How to Become a Volunteer Firefighter

how to become a volunteer firefighterHouse fires are a tragedy that no family or individual wants to endure. Thousands of people are killed by fires every year. Many people lose everything they own to house fires. Even if they don’t lose everything and the fire is put out before it ravages the entire house, a family could be left with thousands of dollars in repairs for damages caused by the fire. Fires start as a small spark, but they can quickly get out of control, and someone or something has to stop it or unhindered destruction results. Firefighters are the true heroes when it comes to fires. They risk their lives to go into a fire when anyone else is desperately trying to get out. While many people die as the result of house or building fires, many more are rescued and given a new chance at life because of the bravery of firefighters. Where fires get out of control, these are the people who risk everything to reign in a force that is often much bigger than them.

Hollywood movies have done a great job of highlighting both the danger of being a firefighter and the incredible bravery of those who devote their lives to it. For that reason, many people want to be firefighters, especially children and teenagers who have grown up idolizing firefighters as their own personal heroes. While many people make a career out of being a firefighter, there are also many who put themselves in the line of duty as volunteer firefighters. While it’s not their career and there are probably other things that they do with their lives, they recognize a need in their communities for more people to help fight the tragedy of lives taken by house fires. Being a volunteer firefighter is a great way to serve your community, and it’s a great way to get a glimpse into the lives of firefighters to see if it’s something you may want to devote your life to.

 Important Steps on How to Become a Volunteer Firefighter

Because being a firefighter involves a lot of risk and knowledge of how to fight fires, becoming a volunteer firefighter involves a process. The steps below will guide you on your journey to becoming a volunteer firefighter.

Physical Fitness

Being a firefighter isn’t for the faint of heart. Fighting fires involves a lot of physical exertion. Many people may not realize the physical conditioning involved in fighting fires, but being able to perform all of the physical aspects of fighting fires without taxing your physical energy is vitally important. If you’re overweight or otherwise physically exhausted easily, you may not be able to do what needs to be done when the time comes. Even the least dangerous fires will push you physically. Therefore, before you consider becoming a volunteer firefighter, take a serious look at your physical fitness. If you’re worried that your current condition will be a hindrance, you can always spend a few weeks or months conditioning yourself and eating right to get yourself into better shape for the duties of fighting fires. You may be required to pass a physical test before you’ll be allowed to become a volunteer firefighter, so make sure to get fit and feel fitness ready before you apply to volunteer.

Contact Your Local Fire Department

Not all fire departments utilize volunteers, so it’s important to make sure your local fire department is one that you can volunteer for. Call your local fire station and ask to speak with a station officer. Express your interest in becoming a volunteer firefighter and ask any questions you might have about what volunteer firefighting entails. The station officer can direct you on what steps you need to take in order to become a volunteer firefighter. They can tell you any health, minimum again, or any other requirements they may have for their volunteer firefighters. You might be able to go on a ride with the firefighters to get an idea of what it’s like and decide if it seems like something you might want to do. You can also check to see if your local fire department has a website that might contain some helpful information related to volunteer firefighters.

Application and Background Screening

After you decide that being a volunteer firefighter is for you, you’ll need to fill out an application with the fire department. You’ll also need to complete a background check. Some fire departments will require you to go through an interview process. You’ll encounter similar questions that you might find in an interview if you were applying for a firefighter job. Though you’re not applying for a paying job, the process is fairly rigorous given the high degree of responsibility involved with being even a volunteer firefighter. Because it functions much like a regular job interview, it might be a good idea to prepare and practice for the interview.

Firefighter Training

After you’ve officially become a member of a fire department’s volunteer firefighter team, you’ll be required to take some mandatory firefighter training. All volunteer firefighters, no matter where they volunteer, are required to take a 110-hour firefighter course certified by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association. Depending on the fire department where you volunteer, you may be required to take some additional training.

Give it Your Best

Once you’ve gone the process of becoming a volunteer firefighter, remember to be dedicated in your pursuit of helping people and fighting fires. Fire fighters risk their lives everyday. They’re often known as heroes. Be sure to do a great job and live up to the expectations your fellow firefighters and the people who depend on them have for you. How many hours you work depends upon the department. There are many departments that require their volunteer firefighters to work a minimum number of hours each month. You’ll want to build and maintain a reputation of someone that can be depended on to fulfill your responsibilities and work the time you’re committed to.

Volunteering and Beyond

Many people get into volunteer firefighting to get a taste of what it would be like to be a firefighter full time. In fact, becoming a volunteer firefighter is the best way to develop the skills and gain the experience needed to be a firefighter full time. When applying for a full time firefighter job, having a history of being a volunteer firefighter makes you a much more attractive candidate for a firefighting job. If you decide you want to pursue firefighting as a career, this course will help you to prepare for an excellent firefighter interview. Furthermore, this course will help you to prepare for the written exam that you’ll have to take to become a firefighter. Being a volunteer firefighter also gives you valuable experience and leadership skill development that will aid you later in life in careers that are even completely unrelated to firefighting.

House fires can be a terrible tragedy. Many communities rely on the services of volunteer firefighters to keep people safe from the dangers of fires. If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter, begin following the steps above to be on your way to some of the most valuable experiences you’ll ever have.  Becoming a volunteer firefighter gives you a great opportunity to be on the forefront of helping people when disaster strikes, as well as the opportunity to develop the skills that will take you far in life.