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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 originally was not going to reply to your post, because I respect your difference of opinion. I too, respect volunteer organizations, their intent, their commitments, and the many individuals who do find the time to dedicate themselves to their communities. I however, am trying to find the relationship between the forum topic and your end quote and notation. "It can happen here" and the 1966 fire. The forum topic is opinion based, differences between Volunteer Firefighters and Career firefighters. The 23rd street fire has nothing to do with the topic. Those brothers died as a result of structural collapse, not lack of training, or because they were career, or FDNY, firefighters. They died because they didn't know that they were operating over the fire in the cellar. They were operating in the exposure, not the fire building. The concrete and terrazo floor insulated them from the intense heat below. Please tell me how it relates!! Take a look at the LODD's in FDNY since it's inception....! Falling through a pole h*** and getting thrown from an apparatus accounted for many of them. These too have no bearing on the forum topic. There are differences! Just like the knowledge and experience between a ghetto fireman in NYC and a suburban, bedroom community, (career) fireman in upstate NY. Or a ladder company in Brooklyn and a ladder company in Staten Island. Or a 26 year vet of the Rescue and a 4 year FF in Midtown. Right, wrong or indifferent...they are there! Realizing the differences and playing to our individual strengths within a team, and constantly learning is what makes great firefighters. I don't face the numerous taxpayers that a guy on the job in the city does. There are many things I could learn. Tallest highrise in my response area is ten stories. By the same token how many raised ranches or capes do you find in downtown manhattan. I do applaud your compassion! Stay safe!
There is no doubt that volunteer firefighters are to be viewed as heros to small town america. I am of the bellief that if not for volunteers in my state, many towns would go unprotected from those services provided by larger communities. I do however draw a difference in the quality of training that one receives from a state agency than that of a municpal fire academy. It's not that we are better, it's just that in the long run, we get more experience.
Your right about the 23st fire .I stated that because my dad was working that night.The fire company that I belong to has the attitude It can happen here.The area that we respond is a mixture of residential, commericial and residential.This is why we are constantly training and learning new ideas.I do respect your quote about individual strenghts and constantly learning makes great firefighters.It was a pleasure to read and respect your reply. Wear your gear head to toe. Take Care
I disagree. In my community we have a volunteer fire service and it you were to describe there coverage like a blanket it would be an afgan (full of holes). Now the career system I work in we are there 24/7/365.

We also have to meet a higher training level becuase the expectation is higher. If I had a dime for evey time a volunteer messed up and used the excuse "well I am just a volunteer" I would be rich. At my job there are three levels of Truck Company firefighter that you have to be tested on in order to achieve, I know for a fact that the local VFD here doesn't do that in fact they barely have nyone to drive it.

There is a situation going on with another VFD near me in that the VFD responded to a house fire with people trapped and OOOOOPS forgot there masks for there SCBA back at the firehouse. So one person died and only becuase of mutual aide did the other person survive but was very badly injured. Would this happen at a career dept. I think not.

Are vollie dept.s vital absolutley and some of the best fireman I have met have been vollies but that is the exception not the rule.
I just wish that the Paid and Volunteer thing was not such an issue. Where i work we are a combination Dept so we have career guys that work righ along with the volunteer guys and it works good here. I guess its all where you come from on if there is an issue or not.
There is a difference. Until you spend a 24 hour shift in the firehouse on Christmas .. it's not the same. This is in no way meant to be disrespectful, for when the alarm sounds we do do the same thing such as put out the fire, go to medicals etc. but it is apples and oranges to compare the two.
Oh Good Goobly Goo! Why does this topic come up so often? Hell yes there is a difference, and what is wrong with that! The volunteers do not have near enough worker's comp insurance, they dont' get nearly the support they deserve from the state. They have to have a very understandable boss from their paid work; There is often times only a handful of very faithful people who will make the sacrifices to keep the department operating properly. The volleys are amazing people that do the best they can with what they have, which too many times, isn't nearly enough.

As far as response levels, we all know it depends on the department. Some departments are very well trained, staffed and equipped and they act/respond accordingly. Others are a group a civic minded persons who are willing help their town but due to various reasons do not have the opportunity to train as much or have ample equipment.

I do honestly have a problem with person's who are way too young (under 18) or too old (depends on the person) responding to calls that are way way way above their level of capability. Every time I hear about an 80 year old man dieing of a heart attack on a grass fire it breaks my heart. Everytime I read about a 17 year old kid who flips his/her truck while responding to a fire, it breaks my heart. But who am I judge why municipalities allow these people to counted amoungst the fire department?

Here's a suggestion:Let's keep this site about training.... just a thought
my sentiment exactly Mike. Well stated.
Hi Brenda. The difference, in fact, between paid/career firefighters and volunteers is much more significant than one person receiving compensation.
In most instances the disparity in training is dramatic. The basic training phase alone for most career departments is on the order of 600 up to 800 hours which equates to four to six straight months of training; five days a week, eight hours a day. In reality, most volunteer firefighters do not participate in that much actual training in a years time. This is not a knock against volunteers but rather a statement of fact. Our basic training phase in the City of Albuquerque is 21 week, nine hours a day; day in day out; rain, shine, snow... This includes classroom lecture, the drill field evolutions, physical fitness training each morning, live burns and much much more. Firefighters, much like basic training in the military service learn discipline, honor, pride and tradition. It is the equivalent of a college degree program in a hyper-condensed format.
What's more, because the career firefighter is doing the job all the time they usually amass much more experience and have the opportunity to participate in training much more regularly.
Please notice though, at no time yet have I used the term professional. I am a firm believer that professionalism denotes a level of service delivery. Excellent and safe service to our constituents, to other firefighters and for ourselves. Being aggressive is not the hallmark of a true firefighter. Safe, effective and efficient professional service is.
All firefighters, career or volunteer, must be capable of professional firefighting or they need to get out of the fire service. Firefighting is not a hobby or pass time. Mistakes can result in serious injury or death and the calling of a firefighter must not be engaged in lightly.
Stay safe
Here are my feelings on this:

1. It should not be an issue, we can all learn from each other paid or volunteer, that is what this job is all about, helping not only the communities we protect but also each other.

2. When I am on a job I don't care if the person next to me is paid or not, the fire does not care nor do the citizens we are protecting care so why should we, we all have a common goal and that is to go home to our families the same way we left them.

Stay Safe and remember we all have a common goal!!
It is unfortunate that this discussion keeps coming up. The sad part is the egos that enter in to the discussion clouding a persons view and obscuring their objectivity. I too was a volunteer firefighter when I started out in the fire service and these observations are not a knock against volunteers but rather just a statement of how things are.
The inescapable fact of the matter is that no matter how much either side says, there are in fact differences. And what is wrong with differences. The things that make us different are not good or bad... they just are.
Differences in training and experience are dramatic. And no matter how much a volunteer department trains, they still cannot equal the amount of training that career firefighters go through. After all, they are doing it FULL TIME whereas volunteers are engaging in the fire service part time AT MOST.
It seems that most of the people that think there are no differences are the volunteers that have never had the opportunity to experience the level of training and experience that the career side experience. And yes, I too volunteered and thought I had the same training and experience to make me just as proficient UNTIL I was hired as a career firefighter and completed over 600 hours of basic training. Then I realized just how much information and hands on training I was missing. I also understood just how much more there was to learn.
Attending classes and schools is a great experience but unfortunately still falls short. The reality is many of these classes are covered in the basic training phase of career firefighters.
Can we learn from each other? Sure. Do volunteers do good work? Absolutely. Is there a difference between career and volunteer in the level and proficiency of service delivery? Absolutely. But its ok. Things are what they are.
If you volunteer somewhere thats great. Giving back to ones community is a good thing that demonstrates true civic mindedness. If you want to receive the higher level of training, experience and expertise within the fire service then try to get hired on to the paid side so that you can do the job full time and focus all of your time and attention to one thing.
Does it matter once we are on the fire ground wether we are career or volunteer? Yes it does because we are going to perceive and react differently to the same situations. We have a common goal yes, but our training, experience and ability will often be very different in achieving that end.
I believe that all firefighters should be compensated for their efforts. I also believe that all firefighters should have the same level of training. But, the reality is that until we all do this as a full time vocation then there will always be those that have more training and experience since they are devoting all of their time to one job...their profession.

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