Hey everyone!!!


Ok, I am on a Lieutenant on a volunteer department, nobody is paid. I am part of the Rules and Regulations commitee. We are trying to impliment requirements for the department into our rules and regs. Due to these changes everyone is freaking out because we want them to take classes as a requirement. (FFI and FFII, EMT, CPR, Wildland 130 &190, Etc.) (Keep in mind, the department pays for the trainings not them) I feel that since we are taking on more calls and due to members who aren't trained, in my opinion should not be part of the department if they are unable to perform the tasks that may come. Numerous members are complaining about there normal jobs would interfere with the training, I understand that is the prioirty but most members who say the trainings interfere with there job also don't make calls or other department trainings. In other words they are no use to me and the department. If I were I.C. and the individual showed up I would be more worried due to the fact that the individual isn't trainined because they won't show up to training and is now a risk to me and my team. I was wondering what are your requirements to be hired on at volunteer departments. If your a paid agency then what are your opinions on requirements for a volunteer department? Also if you have websites which list your requirements for volunteers please list in your post so I can show current members that we aren't the only ones with requirements. Thanks for your input and help. Hopefully some of the members will realize that volunteer departments need to have sufficient training even if we don't get paid. Thanks

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I absolutely agree with this. THANKS JACK
Right now Ralph all training is crucial for the department, We have people show up to only certain calls. Alot of people refuse to train in certain trainings. Example, some are wildland trained but others refuse to learn. Some I won't let on scene at MVA because they don't know where tools are or where to cut on cars. When I tell people to show up to trainings because we are going to train on MVA, they would rather miss the training and get fined instead of working a little to learn. The problem is too many members are f***ing LAZY and it pisses me off!!!!!!
In Michigan wether you are on a full time part time part paid or volunteer you have to be trained in mfr or fire within 2 years by state law. I am a big one on training because that is life or death out there and people not trained is a big liability for you and everyone else. i know trainings are long butif you dont want to be trained or cant take time for the training FIND A DIFFERANT PROFESSION cause you can hurt or kill someone if you dont know what the hell you are doing. It isnt putting water on the hot stuff there is alot more to it as I found out in my 6 months of fire training. I havent missed a department training yet and I am going on to become an instructor. So I highly believe in training so nobody gets killed out there.
Be safe Brothers and sisters and have a nice weekend!!!
One thing you might mention is that if all members are not FFl and FFll you may not qualify for any grants or Federal money
Also from PA here....we had a lieutenant once that had no essentials and had never been in a fire....yes a LIEUTENANT.

And the PA wonders why they made,. once again, the #1 spot for LODD's. They ACTUALLY wonder why!
In a perfect world, there would be no diffference between a volly and a career FF except the size of his/her paycheck. In the real world, juggling faith, family and fire is a daunting task.

I had the opportunity to direct a group of volunteers. Out of the 50 or so, half were die-hard and half were just along for the ride. Those that went the extra mile got the better gigs and the others filled in when I needed a warm body to fill a spot.

There are some things about the VFD that sometimes puzzle me. Having monthly/weekly training were everybody shows up. 90% of my training was done at the company level. Multi-company drills were few and far between. It seems easier to get 4-5 guys together with a captain than 50 with a chief.

What would I do as the National Fire Tzar:
Dangle carrots. No wacker lights until FF1/FF2. Don't need you to get to the station fast if you aren't properly trained.
Additional tax credits from the feds/state for getting and maintaining certs.
Justin, Are there no mandatory qualifications in your state to be a Firefighter? My first impression is if there are, they meet the level of fire "Buff", not Firefighter as your fellow members feel. I'm a Jersey Firefighter like Amanda, and she is right on que. As a Career and Volunteer firefighter, 28 and 24 years respectively, I can assure you that a room and content fire could care less whether you recieve a bi-weekly paycheck for your work. Your basic tactics and strategies are/should be learned at a facility, with certified and knowledgeable instructors, under a controlled environment. I would pose this question to your superiors; Would you let an in-experienced person work on your wifes' or teenagers' vehicle brakes? Why would you send these same persons into a burning structure with little or no skill levels? Just read and print several articles from "FF Closecalls", as well as NIOSH and LODD reports and hand them out to the need-to-know...and these brothers and sisters are "trained" and experienced Firefighters. I can't imagine the type of chaos you see when that first due apparatus pulls up as the caliopy music begins to play. Fight the good fight, change will come as others with your drive continue to train with you. Bottom line, if conditions persist, don't allow yourself or others to get into a dangerous position. Stay outside! Unfortunately, I know of at least one Volunteer company that jokingly prides itself in stating that they haven't lost a foundation or bathroom fixture yet!! If that's your company, well....
We are all put through FF1 FF2 HAZ opps NIMS ICS and of course the "probationary period" this may or may not be the standard in Michigan but all of the dept.s in my area have their FFs take these. We also have a policy that the applicant must have these within a two year period. We do not have to take any EMS but my dept has full time ambulance crews.

Our sister dept. has another strategy they bring new members onto the association for awhile before sending them to class, the new members are required to come to meetings and trainings and they are evaluated during that time. This seems to work pretty well it gives you alot of insight on who you hire before they are down on paper and chance what is, during these times a large expense to train and outfit new members who may not be quite right for the job.

Justin my department is also kind of lax but we are progressing in the area of the hire process, This is the most important part IMO this will show you the caliber of person you may be working with things such as background checks and drug tests are very important and may cost your dept money and may also rule out certain people but it will also solve possible problems with dept. members in the future, I understand that it is not easy to get alot of applicants for a volunteer dept. and sometimes dept.'s may just take what they can get but this will only cause headaches not only if the person showing up for a call is drunk or high but people who are liabilities due to their lack of training or other problems will cost your dept way more than any test or background check.

Good luck and i hope you can change some of the old ways of thinking.

On a side note is there any information on the comparison of arsonist FFs from depts who lack tests and training in comparison to dept.'s who require background, psych evaluations and drug tests
Around here they're called cellar savers.
Justin, there are ways of making changes with people even knowing. I did it for years at my department. First find out who is the "influencer" this is the person people listen too. Then find out how to convince this person that by propsing an idea would be good for everyone and make that person think it was thier idea in the first place. It takes time, sometimes months maybe even a year. I laugh when someone comes up months later and says "didn't you say that months ago"
Find the upside of making the change. Not because..but what are the rewards, We used the more runs for the company idea. WE do this and that will happen. No one does anything for nothing, even volunteer.
Lastly sneak it in. Instead of FF1 being a 4 day course (or whatever) break it down into 1 hour a night over 3 months. Have a dinner once a week and teach a class. Invite the Ladies Auxilary to cook if you have one. It will bring the company together and give them a chance to learn at the same time.
Our department requires no previous training to join(got to start somewhere), But we send them through the state standard mandatory class and then from there they have two years to complete the FF1 And FF2 Class if offered. Our departmnet is not real big on training either but we do the best we can. The newer members are more into training than anybody else on the department. They said they would train every weekend if they could, so i guess the key is to try and recruit younger members who dont think they no it all haha. But we do make sure that everybody has atl east the basic training and obviuosly we dont send the newbys into a situation by themselves we always have a veteran go with them.
A huppa. Stimpy says...everytime I read threads akin to this one, it reinforces my opinion that firefightin' is basically a free-for-all in so many departments.

You wanna join a club? Join the local Elks and do some good. Problem is they don't have any really cool uniforms like those firemens do. And they don't have those trucks that get all that attention. And local community groups like the Elks, while certainly serve a valid and respectful purpose, membership don't get ya past the yellow fireline 'caution' tape.

Becouse that seems to be all that some wannabe firefighters are interested in. A coat with their name on it so when the biggest event in town occurs, like Jimmy Josh's barn burnin' down, good ol' Fred from the hardware store will be on the front page of the newspaper with a hose in his hands and we'll all know it's good ol' Fred 'cause it says so on his fireman coat.

We all like to say "fire don't know the difference if it's bein killed by career or volunteer firefighters"
And that's true. But if'n it requires months of training to learn the job, and the skills to do the job in some places, why would anyone expect to be proficient, capable, or even have a basic clue as to what and how to do whatever wherever on the fireground in these clueless departments that feel training is an option?

OK my point being, many a department DOES "get it" and there are thousands of good departments, career and volunteer that understand how training and education pays off in providing the service and keeping the firefighters and the public as safe as possible. Over the last few decades the fire service's ability to offer valuable training and information went from a few monthly trade magazines to mega-websites and forum networking allowing contacts with fire service personnel all over our Country, as well as other Nations. If there is one common message, it is that training and education ARE available to those who seek it. And there is NO reason in this day and age that anyone should even WANT to hop on that engine and ride to the fire without as much knowledge and ability as is possible to obtain.

That is, of course, unless they only want to PLAY fireman! And in MY opinion, those who feel training requirements are just not important or not applicable to them ARE just playing fireman.

Further, and this may be an unpopular opinion, (but it's mine anyways) any members who impose self-limitations on their efforts, such as "not being interior" of not climbing ladders, etc also don't belong in this business. If you signed on to be a firefighter, unless you have lived in the perverbial "bubble" all your life, you MUST have some idea that firefighters are required to work in dark, dangerous, and confining atmospheres, and those ladders on the sides of the engines, and those really long ones on top of those bigger trucks are there for a reason. And you just may have to climb them, which requires some basic skills and a touch of courage. AND you must get some idea that in order to wear all that gear, and carry all that equipment you must have to be reasonably physically fit.

Right? Doesn't that almost seem obvious?

So why would anyone want to waste thier time and join up the local fire department if they have no intentions on getting reasonably fit, or remaining so? Why would you seek membership and THEN tell the powers that be that well, you gotta draw the line at climbing up to those roofs, or especially actually wearing one of those mask things and crawling in and around an actually burning structure! Oh, maybe the off chance exists you can get in line to at least drive one of those fire trucks! Or maybe just being able to suit up and help pull the hose is enough...becouse they MUST need hose pullers!

THAT is one of the problems today. So what happens when you do get three or four of these self-limiting members show up as the ONLY ...ahem..."firefighters" to a dwelling fire with some poor person actually entrapped within? Hey, if that all we got at 3pm on a Tuesday....right?

See that doesn't work. You gave the illusion of having an actual fire department by having the equipent and dressing your members the same...except now they can't do much but pull the hose. Alot of hose pullers pulling the hose.


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