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Top 10 gripes about being a volunteer firefighter

No job is perfect and FireRescue1 readers weighed with some of the worst parts of being a volunteer firefighter

Being a firefighter is a great job — career or volunteer. Yet, it is far from perfect. In order to improve, we must examine what doesn’t work. A rookie volunteer recently wrote asking, ‘What’s the worst thing about being a volunteer firefighter?’ So in the interest of better understanding and improving the job, we put the question to FireRescue1 readers. Here’s a sample of what they had to say.

1.“The drama and politics. Granted workplace drama is everywhere, but it seems so much worse in volunteer fire.” — Chris Collins

2.“Being treated like second best by full time firefighters and the brigade management. A firefighter is a firefighter!” — Steve Belinda

3.“The fact that we know everyone around and have to realize that some calls are friends and family.” — Clinton Bigtexas Harmon

4.“The worst part is not many in the public see the hard work that goes into just holding a department together — no equipment, no money for equipment, not enough help, never enough new recruits.” — Denton Ervin

5.“The lack of or availability of good training.” — Chuck Reed

6.“The worst thing about it is the calls involving children ... right next to that is seeing one of our own laying on the ground awaiting medical treatment ... it’s hard to believe how close we all get...” — Angela Davidson

7.“Dealing with other volunteers who are just in it to say they’re firefighters. We have a few who just show up for parades, functions with free food. But never an emergency.” — Robert Wenzel

8. “Being at work and having to miss a call and not being able to help. I hate that.” — Wayne Reel

9.“When you respond to the firehouse for a call and no one shows who can drive the apparatus because they’re at work.” — Gary Farrar Jr.

10.“Dedicating so much time in hazardous environments for little to no thanks. But at the end of the day, knowing you saved someone’s home or their life makes it all worth it.” — Wesley Wright