Curious about being a paid firefighthter and still being able to volunteer

I belong to a department that just hired six of us on a year ago. It was a fully volunteer till a year ago when we became combi. Now we are going to a 24hr schedule finally and they are saying we cant put in volunteer any more. if any of you have knowledge of where to look to see if it legal for me to volunteer at another district it would be greatly appreciated. i can be emailed as well clarkd103@gmail.com thanks

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It's not your dream anymore. It's their's.

I am stealing that phrase ... excellent summation!

Art, I hope you had a great Christmas.

Mike
Alot of it depends on your paid department policies. Some paid agencies do not want personell to volunteer because of insurance issues. If you have an injury or illness related to your firefighting job, it is hard to determine whether or not it comes from when you are on duty or if it from your volunteer time.
In NYS paid staff can (and DO) volunteer functions within paid/volunteer departments however there are conditions.

Yes, you can not perform duties under your role as a career firefighter as a volunteer so you can't show up to calls and such. HOWEVER, you can participate in the social aspects of the volunteer service, you can participate in fund raising for your volunteer company and other "non-firematic" activities through your department. All but one of our paid staff participate in company functions. They show up to drills, even run them at times, and provide a wealth of knowledge and experience for the rest. The one career FF who does not participate is a member of another volunteer department in another district.

If manpower is needed, a chief officer can contact the Lieutenant (head of the paid staff) who can call in career staff for relief or to cover the hall in a major incident.


It's not that they CAN'T be volunteers as much as they are LIMITED to only performing tasks that law outside of their job description as paid firefighters in that particular department.

It gets a little more muddy for part-time firefighters who are also volunteers. We have two and they only get paid to do what they do when they're on the clock. They're also covered under two different levels of insurance, depending on if they punched a clock or not.
hmmm i know in Albany NY they have that rule that you cant be both something if your injured at the volunteer job you can claim workers comp , thats what i can say about where to start looking for information
Steven, that works fine, until the career member decides to leave and wonders if he/she can get some additional money. If the employee keeps a log of the uncompensated time, he/she can bill the department for that time upon termination, at time-and-a-half.

That goes for fundraising, drills, or anything else that is expected of the volunteer firefighters, whether it is "firematic" or not.

There have been several court cases regarding this issue, and there is plenty of legal precedent for the department being on the hook for the employees time-and-a-half. I

If I were one of the department's leaders, I'd be careful about letting career members participate in fundraising, because with a good lawyer, they're signing their own overtime checks.

A good solution might be for departments to hire each other's volunteers as career members, which removes the FLSA issues for firefighters who work and volunteer for different departments.
Perfesser:
We need to get together again.
Last time was too short.
I hope that you had the merriest Christmas and have one for me to celebrate the New Year.
Art
If you are a member of IAFF Local 0279 the answer is probably no. The reason is that it violates two provisions of the IAFF Constitution and By Laws. to be exact Article 15 Misconduct and Penalties Section 1. E. Advocating or encouraging any labor or any other rival organization, or
acquiring or maintaining membership in any such organization including volunteer fire departments or associations. Also Section 3 of Article XV Secondary Employment.
Any member of the Association found working a secondary job as a paid on-call fire fighter or an employee of a public employer, nonprofit corporation, or a private contracting firm providing fire protection or emergency medical services to a city, county, municipality, or a fire protection district as a volunteer, reserve, part time, part-paid, police officer, police reserve, or public safety officer may be subject to charges being filed against that member. Also but totally unrelated to your question you can not be a member of the Communist Party Art 15 Section 1.F. Maintaining membership in the Communist Party or advocating or encouraging communism. It seems that the IAFF does not like competition when it comes to totalitarian stands. As far as the argument on workman's compensation My own experience is that when injured as a volunteer FF I have been covered by the Municipalities W.C. Coverage and had to cover my time off of work for the State of NY with my personal sick time. The only time I think you would have a problem with W.C. is if you blew out a knee (i.e.) on one job and at a later date, blew the same knee out at a second employer. Is it a new injury or a re injury? Who do you track the original injury to. But that is why we have bottom feeders we call lawyers.
Pen:
The only time I think you would have a problem with W.C. is if you blew out a knee (i.e.) on one job and at a later date, blew the same knee out at a second employer. Is it a new injury or a re injury? Who do you track the original injury to.

The answer is: if the knee injury and employee has reached their maximum medical improvement and the case has been settled and closed, then that injury is over and anything that happens to it after that is a new injury. The only time you can re-injure an injury is if it is an existing injury. In other words; if you haven't reached MMI and you fall down or hurt it during physical therapy, it would be a continuation of the original injury.
In Illinois anyway.
TCSS.
Art
Art,

I know in New Hampshire, when you suffer a workmens comp injury, you can claim your injury at all places of employment. The law allows you to collect your percentage from all employers who contribute to workers compensation pool.

So if you are a paid firefighter and get hurt on the job, but work at a car dealership in the auto repair shop on the side. You get 60% of your average pay from both if your side job is legite and on the books. I think they average 8 weeks if it is a part time job. So if you have three part time jobs, they would average your last 8 weeks and you would get 60% of your regular pay from all of them plus your fulltime gig.

On your second point about presumptive illness. NH does not have a heart and lung bill so the cancer issue with working for multiple fire departments is a mute point as non-determined actual exposure or cause of the "cancer" is not a LODD or LODD related illness.

In New Hampshire it is not uncommon to see firefighters, paid, poc, or volunteer on two, three or even four fire departments at the same time.
FETC:
Yes; in Illinois, additional jobs only come into play when determining the amount of temporary total disability benefits will be paid. So, if a firefighter is hurt on his primary job and makes like 800 dollars a week and has a second job that pays the same, then he would be entitled to 66 and 2/3 percent of 1600 dollars a week until they are able to return to work. The employer that he is working for at the time of his injury is responsible 100 percent of all medical and any settlement, if the employee is entitled.
My company's work comp premium for 2009 was 3/4 of a million dollars. We're self insured too.
And they wonder where their raises went...
What I know is that our paid staff, IAFF union firefighters, participate on a limited basis in the volunteer aspects of the department including department and company meetings, drills, our annual fund drive, etc. It was a chance in NY state law that allowed it to happen and it has helped make our department a more cohesive unit than it was before when we had an "us and them" environment.

And that I'm just a lowly firefighter who has heard a lot from lawyers, union people, and municipal leaders to back it all up.
Art: I would tend to agree with you, though from experience I can tell you that even after having reached MMI with one injury when I re injured it took the state of NY about three weeks to decide whether or not it was a new injury or a re injury or whether on not they were even going to contest it or not. Thank goodness I had the Watch Commander as a witness. From the looks of some of the other responses it seems that different states have different W.C. standards

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