A few days ago a lady said "my husband is not a real firefighter, he's only a volunteer" As a vol firefighter I was realy ticked! but chose to keep my mouth shut! lol what are some of your thoughts on this statment, and how would handel it if it were said to you?


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Nathan, by no means am I putting anyone down or trying to belittle anybody. We all can be "Professional" and that is not the point here. Yes certifications are the same. If it was an NFPA program than yes, they are supposed to be the exact same but the exposure post class is just that... it's experience. If I were a surgeon, I would dedicate my life to making sure I was the best I can be. We all do that with the tools, equipment and time we are afforded. Some just have more than others in their specific area or chosen profession.


Now I know there are the exceptions to my point. I have seen some lazy career guys, who never train or are assigned to very slow "retirement or penalty box" houses. They are out there and they promote a negative image of the career guys life.

I wasn't trying to make it look like you were putting anyone down or being negative. Sorry if it came out that way.

I was just posting from my experience. Like I said, I can't even come close to your experience for the sole fact that my fd runs about 350 calls a year to probably several thousand for yours. I do agree with your view point that you were making. It doesn't always add up.

Like you said. We do the best we can with the resources we have.

We are both lucky to be able to do something we enjoy and have a passion for, and like I said earlier, I hope to join the ranks of a career firefighter in the future.

Keep up the good work.

Rescue of a volunteer firefighter in the 2010 Chile Earthquake

Ask the victim if the Fireman was Real

Rescue of a volunteer firefighter in the 2010 Chile Earthquake

Ask the victim if the Fireman was Real
That day had many calls. Firefighters are Chile's most prestigious institution. In Argentina, 90% of Volunteer Firefighters are as in Peru and Paraguay.
Volunteer In Brazil

You want to discover the wheel

That's the point I tried to make as well.  I learned more in one month with the DCFD than I did in the three years I had on somewhere else before that.  

55 Truck - Yes I can understand that mentality. I have to admit your team and GB are the one's to beat this year.


I am going back to FDIC for 2012, they put me up at University Hotel last year. I have been invited back to teach my class called "Interior Benchmarking". I had some Indy guys sit in my class last year. Good guys, you could tell they were salty...




To me it doesn't matter if your volunteer, POC, or career it is a vocation in which you have to have a love for what you do regardless of what others think or say.     

I'll just say this: if you've ever tried to apply for a lateral-hire as a Firefighter it doesn't matter how trained you are, how much experience you have, or even if you work more hours than most career Firefighters, if you are a Volunteer Firefighter none of that counts when a full-career department is hiring. The only experience they count in most cases is "Paid Full-Time Career Firefighter" experience. There are some exceptions, of course, especially if the "senior leadership" in a department already know the candidate and want to hire him or her (read: Good Old Boy network).

There is some justification for this, since most states have a lower level of training required for Volunteer Firefighters than for Career Firefighters. One example is Georgia, where Volunteers are only required to have a two-week course with a live burn and HAZMAT awareness to be legal to fight fire, but "Certified Firefighters" which career Firefighters are required to be, must pass an eight-week course to be Firefighter I, have HAZMAT Operations and have two live burns to be Certified Firefighters.Do some Volunteer Firefighters exceed the the standard? Of course, but not everyone does so everyone in the category is lumped together by their "lowest common denominator."

In my particular case, I am a NPQ Firefighter II (graduated top of my class from the state Fire Academy for my Firefighter I), HAZMAT Technician, Public and Life Safety Educator, an EMT-I with a bachelor's degree in Fire Science and I work an average of two 24-hour shifts a week, but being only "Part Time"  I am not a "Paid Full-Time Career Firefighter" and therefore the only position most departments will allow me to even apply for is "Probationary Firefighter" or "Firefighter Trainee." 

Don't get me wrong, I will gladly go through Fire Academy again if that's what it takes (there's always more to learn right?), but clearly even within the Fire Service, Volunteer Firefighters are not considered "Real Firefighters" despite all of the lip service paid to the idea that all Firefighters are "Professional Firefighters."


I know a great Instructor in AR that would kill at a chance to eat that rookie's ass...I'm just saying...just remember, if you have him come out I am coming as well...the video evidence will be a viral video within 2 days simply because the content will be that amazing. 


You are perpetuating yet another myth: "There's more dedication with a Call/Vol department than with full time depts."  "...more of a hero than those of us who are paid."

If one accepts that it takes a certain kind of person to be a firefighter, then one can easily assume that the level of dedication is independent of whether that person is paid or volunteer.  If a person is a dedicated firefighter for NO pay why would you conclude that a person who is a firefighter FOR pay is less dedicated?  Aren't they the same kind of person?

I (at least) would conclude, from your statement that volunteers are more dedicated that they must therefore be better at their job. And yet, dedication and proficiency are two very different characteristics.  A person who is dedicated may be very good at what they do, but it may also mean only that they enjoy it while not necessarily being good at it. 

On the other hand, a person who does something for a paycheck may lack the supposed 'dedication' of someone who does the same job for free but, because they require that paycheck, are as, if not more, proficient at their job, if for no other reason than that their job requires them to be proficient in order to keep their job.

In fact, you really need to define what you mean my dedication. 

A volunteer firefighter who makes his department's once-a-week training (if that often and for maybe as many as 2 hours),  who makes as many calls as he can when he is 'available' and takes as much additional training as he can work into his work/personal life schedule is NOT dedication.  It is HONORING the commitment he made upon joining his department.

A firefighter who is paid to show up for her shift, who is paid to train during that shift, who has no option in which calls she will or won't respond to nor which holiday she will or won't work, who also gets up in the middle of the night for the bullshit calls, does so because of the commitment SHE made when she took the job.

There are very real differences between volunteer and paid firefighters; ones that have to do with the initial qualification to get hired (testing, background, physical ability), the considerably longer and more intensive training in the academy, the (typically) 12 month probationary period (where one can be let go for any number of reasons, like not actually being able to do the job), where training is NOT optional and, most importantly, where the paid firefighter grows very quickly to depend upon her paycheck to provide for all of things that the volunteer pays for from his 'other' job.

Maybe, by dedication you meant how the volunteer is so consumed with what color and how many lights should be on their POV, or which manufacturer of this or that is better or worse, who wear their department tee shirt and carriy their pager and radio everywhere (regardless of whether or not they can actually respond) and who have scanners in their POVs, a water can in the trunk and  an 'I fight what you fear' sticker on their window, maybe that is what you mean by dedication.

While there have been paid firefighters who were charged with arson (usually revenge or for profit) it is the vollie who most often starts fires so that he (white, male, young) can be first on scene and be the 'hero'.  So maybe we should look at the level of dedication of a volunteer as an indicator of the potential for 'heroic' behavior, from freelancing to arson.

Or maybe, we should stop trying to assuage volunteer egos and insecurities by propping them up on artificial pedestals and require them to meet all of the same standards as paid firefighters. In doing so then the only real variable would be the number of runs a department makes.

Let's be very clear on this last: Loving what you do for free is great, getting paid to do what you love...priceless.  Claiming that volunteers are better in all aspects than paid firefighters is little different than giving each child a gold star, regardless of whether they earned it or not.  And yes, to be a paid firefighter, you have to earn it. To be a volunteer firefighter, you just have to walk through the door.

There's more dedication with a Call/Vol department than with full time depts. I get paid to train and it's always on duty. If it's off duty it's o.t.


If you want to believe your own bullshit, that is fine, just don't go trying to sell it and expect people to fall into the same opinion as you. If you believe a volly is more dedicated because they don't get paid, then perhaps you need to look into issues with your own life and dept.


No doubt that training and time requirements have increased to be a volly and no doubt such changes have had an impact on the numbers, but it doesn't mean a volly is more dedicated or loves doing the job more or whatever. If you want to believe it is wrong that there are career FFs who are paid, you also need to look at the circumstances. The reason there are paid depts is because population, call volumes, target hazards, etc.


To believe paid are any less dedicated or love the job less is a load of crap, I know plenty who would have no problem responding to more calls, etc even off duty, but there are laws in place too dictating. Besides, vollies can also pick and choose the calls they want to go on and I've witnessed personally many times the little amount of people responding for the puker, or sick ol lady, as opposed to a structure fire call. I have seen people miss out on trainings, I have seen selected responses, and I have seen a balk at standards or programs like a physical, etc.  I have seen career order in to work and thus have to stop their plans or try to work family things at the last minute.


So as I mentioned, you can believe what you said if you want, but I'm not buying the garbage. This BS that one is more dedicated or better because of a pay factor (of which most volly dept are actually a POC as opposed to just doing it for free) or even the persistance to harp on a C vs V aspect is old and outdated. There are differences, plain and simple, those differences do not dictate one's dedication nor love of the job.


How possibly did I read "...way to far into this..."?

You clearly stated that volunteers are more dedicated and are more heroes than paid ff.  Only in your reply to me now are you saying that ",,,Call/Vol firefighters are FIREFIGHTERS, just like Paid firefighters."  In fact, by adding that statement you are backpedaling because whereas now you are saying vollies and paid are the same, in your initial statement you clearly stated that vollies were better than paid.  Sorry but ya can't have it both ways.

And you're right, there are a lot of great volunteer departments out there (and vollies).  But there are a lot of volunteer departments that are first and foremost social clubs and probably on a good day are more dangerous to their members than the most lackadaisical paid department on its worst.

There may be no difference in the job that volunteer and paid departments have to do, but there is a big difference in how they approach that job, go about doing it and the training and ability required to get it done.

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