Jack/dt: Definately agree with you one hundred percent
Capcityff: The sad thing is this is an option. In alot of volunteer/ paid on call departments (that I know of personally) training is scheduled once a week but you only have to usually show for 50% to get your credit for the month. And one of these meetings is usually a monthly business meeting where no training is conducted and the second is usually a vehicle inspection and maintenance so if you only go to those two meetings you meet your quota and dont actually have to do any training.
Pretty much yes, but to answer your question, no... You don't have to train, you don't have to run calls, you can put those blue lights on your cars and just look cool. But if you want to be a good FF, whether it be paid or volunteer, you will do everything you can to do the job safely. And that means everything, if others in your department don't want to train, then you can't make them. But if you're serious about doing more, then try to encourage the officers to make it more interesting, take some outside courses that would be interesting to teach and maybe more will follow. The State recommends a minimum amount of hours, if you're enjoying the job, do the maximum, it never hurts, but always helps.
Our county years ago set training requirements for all volunteers and vol officers. It took a major fire in our county to do it. I remember because I was at that fire and seen things that brought the changes. The County government wrote up the changes with the help of the career and vol leadership and put them to law. Then the state got involved and added training by the state training agency.
There was also set ages and training for officers to hold a office in a dept.
A lot of vol depts had to change their by-laws to meet the laws set forth by the county and state.
I can say I have had a lot classes and certifications since the 70s as a volunteer both county and state.
We also train every week at the station on fire and EMS items that need to be gone over to keep members sharp on their knowleadge of their training and SOPs.
In my dept its 50% drills, AND 50% calls AND 50% meetings and fund raisers.
Its pathetic how some departments can get away with taking a member with no training and send them into a burning building, based on what? Their last name is common in the dept or they are in the right clique...thats what it is and its pathetic. I have been a volunteer for 22 years and I have been trying (In vain) to get the firefighter I and II training to be like the NYS EMT certification. You take a written and practical test, need to PASS them, and have a certification issued for 3 years. Than you need to recert and take the tests again, if you fail you take the course again. Everytime I mention that I make enemies and I get the same excuses..."But I have a FT job and a family at home what do I tell them when I am gone 4 nights a week to train?" I say the same thing to them all "OK, but what do we tell your family when you get killed in a fire cause you didnt know what the hell you were doing??" Fire is an equal opportunity killer, it doesnt care if your volunteer or paid or retired or white or black or female or male or christian or jewish...It will kill you all every chance it gets. Volunteers should be held to the same standards as career personnel and the same level of professionalism. If you enter an IDLH atmosphere you need to know what your doing...simple.
Amatuers train until they get it right, professionals train until they cant get it wrong...Train as much as you can than train some more.