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.
In 2009 Ohio fire departments responded to 48,237 fire-related calls. As this call volume increases, so does the need for volunteer emergency responders. Ohio fire departments currently experience a 20 percent volunteer turnover rate each year due to the same life obligations as anyone else. Recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters is the key issue in Ohio volunteer departments.
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.
Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association
The Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association is a statewide organization supporting the interests of Ohio's fire chief officers. Through a variety of programs and services, the Association provides the following throughout the year:
- Education and professional development
- Legislative advocacy
- Communication and information exchange
- Peer networking opportunities
Through the work of its dedicated Board of Directors and committee volunteers and professional staff, the Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association continually focuses on being the premier fire and emergency services organization in the State of Ohio. One of the ways they have contributed to this goal is by being awarded a SAFER Grant by the Department of Homeland Security.
The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response Grant was created to provide funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations in order to help them increase the number of trained, front line firefighters available in their communities. The goal of the SAFER grant is to enhance local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the NFPA and OSHA.
In 2010, the Ohio Fire Chiefs' Association received a SAFER grant to assist fire departments throughout the state. The grant program strives to educate the public about the need for volunteer firefighters through a marketing campaign. The integrated campaign consists of television commercials, print advertisements, and online advertising. The grant program has also provided a means to submit information for those who are interested in volunteering.
To learn more information about the OFCA please click here.
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
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