Who can be a volunteer firefighter or EMT?
 
By Member Joyce Shry
April 3, 2019
 

If you have a desire to serve, you can become a volunteer firefighter or EMT. You don’t need any prior experience in the emergency services; you will receive the training you need when you join the department. Your local department will have specific requirements such as minimum age, background checks and medical clearance.

What are the benefits of being a volunteer firefighter or EMT?

Volunteer first responders help their citizens in times of need. Volunteers enjoy a sense of accomplishment, achievement, and pride in the work they do. Volunteers get to learn new skills, make new friends, be part of a team and give back to their community. They do make a real difference!

Most departments offer tangible benefits to their volunteers. They vary greatly but may include specialized or technical training, food allowances, tax exemptions of deductions, insurance coverage, tuition reimbursement, live-in programs, uniforms, department paraphernalia and awards programs.

Is there a minimum age requirement?

Age requirements vary by counties and departments but typically range anywhere from 16 and up for volunteer firefighters and EMTs. Some departments have junior programs which involve youth and teenagers in non-emergency roles and skills, learn about the fire and rescue service in a safe educational way.

What kind of training do I need?

Once you are committed to volunteering, you need to be trained. Training requirements vary by state, locality and department. The time investment depends on the level of training and certifications your specific department needs. Fire and Rescue departments typically provide or arrange for volunteer personnel to receive all required training at no cost to the individual.
In general volunteers are asked to complete certification training for Gear Up New Member Orientation, Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Emergency Medical Responder, Emergency Medical Technician, Paramedic, HazMat Operations, and Traffic Incident Management just to name a few.

What will I do as a volunteer?

Depending on the services provided by your department and the level of training you receive, typically your department provides and allows for volunteer personnel to perform fire suppression, emergency medical services, search and rescue, traffic incident management (fire police), public education and prevention, inspections, fundraising and public events.

Are there other ways I can assist my local department without becoming a first responder?

If you feel your talents can be utilized in other ways within your local department, you many assist with non-emergency tasks of the department. This allows for trained responders and EMS personnel to focus on getting the apparatus out the door while enabling community members to provide needed support to run their local department.

Do you want to Gear UP today?