Kinda late on this one, but...
There is a difference. Now pride, dedication may all be the same, but volume of calls and real life experience are where the line is drawn. I have a vollie town by me, that have officers that can't make calls or drills due to their real job. Then they make the rig after 6 months of no training and expect to be fresh and ready, not going to happen! Career firefighters are going on pin-ins, house fires, full-arrests a lot more than the vollies. Again, that is where the line ends. You miss a rig for 3-6 months, are you up to date on reading smoke, fire behavior, moving line inside a structure? Again, the pride and dedication may be there, but the experience may not. My station went to a 2-11 this morning, My guys were making a hallway with the line on the second floor of a sfd. One member of a vollie job was with them, 3rd on the line. All made the hall except the 4 man, he was humping hose, a door gave way and the fire in the room flashed down the hall. Now experience told my 2 guys, in front of the vollie, that the fire would burn off the un-burned particles of combustion in the hall, then recied back into the fire room, they hunkered down, hit the ceiling with the line quick, next thing the fire was gone and they made the room and hit the fire. The vollie screamed and tried to stand up. The 4 man had come up stairs and held him down. Outside the vollie said he thought he was going to die in a flashover. More experience would have told him otherwise. That is all I am saying. No slams against vollies at all. I have the utmost respect respect for those that do the job for free or close to it. But someone almost died this morning, or got real crispy, from a lack of knowledge of fire beh and interior experience. But you better be dam sure he had a 'no fear'. 'follow me', 'rehab is for quitters' stickers on his helmet. Please don't come at me with mad replies taht I am a career guy that hates vollies. Read my bio, I teach for one of the largest Fire Training Institutes in the world. I see tons of vollies come through for live fire training. They tell me themselves that they have a huge lack of real experience. I have some people say they have not been in a fire in 2-3 years. There is a serious lack of experience there.
FYI... you taught me some valuable knowledge during Coordinate FG several years back!
All be safe and KTF.