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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HOW GLAD I AM that I wrote that now.
To be honest, I am floored.
I truly expected to get my head delivered on a platter for that.

Yall stay safe
Good one brother! Fires are just as hot in New York as they are in Missisppi! WE ALL DO THE SAME JOB NO MATTER WHAT TITLE WE CARRY WITH US!!!!!!
Thanks for your answer ! I know that '' paid on call'' is a real avantage but i don't know why is this system use there unstead US volounteer. I know about the financing of FD, in Canada, each city are the responsable for the FD budget and it provide only of citizen tax. I ear of in the US, the State have a part of the financial budget of City FD. Is it right ??? So, we have, oldiest fire truck and apparatus... (in the small town or village). Not in my FD... I'm really lucky, we have a nice fire truck float and apparatus, but it's not everywhere like that.

So Thank you again !
Er .... awww....... geee...... Wish everyone had that much devotion to duty. I am right on board with you . I am both a volunteer and a paid guy so I guess I am the luckiest guy in the world. have love of the job on the job and at home.
Where I am from we pretty much work hand in hand. But you know there are those days when you get the ones that say "I am a pro I can do this better than you." BS is usually what comes out before i even think about it. But just to reply to your comment........... bout dern time someone spoke their mind and i 2nd that Amen bro comment earlier.
My Deapartment is 93% Volunteer. We have a paid staff of a Chief, Ast Chief ( also the training Officer.) Fire Marshal, 1- Paid Firefighter, With 3 Part Time Lead Resident Fireifghters.

The rest of the department is what u would consider Volunteer. We also run a resident's program, mostly made up of college students looking to go full time with a paid dept. I am a Captain for this department. I drive a city Command Vehical to my home everynight I am shift. I sleep next to wife everynight that I am shift. I eat dinner with my children everynight when I am on shift.

But when the City has a 911 call, and the tones go off to the Fire Departments pager's. I have to go to work. I get paid a stipen ( a small amount $) Every month i get a check, so i do not do this for free. The check is only enough to fill the truck up with gas !!! The other night my city had a fire on the outside of a 4plex on the porch. Our city has a auto aid agreegment with the city next to us. Which is a full time Paid Department. Guys and Gals, we train with and fight fire's with in each community when ever the need arises. To continue, the two departments stood on the say ground with volunteers and with paid guys doing the same job. I took command and the arriveing command officer from the paid department took safety and then he asked what I needed. We both worked shoulder to shoulder to achive our goal. My point is am sure there are paid department that can't see eye to eye with the VOL departments. As long as you guys train together, trust each other and realize your both there for the community most likely that jobs gets done. And hopefully everyone goes home safe that night.

Just to add I Love being a Captain with the City in live in. My children say they want to be like me!!! I have a Monday thru Friday day job that pays the bills and for my children's college fund. So to answere the question True Volunteers ? ? ? - I feel it's just a name some one is calling themself, so they can feel good about what they do.

We all in the fire service, Paid, Full Time, Part Time, Vol, Expoler or Resident Programs, in some way or another each of us VOLUNTEER something to mankind and the communties we live in.

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