Being a volunteer emergency responder is a rewarding experience and an extraordinary way to serve your community. It takes dedication, sacrifice, leadership, and mental/physical stamina.
Throughout rural Colorado, citizens and current firefighters are at risk because of the lack of volunteer firefighters to adequately protect people and property from fire and fire-related hazards. As call volume increases, more departments depend on volunteer firefighters. Throughout Colorado, over 3 million citizens are protected by volunteer or combination departments. In order to comply with National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, the Colorado fire service must increase each department by 10 volunteers. With a total of 418 fire departments, Colorado needs to recruit approximately 3,500 additional volunteer emergency responders to be fully protected.
With departments experiencing increasingly high rates of volunteer turnover, Colorado needs your help now more than ever.
If you're interested in becoming a volunteer emergency responder, please submit a volunteer application form and a representative from your area will contact you about the local volunteer program.
Although local governments and departments establish different selection criteria, many departments require that volunteers:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a valid driver’s license
- Be healthy and in good physical condition
- Complete basic fire & EMS training
- Live in close proximity to the fire district
- Have a clean criminal record
- Meet the minimum ongoing training requirements
- Respond to a certain percentage of calls
Time requirements vary by department. Time commitment will depend on several factors, such as the number of calls the department receives, training requirements, shift versus on-call structure, and community activities in which the department requires volunteers to participate.
Volunteer departments prefer that volunteers have the ability to respond to calls 24 hours a day, although most departments still accept volunteers who are unable to leave work or other obligations to respond to a call.
Typically, departments pay for training and firefighting equipment. Volunteer firefighting is an unpaid position; however, some departments may provide stipends or reimburse volunteers for certain expenses.
*Volunteer requirements differ by department. If you have a specific question about requirements in your area, Contact Us
Throughout Colorado, firefighters and communities are at risk because of the lack of volunteer firefighters to adequately protect people and property from fire and fire-related hazards. The CSFFA recruitment and retention plan has a goal of increasing the number of qualified active volunteers in Colorado's fire service. The first component of the program entails a State Tuition Reimbursement as Incentive for Volunteer Emergency Responders (STRIVE). The goal of the program is to retain current emergency responders and attract new volunteers to the fire service. STRIVE will offer tuition reimbursement for up to 100 current and new volunteer emergency responders per year throughout the 4 year grant period.
Eligible participants will receive higher education tuition reimbursement up to $5,000 per year for every 2 years that they commit to membership in a volunteer fire or EMS department.
The program encourages residents to stay in their communities for higher education. Guidelines provide a strategic plan to increase commitment levels to the department while maintaining standards in education curriculum. On-going minimum requirements must be met for program eligibility:
- Active volunteer in good standing with department and respond to 25% of calls or departmental activities.
- Meet academic requirements of the state institution with at least 2.5 GPA.
- Agree to the Administration Guide for the STRIVE program.
- Field of curriculum to be chosen by participant, and may include Fire Science.
- Awarded grant funds may be used by spouse or an immediate family member.
30% to be awarded to women and minorities first.
Please download the Administrative Guide and Application form if you are interested in participating in this program. Applications must be printed and mailed to the address at the top of the form, as a signature from the Chief is required for processing.
Any inquiries may be directed to email@example.com.
STRIVE Tuition Reimbursement Form
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