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Old 07-04-2007, 05:21   #1
Grayson
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?s about joining a VFD, but only in a 1st responder/ems/medical capacity...?

Probably at least some of these would better be answered by the department itself, but was hoping to get some general info first...

I don't have any kind of training yet, I was hoping to take an EMT-B class this fall. At first I was mainly looking into it as a '1st aid on steroids' course - and it was about the only "1st aid class" option I HAD locally.

But I pass the local volunteer fire dept every day, and lately I can't help but think about how locals here have 'bad-mouthed' it for as long as I can remember. Yet, I don't see any of them that whine about it offering to do anything to make it BETTER!

I have seen some new people in there, but I don't know what the current roster looks like. We're WAY out in the boonies. Even IF the ambulance drivers from the nearest locale know EXACTLY where they're going, there's no way they can arrive to my community any faster than half an hour (unless via helecopter).

And they usually DON'T know where they're going. Not a slam, but like I said, we're WAY "out there." My grandmother had a heart attack a while back. It took over an hour for the ambulance to arrive. If the 1st Responders from that VFD had not been on hand to radio them, who knows when they would have arrived? They had missed a turn and were in the next COUNTY when the 1st Responders talked to them! Those local guys were a GREAT comfort to us till the "pros" got there. If not for them, *I* would probably have had a heart attack too!

So, I guess some questions I had:

**Can I join just as a 1st responder/EMT, or would I have to go "all in" and learn to be a firefighter too?

**How would it affect my current job? I work as a Certified Pharmacy Technician at least 40 hours a week, in a town 15 miles/25-ish minutes from home. How much time would I need to devote to it?

**How big would the "area" of operation be? The community is also about 15 miles away from Bakersville, NC. I remember meeting the same 1st Responders that came the night of Mamaw's heart attack heading to Bakersville the night of our infamous "jail fire."

I don't want to seem 'selfish' but my raison d'etre would be trying to help local folks out during the considerable time it takes for the "pros" to arrive to our little neck of nowhere. But I can certainly see needing all the help you can get in a disaster like the jail fire.

Hmmm....'bout all the questions I can think of for now. Any insight into the world of "VFD" would be appreciated!
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Last edited by Grayson; 07-04-2007 at 05:28..
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Old 07-04-2007, 09:21   #2
fireguy129
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Honestly, it all depends on the department. Personally, I would love some ems people in my department, but we don't run an ambulance. Stop in and chat, poke around and get a feel for the place.
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Old 07-04-2007, 09:52   #3
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It all varies with the department's SOPs. Some allow people to respond when they can. Others required a percentage of calls a month or require shifts to be picked up. As for just doing EMS/First Response, I don't think it would be an issue. You are volunteering your time and skills. Go talk to them first and see what they say. Who knows, you might just enjoy running inside a burning building.
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Old 07-04-2007, 16:09   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by RyanNREMTP
Who knows, you might just enjoy running inside a burning building.
I might, I know that my brother didn't when he almost joined up! 'Course, that was a long time ago...

I'll try to check around and see what the 'sitch' is.
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:01   #5
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My company's got plenty of folks that aren't "all out" so to speak. Got some guys, they just like directing traffic & such so they stay on just as fire police. Got other guys that are driver/operators, that's all they do. Like I tell everyone, you don't have to be able to or willing to run into a burning building in order to be of large service to your community with your local fire company. Good luck!
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Old 07-05-2007, 11:26   #6
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I'm a volunteer in Pasadena, TX and we do not run 1st responders calls but I will try to answer your other questions..

Remember when you volunteer its exactly that "Volunteer" you put in it what you want now saying that in our department I have to make 25% of the calls @ my station and 40% of the drills we have every monday

I absolutely enjoy being a volunteer fireman, I work with a bunch of great guys and gals....

I dont think it will really affect your current job, I have a 40 hr a week job, I just try to make the calls I can when I can...

I know the neighboring city to me does have volunteer EMS and they can only volunteer on the ems side and not the fire side of the department...

I would go by the station one day and ask the guys already in the department any questions you have.. Every department is different...........


You might also find that the Fire side can be just as fun and rewarding as the EMS if not more, Personally I really dont want to run EMS,..........
Good Luck



Remember also that alot of the VFD's are just professional or as you say "pros" as the "paid guys"...
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Last edited by mlanush; 07-05-2007 at 11:46..
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Old 07-05-2007, 13:12   #7
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Everyone should at least take a first responder class. Basic EMT would be even better. Whether you use it or not, it's good stuff to know.
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Old 07-05-2007, 21:39   #8
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Why do the locals badmouth your fire department?

If your nearest EMS station is that far away, your local FD should look into a First Responder program. It sounds like your town would greatly benefit having one of your fire units carry a trauma bag, some oxygen, and an AED. Because of the distance from your town to the nearest EMS station, perhaps the ems provider would set you up with some equipment they are no longer using and there are MANY grants available to purchase AED's, esp. in rural areas such as yours. Stop by the FD on their next training night and ask what you can do to help.
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Old 07-06-2007, 17:03   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by mlanush
Remember also that alot of the VFD's are just professional or as you say "pros" as the "paid guys"...
D'oh - no disrespect intended to volunteers. Part of the reason why I used the italics. They may have been better equipped, and had an actual ambulance, but they sure as heck didn't know the "lay of the land" down where I live!

DepChief - the Responders DID have at least Oxygen with them. Luckily, there was no need to see whether or not they had the rest of the stuff you mentioned.
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