Just to show you how the deck is stacked against true patriots in favor of union members who have their hands in your pocket, please consider this email from “Stacked Deck” in response to Colton California Considers Disbanding Fire Department.

“Stacked Deck” writes …

Hi Mish

I’m a big follower of your blog. I love what you are doing, please keep up the good work.

It’s interesting that you say Volunteer Fire Departments are the optimal arrangement. I am a 14 year veteran of a “Volley” department in New Jersey, and I have to say the deck is severely stacked against us.

Here’s why.

My father, a 40 year member of our department, joined when he was 21 (the earliest he could back in the day, now we need to be 18 with a GED or diploma). At that time, it was all on the job, and Friday night drill training. Some who felt more motivated would attend fire school if they wanted to, and perhaps attend special classes at the National Fire Academy in Maryland.

Now, as of about 20 years ago, it is mandated that all volunteers in the state must at minimum have Firefighter 1, HAZMAT training, and Blood Borne Pathogens training via the state, and maintain a certain number of credits and continuing education, as well as call levels to stay active. We give 2 Fridays a month, and countless other days for training, and ride approximately 400 calls a year. It’s a big time commitment, but we are motivated and love to do it.

In essence, for me to stand as a volunteer, I must have the same training as a recruit for any paid department in NJ. Firefighter 1 is a 165 hour class that requires at minimum a 3-4 month nightly class schedule, along with all day Saturday live burn training. The time commitment is enormous, especially for a person who is focused on working to maintain a home in an upper-middle class neighborhood. Factor in kids, and a dual income family, and you get the idea as to how this will play out.

The bar is set to high for most who will get little benefit out of becoming a member of the department.

These mandates are all set by the state firemen’s association that is chock full of ex-paid jocks, who are determined to get more and more union jobs in towns they have yet to infiltrate. Princeton and the surrounding communities are a huge example of this. They used to have multiple fire houses and a pool of over 300 volunteers.

As it gets more expensive to live there, they lose the most likely applicants for a volunteer corps, and the bar is set too high. The last I heard they had under 100 left now, and are looking to hire day-call guys to cover. The state mandates that township are required to maintain a certain amount of day-call men, and in comes the union.

Now they are looking to implement another 13 week program to mandate that any officer must complete a 13 week course called Fire Officer 1. Currently, there is only a requirement of I-200, which is basic incident command, which is about 3 evenings of training.

If they can’t mandate out at the firefighter level, at least they’ll try and get in from top down, forcing municipalities to hire a full-time chief or line officers, who in turn will automatically earn 100k+.

The bar keeps getting set higher and higher, with no end in sight. They are systematically trying to ensure there are more paid jobs in New Jersey, at taxpayer expense of course.

Most volunteer departments are trying to fight it, but they rarely take us seriously, as though fire doesn’t burn us the same way because we’re not paid for it, yet we still have all the same training and qualifications.

I work full time on Wall Street, come home most of the time after 12 hours or more, then go to the firehouse for an hour to go on duty and work on maintaining the firehouse and our equipment plus a short training stint.

All told, we calculated that our 54 member department sacrificed over 15,000 man hours between calls, drills, maintenance, and our community outreach programs. And we operate on a budget of around $25,000 from the township, and $30,000 worth of donations or so a year to our Firemen’s Association.

They want to take that option from us, and replace it with paid jobs, because the unions want as many jobs as possible.

I know I save my township well over 3 million a year in salary and pension payments. I’m proud of that. I only hope that it can continue.

“Stacked Deck” is one of the true patriots of this world. He sacrifices his time for the benefit of his community.

Of course the union will argue about proper training etc. I say let the people decide. Put the issue straight to the voters as to what kind of protection they want and at what cost. Even if cities want paid fire departments, there is no reason those jobs should have to be union.

Unions continue their drive to rule all aspects of our lives. The cardinal rule is unions are never satisfied. They will suck the last drop of blood out of every community until the community dries up and shrivels away or goes bankrupt feeding the beast.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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