Wildland Firefighter Foundation
Wildland Firefighter Foundation

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  • 08/04/2016
  • Fruition

Why does it take a line of duty death for Forest Service and BLM employees to be called firefighters. These employees are classified as technicians during their careers but if they are killed on the job the agency proudly sticks their chest out and refers to them as firefighters. I’ve been one of these employees for a long time and if i die in the line of duty I want to be called a forestry technician so the question can be asked why was this forestry technician is fighting a fire. To me it’s an insult that a land management agency will ignore their employees for their whole careers by classifying them incorrectly and then when they are dead and can no longer benefit from proper classification they’re finally recognized for what the job they’ve been performing all along. If the forest service doesn’t have the balls to make the corrections that are needed to classify their employees the right way when they are working then they shouldn’t have the right to call them firefighters when they die.

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  1. Den b.
    August 5, 2016 Reply

    I agree and why is it that the contractors get pushed to the side blamed for d n a out on fires when we arnt allowed any d n a per contract . I know it happends and i know that it also happend on a daily basis on fires with imt and overhead . But when one usfs or blm tech is killed on fire they get reconized through ok ut the nation if its a contractor that pass from a fire realated death they dont and if they do get the reconiztion of being a fire fighter it by the amount of deaths that cause it to go national . Funny how doing the math in all regional counts leads us to . 70% of the wild land fire fighters are contractors and 30 % are fed employees . Why dont contractors get the same on the job benifits as the fed employees . Just take ur time today and think of that . And a moment of silence for all lifes lost both state fed and contract in the line of duty. We all are doing the same thing out there . Thats to save resources lifes and property . Amen brothers and sister do ur job with ur heads held high and stay safe

    1. Todd
      August 5, 2016 Reply

      Your reply was pretty tough to read.

      But there are plenty of reasons those in the private sector don’t get the same benefits. I don’t feel it’s the governments job to pay benefits to the private sector regardless of what the job field is. If I work for the government, then part of my benefits package includes certain benefits.

      I for one really could care less what I am classified as, or what I am called. It doesn’t change what I value, how I work, how I operate, or what my capabilities are.

  2. What?
    August 5, 2016 Reply

    @Den B I’m assuming you are a contractor. It was pretty tough to read through your post. Not sure if that is how you spell things on a daily basis, but it’s not helping your cause. As far as 70% of the resources being contractors I would really like to see where you get this figure from. Aviation contracts make up a big part of the spending on fires, but still has relatively low personnel numbers. If you want benefits maybe get a FED or State job instead of complaining about it. Seasonal benefits for the feds aren’t great either. I think the difference between perm FS benefits and Patrick or Greyback or any contractor benefits are so different is because the quality is different.
    To the original poster I completely agree. The only time I am officially called a firefighter by the top brass of the FS would be upon my death. I know people have been trying to change this for years, and I hope someday it will happen. However I’m not holding my breath.

  3. Mike Leonard
    August 5, 2016 Reply

    A firefighter is a firefighter, the only difference is the patch and the color of the eng. We all do the same job, after 30 years in the fire service I have respect for all, USFS, Cal Fire and all you put their life on the line for others.

  4. Sedgehead
    August 20, 2016 Reply

    As I learned to say when I worked in a regional USFS office, “I’m not in charge of everything.” That’s why! Some things are done to benefit congress and only inadvertently benefit the rest of us. There’s a reason why a federal employee can work five years and retire for life with the government paying 2/3 of the health care costs. That’s because all senators are elected for six years and many congressmen can get elected to three terms of two years and have health benefits for life. Why should part timers and contractors be considered differently? Because they do not have counterparts in congress who are part timers and contractors.

  5. RMoreno
    March 26, 2017 Reply

    I have the exact same concern… does anyone know if its the USFS or OPM that tags us withe the technician title ?
    Why ste we under Firefighter retirement if we are not clasified as firefighters?
    I think it would probably take a court case to get the tight lipped agency to answer that question… but for now they get to have it both ways.

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