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 folks...do 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 money...it'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.
i knew what i was getting into when i became a vollie on long island in 1979. Vollies have a strong and proud tradition on long island and it was hard for me to leave that when i had this opprutinity to come to florida and begin a paid carrear. i joined a volie department here and came up throught he ranks. i got hired by a neighboring dept a year before my own went paid (bad mistake). i dont regret anything, i knew i was never going to be millionare and yes i worked 2 and 1/2 jobs to make ends meet. i was surprised that right after 9-11 we were all "not makeing enough and had to be helped" and now departments face and have had layoffs (oh well, i told a friend lets see what happens on 9-11 several years from now, ill bet we'll be back to fire department as usual) Whenever i think about this job that i love so much i remember Colonel Jessup"s character in "a few good men" and his speech about "his" job. The arrogence some of us have occures ib place of the pay beause we are a vital service to the community. take away the cops and fire department and see what happens. we had a commissioner who wanted us to "build our own fire trucks" we told him sure, as soon as the cops start "building their own police cars". anyone who gets into the job for the "money" is in the wrong job.
in lieu of pay, i take (and "sinfully" enjoy) my arrogence of being part of the only profession that from a phone call, close to a million dollars of rolling stock will come along with men and women who will if necessary die for people they dont know...willingly
lets keep our chins up and remember, its never an emergency until its your ass
Just going through this thread again and since it's been more than two years I can't remember who I was responding too... clearly he/she deleted the posts, looks like I was talking to myself. Why, oh why delete? Oh well.
This one barrier we as a service still can't seem to get over...money or no money. At the end of the day, for whatever reason we chose this field, we are all firefighters. These titles of volunteer, career, part timer, scab are all nothing more than a description of your service means. Nothing more, nothing less. They don't describe the skill level you have, nor do they describe the quality of individual you are. What they do serve to do is seperate us. Some claim that being a volunteer, you have less training than a career person does...others claim that career guys do it for the money alone, and then the argument of you're a part timer just taking a career spot away from a union person. At the end of the day, all of these arguments are crap and do nothing but serve to seperate us and hold us back. We as a service could and should be working on bettering the guy/gal next to you instead of complaining about his/her titles.
I had the pleasure of working with a Lieutenant who's philosophy was simple. "I don't give a flying shit if you get a paycheck or are doing this as a hobby, if you leave me on the nozzle plan on getting your ass kicked".