How are vollys viewed by paid EMT's?

Bullets

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The truth is that the only difference between a full time paid EMT and a volunteer EMT is experience. a volunteer EMT might work 12 hours a week on an ambulance, while a paid EMT does 36 or 40. I know quite a few volunteer EMTs who could run circles around paid EMTs, and quite a few paid EMTs that I wouldn't let treat my worst enemy. Training is often identical, as both paid and volunteer EMTs take the same exact course.
Id disagree, im sure you know some volunteer squads who cover big areas, busy areas and run jobs pretty steadily. Woodbridge, Ironbound, Edison, and some squads that have a hybrid system of volunteer and paid where they work together. Other paid systems call for mutual aid pretty regularly. And it can be volunteer agencies going into paid areas.

But seriously, how many paid v volley threads is the forum going to have
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
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Rest assured that I am by no means trying to attack you by multiquoting, I'm just trying to make some observations.

I'm not going to tell you what I think about you saying the volunteers are less expirenced than Paid. We also have all new equipment except for our Gruman which is an 86, but still runs like a champ. We have a dive team, along with an 15' alluminum boat and a 12' zodiac. We also have an airboat and a hovercraft. Along with that we have our dive truck and the 25' trailer which follows close behind it (almost like magic). We get about 400 fires a year. With 34 guys firefighters, All emts. We also do mutual aid for the surrounding cities. Some of our POV's have lights on them, not all of them. A buddy of mine was POC in a city of 55,000. Just because your are paid doesn't mean your smarter than everyone else.

Just curious, but how does any of this show that your agency provides a quality EMS service? You very well might, but having all new equipment and dive team and boats does not automatically make for a good fire or EMS agency. There are plenty of places that run a fine service with older but serviceable equipment just as there are many places that have all shiny trucks but hide behind their toys when it comes to serving their citizens in the best way possible. I am not saying that you're agency does that, I am saying that the above is not a solid argument and is often employed by those less than stellar agencies who are in denial about the service they provide.
And delay response time even more. Without stating that responding priority one causes more accidents. Please explain your logic on what you've just said.
For whatever reason it seems that many around here that drive their POVs code three do so in a far more reckless manner than when they are operating actual apparatus. I have a hunch that this centers around fire trucks and ambulances being much larger and that they are relatively unfamiliar to drive compared to a POV. Regardless, the volunteer agencies that have figured out how to minimize response time have usually done it through in station or very nearby duty crews. It seems a tad ridiculous to have to have the ambulance crew respond ten minutes to the station to get the ambulance and then 10 minutes back to the call, doesn't it? Obviously the citizens are getting what they paid for, but if an agency wants to excel, they're having their people very near the ambulance when on-call.

I'd have to run numbers to give you an exact percentage or even a close number, I will tell you a majority of our calls are medical as opposed to trauma, on the contrary we still get trauma calls. If the call is not Life threatening we won't run lights and sirens.
Worry not, you don't have to run numbers to realize that running L&S makes a very small difference on the vast majority of calls, and that the time saved, especially in more rural areas, can be fairly minimal.
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
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As for my own views, my hat is off to those that choose to volunteer and I happily would if the opportunity existed for me at the present. The town I live in has a POC ambulance that is fairly well run with good response times and a general lack of knuckle heads associated with it. This probably stems from most of the community being older and therefore most EMTs have another significant career to attend to. We are also surrounded by full time ALS fire departments and have a three-town AMR medic flycar based in town so getting ALS is a quick affair.
 

medicsb

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As a former NJ medic, some volunteers squads were great and others were horrible. Some EMTs were great and some were horrible. Same with the paid crews. I tended to see more vollies not dressed for the job and they tended to be more likely to show up with a clipboard and no stretcher. Skill-wise, there wasn't a huge difference, but the paid services that were good were also consistent, while with good vollie squads, there seemed to be greater variation among crews. In reality, BLS in general needed a kick in a butt. (And ALS, too, in some places.)
 

Achilles

Forum Moron
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Rest assured that I am by no means trying to attack you by multiquoting, I'm just trying to make some observations.



Just curious, but how does any of this show that your agency provides a quality EMS service? You very well might, but having all new equipment and dive team and boats does not automatically make for a good fire or EMS agency. There are plenty of places that run a fine service with older but serviceable equipment just as there are many places that have all shiny trucks but hide behind their toys when it comes to serving their citizens in the best way possible. I am not saying that you're agency does that, I am saying that the above is not a solid argument and is often employed by those less than stellar agencies who are in denial about the service they provide.
You're right, having all the new equipment doesn't show training. But what we do, shows the amount of training our department has.
For whatever reason it seems that many around here that drive their POVs code three do so in a far more reckless manner than when they are operating actual apparatus.Our chief keeps a tight leash on how you drive, if you drive recklessly, he'll hear about it and so will you, and administrative action will take place depending on severity I have a hunch that this centers around fire trucks and ambulances being much larger and that they are relatively unfamiliar to drive compared to a POV. Regardless, the volunteer agencies that have figured out how to minimize response time have usually done it through in station or very nearby duty crews. It seems a tad ridiculous to have to have the ambulance crew respond ten minutes to the station to get the ambulance and then 10 minutes back to the call, doesn't it?In our town, it is divided into two areas north side and south side for Medicals, the people on the north side would respond in their POV to the location of the emergency on their side of the town (north), while the people on the south side would respond to the station to get the truck and go to the call. vise verse if the call was on the north side of town. Obviously the citizens are getting what they paid for, but if an agency wants to excel, they're having their people very near the ambulance when on-call.


Worry not, you don't have to run numbers to realize that running L&S makes a very small difference on the vast majority of calls, and that the time saved, especially in more rural areas, can be fairly minimal.

I don't get offended over someone sitting behind a computer :)
Regards,
 

Tigger

Dodges Pucks
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You're right, having all the new equipment doesn't show training. But what we do, shows the amount of training our department has.

But we're talking about EMS here. Having a department that has many specialties does not mean jack when it comes to quality of their EMS service. Your department may have loads of training with water rescue and rescue diving and the whole nine yards, but my point here is that this all has no effect on EMS.
 

Achilles

Forum Moron
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But we're talking about EMS here. Having a department that has many specialties does not mean jack when it comes to quality of their EMS service. Your department may have loads of training with water rescue and rescue diving and the whole nine yards, but my point here is that this all has no effect on EMS.

Every Thursday our department does training, usually in the winter it's Rescue and then in the summer it'll be fire, etc... Also, we have many members that started out as Volunteer, went to career and went back to Volunteer. And, we've took the same schooling as paid EMS. We also get the same BS calls as a paid department does.
 
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shannonlovesth

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Training don't mean jack if you don't get out on the street use it.
I am a volunteer and have a lot of respect for the paid people in my department (I belong to a half and half department). They deal with a lot of good calls but also have to deal with a lot of B.S. during the day like we do at night.

On another note though and I don't feel like anyone should feel they have to be intimidated and disrespected by another just based off of experience or paid vs. unpaid excuse. (Goes for both Volley and Paid).
 
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lightsandsirens5

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As a former NJ medic, some volunteers squads were great and others were horrible. Some EMTs were great and some were horrible. Same with the paid crews. I tended to see more vollies not dressed for the job and they tended to be more likely to show up with a clipboard and no stretcher. Skill-wise, there wasn't a huge difference, but the paid services that were good were also consistent, while with good vollie squads, there seemed to be greater variation among crews. In reality, BLS in general needed a kick in a butt. (And ALS, too, in some places.)

EMS in general needs a kick in the butt......That is my opinion.

So...here is my take OP. There are good and bad services, there are good and bad employees, and there are paid and volunteer EMS systems.

Take all six variables and you come up with a number of combinations. As a whole, you CANNOT apply the BAD brand to volunteer services and the GOOD to career ones. I have worked with two volunteer services and have worked with or closely with two paid services. Four services. Of the volunteer ones, one was amazing, the other sucked. As for the paid services, one was great, the other....not so. Just because you pay someone to do their job does not make them good as it. (Take the federal government for example....:p)

I have worked with Paid medics that SUCK and volunteer medics that are amazing, literally the best in the business. And the other way around.

I think that it all comes down to heart. Where is it at? If the heart is not in it to be more educated, the improve your skills and knowledge base, to hone your patient interaction mannerisms, to stay current with new research and studies, to better yourself as a clinician in general, you will suck be ye paid or unpaid. On the other hand, if you want to be good, if you study, if you stay abreast of current discoveries, if you try to keep yourself on the bleeding edge of technology and knowledge, then if you are paid, or volunteer, you will be a good medic.

Now, all THAT being said (take it or leave it by the way....), simply because you are paid most assuredly does NOT mean this all happens by default, and likewise, simply because you are volunteer does not mean that it will not happen. Whatever your "pay grade" you will NEED....yes, need to work on it on your own. Find classes, pay out of YOUR pocket to attend them. Search for and study new research. Stay abreast of developments and discoveries. Dow you own research!

Which leads me to my conclusion...well, almost. But: I truly believe that being paid or being volunteer has little (yes maybe SOME) bearing on your level of "goodness" as a medic. Possibly the only advantage a paid medic has over a volunteer is an (in general) increased call volume. (I do suppose that beings in another variable for our previous six variables....there are paid services WAY slower than many volunteer services of which I know).

Anyhow....I'll shut up now after I say that I am finally and firmly on the "Medics are SORELY undereducated" bandwagon.

Apply yourself to the job (not the job description, but rather what is reuired (stupid Q key) to be a good clinician, and you will do well, paid or unpaid.
 

Aidey

Community Leader Emeritus
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Disclaimer: I started paid on-call, went volly, and am now full time private.

I think it depends on the department. Some vollys have poor training and response standards, and others are quite demanding. I agree that the equipment a department has is not necessarily a reflection of the quality of the members of that the department. This goes for both paid and volly services. Having lots of shiny new toys says more about the tax base and person in charge of applying for grant money than it does the quality of the responders.

Physical appearance makes a big difference to me. It drives me bonkers when we get on scene and have 8 vehicles in the driveway and 10 people, 1/2 of whom aren't wearing any department clothing. I can never tell who is a responder and who is family.

Volly departments are in a tough spot. They have to find a balance between having high standards and chasing people off. I have found the highest quality volunteers in my area are at the mixed paid/volly departments. Many of the outlying FDs here have one or more paid staff on at all times and then fill the rest of the spots with volunteers. Once you get into the all volly departments things tend to get a bit more questionable.

I do think it is generally accurate to say that vollys who do not also work in EMS somewhere else have less experience. Volunteer departments tend to be smaller departments with lower run volumes, meaning less chance to get experience. Generally volunteers can not spend as much time on EMS as someone who is paid full time to be there because they have their "real" job to worry about.

I agree with the person above that there seems to be a resistance to learning new/different things that is beyond what we normally run into in EMS. A couple years ago our county medical director came out with a very stern memo telling people to get a room air SpO2 before putting the pt on oxygen, unless they were in obvious respiratory distress. On a run with an all volly department I asked if they had a room air sat, before putting the pt on the NRB. They said no, and when I asked if they had seen the memo they said that they didn't see the point of getting a room SpO2 because they were going to put the patient on oxygen anyway. *facepalm*

I personally have a hard time addressing those types of issues. The explanations on why something should be done differently tend to be long, and over the head of the first responder I'm talking to, who is usually the same age as my father. Plus is it disheartening to break the news to someone that something they've been doing for the last 20 years, and are convinced helps people, is totally unnecessary.

Now, when all of that is said and done, I can't hate vollys (usually). I was the first medic on scene of a nasty fatality car crash. There were about at least 10 vollys there from 2 departments on scene. I had to get pretty close to the car to treat the fatality, and I asked if the car was secure. They assured me it was, and one of the guys offered me his helmet anyway. That would NEVER happen with one of the guys from the career departments around here.
 

shannonlovesth

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Disclaimer: I have been EMS for only 3 years. I can only give an opinion based on my short experience as a volunteer.
As a volunteer I can't stand ones that use "its okay we are only volunteers" as an excuse to not do a job correctly. I will admit in my little experience this is a problem I have seen a lot (even with the more experienced volunteers). Right now i'm a very do it by the book/protocol to the best I can person and I do but heads with a lot of other volunteers because of it.
 
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medicsb

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Now that I have a little more time and have already commented on NJ vollunteers...

I am *almost* completely against the existence of volunteer medics. I would only accept them in rural areas as long as the medic works full-time as a medic elsewhere OR if they're working along side another FT medic. Experience does matter for paramedics and in most places, in my opinion, even full-time medics do not see enough sick patients to support their current skill-set.

As far as BLS, I'd be okay with volunteer organizations as long as they have a crew IN STATION 24/7 available to respond in an ambulance upon dispatch commiserate with the call volume. They should also be in a uniform (yes, pajamas or flip-flops do not count) and held to the same standards as paid organizations. And policies/regs/etc. (at state or national level) shall never be made to appease volunteers.

I say this as a former volunteer of 2 years and as someone who is considering volunteering again.
 

shannonlovesth

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You guys keep mentioning an issue with a uniforms and volunteers and them not being in it. I know at my station you don't get near the truck unless you have boots, ems pants, and proper shirt. Same goes many times for 3rd rig jobs/all calls. Is it really bad in some areas? If so is it okay if I ask what is the worse you guys have seen?
 

Handsome Robb

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Like everyone said, it's department dependent.

Some are excellent, others, not so much.

I know vollies who I'd take of certain shifts out of certain paid stations any day of the week, hands down. I've also been talking to family on a scene and heard a volly guy say "we should get him a blanket, he's shivering" and turned around to find the pt in a full tonic-clonic seizure.

I'll say it again, some are great some are not so great. We have quite a few medics and intermediates that live in outlying areas and volunteer on the limited number of volly units we have if they are around and a call drops. It's always nice to show up on scene and see a coworker running the show.
 

rwik123

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I'm a member of a volly student run squad and I definitely feel as though we are looked down upon by paid fire of other towns we respond into. Especially because we are all students we put an extra emphasis on training and standards of care, even more since we operate at the ALS level. We operate at the same ability or even higher than many paid departments around us, and i believe its our pride and commitment to our service that drives us. Its also a great privilege that we have the 911 contracts we have and don't take it for granted. Compared to many other student squads and even a great deal of squads around the country we have it made...so we don't slack.
 

RocketMedic

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I personally really appreciate my area's volunteers- Sierra County, NM has some great people, and we have a good level of cooperation between our hospital, our hospital-based EMS, and our volunteers, to the point of an integrated supply system, common monitors, etc. With some of our communities literally two or three hours from the interstate (to say nothing of the hospital!) those volunteers are quite needed.

Well-trained volunteers on a well-organized department are vital and give a lot of our rural areas depth- for instance, we rely on our volunteers for MCI and/or fourth-call transportation. It's also not unheard of for an off-duty or third-out FT medic to respond POV to a scene and transport in with a volunteer unit.
 

frdude1000

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My Point of View
 

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DrParasite

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You guys keep mentioning an issue with a uniforms and volunteers and them not being in it. I know at my station you don't get near the truck unless you have boots, ems pants, and proper shirt. Same goes many times for 3rd rig jobs/all calls. Is it really bad in some areas? If so is it okay if I ask what is the worse you guys have seen?
honest answer? two days ago, around 8am, I was in Bergen county for a meeting with a non-EMS coworker of mine, at his office. Surprisingly, I saw the local ambulance parked across the street, lights on, and with 2 PD units. Apparently there was an emergency occurring next door.

of the 3 person crew, a girl was wearing shorts and flip flops, a guy was wearing khaki shorts, and the 3rd was wearing jeans. no uniform shirts, no polo shirts, I don't think they were even had any identifying attire. if they hadn't been running in and out of the ambulance, i wouldn't have even known they were EMTs. As an EMT, I was embarrassed. Although i will say, I have seen paid EMTs in the hospital looking just as bad, and once the person was so poorly dressed (wacker ems t-shirt, emt badge on chain around neck, etc), I filed a complaint with their supervisor.

Before someone accuses me of being a uniform nazi, I will stipulate that if you don't plan on being on a rig, you shouldn't be held to the same standard. So if you are at the station, or on assigned duty crew, you should be wearing uniform pants, a uniform shirt, and boots, and whatever else your agency has designated as your riding uniform.

If you are answering a scramble/3rd call, you should be wearing long pants, sneakers or (preferably) boots, and a shirt that identifies you as a member of the EMS agency, or jumpsuit/coveralls and proper footwear. I don't agree with delaying a response so a scramble crew can get changed into a proper uniform, especially with already having the inherent delay of having to respond to the station. it doesn't hurt to have a T-shirt/jobshirt/polo/uniform shirt in your locker, esp if you might be responding for that 3rd call.

BTW, shannon are you with Florence or westhampton fire/ems by any chance?
 

medicsb

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You guys keep mentioning an issue with a uniforms and volunteers and them not being in it. I know at my station you don't get near the truck unless you have boots, ems pants, and proper shirt. Same goes many times for 3rd rig jobs/all calls. Is it really bad in some areas? If so is it okay if I ask what is the worse you guys have seen?

I mainly worked day shift, so what I usually saw was a squad shirt thrown on with just jeans or shorts and sneakers. Often, the shirts weren't tucked in. Generally, they looked like slobs. (To be sure, I saw a number of paid crews that'd do the untucked, boots untied thing; actually my local EMS service that is an all paid FD has some medics and EMTs that like to go with their shirts unbuttoned and untucked.) Anyhow, the night shift medics would see some vollies coming out in pajamas. Once or twice I did see an EMT show up to a vehicle rescue in shorts and flip flops.
 
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