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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Hell Yeah.
Very well said Allen ! I was also, like many other's I'm sure, a volunteer FIRST! I have been PAID now for just shy of 25 yrs. But I have always been an ACTIVE member of my local Volly house. Why? because its just what I do. Thats what I tell my UNION brothers when they say " Why do you volly after working a 24 hr shift" Your right when you say, if someone needs rescued out of a burning house, they don't really care if your getting paid or not! Unfortunately there are people who like to stir s--t ! no matter what the cause. Then there are people who really beleive that all firefighters should be paid, but of couse that won't happen, at least in our time here on this earth! There is only ONE group of Firefighters, don't worry about all these different things you hear, TRUE VOLUNTEERS, thats just someone who is looking for attention, the TRUE FIREFIGHTERS are the one's like you and me who really care about the JOB ! Stay safe Bro and keep your good attitude!
Good Job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amen.........................................
I'm a volounteer but this is the same kind of vollie for all of you ???

For me, i can leave my job if my boss give me the authorisation. I punch my card OFF and i leave.

But if i understand what everybody wrote, you're not paid by you FD for your Responding call ???

Maybe is different for the ''volounteer'' in Canada ??? In my FD we are Syndicate... like the other City Employeer. We have a minimum of 3 hrs call paid for each pager call. We don't have a 2nd or 3rd alarm. It's usually a general alarm, because we are 25 FF in this town. Except if is a check-up by the FF & Officer on week guard (pass 4 pm to 8 am, & weekend)

All working at Fire Station, safety inspection ''Prévention'', etc. are paid for each hour do. We are paid each month. Ther we're call ''pompier temps partiel sur appel'' mean part-time on call FF !!!

Can somebody explain me if i'm right or is the same for you ?
I believe that's called separating the wheat from the chaff, or in this case, pointing out how ridiculous the entire volunteer vs. paid discussion is.
Nicely done.
Mary Ellen
You're right there Brother.It should'nt matter if we are paid or volunteer,or get paid or not.We are all in this Brotherhood together.We all do the same thing and go home.Good job.Stay safe.
Well said. dont know that I could add anything!!
Couldn't have said it better myself, the water comes out of the nozzle the same way whether there's a volly or paid person on the knob.

I think your situation is decribed as "paid on call" volunteer. You get three hours of pay for each call you respond to, correct?

There are a number of volunteer FDs that use this system. mainly in the combination departments. However the majority of volunteer FFs in US receive NO monetary compensation for time spent volunteering.
AMEN BROTHER! it's about time somebody finally put into words what we're all thinking. Keep up the passion. GODS LOVE
Count me in, you folks are right on target. I was a POC (paid on call) for 23 years and have been paid career for 17, about 10 of those overlapped each other. SHH! don't tell the IAFF, they might kill me :) I tend to just laugh at people on their soap boxes blabbin' about who or what they are. Lest anyone forget, we Firefighters are fairly simple folks who cut through the BS pretty quick, so why try to fool them by saying how great you are over others? I have seen members of both groups be professional firefighters and not-so professional firefighters. I really made some of my paid career guys mad at me not too long ago when I informed them that there was "just a little more" to being professional than a big patch on your union coat that says you are. Same for vollies, you are not a hero or a professional just because you spend your free time on a fire department.

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