I am thinking about becoming a volunteer firefighter / emt, but I need a couple questions answered. What is a volunteer firefighter/emt schedule like? Do volunteer firefighters/emt respond to calls when there not at the firehouse?

I heard that volunteer firefighters/emt get pagers and when they go off you respond to the call. If the pager goes off do you have to respond to the call?
for example-- I'm sitting at home with my girl watching a movie and the pager goes off, do I have to get up and respond to the call?

I want to respond to calls but my fire department responds to like 10 - 15 calls a day. And I cant imagine going and driving into town 15 times a day,especially if its a false alarm call.( I would be volunteer so I don't really have the gas money to do that much driving).

I would be volunteering for Sweet home Oregon or Brownsville Oregon fire departments. If that makes a difference

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Your suppose to make as many calls as you can. My first 5 yrs I always had a cold Thanksgiving dinner we would get an EMS call and I would go on it so the guys with families could enjoy the time with their families.
Yes and No. You have to remember that you are a volunteer and dont have to go to every call, but if you are in the fire service for the right reason you should respond whenever possible. My suggestion is to try it out and decide for yourself.
Why not ask those who serve in those departments and ask the chiefs what is expected? Some require a certain percentage of calls to maintain volunteer status. Volunteers are just that...volunteers. Maybe a good option for you would be to designate a day to be at the station and respond to the calls for that day.
Brandon, as a Volunteer you would be responding as your available. Unless they have a policy that you must respond on a certain number of calls I would say its up to you.
These guys are right. A lot of responding guidelines just depends on the SOP/SOG of the department you are planning to be with. But maybe this will help. In my department we have a saying that Church,Family and work come first. Its hard as a volunteer not to run every call and get experience but at the same time there are limitations for everything.
I would say get with the department you are joining and see what the requirements for response are, As a volunteer i make family and job come before firehouse , but do get all the required hours of training ,monthly meetings, ems stuff that i need along with all the responses too, We run about 185 calls a year .
I live in Oregon and respond to as many calls as I can make. I work a full time day job outside of the EMS world. When I make plans I let my other station mates know what they are so they know when I will be able to respond with them. In our area if you live out of town you are required to give 24 hours a month each for EMT/Fire. How you give that is up to you.
Mike has an excellent bit of advice. If your department is that busy, than scheduling a day to hang out at the station to make yourself available would be the best way to make any call quota they might have. If you are free, and the department has a TV room or day room where you can go and wait for calls than do that. This way as a new member (Probie) you can offer to clean the station while you are there or service equipment, wash trucks and such.

I am a volly and I generally respond to everything I am available for except for when I am in church with the wife and daughter, the father knows I am a volunteer and he giggles some when he hears the beeping coming from my pager and sees that I stay through the sermon "Like a good boy" he says.
With me family, and work come first and in that order. If we get a fire at 3am during the week I go and usualy miss work but I get paid for it as a volunteer, but I dont leave work once I am there.
If I am at a family function such as a christening or wedding the pager doesnt even get turned on. But for other events like family BBQ's and such I respond and they all understand, they are proud of me, my brother is also a firefighter, my fahter-in-law is a career firefighter and my brother-in-laws are both firefighters so its a family function realy.
Its a calling that you need to make sure you are ready to commit to, if you only have half the heart for it than dont bother, it takes time and effort. If you are ready and willing to make the effort and desire to help others than its a feeling you will never forget.
Good luck with your decision and let us know.
Stay Safe.
Another good reason to schedule time at the station is so that you can train with the other guys and get some good hands on time.
In Hampton we have to do at least 24 hours for the month...there is a agreement that we sign before we even get in saying we will do that. We do a stand-by 1800-2200 every Tues. night and a full volunteer station take over every 3rd sat of the month.....or you can go in what ever day of the week you want. As far as the pagers go we have them and if you are needed ttey send a tone out looking for any volunteer's that want to fill a spot at a station. So in a nut shell you make your own schedule. Stay safe and stay low!!!
The best thing you can do is contact the departments you're looking to volunteer at and ask them what they require.

In my department they ask that we do 2 12 hour shifts per month at the station and respond to calls when available, but that's pretty flexible. We have some guys that do 4 12 hour shifts per month but you never see them when they're not on shift, others don't do shifts but do respond to a lot of calls. As long as you're materially participating in the operations of the deparment they're ok with it.

They're more strict on training hours as well as taking certain state mandated training.

We are issued hand held 2 way radios as opposed to pagers. I find this to be much more useful than pagers because we can actually begin coordinating response while we're enroute.
I heard that volunteer firefighters/emt get pagers and when they go off you respond to the call. If the pager goes off do you have to respond to the call?
for example-- I'm sitting at home with my girl watching a movie and the pager goes off, do I have to get up and respond to the call?

I want to respond to calls but my fire department responds to like 10 - 15 calls a day. And I cant imagine going and driving into town 15 times a day,especially if its a false alarm call.( I would be volunteer so I don't really have the gas money to do that much driving).



I understand your sentiment here, to honestly answer, NO, individual volunteers do not respond to every call. I say individual because it depends upon the person, not the duty. As a volunteer, calls can be screened and response picked and chosen. This explains why you can get darn near the whole cavarly showing up for a structure fire and a hurting for a response for puking/diarrhea or other EMS.

As mentioned one could sign up for duty days and there are more and more volly depts doing duty days, so that if on, you respond to those calls, but if not can pick and choose. It does depend on the dept and how they operate and what is asked for a committment for response. However try to make every training and do try to make all calls.

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