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The only difference from a volunteer and paid fire fighter,is you are in a city,you get paid.
We all have to go though the same training and all the courses,we have to keep our license up,or certificates,we have on our walls. Just because and fire fighter is paid,hey,that makes no difference.,from and volunteer...The small communities,that have volunteers who put their butts out there ,and do the same jobs,as fire fighting..I think volunteer departments should get paid..every single one..I wonder just how much our small towns,think.,when we go put out those structure fires,how much it cost our departments,and the up keep of all trucks and etc.
volunteer are paid,makes no difference.,we are fire fighters...who have to do the "Best" we have been taught to do. The Only Difference........NONE.......

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I have to agree IF... side by side both paid and volunteer have obtained the exact same training. In Georgia, paid personnel for the most part are required to obtain NPQ and continuing education requirements plus state certification; volunteers do not. Many volunteers have very limited to no training except what they get on going to calls.
The department that I volunteer for (100% vollie) sends people to Cody, WY for Fire (burn building, advanced extrication, advanced pump operator, etc) training and Fire Service Training School thru Montana State Fire School.

We also have in house training every Wednesday from members that work or have worked for other departments. We try to get people into the burn trailer before they are allowed to go interior, but if the person has steady nerve and has a can do attitude, we will allow them to go in as Tools, if there are two experienced FF/Fire Officers going in with them.

One of the departments that I work for has 9 total paid. If the vollies don’t show, there’s not much that will get done. They have gone in on big hotel fires, multi-vehicle wrecks and house fires.
This is to James,I have lived in Georgia,not to far from Savannah Georigia,I know that form in the community i lived,they learn from on the job,experience the hard way,,,When I moved to South Carolina,When I got accepted,i had to go though everything;and I got and school to go to in December ,we are always staying up with what the State requires for us to do.
If not,we are not allowed to continue to be and fire fighter on our department..I believe that is what keep and fire fighter,safer,and not to forget what we have learned,so we just up to date..Am proud to be on and dept that has and great chief,and he stands with us,all the way.We work to gather,as and term...And Great Team

Keep the passion and training spirit alive! We all must remember where the fire service came from which is volunteers, I started as a volunteer in 1998 at a small department with a small budget. You are exactly right there is no difference between a volunteer department and paid as we all do the same job. No matter what we do in this line of work we ALL must work hard and train. People die doing what we do and for those that do not want to train (volunteer or paid) THEY NEED to find something else to do. We must train and train hard because our lives and our families lives depend on it. NONE of us should do this for the money, we ALL should be doing this for the LOVE for the job! Heck! The folks at McDonald's get paid more than I do at my Fire job, but I would NEVER even think about giving it up or complaining about the pay. I love this job because it is the best job in the world, I love this job because there is no other job like it and that is why I do it.
It is still important that we all train hard and educate our brother and sisters! One of the best ways to train is RIGHT HERE on Fire Engineering. This is where training means something and this is where the serious trainers come to learn and grow form each other!

Remember, BE safe and TRAIN, as training will save lives!

God Bless you and your department!
Todd McKee
That is a very good point Chief. If both are held to the same standard, then sure they're the same (equal), but if a career FF, such as in GA, is required to maintain a different standard, then it is not possible to measure the two using the same ruler. I applaud a Volunteer Firefighter who keeps up with the same core competencies as I, but I also realize that it is not practical for every volunteer to do so. What is more important to consider is not if the Volunteer Firefighter is equal to the Career Firefighter, but when they are both in the gear, doing the job, working side by side, that a difference not be made and that both FIREFIGHTERS go home.
I think that what is expected out of a paid or volunteer agency is the same. We are expected to respond in a timely manner with adequately trained manpower in sufficient numbers and professionally handle someones problem utilizing up to date and accepted practices. Having said that,there in lies the major difference not only between career and volunteer depts.,but between volunteer depts. themselves.
I don't know if I understand the last part of you post. If you are pointing out that not all departments are using best practices when working a scene, I agree.

There are volunteer departments that I know of that are only qualified for defensive fire ground operations and Wildland/Urban Interface. There are also meny (six or seven within 20 miles) volunteer departments in this part of the country that have superior skills and training and are very highly qualified to conduct any tactic associated with a multi-alarm structure fire, multi-vehicle extrication, BLS EMS or Ops level HazMat. I would also point out that while the department that I volunteer for might have a problem with getting 2 Engines w/ 4 on board and a Tender w/ 2 to a working house fire (a constant volunteer manpower problem), we would NOT EVER try to work it with a booster line, insufficient water supply, half filled air bottles, no crew accountability or allowing crew integrity to break down.

The point being, is that: Talent is where you find it, and even ISO 1 rated departments have issues that should prevent them from pointing fingers at well qualified volunteers.
I basically agree with your post. What I was trying to say was that there is usually so much difference in how depts. operate that it is kind of inaccurate to state that the only difference between a paid and volunteer firefighter is money. Those terms,by definition, are a difference. Our job,whether be it volunteer or paid,is the same..or should I say our job description. Fire, disaster,other emergencies etc...know no boundary lines on a map. I know of volunteer depts. that have members in their depts. that I would put up against almost any paid guy. I also know of volunteers and whole volunteer depts. that do a disservice almost everytime they role out their doors- they're horrible; understaffed,poorly trained,poorly led,inexperienced,ill-equipped and dont possess the proper attitude to do the job. Are there career depts like that? Sure. I dont get around to too many career depts and have enough insight on how well of a dept. they truly are. I just think that on the whole, I have more faith that a career dept.has their act together than a volunteer dept. The volunteer service seems so fragmented and there appears to be so much disparity between depts.
You are completely correct. I know of a few like that also. The problem with those un-paid departments are small populations to draw from, small call volume to practice at and no way to get rid of people that can't pack the gear to the standards. It's a classic case of; it's this or nothing.

Any paid department is going to have 100 plus applications for every opening and can get rid of a
non- producer during probation and replace them with one of the next 99. In every case the paid services have the means to stay ahead of the curve. Weither they will or not is a function of City/Department management.
The reality of it is, there are indeed many differences between career (paid) firefighters and volunteers. The nobility of their intentions is the same. No question! In fact most career firefighters come from the volunteer ranks. Many still volunteer in departments close to their homes, and work in other municipalities. That is where the line gets blurred. Because, now you have professionally trained firefighters, volunteering. This brings more knowledge and experience to their specific volunteer organizations and that knowledge is passed it should be! Many more combination departments take preference in the volunteers when hiring new employees. The sad fact is that today's economy is not volunteer friendly. Many husbands and wives work two or three jobs to make ends meet while their spouses watch the children. Response percentages drop, training is missed, and subsequently, leveling qualifications are not met. Time is a factor. Also, consider the revolving door of many good intentioned volunteers who find out that it really isn't for them. Now all the time and training is waisted and must be spent on new members. But the true differences are the hours of initial training received, the required hours of training maintained and the continuing education that takes place during a tour of duty. Not to mention the many more calls that are responded to. Volunteers may or may not respond to alarms depending on the circumstances of their lives. On duty personnel, respond to every call....the boring,mundane, monotanous, as well as the structure fires and pin jobs, and rescues! I work in a combination department. One that I first volunteered for. I also volunteered for a 100% vollie department prior to that. And upon graduating from a 14 week academy, I realized that the lack of knowledge I had as a volunteer could have gotten me hurt or killed. Certain things are not taught on a volunteer level because of time constraints. I've said my very long winded peace!
There is no difference.I come from a town were it's all volunteer. We all went through Firefighter1 and some have Firefighter2.We are constantly training (live burn ,Mayday ,search, forcible entry advancing a attack line and FAST)I come from a FDNY family and they respect my company and their training.Just remember "It can happenen here ". (FDNY 23 rd Street Fire Oct 1966 12 fire fighters were killed ,Probie to Bat Chief.)Take Care Be safe. Everybody comes Home.

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