Saturday, September 27, 2008

Volunteer Firefighters

Updated 3/2017--photos and all links removed as many are no longer active.

This evening our local volunteer fire department, West Pulaski Fire Department, is holding its annual catfish dinner to raise money. We always go. We feel it is important to support them, as well feel fortunate to have them available. We live just (less than 3 miles by the road, even closer as the crow flies) outside the city limits. The money raised helps them buy new equipment or replace worn out equipment/gear.   Last year the money raised was used for thermal cameras.  This year they are going to use the money raised for protective gear. 
A volunteer fire department (VFD) is an organization of men and women who have joined forces to perform fire suppression and other related emergency services for a local jurisdiction. According to the National Volunteer Fire Council, "There are just over a million active firefighters in the US, of which just over three-fourths are volunteer firefighters. Nearly half the volunteers serve in communities with less than 2,500 population."
The term "volunteer" refers to a group of part-time or on-call firefighters who have other occupations when not engaged in occasional firefighting or response to other emergencies. Although they may have "volunteered" to become members, and to respond to the call for help, they are compensated as employees during the time they are responding to or attending an emergency scene, and possibly even for training drills. An on-call firefighter would probably be expected to volunteer time for other non-emergency duties as well (training, fundraising, equipment maintenance, etc).
As last year, we'll be there this evening to support our local "volunteer" firefighters. They serve very good catfish.


Anonymous said...

I've never heard of a volunteer fire department where the volunteers are compensated directly.

My county does offer some tax breaks and lower cost appartments to volunteers and there are some other benifits.

Being in one of the six counties where firemen from New York City are allowed to live, outside NYC, we have a lot of NYFD members in our volunteer departments.

Some departments may employ full time professionals however.

Just after 9/11 many empty places in New York firehouses were filled with volunteer trucks from outside the City. It was very strange to see non NYFD apparatus in use on city streets.

By all means support your local volunteer department, I'm not physically qualifiede or I would have long since done so.

Øystein said...

Nice! My grandfather used to be a volunteer firefighter.

make mine trauma said...

Thank you for supporting them. I was a volunteer for a couple of years back in the early 90's. It was a great adrenaline rush which I have conveniently replaced with trauma call.
Vol Depts. typically have to scrimp and save, beg and borrow to keep themselves running. And yes, the volunteers are often compensated but not like one may think. If I remember correctly, we were reimbursed something like $15.00 per response. All the rest of your time, training, cleaning equipment, being available for call, was totally donated for free.

The Stitching Surgeon said...

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