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Are most Departments and Chiefs receptive to a Chaplain program?

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  • Are most Departments and Chiefs receptive to a Chaplain program?

    So I thought I would try to bring some life to the chaplain forum.

    I have been on a vol. department for almost 6 months. I am currently serving as a local pastor in a small country church. I am really interested in beginning a chaplain program at our small department. Our chief seems really receptive to developing a chaplain program for our guys and I think it would be a good opportunity for me to see if I can get it going.

    I am also considering it as a career in the future. My question:

    Are most full-time departments receptive to the idea of a firefighter candidate interested in being a chaplain in addition to a firefighter?

    thanks.

  • #2
    We have three chaplains. Two are retired firefighters that became deacons in the catholic church, and the third is a police officer that retired on a disability after a motor vehicle accident - a lutheran.

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    • #3
      I could think of no better way to help your department

      Chaplains are only as benificial as they are able to relate to firefighters and the general public. I say GO FOR IT! Any department (regardless of size) would benefit. Just make sure you have good training!

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      • #4
        Chaplain Program

        As a FF having served from the time I could be a cadet, I always knew I would be involved in the fire service in some capacity. After being "called" to the ministryI did not know what I would do with my 21 years in the fire service. However it did not take long before it became quite clear as to where I would serve. I took a little different approach though and started a non-for-profit that specializes in public safety chaplaincy and victim support. I done this because we are a county where every department is volunteer and the funding is not there for and programs or training. I would be glad to talk to you and offer my knowledge and experience as to types of training and agencies to get involved with. You can contact me through my email at [email protected].

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        • #5
          In my dept. (vol), we have a designated chaplain. He is not a pastor, just one of our older firefighters. We do not really have a program in place. He tries to stay on top of any hardships one of our firefighters may face and keeps the membership updated. Whether it be a death in their family or a sick family member, a small gesture of a card, flowers, fruit basket, or a donation is given. He also visits anyone who is in a long term care situation or has an extended stay in the hospital. He may also visit them when they return home. Also, when a past member passes, a book is placed in the local library in memory of them.

          I would like the service of a chaplain used more frequentley in the area. We don't utilize a stress debriefing as much as we should and I feel that if we had a better chaplain program, this could be utilized. I also feel that its a good idea for the chaplain to be pastor from the community. This is their job. They deal with tough issues such as death much more than we do. They often times just have the right words, whether its spiritual or not. We could really benefit from someone who knows what they are doing. Along with that, there are different programs that chaplains can attend to be educated on fire service specific issues.

          I would think that any type of department would benefit from having an active chaplain program. No one can force the guys to use it but if they want it, it is there.

          I hope you take yourself up on this opportunity and wish you the best of luck.

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          • #6
            we're researching it...

            as we embark on implementing our new strategic plan, part of our mandate is wellness...and a chaplain's program has been floated as part of it...our concern is what does this look like? we'd like it to be as non-denominational as possible...anyone have any thoughts?

            thanks...

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            • #7
              Chaplain Programs

              I've gotten various input on this question myself. A recent non-scientific survey by our organization indicates that about 22% of departments nationwide have no access to chaplaincy services. So there is very much a need out there. A successful chaplain of my acquaintance shared with me that when he started out he approached 17 local fire, police, and ems agencies before finding one that thought having a chaplain was a good idea. Although he now has served with several different departments So there is some resistance out there as well.

              My advice ? Stick it out. Learn as much as you can everywhere you can. Be professional in your approach at all times, and it will come together for you.

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              • #8
                Chaplain Programs

                I posted a reply earlier. If anyone has a question about seting a program up, give an email. I have gone through the same problems/reservations you all have. I have had my non-for-profit in place for about 2 years now. Going well with people calling me to sign on.
                email me at [email protected].

                Good luck everyone!

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                • #9
                  Also check out the Federation of Fire Chaplains at www.firechaplains.org.

                  Wendy

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                  • #10
                    I would jump at the chance to be a volunteer (unpaid) Chaplain and think most departments (paid, unpaid and combination) would welcome a Chaplain provided they do not feel the Chaplain is there to push religion. Instead, most departments are happy to have a Chaplain whose motive is to "come along side". Paid Chaplains are usually found in the larger departments and often are fire fighters who came through the ranks and showed themselves to be useful as Chaplains. Training is very beneficial. The Federation of Fire Chaplains gives good training regionally as well as at their annual conference.

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