Personnel issues. [Archive] - Glock Talk

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emrgnc
02-04-2008, 15:40
Ok, I'm a Capt. for a Dept. on the outskirts of a large city. We have 7 stations and over 20 pieces of apparatus. Along with rescue boats and several different specialized teams. (Confined space, high angle Haz-mat. ect). My station runs on average 10 calls a week. Sometimes more, sometimes less, just like any other dept. We have everything from multi story commercial buildings to a municipal airport, farm land to major state highway. Govt. apts to multi million dollar homes. We use the newest equipment and get the best training. We have full workers comp. insurance and just about everything else a big city Dept. has. But....Were Volunteer!

I understand that My dept. has alot of things some volunteer Dept's. don't have. The one thing we don't have is the "I'm better than you" attitude. I have seen alot of it in the last 18yrs on this job. "Oh, your one of those guys" attitude. Alot, (NOT ALL) of the paid Dept. guys have this big ego they carry around and they think that just because they get a pay check from a city, they are in some way better trained or better equipped to do the same job we do. Does the fire burn hotter for the paid guys? Again, not all "career" fire fighters are like this, but I have ran in to my fair share. Even some of the volunteers who go on to paid dept. sometimes come back with this attitude. My dept. does employ a day time duty crew at three of the seven stations during the week to make up for the drop in vol. personnel from 9-5.
I have found that at my station, some members of the duty crew are just plain lazy. I have found empty air bottles on my truck after a fire, Dirty Sheetrock caked air masks, trash left out ect. ect. Things that I would assume would get them in alot of trouble at there "paid" dept. So why do it when your at MY house? Just because your working a side job for a Vol. dept. does that make there actions less dangerous for the volunteers? when one of the Volunteers goes to put on the empty air pack and dirty mask on at the next "volunteer" house fire, will he be in less danger because he doesn't get paid? What would you think if it happened to you?


I expect two things out of firefighters at my station. I don't care if your a carrier or volunteer. #1 -Clean up after yourself. ( Tools, equipment, station) and #2- Put stuff back where its supposed to go. looking for a radio or flashlight thats not in its specific location while en-rout to a call can be a bad start to an already bad situation.
Granted, no one is perfect and the volunteers make there share of mistakes also. But, unlike with the paid guys, I am there supervisor and correct those problems when they arise. As far as the paid guys, I have to go to there boss to get issues resolved. Its frustrating.

Some of the duty crew guys already don't care for me because I have called them out on some issues. The empty air bottles, apparatus with no fuel after they have used it all day long Again, all things that I assume would get them in trouble at there Dept.

I tell these guys, I'm not expecting them to do anything special, Just do what your supposed to do. Paid or volunteer, do what your supposed to do!



Any one else have these (paid-Vol.) issues?

IAFirNaTine
02-04-2008, 20:01
As a former volunteer and now a paid firefighter/paramedic, I totally understand what you are talking about. I got that all the time when i was a volly. I seriously dont understand it. We are all in the fight together. We have one of "those guys at our dept. And to be honest he is a terrible Firefighter. Maybe he feels threatened. None of the rest of us are like that. I respect all FF's. I know I do it for the love of the job. I would still volunteer if i could, but i live in the city I get paid by.

I think combination depts are just asking for trouble. IMHO

Are you the paid guys' capt. too?

DaleGribble
02-05-2008, 10:27
The cleanliness problem transcends the whole paid vs. volunteer issue. I work with a couple of guys that are nothing but slobs and I can't stand it. I won't pick up after them. I won't do their dishes and I refuse to allow them to leave plates of uneaten food laying around for hours and I will raise hell about that in a heart beat. It's just disgusting and it should never be tolerated. I make it my goal to leave the station without any sign of my presence having been there for an entire shift. I clean my crap up, I put my dishes away and I leave nothing of mine there for anyone else to clean up.

As for the bad attitude of some towards your volunteer department, that's just ego, nothing more, nothing less. Some folks are of the opinion that they do the job better because as someone that does the job full time, they get more experience than the volunteers that don't do the job as often. While that may be true in some cases, it doesn't excuse the bad attitude. Their is no room for that sort of behavior in this field, especially when budgets are shrinking and quality personnel are getting harder to find.

I think a lot of the bad attitude stems from poor self esteem. I've seen a few people try to rag on the volunteers and without exception, every single one of them had some kind of severe social defect. Most of them had trouble taking orders, most of them were generally poor performers and every single one of them experienced lots of conflict with their full time counterparts. Overall, they were usually the bottom of the barrel types that no one likes to be around.

With that said, some volunteers also bring some of the negativity on themselves. I've seen more than a few volunteers that were totally incompetent, had poor attitudes and also displayed the classic "Ricky Rescue" mentality. Every time I run into one of those guys I politely minimize the amount of patient contact they get and assign them a job that gets them out of the way. Thankfully those types are in the minority and the vast majority of the volunteers I sometimes depend on are people that actually want to perform well and actually believe in serving their fellow man.

Every single full timer has had a bad experience with a volunteer just like every single volunteer has had a bad experience with a full timer. The key to getting along is recognizing that the individual isn't a reflection of the entire group, at least not in most cases and that applies equally to both full timers and volunteers.

Either way, I always make it a point to tell the good volunteers "thanks" because without them I'd be up **** creek without a paddle on the serious calls.

My advice, if your agency is having a lot of problems, run off any **** birds in your outfit and get the ones that are squared away out there working with the paid guys.

emrgnc
02-06-2008, 17:34
Are you the paid guys' capt. too?



No, I have no say so over them whatsoever.


Gribble, I agree 100% on the attitude of some volunteers. I'm a police officer and have pulled over several guys acting an ass on the road in there pov's. I drop the name of there chief (I know all of the 5 surrounding Dept's) and
ask them if they would like for me to call them as I pull out my cell phone. They generally give me this Holy %$#@ look and start apologizing profusely. I tell them that acting like that is what gives volunteer firefighters a bad name. and If I see it again, I promise, you will not be one for long. Have only had one repeat run in and he was gone from the dept. the next week.

I pound in to my guys (and Gal's) head that to be looked at as a professional, we have to act like a professional. That goes in and out of the fire station.

mark996
02-11-2008, 19:19
I started as a volly before getting my fire and emt cert, now I'm just a part time FF/EMT since I'm full time in Law Enforcement. The dept I work for has no problems with any volunteers or anything. They're all very welcoming and will answer any questions volunteers have. Now yes...there is the little initiation game that gets played and it only gets played once here, after that, it's no more. It doesn't matter if I'm at the station working a shift, or getting toned out from my house, the department I work for is very professional and very warm and welcoming. Us paid guys in small departments rely on volunteers for large call outs. It's a great thing to know that we have a volunteer corp that will respond and get knee deep in crap just like the rest of us, for free. I respect everything volunteers go through, and wish things would change, but unfortunately I don't see that happening. Good luck with everything there Cap. Keep at it, I know it can get rough but we're all in this fight together.

D25
02-14-2008, 13:32
I started off as a vollie, then got a paid job at a combo fire department, and now work for a private air and ground agency. When I started at my current gig, I soon realized that I had a big problem with the volunteer firefighters that would assist us. Instead of whining about the volunteers and the skills that they lacked, I decided to do something about it. The first thing that was readily apparent was the fact that less than 10% were EMTs. They could do CPR, but beyond that they were often of little assistance. 6 months later and I've got 12 folks preparing for their NREMT exam. MCIs are another weak point, for everyone- not just vollies, but I found that nobody in my neck of the woods knew what ICS or START triage is- so we are doing a series of training exercises.

I agree that the career vs vollie thing is pure BS. If your a vollie and are getting crapped on by some paid guy then ask him to come out and teach a class to get everyone up to speed. He'll either do it and you'll be better, or he'll realize that he is full of hot air- and hopefully STFU.