This is not a knock against career FF in any way. If you feel it is then I didn't explain my point correctly and I apologize.
I've noticed that, at least in Delaware, it seems career FF's make up a large number of officers in volunteer companies. At my company we have board members that feels if thier a paid fireifghter then they should be qualified to be an officer.
My feelings there is a big difference between being a FF at any level and an officer at any level. I understand you get more experience quicker but does just being a paid FF give them a leg up?
How do you feel?
Just because a FF is paid, is no bases for them being a officer on there Vol. department.
Being I have been on Vol. departments and am now a City firefighter I will tell you how I see it from my experience and the area I live and work in.
Now you have a career fireman join your Vol. department. He works at Eng 17. on the Ashift. It is one of the bussiest engines in the city. 3,000 runs a yr 30fires in 6months, just on Ashift. hundreds of ems calls and other rescues...To be continued.
Looking at this your board says Wow! we will make him an officer right away! What they fail to realise is that he works with guys who do the job dailey. They don't have to be told what line to grab or where there going to enter the structure. It's all automatic for the most part. Same with guys on a Truck co. They don't have to be told what type of ventilation to perform or where to set up, etc. They do it all the time. Heck there are times when me and my crew don't say a word to each other till after we are back in the rig.
Now they make this guy a Officer in the department. He is accustom to a certain way of doing things and he expects the guys who jump on the his piece to know what to do with little to know direction.
Being in a Vol. you have diffrent people jumping on the rig with diffrent levels of experience etc. The officer needs to know this and be able to direct and guid as needed. Does this mean a career fireman won't make a good Vol. officer. No not at all. However him or her being a career firefighter should not be the singular thing that determines there being appointed to that position.
I would say that the best thing your department can do is to look at some of the career departments in your area and use one of there promotion processes or piece one together from there's in order to make one that fits your department.
Ewwww. (But still laughing)
One of the fd's that borders mine has several volunteers that are full time with other fd's (A couple are officers in the depts too I believe). Some of those career members are officers for this dept. I agree with everyone else who has stated that paid/volunteer doesn't matter as to how good an officer someone can be.
I do believe the experience a paid ff has can help them (Depending on how much experience they have) The career ff's that volunteer in my county are mostly from the Seattle/King County area and range from about 4-5 years to 25+ with paid fd's so in this case I believe that can help them as officers on calls and experience wise.
While experience can help, it is just one part of being a good officer. I spent a few years as a Captain and Asst Chief with my dept untill a temporary move forced me to step down. I didn't have a ton of on call experience but what I lacked there, I made up for in being able to motivate my members, help them become better ff's and worked hard to be a good officer and leader, and I believe I was able to accomplish all of those during my tenure and improve myself and the dept.
Speaking from what I have seen in my little corner of the USA and fire service in general, I can say that being a career ff can be an asset as a volunteer officer but does not automatically make them better or qualified. It should be the most qualified person who can perform the job best regardless of what they do to earn a paycheck.