View Full Version : Volunteer Firemen

08-13-2004, 11:00 AM
This thread is for all the fine volunteer firemen in the landscape industry. When there is a call and you are doing a lawn what do you do? I had a call the other day and I left my worker to finish up two lawns and I took the truck to the firehouse. I was gone for an hour and my worker was sitting for 20 minutes. Has this ever happened to you guys? What do you guys do when the call comes in?

08-13-2004, 11:07 AM
Im a solo operator and Im a vol ff/emt. If it is a call that needs alot of manpower I load up and go. If its a minor car accident and im 15 miles away then its no need for me to try and go. If I am working in the area I usually try to go.

08-13-2004, 11:29 AM
I try to get there no matter what, all my lawns are close to the town I live in, its a pretty small town, but when theres a call and I can Ill get there. Last night we had a power outage and we were out on the highway directing traffic.


NC Scaper
08-13-2004, 01:44 PM
I do the same as grass cuttin fool, Its gotta be big before I load the rig

08-13-2004, 03:28 PM
If im in the middle of the job, i will finish before i head to the station.Medicals and accidents theres always enough people around that its no big deal if i miss it.If theres a fire i will explain to the customer why i have to leave (if there home) and ill come back to finish in a few hours.. 99% of they time they totally understand.

08-13-2004, 04:00 PM
Well if the trailer is loaded up and I am on the road then yes. Otherwise its has to be something worth while. I live 3.5 miles from the station and most of my accounts are farther away than that. We have several member with landscaping business. So on more than one occation we have had 4 trucks and trailers in the parking lot.

I have responsed with the Kubota to a brush fire, since it was just up the street. I was iching to use it to make a fire break. The dame brush truck got there first.

08-13-2004, 04:07 PM
I got kicked out when I dropped out of school, but if I was working in town (or within about a 5 minute drive) I would go no matter what. If I had somebody with me, they come and sit in my truck and do alittle equip. maintenance (fill trimmers blowers, change trimmer line, etc)..

When I start back up in october (will be firefighter, not explorer).. I will continue to do the same thing unless I'm really really really busy or its a crappy call (we get alot of those around here)..

08-13-2004, 04:09 PM

GVLawnCare is in the same dept... He does the same thing I do.. Load up and go if close enough..

Two other guys in the dept. are lco's and also do the same thing..

08-13-2004, 05:34 PM
usually just keep working unless i hear the words confirmed and structure fire......ill get there for a good mva tho if i hear one w/ extrication etc

jrs mowing
08-13-2004, 09:49 PM
If I am close to town I will stop & go to the fh.

Mark Lawncare
08-13-2004, 09:56 PM
do you guys get anything for going or do you just like being around fires and that type of stuff?

08-13-2004, 09:59 PM
You get the satisfaction of helping people in dire need and all the training needed to become a full time paid firefighter.The volunteers do just as much as the paid guys.In some cases even more as most of the full time guys only work 2 to 3 days a week.

08-13-2004, 11:08 PM
In the county I am in we get 1 free county tax decal for our vechile worth $25.00, mainly its just to give back to our communitys in there time of need. They support us through taxes and donations. And before some one says something about the $25.00 decals, I burn alot more gas than that in a years time but it makes no difference to me .I would do it just the same even if I didnt get it

08-13-2004, 11:24 PM
yep I do it to give back to the community and to one day possibly save someones life.. Plus free first aid, and cpr training is a plus.. And did I forget to mention playing with fire and ripping cars apart at drill??!! Nothing better!!

LawnScapers of Dayton
08-14-2004, 07:45 AM
I was a volunteer and Part-time Lt. for 14 years with my hometown department. I resigned last Oct. for political/management reasons. Anyway....

I always took calls if at all possible for one reason. You never know when 1 more person was going to make the difference. And....that truly paid off for me in 2002. I had left a mowing job for an "alarm drop" call. Only made the third engine out and was sitting at the hydrant when we got a second call for a man down at the high school. Our Cheif sent us (myself and 1 EMT) back to the station for the medic. We responded and I asked for a mutual aid medic assist while enroute. It ended up being a 13 yo kid with heat stroke, unconscience, unresponsive, temp of 106+. But I was the only paramedic there for the first 5-10 minutes. We got the kid ready, loaded etc. and grabbed a second paramedic off the MA engine, and went 15 minutes to the hosptial. Saved his life........anyway.... That may have ended up differently had I not decided to take the "crappy" alarm drop call.

Now I just work 2-3, 24 hour shifts a week at my FT department. I miss my volly department.


Stripe This
08-14-2004, 08:54 AM
Pager is in the truck, I don't hear it. During the day when I'm cutting, I can't respond. But if we're talking a structure fire...then there's a better chance.

08-14-2004, 01:12 PM
Day time calls are becoming more of a killer to volunteer dept. Less and less business let their employees leave to go to minor BS calls. Plus who really want to run BS calls. Which is why we have 2 paid guys to cover the minor runs. Most people can't come out unless it big. A 10-50 PI w/ rescue or HF every body comes. The worst times for man power are 7-9 (when everyone is going to work) and 3-5 (everybody coming home)

We had a HF in the morning and only got out one engine. We had a crew of 3, an old timer (driver), the paid medic and me. I was a rookie for 2 months so talk about a trial by fire. Thanks god for mutual aid.

08-14-2004, 01:35 PM
We have 4 full time paid members now just for that reason.Our house has 70 members but only about 30 that are really active on calls.With the four guys at the house during day hours it guarantees atleast one truck getting out for medicals and such.If there is a fire everybody shows up, that has never been a problem.

08-14-2004, 03:55 PM
Speaking as a former volunteer and current paid firefighter, you guys without realizing is just illustrated the reason for the demise of many volunteer programs (including ours)- guys picking and choosing their calls. Nobody wants to go on the BS calls, and everyone wants to go to the fires. Dmontgomery illustrated exactly why you should respond if at all possible when the pager goes off. While the on duty crew is handling the BS call, someone needs to be available to handle anything else that comes up in a timely manner.

Ken Kesey
08-14-2004, 05:12 PM
Out of curiosity, are you volunteer firefighters licensed to have a mowing business?

If you volunteer as a ff, are there certain shifts per month that you must work?

How does this process work?

It seems hard to juggle and someone is getting the short end of the stick at times.

Turf Dancer
08-14-2004, 05:51 PM
In our department we have seven on duty staff with a minimum of six. They handle all first out calls they staff one ALS Medic unit and two ALS Engines. In the case of a second medical call the second engine crew swaps to an ALS Medic unit. Then they get recall to cover the second station. So all of that being said the only time we as reserves are called is for working fires, recalls when they can't get full time staff to cover stations and rescue calls out of town but still in our ASA. SO I guess to give an Answer to the question I always try to load and go if there is a page for reserves regardless of what it is for. I have spent over a thousand hours in fire training and well over six hundred hours in medical training to be at the top of our reserves. I take pride in being an EMT Intermediate and I like to make use of those skills whenever possible. People so often forget that being a firefighter is not just being at a ripper of a structure fire, more often you are able to touch peoples lives on the so called BS calls. You know the public assist calls (elderly fell out of bed, ran out of oxygen because the delivery guy was late, they don't feel well and in reality they are only lonesome) those are the calls people remember firefighter/EMT's for. I had a lady come up to me at the grocery store a whie back and said "thank you so much for being so kind and compassionate" I didn't know her, it turned out I hauled to a larger Hospital on a transfer about eight months prior. If you spend four hours in the back of an Ambulance with a patient they remember you, I don't always remember them.
I guess the moral of this rambling story would have to be, respond to the BS calls, You may just make someones day!

LawnScapers of Dayton
08-15-2004, 03:56 AM
Ken Kesey....all departments are different. One I use to volunteer for had in-house fulltimers from 0700 to 1900 M-F after that it was all volly for fire and medic assist calls, but the ALS medics were staff 24hrs by FT.

ANother had 2 inhouse guys 24 hours a day. But depended on volunteers for anything more that a single medic call.

As far as licensing.....I don't know if I understand the question.

For me ......my family almost always got the short end of the stick. But I was very dedicated to serving the department and took my officer position very seriously.


08-15-2004, 08:03 AM
This is directed to horsejockey
What I meant by not responding to some calls wasnt a BS call but the dispacther will say "10-50, no injury, needed for traffic control only'' I have seen the times that we( the fire dept) were more of a traffic hazard with 2 engines and 20 people and maybe 15 personel vechiles at a scene then the accident was. That is what I meant by not going to all calls. And yes on the medic end we all have or regular customers that need attention at times if nothing more than they are lonely or need there blood pressure checked, just part of the job

08-15-2004, 09:58 AM
At my Dept we aren't supposed to drive our personal vehicles to the scene unless we actually have to pass it to get to the firehouse.Most accidents there might be two or three personal vehicles(well lit up with strobes) off to the side somewhere.If its stated as no injuries or minor everyone knows to just go to the house and only one unit, usually the rescue will respond.At fires there is more personal vehicles because people are coming from every direction.

"Out of curiosity, are you volunteer firefighters licensed to have a mowing business"
I am an LLC not sure what license you are talking about.

"If you volunteer as a ff, are there certain shifts per month that you must work"?

They like us to go to 75 % of the training which is Tuesday nights for about three hours and sometimes a weekend day.Must be at least firefighter 1,SCBA ,and CPR certified to do anything besides just going for a ride in the truck.

There is no certain shifts i must work being a volunteer they just like you to make 50% of the calls.Some obviously will take up more of your day than others.The full time paid guys works 24 hours shifts here..24 on three days off 24 on.In those three days off many do lawn service for extra money.

08-15-2004, 12:16 PM
Originally posted by jt5019
At my Dept we aren't supposed to drive our personal vehicles to the scene unless we actually have to pass it to get to the firehouse.Most accidents there might be two or three personal vehicles(well lit up with strobes) off to the side somewhere.

Same here.

But at least you get to have lights. Maryland need to realize that the personal vehicle lights save more lives. I like to know how they expect us to make a piece with out them. Nothing is worst than getting stuck behind someone going 10 under on a double yellow line road while trying to get to the fire house with a working HF. :angry: This might be why Maryland has some of the worse response times in the entire country. Everybody in PA has a personal vehicle that is light up like a Christmas display. Its more of a hazard not to have them. But I am not saying that the lights give us a right to speed. But people will get out of your way because they know you are trying to get to the fire house.

08-16-2004, 07:01 PM
True Itsgottobegreen... id say 99% of the people pull over when they see the lights with the exception of a few elderly once in a while..Its good to have if you are at an accident scene too especially in bad weather.All we have to do is get a permit from the chief and we can have as many lights as we want,as long as they are blue.The officers can have red and blue.

08-17-2004, 12:36 AM
I could have used those dame lights today. I missed a working house fire. This @#E$^%^&*(&&$##@$&()* was doing the speed limit, but waited 3 minutes to pull out. Even though he could have pull out into traffic at least 6 times. Then slammed on the brakes at the next intersection and pulled into the right hand turn land blocking it for me. Because the engine was coming up the street over a 1/2 mile away. Then sit sat there after the engine passed. The squad was pulling out as I was pulling in. ARGH. Its been 3 months we had a real fire. 4 months since I last was at one worth going to. Sorry needed to vent. The rest of the guys saved it. Only burn off the porch and roof. I got stuck at the station for 4 hours and ran a BS call.

The worse part is, the @#E$^%^&*(&&$##@$&()* is one of my customers. He is becoming a PITA, maybe I will drop him next year.

08-17-2004, 12:43 AM
Itsgottabegreen- when I was a volunteer we were to never drive directly to the scene unless specifically requested to do so. When we got toned out we were to respond to the station. We were usually cancelled when we responded in the rig because the paid crew was already there. Out main role was to remain in the station to respond to any other calls that came in while the paid crew was out of service. What killed our program was the unwillingness of volunteers to respond to the station just to "stand by", even though it was an important, if unglamorous role.

08-17-2004, 01:27 AM
We are not allowed to go to scene unless we pass it. I was trying to get to the fire house the back way. The engine was coming the front way.

Its the stand by that is killing most volley dept. Its important, but no one wants to do it. 20 years ago when the call went out for a BS run, you used to take every piece in the station. Now the chief just drives over and cancels us. Takes all the fun out of it.

We used to have four pieces, now we have three. So even less members get to go on the call. We have 20 seats between the two engines and squad, but 50 riding members. Plus the paid guys.

If it was still the days of riding the back step and open cabs. That was half the thrill of fire fighting. But they killed that, because everything must be save. You could get up to 18 guys on one piece. 4 across the front, four in the jumps and 6 to 10 across the back step. Now with closed cabs, the max of 10 guys all in seat belts.

We had 75 members at one time and 50 or more would show up for every call back in the day. Now we are lucky if we get 20. Usually 10 or 12. I know paid places were its driver only or 2 FF on a 8 man cab engine. Takes a full assignment to put out a dumpster fire. Because of lack of man power. It becoming down right unsafe to operate that way. ISO wants lower response times. NFPA wants two in, two out. It takes more than 6 minutes to get enough people to get equipment out fully man or enough to be save by NFPA. If something is responded check after 6 minutes of the dispatch, you have to take it as it is. Crew or no crew. Is it just Maryland that runs this way or is the rest of the US fire service in this bad of shape.

I know I have only been riding for 3 years, so most guys see me as the know it all rookie. But I am going to college for Fire protection engineering and fire science. Plus my father is on a bunch of NFPA committees. He also is a fire protection engineer and a fire fighter for 34 years. So I have had to listen to him for 19 years. So I know what I am talking about. It does get me into trouble alot at my station. Some of the stuff they do is so against the books a lawyer would just laugh all the way to the bank if we ever got sued. I have gotten dragged in front of the company review board too many times. But every time I just bring the NFPA books to show I was right. (I got the dame thing almost memorized.) So they don't bother anymore. They know I always win. The chief hates me because I make him look bad. The company pres (former chief) loves it because he wants change around the station to. But gave up.

08-17-2004, 10:31 AM
We have ten units in my station one being an old fashion parade unit.My town is split up with four Dept's three being paid and one(mine) volunteer.We do not run joint calls with the paid guys except during structure fires or if its right on the district lines. For working fires, if its in our area they come automatic mutual aid and if they have one we do the same as a RIT or fast team.Most cases they even call us for an additional ladder truck.There isnt many volunteer/paid depts that last anymore but we seem to be doing pretty good for the time being.

There has been talk of changing to all paid but with us having ten trucks it would cost the city a lot of money to man them all.We already have 4 daytime paid firefighters who were already officers with the dept to make sure we have a quick response time.The two border towns next to me are all volunteer and we get called to those towns many times a year for mutual aid which keeps the paid guys available to cover here.

08-17-2004, 10:50 AM
I will be moving to a small town probally within a year and a half. I have always been a dream to be on the fire service. But due to political BS and other stuff I won't mention I don't have a chance to get on. As soon as I take residence the very next day I will be talking to the fire chief. I will be taking paramedic courses eventually have already found the one I will be taking. I was going to take the course in OCT but I rather take some business courses for my own business so I can go full time.