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  #1  
Old 07-13-2012, 11:35 AM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Do "Volunteer Firefighters" actually not get paid?

In the US, it's common to see "Volunteer Fire Departments" that are staffed by "Volunteer Firefighters". There seem to be two definitions of the term "volunteer" as it relates to work - one means a worker that has literally agreed to work for no pay, and another is a worker that has agreed, with their own free will, to work at a specific job for pay, as opposed to being forced to work there as a draftee, convict, or slave.

Generally, are American "Volunteer Firefighters" actually not paid or given benefits, and being a volunteer firefighter is similar to helping at the food bank? Do "volunteer firefighters" actually get paid, and the real reason they are called that is because, in the past, some people were forced to become firefighters against their will as unfree labor (for example as a slave or as part of a criminal sentence), but "volunteer" firefighters chose to sign up as a firefighter when they could have picked another career?

If volunteer firefighters are truly not paid, how does this work economically for them? Do people really spend money to get training only to work for no pay? Are volunteer firefighters primarily rich people of means and spouses of high-income people who can afford to not have a paying job? Is being a volunteer firefighter used as an investment in skills and experience and the volunteer firefighters are constantly looking forward to the day that they can get hired as a paid firefighter, so being a volunteer firefighter is an internship of sorts?

Last edited by robert_columbia; 07-13-2012 at 11:39 AM..
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  #2  
Old 07-13-2012, 11:38 AM
friedo friedo is online now
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Yes, they are volunteers. As in they do not get paid.

It's not their full time job. You go in a few hours a week and maybe sleep at the firehouse one or two nights a week. Most departments will have a paid chief and/or professional commanders on staff.
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  #3  
Old 07-13-2012, 11:41 AM
Loach Loach is offline
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On our department they get a small stipend according to how many calls they make. Comes out to maybe $1000 a year. Initial training is paid for. We have no paid members. Other towns do.

Last edited by Loach; 07-13-2012 at 11:41 AM..
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  #4  
Old 07-13-2012, 11:51 AM
kanicbird kanicbird is online now
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There is no pay, but there is certain benefits, but for most volunteers it is not about the benefits, it's about a drive within that they want to help, and just the expense of wear and tear on the cars cold starting in winter at night and driving hard to make it to the firehouse most likely cancels out the benefits. The benefits are just a nice 'thank you'

But some of the benefits are a break on property taxes OR a state tax rebate of a $200 - usually the $200 is greater, after 5 years of service there is a pension of $20 per year of service paid monthly after age 60, anual physicals are paid by the company and also training so free education for fire related schooling. Then you can get into company specific benefits, most VFD's have some form of life insurance for on duty and responding to a call, it usually does not cost much more to include them when off duty, so many have some form of life insurance. A few years ago there was a law passes that any VFF who develops asbestose lung disease later in life it would be automatically be assumed to be caused on duty which helps medical with expenses.
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Old 07-13-2012, 11:54 AM
silenus silenus is offline
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My cousin is a volunteer fire-fighter in Washington. According to him, he gets paid a small stipend for being the secretary and everybody gets paid on a per-call basis.
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Old 07-13-2012, 12:06 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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In the small suburban Connecticut town in which I grew up, the fire department is all volunteers. I don't think any of them are rich; they do it as a community service thing (and I think it's also a social activity).
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  #7  
Old 07-13-2012, 12:07 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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In the places I have lived with a volunteer fire department, they don't get paid but there is often one paid Fire Chief in charge of it all. It operates mostly like a social club or fraternal organization except they have real responsibilities. They generally hang out together, run fundraisers, and enjoy the thrill of being a firefighter so they don't need the pay to attract enough people.

In my hometown, high school volunteer firefighters could leave school in the event of a big fire so that was incentive enough. What teenage guy wouldn't enter a burning building rather than listening to an English teacher drone on about poetry?

Last edited by Shagnasty; 07-13-2012 at 12:10 PM..
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  #8  
Old 07-13-2012, 12:07 PM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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My town's VFD does not pay anyone. In fact, individuals pay for some of their own equipment and are reimbursed to the extent fundraising allows!
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  #9  
Old 07-13-2012, 12:14 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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My father in law was a member of a volunteer fire department, and he was not rich. He was paid a small amount per call. At the end of the year he got a check for around $1000 I believe. He did not do it for the money. His fire district only lhad 4 paid staff. Enough to cover the house 24/7. When he bought his house he wanted fire protection and if no one volunteered then no fire department. It is called comunity. He was a member of the department over 25 years, then served as the fire commissioner.

Where I lived out in the county the fire department only had a Chief. If no one answered the call the fire would rage on uncontrolled. By becoming a member of the volunteer fire department it gave you insurance when answering a fire call. Also out in the country if we saw smoke we grabed shovles and hoes and head to the smoke. It was better to keep the fire small.

And a funny story about my FIL. The week after his orientation while he was at work he heard the fire horn going off. His first fire call, should he leave work or not? He started counting the horn blast. He realised "thats my neighborhood". then "thats my street". And finally "thats my house". He answered the fire call. His son had been playing with matches and started a fire in a grass field. By the way my brother in law jioned the fire department years later and replaced his dad as commmissioner.
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  #10  
Old 07-13-2012, 12:27 PM
Hershele Ostropoler Hershele Ostropoler is offline
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
There is no pay, but there is certain benefits, but for most volunteers it is not about the benefits, it's about a drive within that they want to help, and just the expense of wear and tear on the cars cold starting in winter at night and driving hard to make it to the firehouse most likely cancels out the benefits. The benefits are just a nice 'thank you'
Well, probably not just

But I doubt anyone does it solely for that.
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  #11  
Old 07-13-2012, 12:32 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is offline
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Remember the Greek philosophers? Someone can be paid in money or in prestige (and I think there was a third option, but I forget what it is). Volunteer firefighters are paid in prestige - and often in "connections" whereby they get out of parking tickets and even minor traffic violations (not legally, of course). People jump to get them a beer and listen to their stories. Women want to be with them, and men want to be them. They get to hang out with the guys setting stuff on fire and putting it out again for "training exercises", and their wives don't get to bitch about it.*

And a lot of them, in my experience, are the kind of people who would drive over to see a cool fire whether or not they were firefighters. They're as gossipy as old hens, and keep their scanners on even when they're not on duty, just to see what's going on around town. Often you'll have three guys "on duty" and a call for a single rig for a small fire, and you get to the fire and find a dozen other members of the team standing around because they just felt like coming to see what's happening.

And some of them are closet arsonists, sadly. The healthier ones confine the urge to fireworks and bonfires at parties; the sickest ones may actually set the house or field fires they then go put out with the rig.

Source: my SO was a volunteer firefighter and paramedic for nearly 40 years. He still listens to his scanner, and he retired 3 years ago.




*And yes, that paragraph is full of gender stereotypes, but so are most volunteer firehalls.
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  #12  
Old 07-13-2012, 12:52 PM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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I grew up hanging out at the VFD. My father and brother were members. They got no pay at all, but indirectly their efforts helped get the community a better fire protection rating so I guess they paid less in homeowner's insurance as a result (but so did everyone else in town). The department did not have any paid members, not even the chief. The state has a Volunteer Fire Fighter specialty license plate which members could get at the same price as a regular plate (or maybe even free? not sure) so some very minor value there.

We would regularly sleep overnight at the station. Whenever a call for service came in any members qualified to respond would jump and go. If we needed more we started making phone calls. Every shift we made calls to put together a list of members who could be on call. Membership required a certain amount of on call shifts and a certain number of duty shifts at the station. Some of our more active members for pulling station duty were retired or disabled and could not respond themselves but could make phone calls with the best of them.

The department received some funding from the county and did fundraisers for the rest. I spent many nights stuffing envelopes as a result. Department funds paid for equipment and training, though some members did buy radios and the like.

When the chief retired his son was elected. The son was still in high school at the time! The son once exercised his authority to take control of the school when a bomb threat was called in and he felt the vice principal was being less than fully cooperative. The sheriff backed him up on it. What teenager wouldn't love that!?

We did have a few people perform court ordered community service at the fire station - cleaning, washing trucks, and such. They were never ordered to join the department and I'm not sure we would have accepted such members.
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  #13  
Old 07-13-2012, 12:55 PM
ThisSpaceForRent ThisSpaceForRent is offline
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Originally Posted by Loach View Post
On our department they get a small stipend according to how many calls they make. Comes out to maybe $1000 a year. Initial training is paid for. We have no paid members. Other towns do.
That was my experience as a Volunteer Fireman. We got $xx.00 for each call we responded to. We bought our own "under-gear" (FP hoods/gloves/socks), our turnout (outer) gear, helmet and boots were company issued. Any other supplemental gear was up to us...helmet lights, car lights etc.

ALL training was free. I got to FF II and HazMat certified.

We got paid once a year...right before Christmas. Typically $1200 or more...officers got more but were NOT full time.

FTR...the 1200$ was usually spent on replacement clothes and supplemental gear.

We used a centrally placed Storm siren and Tone alerts...radios that sent coded tones to direct us to either the Firehouse or the scene, whichever was closer or quicker to respond to.

Every department runs different...some similar and some very different.

This was in Illinois.
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  #14  
Old 07-13-2012, 01:00 PM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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able bodied civic minded people volunteer. if you want fire protection for yourself, relatives and neighbors then people have to step up. local employers will try to accommodate the volunteers, it is also in their interest if they want to have fire protection for their business.

i expect that with different situations of geography and costs that fire departments have different ways they run things.
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  #15  
Old 07-13-2012, 01:16 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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I believe it's why they are called volunteers. I know of fire districts that have some positions paid, and others purely volunteer. I was asked to be a driver for one department, which would have included some pay for some reason having to do with insurance. Often the chief and other officers recieve some pay. Also, many departments not only do not pay, but require time spent in training, community activities, and fund raising.

If I don't say it often enough on the SDMB, and I don't recall saying it before, so I don't, firefighters are the real heroes in this country, and always have been. And volunteers are at the top of the list. These are people who run into burning buildings to save lifes. They don't ask questions about the politics or religion of people in there before going, and the volunteers don't get paid. They do it because it is the right thing to do, even if it may cost them their life.
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  #16  
Old 07-13-2012, 02:19 PM
astro astro is offline
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The usually get some kind of insurance and small stipend and free training and some other minor bennies.

The reality is that being a firefighter in a small community VFD is interesting and occasionally exciting enough you'd have people doing it as volunteers even if they had to pay for the privilege (and on a certain level they kind of do).

They do a lot of good but the flip side is that some (certainly not all) VFDs are very insular, cliquish, often very conservative, and sometimes quite racist.
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  #17  
Old 07-13-2012, 02:31 PM
Alpha Twit Alpha Twit is offline
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I looked into becoming a volunteer firefighter in my small town. At that time (about 15 years ago) there was a small stipend per call. Twelve dollars from six AM to ten PM weekdays and twenty dollars the rest of the time. Training sessions also earned the stipend but classroom work and the monthly administrative meeting didn't. The department was so small that we didn't have any full time, paid professional firefighters but some of the senior members did pull down a small monthly income (under $50) regardless of activity.

One benefit they did get was an excellent insurance policy for death/disability paid by the city.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:03 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
Remember the Greek philosophers? Someone can be paid in money or in prestige (and I think there was a third option, but I forget what it is). Volunteer firefighters are paid in prestige - and often in "connections" whereby they get out of parking tickets and even minor traffic violations (not legally, of course). People jump to get them a beer and listen to their stories. Women want to be with them, and men want to be them. They get to hang out with the guys setting stuff on fire and putting it out again for "training exercises", and their wives don't get to bitch about it.*

And a lot of them, in my experience, are the kind of people who would drive over to see a cool fire whether or not they were firefighters. They're as gossipy as old hens, and keep their scanners on even when they're not on duty, just to see what's going on around town. Often you'll have three guys "on duty" and a call for a single rig for a small fire, and you get to the fire and find a dozen other members of the team standing around because they just felt like coming to see what's happening.

And some of them are closet arsonists, sadly. The healthier ones confine the urge to fireworks and bonfires at parties; the sickest ones may actually set the house or field fires they then go put out with the rig.

Source: my SO was a volunteer firefighter and paramedic for nearly 40 years. He still listens to his scanner, and he retired 3 years ago.




*And yes, that paragraph is full of gender stereotypes, but so are most volunteer firehalls.
My Father in Law always kept his driver's licience next to his fire badge. As far as I know he was stopped many times but only recieved a warning never a ticket.

Last edited by Snnipe 70E; 07-13-2012 at 03:03 PM..
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  #19  
Old 07-13-2012, 03:27 PM
Lord Feldon Lord Feldon is online now
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A lot of volunteer firefighters around here are paid firefighters at other departments.
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Old 07-13-2012, 03:27 PM
Step Down Step Down is offline
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Originally Posted by kanicbird View Post
, and just the expense of wear and tear on the cars cold starting in winter at night and driving hard to make it to the firehouse most likely cancels out the benefits. The benefits are just a nice 'thank you' .
Note to self, do not purchase a used car from a volunteer fire fighter, just make a generous donation when they come around each year.

steppy
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  #21  
Old 07-13-2012, 03:28 PM
Nars Glinley Nars Glinley is offline
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When I was a volunteer, we got zero pay. We didn't pay for our training or our gear, it came from fundraisers and state grants. I did it because inside of every man there's a little boy that dreamed about being a fireman. But then, I never had to run into a burning building. Out here in the sticks, we mainly put out grass fires.
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Old 07-13-2012, 04:45 PM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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As you can see, it varies by town. Ours are unpaid, even the chief. They all have regular jobs and are allowed to go fight fires when the call comes in. There isn't any place to sleep at the fire house. The training (initial and ongoing) is paid for by the department. The department generates it's revenue from charging for calls and donations.
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  #23  
Old 07-13-2012, 04:48 PM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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Also, our volunteer fire department has no trouble getting volunteers. The volunteer ambulance service on the other hand is hurting badly.
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  #24  
Old 07-13-2012, 04:58 PM
Ravenman Ravenman is offline
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
There seem to be two definitions of the term "volunteer" as it relates to work ... another is a worker that has agreed, with their own free will, to work at a specific job for pay, as opposed to being forced to work there as a draftee, convict, or slave.
Other than someone who volunteered for military service, is this definition actually used for a paying job? I don't believe I've ever heard this term used before. "I volunteered for a job at McDonalds?" Nope, that doesn't sound right.
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Old 07-13-2012, 05:01 PM
Kimballkid Kimballkid is offline
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I think he means someone who voluntarily applied for and accepted a job rather than being forced into it as part of community service or indentured servitude or slavery or conscription. At least that's the way I read it.

Last edited by Kimballkid; 07-13-2012 at 05:02 PM..
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  #26  
Old 07-13-2012, 05:56 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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Having done payroll for a client who runs a volunteer fire department, I can say that these guys do get paid. It isn't much and it's only paid when they're out fighting a fire. They do an awful lot of training and other hours that are unpaid. After a dispute with the IRS over certain issues, I can even tell you that there are sections of the tax code with specific breaks for compensated volunteer firefighters.
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  #27  
Old 07-13-2012, 06:36 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
Other than someone who volunteered for military service, is this definition actually used for a paying job? I don't believe I've ever heard this term used before. "I volunteered for a job at McDonalds?" Nope, that doesn't sound right.
This was my intent, but I've really only heard the term in the context of military service. For example, there seem to have historically been many regiments named the <something> Volunteer[s], etc., such as The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. My understanding was that Volunteer regiments were composed of people, who, of their own free will, decided that being a soldier was better than working in a factory, farming, or doing whatever else and decided to sign on the dotted line, not because they got a draft notice or because a judge ordered them to serve in the Army as part of their sentence.

Does anyone know if the term "volunteer" has ever been used in such a sense outside the military? For example, in the antebellum (US) South, there were enslaved farmhands. Were free people who chose to become paid farmhands ever called "volunteers" to distinguish them from slaves?

Is there any precedent anywhere for firefighters who were unfree labor? E.g., "It is the judgment of this court that the defendant is found guilty of a felony and is ordered to pay a fine of $1000 and serve as a full-time firefighter in the City Fire Department for a period of one year."

Last edited by robert_columbia; 07-13-2012 at 06:40 PM..
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  #28  
Old 07-13-2012, 07:13 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Originally Posted by Lord Feldon View Post
A lot of volunteer firefighters around here are paid firefighters at other departments.
Interestingly enough, this is not universal. Main line paid city departments often have contractual restrictions on moonlighting with other EMS agencies. There is almost always problems with getting sick calls and vacations covered, not to mention the possibility of becoming injured fighting someone elses fire.
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  #29  
Old 07-13-2012, 07:45 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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In most small towns, the firefighters are all volunteer, and often no one gets paid at all. The chief is just the person willing to take on that responsibility.

The advantage is that a volunteer fire department is cheaper to fund, which can make a difference in a rural area's tax base. The disadvantage is, of course, that it's slower to respond. The firefighters are called to the fire station by a siren (in the old days; I suppose it can be done by text today) and then go out to the call. Obviously that slows the time, since they have to get to the fire station before going out on a call. But if you live in an area that only has one or two fires a year -- if that -- it's not as necessary.

My father was a volunteer fireman for decades, though he gave it up in the mid-1960s. My grandfather back in the 1920s was a part of the alert system. People would call the telephone operator, whose office was above his store, and report the fire. The siren would go off and he would get the address from the telephone operator. The firetruck would pass his store and he'd shout out the address.

A large number of fire departments in the US were volunteer; only the biggest cities had paid departments. Some cities even have competing fire brigades who would sometimes fight over who would put out the fire (and there were cased when the issue wasn't settled until after the fire went out). I think the city brigades had a subscription -- you paid to get protection from them. That could lead to trouble if a fire started in a house that didn't pay the subscription, then spread to other houses. It was decided that a municipal department was needed to cover everyone, while rural areas stuck with volunteers.

The operating expenses for a volunteer fire department was usually paid for by a tax levy, which paid the mortgage, bought equipment, paid for training, etc. The firehouse also was the community center, built with space for large meetings.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:12 PM
N9IWP N9IWP is offline
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My sister was a FF. She got paid. I beleive it was $X per call and possibly $Y for every hour after the first.

Brian
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:19 PM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Originally Posted by RealityChuck View Post
A large number of fire departments in the US were volunteer; only the biggest cities had paid departments. Some cities even have competing fire brigades who would sometimes fight over who would put out the fire (and there were cased when the issue wasn't settled until after the fire went out). I think the city brigades had a subscription -- you paid to get protection from them.
I seem to remember that this idea (of competing fire brigades) was portrayed in the Martin Scorcese film Gangs of New York.
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Old 07-13-2012, 08:33 PM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
...
Is there any precedent anywhere for firefighters who were unfree labor? E.g., "It is the judgment of this court that the defendant is found guilty of a felony and is ordered to pay a fine of $1000 and serve as a full-time firefighter in the City Fire Department for a period of one year."
I have heard of inmates being used for labor in wildfire control.

The bio section about the author of this article on smokejumpers has a mention of spending time in "female inmate fire camps of Los Angeles County Fire Department."

And another article from yahoo on Arizona inmates does specifically mention "[r]eceiving minimum compensation for such feats."

Last edited by Iggy; 07-13-2012 at 08:38 PM..
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  #33  
Old 07-13-2012, 08:45 PM
Raguleader Raguleader is offline
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On a related note, at Texas A&M (and perhaps other colleges), the ambulances are operated by student volunteers. The drivers, EMTs in the back of the ambulance, dispatcher back at the office, etc., with a paid professional as their supervisor. They have to be full-time students, in good academic standing (not flunking out, basically), and are only paid a meal allowance to get food while on their 12 hour shifts.

That said, they get all of their training and certification for free, and thanks to the recent technological miracle of wireless radios, they can often attend class despite being on duty. The professors are generally understanding if the uniformed paramedic in their class gets a call on their radio, grabs their stuff, and runs out of the room to jump in the waiting ambulance parked out front.
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:36 PM
Gbro Gbro is offline
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Astro;s words;
Quote:
They do a lot of good but the flip side is that some (certainly not all) VFDs are very insular, cliquish, often very conservative, and sometimes quite racist.
I have to agree with Astro on much, but it is also a place where people come together from varying social standings and work hand in hand for the good of the community. What i mean is the banker and the bus driver whom may never otherwise be associated outside of the different sides of the bankers desk like working on a loan for a pickup.



Quote:
Is there any precedent anywhere for firefighters who were unfree labor? E.g., "It is the judgment of this court that the defendant is found guilty of a felony and is ordered to pay a fine of $1000 and serve as a full-time firefighter in the City Fire Department for a period of one year."
Back when the city had it's own "Honey Wagon" we would see people working off fines and such but not as a firefighter.

I put in 21 years as a firefighter and we would identify ourselves as Professional FF's rather than what our by-law's called us, [Volunteer]. The reason is that there are true Volunteer's and we had a stipend and a lump sum longevity award that is sometimes refereed as a pension.
Our award comes from the 2 percent returned back to fire departments from insurance company's.
Also with the medical screening's training requirements and such, Volunteer isn't the best fitting title.
And many Career FF's also belong to small community/rural brigades/departments.

Back in the early 80's our retirees would get the 20+ year award in cash without paying any taxes on it. Then that was changed and it was actually legislated in MN that the state would reimburse a FF up to $1000.00 withheld by the IRS.
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  #35  
Old 07-13-2012, 11:04 PM
Flyer Flyer is offline
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
Is there any precedent anywhere for firefighters who were unfree labor? E.g., "It is the judgment of this court that the defendant is found guilty of a felony and is ordered to pay a fine of $1000 and serve as a full-time firefighter in the City Fire Department for a period of one year."
It's quite common in Western states, although not in the way that you suggest. Colorado has a State Wildland Inmate Fire Team.

http://cozine.com/2011-july/swift-cr...olorado-fires/
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  #36  
Old 07-13-2012, 11:59 PM
Mangosteen Mangosteen is offline
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A guy that I used to work with was a VFF. He told me that he wanted to get a job as a fire fighter for the city (paid) and if he had say "5 years VFF" on his resume it would help.

Made sense to me. Would this really help him get a job as a city Fire Fighter?
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  #37  
Old 07-14-2012, 12:22 AM
Shosy Shosy is offline
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In various towns where I live there has been a movement to give volunteer firemen and EMTs a fairly substantial tax break. It's difficult to even begin to cover the personal time and expenses these people spend each year to keep up with their training.

The biggest problem these days with volunteer firemen and EMTs is that often few can actually afford to work in the town they are serving, not through fault of their own, but that's the way it is.

That said, towns need to think of the substantial savings they get from a volunteer force, rather than having a full time force (tempered with maybe they really need a full time force for practical reasons).

A town nearby which is mostly residential, but also has a concentrated warehouse area is hybrid, they have a full time force on part of the town (to attract businesses) and a volunteer force for most of the residential area. They, of course have radius restrictions (you must work within x miles of the coverage area..which could be in another town) in order to be a volunteer fireman.
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Old 07-14-2012, 12:32 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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I was a volunteer firefighter and EMT. We received no pay. I also lived in the firehouse with the understanding that I would run calls whenever needed in addition to my regularly assigned shitfs. At the time in my county, we only had paid firefighters until 5.30 pm, then it was all volunteer.

A lot of the volunteers were actually paid firefighters from other jurisdictions who volunteered in their free time. A guy I went to highschool and with whom I was a volunteer, is now a paid Washington DC firefighter and still volunteers in Virginia. If they'd let him, he'd fight fires and run calls wherever he is on vacation.

Last edited by madmonk28; 07-14-2012 at 12:33 AM..
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  #39  
Old 07-14-2012, 01:07 AM
Shosy Shosy is offline
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Originally Posted by madmonk28 View Post
I was a volunteer firefighter and EMT. We received no pay. I also lived in the firehouse with the understanding that I would run calls whenever needed in addition to my regularly assigned shitfs. At the time in my county, we only had paid firefighters until 5.30 pm, then it was all volunteer.

A lot of the volunteers were actually paid firefighters from other jurisdictions who volunteered in their free time. A guy I went to highschool and with whom I was a volunteer, is now a paid Washington DC firefighter and still volunteers in Virginia. If they'd let him, he'd fight fires and run calls wherever he is on vacation.
God Bless the man
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:36 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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Yeah, he's a good egg. He actually broke his back on the job a few years ago and DCFD wanted him to take early retirement on disability, but he fought the ruling, went through a lot of physical rehab and got reinstated. He is insane, but the man loves his job.
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Old 07-15-2012, 01:01 AM
sitchensis sitchensis is offline
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Originally Posted by Flyer View Post
It's quite common in Western states, although not in the way that you suggest. Colorado has a State Wildland Inmate Fire Team.

http://cozine.com/2011-july/swift-cr...olorado-fires/
Just to be clear, they are not sentenced to fight fire by a judge. When they get to prison they can apply for a variety of jobs, firefighting is one of the options.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:13 AM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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Originally Posted by Shosy View Post
... That said, towns need to think of the substantial savings they get from a volunteer force, rather than having a full time force (tempered with maybe they really need a full time force for practical reasons).
.
And the savings isn't just to the town government... it is to each and every person paying homeowners insurance.

IIRC the average savings on homeowner's insurance was something like 40% based upon the fire protection (ISO rating 7) provided by our VFD (as compared to the previous situation - no service at all!(ISO rating 10)). We would ask for $50 annually per household in donation to help keep, and try to improve) that rating.

Fire ratings impact insurance rates
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