Welcome to EMTBravo.com

Register now to gain access to all of our features. Once registered and logged in, you will be able to contribute to this site by submitting your own content or replying to existing content. You'll be able to customize your profile, receive reputation points as a reward for submitting content, while also communicating with other members via your own private inbox, plus much more!

This message will be removed once you have signed in.

FF402

Firehouses Raise Alarm Over Lack of Young Recruits

22 posts in this topic

Quote

 

The China Village Volunteer Fire Department has 21 volunteers, but only six can fight fires. Most of the rest, said Fire Chief Tim Theriault, are simply too old.

 

“They come and they help and hang around, but I can’t send them into a fire,” Mr. Theriault said. “It’s a young man’s sport.”

 

 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/firehouses-raise-alarm-over-lack-of-young-recruits-1487932206

COH Bulldog likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wish I subscribed to the WSJ to finish this article. Sadly, it's happening all over with volunteer companies.

vodoly and bigrig77 like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can read the article without the WSJ:

 

Go to Google and type in : Firehouses Raise Alarm Over Lack of Young Recruits

 

It will be the second one listed in the search.

COH Bulldog, x635 and bigrig77 like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Once they join the depts as soon as a class at fire academy opens up send them Also good in house training and drills help out Sure they can hang out but have them do house duty too  cleaning up the firehouse and helping clean the apparatus if not It's Time for them to move on seen it happen here in bergen county All of the Depts are hurting 

bigrig77 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, AFS1970 said:

My old department had an activity requirement not a time requirement. It seems to have worked well for quite some time, although I am not sure if it is still in place. You got 1 point for each call, drill or meeting. You needed 50 points to stay an active member. The bulk of the department was between 75-100 every year. There were a few heavy hitters with over 200 and a few who struggled to make 50, but all in all it worked.

 

As for recruiting, I have said it before and will say it again. Too many Chiefs give what I call the Psych Out speech. They bemoan the lack of members and then go on to list all the reasons people don't join. I strongly believe this has the effect of making anyone who is trying to decide if they want to volunteer and psyching them out to the point where they just don't bother. How about listing all the reasons people do volunteer, instead.

 

One of the department's in Stamford did a nice piece several years ago, a small card with profiles of 3 members. They picked a local business owner, an electrician working for a construction contractor & a corporate VP of a local company. I don't know how successful it was but it showed a diverse group of volunteers.

 

Then all we have to work out is how to stop chasing new members away, which seems to be the biggest problem.

 

 Cost of living  and owning a home  pretty high in my area as well a lot of depts in our mutual aid have opened thier borders so memebers can join other Dept's (another can of worms some say)Percentage is what  1 Dept by where I live does  with thier stipend system you have to be a member in good standing attend meetings most of all Calls If you do not in 2 quarters you get warning 

Edited by vodoly
More details
x635 likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/27/2017 at 0:29 AM, SECTMB said:

 

I think this is one of the more significant reasons for loss of volunteers, especially in the more affluent communities. The median home price in Pleasantville is over $500K, Briarcliff Manor is over $700K, in Chappaqua and Katonah it is over $800K.  So you lose the younger members who followed their childhood desire or their parents/family into the service because at some point most need to move on. Those who are moving into town and buying homes of these values aren't necessarily inclined to become volunteer firefighters.

 

You just have to listen to the scanner to know that, especially day time, many of the volunteer departments are lucky to get one piece of apparatus on the road and it is usually inadequately staffed.  Sooner or later many of these departments will be forced to go combination.  In some of the more rural departments, the lack of volunteers will undoubtedly affect response times as fewer members to make up a crew need to travel further to make the apparatus.

 

Fifteen years ago when my nephews came into the service as our families fourth generation of volunteers I said they would probably be the last.  I believe I will be correct in that prediction.

This is a big issue where I live. Even rent for a crappy, rathole apartment is too high and pushes the younger members out of the community.

fdalumnus and bigrig77 like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2/27/2017 at 11:50 AM, AFS1970 said:

My old department had an activity requirement not a time requirement.

 

 

This is what I meant about time requirement.  You have to make a certain number of meetings, certain number of drills, and make a certain number of calls to stay as an "active" firefighter.  I've heard of some volunteer departments that have actual time requirements, such as a duty night where a specific crew is on call and hangs out at the fire house.  It's a cool concept because this time at the fire house can be used for training AND you have a fully staffed apparatus out of the door immediately should an alarm arise.  Unfortunately, it's not a model that could work for everyone (especially smaller departments).

AFS1970 and EmsFirePolice like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, dwcfireman said:

 

 

This is what I meant about time requirement.  You have to make a certain number of meetings, certain number of drills, and make a certain number of calls to stay as an "active" firefighter.  I've heard of some volunteer departments that have actual time requirements, such as a duty night where a specific crew is on call and hangs out at the fire house.  It's a cool concept because this time at the fire house can be used for training AND you have a fully staffed apparatus out of the door immediately should an alarm arise.  Unfortunately, it's not a model that could work for everyone (especially smaller departments).

Dept by us uses the duty company concept week to week where 1  of the 4 companies in town staffs the firehouse with a crew & 1 officers from 4 pm to6am & 7am to7am on weekends anyone on duty shift get credit toward stipend 

dwcfireman and LayTheLine like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

M' Ave - Nicely put. It's not easy in our current society to find the time to volunteer. On one hand I'm all behind the concept of consolidation and it makes sense, but I've experienced it from the other side that once you give up control of your own destiny, you'll never get it back. Sure the fire chiefs don't want to give up their kingdoms, but they aren't the ones I'm truly concerned about. I worry about the politicians. Everyone could be on board when the consolidation happens, but then 2 or 3 administrations down the road new people take over and decide on massive changes and you're like, "this isn't how it was supposed to go." You may have had 1 engine & 1 ladder in your station. When it comes time to replace the engine, the new administration decides to buy a quint and dispose of the engine and reallocate the ladder to a different station. You have two career men on duty who roll the quint on every call but there's nothing left for the responding volunteers, so they end up driving to the scene in their cars. Let's face it, part of the fun of volunteering is the ability to climb on the apparatus and respond making some noise. That's just one example of how things could change over time and the local department can do nothing about it because they are now part of a bigger entity. I never thought I would think that way or even write it, but I have seen some weird things as the years go by. 

 

On a related topic, I wonder if Mt Kisco is happy about giving up their police force? If you get inside and really study it, is what was promised really happening? I hope for them it is, but I wouldn't put it past the powers to be to decide that they are one officer short on the Evening shift for the whole Westchester County Police force. To save on over-time, they'll drop from 3 to 2 cruisers in Mt Kisco for the Eve shift and if necassary they'll divert a cruiser from the parkway if they get busy. But low and behold, the car on the parkway stops a suspicious vehicle and the closest back-up cruiser happens to be in Mt Kisco, so he jumps on the parkway and drives up to the next town as a back-up and leaves Mt Kisco with one car for 45 minutes. The people may say, "we were always happy to send a car or two mutual aid, manpower depending, but we would always keep two cars in town as a home guard. How come at times there's only one car?" 

 

I'm just using Mt Kisco as an example because I'm familiar with their situation. I hope it doesn't happen that way and I hope the people of Kisco are happy with the move. No disrespect to the WCPD.

 

So I would say that consolidation is the way to go given the current climate, but I would say to tread lightly and get certain things in writing to protect your jurisdiction. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Fire depts. work for the citizens NOT THEMSELVES.

 

In most cases, consolidation is the ANSWER and NOT the PROBLEM. Some of the most progressive fire departments in the country started out decades ago when they decided to consolidate. Places like Fairfax County, Va., Dade County, Fla., as well as the Los Angeles County, Ca. Fire Dept. The once highly popular TV Show of the 1970s called "Emergency" was based on that L.A. County FD. A very well run fire dept. They also introduced us to the term "paramedic". Something that many of us in this part of the country had never heard of before.

 

 It makes sense for many smaller fire departments to merge into one. Not only does it make sense, but it may also give a better ISO (Insurance Services Office) Rating, which could have a large impact on what businesses pay out for insurance coverage.

 

 What holds a lot of places back is just what has been reported. Everybody may not get to ride on a fire truck. Also, some may have to give up their white hats and collar pins. But usually there is an overall greater improvement within the fire service at a much better cost to the people they serve. Looking beyond the smaller individual fire depts. or fire districts, compared to the much larger merged fire depts will prove to be a very good move.

Edited by nfd2004
vodoly likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/1/2017 at 6:53 AM, vodoly said:

Dept by us uses the duty company concept week to week where 1  of the 4 companies in town staffs the firehouse with a crew & 1 officers from 4 pm to6am & 7am to7am on weekends anyone on duty shift get credit toward stipend 

 

I have proposed this idea previously but included neighboring depts in the mix to spread the responsibility.  The 'duty' apparatus responds immediately to any call in the 'mutual' district, supported by the primary department when it assembles their crews.  Many depts are providing dual response these days so designating alternating companies to provide a duty crew can build teamwork and commeraderie while providing immediate response to the community. If two neighboring depts that typically rely on each other can't field a duty crew of 4, then the problem is more serious than some would like to acknowledge.

vodoly, AFS1970 and LayTheLine like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

2 hours ago, SECTMB said:

 

I have proposed this idea previously but included neighboring depts in the mix to spread the responsibility.  The 'duty' apparatus responds immediately to any call in the 'mutual' district, supported by the primary department when it assembles their crews.  Many depts are providing dual response these days so designating alternating companies to provide a duty crew can build teamwork and commeraderie while providing immediate response to the community. If two neighboring depts that typically rely on each other can't field a duty crew of 4, then the problem is more serious than some would like to acknowledge.

Sounds like a good idea  There have been incidents where the duty company on duty (truck company)  has been requested to respond to requests for ladder truck and they have gotten out quickly since they were on duty But on engine requests they 'll send the zone engine  witch is the engine closest to the Dept making request  They mightbe changing  that's  what I have been told 

Edited by vodoly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

NFD2004 - I agree that fire depatments work for the citizens and not themselves. Any changes should come at the will of the people, not the fire chiefs.

 

Perhaps I focused too much on the fire service alone. Before the citizens of any village, town, county, etc., make any changes to what the y pay for, they should be aware of what they are voting to change, be it fire, police, DPW, schools, sanitation departments, etc. Perhaps the fire service is the closest of any government service that should consider consolidation. But it should be considered with due diligence. Study the good models (Fairfax, LA County) to find out what works and what doesn't. Who will have control and will each department have a seat on the governing board? How will it be funded? Is there an escape clause? 

 

I've seen a consolidation of fire districts that went horribly wrong. I've also seen 3 towns consolidate into a school district without much thought. Town A had double the population of either Town B & C. Now the elected officials come from Town A. Town A pretty much rules the roost. The elementary schools have been consolidated, making for very long bus rides for children from Towns B & C. This could have been avoided if certain controls were in place, such as each town gets at least one seat on the school district committee, or perhaps make a central middle school & high school but allow each town to have control over their elementary schools (as is done in other regional school districts.)  

 

Once a few years go by and the elected officials turnover, there may be a whole new set of ideas of how to run any governmental department which may not be in the best interest of all members in that district (be it fire, police, school, etc.)

AFS1970 and vodoly like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To get a good idea of how well things are working out in a regional or county fire department, we really don't have to go too far. Just across the Hudson River from New York is the "Northern Hudson Regional Fire Dept". There a group of totally independent fire depts. merged together to become one. That really didn't happen too long ago either.

 

 Compare that to the place of my home town which led to the thread here of "The Fractured Fire Service of Norwich, Ct". In a small Connecticut city of about 40,000, a total of SIX separate fire departments. One career, and five volunteer cover this small city. Each with their own chiefs, deputy chiefs, captains etc. Each with it's own fleet of fire apparatus. Three or four Heavy Rescues, Three Ladder Trucks, Numerous Engines, and various special types of apparatus. No problem here with somebody missing out on riding on the first rig. Usually there's plenty more to choose from if the first has left. If this ONE Town merged its six fire departments into one, how much could these taxpayers save in equipment alone ? Of course would they really need six fire chiefs, each hoping to defend their own power and title ?

 

 And this is NOT the only place like this. In fact, most places I know are like this, rather than the well managed Fairfax or LA County FDs.

 

 As a group of individuals, we all know what the real problem is. The reality is its pretty tough to tell somebody, "you lost your title". We really don't need so many separate leaders. And we sure don't need this many fire trucks. We are NOT talking about busing school kids from one place to another. We are referring solely to the operations of the fire department.  

 

 I think "SECTMB" presented a very good idea here in his post. That of providing alternate duty crews backing up a primary duty crew. Something that seems to becoming a necessary thing these days. I think it's a pretty good idea.

 

 What might NOT be in the best interest for the members, might actually be in the best interest for the people they serve.

vodoly likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

nfd2004 - I can see you have your heels dug in on this one and won't budge, which is understandable with the fire service problems in your own city. Do I think that regionalization is a good idea? In many instances it is and I've stated that. Without beating a dead horse all my point was is that any regionalization should be well thought out. You helped prove my point by referring to the Northern Hudson Regional Fire Department, which sounds like a success. But if you look at the history of its creation, you'll see that the early planning and discussions began back in the early 1980's and the department became a reality on January 11, 1999. So obviuosly they took their time, thought through potential problems, garnered public support and figured out the funding. It wasn't a flip the switch over-night and off we go. Final thought: Go slow, tread lightly and make sure your citizens really are aware of what they're signing up for.

AFS1970 and vodoly like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an interesting idea that my hometown's department is doing:

 

My friend just became chief, and he is truly concerned about the current condition and future of the department.  So, he sat down with the company's membership committee and built a 12 question survey to ask FORMER members what they liked about the company, what they disliked, what drove them to leave the company, and whether certain incentives would have made them stay longer or bring them back or entice new members to the organization.  I filled both sides of both sheets of paper detailing MY positive and negative experiences with the company (he already knows my story, but the membership committee doesn't know who I am).  Both of my parents filled it out, and several of my friends have as well.  I think this is a cool idea because you can evaluate the common problems that past members had with the organization, see what practices worked the best, and determine what the best recruiting and retention efforts will work the best based off suggestions.

 

Like I said, just an interesting idea.

LayTheLine and EmsFirePolice like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On ‎3‎/‎4‎/‎2017 at 5:01 PM, LayTheLine said:

nfd2004 - I can see you have your heels dug in on this one and won't budge, which is understandable with the fire service problems in your own city. Do I think that regionalization is a good idea? In many instances it is and I've stated that. Without beating a dead horse all my point was is that any regionalization should be well thought out. You helped prove my point by referring to the Northern Hudson Regional Fire Department, which sounds like a success. But if you look at the history of its creation, you'll see that the early planning and discussions began back in the early 1980's and the department became a reality on January 11, 1999. So obviuosly they took their time, thought through potential problems, garnered public support and figured out the funding. It wasn't a flip the switch over-night and off we go. Final thought: Go slow, tread lightly and make sure your citizens really are aware of what they're signing up for.

 

 Sir, yes I am aware of how things went just prior to the merger of the NHRFD. That's why I used it to make my point.

 

 So when do these other places start ? And who throws in the white hat and collar pins to say, "Yes, I'm ready to do the right thing" ? "I care more about the people I am assigned to protect, than my own self image". Lets put that FIRST QUESTION out there. Whoever it is I will stand and salute. Those are really Great Leaders who are willing to do that for OTHERS. Therefore, let the Leaders take the Lead. Let them be the first to show us how important regionalization is for the fire service today.

 

 That is how we can begin.

AFS1970, LayTheLine and vodoly like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now