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Volunteer/Paid Relations

Discussion in 'Firefighter/EMS Talk' started by Slinger646, Oct 25, 2004.

  1. Slinger646

    Slinger646 King of Sling

    Sep 5, 2004
    In the Mountains of VA
    For you cats that have paid guys in your house, Do you have conflicts on a regular basis? If so how is it handled?
  2. clubsoda22


    Jul 28, 2004
    SE PA
    we rarely have issues on the EMS side, usually just a medic who doesn't like working with volunteers. Probably got an incompotent one at some point now thinks they're all incompotent.

    we are next to a city and get occasional crap from the professional firefighters. I was bluelighting up to a call and one of them cut me off and flipped me off. He then proceeded to cross the double yellow, causing me to stop, just to flip me off two weeks later. They all used to be volunteers, some people just forget where hey came from.

  3. xtrik8ifc


    Apr 24, 2004
    well I'm a volly in a 100% volly county. However, all of our line officers are now payed pricks (just kidding but thats what we call them to their face)Often times though they try to bring in different ways they have learned on their career dept. and recieve less than a warm response from the older long time members that are resistant to any changes. I often want to tell them to go back to their 3/4 boots and a rain coat we'll stick with the PBI. We have been extemely lucky and have only lost one member County wide to a LODD in our entire history. We just recently within the last year implemented RIT. Even with their resistance we still find ourselves able to keep up with the training of larger city depts.
  4. I work in an area that has paid city EMS responders and volunteer county first responders. The city EMS responds into the county but we do not maintain stations there. The volunteers are not transport capable and operate at a BLS level (with AED's) even though they have some EMT-P members. Years ago there was a great amount of tension between the paid guys and the volunteers. Our solution was to include the volunteers in our CEU classes and offered to assist in their training at their stations as needed. It made a world of difference in how we work together on scenes. There are still occasional hotheads on both sides but they are usually disciplined by their respective officers and most of the time is worked out without further problems. There are probably 14 or so VFD's operating in our county and the paid medics that live in those areas try to affiliate with the VFD on their off-time. Every little bit helps. Putting egos and attitudes aside, we just have to remember that we are all trying to do the same thing and the patient is our number one priority.
  5. DepChief

    DepChief Get Tous's Rope

    Nov 27, 2004
    Outer Banks, NC
    Sometimes there are problems, sometimes there aren't, just depends on the dept. I have been a career firefighter and a volunteer member of an all volunteer dept. and a combination dept. In the dept where all the career guys came from the volunteer ranks, there dosent seem to be any problems, mainly because the firefighters were known by everyone before they became compensated for their work. I was in a volunteer dept several years ago in NY when one of our neighboring depts hired paid drivers for all the apparatus. The firefighters were so pissed off by this, that after working fires, they would all disappear and leave the paid drivers to pick up all the hose and clean all the equipment. Their reasonning was that if these guys were getting paid, they should do all the grunt work. This upset the Town Officials so much, that they fired all the voluteers and hired all fulltime staff. I guess the moral to this story is "Why can't we all just get along"!
  6. Sniper 7.62

    Sniper 7.62

    Jan 14, 2001
    What Co. are you in there ??? Hanover by chance
  7. Tvov


    Sep 30, 2000
    Do you mean a combination department?

    The town next door has one, which is quickly going to be all paid. The relations between vol and paid are terrible. The Chief (who is salaried) is making no effort to keep the vols, on the contrary seems to be doing everything (or not doing things, depending on the situation) to get rid of them. An odd thing, which may be related, is that in the last year or so, when they have a serious call, their first mutual aid call goes to another city which has paid guys, not my department which is closer (and we have a very good response time).

    One thing that doesn't help is the IAFF. My understanding is that in their charter/constitution, it states that there should be no volunteer fire departments. Why would they have that stated on paper??
  8. chiefb


    Dec 18, 2004
    Hate to break the news to ya,but ------

    Only 2 kinds of FF in the world.



    We ALL are (or should be) Professionals
  9. DepChief

    DepChief Get Tous's Rope

    Nov 27, 2004
    Outer Banks, NC
    I suppose that if you are a paid firefighter that also volunteers there are 2 of you. I know the world would be a better place if there were 2 of me!

    343 - Never Forget
  10. chiefb


    Dec 18, 2004
    I don't think the world could take 2 of me. I know the wife couldn't!
  11. jlw_84

    jlw_84 General Glocker

    Nov 8, 2002
    Around here most depts are Combination.

    I will say relations are terrible here. Some of these full-time guys forget what its all about. They refer themselves as the "Professional Firefighters" and they look at the volunteer guys down there noses.

    My volly dept is next door to a full time dept, we have BLS Transport and a few engines and whatnot, we maintain an excellent response time, but they will not call us for mutual aid since we are "volunteers". Instead they get the other full time dept from the other side of the county.
  12. HKMark23

    HKMark23 Millennium Member

    Dec 17, 1999
    Chez Bippy
    Many moons ago the first place I worked at was as a vounteer in an emerging department. It was a county department that covered just over 1000 square miles and served about 500,000, and been all volunteer for the past 50 or so years.

    When I came on the department had just started to transition to part time paid. There were 3 paid Paramedic units staffed 24/7/365 that covered 3 regions of the county, each region had between 2-3 districts. Each district had one station that had just started to be manned by a paid D/O (driver/operator) M-F from 7am-4pm (no holidays). They only had bacic firmanship training (to level II IIRC) and were also trained to EMT-Basic.

    The rest of the staff was 100% volunteer, the districts still had a normal rank structure, 1 chief, 2 captains, 2 leutenants (1 each-Fire/EMS) everyone else was rated as Full or Probationary Firefighter. The officers were no slouches and had to have ALLOT of traning/TOJ. To be a Chief you had to be degreed, and had to have served at least 10 years as a FF/EMS, 5 of those years had to be as an officer. Capitans had to have served 5 years, and Leutenants 2 years. There were also lots of minimum training/certification standards as well. The standards actually were higher than many full time piad departments.

    Well when the D/O's came on it was cool for the first year, their rank status was based as any of the other FF/EMS people, which was by experiance/TOJ. The most experianced person was in command untill an officer arrived. At first they let the officers and volunteers do their job. We would get a call, the D/O would respond with a truck and the volunteers would go to the scene. At least one officer was on the radio immidiatly and one would be on scene usually within 10 minutes.

    Then out of the blue the D/O's went union and almost overnight the D/O's seemed to morph into these power hungrey monsters!!!! They begain to try and run the stations by changing assingnments (each vol had to commit to a minimum of 20 hours per month in house). Trying to run the station business and budget, telling the volunteers that they were the only one incharge,etc. It got so bad that it evolved into fistfights and sabbotage!

    I remember one late afternoon myself and another FF were talking, we heard the district to our north get an unknown smoke call. After the 2nd tone we realized that no one was going 10-8 from that district. For some reason I opened a bay door and looked that direction, I saw a huge column of dark smoke! We grabbed our first out pumper and headed out the door, there was allot of traffic on the radio so I coudlnt notify dispatch. As we were pulling out, our fire capitan came down the street & said he too had just seen the smoke and realized no one from that district was responding & said he would be right behind us with a tanker.

    About this time I finally got on the radio, advised of the smoke and requested a region "all call". The fire turned out to be in a 12 unit, 3 story apartment building and we ended up doing 2 rescues. The reason that no one from that district had responded was because the D/O told the volunteers that were at the station, that HE would go to the call and if he needed their help he would ask! The volunteers tried to take another truck, so the D/O ran and pulled the keys out of all the units!!!!

    About a month later the D/O at my station was trying to get his friend on the department as a volunteer, we told him he had to go through all the requirements the same as everyone else. He got mad and started saying that we were loosers and couldnt do our job, etc, etc. One the day we had a group of county board members coming to tour our new station. Before anyone got there he went through and trashed the bunk rooms, emptied out water from some of the trucks, pulled equipment and through it into storage rooms, he even let the air out of our cascade system and a bunch of the air packs! So we all show up to ths big mess and he is just sitting at the watch desk reading the paper, with a big smile on his face he says "It was like that when I got here." That is just ONE of the things he did!

    Long story short, this was going on in every district and none of the county commisioners would lift a finger, we tried to get law enforcement and the DA involved but it just blew up into a big mess which resulted in over 3/4 of the volunteers quitting in about a 4 week span (were talking over 150 people). The county put the D/O's incharge at each district and they went to full time paid crews within 1 year! Today many of the worst offenders are still there and running the show, including the guy who was sabbotaging the equipment at my station and the one who took all the keys that day.

    I went on to work at a big city "old school" department back east for another 5 years and loved every minute of it till I got hurt on a motorcycle.....oh well.
  13. obxprnstar

    obxprnstar Goth Lover

    Jan 8, 2003
    Zombie Patrol
    I have a friend that went to a FD to buy a shirt one day. They showed him about five diffrent T's and he picked the one that said "This town Fire Rescue." All of the others had "Vol" on the back. The lady selling the shirt remaked how that was their most popular shirt. He bit his tounge but thought, "Lady, being a Vol is like being Homeless. There is nothing wrong with it, you just don't have to advertise it."
  14. Slinger646

    Slinger646 King of Sling

    Sep 5, 2004
    In the Mountains of VA
    We've had 100%Vols here until the late 90s when the county decided to create a "fire/rescue dept." In 97, the came to our house from 06:00-18:00 to assist us in daily operations, being paid, they only do 'county' stuff, constantally gripe about our trucks and just drag down morale. They are at 2 other stations besides ours and the complaints are the same. Im proud to be 100% Vol, plus we dont have to put up with all their unuion BS..
  15. hello not a FF or EMT, but I had to read this post.

    All that I can say, we had a fire at one of our house many years ago. The first responders where a fine bunch of volunteers FF and they took care of the situation and did most if not all of the work before the county paid FF showed up on scene. They also saved a bunch of farm animals and risk their lives in doing so. The county did do the followup investigate for cause, but the volunteers did most of the immediate work.

    Nothing wrong with volunteer anything. I actually respect them more than some of the paid professionals.