Ok this is going to cause an uproar...but I think we ask too much of volunteers.
When I joined back in 1978 we needed at least Fire I in my company which consisted of SCBA training, ladders, hose handling and small tools. We could take other courses, most took Vehicle rescue, hazmat and some officer training courses.
Now I see companies requiring members to have what equals over 100 hours of training within the first year, including monthly in service training.
Now I'm all for training, I used to go to as many fire schools as I could. But then again I was 16 and in high school and had the time. But now we have members who are older (18 at least) and working, have families and responsibilities. Many times I have seen on websites telling people to give an hour a week or whatever time they can. But once they get in they are usually required to get training after training. Once again I'm all for training but how much. Our company has the state hazmat units. Should we require all members to be hazmat certified? Another company has a collapse response unit. Should every member be required to have that training?
Its called volunteer for a reason. I remember being on a call with 7 FFs'. I knew 3 of us were going in. 1 was going to take the hydrant and stay there until the fire was out. 2 were great roof men but don't go inside. 1 was going to talk to the girls across the street. Is that ideal. Most was say not. I say why not. I don't want someone who is not comfortable doing what they don't want to do. I don't want to lose someone because thier forced to so.
The volunteer fire service is dying. Meadville PA Fire and Rescue #39 just closed down for various reason and the equipment auctioned off. One was lack of members with certified qualifactions. I see engines going out with 3 FF's. that extra guy could be at the hydrant or humping hose or thowing ladders instead of a fully SCBA qualifed FF who would be better inside fighting fire.
I might be wrong and will say so if proven wrong. But the service needs every able body we can get.