I volunteered for my fire depertment (all volunteer) because there was a need, there is always a need for trained firefighters, when I joined I had no firefighting background. But I was willing to train on my time and my families time. Our training officer took his personal time to train 5 new volunteers for several months to challenge the firefighter exam. After the exam the proctor stated that he had never seen a better trained group of challengers.
I believe, that it does not matter if your a full time firefighter or a volunteer if you have the drive, movation, and training to be the safest, most professional firefighter, you will be. On my time I read as much about firefighting as possible, I use this network as another tool to further my firefighting knowledge, and hope all firefighters use it as a tool for useful purposes. I am currently working on challenging ffII, and hoping to take an EMT-B course that may be offered. All the training, all the hours put into the department, are not paid, we are paid only for our runs, we receive minimum wage for our efforts, and all of our firefighters donate their pay back to the department.
Our department is a small group of highly dedicated, highly motivated firefighters, who perform a thankless service to our community, without any other reason but to help our fellow man, yes, It would be nice to be a full time firefighter, with pay, but not every community can afford that, so we volunteer, on our time, on our families time.
In closing, be you full time, or volunteer, this has to be a job you love, you must keep an attitude of, what can I do?, what will make me a better firefighter to serve my community?, my brothers, You must lead, or follow, in our line of work you cannot get out of the way, you have to know your job, better than anyone, because the community looks to us in their time of need, not asking if your full time or a volunteer, but because your a firefighter