Are paid and volunteer firefighters equally receptive to junior firefighters?

I was reading a post on here about junior firefighters and if they should be called firefighters, when a thought popped into my head. Are paid firefighters less receptive to junior firefighters? Are volunteer firefighters more receptive? Should that be reversed? or is it just a personal matter everyone needs to decide on their own? One man said as a volunteer he would be happy to have juniors out there doing the small jobs (packing hose, changing air bottles, ect.) so that one more firefighters could go in and help fight the actual fire instead of doing those jobs. Now as a junior firefighter from an entirely volunteer station i have a fairly one sided view of this issue so i am asking for your opinions. With this post i am NOT meaning to start up the "should we have junior firefighters" discussion or the "Is it better to be a volunteer or paid firefighter" one either. Thank you to all who post!

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Reception will vary from person to person and many times it takes awhile for one to really receive someone. This happen everyday, not just with juniors/explorers, but anywhere. The new volunteer, the new proby in house, heck even a guy with several years on who is new to a house/crew. So to say career are more or less receiving than volunteers would be difficult to gauge.

When I started as an explorer, it was with the dept I got hired on and it is a full time dept. Judging from some others who also started with a career dept as an explorer, you encounter more strict regulations, you aren't working on a fireground, your limited on what you can do on a ride along etc. Now reading countless threads on here with many starting in volly depts, there seems to be a more lax attitude when it comes to juniors and what they are allowed to do. So a junior who is allowed to do more on a fireground etc can look at the career firefighters as being less receptive. However, that is not the case.

There have been explorers who were received well, they had a good attitude, not a know it all, helped with daily chores, stood back and kept their mouth shut on calls etc and tended to have a better experience, for the explorer and firefighters alike. There have been others who did a ride along and were banned from doing so again because of their attitude or actions. Difference was on the career dept, the explorers were NOT going to every scene or call, there was no push to teach the kids how to work on a fireground. You had to earn the chance to do a ride along and any scene you saw was during the time you were riding. On a scene you stayed with the rig or the battalion chief if it was a larger scale incident.

So from a career guy's standpoint, if our rules and regulations make us appear less receptive, then so be it. Some explorers have done ride alongs with a station or crew and encountered some standoffish attitudes, whereas they found a different crew more receptive. Some explorers did ride alongs with that one shift and station and some moved around. I was one who moved around a bit and found that this was what I wanted to do and learned from those in the firehouse, even those who may be a bit standoffish. (you learn it can take some thick skin) The program is in place to give a taste of what the job entails to kids to give them a chance to see if this would be a career choice for them, it is not there to train new firefighters so they can become a "full member" when they turn 18. Many explorers, myself included, have gone on to be hired by the dept and other depts.
Jessica, If a person takes all that is written here for truth and feels that its the way everyone feels then that person is seriously disceived. Everything that is said here is from that persons point of veiw and oppinion. You or anyone else must take what is written and apply it to your own situation or circumstance and decide wether whats written works for you or not. We all may or may not write things that are supportive. Whats important is what does your leadership say or want you to do. How does your own department deal with the circumstances? Wether a person is volunteer or full time paid we all have oppinions and may say what we feel. It still remains up to you to decide what is truth for you. And does what someone says really aply to you.
Well the way i see it.....I'm a Vol. yes we have little people in our dept to help us out i never been full time so i cant speak for thier view point....But as a fireman my outlook is that kindness a big heart and exceptness is a big part of what i do..Haveing little people there helping us out is a blessing yes they do get sum messed up jobs lol..But they feel wanted they feel like they are a part of something thats bigger then themselfs..sooooooooooooooo rock on little people!!!!!...Theres a saying "It takes a village to raise kid" Open mindedness is always a great thing to have
Should junior firefighters be called firefighters? No one should be called a firefighter until they have finished an academy or one-year's probation as a recruit firefighter. To be called a firefighter is something that is earned, not awarded or given away... it is an honor to finally receive your firefighter badge, something that you earned through dedication and a lot of hard work.

Are paid firefighters less receptive to junior firefighters? I can only answer this for myself. Anyone who shows interest in this job and makes the effort to learn this trade has my full attention. In the case of fire explorer scouts, I would expect the rules of conduct to be honored and followed. One thing that does not work for me is a self-proclaimed volunteer firefighter who at age 14 demonstrates a contempt for authority and a lack of maturity when it comes time to respecting senior firefighters. To not show respect for those who actually do the job makes a bad reputation for all juniors, explorers and cadets. And if you are ever caught lying... you are history. Period. There is no room for liars in this profession. Remember, we are trusted to enter peoples homes without question because of our integrity and moral character. If you are a liar, then you obviously do not belong here.

One man said as a volunteer he would be happy to have juniors out there doing the small jobs (packing hose, changing air bottles, ect.) so that one more firefighters could go in and help fight the actual fire instead of doing those jobs. I bet he wouldn't mind having a bunch of kids coming in and doing the grunt work. You can't work this job and be a slug. What this comments shows me is someone who is lazy, just wanting the 'glory' hose work, but not the overhaul, mop up and salvage work that comes along with the job.

Children, and if you are under the age of 18-20, this applies to you Jessica, have no business being in and/or around structure fires, especially the mop up / post fire stage. This is where the concrete is cooling down, releasing invisible products of decomposition.

This includes hydrocarbons, organic vapors and mists, benzenes, cyanide, and more... all airborne, waiting for you to be chewing gum while working in this atmosphere for ingestion exposure, or through uncovered skin for dermal absorption or even the most common exposure which is inhalation. I suppose it's also possible to have the potential for exposure through injection should a sharp piece of metal cut you.

These exposure pathways are what firefighters must deal with. And you Miss Travis, as a young woman, as a young person who is still growing, maturing and developing, can have significant chemical exposure insults to your body that won't be detected until after you try to have children, have children with possible birth defects or suffer from long term health problems.

Your body like others under the age of 20 are biological units basically, with millions of multiple dividing cells. If you break the the developmental chain, alter the way you are suppose to grow, and this is possible through exposure to things in a structure fire that chemically change, because of heat and combination with other materials.

Humans exposed to a hazardous materials generally speaking have the materials either go to what is called a target organ or they go directly to your fat. This is why women in the fire service are more at risk from getting cancer. Women have more fat and the associated cancer risks for women are higher because of breast tissue and reproductive organs that have fat reservoirs. Toxic materials stores in fat through a process called bio-accumulation.

This and other reasons is why it is illegal to have someone under the age of 18 make entry into what is called an IDLH environment.

IDLH: Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health

It does not matter who you are, human exposure is the same, regardless of age. Couple these issues with someone who is still physically developing and you have the potential for long term health issues down the road. It's just not worth it.

Think Risk verses Benefit. Be patient to be anywhere near a structure fire, especially during the post fire / mop up stages. Please consider waiting until you body has finished developing, both physically and mentally.

Thanks for listening,

just to clarify i did not mean going into the house to do salvage and overhaul or anything like that. i meant moving the hose and doing little things like getting tools or putting them away while a trained firefighter was inside doing the salvage and overhaul.. I also do not think that particular person was looking for glory or anything like that, he just meant a fully trained firefighter's abilities could be better utilized doing another task that would require more experience than what i have. I would also like to thank you for explaing some of the hazards that people really dont think about when on a fire scene. When you think of a fire scene most people think of being burned or falling through a floor, not inhaling airborne particles that can cause cancer. I also think that if someone were to catch anyone deliberately lying no matter if they are a junior or a firefighter they should be history. I know i wouldnt want to put my life in the hands of someone who lies.
Im willing to put up with the odd jobs that no one really wants to do because its what i can do to help people at the time. I obviously cant run into a burning building, but i can help the men and women who are. Bring them water, get them tools so they can save energy anything that is needed i would be willing to do...
Bottom line is everyone is different. As a career firefighter, the firehouse is my workplace. It's where I go to earn my living. What ever I do outside work is my diversion. I have been on both sides. A volunteer firehouse can be a diversion from the workplace of the members there. That may be the reason why there may be more tolerence to such programs.
Personally, I believe the Junior/Explorer programs are of great benefit. It's a good recruitment tool used to keep the interest of young people in hopes they will become full-fledged firefighter members upon reaching the required age. On the career side, there is usually no shortage of applicants when the exam times comes around for employment oppurtunities.

For the record, I am the lead instructor for the county Junior Firefighter program at the Academy. I fully support these programs of eduactional experience. I do NOT support any such programs that allow underaged, uncertified personnel riding apparatus responding to emergencies, and operating on the fire ground.

I grew up around the fire service, living next door to a fire station. I speant alot of time there, and they mentored me from the time I was old enough to comprehend what a fire engine was for, until I left town as a teen, just under age 18. I learned alot by watching and by reading. But was never allowed any hands-on participation on the fireground. Oh believe me I wanted to! So I understand the desire to maybe rush the process along. But in no way do I advocate junior's participation in actual firefighting and fire ground evolutions.

Packing hose, and changing air cylinders are routine jobs that shouldn't have any impact on a firefighter's ability to perform suppression duties. Hose isn't packed until the companies are ready to clear. Changing hose back at the station I can understand. As for breathing apparatus...I'm going to double check it anyways, but as a learning tool that's fine. Not on the fire ground, though. Washing the apparatus, the station floor, etc...fine. And beleive me that is NOT meant to demoralize your involvement in any ways. When I was young I considered that stuff a priveledge.

As to any differences between career and volunteer attitudes, it's all about the opinions of each particular firefighter. Some don't want to be bothered at their workplace.
I find that volunteer guys respect juniors more. The paid guys do it for a living where explorers just are there to learn. Personally I find a "riff" between vol and paid in alot of places never mind FFs vs explorers
Have either of you ever been involved with a program with a career dept? If not, then how can you truly say who would be more receptive?

Career depts that have such programs typically have people just as involved and just as passionate about the job and helping kids learn the ropes. The difference is most career depts have more personnel than a typical volly dept, so there will be different personalities. Pretty difficult to judge others if you have never been involved with their program.

And please, don't even start the career/ volly debate again.
Ben, you're 15 and a junior, what could you possibly know about any "riff" between paid and vollie? Other than what you've heard grownups talk about.
Josh, what exactly is YOUR experience as a volunteer? A junior?
Oh Josh,
Tell me you are not going to go there and try and call me out. First of all, the issue about the career vs volly debate goes right along with your last sentance where you state "volunteers do the same thing, but for no money". That typically starts out a nice firestorm and debate and isn't the issue.

Secondly you state you are a junior affiliated with a volunteer dept. I asked if you had any experience with a career dept to make such a judgement as you did. Did I take offense? No, I tried to relate that there are firefighters just as passionate and receptive to juniors on a career dept as a volunteer. I mentioned a difference in personalities because a career dept tends to have more personnel than a volly dept. If your dept say has 30 members, that is still much less than mine with 186. Yes, there is going to be a difference in personalities.

Finally, I do have experience as a volunteer and even military, started as an explorer, and am a current advisor for that matter, so I would say I have a pretty well rounded insight to the differences out there.

I have been around these and other forums enough to understand the issues facing juniors and explorers today, even stuff that juniors should not be doing, but we constantly see those discussions as well. You are stating that career FF's come off "cocky" and I won't disagree completely, but it is quite another issue to make a comment if you never experienced a similar program hosted by a career dept. As I mentioned in my original post, career depts tend to follow stricter rules with juniors in what they can and can't do, in our dept you don't operate at all on a fireground and that in itself can appear less receptive. I mentioned there are different personalities, which can be something beneficial to know, especially if one want to do this as a profession. But to judge without experiencing and just basing an opinion is not the way to go about things.

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