Becoming a volunteer fire fighter is an excellent way to serve your community. Working without pay in an important job is a rewarding service that will build your self-esteem and teach you the joy of helping others. In order to become a volunteer fire fighter you will have to complete many hours of training, so you must be serious and dedicated. The training process and requirements will be different for every jurisdiction, so speak to your local fire department before you decide if it is an activity that you want to pursue.
- Skill level:
Contact your local fire department and state that you are interested in becoming a volunteer fire fighter. Ask what the necessary steps are to qualify, as it varies in different areas. You will want to know how and where to apply, if an interview is necessary, information about the background process, what the training will entail and the duties that volunteers have.
Complete the application and background screening for the fire department. These processes will vary from one department to the next. Be sure to be thorough and honest on all forms required to be completed. If you are scheduled for an appointment, be on time. Volunteers are expected to be responsible applicants.
Complete the fire academy. Once accepted to the department, volunteer fire fighters need to have the same skills as the full-time professionals, which means they must be trained and pass the academy before working in the field.
Take Emergency Medical Services (EMS) courses at your local community college. You will need to know basic first aid and life saving techniques to become a volunteer with the fire department. This may be covered in the fire academy, but, if not, you will need to complete the course during training or beforehand, if you have the opportunity.
Tips and warnings
- Not all fire departments take volunteers. If your local fire department doesn't accept volunteers, ask the station officer if there are any other nearby departments that do.
- Ask your local fire department if you may participate in a "ride along," where you accompany the fire fighters on emergency calls. This will expose you to the work fire fighters perform and help you to decide if volunteering is right or you.
- Being a volunteer firefighter is a a high risk job. There is a chance that you may sustain serious injuries or death.
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