FAQs

This page contains a list of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Q: Who volunteers?

A: Volunteers across the country consist of both men and women, young and old. Volunteers of any race are welcome to the volunteer fire and EMS service. Every department has different requirements and a different process in which to become a volunteer. In every department though, a volunteer must be in good health condition and be respectful and determined.

Q: Do volunteers receive compensation?

A: Compensation varies by department. Some departments do not provide any kind of payment, some provide a small stipend per call and/or training, others provide hourly payment while responding to a call and/or attending training.

Q: What training is required?

A: In most areas of the country, volunteers can be fully trained and state certified at no expense to the volunteer. It is common for volunteer emergency responders to receive the same training and certifications as career firefighters and EMTs.

Departments often consist of various divisions which specialize in a specific area, such as dive team, search and rescue, fire inspector, etc. Volunteers are able to participate in these specialized areas with proper training. It is common for fire and EMS services to be combined in one department and therefore, volunteers are required to be trained in both fields.

Most departments require volunteers to obtain firefighter I certification within the first 24 months with the fire department. EMS training is also required for those who provide patient care.

Q: Are there advancement opportunities?

A: Many individuals volunteer to gain experience and training to prepare for a career in the emergency response service. Most departments with career firefighters and EMTs prefer to fill open positions by hiring internally.

Q: What's the department structure?

A: Every department has a leader, typically a Chief who has been elected or hired. The Chief is usually tasked with daily operations such as budget, training, community relations, recruitment and retention, government relations, etc. It's common for the Chief's position to be full-time and paid, even in a volunteer department. In most situations, Chiefs appoint individuals to support the department.