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.
The NCFA helps protect over 125,000 citizens by manning 9 all-volunteer fire stations out of the total 13 NCFD stations. Napa County covers 790 square miles of 63% undeveloped land, 28% agriculture, 8% residential, and 1% commercial. We protect thousands of tourists each year who travel to the northern California wine country. With an average of 3,049 fire and emergency service calls a year, our 9 volunteer fire companies serve mostly wild land areas and rural residential. Our volunteers respond to structure fires, wild land fires, medical emergencies, hazardous materials spills, and other emergencies.
The NCFA currently has 199 volunteer firefighters. However, we need 280 volunteers to effectively respond to the number of calls we receive and meet standards. We have experienced a steady decline in the number of volunteers throughout the past 5 years due to increased training requirements and lack of public commitment. Most of our younger citizens are forced to commute long distances to and from work, reducing the time they have to commit to the volunteer fire service.
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.
NCFA SAFER Grant for College Tuition Reimbursement
The Napa County Firefighters Association carries the responsibility of manning 9 all-volunteer fire stations out of the 13 NCFD stations. NCFD provides over 300 hours of in-house training to meet California's required Firefighter 1 and 2, plus EMS First Responder standards. All new recruits receive an entry level physical and all required immunizations and our department encourages a daily physical fitness routine.
In effort to recruit new volunteer firefighters and promote increased participation and retention of existing firefighters, the NCFA is proud to offer a 4-year tuition reimbursement program utilizing SAFER Grant funds: State Tuition Reimbursement as Incentive for Volunteer Emergency Responders (STRIVE). It's the first program of its kind in the state of California! Eligible participants may receive up to $3000 per year, up to 2 years with a 5 year volunteer service commitment.
If you want to make a difference in your community, become a Volunteer Firefighter. If you want to create better opportunities for your future, apply for our tuition reimbursement program and go after that degree you have been striving for! NCFA is working hard to pave the way to stronger communities through a combination of volunteerism and higher education.
Check back here soon for application information.
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
STRIVE Tuition Reimbursement Program
Throughout Napa County, 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 NCFA recruitment and retention plan has a goal of increasing the number of qualified active volunteers in Napa County'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 60 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 2.5 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 child of eligible volunteer.
- Student/Volunteer may opt to use these funds to pay down existing balances on student loans.
- 30% to be awarded to women and minorities first.
- Student/Volunteers residing in counties that border Napa County are also eligible to participate in this grant program.
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.