Volunteers decline for fire department

Volunteers decline for fire department

There are 76 comments on the Stamford Advocate story from Nov 2, 2008, titled Volunteers decline for fire department. In it, Stamford Advocate reports that:

As the fire department continues to expand its stations, programs and equipment, officials said they are grappling with a declining number of volunteer firefighters in the area - an issue plaguing departments ...

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Stamford Advocate.

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Jim Murphy

Valley Stream, NY

#1 Nov 2, 2008
What about increasing the Career Staff? Spend the money and time on adding "paid" firefighters, not recruiting Volunteers.
former res

Philadelphia, PA

#2 Nov 2, 2008
Obviously they know they can hire more paid firefighters - and they may ultimately have to do this. The goal is to maintain fire protection at the lowest possible cost.
Greenwich resident

East Longmeadow, MA

#3 Nov 2, 2008
what a waste of money the recruitment person is. He only interviews 20 people a year, put the money to valuable use and hire more career staff. Let's see more data on the actual response of volunteers verse all the money we put into them and equipment for the.
Living in Greenwich

Huntington, NY

#4 Nov 2, 2008
Greenwich resident wrote:
what a waste of money the recruitment person is. He only interviews 20 people a year, put the money to valuable use and hire more career staff. Let's see more data on the actual response of volunteers verse all the money we put into them and equipment for the.
Here is some financial data based on some research...
The line item budget for the Volunteer Coordinator ($71,352) will, at most, pay for 1 firefighter annually (salary, uniform, stipends, overtime, etc) if that position were to be "given up" for a line firefighter (mind you that firefighter only works once every four days). The volunteers are a very small percentage of the entire operating budget for the fire department yet they contribute a lot to serving the Town. According to the budget, the Town pays over $8,463,025 for front-line career firefighters (including overtime pay, uniform allowance and whatever $409,700 is for "extra qualifications"). Assuming there are 100 career firefighters, that is about $84,630 per person. So, eliminating 100 volunteers (who do it for free) and replacing those positions with 100 more paid firefighters will cost the Town ANOTHER $8,463,025. Look at the budget.... the volunteers don't cost that much. Maybe 20 people isn't a lot to you, but that adds up to $1,692,600 in salaries for 20 paid firefighters in one year. You can get the numbers from greenwichct.org .
I applaud the Recruitment Person for trying to recruit more volunteers into the system. WIth the economy the way it is, I'm sure its not easy. Why don't those people that post negative comments on the volunteer a pick up an application and go volunteer.
Real Fire Men

Garnerville, NY

#5 Nov 2, 2008
Not related to one, don't know one.
Take the test and become a REAL FIRE FIGHTER.
None of this Volunteer BS!!
Should we now have Volunteer Dr.'s, Volunteer Nurses, Volunteer Police Officers?
STOP putting the public at risk!!
Volunteer

Trumbull, CT

#6 Nov 2, 2008
Real Fire Men wrote:
Not related to one, don't know one.
Take the test and become a REAL FIRE FIGHTER.
None of this Volunteer BS!!
Should we now have Volunteer Dr.'s, Volunteer Nurses, Volunteer Police Officers?
STOP putting the public at risk!!
That is a real unprofessional comment coming from someone claiming to be a "real fire men". According to the National Volunteeer Fire Council, there are over 800,000 VOLUNTEERS in the United States that make up 73% of the fire service. Professionalism doesn't come from a pay check. Just for the record, there are nurses that volunteer and police officers that do as well (reserves). Are they any less professional or qualified? If two firefighters have the same training/experience but one gets paid and the other doesn't, does that make the paid firefighter any better? No. He just gets paid to do it. I doubt that the 800,000 volunteers in this country are endangering the public because they want to volunteer.
frank

Mount Sinai, NY

#7 Nov 2, 2008
Mr. Real Fire Men,
Who do you think you are not calling me real?? I am Just as qualified as the next recruit coming out of the academy to do this job...(CT fire fighter two)Never mind the 10 or so other certifications I hold. I make over 400 calls a year to protect and help people in this town and I know a number of others in the volunteer ranks that do the same. Volunteers protect this country.
KAL

Garnerville, NY

#8 Nov 2, 2008
I'm glad this new forum started b/c I didn't dare comment in the Stamford Advocate forum about volunteer and paid b/c I would have probably been ignored....LOL But since this subject doesn't have too many participants yet.....why is there so much arguing in the other one and what is it all about? I prefer the short version...if you can? LOL. Is there a Volunteer fire dept. in Norwalk? Also, if you volunteer is there a benefit or is this just kindness from the heart wanting to do something nice for the public?
Greenwich Resident

East Longmeadow, MA

#9 Nov 2, 2008
Living in Greenwich wrote:
<quoted text>
Here is some financial data based on some research...
The line item budget for the Volunteer Coordinator ($71,352) will, at most, pay for 1 firefighter annually (salary, uniform, stipends, overtime, etc) if that position were to be "given up" for a line firefighter (mind you that firefighter only works once every four days). The volunteers are a very small percentage of the entire operating budget for the fire department yet they contribute a lot to serving the Town. According to the budget, the Town pays over $8,463,025 for front-line career firefighters (including overtime pay, uniform allowance and whatever $409,700 is for "extra qualifications"). Assuming there are 100 career firefighters, that is about $84,630 per person. So, eliminating 100 volunteers (who do it for free) and replacing those positions with 100 more paid firefighters will cost the Town ANOTHER $8,463,025. Look at the budget.... the volunteers don't cost that much. Maybe 20 people isn't a lot to you, but that adds up to $1,692,600 in salaries for 20 paid firefighters in one year. You can get the numbers from greenwichct.org .
I applaud the Recruitment Person for trying to recruit more volunteers into the system. WIth the economy the way it is, I'm sure its not easy. Why don't those people that post negative comments on the volunteer a pick up an application and go volunteer.
First i am not here to bash the volunteers, The system is not working according to the article itself, second on many web sites, http://www.greenwichvolunteerguide.com/firepo... , and http://www.greenwichct.org/FireDept/FireDept.... they claim to have up to and over 150 volunteers. If you add up to 20 a year for 3 years why is the number down to 100 and not up to 210? thats more than a 100% loss. Where's the logic of paying someone for a loss in production. Volunteers do it for free, kind of, they get a $1000.00 tax break,$7.50 a call, at 4000+ calls a year you can rake in $30,000.00, uniforms equipment and training. I think if we look at the big picture what guarantees proper protection. Look at the fire in stamford and all the trouble hey are having, we do not even have proper staffing on our career fire engines see here. http://www.greenwichfire.org/ Why do some areas in town get better protection than others. down town and back country get 4 firefighters on a engine and every where else only have 2. You get what you pay for, do you want to wait for volunteer cops or a volunteer ambulance, no you don't thats why they are all paid now. Maybe we should look at the fire dept as well. Dont get rid of volunteers but maybe take a better direction.
Greenwich Resident

East Longmeadow, MA

#10 Nov 2, 2008
oh yeah vote for obama on tuesday
Greenwich Sucks

North Brunswick, NJ

#11 Nov 2, 2008
As long as they want the taxes low, you'll never get more paid staff. A paid fireman takes up way more in training, benefits, salary and overtime than any volunteer ever will over the course of their careers, but if it comes to it hire more paid men, who cares. The residents just have to be ready to accept the tax increases.

And to all you poo-pooer's out there, people don't care. As long as they dial 911 and the red truck shows up, they don't care if you're paid, volunteer, 2 guys or 100 guys. As long as they call and you come is all they care about.
Greenwich Sucks

North Brunswick, NJ

#12 Nov 2, 2008
oh yeah vote for obama on tuesday
A few answers

Stamford, CT

#13 Nov 3, 2008
First and foremost the Greenwich Fire Department is looking to expand BOTH it's career and volunteer numbers, so neither one is being done at the other's expense. The planned new firehouse on King St will likely be a Career station just like Station 8 is. Volunteers will respond as needed into this area from the other companies, just like they do now.

Norwalk does have a Volunteer Fire Department, the Roayton VFD that protects a small neighborhood in South Norwalk, although the residents like to think of them selves more as being in East Darien, lol. The used to be others, I do not know if Hope Hose Company is still accepting new members.

Also it is impossible to have more than 100% loss of anything, as that would bring the total below zero. So if the losses are that big, then this recruiter must be doing an even better job in that he is replacing members as fast as they leave, which is obvious by the larger than zero number, unless your math is wrong.
A few answers

Stamford, CT

#14 Nov 3, 2008
Oh yeah and vote for McCain on Tuesday.

By the way the names of the candidates and the days of the week should be capitalized.
former res

Philadelphia, PA

#16 Nov 3, 2008
Harrisson wrote:
<quoted text>
LOL if you get your way, people of Stamford will have to move out, because it wouldn't be possibly to afford to pay your salaries. You want fire departments to be overstaffed with uneccessary manpower. You don't pay our taxes, you just waste them, leave your opinion in the city of state you live in!
I wasn't pushing for more paid guys. I said fire protection at the lowest possible cost. Right now in G'ch that means a mix of paids and vols. According to the article however the numbers of vols is in steep decline. Did you read the article - or would that be too much trouble? I know you McCain types don't read or do much research - "Country first" - give me a break.
former res

Philadelphia, PA

#17 Nov 3, 2008
Harrisson wrote:
<quoted text>
LOL if you get your way, people of Stamford will have to move out, because it wouldn't be possibly to afford to pay your salaries. You want fire departments to be overstaffed with uneccessary manpower. You don't pay our taxes, you just waste them, leave your opinion in the city of state you live in!
And BTW Einstein, by community is 100% volunteer.
Townie

Nyack, NY

#18 Nov 3, 2008
Hey FR, are you still a volunteer? You must miss it after all the time you spent in OG. Are the procedures similar in PA or different?
former res

Philadelphia, PA

#19 Nov 3, 2008
Townie wrote:
Hey FR, are you still a volunteer? You must miss it after all the time you spent in OG. Are the procedures similar in PA or different?
Hey Townie, I was never a firefigher, but I knew a few in OG and I know a few here - cops too. BTW do you know Chris Doyle? He's a year younger than me but he would definitely remember me. He and I had a head-on collision right in front of the SBVFD. Chris made an illegal left turn onto West End AVe (I had right of way) and I was heading toward the Beach on SB Ave. It was 1976 and I was driving someone else's car who was at Montreal Olympics at the time. My passenger, Jim Paradise - wasn't wearing a seat belt and sustained a broken nose - he looked like hell for a while - and the owner of the car was not happy with Mr. Doyle. Doyle was driving a big blue station wagon and I was driving a yellow VW bug with brand new Michelins - it was totaled - Doyle's wagon survived.
Idea

Trumbull, CT

#20 Nov 3, 2008
Why doesn't the Town offer a living incentive to stay in Town? I think Town nurses can take advantage of public housing in central Greenwich. There are some Towns in NY that have worked with builders to offer discounted (like half price) apartments and condos to attract and retain volunteers. There are stipulations, however (they can't flip it and must sell it to another volunteer). Doesn't Round Hill have living space at their firehouse? Given the demographics and price of housing in Greenwich, this might address one of the challenges the Chief mentioned. Giving people the option of staying in Town (where they can afford to) might help all around. I am not even sure how many paid public servents (fire, police, ems) live in Town because of the cost of housing.
Clarification of Benefits

New York, NY

#21 Nov 3, 2008
This is not a "money making venture" as indicated by Greenwich Resident.

"Reimbursement of $7.50 per emergency response to account for fuel usage and wear and tear on your personal vehicle"

The 4,000 calls represent the total of all fire stations per year ("who respond to approximately 4000 emergency calls each year from 8 stations located throughout the town."), so suggesting you can "rake in $30,000.00" is stretching the facts.

The only real benefit is "Property tax savings of up to $1,000 (Home or Auto)",(although it is even unclear what is meant by "up to".

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