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What do voulunteers do? What do they need to do it

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by pyrdek, Sep 9, 2011.

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  1. pyrdek

    pyrdek Well-Known Member

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    I am just doing a bit of thinking and I wonder, where are the volunteers that provide help to others are actually helping.

    One place where volunteers make up the majority of the "work force" is in firefighting. With close to 70% or fire fighting services being provided by the many VOLUNTEER Fire Departments, that is one place where volunteers provide the majority of the service. EMTs and paramedics associated with these same volunteers, many or even most, of whom are also certified firefighters, is another group. Yes there are paid employee firefighters in the cities and larger towns but even there they are often supplemented by volunteers and there are the mutual aid agreements. Some departments also have Fire Police who assist in traffic control and such.

    Other areas that come to mind where volunteers comprise the largest part of the work force" is in Hunter Education, and Scout (Boy and Girl) leaders, SCTP and Aim instructors. Some other groups like Salvation Army, some of the Red Cross groups (maybe?) some church groups helping sick or needy people may also qualify as volunteers. I would be particularly interested in those "work" areas where some type of legally required mandatory education, testing and certification is required to actually "work" as a volunteer in that field.

    Now I am not meaning to slight those who volunteer for National Guard service but since they are paid for their time spent "working", they would not fit my, specialized for this instance, definition of a volunteer. Foe this purpose I am calling a volunteer as one who offers their service to others as an unpaid person, many of whom have paid from their own wallet to get the training and education needed to be certified in the areas in which they provide service.

    Can you provide me with other such "jobs" where unpaid volunteers comprise the majority of the "work" force?
     
  2. ExFedex

    ExFedex Active Member

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    Food Banks and second hand stores that support the food bank are all volunteer in my area. Hospice is another.
     
  3. W.P.T.

    W.P.T. TS Member

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    Could you point me to the sources where you got the idea that 70% of Fire Fighters or EMS personel are volunteers ..? I was a full time Fire Fighter/Paramedic and the Dept. I was on got petitioned to accept POC's (Paid on Call) as well as volunteers and it never came about ... The statistics proved that they would of been detrimental to the daily operation of the Dept and become a liability in the long run ... The certification programs were designed for Fire Dept Personel and the only way you could get into one of the programs was by being hired by a Dept and they would arrange for you to get certified in a State Certification Program ... The program then consisted of 4 levels and were very time consuming to the point much of the practical was done while on shift with certified instrutors ... The certification programs had to be completed in a certain amount of time or you were put on probation to allow time for those that didn't complete the multiple levels of certification and if you didn't you were terminated ... The Departments wouldn't invest the amount of money it cost in training people who were not full time professional Fire Fighters at that time ... I would appreciate any sources that would support what you said pertaining to Fire Dept Personel, Paid on Call, or Volunteers ... The Paramedic Training was limited to Medical, Fire Dept, and Police Dept personel based on the fact they had a waiting list with enough people on it to keep them going for two years and beyond ... There were schools that were not affiliated that were open to the public, no idea how they worked or who would be eligible to get in them ... Things have changed but I doubt if they changed that much ... Most volunteer Depts have to have some certified personel to get a state rating the last I heard ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
     
  4. Russ-in-Pa

    Russ-in-Pa Well-Known Member

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    Out here in the country, ALL firefighters, and some EMS are volunteer, and only a very few larger fire departments have a paid Chief position. Once you get into the cities, there are paid departments, however.
     
  5. W.P.T.

    W.P.T. TS Member

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    I happen to believe strongly in volunteering and do so myself for many worth while organizations and causes but there is a time and place for everything ... I have no doubt that rural areas maintain Volunteer Depts but to make claim of 70% of Fire Fighting personel are volunteers, I would like to see the source where that percentage came from because that seems like a high number to me ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
     
  6. CalamitySJ

    CalamitySJ Member

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    How about state trapshooting boards of directors? In our state we are all volunteers, work our butts off running or helping to run our individual clubs, our state association and come together each year to run our state shoot. We don't get paid for our services, and we pay for all our own targets--no 'kickbacks' or 'perks' here--giving back to our sport is its own reward.

    Doggai, you are absolutely right--giving and sharing is a reward unto itself. Well stated, my friend.
     
  7. ercowles

    ercowles Member

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    In our American Red Cross chapter in Stuart, Florida, we rely almost entirely on volunteers. In fact, I believe there are only five or six full-time employees, while at last count we had about 800 volunteers. That is not to say that the volunteers are on hand all the time. We are prone to disasters, including hurricanes, tornadoes and fires. In those cases, trained volunteers provide the backbone of our response efforts. Literally hundreds of volunteers helped us provide the response for Hurricanes Frances, Jean, Katrina and Wilma, to speak of the more recent "big" ones. Volunteers also provide most of the training in such areas as CPR & First Aid and disaster response, mass care, and shelter operations. They also do much of the fund raising, and are behind such efforts as our annual Hurricane Fair and Christmas Ball. The Red Cross is truly a volunteer organization.

    Ed Cowles
     
  8. pyrdek

    pyrdek Well-Known Member

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    WPT

    It was stated in a newspaper article from a major newspaper in NW Pennsylvania. The article covered the need to get more people to train and become volunteer firefighters. I have no reason to doubt it. One big hindrance to getting more volunteers is the thousand hours or more training time needed to get fully certified and then to subsequently keep that certification active. The only fully paid staff fire department in the county is Erie. And they are always cutting back staff. They have mutual aid agreements with the surrounding seven or eight departments, all of which are fully volunteer.

    The next county down, has one partially paid (I think but could be off a little)) that the most recent count had six paid and the remainder volunteers. They manned a 24 shift which put the first truck out the door but the volunteers manned the second if needed was the way it was explained. The other paid department has paid, supplemented by volunteers but I do not know how many of each.

    Meanwhile I look at the number of VFDs in the two counties mentioned and there seem to be at least twenty in one county and 31 VFDs in Erie county (edited to correct from original entry of 11).

    My daughter is fully qualified and certified as EMS, EMT, FF and EVOC. The only thing not certified but being worked on if Pump 2 (required to operate the more sophisticated pump controls on the bigger engine they have). She is 22 and started on her First Responder cert while still in high school. As a senior she was already up to EMT and even had a 20 year old die in her arms from a drug overdose. That was as a volunteer in one of the VFDs in our area. That, having a person only two years older than her die literally in her arms, just about caused her to quit. She did take a few weeks to get back to her normal VFD activities.

    The personnel board at the VFD she now is working with had 30 members, most qualified by the EEMCO (training, testing and certifying to state compliance agency in NW PA) to be fully qualified FF. There are only about fifteen members that can actually respond due to injury, age or work hours but those not active responders will still help in the fund raising, maintenance and other such efforts.

    Incidentally, my daughter also is a trainer of new volunteers for EEMCO. Overall, she has probably put in close to 2000 hours in training for the various certifications she holds. Oh, and by the way she is attending college full time as a Nursing student and will be graduating in May 2012. She also works part-time as a Patient Care assistant in ICU in one major hospital and as an ER Technician in another hospital while doing the VFD and College thing.

    I don't know where you are located or did your firefighter/Paramedic work but don't think the entire country runs the same way your department did. The volunteers around here attend the same FF schools and comply with, at least, the same basic knowledge and skills as the paid FF. If it were not for the volunteers around PA, we would most likely be nothing but cinders and ash.

    As a side note, last summer we took a trip out west and my daughter stopped to meet with a couple of departments in Colorado, both paid and VFD. When they asked her about her training and what she did for certification, all those that she talked to were surprised at what was required. One person was even the Lt. in charge of training a fairly large paid department. He said that given her level of training and experience she would probably exceed 85 or 90% of the candidates they get.

    (Edited to include link and correct number of VFDs in Erie County)

    Newspaper Link
     
  9. RickN

    RickN Well-Known Member

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    From Wikepedia

    According to the National Fire Protection Association, 71 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.[1] The National Volunteer Fire Council represents the fire and emergency services on a national level, providing advocacy, information, resources, and programs to support volunteer first responders.
     
  10. W.P.T.

    W.P.T. TS Member

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    Interesting, lots of things have changed since I was on ... The Chief of the Dept I was on had a list of potential volunteers but the city (Chicago Suburb) I worked for would not pay for any certifications or training so they could not be untilized in any manner because they could not be insured ... There has always been a need (shortage) to get people to train even back when I was on active duty, but not everyone wants to walk into burning buildings for a living, much less make rescues and try to find your way back out ... The Dept. I was on had several females apply, not one made it to this day but we did have separate quarters in case one of them ever did ... The Deputy Chief made those his Quarters until they, if they ever hired a female ... I find this to be a scary thing having been involved with fighting fires and working search and rescue on a full time Dept ... But I guess that was then, this is now ...

    Mutual Aid has been around as far back as horse drawn pumpers as a back up for Depts that are committed to a fire scene, so that obviously is still in place ... I extricated an 11 year old boy from a car that was hit in the door where he was sitting by a train and wedged between the door and the front seat because his father was in a hurry to get him his present and take him back home ... I was talking to him as we set up the Hurst tool to force the door open, he said he wasn't in any pain, he died in my arms when we opened the door ... This was on my Oldest sons 11th Birthday by the way ... Working Search and Rescue I have had many people die in my arms or before we could get to them in a burning structure, not planned but part of the job ... I don't even want to get into what I witnessed as a Paramedic, lets just say lots of people die for many different reasons beyond your control ... I was so Certified it was scary but there is nothing like the real thing, trust me on that one ... Been there, done that ... Good Luck to your Daughter ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
     
  11. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    My choice for voluteerism is my local trap club.

    The reasons are actually self serving even if the benefits appear to be existential. By that I mean I do get something that I need from the experience. The first and most important thing is that I get the self satisfaction that comes from doing. The second thing I get is having a nice well kept facility that I can shoot at with my buddies who also put in a bunch of free time to make the club a good place. Together we do a good enough job that many other shooters enjoy coming to our club where they provide the other necessary ingredient - money.

    I think all volunteers get something like this out of their 'non-paying' jobs. There actually is a big payout but it just isn't in the form of dollars in my pocket today.- it is more a matter of the enjoyment of life experiences.
     
  12. pyrdek

    pyrdek Well-Known Member

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    Since, in a PM, someone seems to think that there could not be a fire that would cause a large amount of fire fighting equipment to have to be replaced because of chemical contamination, I am including a link to the web site of just one company, of the eleven volunteer fire departments that fought this fire. I do not take to having it insinuated that my reply to the PM was a lie. The link is from one of the supporting companies and it was only one of many that suffered such losses. It also put a number of volunteers into the ER for respiratory distress symptoms. The fire occurred May 15, 2011 in Harborcreek, PA.

    From their website (URL to look at pictures from the VFD is listed below):

    *** Begin copied file ***
    It has been two months since the fire at the American Biodiesel Energy/North American Powder Coatings on Iroquois Ave in Harborcreek. Because of the fire and the smoke from the unknown contents & chemicals in the building, a lot of our equipment had to be taken out of service due to the health & safety concerns. Since the fire our department (along with several others) have been using loaner equipment or just plain running short on equipment.


    For the past month Tower 369, which is not even a year old, has been out of service at the Sutphen Maintenance facility in Springfield Ohio. The aerial itself was changing color since the fire. We have had to put back in service our 1949 ladder truck to run in its place.


    Several of our firefighters had gotten ill and sent to the hospital due to the fire. As a matter of fact our Township Supervisors made it madatory that all of our firefighters who were at the fire go for a check up.


    Finally now, after two months of chemical engineers looking into the gears potential problems we have been given a report on the issues.


    Several of our sets of bunker gear will need to be replaced. Several others need to be sent out for cleaning & repairs.
    Same with helmets, some get replaced while other go out for cleaning & repairs.
    All our boots, gloves and hoods need replaced.
    Our air packs & masks all get replaced while the bottles are getting sent out for cleaning & testing.
    Several thousand feet of hose needs to be replaced.
    All radios & flashlights need replaced.
    All safety rope needs replaced.


    The report on Tower 369 is even worse - and they are not done inspecting it yet!

    The aerial needs to removed and dunked in a special acid bath
    All the roll up doors need replaced
    All the tread plate needs replaced
    Rubber gaskets, connections, tubing and hose needs replaced
    Mechanical inspections and fluid changes
    Possibility of total rewiring for the aerial and other repairs


    We've been told the truck wont be back at Station 36 for a minimum of 2 more months. It could be several more depending on what else is found wrong with it.

    For the website Click Here
     
  13. Big Az Al

    Big Az Al Well-Known Member

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    For the 23 years I had children in school I did a lot for the schools. Burned up a lot of vacation days, when asked "are you available on this day to _______?

    Flowing Wells High School Marching band has run a Marching Band invitational for the last 25 years, It is the largest High school run band day in the state of Arizona, and several of my 13 years with Flowing Wells HS Band it was the largest High School band-day in the state (that is throwing in the collage run band day's), with out parental and grand-parental volunteers it would not happen at all!

    Puplic Schools whether they admit it or not are always going to have a need for volunteers. AND private schools even more so.

    From what ever group is running the concession stands or even events, to classroom and individual tutoring, There is always a hole to be filled that the budget will not cover. Any more you may be asked to submit to a back ground check. I am waiting to hear whether my AZ CCW is exceptable (if not one more round of finger prints) before I get back on campus to help out some more now that my children are out of the system.

    There are also fund raiser's where volunteers fill in a paying position, deffering the pay to a non profit orginazation.

    Community Service, while most of what I see here is court ordered, there a qualified oprginazations that even getting those ordered by the courts to do the service, are still falling short of what they need. A call to the courts in your area is probably the best way to find some of these orginazations.

    Al Lingham
     
  14. sliverbulletexpress

    sliverbulletexpress TS Member

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    In rural America unpaid volunteers are the majority of fire fighters, rescue and search personnel. In the cities you find paid only departments. We even have unpaid reserve deputy sheriffs and police officers.
     
  15. W.P.T.

    W.P.T. TS Member

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    "DELETED" ... (Why bother..?) ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
     
  16. wolfram

    wolfram Well-Known Member

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    One of the minor perks that the guys on the VFD in my town get is a fairly decent retirement package if they manage to put in 20 plus years of active service. It is nothing extravagant and I think they guys that do collect on that package would have more money if they had just worked some minimum wage part time job all those years instead of protecting the community. What ever they get in the way of retirement help is more than earned.

    I know several of these guys and it seems to me they volunteer not because there may be some money at the end of the road but because they feel good about serving the community and they have a strong commeraderie at the firehouse. I'm greatful to have them around - they do a great job.
     
  17. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    I go to the local VA hospital and home where there are a lot of vets from different wars. They need volunteers to help with moving them around, taking meals to them etc. It pays nothing but the reward is awesome. You should see their faces when they see me coming to help them. makes it all worthwhile
     
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