So I was reading the thread about Paid vs. Vollie. As many of you know I grew up in a Volunteer Department...great picture of me on our old '41 Mack Pumper when I was 5 is still in Aledo VFD station. So Im a lifer...second generation firefighter and 7 years as a vollie.

I have to laugh everytime I read the "AMEN TO PEOPLE WHO DO IT FOR THE LOVE NOT A PAY CHECK" comments. First off, get over your holier then thou selves and take a real look at what most non-major metropolitan paid firefighters make. Really...

Here's a perfect example of doing it for the love of the job, to give back, be it what it is...we all have our reasons for fighting fire, paid or volunteer and damned few of us do it for the financial reward.
In July '06 Parker County Texas sent a task force 2 counties away to fight a cedar forest fire, in that we had 1 water tender that was staffed with paid firefighters. Now the County we went to help had count 'em, 8 firefighters. 8 people, and no volunteers, not 1. Now there were 3 on vacation so that left 5 to fight a 50,000 acre cedar forest fire. The guys who work there as PAID firefighters make $7.50 an hour starting pay.
That is $23,000 a year you really believe they do it for the money???

I see 500 guys test for 5 jobs here. There are fire academies all over the state that guys pay thousands of dollars to atend, just for the chance to test for a job, they will likely never get. Many take jobs in podunk cities just like the one I described making money just to be a firefighter, only to have a second job just to make rent. Forget ever getting ahead.

Ive known guys who make $150,000 a year with their side businesses, but wouldnt give up their career in the fire service just to make another $150,000 a year in their other job.

I left the fire service after 20 years to go into a traditional business. I got to travel to New York, Las Vegas, Milan Italy, Antwerp Belgium and the French Alps, for my business, and I walked away to go back to being a firefighter...nothing in my life has ever given me the sense of family, pride or contentment that I was doing what I was supposed to be doing that this job does.

You tell me, do I do it for the's nice, but I am a Firefighter with every fibre in my body. 24/7/365 that is who I am. When I die I want to be remembered for having been a great dad, and having been a firefighter. Nothing more.

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I agree that we all do it for the love of the job. Most people can not take the stress we put our selves under daily. It does not matter if you are paid or a vollie. We are here to do the same job. May we unite together and get the job done.
There are a lot of other cities and jurisdictions across America where career FFs make well above $23K, just for starting salary. I don't recall the numbers but usually in Firehouse magazine every year they have this data.

What I've seen here in the Finger Lakes region of NY state is career FFs moving around a little bit, from one job to another until they find a place where they think they want to be. I believe that once they get their FF certification and basic EMS training they can move from one department to another as long as there are openings and residency requirements are met. I think that they also have to pass the required tests. I know at least one individual who had two paid positions in diferent cities before becoming a career FF in a major city department.

A bit of soapbox: I hope this thread doesn't turn out to be another career vs. vollie free-for-all. That old dog won't hunt anymore. It's time to figure out why there is so much antagonism between some members of both sides of this argument, and somehow make them see eye to eye.

We have a lot of talent on this web site, and it's time to begin using it to unite people rather than divide them.
This wasnt meant to be a paid vs vollie, rather shed a little light on the fact that most paid guys arent that well paid. We do it becasue we love it too. and many of us volunteer on our days off too. We need to get over the Holier then thou attitude shared by both sides of the story.

I've raced bicycles since the late 1980's and even raced against Lance Armstrong when he was still a snotty kid, and this group mirrors ours in the Amateur vs Pro guys. There is a $12,000 a year dream joke amongst most bike racers, since beginning pros make about 12K a year. BUt, they are professionals by god and we should stay out of their way and not impeed on their winning races, it is their job you know. See same story, different verse...

I mentioned the non major metro area firefighters for a reason. Yes guys move around to find the department they are most comfortable in and if you are going to get paid, why not find one that pays the bills. But, come on no matter what you do for a day job, dont you do the same. take a job in Phoenix because its gonna put you in a better place financially.

All I am saying is rather then feel you are better then others because a) you do it for free b) you tested and went to some academy to get your job. Look at it from BOTH sides.
I personally never want to be a paid ff i believe that i get more out of it being a vollie then a paid and the job that i am working at i make 8.25/hr although the paid ff make way more then that here i would rather be paid in the ems feild then the fire feild
I work for a small mixed department in northern va was a vollie before the job and still a vollie while on the job. I will say this i make a little more then 23K a year but i dont care what the pay is because this is my only hobby and why not do what you like to do for a career. Yes i to tested and competted against approx 100 other guys for 4 spots, I was just one of the LUCKY ones that got picked. So like was said before no paid vs. vollie fight, just some of us career guys do it cause that is what we want our career to be a FIREFIGHTER, one of the biggest familys on earth.

Just my thoughts!

Stay Safe And Keep It Between The Lines!
John Orndorff
Yep...I get up 2 hours before shift to get on my bike at dark thirty and ride to work. NO not the kind with a motor..I live 10 miles from Station 2, so it takes a little over 30 minutes, but then theres the cool down, shower and coffee before my tour starts...and I love it every morning.

Now on another important note...thanks to all the Vet's! HAppy Veterans Day.
I am a volunteer who has applied to a load of departments. I am dissappointed to say that I have missed twice from the new wave of vets coming home, and 4 other times for not having adequate EMS training. Everytime a company makes a ruling about the requirements for the training pre academy, when they go to hire, they increase the level to just outside of my grasp. I definately see the 500 applicants for 6 positions, and I think Cranston FD in Rhode Island was more insane than that. In my case, I am a father of 3 very young children, and a loving fiance. She told me that no matter the payscale to start, to always chase my dream to be a full time firefighter that is paid, so she supports me in my quest to gather the requirement's of training before the next hiring date. Hopefully there will be a department that opens up and accepts me for hire so I can chase the dream. There are many famous quotes across the globe about firefighters lack of pay. Most movies have a line or 2 about it not being for the money.
Either way I am rambling. Be Well and stay safe out there
Better keep her!
wish I could help here...but we just lost an engine company. Saved $750K a year in salaries, so we do more with less yet again. NOt to mention they dont take to Yankees too well down here. H*ll Im from Ft Worth and that makes me a Yankee...LMAO

Just keep your head down and make yourself so marketable that you cant be kept out. It'll happen!
this has been one of the best threads I have read in a long time...... I am both a vollie and a paid guy in the finger lakes area of new york. I love it started as a 16 year old vollie on Long Island and moved around with my job until I retired. I got bored at home and found out thru a friend that a combination dept. was hiring part timers so I applied and got the job. As a matter of fact the same day I took the job got hired by Cornell University Police as a full time dispatcher and turned down Cornell to do a part time job I loved ... so lets say amen to anyone who has the desire to do this job ... remember it is not just a job but a true calling.... and happy in life is the person who has found htier calling... stay safe ... Buckit
i'm a second gen firefighter as well, i'm volunteer, but who really cares,
we all go through the same shit as the brother or sister next to us.
this is a big family. if a member goes down in a structure, i'd go get em if they we're paid or not, because thats what we do.
It's not a money issue, its more of a genetic defect that draws us to run into burning buildings and rescue people and belongings. kinda like moths to a light.
We're all the same working for lil to no money what so ever
when i started in the fire service i was 21 years old and working in a gm assembly plant, i worked in a job i hated for 12.5 years but in that time i got my ff, emt, fire inspector and fire instructor level 1. when the time came to test i got lucky i applied to one department its a small combination (only like 6 vollies and 24 paid guys including the chief and deputy chief of operations.) i went from making 55 grand a year to 27 grand a year my first year im making more now then i was at gm but with cost of living going up so much around here i sometimes i think im going backwards lol. to take the test you had to be a ff/emt because you get hired and start working right away. i continue to volunteer because A if it werent for them i would be on the paid job and B they continue to pay for my training and i think its only fair to continue to volunteer. but if i didnt love it i wouldnt continue to do it i love going to work and i love the brother/sisterhood of it too.

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