How do you feel about the public in general?

I feel that when they are in need we as volunteers are their best asset, but if we are not helping them we are just wasting tax payer's money.

You know as well as I do, we do what we do to help the community, it isn't ,(or shouldn't be), for self gratification. When I started as a junior at the ripe ol' age of 14, I thought that would be what I wanted from being in the fire service, all the glory. As I grew older I realized that it wasn't about me at all, I feel now that we are just servants to the public.

Being a christian I know that you must humble yourself before you can serve anyone (especialy God) but, it just seems as the public just uses it to their advantage.

Let me know your view, thank you and God Bless.

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Comment by Lawrence W on August 27, 2007 at 8:01am
For me, being a volunteer has never been about anything but public service, giving back to the community where I live and work. I admit, the feeling of accomplishment when I successfully complete a class is addictive, and oftentimes for my own purposes, but in the long run, the public is where those learned skills are put to the test.

I don't believe, that the public abuses the privilege of having a volunteer fire department. Oftentimes, it's not up to them. I also believe that in their moment of need, they likely don't care if you are career or volunteer. They are looking for help, a comforting hand, someone to bring order to chaos.

Career or volunteer, in my area at least, the training that is available comes from the same agency and is of the same caliber. In a given class, you can and do have both career and volunteer personnel sitting side by side. On the career side, you are mandated for more strict training as is provided in a training academy class. As a volunteer, the minimum requirements are established, anything further has to come from a personal drive.

This personal drive can be established in many ways. For me, as a volunteer, I decided a long time ago that serving my community was worth dedicating hundreds of hours of training to, on my own time. For others, in a career capacity, maybe they need the structure of an academy, but the drive can still be the same, serving their community.

I do have to disagree slightly with your post above. When you have completed a particularly difficult class (difficult is defined differently for each of us) there is a certain amount of self gratitude that each of us enjoy. That feeling of accomplishment drives us to the next class or training exercise with the feeling that we really are good at what we do and we can face a challenge that is presented to us. Obviously, this is not the only driving force in our choice to volunteer, but it has to be recognized as a factor in our drive to improve ourselves and to improve the standard of service we provide to our communities.

Humility must be learned early along. On an emergency scene, career/volunteer doesn't matter. What matters is that we are capable of providing the service that our public expects. No one wants to be caught unprepared. Understanding that you are part of a team is absolutely paramount to the positive outcome of the incident. No room for ego here. You can only hope that you are properly prepared for the challenge of the day and that your prove to your public that you are capable, willing and prepared.

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