Have You Got What It Takes To Be A Volunteer Firefighter?
When fire, disaster or medical emergency strikes, you take it for granted that your call for help will be answered. And it will be…but only because there are volunteers who willingly contribute their time and energy to keeping your community safe. These men and women are truly amazing, and they come from every walk of life; they work and live all around you. A volunteer firefighter shares an unselfish, often underappreciated commitment to being there…ready to serve… whenever a crisis occurs. That is truly being a good neighbor.
Are you that kind of neighbor? Are you ready to stand up and do your part when the sirens call? It isn’t a decision to take lightly. It takes training, hard work and courage to be amazing. But it can also be the most satisfying and rewarding thing you ever do. Your local fire department/EMS needs you!
What It Means To Volunteer
Whether you volunteer to fight fires or provide emergency medical services, you will be making a commitment of time—usually about seven or eight hours a week. In addition to going out on calls, you will spend time training, attending meetings, maintaining the equipment, and a variety of other duties. Of course, there is no limit to how much time you are willing to give.
There are many other ways to volunteer as well. Administrators, dispatchers, fire police who direct traffic, service personnel to provide comfort and support at the scene—these are just a few of the many opportunities that exist for adult volunteers of any age.
Volunteering requires you to devote time to learning and maintaining skills. All your training will be provided and, once your training is complete, you will be expertly prepared to respond professionally as part of your community’s first line of defense in time of crisis.
What Does It Take To Become A Volunteer Firefighter?
Specific requirements may vary between departments, but generally speaking you should be:
- At least 18 years of age.* There is no maximum age, with less physically demanding duties, such as administration or dispatch, available to older volunteers.
- In good physical health. This, of course, is relative to the duties you will be called upon to perform.
- Of sound moral character and prepared to fill a position of responsibility and trust.
While not strictly requirements, experience shows us that successful volunteers are usually caring people who are concerned about their community and enjoy working as part of a team. You should also be the type of person who enjoys being challenged and learning new skills.
Fire and EMS companies typically require recruits to be local residents although, because of the strong bonds that are built with their fellow volunteers, some choose to continue serving even after moving out of the district.
For details on the requirements in your area, speak with the recruitment coordinator at your local fire department or EMS unit.
* If you are under 18, many departments offer a Junior Firefighter or Junior EMT program that allows volunteers to begin training and preparing at an earlier age. Check with your local department to learn if the have such a program. Click here to learn more.
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