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Dept. funding. Why the tradition of fundraising?

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  • Dept. funding. Why the tradition of fundraising?

    A thought that has troubled me for a while. Why is a volunteer dept. expected to raise so much of it's own budget through fundraising activities? We don't expect our police to put on a dance to raise money for the squad car. We don't expect our township officials to have a raffle to pay their salaries. And yet when we need a new engine we are told " Can't you raise the money for it yourselves?"

    I'm assuming this has to do with the tradition of volunteering however it seems fundamentally unfair to expect the fire service [and EMS in some cases] to fund itself.

    Any comments?

    About volunteered out, I'm Lynn.

  • #2
    Maybe it's because the fire service has always had the "can do" attitude and the fact for years we the willing have been doing everthing for the unknowing and the ungrateful with less. We are qualified to do almost anything with nothing!

    For years, law enforcement agencies have gotten BILLIONS of dollars for programs like community policing, bike patrols, traffic enforcement, drug interdiction and programs like DARE.

    The fire service is treated like the bastard child of public safety and gets tossed an occasional $bone and are told to be thankful for what we get. I'm reminded of the classic line from the movie "Network": "WE'RE MAD AS HELL AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO TAKE IT ANYMORE!"

    Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo

    [This message has been edited by Lieutenant Gonzo (edited February 14, 2000).]


    • #3
      I couldn't say it any better than Gonzo. Because the fire sservice in general is much more innovative on its own, cops have the military for R&D, we have been relied upon by the great unseeing, uncaring masses to cover their asses. Simply summed up, "we go were angels fear to tread."


      • #4
        So..... I believe it is Ann Landers or her sister Abigal Van Buren who said " No one can take advantage of you without your permission" or words to that effect.

        Firefighters are not known to be wimpish and unopinionated folks. Why then do we let ourselves be put the status of beggars?


        • #5
          Gonzo's right in a lot of what he's saying, and a lot of people are in for a rude awakening in the not-too-distant future, as the "free ride" they've been getting from the volunteer fire service gradually comes to an end.

          As to the origins of the problem, I have another thought...

          At least in my area of the east, volunteer fire companies often started out as social organizations that were organized on neighborhood, ethnic, or other lines. We still have the remains of that system today in some towns, where you might have 5 or 6 fire companies and 2,000 or 3,000 residents. You still know who was who, even today...the company that has the emerald green engine with shamrocks inside the maltese cross on the door used to be the Irish company, the one called "Polish American Fire Co. #1" has obvious roots, and there was probably a company formed by Slovaks (probably called something like "Good American Hose Co."), and another by Germans, etc., etc. When this was the primary form of organization and basis for membership, the "communities" represented by the individual fire companies supported them with donations as a form of community pride. Even in places that didn't have the ethnic or neighborhood divisions, the social element was still there (and sometimes dominated the fire fighting purpose).

          It's not hard to see how there wouldn't be broad support for municipal funding under these circumstances, and the underlying attitude that "the firemen take care of themselves" has endured in many places, even if the social aspects have not. Things are changing and the general populations are realizing that they are getting a bargain, albeit too slowly....


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