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?

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And finally, NO ONE "fights 34 structure fires in a month." ANYWHERE.

Actually, we have a couple of firehouses that fight a working structure fire everyday, if not more. 34 is a big number, but some places ARE that busy. Positive statement such as "NO ONE" and "Always" usually come back to bite ya.
ummm...and the K, its OK, not Ok, or ok... just sayin'
"OK" would be the postal acronym for "Oklahoma".
Maybe I was confusing it with Depeche Mode.
My bad.:-)
I'm sorry; what was the discussion again?
I'm hopping on this post just to keep the convo from being 4 pages back. Anyway, I definitely understand where you're coming from on the discipline and structure of MOST veterans, and I agree that makes for many less headaches and grief on the part of officers and fellow firefighters. There are definitely many in the volley side of the house that just don't get it, and probably never will. I know of many in my own company, and I'm sure that's par for the course across the country.

As far as giving the veteran's preference for giving up freedoms, making sacrifices, etc...I see where you're coming from, although they made the choice to join the military, and there are many perks to active duty military life. No rent/utilities, very cheap appliances/groceries/etc., free gym/recreation, very nice (usually) communities, free daycare, free education (even post-grad work), good pay/benefits. I mean it's not like they're living bad by any measure.

They definitely take risks in a deployment situation, no doubt...but also vollies take the same risks in their communities. And I know you said the vollies are only serving their communities, while the vets are serving the whole country. I'll say that they do their small part of the big mission of protecting the country from enemies, while vollies do their small part of the big mission of protecting the country from MVA's, fire, entrapments, medical emergencies, etc. Both do a small task in a small team, which, multiplied 100,000 times, equals the whole team protecting the whole country. And in reality, in a combat zone or in a fire, I think most guys on both sides of the fence are looking after their own guys, and aren't thinking much about the bigger picture anyway.

I'm not minimizing the vets, I'm saying I don't know if vets preference is really in line with "best man for the job" mentality, no more than affirmative action is. Best man means best man (or woman), best test scores, best physical results, etc.

That's how I'm looking at it.
First off, I wanna admit that I haven't read through all the pages so if this has already been said then I apoligize.

I think it depends on where you live. In some parts of the country their are large career departments who have mutual aid with other career depts. In my area and in alot of rural America, you have at best a combination department and the rest vols. I am a volunteer and am not a career guy, I want to make that clear. I want to someday be career and I would like to think that what I am doing now as a volunteer will help me in that. Their are a lot of variables in this discussion, that far excede water supply and documentation.

1. Dedication, specifically training that is offered and that the person attends.
We have folks on our department that will only attend the minimum and that is it, they show no desire or motivation to do any more than that.

2. Quality of training. is the training that is documented, provided by a reputable and established training academy or facility.

3. Do the departments work together or respond together in a mutual aid arangement. If so the career deartment may have first hand knowledge of the persons ability and work ethic

My opinion is that the fire doesnt care and we are all in this together. We as firefighters and members of the fire service mist get past labels and tags and work together to protect our communities and reponse areas.
I'm not minimizing the vets, I'm saying I don't know if vets preference is really in line with "best man for the job" mentality, no more than affirmative action is. Best man means best man (or woman), best test scores, best physical results, etc.

So before you are saying that volies should be given extra points or consideration because of experience....now you are saying nobody should be given consideration...hmmm

there are many perks to active duty military life. No rent/utilities, very cheap appliances/groceries/etc., free gym/recreation, very nice (usually) communities, free daycare, free education (even post-grad work), good pay/benefits. I mean it's not like they're living bad by any measure.

Not bad perks? Well I can tell you never served then.No rent/utilities? Sure when you are also roomed with three or more others in a barracks, gee that would be just like a college dorm. How great is that type of living? In the Navy you live on the ship, in port or at sea, your 6 foot by 2 and half foot bunk IS your apartment. Base housing takes forever to get in and is only available for married servicemembers. A vet may qualify for a stipend to live out in town of say $400 a month, but that is peanuts when rent is high around such bases and the pay is not that great in the military. Cheap groceries? Pretty much each base has a post exchange...guess what those prices are not cheap, maybe a little off, but no where near some big discount. Free gym/rec...just like a college in many cases...so what? Free daycare...NO. Free education? NO The military does offer some courses for servicemembers and is the cost of a textbook for them and sometimes instructors are brought in...yeah it is a benefit, but it is difficult to take classes when you still have your military job to do, watches to do, and other military quals to study for.....As for the GI Bill, it is no where a free education....and please tell me how someone sacrificing their lives and freedoms for at least 4 years is considered FREE? Not living bad by any measure?....I would suggest you find out that experience first hand and then come back talk on how great military living is.

I have went over the reasons vets are given preference points before...if you want to think it should all be based on test scores, then fine, too bad most depts don't agree with you. Your not minimizing the vets? umm...yes you are, you don't understand what it takes in the military, I understand both the military AND being a volly. Those vets points did not skyrocket me into a job...I still had to meet the educational and firefighter certs to apply for the job. I even applied for depts that didn't require education. I was number 35 for Milwaukee out of a couple thousand...vet points helped there, but I still had to practice for the BPAD and do well on the tests to advance. Milwaukee also offered point for residents, bachelor's degree and those with associates. It isn't just a vet who is getting points. You still have to meet everything else for the dept BEFORE vet points even come into play.

And even as points go, residency...the person knows the city. Bachelor or associates degree shows that a person can obtain a goal and can complete something. Military points I have covered. Being a volunteer doesn't prove that. Some do make a strong committment to their dept but there are many there just to hang out oor just look like a FF. The people that only show up to a fire call, not the old lady sick and covered in vomit call. A volly can selectively respond...that doesn't happen on a career dept. A volly may meet a couple times a month, not like working on a degree.

I've been through many testing processes for a firefighting job and became very familiar with the requirements of different dept. Vet points is NOT like Affirmitive Action....A vet still did something to obtain those points. Bottom line is that most depts put more stock into the service of a veteran to give points, than to a volunteer FF. Most depts just don't really care about all that volly experience, that is just the way it is today. It is about the individual and how they sell themself to the review panel.
well it doesnt matter if you were a volunteer in my town when u became a paid ff u had to go threw the classes all over again.. so the thing about promtion doesnt really count .i think the training is about the same just one gets paid to be there and the other .. doesnt cuz he want to....but i think we all do the same job.. and we take pride in what we do...
My experience is this:
Experience and training are important to volunteers who are on volunteer fire departments.
Experience and training are important to full timers who are on paid fire departments.
Volunteer departments who are lucky enough to get a career firefighter to join their department will absolutely take advantage of the career firefighter's catalog of knowledge.
Career departments who get firefighters with volunteer fire department experience, in most cases won't care, because they send everyone through fire academy and teach them their department's culture.
In other words, WE are more enamored at the prospects of getting a career guy because we KNOW we are getting great benefit from it.
Career departments understand that a candidate who has ANY experience is ahead of the grill cooks, bartenders and welfare recipients who apply, but it won't move them up the list or generate any hiring advantage. That's a fact.
Just another thought which may help put things in a bit more perspective for you regarding military points is that there IS a proven record of the vet's service. The comparisons are there, both volunteered, both are committing to the community/country etc. But in order for a vet to get points they have to submit a copy of their DD-214 or discharge papers. In it it describes the vets service, what paygrade (rank) they get out at, type of discharge (honorable to dishonorable) and so forth. In order to get points a vet has to typically have an honorable discharge...in order to be honorably discharged the vet has to maintain a certain score on their evals, so their job, character, committment and so forth is judged. Yes, the military has their sh*tbags as well, but they aren't getting the honorable discharge. That is the biggest thing between a vet and a volly....the military has a record which will follow you around, so if a vet proves themselves and gets an honorable discharge and meets the requirements for points they should get it. All vets do NOT qualify for such points.
Well what I'm saying not having a preference is if you're not giving it to someone who has applicable fire experience, then just don't give it to anyone. That doesn't change my original statement that I think the preference to give first would be vollie experience, although I've already said I see your points about the discipline and experience that comes with military service.

As far as the benefits of active duty life you've debated, the points you agreed with you said "so what?" to, and the other ones you didn't agree with. Well, I've always found the PX prices pretty cheap, the communities on bases I've been to nice, the pay to be pretty good, and the education benefits to be excellent, especially to active duty members, but very good overall to all service members. Now this experience is mostly coming from me being on bases throught my 8 years in the Army reserves, so I don't know first hand about housing, however I'm taking that off of friends of mine who are active duty and from what many of them have said they are very, very comfortable in their living conditions both in comforts of home so to speak and financially. Most of the active duty bases I've been to have been really, really, nice and most of the active duty people I've talked to have been very happy with their surroundings. As far as the education benefits, I know people who have gone through a B.S. and payed next to nothing for it, I'm not talking about correspondence courses here, either. As far as living on a ship, I'll admit I wasn't even thinking of naval service, and I'm sure that's different, I know nothing about it.

As far as telling me I am in fact minimizing vets, besides saying "yes, you are" can you tell me how I'm doing that exactly? And you're making some assumptions here as well, telling me I don't know what it takes in the military, as I served 6 years in the reserves and a 15 month deployment in Iraq, so maybe I have a little bit of an idea, eh? I will admit some of the perks I've mentioned come from my very happy, satisfied active duty friends who tell me how great active duty life is, and tell me about life on a base, but I've also been to many bases and can attest to that myself. And yes, the education benefits are killer, I don't know what you mean by the cost of a text book and bringing instructors in. And yeah, they still have to do their military jobs and other duties, but then again, don't most people in college have jobs and other obligations as well?

I've understood and agreed with alot of your statements on this, we are just different on the preference part, and the reasons behind it. You don't need to start a side piece about me being disrespectful to veterans which I'm not, and telling me how I obviously didn't serve, which i did. Keep your eye on the ball, the ball's not me, it's the topic of who gets preference, who should, and why.
You started this out that vollies should be given points because of their experience, but when vet points were mentioned you changed up to say everyone should be on the same playing field. You minimized the vets committment to service to the country to protect the freedoms we all enjoy while sacrificing their own freedoms for others. A volly just does not equal that service, sure they give back to their community, but it pales in comparison to what a vet gives up. Then you come back and basically say because depts that give vet points, should just forget about that vets service because you don't think anyone should get points because vollies don't. You also basically catagorized vet points along with affirmitive action, which is no where near the case. That is why I said you minimized the vets.

The problem is you are not comprehending the reasons why there are points for vets, you fail to see that vet still has to qualify for everything else the dept asks for before being hired. You fail to see that, while volly experience may help, it is not required in most cases because the dept will train you how they want to. A veteran brings that discipline and experience into such an organization, stuff that is DOCUMENTED by the evals and level of discharge they got. A dept understand the work ethics of a vet, the same can't be said about a volly. That is why vets have been given preference points.

Each department determines the requirements needed to test, the determine points, if any, for vet, resident, education and so forth. They also make the determination on who will qualify for vet points, not all vets do qualify. I qualified because my service was during the first gulf war, before 9/11, many vets who entered after the cutoff date and got out prior to 9/11 do not qualify for points. So if you are a reservist and were deployed you may qualify for points, but I guess you will turn them down then because that seems to be what you are contending here correct?

As Art mentioned, it doesn't matter the fire experience one brings to the table for a career dept, they will teach you their way anyway. Experience will help you over the bartender, office worker and so force, but it doesn't matter what type of experience you have. Most departments today want someone who they feel can work best in their organization, there is much more to a career fire dept today than just firefighting and experience. Career firefighters take on larger roles in public education, inspections, community relation etc than what a volly may do. There is just more than having some certs, it takes the person they feel will best represent them and the reason that vet sticks out is because of those values they bring to the table.

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