I wrote this last fall after a post struck a nerve. Since the Nation was maybe 20% of what it is today thought I would revise a couple things and repost this.


Another post got my attention...look we really are all in this together, so let's work on getting past our labels and insecurities and be one fire service.

The post in question is about volunteer fire departments not getting their due with the media. Basically they are overshadowed by the larger paid department working on the same fire.

Why are they getting the credit?

It's called a Public Information Officer.
If your department doesnt have one, train one and start using him or her to get your department the credit they deserve.
If you don't it's kind of like voting, "If You Dont Vote, Don't B*tch!".
Don't get a PIO, don't complain when the other departments PIO goes to the media and your departments coverage is nil.

Now back to the original post

OK Im not naming names or even going to give you the thread this term came from but I can tell you it got under my skin more then just a little and rather then flame away on that thread, thought I would start a new discussion about the whole issue of breaking ourselves into smaller and smaller groups...Volunteers, True Volunteers, Paid Guys, Call Firefighters, Contract, ARFF, Municipal, State, Wildland, you name it we have a sub group for it...hell even our Unions on the paid side arent United. IAFF, Black Firefighters, Hispanic Firefighters, AFGE, etc...

Now the whole "True Volunteers" thing. WTF is that? Now we have to differentiate between true and pretend vollies? Give me a break, we all and I mean ALL fight fire, its the same f'n job, no matter what compensation you get. None of us were drafted into the fire service, at least none of us in the US were. So if you want to go at it that way...

Ok a lot of you know my background, I grew up in a vollie family, volunteered at 16 when juniors made entry, went in the military as a firefighter and have been a paid firefighter since I was 19. I have also given my time to 3 volunteer departments since then and therefore feel I am qualified to speak my mind on this one.

I am ______ tired of the BS between vollies and paid firefighters. For the most part, paid guys dont have an issue with our brothers and sisters from the non-paid side of the world. However, personally...I get sick and tired of hearing about how you do it for nothing, yet you blow your own horn like the Titanic headed for that little chunk of ice in the North Atlantic. If you need to come on here and validate yourself by saying ooh ooh look at me, you are not doing it for anyone but yourself...

My paid brothers we are not clean here either..."woowoos, stupid vollies, scabs" we dont go easy on em eaither, maybe thats why they have short mans syndrome about having to point out they are volunteers. We dont help the situation by looking down our collective noses at what amounts to about 75% of the fire service.

And I am sure Im gonna get flamed for this, but for the love of Pete. Get over yourselves!

Now back to my first issue, what in gods name is a true volunteer???
Are the false volunteers??? Are there other forms of volunteers? Please someone enlighten me.

Here is the definition of Volunteer:

vol·un·teer - a person who voluntarily offers himself or herself for a service or undertaking.

We are all in this crap boat together...like each other or not, when it comes to the citizens we protect we are Firefighters, period. When they are trapped in their house and someone shows up sounding like Darth Vader and crawling under the black stuff to get em out...do you think they really give a rats patootie if you are getting a check or not? NO.
They see a firefighter, the same person they looked up to as a child and you are their savior.

Im damned lucky to be able to make a living doing something that fulfills me. I am well aware that not all of us can say that. That said, I have done this job for free and if I lived somewhere that my services were needed Id do it again.

We need to figure out how to come together support each other and learn how to RESPECT our brothers and sisters no matter who they do this job for. I have worked with incredibly talented individuals on both sides of the house and a paycheck makes you a professional no more then a certificate makes you qualified.

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I am sitting here trying to digest what I just read.
Allen; buddy; I LOVE YOUR PASSION!
While I have been hinting at it for some time, you just lowered your head and went right for it.
I believe that the reason there is so much bravado on this website is that this NOTION that there isn't respect between the different pedigrees comes from someone's personal perception or experience.
When I first got on my volunteer fire department, I was intimidated by the career guys, because firefighting was, well, their CAREERS. I was doing it as a volunteer to help out in our small community. My career was in manufacturing. But, as I learned, got older, got better at my skills, the intimidation turned into mutual respect. There isn't ONE career firefighter within a hundred miles of where I live that will intimidate or disrespect me. I have served on state committees, helped get a regional training site going, testified at hearings and attended their retirements and funerals.
In my mind, if anyone feels that they aren't treated respectfully by another member of this fire service, career or volunteer, it's THEIR problem.
Personally, I wish that the National Volunteer Fire Council would drop "volunteer" from the name. That in itself speaks volumes. The International Association of Fire Chiefs don't make that distinction until you get to the sub-committees.
I hear you loud and clear.
Should we have a secret handshake or will it be the right index finger to the nose?
You're a good man. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
AMEN, brother!
I have six years experience as a non-paid professional firefighter and 25 years experience as a paid professional firefighter. To date, I have never seen a volunteer fire or a paid fire and I bet no one else has either. Both groups need to be properly trained and if they are, who cares if they get a pay check or not.
you know what your right when i first got hired 4.5 yrs ago the attitudes of the other vollies i worked with for 10 yrs changed guys started treating me different i dont know if it was just jealousy or they thought i would do things different but for the first year and a half i had some guys give me some attitude. but i guess they saw i didnt change i may have changed the way i did some things but i didnt come up to anyone and say im a paid guy as matter of fact some of these guys ask me what i do they dont know till i tell them. but they see i dont flaunt it in their faces now i dont really have a problem with any of them. if it wasnt for my volly dept i would be on the paid job so i feel i kinda of owe it to them and plus what ever i learn on the job i try and bring back to them and help them not boss them. if your on the job your on the job plain and simple.
I volunteered for my fire department (all volunteer) because there was a need, there is always a need for trained firefighters, when I joined I had no firefighting background. But I was willing to train on my time and my families time. Our training officer took his personal time to train 5 new volunteers for several months to challenge the firefighter exam. After the exam the proctor stated that he had never seen a better trained group of challengers.

I believe, that it does not matter if your a full time firefighter or a volunteer if you have the drive, movation, and training to be the safest, most professional firefighter, you will be. On my time I read as much about firefighting as possible, I use this network as another tool to further my firefighting knowledge, and hope all firefighters use it as a tool for useful purposes. I am currently working on challenging ffII, and hoping to take an EMT-B course that may be offered. All the training, all the hours put into the department, are not paid, we are paid only for our runs, we receive minimum wage for our efforts, and all of our firefighters donate their pay back to the department.

Our department is a small group of highly dedicated, highly motivated firefighters, who perform a thankless service to our community, without any other reason but to help our fellow man, yes, It would be nice to be a full time firefighter, with pay, but not every community can afford that, so we volunteer, on our time, on our families time.

In closing, be you full time, or volunteer, this has to be a job you love, you must keep an attitude of, what can I do?, what will make me a better firefighter to serve my community?, my brothers, You must lead, or follow, because in our line of work you cannot get out of the way, you have to know your job, better than anyone, because the community looks to us in their time of need, not asking if your full time or a volunteer, but because your a firefighter
Very well put Allen.

so true, brother!! We have that same problem in our fire department - rivalry between paid firefighters and volunteers. I just wish they'd get their heads out of their rear ends and take a look at themselves. You could bring a group of both paid and volie firefighters together, line them up, and look at them. Someone who didn't know them from adam would only see a line of firefighters. We are all firefighters... no matter what way you look at us. In times of peral, we'll all be there to save each others' tooshes anyway, so what does it matter?
VERY WELL SAID, I am a FT EMS employee, but have worked a Paid FF/EMT, Vol FF/EMT, and currently a Captain and Training Officer of our local VFD. I think if we would quit trying to separate ourselves and all work together we would get a lot further.

Be Good, Stay Safe

Ohhhh...so your a pretend Vollie...right?

I do know what he was talking about, it just set me off and y'all are now seeing the product of my third shift in a row and total irritation at people trying to make themselves "holier than thou".

Be Safe and keep your head down.
been there brother, that is alot of what this post was about...probably blog fodder.

Be safe and thanks for the reply.
Fire doesn't give a crap about paid or not paid.It just wants to burn.
I don't really care about career or volunteer either.What I care about is working alongside others that can handle the task at hand.I want to go home to my wife and kids unharmed.I don't want to see anyone else harmed either.Paid or not,I think that is the goal.
By the way,I'm a true volunteer.HAHA,I'm kidding.


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