Hey everyone!!!


Ok, I am on a Lieutenant on a volunteer department, nobody is paid. I am part of the Rules and Regulations commitee. We are trying to impliment requirements for the department into our rules and regs. Due to these changes everyone is freaking out because we want them to take classes as a requirement. (FFI and FFII, EMT, CPR, Wildland 130 &190, Etc.) (Keep in mind, the department pays for the trainings not them) I feel that since we are taking on more calls and due to members who aren't trained, in my opinion should not be part of the department if they are unable to perform the tasks that may come. Numerous members are complaining about there normal jobs would interfere with the training, I understand that is the prioirty but most members who say the trainings interfere with there job also don't make calls or other department trainings. In other words they are no use to me and the department. If I were I.C. and the individual showed up I would be more worried due to the fact that the individual isn't trainined because they won't show up to training and is now a risk to me and my team. I was wondering what are your requirements to be hired on at volunteer departments. If your a paid agency then what are your opinions on requirements for a volunteer department? Also if you have websites which list your requirements for volunteers please list in your post so I can show current members that we aren't the only ones with requirements. Thanks for your input and help. Hopefully some of the members will realize that volunteer departments need to have sufficient training even if we don't get paid. Thanks

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I was wondering what are your requirements to be hired on at volunteer departments.

They must submit an application, application is reviewed at our next meeting, a criminal background check is performed which they must pass, then the applicant must pass an oral interview conducted by a committee made up of three fire department members, a Line Officer, an Executive Officer and a Firefighter who has been around for a few years. Once the applicant has completed this part of the application process they are put on a 6 month probationary period in which they must attend a certain amount of in-house training and monthly meetings. Once their 6 month probationary period is up they are then given a review, at which point they will either be retained or kicked out. This entire process is written into our department bylaws. If the person is retained(hired), they are then given more formal and accredited training through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, becoming certified firefighters.

I don't know how it is in Arizona, especially with your state recently abolishing the state fire marshal's office, but in PA classes are often and flexible. I.e. full time, night classes, only certain days a week, weekends only. There is a centralized State Fire Academy in PA, but you don't have to go there directly to get the certifications you need. Accredited classes are held throughout the state in conjunction with the state's community college and state university systems, many times with the state certified instructors conducting the classes at a local department.

Oh yeah, and our process is done with absolutely no out of pocket expenses to them either. The may initially have to pay for gas or a hotel room if they have to travel a distance for a certain class, but they are eventually reimbursed.

You're just going to have to do it, implement these changes, you're not going to make any friends over it, but it needs to be done. And it will weed out the bad apples. Having people running around a fire scene, fighting fire un-certified is a HUGE liability issue
Right now its Bull****, I have wanted to change it for so long now I am trying and they complained. All you have to do is submit an application and it gets voted on at the next business meeting. The app consists of name, address, dob, "do you have any history with dui", "do you have any felonies", "do you have an alcohol problem" any experience, and a sponsor. The app is about 3/4 of a page long.
My Department is much like Doug's, just without the probationary period. Members are not required to take FF1, as it is a long class, and not all of our members wish to go interior. They are still a valuable member, to help with getting tools, manning an exterior hose line, changing out SCBA Bottles, and various other activities on the fire ground. However, I do see your problem, having members that don't show up to training, meetings, or other department functions can be a problem. I have to agree though, institute the changes, and weed out the ones that don't want to be there.

It is my opinion that if you do not hold your volunteers up the the EXACT same standards of a full-time, paid, department, then you are doing your Firefighters and your community a disservice. Not to mention risking the lives of anyone not TRULY and FULLY prepared to enter an IDLH environment.

A few hours in a good burn building can do more to prove your point than WEEKS of badgering, bugging and threatening...
Submit application at the once a month business meeting
they are tabled for one month to sow up and make themselves known
next months biz meeting they are voted on.
Probationary until you have medical (at least first responder), Firefighter 1 and Hazmat Ops
My thoughts exactly, Reg.

It's not like your learning how to play baseball or something, you are training to potentially save life and property, and at times, risking your own safety. If you think you can do that without proper training, maybe you should look into a different way of helping your community. That's just my opinion.
My department has a two page application you fill out , do a criminal background check, physical ability test, you have to challenge and pass FF2, which I am currently taking, if accepted then you are a rookie for one year , then you are reviewed and voted on to be moved up to probationary firefighter for another year and then reviewed and voted on to be moved up to firefighter, I have been on now for 6 months, so if they don't like it then they need to get over it , we need fully trained people out there watchin our backs to make sure everyone comes home safe
I'm going to dido what Doug said. I am also from Pennsylvania, and his dept. sounds similar (not exact, but close enough) to how things are done at mine. I wish PA, like some states, had minimum standards for training of volunteers, but it's up to the departments.
Every fire station in our county has county applications with finger print cards and photo requierments. Once a applicant fills out all the papers and provides their photos and finger prints are done applications are sent to the fire commission office and then onto investigations. In the mean time the applicant is introduced at a station meeting. After the paperwork comes back the applicant has a ID number and must go for a county physical and then to volunteer recruit class to learn about the fire service and any required training or needs before taking EMT or FF1. Training is required to be done in 18 months after joining. Other classes maybe done in time if the member wants to advance in the dept.
We must meet both county and state requirements which are part of our dept's by-laws to hold positions in the dept.
Every volunteer department has different requirements for their membership to follow for being voted in has a member. My dept has a 30 days and 6 month probation period for new members and 3 month for transfers from another dept. With the waiting period on applications we had to change that until the paperwork comes back. We have had some applicants waiting months for their paperwork to comeback because of backlogs at the fire commission or investigations.
in that respect, we do differ on opinion... like i said, not everybody wishes to do interior firefighting, however, they may prefer the MVA, or medical side, and we are a combination department. we do everything, our EMS runs out of the same station, and to be on the EMS, you have to be a member of the department. it has worked quite well so far, not saying it always will, but the ones that don't have FF1, are closely monitored by the chief, or other trained firefighters. I personally do wish that everybody on the fire ground was FF1 trained as a minimum, however, i doubt that will ever happen. like i said tho, i was responding to fires for more then 2 years before a FF1 class finally started in my county that i was able to take, learned a lot that helped me in that class in that time as well.
I am from a very small department as well, and even though I don't have near as much experience as some of the older members here, I can tell you what I've learned. If it's one of those nights when most of your vollies are off doing something else, and a structure fire pops up and only 3 of you show, it won't matter who wants to do what, you gotta fight fire. Same with MVA's and cat's in trees. And if your backup on the nozzle isn't trained and ready, it could go really bad.

Were I in your boots, I would sit down with my Chief and strongly recommend that FF I be a minimum standard for any responder other than strictly EMS. If he needs any additional supporting arguments, I would recommend he speak with whoever provides the Liability Insurance for your jurisdiction.

Again, this is JUST my opinion, but I truly believe that without this level of training for all your responders, not only are you putting your crews in danger, you leave yourself in an extremely actionable position.


My opinion too Reg. FF1 should be minimum requirement in volly departments. Like you said, there may be times when you just don't have the manpower for the occasion. Responders need to be well rounded to be able to do whatever task comes up. We should be trained for fires, medicals, mva's and cats in trees.
At the same time, though, there are folks that are medical responder geniuses who will not do fires. They should at least go through the FF1 courses to be familiar so they, too, know what's going on.

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