Make this page my home page
  1. Drag the home icon in this panel and drop it onto the "house icon" in the tool bar for the browser

  2. Select "Yes" from the popup window and you're done!

Print Comment RSS

Editor's Note
by Rick Markley, editor-in-chief

Why volunteer firefighters volunteer

Interesting research looks at what motivates humans to do things against their best interest for the sake of strangers ó like become volunteer firefighters

By Rick Markley, FR1 Editor-in-chief

I may have been wrong about volunteer firefighters.

Well, maybe not completely wrong, but wrong enough to reconsider a strongly held belief.

This all begins earlier this week when I had the radio set to NPR while driving to dinner. There was a story about altruism, sharing and basically, why we do what we do when it comes to volunteering. It was one of those stories where you sit in the parking lot and wait for it to finish.

Actually, this begins with an on-going conversation I've had with National Volunteer Fire Council President Phil Stittleburg on recruiting and retaining volunteers. I've maintained that, given the economy and pressure on volunteers, it would take about $20 per hour to attract and keep good volunteers.

Phil disagrees. He maintains that money is not a motivator.

So there I sit, in my truck, in a restaurant parking lot stomach rumbling and rethinking my position.

The story established that people will do things against their apparent best interest — that is, give something away that would help them, and it is often to strangers. It then explores several ways this happens and speculates on why.

It cited one experiment to test altruism among blood donors. In short, one blood bank paid people, the other didn't. The one that didn't pay, drew more blood.

One theory for why this happened is that paying people stripped them of their need to do good — be altruistic. The theory went on to say that many of those people simply found other avenues to do good.

Another interesting finding had to do with people's reported levels of happiness after doing something for someone else, like donating money. Those who were publically recognized reported being happier than those who gave anonymously.

So what's the take away from this for volunteer fire departments struggling to attract and retain firefighters? As I see it, it is two fold.

First, paying volunteers may not be the answer to better recruitment. That's not a huge surprise; most volunteer firefighters I know would gladly do it for free and many do.

The second is that if you want to keep volunteers motivated, be sure they are recognized for their commitment. This means both within the department and within the community. It's a fairly easy, low-cost thing for most departments to do.

But, back to the money.

I've read many of the reader comments that looked down upon taking money. It seems counter-intuitive, but the radio story seems to back that up. In my own experience, I offered to forego pay when applying to my department; they hired me and declined my offer, which I'm not grateful for both.

I still hold that municipalities should place a real dollar value on their fire protection — this puts us on par with police protection. It makes municipal leaders and the public know that firefighting is a highly skilled endeavor of vital importance to the community — not some hobby or social club.

All that aside, Phil was probably right; I'm just hoping he's kind enough not to rub my nose in it.




Comments
The comments below are member-generated and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of FireRescue1.com or its staff. If you cannot see comments, try disabling privacy and ad blocking plugins in your browser. All comments must comply with our Member Commenting Policy.
Noel Rideout Noel Rideout Wednesday, August 13, 2014 12:44:36 PM I WAS a volunteer For 40 Yrs Chief For 17 The Part I Had a Problem With The Town Had A Good Tax Base Every One Else >Police Public Works/Recreation/Engineering/Water Works /Administering/ On AND On All Getting Good Pay We Were Saving The Money Some Other Dept. Was Spending The Savings .Then Had To Fight For Our Cut Of The Pie.
Jim Seavey Jim Seavey Wednesday, August 13, 2014 1:12:26 PM With the younger generations today, there is not so much of a need to feel embedded and loyal to where one has grown up. They feel much more free to move about and explore this ever changing country and do so often. Thus, an unfortunate side-effect is the loss of a sense of the need to be there to protect the community, as most often they do not have or care to take the time to know the community. This will ultimately be the essence of the change of values in our service. And, this is only ONE example of what we face as Volunteer Leaders today!
Ben Weidner Ben Weidner Wednesday, August 13, 2014 5:28:28 PM Back in H.S. I had the chance to be a Jr. Firefighter in a small mountain community in CO. That originally got the bug in me. With family moving, school, getting married, moving again and kids I kind of put it to the side for many years (about 16 I think). It wasn't until 9/11 that I realized what my true calling in life was. The sights and sounds of that day brought a long forgotten tug on my heart (and yes, many tears running down my face) to serve my community. That following week I walked into my local FD and asked if they were taking applications. To make a long story short, I went through the application process and was asked to join the department and became a member in 2002. I also have gone on to become a Paramedic (my full-time job now) as I felt that there was more I had to offer to my community. Whether you believe or not I for one know that this was God calling me to my ministry and calling in life. I went down many paths on my own, just to find a roadblock here and there along the way. It was AMAZING and truly humbling when I realized that this is where He wanted me to be and opened the gates wide for me to see just a glimpse of what was to come. Yes, I have seen many tragic things and things that most humans should not have to see but I go on. I go on knowing that hopefully in some small way I have made a difference to someone, not for the recognition or fame, but for the fact that I know I helped where I could. Not everyone was cut out to do this job but I know that God gave me the talent, skills and heart to do this. I don't care about the paycheck, it's the fact that I made a difference in someone's life that is rewarding to me. I can now also proudly say that my son has been a member of our department for the past 2 or 3 years! I hope that I have instilled in him the same sense of service that I try to carry with me. As he put it to me the other day we are the beginning of a legacy! I hope and pray that all my brother's and sister's of the fire service get as much joy and pride in a job well done that I do when we know we did it because we wanted to, not because it was "our job".
Ed Silva Ed Silva Wednesday, August 13, 2014 5:54:15 PM I did it to help the community where I lived and did it for 20 years. I was brought up to help when and were I could and too make a difference. Now it is hard to volunteer because of needs at home and people have no commitment to most things even when getting paid. Where there are paid and volunteers it seems that a lot of the paid ones forget were they came from most were volunteers. If there were no volunteers they would not have the pay and the trucks they have. This causes stress at the fire station and people will not stay. Budgets always seem to forget about the fire depts needs or you have an administration that buy the wrong stuff. Training is another problem too much or too little. Too much then you are not let use it and not enough if you do not know what to do to help. I went from Volunteer Firefighter to Chief. I had to leave because my full time job was getting too demanding, Law Enforcement Officer
Guy Richard Guy Richard Wednesday, August 13, 2014 6:00:30 PM I've been in the service for 17 year now like Noel said the hard part is dealing with a village council they don't realize the value that volunteer give to the community and the time and effort we put in to it to try to give the best service to the public. This being said all we are trying to do is get the respect we deserve.
Greg Frich Greg Frich Wednesday, August 13, 2014 6:44:42 PM We are actively recruiting volunteers again in Lee County, GA. Red Bone District Firefighters will be eligible for state firefighter pension.
Dan Bennis Dan Bennis Wednesday, August 13, 2014 6:59:25 PM I have been a part of the fire service for 29 years, I really never thought of the money (though a small amount), the best rewards is when those we help say thanks for responding in the middle of the night, then they say "were sorry to bring you out so late", we usually respond "that's what we do", and that's the important thing to keep in mind, we are helping our friends, neighbors, family and strangers, because THATS WHAT WE DO
Christopher R Chinni Christopher R Chinni Wednesday, August 13, 2014 7:39:00 PM I volunteer because it can take less than 3 minutes to make a difference in somebody else's life.and a special person to get out of bed at 3am to go help somebody u don't no and not get paid for it that's why i am a volunteer
Robert Andrus Robert Andrus Wednesday, August 13, 2014 7:58:54 PM This is a cancer that's killing volunteer fire departments all over. You can blame or not blame whatever reasons, but here is how it lays out. When I was new, we had a little training and went to work. I volunteered for free. I was single, and gas was 89 cents a gallon. My folks paid for my car, and I paid for the insurance which was about 50 bucks a month. Today, my guys are married, pay 4 dollars a gallon for fuel, and struggle to pay insurance, car payments and mortgages. Additionally, our Fire Commission (KY) rams new requirements and attaching strings to our training and performance standards which sours potential new recruits and my regulars. How many of you have weekend trainings? My guys leave their spouses and children after working 50 plus hours to come screw around on BS training on their one of two days off? For FREE? I don't blame them for not coming. We have weekend crap every weekend around here this is getting out of control and fast. This is a new age. Volunteerism is down. The economy is crap. And we sit here embezzling free work out of people in trade for a feeling of pride and accomplishment and "helping our community." Do I sound sour? Yes, I do. Do I love the FD? Yes, I do. I'll contribute until I'm dead or physically unable. Do I see the writing on the wall that a volunteer fire department is a bad business plan? YES! What can be done? Merge departments. Its time for these 30 call a year 20 square mile kingdoms are crushed and consolidated. Theres no reason for a small rural county to have 10 fire departments and 80 fire trucks. Do we even have 80 responders? Of course not. Second and most importantly, ask yourself this question: How much can I pay a volunteer firefighter to offset his valuable time to a point that he is required to attend, he feels obligated to work, and we don't bankrupt the department. Face it folks, money is the key. Look at station standby programs. We don't have to pay 40K a year with insurance and retirements. If you don't look forward, you'll fall backwards.
Cristian Barriossalas Cristian Barriossalas Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:05:14 PM I join out of curiosity. I stayed because in one single moment, you would realize the value of life if you have taken it for granted. You would realize what it feels to be someone who will go toward the dangerous situations and possibly saved someone life. You would understand how it feels to be ready to make life changing decisions,at a moment notice. It is enough to bring you to the ground, make you humble and caring. I keep going because it's a calling I can't refuse.
Ellen Weidner Ellen Weidner Wednesday, August 13, 2014 9:57:34 PM Wow Benjamin William....it could not have been said better. Very proud of you! It is amazing to watch God work....sweet when it is your child! XOXO
Richard Hitchcock Richard Hitchcock Wednesday, August 13, 2014 11:39:40 PM i used to love to volunteer until the "good ol boy" system runined everything for most people
Bridger Walczynski Bridger Walczynski Thursday, August 14, 2014 12:04:22 AM I did it because I owe them my fathers life. After getting into a nasty crash in the 8th grade they were the first on scene and helped to well save my dad! I came out un injured but he was in bad shape. So when I turned 17 I joined my local volunteer fire department in the cadet program and went from there! They saved my dad so i thought it was time I have back and helped others in my community to and I love doing it! Being a volunteer is the best decision I ever made!
Lisa K Larson Lisa K Larson Thursday, August 14, 2014 3:07:12 AM I wrote this back when I was volunteering.... Someone once asked me ďWhy do you Volunteer your time as a Paramedic? How do I answer that question? How would you answer that question? To me, itís not about the uniform, because more often than not itís become soiled on a call. Itís not about the recognition from others, because that is secondary to the feeling I have inside. Itís not about the lights, sirens and driving fast, because all of that is sometimes more scary than fun. Itís not about the plaques on the wall, because I would trade them all for the lives lost. Itís not about the banquets and the ďprestige,Ē because I do what I am trained to do, without asking for or needing any rewards. Itís about being there for others without asking for anything in return. Itís about getting up at 0300, when someone calls with a stomach ache because to them, thatís an ďemergency.Ē Itís about waiting for the call saying someone needs help and hoping that I can help them. Itís about spending my free time learning and re-learning so that I can be the best I can be. Itís about the smile on an injured or sick childís face when I do something silly that makes them feel a little better for a minute. Itís about crying with the family of someone who has just died, even though I did my best to stop it. Why do I do it? I have to ask why more people donít do it.
Troy Engel Troy Engel Thursday, August 14, 2014 4:44:37 AM When Asked, I tell people its because they let me drive the shinny Red fire truck, True is I do it because I like doing it. We've got an assume group of fire fighters, and good equipment. I try and keep the training relevant & purposeful. we have a lot of newer fire fights and its great watching them find there niche in the department. I would not trade if for Gold. B-)
Hanna Weidner Hanna Weidner Thursday, August 14, 2014 5:59:14 AM I am sooooo honored & blessed to be your wife! I love you very much & I hope & pray that I help you in every way to fulfill this highly honorable calling! You are an amazing man! You are everything I could have ever dreamed of & far beyond what I could have imagined the best could be! You are a father that is so strong and loving.....and the evidence of your goodness stands in front of you loving you back in the 3 wonderful kids you've loved & raised! I am thankful for you & who you are in Christ! I am proud of our kids, the way they love others & care deeply about their callings! Aaron is so much like his daddy, an honorable firefighter, dedicated hard worker & deeply loving man to his soon to be wife! He would turn the world inside out to give of himself & all quietly in the background, humbly. Jessica is the most amazing mommy & wife! She is also deeply dedicated to serve her church & community! She has love & drive in her that goes beyond the depths I can see! Julia is a deeply loving gentle spirit who wants to give & teach & deeply care for anyone in her reach. A love that has gotten her hurt, but she has the deeply dedicated and called spirit that keeps her loving despite bruises. These amazing kids would not be who they are without you, Ben!! They are all Gods handiwork & you are an amazing tool that God has used to make them who they are! I am truly blessed to have you all in my lives!! I love you!!!!
Jeff Wright Jeff Wright Thursday, August 14, 2014 7:29:40 AM My comment back to people has always been for the last 36 plus years, " What if I didn't volunteer", what would this world be like. I've looked at it like this I serve my fellow man.......
Jim Horton Jim Horton Thursday, August 14, 2014 7:54:13 AM ........and you are good at what you do.
Bill Aumen Bill Aumen Thursday, August 14, 2014 7:59:21 AM I have volunteered in many ways over the years, including as a firefighter/emt, for no pay. In recent years I have been "insulted" by organizations that say they don't want help, they just want money to pay their "professionals". That NPR program DID hit the nail on the head. And there are some really good comments already posted here. As a former chief, I have seen the pros and cons of volunteers versus professionals (and the ARE disadvantages). But killing the volunteer spirit has a far wider ranging effect on the community and our ability to deal with bigger emergencies. Money is definitely NOT the motivation.
Tom Bauer Tom Bauer Thursday, August 14, 2014 8:22:08 AM Back when I was a volunteer before health issues took it away. I did it because I wanted to serve somehow in my community. It was the best 10 yrs of my life I still get that feeling that I can do that. The friendships that were made and brothers and sisters gained is like a MasterCard they are priceless.
Kevin Oxford Kevin Oxford Thursday, August 14, 2014 10:53:15 AM I live in a semi-rural area. In my opinion we don't have the population to support the cost of paid firefighters, so if we want fire protection we have to use volunteers. That's one of the things that motivated me.
Kevin Oxford Kevin Oxford Thursday, August 14, 2014 11:04:22 AM I agree that the load on volunteers has become too high. We spend far more time on paperwork and training than we do putting wet stuff on red stuff. Also there are now far more procedures and protocols than any human being can be expected to remember. It's definitely a factor in the declining volunteer numbers.
John Hale John Hale Thursday, August 14, 2014 12:12:52 PM I've been on our VFD one year to date. Tere haven't been to many bad calls being a small town of 800, but I have been doing volunteer work in the community, church and other recreation related things. Like everyone else has said it's a peace of mind you get when the job is done. You don't have to have the thank you's or public recognition if your doing for the right reason. When you can finish your job knowing you did all you can do than its worth every minute of your free time.
Edward M Henne Edward M Henne Thursday, August 14, 2014 4:30:38 PM To keep people Safe on the scene .
Kelly Reed Kelly Reed Thursday, August 14, 2014 5:35:46 PM I became a volunteer firefighter to help the community. I guess that I am geared for helping others. I was a structural ironworker at the time working on Phoenix Fires training tower. One of the captains and I were talking and he said that the fire department could use some guys like us that weren't afraid of heights. I told him that I loved the job as an ironworker and couldn't see doing anything else, I was in my 30's then and in tip top shape. When I went back home to Lake Montezuma, Arizona I checked into our volunteer department and the rest is history. I was a volunteer firefighter and wild land firefighter from 1984- 2008. I did some time as an EMT, I also did some time with NASCAR at the Phoenix International Raceway. When I went through the fire academy can you guess where I had my training at? Nope. The Tempe training center. Being a volunteer firefighter I could still be an ironworker and a firefighter. Best of both worlds. The last place I volunteered at became full time and unionized. They dumped the volunteer program. It is a fun life. I still have a sanctuary for the wolf/hybrids with 30 critters that I play with and take care of. One more thing, there are people out there that think that volunteers are not real firefighters.
Ron Becknell Ron Becknell Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:08:53 PM I have been a volunteer for since 1991 and my FD has never paid any money to the volunteers, although one time we researched trying to pay a few dollars per call as gas reimbursement but could not afford to make it worth while for the members. We are a moderately active FD (around 450 calls per year) and meet once a week. The more training we do and harder we work it seems the more members like it. They want be useful, not necessarily recognized in a major way; just a "that a boy" when they work hard to learn/train and after a call. But most are happy just to know that they are helping their neighbors and community. However like you say, even the volunteers need to use a dollar figure to help taxpayers and community understand what their FD is truly providing them and the savings they receive from that volunteer FD which will help with future funding. It is always interesting to the see the look on the peoples' faces when we explain the amount training hours added to the man-hours for calls.
Robert Andrus Robert Andrus Thursday, August 14, 2014 10:28:48 PM Kevin Oxford thats what I'm saying, we've thrown more on volunteers than ever, and people are still oblivious to the fact that this world left working for free behind when we decided to trash our economy. Its not that people are greedy and work volunteer for free, its that they CAN'T volunteer for free. Any anybody, such as the author to compare a blood draw to volunteer firefighting is out of touch with society.
Craig Watkins Craig Watkins Sunday, August 17, 2014 7:51:52 AM I have been a Volunteer Fireman/First Responder since 2008. I do it because my community needs someone to do it and why not me. I work with good people and wouldn't have it any other way. Can't say why I do it I just do.
Jack Maignaud Jack Maignaud Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:00:44 AM I have been a Vol Firefighter for over 14 years and have been the President of my fire dept. for over 9 years and i vol. for helping the ccmmunity but it is hard to keep people comming to calls and to training we are blessed to give a small amount for calls it is not much but it does have fun seeing who is the top 5 responders we dont get to put the wet stuff on the red stuff much mostly medical calls and most are stomach calls or something like that but I love being in the Dept. I am in im getting older and seeing the younger guys comming in it is not like it was when i came in 14 years ago I hope the vol. service stas for a long time I live in Texas and Pasadena tx has one of if not the largest Vol. fire depts in the world hope it does not go away. Forest Bend Fire Dept is a somewhat small but fun fire dept. and mutial aid with some of the best Depts around us I am proud to be a Vol. Fire Fighter
Jason Buc Jason Buc Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:00:51 AM Conversley Chief, and I volunteer in the same county as you, I have seen countless transient (college kids or young professionals) turned away fromt he volunteer service because the organization felt that the canidate would recieve training and require department resources and then leave before their service outweighed their cost. I always felt this was the wrong attitude. I believe the more trained responders on our streets, in our communities the better. And finally, while I don't entirely dissagree with your point, I'd argue and be able to support that just because an individual is transient does not mean they will not volunteer and contribute in whatever their current community is; wheather or not the community decides to accept their help is a different matter.
Hollie Broughton Hollie Broughton Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:04:50 AM I have found this to be an incorrect statement and NPR needs to come find me and interview me. That's the key word.... ME. Come to Hardin County. Come and do my job. I volunteer for a mutual volunteer/ paid FD. And I have Cub Scouts. Do you want to know how many happily do the job? Not many. Drama 100%. And many have their hand out. What can you do for me? I have left my kids, had no vacation for 3 years for no pay. And where does it get you? No where. Oh wait. When someone gets their feelings hurt... they quit. Yes. So many are knocking down the door to volunteer around here. And you do everything you can think of to make up for the loss in time and pay. And still. Hope the volunteering works where your at. But not here. Good luck.
Holly Gossage Holly Gossage Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:31:10 AM Lisa and Jason, very well said. Chief I volunteer in a community I did not grow up in. The area where I grew up in doesn't seem to like for women to volunteer in the fire service. My ex boyfriend was a volunteer there and when I asked him what I needed to do to volunteer, he told me that they didn't want women volunteering at the FD or Search and Rescue. I know this could be just him not wanting me to volunteer, but looking at both departments I notice that they do not have the first female volunteer, so maybe it was true. This definitely made an impact on me to want to volunteer more because I was told I can't. Once I married my husband who I met in the Paramedic classes he and I both were taking, I began to ride along with him on some of the fire calls he would go to as a volunteer. I once again tested the waters of wanting to volunteer, he took me to the FD and showed me what I needed to do. Yes, this is an entirely different department from the one mentioned before. I am proud to say that I am one of two female volunteers in this department and was welcomed with opened arms. So, to add to what Jason was saying, when you are being rejected from one place because of your gender or whatever other reason will cause you to find somewhere that will give you that chance. Yes, cost for education is high and no, some people will not stay long enough to off set those cost. Sometimes all it takes is showing that group of people that you will invest in them because you believe in them. If they leave then the department can still hold themselves proud because they have done what they could to make that person's dreams come true. Volunteering isn't about the money. I have spent more money being a volunteer than a lot of other people.
Justin Songer Justin Songer Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:37:28 AM Ive been a volunteer firefighter for 7 years. I do it because I like helping others. Selfless Service is my motivation.
Mick Perez Mick Perez Sunday, August 17, 2014 8:52:43 AM I'm a volunteer Firefighter and very glad to be one for 21 years I don't do it for the money at all but do it because I'm helping the people and our community. We don't make a big deal about praising one another for what we do or what we've done I don't feel comfortable about that it's JUST WHAT WE DO.
Stephen Hodges Stephen Hodges Sunday, August 17, 2014 9:30:47 AM I feel volunteering is something embedded into a persons subconscious. I joined the military out of high school to serve my country, and now I'm a volunteer firefighter to serve my community. For me, it's not about the recognition, it's being a part of something larger than the self servitude attitude of the younger generation. I myself am 25, and I couldn't feel more fulfilled with the things I've done, the people I've helped, and the brotherhoods I have the privilege of being a part of.
Bob Rozett Bob Rozett Sunday, August 17, 2014 9:36:49 AM Holly Gossage , I have always invited women into the fire service, and when I started 34 years ago we had several, we need more balance in the service, women offer that perspective.
Con Abraham Con Abraham Sunday, August 17, 2014 9:47:26 AM Good thought! Its nice to read article like this. VFF from the Philippines.
Hunter Jeans Hunter Jeans Sunday, August 17, 2014 11:40:12 AM I've been asked why I volunteer as a firefighter before I simply did not know how to put it to that person. Firefighting runs in my blood, my father is a well respected Captain, my grandfather was a well respected Battalion Chief and both of them have asked my why as well. My answer to all is I do it not for the glory or the rush I do it so that I can help someone that is in need more than I am. God has put fire fighting in my life because he knows I can handle anything he throws at me. I plan to help that person to the best of my ability and if it means I must die then so be it, but I will always be a firemen at heart and will love it till the day I die
Holly Gossage Holly Gossage Sunday, August 17, 2014 12:07:36 PM Thank you so much Bob for seeing that women are just as capable as men in the fire service. We need more like you that are willing to accept us women in.
Kevin Biesecker Kevin Biesecker Sunday, August 17, 2014 4:14:52 PM The question of transient is a difficult one. I too, like Jason have seen potential members turned away. Luckily for me I was not one of those people across several departments until I bought a house where I live now. I grew up in one where the chances of a Junior member staying around the area were slim. If that department had taken that attitude I most likely would not have recently completed 35 years as an active volunteer. Yes, I left my original department and served with another for four years while in the Air Force. What if I had been termed a transient there? During those four years I directly or indirectly brought into the department 8 new members who had never been part of the fire service before. I don't know where they all got to, but Scott is a Capt. with a paid dept., Ron is a paramedic, Jerry became Asst. Chief of that department and the last I heard Keith was with a paid department. From there I moved back close to home with a department 8 miles from my first and spent 5 years being highly involved with fire prevention and the Junior program. This department had a large number of college and seminary students. Some came in with training and some did not. Either way our department benefited and most likely someone else did too. I then bought my house 6 miles north and in another department's area where I just completed 21 years. Any of these departments could have looked at me as a transient, but they didn't. We are supposed to watch out for each other and I believe it goes cross-department. What training we start, another can finish which gives that department another member. This is also true in the opposite direction. Maybe we should strike the word transient from the fire fighter lexicon and see what each person can bring to the table.
Matthew Frankforther Matthew Frankforther Sunday, August 17, 2014 10:10:21 PM I am 22 years old. I have been a volunteer for 3 years. I do it for the community. I do it for the people that need help. I was raised old fashion. I was taught to care for others first... I would love to take my training full time but I will stay volunteer. I love my community.
John Bussell John Bussell Sunday, August 17, 2014 10:33:06 PM I grew up in Wenatchee Washington watching the mountains burns and going to fire departments around town. Growing up I knew I wanted to be a firefighting. I moved to Maine where a I learned about Junior Firefighting where I learned the roles and duties of being a firefighter. I'm on 2 volunteer fire departments. State of Maine requires a hourly wage for 1st responded. Firefighters don't worry about being paid money. We do what we do because we know its right in our heart and we are there to help our neighbor who just fell off a ladder, the tourist who just crashed into a tree, a friends place that's burning to the ground. I am a volunteer firefighter because I grew up wanting to help people and to FIGHT FIRE! Come on who the hell doesn't like fighting fire?
Jason Plesetz Jason Plesetz Monday, August 18, 2014 11:04:31 AM Back in the 1800's all fire dept. were Volunteer. 1900's they had to start paying guys to hold them accountable for the fires being put out. I would do it for free if my county offered Volunteer firefighters. Would be a dream of mine!
Chris Davis Chris Davis Monday, August 18, 2014 1:47:19 PM Holly Gossage I think you possibly took this off subject but did want to give my opinion on one of your final comments. "because they have done what they could to make that person's dreams come true. " That is not the goal of the FD. The FD is there to help people in need not fulfill a volunteer's dream or make them feel good. If you are looking for someone else to fulfill your dreams you will continually be disappointed.
Chris Montgomery Chris Montgomery Monday, August 18, 2014 2:17:07 PM I'm a proud volunteer. I do it for free gladly. If you're passionate enough for this job you'll do it for free.
Craig Stecher Craig Stecher Monday, August 18, 2014 6:09:34 PM Jason Buc Yes Jason I am one of them I stated in Hampden Maine Then I returned to active Navy service in witch I served on 2 different Vol.fire dept at Tervertin RI. and Westerly RI. When I retired from the Navy I was on Stratton Eustis Fire dept in Maine and then on Eddington fire in Maine. And now I am the Capt, At Newburgh Vol. fire dept. And I bring the training from all of them. But as you sad ws most take it as it come and hope what we tech will go wit the ones that move on as this is the way things go today
Craig Stecher Craig Stecher Monday, August 18, 2014 6:17:57 PM Ben you can't go wrong with support like this Stay safe brother!
Craig Stecher Craig Stecher Monday, August 18, 2014 6:21:59 PM I do it because someone has to do it or no one would be there to help people on the worst day of there life.
Rob Deschambeault Rob Deschambeault Tuesday, August 19, 2014 7:21:13 AM Chief, I started in the same department as you when you were a Sergent (many years ago). I didn't belong to the community, but lived in the station as a "live-in" volunteer. The Dept allowed me to live there while I went to college in return for my service. You and many others taught me a lot. I went on to get my fire protection engineering degree. I still volunteer, not because I was part of the community but because I love what I do. I want myself and others to be the best we can be. Because I volunteer I feel more connected to the community, so I believe you have a valid point. You're always welcome in our little mountain town in CO.
Kyle Hassan Kyle Hassan Tuesday, August 19, 2014 2:38:55 PM I joined my department because of 9/11 I was only 5 at the time but I remmber seeing the faces of the firefighters walking into the building knowing they were risking there's lives but knowing there were people that needed help up there and even when they were being told to stay out of the south tower because of the collapse risk and still going up to help is true dedication to the job and if they were able to give there lives I felt I could at least give some of my time.
Andrew Eugene Christenson Andrew Eugene Christenson Tuesday, August 19, 2014 8:42:48 PM You can't take money with u when u leave here just the good u have done and to get more volunteers tell your chief not to take the fun away
Larry Christian Jr. Larry Christian Jr. Thursday, August 28, 2014 4:56:52 PM I have been a volunteer for for about 6 years now and love being one I' m a emt and volunteer on the paid ambulance service in our area iI love doing it because i love helping people in their time of need i train every week in fire and as a EMT my kids love me doing this my wife loves also she to volunteers on the dept. we as a nation should remember back in the old days when all we had was volunteers neighbor helping neighbor and this why volunteer everyday 24/7
Mike Robie Mike Robie Monday, September 01, 2014 8:39:56 AM Michael Costabile
George White George White Monday, September 01, 2014 7:19:18 PM Knew your family well

FireRescue1 Offers

Fire Chief
Fire Chief

Connect with FireRescue1

Mobile Apps Facebook Twitter Google+

Get the #1 Fire eNewsletter

Fire Newsletter Sign up for our FREE email roundup of the top news, tips, columns, videos and more, sent 3 times weekly
Enter Email
See Sample