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...
WE ALL VOLUNTEERED FOR THE JOB!
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.