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.