Roanoke City keeps losing Firefighters

Comments: 0

What happened to the days of Firefighters staying in Roanoke City for 30 plus years? In the past the Firefighters who have worked for the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department have stayed for their entire Career, sure there have been a few here and there who have left, but nothing like today. I have now been here for almost 7 years. I moved here for the job and began a family here. Most of the Firefighters in the City have lived here (Southwest Virginia) their entire lives. This is the area they love and they would not move away. So why does it seem as though there is a growing trend for Firefighters to stay a few years and move on to something “bigger and better”? Sure this Department is not perfect, but as anyone will tell you, other departments have the same problems. We have seen Firefighters move out of town, change careers, change departments. Why?
I do not fault anyone for leaving. That is their prerogative. I just hope that no one is leaving for the wrong reasons. This is the best profession in the World. It may also be the most thankless job in the World. But that isn’t why we do what we do. We do it because we love it. I hate to see anyone throw it all away just to make a little more money. Just because they think things won’t get better. Just because it seems like nobody is listening.
The Department is not totally at fault, but the same reasons that guys used to stay are not holding true today. Back in the day when there was an issue the firefighters got together, all of them, and tried their best to correct the problem. This day in age the newer Firefighters are afraid of retaliation, worried about promotions, scared of retribution for speaking out. Why? Don’t they know that the only way that anyone is going to know something is wrong is to point out the problem. No one is going to come to you and ask you what is wrong. So we need to speak up, right? Well it isn’t that easy. We need to unite and speak as one. All day long I listen to Firefighters talk about “what about this” and “what about that”. Well why not stop asking and get involved. Do a little research and ask more questions. Pose a solution. Roanoke City doesn’t want to hear you complain. However, if you indeed have a complaint, then tell them the problem and offer a solution. Case and Point = the Diesel Exhaust Systems in the Stations. The Firefighters have been talking about this for years, way before my time. The City isn’t going to spend money on anything unless they have to. So finally we got our shot to make it political. And it worked. Although the Systems are not installed yet, hopefully they will be within the next year. That is a win for the Firefighters. That is how it works.
I understand that one of our Chiefs has stated that he would like to see the members of the Roanoke Fire-EMS Department use the City as a stepping stone. That is admirable. If indeed you are able to take full advantage of the Tuition Reimbursement program, available training, and possibly get promoted, then you might very well be able to use this Dept. as a stepping stone. However, I have to ask how many of us really want to move away? Maybe time will tell. I have only seen one (1) individual, maybe two (2) use this Dept. as a true stepping stone. Moving to another department because of pay and other benefits also applies because he did not have to go through Recruit school.
Maybe we will see a trend of Firefighters moving to other Departments to become Chiefs someday. I know we have some who qualify. Until then I hope we can hold onto the Firefighters we have.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!