The Reasons Why All Firefighters Should Be Paid
Hearing the station tones drop for a fire and running to the gear rack to put on the turnout gear can be adrenaline pumping. Riding down the highway with the lights reflecting off of the buildings and listening to the radio traffic knowing that there is an active fire on the first floor can get the adrenaline pumping faster. Firefighters run into burning buildings while others run out at all hours of the day. For many years, fire departments have been around serving communities. Each department has a group of men and women that willingly go out and help those in an emergency situation. There are three types of fire departments, there are full-time career departments, combination departments that have volunteers and paid staffing, and there are also departments that are all volunteers. All the fire companies across the nation have the same duties but at the end of the day, some get paid and some do it without receiving any financial compensation. With the number of volunteers dropping over the years, and the change in society not wanting to work for free, it is time that all firefighters should be rewarded for their service. All volunteer firefighters should be paid with a financial compensation per call they respond to because everyone does the same job, it can bring back up the number of volunteers, and it can help those already volunteering their hours with equipment, transportation costs, and uniforms.
In the fire service, a firefighter is a firefighter. They do not get different treatment if they are paid or volunteer. You can not tell if a firefighter is paid or volunteer by the gear they wear. It is a risky job that can cause cancer, injury, or death. Firefighters put in countless hours of time to give the best service they can offer to their communities. They leave their families for sometimes long periods of time to work with their firehouse family. “We see the blaze even as we roar around the last corner, flames leaping into the night sky, jets of water already cascading onto the heat. The truck is barely stopped when we're off, several colleagues grabbing a line and heading purposefully toward the scene”. Firefighters work in unbelievable conditions that can put their lives in danger to save and protect people in need of our services. All firefighters receive the same training so they can do their job. At the end of the day, some firefighters can say that they have a salary to provide for their families and others don’t get paid. Volunteer firefighting is a tradition in communities nationwide and members take out a lot of their time to make it their passion. It can also take a hit to the wallet to pay for the amount of gas used in personal vehicles to get to the station. Financially rewarding the volunteer firefighters can personally give them a feeling that there is no separation of volunteers and paid firefighters.
The number of volunteers across the nation has dropped significantly. It is becoming harder and harder to recruit for volunteers. The apparatus was full of guys and manpower was not a problem to worry about. Nowadays, it is rare to get a truck with a full crew out of the station, unless it is a staffed station or it is a big call. ” Recruitment is a problem for some departments, but a more common complaint is that it's hard to keep people once they've joined”. Recruitment and retention in the fire service is becoming a big problem because the less men and women you have, the less help you will have to do your job. I believe that if there is a financial compensation for the volunteer firefighters, more people would want to join and it can help get more manpower on the apparatus. Many methods have been used to recruit new volunteers and the numbers keep dwindling. When I try to recruit friends to join and help, some of the many phrases I hear are “It doesn’t pay” or “it’s too much time for something that is free. ’’ The next generation doesn’t want to volunteer and work without a reward. If volunteers would get paid per call they respond to or how many hours they staff the station, it would be an eye opener to the public to join. I think that the number of volunteers will grow back to what it used to be and it would be a benefit for communities nationwide because there will be more people willing to help in a time of need.
Many people today still dedicate their time to volunteer as a firefighter. Becoming a firefighter may require one to sacrifice some of their time and finances. While it can be time consuming, it can also take a hit at your income. Some active members in the firehouse have a comfort of using or wearing equipment and they would have to take it out of their own money to purchase these items. For example, it is a tradition in the fire service to wear a leather helmet. The price of a leather helmet is unbelievable and some volunteers may not be able to afford to buy leather. Rewarding the firefighters financially can give them the money to buy their own equipment such as a leather helmet. I personally can not afford a leather fire helmet but it is a goal of mine to purchase one and wear it on the fireground. They can also buy uniforms, such as a Class A uniform. The Class A uniform is a formal uniform that firefighters wear to funerals, ceremonies, and other formal fire department events. They can also buy personal tools such as helmet band, 6 in 1 screwdrivers, and webbing. Firefighters can also use the money to fill their personal vehicles with gasoline after making many trips to respond to calls to the firehouse. Firefighters can also use the money for their families too if they would like to. “The firefighters and police who died in the attacks lost their lives trying to save strangers, strangers they were committed to helping”. This quote is about the men and women on September 11th but it shows that firefighters are willing to put everything on the line to help a stranger in need. Volunteer firefighting is already time consuming and it doesn’t need to be taking away a part of their income to the family.
A method I think will work to give a financial reward to firefighters is to not pay them a salary. I believe that they should be paid per call they respond to and give them a financial reward per call. For example, if a firefighter responds to three calls in a day, and the financial reward is $15, that is $45 made in one day. That way the firefighters have to be active in order to earn the reward and it would not feel like the money would be wasted on a firefighter who does not want to show up for calls. The fire company can pay the volunteers bi-weekly or monthly. The financial reward should depend on the department, coverage area, and the amount of calls that the fire company responds to. It would not be the best idea to pay a firefighter per shift because they might not have a call to respond to on that shift. Having the volunteers respond to the station for calls to earn a financial reward can help with manpower and getting equipment to the scene.
I believe that all volunteer firefighters should have a financial reward per call they respond to. Firefighting is one of the toughest jobs there is today and it keeps on getting harder to complete our tasks. I really do believe that volunteers and career firefighters have the same job and that the only difference between the two are that one comes home with a paycheck and one does not. Having the firefighters get a financial reward can get them equipment they like to use like a leather helmet or a certain glove they prefer to use. They can also purchase a Class A uniform to wear for ceremonies and funerals. I also think that this can be a problem solver for the low amount of volunteers across the country. With my personal experience, I have had an issue with short staffing and not having enough people to fill all the seats on the truck. Most of our trucks can carry six firefighters and another can carry eight firefighters. It is rare when every seat in the truck is taken, I also believe that it would be right to give back to the volunteers with at least a financial reward. Volunteers spend countless hours while training, going to public events, and most importantly responding to emergencies. With that, I believe that this would be a great move for volunteer fire companies to start doing for their members.