

                          The Fire/Ploice Company dutys vary from dept. to dept.

                          A. Traffic Control
                          B. Safty officer
                          C. Refill and or replacement of Air bottles
                          D. Help with IC system, (sometimes the Chief is not in town and he can help a new officer in comand)
                          E. Coffee or water ect...
                          F. What ever needs to be done...

                          There Job's are Important and treat them that way, It's a job that still needs to get done. and you save your manpower to go and fight the fire...

                          Also they might need a truck,,,If you have a flood light truck works well or Van,SUV, something...

                          and they all lived happly ever after all...

                          Mark Conn

                          [ 08-01-2001: Message edited by: Captain 12 ]


                          • #14
                            An active member in my dept is someone who attends a minimum of 50% drill attendance and 30% response attendance. These numbers always seem to change and are very rarely enforced. Volunteers at my sation also pay fifty dollars club dues every year.


                            • #15
                              I must agree with eng522ine, you have to keep current. What I didn't mention before is that in both my departments we have 'old timers' and they train. They have been at it long enough and therefore are smart enough to know that not training kills people.

                              Our policies and attitudes are in no way designed to 'get rid' of old timers, it's to keep people (everyone)alive.

                              I might also add that with almost 15 years of service I'm no probie.
                              Susan Lounsbury
                              Winston-Salem Rescue Squad
                              Griffith Volunteer FD


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