In my county, there's 6 paid on call and 1 volunteer dept. Everyone gets along nicely. But I hear about areas where full time departments won't call neighboring volunteer departments for mutual aid, and vice versa.
Always there will be the issue of paid vs vollie. Amazingly enough the paid guys usually complain a little when going to work (its such a chore to do what you love) and the volunteers for the most part all have a deep seeded desire to go paid, and be rewarded financially to do what you love. Its one job, paid or vollie, and no matter what end of the fence you appear on, we do the same thing. The competitive issue will always be there, but the crap only seems to hit the fan when the fire is out and everyone is back in quarters.
Prince George's County MD is a combination department. There are always some issues between the union guys and the volunteers. For the most part, I get along with the career fire fighters and they seem to get along with me. There are some departments that are still mainly volunteers but they are becoming few and far between.
We run a combination department here in Port Lavaca. We have 17 paid members and about 10-15 volunteers. The remainder of our county is made up of 5 volunteer departments. We each relie on the other in mutual aid needs. Attitudes toward paid and volunteers?, It is simple put, volunteers want to be respected equally by the paid guys. the paid guys want to be able to trust the volunteers are qualified to help and do whats right. We went through the old your just a volunteer and know nuthin stage. We seem to be over that and we have a fairly harmonious relationship now. We are lacking in membership in all our volunteer departments, especially during day hours.
With the exception of our paid county medic's, we are a volunteer county. All the departments are 100% volunteers. With the department I run with in No. Va. Mon. thru Fri. 6 am to 6 pm, it is paid crews. The rest of the time, it is volunteers. For the most part, we get along with everyone. We even run mutial aid to a county that is all paid, and vice verse, and no problems there.
Shelton is a 100% volunteer department that does about 1100+ fire calls a year, and that’s just fire calls we don’t run medicals. We have about 200 volunteers out of 4 companies. Shelton is growing pretty fast so I venture to say in about 5-10 years it will at least be a combination department. Like always the problem is it’s hard to get volunteers these days and the daytime usually hurts the most. As far as training, we have our own training department. I would say 85-90% of the department is at least Firefighter 1. Then we have a lot of guys/girls that have more education, all paid for by the city, which is nice. Each company has drills twice a month and then we have citywide drills also. It is still a strong department with a lot of dedicated individuals, but what hurts it’s the most is the lack of leadership from command staff and the politics that keep getting wrapped up in the department. For the most part our line officers (Captains, Lieutenants) keep the department in line. Guess this is in a lot of places, but the politics seem to be tearing the department apart. It does get aggravating but I enjoy the job.
Where I grew up in NY on Long Island its mostly volunteer and a lot of guys are also paid in FDNY but volunteer in their off hours, I have been both a paid and unpaid professional and I have to say that its mostly the paid guys that have the problem, you get that why when your being paid to do a job that someone else is willing to do for free. Where I live now its all volunteer and I love doing it. This is after 20 years of being for it and we have a paid department a few miles away and we have drilled with them and ran with them and them with us and its really not a problem, we have more issues with other local volunteer departments, I think a few people a lot of them in white hats need to get there egos in check and who you call for help should be for what is best for the public and not who you like better.
I have notice more of a problem with the county EMS in our area which is a paid department when it comes to volunteers vs paid. Alot of them tend to feel we are a more of a nussance than anything else. Wonder how they would feel if they had to work each and every wreck, extracate, med call, and etc in this 100+ weather all by themselves? First responders may not be as well trained but I feel we do help and not hender. How many lives have been saved due to the all to often faster on scene time of first responders?
I work in a fully career dept. now. I have volunteerd and worked in a combination system and I can't say I cared for either side of that system. When volunteering it seems that the career guys had no respect for the vollies even though I was also a union member from another local and career firefighter that didn't matter cause when I was there I was just another volunteer.
When career I was frustrated cause the particular dept. I worked for there was no acountability for the volunteers they would routinely jump calls, perform unsafe actions on the fireground, and assualt career and fellow volunteer members. When I say assault I don't mean verbally Im talking fist fights!!!!
Thats why I chose to stop vollieing and chose to go to work for an all career dept. It was just better for me and my sanity.
I work for a full time FD, I live in the county and I am also on the county VFD! Seems with the growth this is happening a lot around here. Now the majority of the VFD have paid FF during the business hours (7am-6pm) This way there is always 2 FF to take the trucks to the scene. The city works well with the county departments !
Our county is divided into 11 districts all VOLUNTEER,everyone works fairly well on mutual-aid.Everyone seems to have the premadonnas that make it tough for all but we get the job done with a better than average success rate.After all it's about saving life and property,not who's more popular or any of the other bullsh@# Everyone goes home!
In my county in PA we have only two paid deparments! And some odd number in the county that run QRS with the fire deparment. You dont hear to much about how the differnet deparments get along or not we all pretty much get along! But the only down fall to our county wide system is that some are running high band and some run low band this really causes a problem on the fire grounds! We are all making an effort to try to switch over to high band county wide!