In a recent news article I read a 63 year old man has joined a New Jersey vol fire company. He took and finished first in his fire one class. My only thought is a 37 yerars old person can not take a entry level civial service test to join a municipal department unless they have a way to take years off i.e. military service or vollie time in the department if it's a combination department. I was just thinking is this fair to other members of his department and is it hurting us as a whole. I have no problem with his age only the fairness of the laws.
You will find that there are MANY differences in the various types of fire departments and how they are screened, if at all, tested, if at all and retained, if at all.
Municipal laws don't apply to volunteers, nor do the pensions or anything else.
It WOULDN'T be fair if you exclude someone based solely on their age.
I believe in putting 18 year olds on and I also believe that a person should stay on, as long as they are productive. And that might be until they're 80 in some cases. As long as they don't present a liability, they should be allowed to remain.
If we start restricting them because of limitations, then yes; it is time to have that party for them.
I'm not talking about the Army I am speaking of the civial service exam in my state. Why is it fair to stop a person from taking a test and physical exam for a job but as vollies if we have to take "basically" all comers. Do the laws on both sides need to be revised if the Army can move the age limit why can't civial service.
I have two members that are closet to 80 years young. They both meet the state required yearly training and lets look at it this way, they make great go-getter , both will bring you anything you asked them to deliver. One of my older guys takes care of my photos on-scene and the other does a great job with traffic control.
I agree with the Chief in his post, if they are not a danger to the crew then why shouldn't they be allowed. One of my older guys happens to be my father, he serve since 1947 and will be on the engine when it goes in-service. We have jakes all over the county that are dropping dead a hell of alot young.......
In my neck of the woods...well just south of where I work, there is a large county that hired a guy that was 57 years old to a paid position. 57 YEARS OLD! He was one of the most fit in his academy class, and was promoted to engineer about 2 years later!
Being 55 now, and having done this gig since I was 18, my life experience tells me that a 63 yo firefighter isn't such a good idea. Now if this is a social club kind of thing, no real interior attack responsibilities, no extreme physical demands, etc. then it should not be a problem.
For me personally, after doing this for so long, I am beat up and cannot see myself doing what I used to do. Things get worn down and break after time. It's just the way it is. And I don't think it is fair to the folks you work with, who could rely on you for their own safety only to discover that you cannot do the job. Finding this out on a working incident is not a good thing...
An exception here would be senior members that have promoted to either staff or upper management (Chief's) types of jobs. Use older firefighters for their experience and knowledge, not for the intense physical demands working on an engine company. It's just not fair to the other firefighters or the public they serve.
Annual physicals that include stress EKG's should be mandatory for all firefighters. With this instituted, problems hopefully will be identified to prevent fireground line of duty deaths associated with cardiac issues. It's also a fair way to tell someone to deal with the age issue and determination as to whether they can or cannot do the job. There are exceptions, but the majority of adults no when to say when...
There comes a time when it's ok to let the younger guys take over. We all have to face it someday... I know I do. So maybe I'll adapt the philosophy that says when the going gets tough, the tough take a nap? bz
And I will go to my grave saying that, as long as they meet the "stringent" requirements (we all have those, right?), then they can serve. It's not like it's going to affect their pension.
And I will gladly take Mr. Magoo over Speed Racer when it comes to driving apparatus.
And Magoo always got there...eventually.
I hear what you're saying. The key word is Volunteer. If the paid fire service had no age limit the health care premiums and retirement pay outs would hit the moon. If the VFDs had an age limit then some or most stations would be emptied. Standardization seems unrealistic for now or at least until the average lifespan is 150 years or so.
PS You mentioned an age and the military as an example. Just wanted to clear that part up. TCSS