Next up on Firefighter Netcast...

 “…there is too much to know how to do, and do well, for a volunteer to keep up.”

“It’s high time for the fire service to quit trying to do everything and focus on selling what we do best.”

“It’s quite obvious that a guy who is working a “real job” 60+ hours a week can hardly master the science of the fire service, much less the art of what we do.”

Do you agree or disagree? 

Check in with Firefighter Netcast Wednesday night at 9pm ET as they bring in the authors of these questions, Josh and Patrick from the blog No Ambition
But One.

This ain’t your Daddy’s fire service radio podcast…

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My volunteer department does not try to be everything to everybody. Those that do try and succeed, I comment you. Those that try and fail, need to take stock and make corrective actions. When I signed on, I thought we would be making calls like the city departments. I could not understand why we did not take certain calls. Now that I spend time learning about department goals, it is clear why we are not in the primary extrication business, and why we do not first respond to all medical calls. There has to be a balance between training, equipment, finances, and time commitment. Our officers have done very well at making sure we do not bite off more then we can chew.
In America, many people in many industries work two full-time+ jobs.
Volunteering is just that. Volunteering. People volunteer what ever time they can to do something helpful for their community. If they are unable to give enough of their time to get all the training, or resond to all the calls, then maybe they shouldn't be in the hot zone. There is other, just as important work to be done elsewhere on the scene. This is where the folks that can give much of their time come in handy. They are the ones that can take all the training, respond to all the calls and gain experience. They are the ones who will fill in where others may not yet be able to.
I know of people who can't make all the "fire" training due to other responsibilities, but they have all the training for driving and operating the pumpers.
So, yes, there IS a lot to learn and do (well), but when volunteering, you do what you can. Others will pick up the rest, and together, you will make a great team.
Now I'm saying that because we are a decent sized dept. with many vollies. Whole different ball game for smaller departments.
IN MY OPINION...the person who made these statements is a f*****g idiot.
As a Volunteer, I have taken and passed all classes to be certified as a HazMat Tech-B. I am currently taking my OSFM FFII (Illinois) class. While doing this I will be starting a Fire Apparatus Engineer class. I am also an EMT-B keeping up on my certification hours. I have also taken and passed ICS 300 & 400 this year. I go on calls, and work 40 hrs a week at my regular job.

Now I have a family, a boy who is involved in school activities. I choose to go with little to no sleep during the week to be able to learn more. I personally enjoy the challenge, and realize that someone has to do it.

If no one does it, who will lead in the future?
This is both true and false. It's split 50/50, for as many that can't keep up and train properly, there are just as many that can and do.
ROTFLMAO tell us how you really feel... don't hold back !!!
Unfortunatly, I'm seeing a huge trend that the fire service is the part time job and is just there for the bennefits and and easy money! My department is new to the rotation concept. Taking shifts on every truck in the station. There are alot of people who think specializing is better, from my experience as a volunteer, working on all the trucks makes you a better rounded firefighter. My first 12 year full time I was assigned to pumpers, love it. But when I went to fill in at other stations I had usually ride an aerial truck. I never had any problem filling in on an aerial because the volunteers regularly trained on things like ventilation, search and rescue and of course ladders. As a pumper man, I trained on medicals, pumping and fire fighting. On the volunteers I was also trained very well on auto Ex and I was an instructor for a number of years. So when I transfered to a heavey rescue, I had no problems fitting in and even started teaching my crew things they hadn't been tought on the full time department. So to say there is too much for a volunteer to learn, to me is just narrow minded and uninformed. It simply comes down to leadership, training and a "PROFESSIONAL" attitude!
All of your training isn't for nothing: Fire doesn't care if you are a volunteer or not.
We have a number of guys that have made the statement. "I've done this and I've done that. I am just a vol. so you can't MAKE me do anything. I'm totally fine with that, keep up with what you know and what our dept requires. We do fire, auto wrecks, and have some trained in technical rescue. The more you are trained in, the more you have to keep up on and the guys that are into it all, they do very well with keeping up with the training(you have to WANT to, and be able to). If the $$ money, or need for certain things isn't there then we don't do it. Fire Protection and auto rescue are our depts two most frequent call types. So we keep everyone up on them. The technical side of things is for the ones that want to do more, and money for it only comes from donations, and grants. Just my thoughts.
Not just your opinion Reg. I suspect many others have the same thoughts as you. ME included.. but since you already said it, whats the point in repeating it. lol good job!
I wrote a blog here on FFN some time ago about plate spinning, which got an interesting mix of responses.

Unfortunately many departments plate spin without doing some of it well, or to an adequate level, or that does the required response any real justice. (for example, a couple of members doing a rope rescue course and the FD carrying a rope and some karabiners, doesn't mean they should be actively responding to vertical rescue calls.)

There's definite issues with balancing out what should be trained and not trained and where energies should be focussed.

BTW, I don't beleive this is just a volunteer issue. Plate spinning is just as much of a problem in career stations as well. At what stage do we overload people with knowledge and in many cases give them enough to actually get themselves in more trouble?

Having said all that, I'm not sure there's an answer to the problem....

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