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Old 09-15-2009, 02:20 PM
 
Location: Heading to the NW, 4 sure.
4,470 posts, read 6,931,217 times
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Doing research thru out the US if your local FD has a vol. Fire Chief and is that person a paid person, or if only vol. is he/she compensated in anyway?

Also, ref to any person(s) would help is determining if chiefs are also allowed to have a "personal department budget" for gas, uniforms etc.

I am in New Mexico and retired out of Washington state which had an excellent program..
NM does not.....

Thank you for you assistance.

AJP-HW
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Old 09-15-2009, 02:50 PM
 
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Today they almost have to be. The bureaucracy that goes with running a volunteer fire department almost dictates that there be at least a part time paid administrative side to the job of being Chief.

I served as Chief in the 80's and even then the required paperwork was growing, but an hour or two a week was sufficient. It got to the point that my career and associated travel mandated that I step down as chief. Today the chief of even a small department needs to stay on top of all the bureaucracy, and it probably takes 10+ hours a week to do the minimal amount. Then the chief has the responsibility of running the department itself, typically delegated to Assistant Chiefs out of necessity.

Even the hours a firefighter has to put into annual training is becoming an undue hardship for many, as they just don't have the time to train, and fulfill family and work obligations. Then of course responding to call at all hours, but I don't have to tell you about that.

I retired from the fire service this year after 32 years as a volunteer. It was a million dollar experience, but I'm not sure I would do it again for a million Oh hell yes I would, I did it for free the first time

Today the chief of even a small rural department is primarily an administrator and that is not why they joined the fire service. They like everyone else joined to help their community, not push a pencil for bureaucratic neanderthals.
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Old 09-15-2009, 03:01 PM
 
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Your second question, a chief's 'budget' or discretionary spending. #1 fuel should not be even in the discussion, if you have to beg for fuel money from the board or who ever controls the purse strings, then the WRONG people are on the board.

Our chief has always had the power of 'discretionary spending' with a dollar amount limit. This could be from replacing gear damaged or lost on a call, if would impact the readiness of the department. Or buying everyone breakfast after an all night woods fire or search.

This really boils down to a trust between the chief and the governing body, i.e. board of directors. And like any trust relationship, the trust can be broken.
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Old 09-15-2009, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Middle America
37,134 posts, read 43,052,244 times
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I grew up in a rural area, and worked in journalism as a newspaper reporter and editor for the same area, so I did a lot of coverage involving local FDs, and out there, they're are mainly volunteer depts. Even the volunteer depts, though, do have paid chiefs and in some cases, assistant chiefs.
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Old 09-15-2009, 10:57 PM
 
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
1,354 posts, read 5,803,138 times
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The chief of our fire stations are all on salary with the fire district. They each have a dept truck that they drive everywhere and benefits, etc. As far as I know, everyone else at the fire houses are purely volunteers. The fire station in town is now paying 5-6 guys as full time employees, with volunteers filling in the gaps. That took YEARS to actually happen and was a big deal in town. But all the fire stations outside of town only have the cheif as a full time employee. We are in forest fire territory and our volunteers are amazing.
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Old 09-16-2009, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Kentucky
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My brother in law recently stepped down as the chief of our small town volunteer fire department, and my husband is an officer of the same department. Nobody, not even the chief, is compensated for anything done for, in regards to, or on behalf of the department. Even gas for getting to emergency scenes, training classes, meetings, etc is paid for out of pocket by all members of the department who use their own private vehicles. There is one "rescue" (not an engine or tanker) truck, and it is kept at the station and is only to be "on the air" for maintenance and emergencies. Gas is paid for in that vehicle, but it is a case of "Whoever's closest to the station at the time of a call takes it".
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Old 09-16-2009, 05:00 PM
 
16,308 posts, read 25,264,005 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spotted1 View Post
My brother in law recently stepped down as the chief of our small town volunteer fire department, and my husband is an officer of the same department. Nobody, not even the chief, is compensated for anything done for, in regards to, or on behalf of the department. Even gas for getting to emergency scenes, training classes, meetings, etc is paid for out of pocket by all members of the department who use their own private vehicles. There is one "rescue" (not an engine or tanker) truck, and it is kept at the station and is only to be "on the air" for maintenance and emergencies. Gas is paid for in that vehicle, but it is a case of "Whoever's closest to the station at the time of a call takes it".
My department was very similar years ago. As the area grew, tax revenues grew, we finally got to the point we could at least reimburse members for their gas for responding to calls. I've been drawing $1.50, the $2 for calls answered for years now.

The best, smartest thing the state and departments have done is set up a pension fund for volunteer firefighters and rescue squad members. Initially members paid the monthly dues, $5 a month, but then the department stepped up and started paying pension dues.

Now with 20 years of service and reaching 55, volunteers in NC who have participated draw $170 a month pension, which usually increases a bit every year. This is primarily funded by a 1/2 of 1% surcharge on fire insurance premiums in the state.

It ain't a pension you can live on, but it pays a couple of bills or provides some 'fun' money every month, and it is something for the thousands and thousands of men and women that put it on the line for their neighbors and community.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:22 AM
 
Location: northeast PA
810 posts, read 1,191,611 times
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My husband is the lieutenant for the volunteer fire dept. in our town. Around here, except for the larger cities, the fire depts. and EMS are all volunteer (and thank the Good Lord for you all!) Neither the chief, nor any members of the dept. are paid. Funding comes from occasional grants, and of course fundraisers. At least the borough covers the fuel charges for the apparatus, but for equipment, building maintenance, etc., the dept. is pretty much on its own.
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Old 09-21-2009, 07:26 PM
 
Location: West Michigan
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Around here the chief is a paid position (not much but enough to cover time spent doing paperwork.) The rest are all volunteer, but they get a little for each call they respond to. Not exactly sure how much it is though.
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Old 09-23-2009, 01:44 PM
 
Location: A farm way out in the mountains
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We live on a farm in a tiny hamlet miles out in the mountains. Our "FD" is a trailer parked up down the valley. If there's a fire you ring the nearest neighbor and everyone rushes to get it and to throw the other end of the hose into the river. No-one is paid anything, but at least good equipment is provided for us!
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