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  1. #1
    Super Member txdon's Avatar
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    Default Rural Volunteer Fire Department

    I just found out that our great state is on its way to passing a bill that will require volunteer firefighters to have a minimum educational and training standards and have continuing education. Are there any other states that have set mandates for their volunteer fire departments? Has it affected recruitment? Thanks.
    TXDon

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Rural Volunteer Fire Department

    I would say it is getting closer everyday in Illinois. Our department tried to make a bunch of requirements a few years ago and a lot of members quit including me. I just could not keep up with all the training with work and my sons activities, so after 20 plus years I quit. I was asked to rejoin and so I did but under the understanding that I would do what I could and my family and work came first. When I joined 23 years ago I went to all the trainings and calls. That was before I was married and had kids. These states need to remember that it is a volunteer organization. It does not pay the bills. I got a check for $50 for my service to the dept. last year. I know you have to train but you also have to provide for your family.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Rural Volunteer Fire Department

    We train a lot more, and are held to higher standards than before.

    There is a lot more info out there now, a lot more knowledge. It takes more effort for sure. But, there are a lot of things in the business that can kill you too.We are better euipped and better trained to deal with more situations than before. And, with more than 80% of calls being medical, we have a lot more medical requirements. A majority of us in our district have gone to the local JC for EMT certification. I got mine initially in '99.

    It is harder to keep folks, and harder to recruit.

    In my district, we are primarily rural, with some bedroom communities. Most of the districts around here are a mixed full time and volunteer. My station is staffed 24x7 with three on the first out Engine, and two on a medic unit. We have a mix of staffed and unstaffed stations in the district.

    We not only get called in if there is an incident, we also go in to provide constant coverage at the station. Last summer when we had lightening strikes, me and another volunteer provided coverage at one of our districts stations 30 miles from our own station.

    Our district is pretty understanding about having family, kids ect. Becuase we have 7 staffed stations which provide our training, we can typically train at another station to catch up on a different day/eve. We have a few different trainings a month, spread between stations since our district is so large. My stations training is 1st/3rd wednesday of each month.

    Recruitment is hard in my area too, because it is a bedroom community. Many people commute some distance to work. It's nt like the old days when most colunteers worked locally, and could(pretty much expected to) leave work to go to a call. Hard to do if you work 45 minutes away. And, companies in the city do not relate to that idea so much... You want to leave work why?... My previous job was really good about it though.

    It's harder to get commitments from folks now too.

    The other thing is, it is hard on the fire district when someone realizes how much of a commitment it can be, and drops out. It costs a lot these days to run a volunteer academt and to gear people up.
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  4. #4
    Super Member schmism's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rural Volunteer Fire Department

    As a serving member of my local VFD....

    What are the state requirements? what requirements are enforced? what does each company require because it feels that is the minimum required to be a well trained member of the dept?

    each are very different.

    As for affecting recruitment? I dont know that i want a bunch of rescue rickies running around pretending to be trained first responders when they arnt.

    I guess there is a fine line between having no one to help period and having ill trained people that may make things worse (because they dont know any better)

    So from one perspective (worst case scenario) the person needing rescue is the only one dieing instead of having 2 or 3 additional people that went in to "help" without proper training and now you have twice or three times (or more) dead people.

    In my dept the district (made up of 3 companies) does not require any specified training. Recently our company has decided to pass our own more stringent rules requiring min training hrs. our company runs EMS calls (non transport first responder) some think that (the state) requires all members of the dept to be first responder trained, but no one has been able to produce that in writing so it isnt enforced.

    Some feel you need a Class B non-cdl to operate the large trucks, others feel that because they are fire trucks and govt vehicles you dont have to have any additional special drivers license. (insurance requirements may be different than the state also)

    So while the min required training may be put in place to better serve the community, at the same time if you dont have anyone to answer the call because of it, you havnt done a better job of serving the community.

    Ultimately its the community that will have to make that call. Either in relaxing the training requirement (a poor choice if you ask me) or makeing the position a more desirable position to take. Ie pay per call or part paid-part volunteer based. (but the last two usually mean increaseing taxes to pay for it)

    so you either pay for it in lost property and lives, or pay out of your paycheck.

    Either way you still pay.
    Steve - TC33D 4x4 FEL, dual rear remotes with toys

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Rural Volunteer Fire Department

    Quote Originally Posted by txdon View Post
    I just found out that our great state is on its way to passing a bill that will require volunteer firefighters to have a minimum educational and training standards and have continuing education. Are there any other states that have set mandates for their volunteer fire departments? Has it affected recruitment? Thanks.
    Sounds like a GREAT thing if you ask me!!!

    If someone joins the FD just for the status, or whatever reason BESIDES training, working, and going to the next level should be out anyway!!!!

  6. #6
    Super Member txdon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rural Volunteer Fire Department

    Quote Originally Posted by SCOOBY14B View Post
    Sounds like a GREAT thing if you ask me!!!
    Yes it does. The funding and availability the program of for those who work full time will determine if small remote VFDs will survive.
    TXDon

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Rural Volunteer Fire Department

    Quote Originally Posted by txdon View Post
    I just found out that our great state is on its way to passing a bill that will require volunteer firefighters to have a minimum educational and training standards and have continuing education. Are there any other states that have set mandates for their volunteer fire departments? Has it affected recruitment? Thanks.
    That is one of the reasons I " Retired' from volinteer service now in pa is up to 200 hrs of training to a volinteer fire fighter.
    I volinteered for 22 years and chief eingineer for about 15 they cheif did ask me to come help out but it just isn't going to happen at this time.

    I dont even get 200 hrs vacation a year and that is for my family.

    tom
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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Rural Volunteer Fire Department

    Quote Originally Posted by tommu56 View Post
    That is one of the reasons I " Retired' from volinteer service now in pa is up to 200 hrs of training to a volinteer fire fighter.
    Not sure the exact hours of our current academy; we have recruits in training right now. Currently we(my district) participate in a multi district academy; I think six districts participate. It runs from January to June, every Wednesday eve, with the addition of Saturdays for the last couple months(for manipulative, field type training and practice).

    Our district has a minimum requirement of 1st responder for medical on top of that. At least one neighboring district requires EMT... Of course, there's CPR and AED certification too.

    We have twice monthly training for current volunteers. At my station, it is 1st/3rd Weds eve for 3-4 hours. Other optional training is offered throughout the year.

    Our May and June training will be on wildfire practices; structure protection, pump and roll, bump and run, progressive hose lays ect.
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

  9. #9
    Veteran Member dgl24087's Avatar
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    Default Re: Rural Volunteer Fire Department

    Virginia: VDFP ~ Virginia Department of Fire Programs ~ Training ~ Become a Firefighter I don't see any clear cut requirements listed for volunteers.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Rural Volunteer Fire Department

    Quote Originally Posted by dgl24087 View Post
    Virginia: VDFP ~ Virginia Department of Fire Programs ~ Training ~ Become a Firefighter I don't see any clear cut requirements listed for volunteers.
    Appears to be up to the fire district.

    To qualify for the position of volunteer firefighter, an individual must:

    *

    Meet residence requirements, if they exist.
    *

    Meet the active membership requirements or bylaws of the entity or organization.
    *

    Successfully complete required probation or training needs.
    RobertN in Shingle Springs Calif

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