Meal Allowance

planetmike

Forum Lieutenant
156
34
28
A few members of my all-volunteer agency have asked that we provide them a meal stipend every x number of shifts. I'm just wondering what other agencies have done. Flat rate per member, Flat rate per shift, etc... I'm leaning towards something like $X per person on a Saturday shift. Each team works every sixth Saturday. Thanks, Mike
 

RocketMedic

By Kaepernic’s Wheelchair!
4,512
1,250
113
If I ever run a service, I actually want to put a meal card next to the fuel card. Crew members should not go hungry on-shift.

That or a tab at a (healthy) local eatery for delicious food. IHOP or something.
 

PotatoMedic

Has no idea what I'm doing.
2,130
993
113
If I ever run a service, I actually want to put a meal card next to the fuel card. Crew members should not go hungry on-shift.

That or a tab at a (healthy) local eatery for delicious food. IHOP or something.
Now I want pancakes...
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,956
1,241
113
It's a great idea, but is it just for Saturday? what about evening night crews? what about Sunday? why limit to Saturday? do they need to be at the station all day on saturday, which is why you are feeding them?

I'm all for compensating people for their work (even if it's just free food, a free meal, free t shirts, etc), but i don't see what makes saturday so special.

at my station, we don't provide a meal allowance. we do have a kitchen, and crews will frequently cook meals together. When i worked full time in EMS, we tried to do that as much as possible, especially on holidays
 

EpiEMS

Forum Deputy Chief
3,426
926
113
meal stipend every x number of shifts
I like the approach, honestly. But might it be cheaper to stock the station with (relatively healthy) items?

Semi-related question: Are these overnight shifts or not?
 

Bullets

Forum Knucklehead
1,534
186
63
At my volunteer agency the squad bought dinner for the crew on the two nights we cover the town. Basically they just submit the receipt and we give them cash
 

planetmike

Forum Lieutenant
156
34
28
Good questions all. We provide coverage Monday through Thursday 6pm-6am, and then Friday nights 6pm until Monday 6am. The Saturday shift is our 24 hour shift, so I was thinking that would be the one to provide food. The on duty team stays at the station overnight. Teams are two to six people on duty at a time, staffing one or two ambulances. We have an odd rotation, basically every six days you are on duty. I can't make the numbers work financially to provide a complete meal for all shifts and meals. We could provide the food/ingredients, which is definitely cheaper, but several teams don't have any cooks at all.

Average team size is four people. $10 per person for dinner, times 4 people, times 365 days per year is $14,600 per year. Throw in breakfast and lunch, we're easily over $20,000/year. We just don't have that kind of money available. so I was thinking dinner on Saturday night, which would be just over $2,000/year.

At my volunteer agency the squad bought dinner for the crew on the two nights we cover the town. Basically they just submit the receipt and we give them cash
Do you limit how much they can spend on the meal?

Thanks everyone for the thoughts, they are appreciated. Keep 'em coming.
 

NysEms2117

ex-Parole officer/EMT
1,916
869
113
@planetmike do it summer camp style.
Give everybody 8$, im sure somebody volunteering wouldn't mind sparing 2 dollars( i know i wouldn't, 75% of my meal is better then 0%) or whatever it is. Places by where i used to live gave discounts to first responders do to repeat customers.

I'd start by seeing if u can find a nice diner or something that would be willing to do a discount kinda deal. There was a place by where i used to live that would hold our food if we got a call, give us discounts ect. You'd be surprised as to how much people are willing if you ask :)
 

MSDeltaFlt

RRT/NRP
1,420
32
48
Really? A food stipend? I'm sorry but I don't get it. This is EMS. We're sedentary. Even when we're running our @ssess off we're running them off sitting down. Now granted, we don't make nearly the amount of money that we deserve, and any man/woman with a spouse and/or kids is broke less than 8 hours after receiving their paycheck on pay day. And, not to mention, there are times when we are unable to see our station(s) for at least half of a 24hr shift. I get it. Believe me. I get it.

But there are full blown meals that can be made in less than 10 minutes that you can get from Dollar General or Walmart off of the clearance rack real cheap. Bring them to work. I do. I'm a Hot Pocket eating @#$%er %$#@er. I also keep a small cooler (cooler not bag for durability) with some snacks to hold me over if I'm stuck on the trunk on the highway until I can get to the station.

Now one thing you might want to think about doing is corrdinating and networking with your local diners and eateries to see if they can or do offer EMS discounts of some kind.

Now some folks may not agree. But EMS getting paid money for food??? Isn't that called a pay check? I thought you were "all volunteer".
 

Bullets

Forum Knucklehead
1,534
186
63
Do you limit how much they can spend on the meal?

Thanks everyone for the thoughts, they are appreciated. Keep 'em coming.
No, but we have staffing levels for each of our trucks. We only allow 2 EMTs and 1 non-card (probie or cadet) per ambulance.

But then again we only cover 2 nights/wk, so its like $30 per shift. Unless we cover during a storm then we have additional staffing
 

RocketMedic

By Kaepernic’s Wheelchair!
4,512
1,250
113
Really? A food stipend? I'm sorry but I don't get it. This is EMS. We're sedentary. Even when we're running our @ssess off we're running them off sitting down. Now granted, we don't make nearly the amount of money that we deserve, and any man/woman with a spouse and/or kids is broke less than 8 hours after receiving their paycheck on pay day. And, not to mention, there are times when we are unable to see our station(s) for at least half of a 24hr shift. I get it. Believe me. I get it.

But there are full blown meals that can be made in less than 10 minutes that you can get from Dollar General or Walmart off of the clearance rack real cheap. Bring them to work. I do. I'm a Hot Pocket eating @#$%er %$#@er. I also keep a small cooler (cooler not bag for durability) with some snacks to hold me over if I'm stuck on the trunk on the highway until I can get to the station.

Now one thing you might want to think about doing is corrdinating and networking with your local diners and eateries to see if they can or do offer EMS discounts of some kind.

Now some folks may not agree. But EMS getting paid money for food??? Isn't that called a pay check? I thought you were "all volunteer".
Ever work with a hangry partner? Ever been hangry? Ever had to decide between linner and gas or brunch and kid's lunch?
 

johnrsemt

Forum Deputy Chief
1,313
155
63
My old FD when we were all volunteer would buy food for each station (the station chiefs and captains would do it). When we went combo (FT and PT Paid) they stopped doing that. We said they should stop paying the PT and feed us. We ate well, steak, fish, porkchops, etc.
 

MSDeltaFlt

RRT/NRP
1,420
32
48
Ever work with a hangry partner? Ever been hangry? Ever had to decide between linner and gas or brunch and kid's lunch?
Yes. They're called lunch boxes for reason. Bring one.
 

MSDeltaFlt

RRT/NRP
1,420
32
48
Here's my reasoning.

This is for a volunteer service. These guys are doing this on their own time for NO MONEY. "Volunteer" equates to free, not paid. So receiving money, in my opinion, negates the term "volunteer".

Now these guys are donating their free time to this field that the rest of us get paid to do. So what should they receive in return?

Personally I think they should receive major breaks, either major discounts when on duty or get stuff (food, etc) free of charge from the community. They're donating their free time away from their families to respond to the community in its time of need. Then the community should return the favor.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,956
1,241
113
Seriously, what is your problem? Did a volunteer sleep with your wife or girlfriend? did she leave you for one? the amount of hostility you are displaying regarding this particular topic is abnormally and alarmingly high.

I agree that the community should be supporting this idea, especially as a trade off for the manpower providing the service for free. you could also say they do, in the way of donations to the organization. But I am also a realist, and you can't and shouldn't demand that a business give you discounts or free stuff.

While I agree volunteer does free and not paid, I don't think providing them $20 for a decent meal (and no, dollar general or walmart, especially on the clearance rack is rarely tasty or healthy) is too unreasonable. If you want to go to dollar general for your meals, no one is stopping you, but many of us would rather enjoy our meal than worry how much damage it will do to our GI tract.

If you are being paid to be there, than by all means pay for your own meal out of your own pocket, or pack a lunch. After all, for a 12 hour shift at $10 an hour (I know most make more than that, but it's nice round numbers), you are costing the agency $120. The volunteer, who is doing the same job, is costing the agency 0. Providing them funds with the express purpose of being able to eat (esp a $20 limit) seems to be a good deal for the volunteer, and a great deal for the agency.
 

MSDeltaFlt

RRT/NRP
1,420
32
48
No hostility towards any volunteer agency whatsoever. These are only my opinions. They do not need to be liked at all. Even a moderator can delete them in need be.

My opinion is that food while on duty has only one function. To keep you from going hungry. Nothing more.

Now if you're as broke as I am, then buy your own food and bring it to work. There is nothing wrong with hot pockets and peanut butter sandwiches or whatever your GI tract needs for nutrition. Go to the store, buy your food, and make your own meals. They are WAY cheaper than eating out every day. Pull out your calculator and do the math. Families load up grocery carts all the time for a reason.

Volunteer services don't generate a whole hell of a lot of positive cash flow. And the county either can't afford a paid service or won't afford for a paid service. For whatever reason I think they should get with the communities within the county and hook these volunteers up.

Instead of receiving money for food while on duty I honestly think they should eat for free within the community while on duty.
 

Flying

Mostly Ignorant
571
369
63
If the money itself is an issue, then a designated food account/card or receipt compensation will accomplish the same thing. This expense can also be tracked more easily and spreads the cost more equitably across the community, versus having a few businesses comp meals.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
4,956
1,241
113
No hostility towards any volunteer agency whatsoever. These are only my opinions. They do not need to be liked at all. Even a moderator can delete them in need be.
First of all, it's not that I don't like your opinion.... however maybe it's how you are saying it.....
Really? A food stipend? I'm sorry but I don't get it....

But there are full blown meals that can be made in less than 10 minutes that you can get from Dollar General or Walmart off of the clearance rack real cheap. Bring them to work.....

Now some folks may not agree. But EMS getting paid money for food??? Isn't that called a pay check? I thought you were "all volunteer".
can you see where some might perceive your statements as hostile to volunteers? or offended that someone even suggested providing a meal for an "all volunteer" crew? or if you are providing a meal, they are only good enough to get the real cheap clearance rack meals from dollar general or walmart?
For whatever reason I think they should get with the communities within the county and hook these volunteers up.

Instead of receiving money for food while on duty I honestly think they should eat for free within the community while on duty.
I am inclined to agree with you; however I am also inclined to believe that the vast majority of places will not do this, so we should find a more realistic solution.
 

MSDeltaFlt

RRT/NRP
1,420
32
48
if you’ll reread my second sentence at the beginning I express that I do not understand. And I honestly don’t get it. Why would volunteers get paid? That kinda negates the title “volunteer”, doesn’t it? But then I’ve never been a volunteer. I’ve always been paid. Always worked more days than I’ve had off. So that point of view is alien to me.
 
Top