If you aspire to be a volunteer firefighter you must first know how to become a volunteer firefighter! One must undergo rigorous training to become a volunteer firefighter. So here I have made it easy for you by presenting different stages of becoming a volunteer firefighter. I have also mentioned some training programs that you must know. This guide about how to become a volunteer firefighter will be helpful to start your volunteering carrier at your local fire department!
How To Become A Volunteer Firefighter?
The steps for how to become a volunteer firefighter are as follows.
- Meet Basic Volunteer Firefighter Requirements
- Complete Volunteer Firefighter Training
- Earn Certification
- Take Postsecondary Training
- Additional Certification
Let us move forward to study how to become a volunteer firefighter including its educational details and duties.
Step By Step Guide To Become A Volunteer Firefighter
Now with the help of this guide, you will get a clear idea about how to become a volunteer firefighter in detail. You must go through each of the sections one by one.
Step 1: Meet Basic Volunteer Firefighter Requirements
The requirements of volunteer firefighters vary by fire departments. Most of the fire departments require firefighters to be at least 18 years older. You need to hold a high school diploma or its equivalent degree. Various departments may require volunteer firefighters to hold a valid driver’s license. Candidates are required to pass written and physical exams, drug screenings, and background checks before stepping into this field.
Step 2: Complete Volunteer Firefighter Training
After being recruited, new volunteer firefighters need to complete the volunteer firefighter training programs. Firefighter training programs are of both practical application and in-class instruction. Here trainees get to learn how to handle various rescue tools such as extinguishers, axes, and ladders. They are also instructed in preventing fires, handling hazardous materials, and performing emergency medical procedures. Many firefighters also participate in apprenticeship programs. It can take up to four years to complete the apprenticeship program.
Step 3: Earn Certification
Most of the fire departments want their firefighters to become certified emergency medical technicians (EMTs). EMT is the minimum level of certification in this field. Volunteer firefighters can attend EMT-Basic training courses offered by community colleges. Through this program, you get practical experience in emergency rooms or ambulances. EMTs certification is obtained by passing written and practice tests after completing formal training. EMTs are generally offered by the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians or by any state certification board.
Step 4: Take Postsecondary Training
It is found that a growing number of firefighters have also completed post secondary coursework. You can hold an undergraduate degree in fire science or fire safety engineering to increase your chances even more. A degree program in fire science or fire safety engineering typically takes two years to complete. These courses may cover fire prevention and protection systems, firefighting strategies, arson investigation, etc.
Step 5: Additional Certification
While it is not mandatory, you can choose to pursue professional certification. You can take the Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPs) certification to become a professional fighter. Following are the necessary qualification for CFP certification.
- A high school education
- Six years of fire protection experience
- An associate degree
- Four years of first-hand practice
- A bachelor’s degree related to fire safety
Training Programs To Become A Volunteer Firefighter
The training requirements for volunteer fighters vary by department, locality, and state. Some departments require volunteers to pursue foundational training.
Here, I have mentioned some of the training programs for volunteer fighters you must know. Volunteer Fighter can complete any one or more of the following courses.
This training ensures firefighters have the foundational knowledge and capability to be on the scene of a fire. They get to work under the direct supervision of a qualified firefighter. This training helps them to demonstrate their ability to perform basic duties.
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
Every volunteer firefighter needs to complete EMT training. During this, you get to learn about basic the following life-saving hacks.
- Administering CPR
- Treating basic smoke inhalation issues
- Handling asthma attacks
- Handling diabetic patients
- Trauma Response
- Using epinephrine auto-injections
- Pharmacological intervention
These programs can cost between $800 to $1000 US Dollars.
Hazmat Awareness Training
Volunteer firefighters working in rural areas can complete hazardous material training programs. Here, students get to learn how to properly identify potentially hazardous materials and respond properly and safely. Individuals can take this training either in online mode or in person.
This training is designed for volunteer firefighters living in areas with large amounts of forestry. The U.S. Forest Service offers this training only for qualified firefighters.
Optional Training Programs
There are training programs that are optional for volunteer firefighters.
Emergency Medical Responder (EMR):
EMT training program builds on your skills and capabilities.
This training can be done as a diploma, associate, or bachelor’s degree.
Eligibility Criteria For Becoming A Volunteer Firefighter
Fire Departments have set some general requirements even for volunteer roles. Make sure you meet the following requirements before applying for it.
- Individuals must be at least 18 years old.
- Desiring candidates must have to complete a high school diploma or GED.
- Candidates need to have a valid driver’s license.
- Every candidate needs to pass a background check.
Volunteer Firefighter Duties
Volunteer firefighters get to perform a broad range of tasks while on the job. Following are the volunteer firefighter duties you must know.
- Responding to emergency calls.
- Driving fire trucks.
- Escaping people and animals from emergency situations.
- Performing first aid.
- Extinguishing the emergency fires.
- Maintain their equipment.
- Transporting water to the scene of a fire.
- Preventing on-lookers from approaching the dangerous areas.
- Educating the community about the fire department.
- Using fire hydrants, fire hoses, and other equipment
- Assisting other firefighters while working.
Physical Requirements Of A Volunteer Firefighter
The firefighting field is very competitive. There are thousands of applicants out there. How will you stand out from them? Don’t panic!
Here are some important points you should know so you can prepare to join this service.
- You need to get in good physical condition to pass the physical ability test.
- Firefighters need strong aerobic capacity.
- Set a workout routine along with a proper diet plan.
- You need to pass the grip strength test to measure the force of one’s grip.
- Work on your arm strength so that you can lift and carry the heavy equipment.
- Participants need to perform curl-ups and sit-ups tests for muscular endurance.
Benefits Of Becoming A Volunteer Firefighter
Until now you have understood how to become a volunteer firefighter in detail. Are wondering about the benefits of becoming a volunteer firefighter? I have listed down some of the benefits you get by being a volunteer firefighter. But remember all these benefits are not offered at every fire station.
Many states offer volunteer firefighters tax credits for lowering their tax burden. For example, a firefighter can receive up to $3,000 to $6,000 tax credits per year. These incentives vary from state to state.
Access To Retirement Programs
Some of the fire departments offer their firefighters access to retirement benefits on the number of service years. You need to spend at least 10 years as a volunteer firefighter to access this benefit.
Individuals who have never taken any safety classes before can get all the training they need to become volunteer fighters. Often the department will pay for your basic-life saving training,
You get to attend local and regional firefighter conferences for your professional development.
Scholarships And Tuition Reimbursement
Few fire departments provide tuition reimbursement for volunteers to put themselves through higher education programs. They also offer scholarships to help offset costs.
Salary Of A Volunteer Fighter
Volunteer firefighter salary generally ranges from $39,068 to $56,597. The average salary for a volunteer firefighter is $45,472 per year and $14.45 per hour a day. The salary of a volunteer firefighter can vary depending upon education, certifications, additional skills, and your experience.
Do Firefighter Volunteers Get Pay?
Yes, firefighter volunteers do get paid. Volunteer firefighter salary generally ranges from $39,068 to $56,597. The average salary for a volunteer firefighter is $45,472 per year and $14.45 per hour a day.
How Hard Is It To Become A Volunteer Fighter?
It is very hard to become a volunteer firefighter. Individuals undergo extensive training to be volunteer firefighters.
How Do Volunteer Fire Departments Get The Money?
Fire departments get money from municipalities. Sometimes funding is provided from organizations, donations, or income from various events.
How Many Hours Do Volunteer Fighters Work?
Generally, volunteer fighters work around five to eight hours per week.
In my above article, I have discussed the step-by-step guide for how to become a volunteer firefighter. You need to contact your local fire department to know the requirement and application process. I have also mentioned some basic criteria you need to follow in order to get into this field. You must be in good physical condition if you are thinking to become a volunteer firefighter. My above guide about how to become a volunteer firefighter can be beneficial for those who wish to become one!