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How to Become a Volunteer Firefighter?

Volunteering as a firefighter
Where to find volunteer firefighter opportunities near me? Who can be a volunteer firefighter? Why people become a volunteer firefighter?

Many among us grew up wanting to be a firefighter. Whether it was the big, shiny red truck or the macho uniform that got us hooked, becoming a firefighter was a childhood memory we love to think about. However, it is a very big commitment to make firefighting a professional careers for many reasons.

Now that we’re older, we truly realize how dangerous and serious the job of a firefighter is. But that never really stopped us from wishing we did go on to become a firefighter. If you still want to protect your community and fight fires, becoming a volunteer firefighter is an option.

It takes a lot of extensive training so you’d know exactly what to do during emergencies, and you need to have the dedication to serve your community. A community, especially a small one, relies heavily on firefighters to respond to all forms of emergencies.

Not only that, volunteer firefighters need to be ready and able to provide assistance and support whenever required to career firefighters. Even though you’re a volunteer, career firefighters count on you to be there with assistance and support during any situation.

So, how do you become a volunteer firefighter? Before you decide on becoming one, let’s take a look at several factors. This way, you’ll know what to expect when you’re ready to sign as a volunteer firefighter.

What is a volunteer firefighter?

A volunteer firefighter is a trained person who can perform firefighting duties and other emergency services in their community or local jurisdiction. They are attached to a volunteer fire department that functions as an assistance and support system for career firefighters.

Once you’re a volunteer firefighter, you’re expected to perform your duties as efficiently and as professionally as career firefighters. This means anything from keeping a clear head in threatening situations, maintaining your composure during traumatic events such as assisting in car crash fatalities to getting ready to put yourself in extreme and dangerous situations.

Why is volunteer firefighter needed?

While the fire and rescue service is not for everyone, many volunteer firefighters gained a rewarding experience like no other. There’s something about being able to help someone in need or in danger that gives volunteer firefighters a sense of accomplishment and achievement.

The need for volunteer firefighters is actually greater than we thought. Even though fire departments are equipped with everything they need to respond to emergencies, there’s always something that they need help with.

It’s not uncommon for some fire departments to be understaffed. Fires may not occur every other day, but emergency situations are more common than we’d like to think. Firefighters need to be ready at a moment’s notice. If there’s a major emergency, then an understaffed fire department will have a hard time to perform efficient damage control.

By becoming a volunteer firefighter, you’re able to contribute to the community by helping in any way you can. There’s no role too small when it comes to emergency situations and career firefighters will welcome you like family when you’re able to perform your duties well in assisting and supporting them.

Volunteer firefighters are needed because they can help to strengthen the community. Not only do you have members of the community helping each other, but you’re also encouraging good ethics and fire safety among the community.

It’s not uncommon for emergencies to happen because of negligence or ignorance. By having more people becoming volunteer firefighters, the community can reduce the risks and chances of negligence.

Benefits of being a volunteer firefighter

Extensive Training

One of the best benefits of being a volunteer firefighter is the training you get. You may not receive the full in-depth training of a career firefighter, but you will learn many new things that you didn’t know about firefighting and emergency services before.

As a volunteer firefighter, your training usually includes fire suppression, emergency rescue skills, first aid, hazardous materials and how to handle them, fire investigation, and wildland fire suppression. Some volunteer fire departments provide even more extensive training.

This training will benefit you for a lifetime. Even though you may quit from being a volunteer firefighter one day, you’ll carry this training and experience for the rest of your life. That is an invaluable skill because no matter where you are, you’ll know what to do to help save lives. That is pretty awesome.

The Firefighter Pride

Another rewarding benefit many volunteer firefighters pride themselves with is how they’re able to give back to the community. As a volunteer firefighter, you’ll need to respond to emergencies no matter where you are.

This could mean leaving your family during Sunday lunch or being late to work. But you know you’re putting other people’s needs before your own, no matter how seemingly small their needs are. Many volunteer firefighters find satisfaction and fulfillment when they’re able to help someone from their community in any way possible.

How to become a volunteer firefighter near me?

Now that you’re ready to become a volunteer firefighter, you can contact your local fire department to know how to become a volunteer firefighter. You will find information and guidelines on how to apply. The requirements of application will vary between states and towns, so make sure you know which ones apply to you.

Some local fire departments will forward you to a volunteer fire department where you will receive your training. These departments will train and get you ready for firefighting duties, emergency response procedures, and also non-emergency roles such as equipment maintenance.

A volunteer firefighter often responds to emergencies from work or home and expected to be available within five to ten minutes. So, it’s better to become a firefighter volunteer at your nearest fire station.

How long does it take to become a volunteer firefighter?

Depending on the fire department you’re volunteering at, a volunteer firefighter is expected to complete at least 110 hours of training before they’re allowed on the field. This is excluding additional training on related non-emergency situations or skills.

Typically, a volunteer firefighter training is a 3-hour/week session and you need to complete these sessions for 52 weeks. The training can range anything from grueling to light to extreme. This is necessary because you need to be prepared for anything.

It’s important not to rush through your training because you need to make sure you know exactly what to do in any situation. Even though you have other career firefighters to guide you, time or babysitting is not a luxury anyone can afford when a major emergency happens.

Becoming a volunteer firefighter is not just about training. You will need to learn how to incorporate your family and personal needs into the plan. You may be able to complete all the process training, but it may take you longer to become a volunteer firefighter if you can’t work around your time or commit fully to your role


A person in danger or someone who needs help is expecting a firefighter to come and help them. You can’t think of yourself as a volunteer firefighter and shy away from your duties. While there are guidelines on what you can and should do as a volunteer firefighter, it doesn’t mean you can take your role lightly and pass the buck to someone else.

You need to carefully and seriously think about your “why” before becoming a volunteer firefighter. While the truck and the suit may look cool, there’s no glamor in the job. You may not get recognized or even thanked after you’ve done your job, but if you’re truly about saving the community and helping other people, you’ll be a great volunteer firefighter.

About the author

Brian Chan

Brian Chan is the co-founder of Circle Acts Charity. Circle Acts is a registered charity that focuses on high-impact philanthropy and promote donor philanthropy across the world.