I'm looking to my bothers and sisters here who are members of a Combo department as to the moral and history of your department. Is there friction between the paid staff and volunteers?? Any incentives for the volunteers??? I'm looking for ideas to boost moral and retention of the volunteer staff as a senior member.
I work as a paid firefighter at a Combo fire department, The paid staff work the station 5 days a week 8 am to 4 pm to help with calls during the work day, It takes a lot of work on both sides there is always some friction from both sides. Anything from Leaving trucks dirty to eating the food of the paid staff, Seems that on the paid side we complain more about the volunteers eating our food and not taking care of the station, The volunteers seems to complain more about the paid staff does not do enouph work taking care of the station to making sure everything is ready when the volunteers come to run calls. I feel it works aslong as the paid staff does not feel there above the volunteers and the volunteers dont feel just cause there is someone at the station getting paid they get to do all the work if everyone does there part then it works well.
Just to clear something up I am a paid firefighter during the day and a volunteer at another station after hours so I do see both sides. As for any incentives the department I work for does not give any incentives to there volunteers. I fee that all the volunteers give as much as they can and there should be more done to keep them with the departments. Hard to find free labor that takes on the job of risking there life to save someone else.
It takes leadership from both sides committed to it not being a problem. It takes laying the law down early and often that a pay status doesn't mean a thing....a Captain is a Captain, an Engineer is an Engineer, and a Firefighter is a Firefighter. It takes everybody understanding that they are a part of the department, thus they have just as much responsibility for the grunt work as anybody else. It takes officers who quickly deal with any perceived problem that could cause a rift. It takes one set of standards for everybody concerned. It takes both sides of the pay divide being willing to meet halfway. Too often you'll find one or both sides is too worried about fighting a perceived turf battle for control when the fact is in the vast majority of combination departments there's no way either side could do it alone.