[nfb-talk] volunteers at a fire department or CERT

christopher nusbaum dotkid.nusbaum at gmail.com
Tue Sep 17 12:22:22 UTC 2013

Ashley, you might contact Jeff Crouch from the NABS List. He
volunteers with his local fire department running their radio
communication. I don't know if this is something you would be
interested in, but he may be able to give you some useful information.
Naturally, I would expect fire department chiefs to have some concerns
about a blind person volunteering with a fire departt; however, I
don't think this area of community service is off limits to us. Just
show them your skills and what you can do and see how they react.
Perhaps you could shadow somebody for a few days to get a taste for
the kind of work you might be doing and what skills you could bring to
the table. Some still may not be convinced, but it's worth a try. Good

Chris Nusbaum

Sent from my iPhone

On Sep 16, 2013, at 10:46 PM, Ashley Bramlett <bookwormahb at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Hi all,
> Has anyone done emergency service volunteering like at a disaster site or event administering first aid?
> Perhaps someone has taken community emergency response team, cert, training which is part of citizen corps.
> Has anyone volunteered in a fire department in their office?
> Well, tonight I tried to get into the fire department as an administrative volunteer. I felt this is  a good way to serve my community.
> So I go to the orientation and chat with volunteers and hear the briefing. Then in the end, we split into groups.
> I spoke 1:1 with the chief. At this point, I hear his concerns and he was noncommital. He acknowledged I have some skills and was a bright person; he said he’d ask around to see if they had work I could do. He said they did not have much admin work being a fire department and thought I’d be bored. The lack of admin work is understandable. But his concerns seemed overdramatic.
> I could tell he was trying to be nice and not hurt my feelings with these issues.
> I think sighted people are overly concerned for us. His concerns was that there are hazardous equipment around; he would not want me to stumble on them and there was swinging doors I could be hit by. I explained that I’d learn the area and could walk around with my cane and that I would stay away from rooms with equipment or hazardous materials. For the doors, I' said I’d probably see them moving or just be far enough away so as to not hit them.
> I did explain what  skills I had to contribute as well as my vision since he asked. My tunnel vision may help some in getting around, but I think I’d use more nonvisual skills. I am a visual traveler as it helps me see the spatial layout of things, but I’d definitely need jaws or other software like it to work the pc and I told them that.
> Anyway, he said he’d let me know if he could find an opportunity.
> I don’t know if I sold my skills enough or provided enough education to them to ward off their concerns.
> We’ll see. I still see few barriers to being an administrative volunteer. I just hope they come around.
> I’m always concerned when people begin conversations with saying “I have some concerns about you doing this.”
> I would like to volunteer for experience for my future career in an office.
> I read an article about an individual being a cert coordinator after taking cert training and he also volunteered with the fire department. I’m hoping there are more doing that work. It’s a good area for community service.
> I believe it was Kenneth Silverman. If you are on here, please say how you participated in cert with accomodations and
> what duties you had at the fire department.
> Ashley
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