Volunteer Rebuttal to “The Media Damage to the Fire Service”
***I will first address a perceived issue that has people whining – Station Pride DOES NOT endorse the IAFF or Volunteers exclusively. Station Pride is a conglomerate of BOTH volunteers and career personnel who share their opinions via articles that are written by the individual. Most of our career firefighter staff came from a volunteer department when they were younger. I am a volunteer with NO paid firefighter time. For some reason, volunteers are often so quick to defend our volunteerism and fail to see the bigger picture. What we all are here at SP, however, are PROFESSIONALS – regardless of where our paychecks come from. Can you say the same about yourself?***
The Media Damage to the Fire Service is an interesting article and a great addition from a “Mutual Aid” contributor. Mr. Duckworth has experience in the fire service and is the Local president of a very important organization – the IAFF. Out of respect for Mr. Duckworth, I will not nit-pick his article or attempt to degrade his opinion. My goal is to educate him as well as other paid firefighters with little experience with the volunteer system. Overall, I agree with you regarding the media “romanticizing” the fire service. I can’t stand how “Sons of Anarchy” changed the motorcycle world that I live in. However, I’m just happy they’re making shows about us. Police shows are a dime-a-dozen, yet very few shows focus on fire and EMS.
Everyone knows the history of the fire service. The more recent history, however, is the growth of the Combination System – volunteers and career personnel work together to provide emergency services to our communities. I happen to be a volunteer in the largest combination system in the country – Prince George’s County, Maryland. I am also a volunteer in another large combination department in Loudoun County, Virginia where we work mandatory shifts, earn a retirement, and are expected to be professional. What being a volunteer in both of these areas has taught me is that we are ALL held to the same rigorous training standards and certification requirements. This means that a lot of us don’t treat it as an “extracurricular activity” and we take it as seriously as you do. Sure, there are exceptions to this, but that’s with everything in life. It has also taught me that regardless of the sticker on the back window of your car, we all make mistakes. I have read numerous headlines about firefighters from D.C., Loudoun, Fairfax, et. al. who made some awful mistakes and were arrested for it.
My point, Mr. Duckworth, is that your paragraph describing how the media never differentiates between volunteer and career is insulting, uncalled for, and erroneous. The argument is tired and lame. I can promise you that when our citizens dial 9-1-1, they don’t care if my shirt says “volunteer” or “IAFF”; they need help, and THAT is why we are all here. Just because you may know some volunteers that are lacking doesn’t mean there aren’t thousands more who are very proficient, so please don’t generalize. Stay safe up there.
Another one of those cocky Kentland33 guys. Smh. 😉
Do you know this guy personally? There is absolutely nothing here that would support your ignorant comment. I have a feeling you are just somebody who has a problem with anyone who takes pride in their work, or their company! Maybe you’re not in the fire service at all?! Perhaps one of the guys from that company (33) ran past you and put “your fire” out while you where still putting your gear on, or fiddle-fucking with your mask?! IDK, but you definitely sound like someone who’s butthurt. No, Im not from Kentland, nor am I a fanboy etc! I do however work in the paid service (BCFD) with a few older guys who happen to be long time members of Kentland 33; they are not only great firemen, but they are great guys as well! To assume all members of ANY fire company are good or bad because of your experience with one or two guys, or because of what you may have heard from someone is completely absurd.
Hey Joe! No hard feelings here. I’m happy to see Firefighters sticking up for one another. Corey and I are good friends. If I didn’t know any better I’d say he was my Hetero-life mate. The yang to my ying. The Angels to my Charlie and the Chuck to my Yeager.
Everything you’ve said about Kentland 33 and their firefighters couldn’t be more correct. It’s nice to have a guy like you in the brotherhood.
I have met a number of Kentland Firemen and I can tell you as a Non Commissioned Officer in the United States Army, that the ones I have had the pleasure of interacting with were not only humble but welcoming to anyone that wanted to come and learn at one of the busiest most successful fire houses in the United States. Yes they are confident but they bust their asses and put their money where their mouth is and I would be happy to see them showing up if I am ever in need.
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How do you know that Mr. Duckworth doesn’t have volunteer experience. He is in NH (where I started) and I can tell you that the majority of firefighters there started in volunteer departments. There are not a lot of career departments there. I am both a career and a volunteer firefighter myself, and I have been a member of a neighboring county combination department of PGFD, as well as here in northern new england, where I am from and currently work. Sadly, not all volunteer systems are at the same level as PGFD. So, there are indeed cases where the stereotype holds true. Unfortunately, not all volunteer departments hold theselves to the same standard. I’ve grown tired of people assuming that just because they obtained a FF 1 & 2 certificate that this automatically grants equivalent professional status. Can it be done? Absolutely, but in a volunteer system, that is largely by individual choice than the nature of the system itself. Yes, there are very professional and well trained volunteers, just as there are career personnel who are lacking. But volunteers do not automatically operate on the same level. It’s not a judgement, it’s just the simple nature of the differibg environments.