County Considers Increased Stipend Payment Plan For Volunteer Firefighters

October 5, 2016


The Escambia County Commission is set to approve a new stipend payment policy for volunteer firefighters, with monthly payments of $200 to $650 for firefighters that answer calls and complete basic requirements. The plan provides payments to volunteers to help offset their expenses such as fuel.

The new stipend amounts reflect an increase of $100 per month for each rank, as requested by representatives of the Escambia County Volunteer Firemen’s Association during an annual review process.

Under the new plan, a Firefighter Trainee will receive $200 per month, if he or she has completed a 12 hour orientation course and obtains Firefighter I within one year of joining Escambia Fire-Rescue.

The volunteer position of Driver Operator will be added with a stipend of $200 per month

A certified Firefighter I or II will receive $400 per month. A certified lieutenant will receive $450 per month, and a captain will earn a stipend of $500 per month. An assistant district chief’s stipend will increase to $550 per month, and a district chief will receive $650.

Stipend payments will be made only to volunteer firefighters that attend two training meetings per month, respond to 25 percent of a fire station’s first 50 calls per month and 12.5 percent of the remaining dispatched incidents during a month.

The policy also provides for a retention incentive during the firefighter’s anniversary year as follows:

5 years of service: $200
10 years of service: $400
15 years of service: $600
20 years of service: $900
25 years of service: $1,200

The stipend policy also allows payment of up to $500 per firefighter for services follow an extended disaster such as a hurricane, and it adds payments for volunteer instructors.

The Escambia County Commission will consider the volunteer firefighter stipend policy at their meeting Thursday.

Pictured top and inset: A fully involved house fire battled by volunteers on Highway 97 in Davisville. NorthEscambia.com file photos, click to enlarge.

Comments

13 Responses to “County Considers Increased Stipend Payment Plan For Volunteer Firefighters”

  1. Lisa Roger on October 9th, 2016 10:57 pm

    I fully support our fire fighters and first responders. They are the greatest. But I do have a quick question what happen to the funding that paid for them prior to adding it to our property taxes? Can someone explain it to me. So many in the county government that go above and beyond yet we do not have endless amount of funds form our checks. Thank You.

  2. FireMom on October 9th, 2016 1:54 pm

    @Vol.Fireman & Never Forget: I agree that day shift paid depts. & volley night shifts would be a feasible solution in many areas. Please understand, I’m certainly NOT bashing or denying the professionalism of the majority of the Volly-staffed depts. My son was a volley for years, as I said before. Ensley ran quite effectively for years staffed with vollys. Walnut Hill, Century, McDavid are others that have done an exceptional job with vollys! My point was that most people in the county don’t have a clue what it costs to run a fully staffed dept., whether it’s paid or all vollys. The comments made connected with other articles discussing the fire tax increases reflect my point. Tax payers act as though an extra $50 year is going to absolutely break their bank. What’s sad to me is that there are so many people that could leave off a carton of smokes, maybe a few cases of beer, or maybe a couple of fast food meals…and cover that cost…it’s not a monthly increase…it’s annual. Heck, if every household coughed up $20-$25 a month…it would probably generate sufficient funds to realign the depts., be it all paid, all vollys, or combination of the two AND generate funding to help replace some equipment as it becomes necessary.
    It would also be a benefit if the system weren’t designed to allow the fire tax $$$ to be spent for other county shortcomings. I think people tend to expect the firefighters to show up, save families, homes, businesses, & peys…but, they just don’t want to have to contribute more than $75-$100/year tops.
    Okay, fellas, I’m getting off my soapbox. I hope I’ve cleared the confusion of my earlier comments.

  3. Never forget on October 8th, 2016 7:28 am

    @Firemom you know its funny the county is suppose to offer the vollys training classess but when they have a class its in the morning time never in the eveings. So your paid guy gets the class but not your vollys. As far as ( its better now between the two) idk where you get your info from but there will always be tension between paid and volly. Which i think is funny because 90% of your paid guys were vollys at one time. Vollys are all the time being down graded and steped on by the COUNTY and the paid crews. So i understand your son is a paid firemen but unless you have been a volly or in the fire service at all you have know idea what really goes on nor do you have really any grounds to stand on.One more thing thise county is to cheap and broke to afford all the stations to be paid Hell they cant afford new fire trucks for these guys now that the old ones are getting old.

  4. Vol. Fireman on October 6th, 2016 4:07 pm

    @Firemom there has been great lengths by paid fire union to separate the two groups. With the union’s and the media’s Constant use of the term Professional Firemen only for the paid firemen and not volunteers. Volunteers in Escambia county are held to the same training standard as the paid men they work with but are constantly being considered a lesser of the two. As Volunteers we complete our Fire 1(204 hours) and First responder (40 hours), All certified through the Florida State Fire College. Many go on to finish Fire 2 as well. This is just to be a basic fireman. There are more training requirements if your want to be anything higher than a black hat. It is fiscally irresponsible to put 24hr paid crews at every station in the county when you have volunteer crews that are willing to put in the time. We need fewer 24hr crews and more 8-5 crews with Volunteer houses covering the night and weekends. Combination stations have worked amazingly in the past and cost one third the price. We want to serve our community why not let us? Pride is often the biggest hindrance of progress.

  5. mike amerson on October 6th, 2016 5:00 am

    Here’s one really simple way to see where some of your tax payers money goes and one simple way to redirect money to things like paying full time Firefighters. Pick any one department within Esc’ Co’ and look at what they pay for one pack of pens. Then take that same pack of pens and go see the price for them at Walmart. It will floor you in the difference of the price. Then if you add that up for all of the departments countywide, you’ll go on a rampage afterwards. Its stupid the amount of money they spend on everything any of them purchase. They definitely don’t budget like all of us with families have to from our own income. They make sure they spend all of their budget money every year so they can ask for more the following year.

  6. FireMom on October 6th, 2016 4:59 am

    @ On the Wall: Thank you for explaining the cost of manning a paid dept.
    @ Fisherman: You have no idea of the training received/required by the paid depts. The county finally put training requirements on the volunteers that was much needed. The paid firefighters are NOT afraid of the volunteers. There was a time when tensions ran high between the two, but now are much better. My son volunteered for years before becoming “paid”. If the general public understood more of the operations, they would probably be jumping up & down on commissioners’ desks demanding all the depts. be staffed with paid firefighters.
    There have been a few situations in the recent past that could have been prevented had there been 24-hr. paid depts. in place, instead of after the fact. Our fire depts. administrators/commissioners should learn from our FDOC …. be PRO-ACTIVE (plan ahead) & not RE-ACTIVE (change after a tragic incident).

  7. fisherman on October 5th, 2016 1:55 pm

    @On the wall . Thanks for all the information. I know it’s going to cost money I wish they would tell us the exact amount it would take or leave the volunteer firemen alone and let them continue doing the great job they are doing. I think the paid firefighters are afraid of the volunteer firemen showing them up. Just my opinion.

  8. Sidney on October 5th, 2016 1:12 pm

    Volunteers deserve more. They’re on call on a moments notice.

  9. Nod on October 5th, 2016 12:51 pm

    What does the word volunteer mean? If we need paid fireman then just get them and fund them however but do not pay volunteers, that is an oxymoron. I’m willing to pay $300.00+ per year if needed to keep us safe.

  10. On the wall on October 5th, 2016 8:06 am

    “fisherman”, your looking at a minimum of $175 (per year, on each taxable property) for a county wide career department with no volunteers at all. However, that only puts one fully staffed truck (4 persons) in each station. If you want more than one per station start adding on. Consider this, you have 18 departments, each with 4 personnel per shift (24hrs) x3. So in essence you would need 216 people to staff if. Add in the extra pay for 54 of them to be officers and you start getting into a hefty amount of money. And that does not even take into consideration pay increases, the administration staffing, battalion chiefs, supply and logistics (warehouse), PIO, training.

    These facts were a well established argument years ago (and the $175 was from almost tens year ago, so probably closer to $200+ now) when so many were demanding a full county wide career department. Strangely enough, not enough voting taxpayers want to pay for it. Nothing in life is free, especially when you are asking someone to support their family while risking their lives for others in their community.

  11. Sniper on October 5th, 2016 7:42 am

    Makes sense since the state is requiring more and more (out of their own pocket) training from them that the county refuses to give them for free.

  12. fisherman on October 5th, 2016 7:20 am

    Find out the cost of county wide paid fire departments. Raise fire tax to cover it and be done with it.

  13. Mike Amerson on October 5th, 2016 4:51 am

    Not near enough money. They need to at least triple the amount above. If you’re the one needing them at your house, you’d understand why. These men/women are always the first on the scene to help. In order to make the much needed increase happen, they need the public to speak up on their behalf before your county leadership will listen. If they feel you’re not going to vote for them, they’ll listen.





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