Vollie or Commercial? What’s the Difference?

Posted: December 13, 2010 in EMS

star_of_life_symbol_glowI work for a commercial EMS company. But like most of us I started out volunteer, and still do volunteer. There are differences. My vollie company has better equipment for instance, then my employer does. I have heard from some of my co-workers, that they think that vollies are less experienced and inadequately trained. Honestly? I don’t think so. I mean, yeah there are some vollies out there who never go to a CME class in their life. And there are some vollies who only jump the glory calls. But when I strictly was a vollie, I ran more calls a day then I do now in a paid job. My vollie department always has the most up to date training calendars, and CME classes available for us. My paid job? Not so much. Some people say that vollies have no heart, they are in it for the glory. For some, this may be true. But you know what? Vollies do it for FREE. So they must have heart, or else they wouldn’t be doing this. I have worked with a few paid personnel, who treat the PT like cattle, hook ‘em up to the LifePack, and then sit back and watch them, go through SAMPLE and OPQRST, then done. I have never seen a vollie do that.

And yeah, my volunteer ambulance corp. was a commercial business. They charge just as much for a BLS run as does my employer.

The other day I my partner and I had to do a SCT(Secure Critical Transport for you non-EMS folk). It was just a routine vent job, and as is the normal for my company, they put a third crew member with us. As we finished the job, and walked out of the ICU, the third member said that I have a “vollie mentality”. I asked him how so, and his response was because I wear a nylon holster with my rescue knife, mini-Maglite, trauma shears, and a pen. He further explained that this is a commercial company, and that only vollies wear holsters! He had no explanation when I  asked him why. Now I started using that holster when I was strictly volunteer, yes. When I was going through my EMT classes, road training, precept time, and all of my practical. I used the holster. I have muscle memory you could say, when I come up on a trauma now. I don’t need to think about what pocket has what, no flaps or Velcro to undo to get my shears or Maglite. But this makes me a supposed lesser EMT? Right. And if it makes me look like a vollie? So what! I would think that hospital staff can see my starched uniform, picture ID with barcode, my professional attitude, and of course my care for the PT, and decide for them selves about me. I represent my company in a positive way. Anyways, I asked the instigator if vollies also strap a small backpack to their thigh like he does, to carry their gear in. Then walked away to finish my night.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love my job, and would never give it up. I get paid to do, what little boys growing up dream of doing. Everyday that I get up and go to work, I have to remind myself that this is real. Not a dream. I will always be a vollie though.

I love my company. They treat me with respect(except for above). I am more than just a number on a sheet of paper. It does have it’s issues though, but that is what the suggestion box is for!

Anyways, this was my first real post. Kind of a rant, but it points out an issue in some EMS departments I think. What do you think?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s