Just a question to get some discussion going. The region that I live in has many volunteers that are also career firefighters/officers. The question always arises; Should a firefighter's experience as a volunteer be taken into account for promotion, hiring or otherwise with a career department?
I think a volunteer's experience is actually greater than that of a paid firefighter.
And I don't say that to start up the whole debate of "professional" vs "volly" debate.
But if you think about it, volunteer firefighters always fight house fires with their same department. They don't miss the "big one" because they were on days off. Volunteers have to know how to be much more resourceful than career firefighters who have the advantage of a nearly unlimited water supply.
Should all of this account for promotions within a career department? Abso-freaking-lutely!
Just a question to get some discussion going. The region that I live in has many career firefighters that are also volunteer firefighters/officers. The question always arises; Should a firefighter's experience as a career firefighter be taken into account for promotion, hiring or otherwise with a volunteer department?
When you revesere the roles, is there really any difference? I think not. It all depends where you work and how busy you are and most importantly, the level of training and expertise you have personally developed.
Getting hired in to a career dept, if the applicant has any kind of experience that is a plus.
As far as receiveing promotions on a career dept due to your acomplishments on another department, well, what you do with one employer does not apply to the other.
If you are a lawyer with a firm and volunteer at the free law clinic on the weekends, should that count towards you becoming partner?
If you are an accountant and volunteer to do taxes for little old ladies at night during the week, should that count towards a promo?
If you are in construction and do work for Habitat for Humanity after hours, should that count towards you moving up to site foreman?
Your upward mobility should be completely dependant on your accomplishments with that employer.
In the commonwealth of Kentucky.. The only thing that seperates a Vollie from a Paid Firefighter is the paycheck .. there is not much if any of a rivalry between Vollie and Career guys..
We all go through KCTCS to get Our firefighter I and Firefighter II all of the training hours are identical and every Fire dept whether it be Paid or vollie has a training officer that is certified through the Commonwealth
In My personal opinion I think that experience is experience whether your getting paid to fight fire or not getting paid to do it your still doing the same work .. that being said SOME vollie departments are not as structured as Paid fire departments but the same can be said about SOME paid departments..
Two of Our strongest Departments here are White Hall Vol Fire and Waco Vol Fire.. These departments have more man power than some City stations and their apparatus is some of the best Ive ever seen
Basically when these Departments get called the Paid Fire Dept backs them up.. With the smaller fire Departments Its more of a mutual thing of Us working together and quite well with the paid guys ..
The Paid Fire Department will sometimes come out to individiual Vollie stations to get some training because the Vollies train every week ..
Basically In all of this ranting Im trying to say that experience is experience and Everybody needs to pull their head out the Ass and work together
Respect goes a long way and it is a two way street
Paid Guys arent better than the Vollies.. the Vollies arent better than the paid guys
One thing that should unite Us all is that We are all Firefighters
Brotherhood above all
SGT. Bobby J. King
Firefighter Rescue Tech/EMT-EMD
Madison County Div of Emergency Services
I have to agree with Dave, for hireing all experience will be looked at. As for a promotion dont think that, out side work should have an effect on it. If it where me and worken for a volli station as well as a career I would work harder at utilizen my experience from both, to better my self. If utilize all experience you have and apply them to both jobs it just may excell you higher. So to say in other terms that just becouse you have more documentation dosent mean crap. I know people who have a ton of plaques and certificats showing experience, but who dont apply it to anything. To me actions speak louder then words, if you work hard at both then in time will and may excell in both. So to all take care be safe.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh yes the tenuous vollie / career debate.
Hmmmm "experience is experience" Well yes...and no.
When I was a vollie our department ran about 400 calls per year. When I went to my career department, the first engine I worked on ran about 2700 calls per year. It didnt matter that I was off shift or whatever. My shift ran 1045 of those calls. My next house was a little busier. Did I ever miss the "big one" I guess so. Did I make up for it...Hell Yes!!!! Did I have the opportunity to go on MAJOR wildland fires on strike team assignments and fight fire for 5 days in a row....Hell YES!
Should my vollie experience count. Sure it did. I used it at my oral interview and received a very high score. Should it count toward promotions. Nope. I was a vollie officer and I never used that experience towards my promotions other the the classes that I took to receive my company officer certification. Why? Because it was entirely different experience. The vollie service and the career service are not the same in that way. Yes we both fight fires, haz mat calls, EMS etc etc etc...But the management and administration is usually totally different.
I could have been a vollie chief officer somewhere and my department most likely would not have cared. Its not THEIR department. Not THEIR management style. Not THEIR certifications.
I think it also depends on what we mean by "experience" ... call volume? Well liked? Certificates? Training? Here...If you have a "State" cert it counts anywhere. If I have a Calif State Fire Marshal Fire Officer certificate it is usually honored anywhere that requires it as a pre-requisite to testing. If it is "departmental" certs....NOBODY else cares. I could make those on my computer and who would know. "Jake Firemans Back Yard BBQ and Officer Training School"! And if it is call volume...again...it is experience, however, I know a lot of 'jakes' with a ton more call volume who have not been promoted.
Now if we could only get that tangable "common sense" certificate!!!! That would be golden wherever you may go!!!!
However your experience DOES count. Everytime you go to a call. That experience counts. Everytime a citizen calls the station or comes by to visit or complain or to thank you...that experience counts. Take your experience and use it to the best of your abilities.
Okay, yet again, here we go. I think Chris' statement was taken wrong. If I read it right, the way he was meaning his statement was that a vollie will run calls everyday. The union guys only run calls when they're on duty. Experience is experience and the fires and medical calls could give a crap less how many times a month you get the pay check. What we're referring to here is volume, agreed? If you run a thousand calls a year, you're going to be a lot more experienced than someone who runs 200 a year. I don't care what your department stats say. What do YOURS say? I've worked on dept's that catch 2000 calls a year, yet I have people that show maybe to ten total a year. THat makes them less experienced than I, who responds to an average of 62% of the calls toned out per year, correct? There is no difference in the type of experience you gain on a fire scene just because you're a union member or a volunteer. So, I think the answer is no, there's no difference between volunteer and union experience. As for whether it should be taken into account, I don't really care. Honestly, if you gain experience as a volunteer somewhere else, it will show in your decision making process, in your actions on scene, and everywhere else. It makes you a better fireman. They won't count the hours, but the fact you're better at what you do than the next guy will show itself, and that's what will get you the promotion. Anyone disagree?
Wow, a great deal of debate. I think the bottom line is that what and how we apply our experience is dependent on the situation and appropriateness of the intent in it's use. I can say that the people in my career department, for the most part, do not really know what my rank or resonsibilities are at my combination/volunteer department. It is just easier for making suggestions or helping with trainings that I don't get the whole "who does he think he is" attitude and it has served me well.
I would agree that your volunteer experience is valuable and important to show a broad scope of kowledge for hiring, but may be more difficult for promotion processes. It can be listed as an experience, but don't expect it to be viewed upon with much interest by your career department.
Just remember, if you are blessed enough to be a part two organizations, play the role your in and play it well. Use these opportunities to better yourself and those around you. Carry back and forth from one organizatio to the other any and all valuable information that will benefit each department. Just don't start saying "well at so and so we do it this way", that will only cause problems. Be constructive, it does not matter where the idea came from.
One last thing on the experience issue. Many career departments are running about 80-85% EMS or good intent calls in those 2000+ calls per year. More progressive volunteers are the same, so our "experience" fighting fires is reduced on both sides. Train, train train and train some more no matter if your paid or volunteer.
Take care and stay safe.
Brothers lets always remeber that fire can and will kill career and volunteer fire fighters just the same
one other thing, what is the opposite of proffesional ? that is amature And there are both in career and volunter firefighters