I know this topic isn't discussed much on here so, I may or may not get a response.
I've been a member of my local volunteer rescue squad for 15 years now. In the last few years I have seen a lot of people come and go and I've seen a lot of change. When I first joined, people were always out at the station, on the weekends especially. Sometimes you would have to run and/or fight to get a spot on a truck if a call went off. Back then, we also had a paid staff in the county that worked M-F 8am-6pm and weekends only like 8-430pm. We had it the rest of the time. There was never a problem to get calls covered. A few years ago when members starting dropping or just stopped coming around, the call coverage and response times dropped dramatically. The county stepped in and started accepting proposals for a 24/7 coverage ems staff. Long story short, we submitted a proposal along with a few others but the paid staff that was already in the county, won the bid.
They started their new contract in mid-2010. Since then, moral and getting calls covered or getting a jump on a call to beat the paid staff has dropped dramatically...We just built and opened up a new station last year. Hardly anyone comes out there these days. A lot of members like to push the blame on poor management (officers). But I feel this new contract has a lot to do with it. If I'm sitting at home and a call goes off, I'm not going to drive 10 minutes to the station just to turn around and go back home because the paid staff is already on scene. (They have to be responding within 2 minutes). I'm not the only one that developed this harsh reality. I also feel that this thread that Dead Heretic started has a LOT to do with it as well. Bottom line is, if we don't have members at the station to jump on a truck immediately and go, we won't beat the paid staff and we won't get to transport. We do soft billing, which means we bill the patients insurance company and receive whatever they pay. We never send bill collectors or contact credit services if a patient receives a bill at their house and does not pay.
Last year I was voted into the position of 1st LT (2nd in rank). We (the officers) have been searching for a resolution that would bring members back around and also get calls covered at the same time. At the first of 2011 we implemented a change to our requirements that made members have so many run hours per month. This didn't go well with a lot of folks but we needed accountability of our members and in a way "forced" them to come out and run calls.
Shew....I need a break from all this typing....There is plenty more I could add but I will hold off for now. If anyone has any positive feedback, comments or questions, it would be greatly appreciated.