How To Become A Volunteer Firefighter
Being a volunteer firefighter is a valuable way to help a community stay safe. People who want to get involved in this type of volunteer work need to prepare for the duties required and the training and dedication it takes to fight fires and help in other emergencies.
Step 1: Know the Duties
The duties of a volunteer firefighter are the same as those for a career firefighter. In emergencies, they are expected to prevent and extinguish fires, as well as give first aid to anyone whoís injured in a fire. The duties also include rescuing people from buildings or cars, breaking down doors and carrying fire hoses up ladders or stairs. A lot of training is needed to carry out these duties, because they have to wear heavy protective clothing. This clothing is needed due to the hot, dangerous and smoky environments they will be thrown into. There are non-emergency duties as well, like maintaining the fire engines and facilities at the firehouse, as well as giving tours.
Step 2: Be Prepared to Make a Commitment
Considering all of the above duties associated with being a volunteer firefighter, making the decision to get involved in this kind of community work shouldnít be taken lightly. This volunteer work requires hundreds of hours of training and means working whenever an emergency comes up. There isnít always a set schedule, because emergencies happen when they happen, and all firefighters have to be prepared all the time. Also understand that this volunteer work is life-threatening, as it requires the endangerment of the volunteerís life to save others.
Step 3: Make Contact with the Local Fire Department or Station
Volunteer firefighters arenít needed at all departments and stations, so prospective volunteers need to find out if they are needed before they begin any training. Some agencies and stations also have different requirements for the training process, so contact the officer in charge to find out what the next step is to becoming a volunteer firefighter. Some departments and stations even let prospective volunteers go on a ride-along so they are able to make a more informed decision about joining the team.
Step 4: Complete an Application and Training
After expressing an interest in becoming a volunteer firefighter and making a commitment, itís time to fill out an application and complete a background check. Every department has different qualifications required as well. Then itís time to go through the 110-hour training process to earn certification from the National Fire Protection Association. A volunteer firefighter has to meet a required level of fitness beyond that of the average person. Depending on the department, further training is required to remain current with technology and construction changes for buildings.
Volunteering as a firefighter can be a very rewarding hobby, but it requires training and can be time consuming since firefighters are called to help with more than just fires. Before deciding to join a fire department or station, a prospective volunteer really needs to make sure they are ready for the commitment the job will require of them.