Many firefighters have feelings on the difference between paid and volunteer firefighters. In reality, we all do the same thing. I have heard situations where paid guys have said ‘let the vollys do it’ when it comes to doing stuff that is not fun. Such as rolling hose after a big fire, everyone is tired, everyone just wants to go home, but that is part of the job, putting your apparatus back in service as quickly as possible. It is not just paid individuals that say stuff along those lines, volunteer firefighters have also said stuff like ‘they are paid, let them do it’ or ‘what do they all do all day besides sit in the station and play games.’
None of the above statements are true. If you are a firefighter, that is what you are. This is a touchy subject among many, and not always something that should be brought up, but I feel for and outsider to understand firefighting you have to know it is not all always about brotherhood. There are things that seperate one station from another even though it is not something that should happen it does. It is just like real life, you may have the same job as your friend in another company, but they make more than you or vice versa. Coming together is not always easy, and it is not always going to happen, but sticking together is the most important thing.
Look at the above pictures, can you tell which company is volunteer and which is paid? I didn’t think so.
While many students were relaxing and enjoying their own spring break, I realized that firefighters never get a break. I thought now would be a good time to bring that into light. As a volunteer firefighter you are expected to train and run calls every day of the year. If you are not available, that is understandable, however as a volunteer firefighter you pledge to make yourself available as much as possible.
An example is on Saturday, March 10 at 1:35 in the morning North Lebanon Township Fire Departments and other surrounding companies were dispatched for a shed fire/other building fire located at Zimmerman Mulch. While many other people were in bed, the local volunteer firefighters were fighting to contain the blaze and also protect the mulch that was located near the building that was on fire. The mulch was saved and that prevented a further tragedy, however the building that was their showroom and full of offices was nearly completely destroyed.
Being a volunteer is not a position where you can take paid vacation and sick days. Even though you control your hours, the community is depending on you to save them. Many volunteers work through pain, illness, good and bad weather to protect and serve you.
There are many different articles of turnout gear that are extremely important to a firefighter. Properly donning your turnout gear will result in safety on the fire ground. There are many individuals who want to skip steps to get dressed faster, this causes your gear to not be as effective and may cause unnecessary injuries. The most common injury caused my turnout gear not being properly put on is burns. If any of your skin is showing while in a fire, your skin is not susceptible to fire and can cause up to third degree burns. The most important parts a firefighter can have are
- Fire Boots
- Bunker Pants
- Bunker Jacket
- Nomex Hood
- Fire Gloves
- Face Piece
- SCBA Air Pack
To properly understand how to don turnout gear please view the video here