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Will "Incident" pay to cover my shifts at the firehouse?

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  • Will "Incident" pay to cover my shifts at the firehouse?

    I'm a career firefighter with a city department in Illinois. I've been helping the IDNR with prescribed burns lately and gotten to know some of the IDNRs wildland firefighters. One of the guys asked if I would be interested in going out west with them if they get deployed. I told him I'd really like to do it but it would be tough getting the time off from my job with the department. We left it at that.

    Recently, another firefighter told me that if I do get called up to an incident, my department can get reimbursed for the cost of hiring a firefighter to work my shifts. Is this true? Has anyone done this?

  • #2
    It depends on the agreement your department signs up with. Just as an example with the Federal agencies, we don't handle this the same way for our own people.
    The US Forest Service (under Dept of Agriculture) takes it's people off the payroll and charges to the fire for all hours worked, so we see a cost savings from our pre-suppression budget when employees go to a fire. However we can not charge the cost of backfill personnel to the fire.
    The 4 Department of Interior agencies (NPS, BLM, FWS, BIA) do not charge base hours to the fire, only overtime hours. So they do not see a cost savings by sending their people to fires, however they can charge the cost of backfill personnel to the fire.

    There are many possible ways for local agency personel to get assigned to fires. Some go through a state agency, other have a direct agreement with a specific nearby Federal agency for local mutual aid. Some provide equipment (engine crew) others just overhead personnel. Your first step is probably to talk to somebody in fire administration at the IDNR and see how they work it.


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