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Tuesday July 22, 2014

Transitioning to a Combination Department

Garner firefighters battle a house fire on December 31, 2010. Lee Wilson Photo

Transitioning from a volunteer department to a department with part-time or full-time employees can be difficult.

NFPA Standards, OSHA Regulations, Federal/State Labor Laws and IRS rules impact a department’s transformation from an all volunteer department to a combination department. The number of combination departments in North Carolina increase year after year, especially in the non-profit (501-C3, 501-C4) departments.

In 2010, it was estimated that there are roughly 1600 fulltime employees and approximately 3200 part-time employees of non-profit fire departments in our state and that number increases each year.

Below are links to resources that combination departments or departments transitioning to combination may find helpful.

It is recommended that all departments seek legal counsel and a CPA to assist them thru the transition.

International Association of Fire Chiefs / Volunteer Combination Chief Officer Section:
Red Ribbon Report – Leading the Transition in Volunteer and Combination Departments

North Carolina Department of Labor (NC OSHA)

National Fire Protection Association (standards can be viewed on-line at no charge)

OSFM Occupational Safety and Health Planning Document

NCAFC Fire Service Reference Manual

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